Planning meals, where to eat, which parks, no park hopper...yet..

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by alm99, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. alm99

    alm99 Earning My Ears

    Aug 11, 2011
    Trying desperately to figure out our first stay at Disney with the free DDP and where we will be at and what places to eat. I am so overwhelmed. Trying to plan what park we will be at on which days, no park hopper and figuring out the food.

    We would like to do lunch or dinner CRT and a character breakfast and then beyond that I can't seem to figure out where to eat for our TS meals and what parks we will be at on what days. I didn't realize that travel time between parks was 30+ minutes and that some of the places to eat are at resorts and not in the parks.

    What do you recommend? We will be there for 7 nights, tues - tues late January. I imagine we will go to Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood once, Magic Kingdom at least twice.

    Please help.
  2. autismgoesdisney

    autismgoesdisney DIS Veteran

    Oct 15, 2008
    I am guessing each person has their own way of figuring it out. For us, we go by our must do. If your must do is a reservation that is very popular for dining, then go with that. CRT is very popular and I would try for any day on your trip for that. Once you get it, then that is the day you will do MK.

    For us, we figure out what parks are opening early and late, or when Fantasmic is showing since my son loves that and its only showing ONCE the entire time we are there!

    There is no wrong or right, just fun! I love to plan :)
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  4. KeroKero

    KeroKero DIS Veteran

    Jul 11, 2011
    The first thing we do is pull up the park schedules for the days we're going to be at WDW and decide which parks we want to do on which days based on EMH (morning and evening as we always have park hoppers as we find we're not as restricted with our advance planning/touring)

    Then we select restaurants based on what's available at the park we plan to be at for the a.m. and for the p.m as well.

    For example: If we're going to be at MK from the a.m one day, I would want something at MK or something at one of the hotels on the monorail line to avoid having to spend too much time travelling:thumbsup2.

    If we're at EPCOT that morning, an ADR at EPCOT or at any of the resorts within walking distance.

    etc... etc....

    For dinner we take into effect that we don't want to miss any of the evening shows (Wishes, Illunimations, Fantasmic!) and try not to schedule any ADR's where we know we won't be able to get back and get a good spot for viewing.

    It can seem very daunting, but its really not that hard :wizard:, in fact I find it rather fun and hopefully you will too.

    Whatever you pick your family will enjoy! So many yummy things to try. Enjoy and don't stress!! :)
  5. bluejasmine

    bluejasmine DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    It can be tricky but fun! I know my must dos and must trys. Then I pull up the hours for the parks and make ADRs.. If the time isnt right or the schedule changes I tweak them as I see fit.. So like MK day, Id book Ohana,Kona, CG, Narcosse, GC Cafe, Citricos, CM, because they are restaurants in the resorts right outside MK. Or make ADRS for inside MK..

    Ep- anything in Ep or Cape May, Capt Grill, Kouzinna, Flying Fish, Blue Zoo, Kimonos..

    Same with DS..

    AK-Yak and Yeti, Tusker House or Boma, Jiko, Sanaa over at AKL..

    Dont forget for days that you think you will leave park early and not go back there is all the restaurant in DTD.

    I say for first timers..

    Ohana at Poly, Chef Mickey at CR or 1900 PF at GF or Crystal Palace at MK.

    Boma at AKL, 50s Prime Time or Sci Fi at HS

    EP-Cape May at BC, Capt Grill at YC, Biergarten (Germany) San Angel (Mexico) Nine Dragons(China) Rose and Crown (GB) Via Napoli (Italy) Chefs D France ( France)

    Look at click on dining and the menus and go through the menus and see what you like!

    have fun!
  6. Quin

    Quin DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2010
    OK. Stop and breathe. It will be OK and you will have a magical time.

    First, think about your family and what they are going to want to do. Will they be willing and able to make rope drop at an EMH morning park, or is that just going to start everybody out on the wrong foot? If you go to they have not only the park times but suggestions for which parks on which days, depending on whether you are early-morning people or not.

    Figure out your parks first. Then we can help figure out your dining. Come back and let us know what your park schedule looks like, number in your party/ages & sexes of kids, and any special dining preferences/issues/allergies. You will then get WAY more help than you need 'cause we all like to plan somebody else's meals :thumbsup2
  7. mwmom

    mwmom 5th Time Disney Visitor

    Oct 8, 2008
    I remember that feeling last year when I was staying on property for the first time and using DDP. I started with a helpful site for deciding which parks to go to on which days (I use, but there are others). Once I knew that, I read and read and read and read on this board all about the restaurants. I also took into account my DD who was 5 at the time and what she would like to do. I only planned our TS meals and just decided on QS when we were at the parks based on where we were at the time when we got hungry. I didn't want to overwhelm myself with having to be at a certain place at a certain time more than once a day so we could just go with the flow and enjoy the World! Here is what we ended up with..

    CRT for dinner at 8:10 p.m. (a truly magical experience- I thought it was too late of a reservation, but it was a pixie dust moment when we walked out of the castle just before Wishes started and found ourselves roped IN the castle area...not one person touching you...looking out on 1000's of people...looking up to see Tink fly right over your head...just magical!!)

    Ohana breakfast....loved characters there and the food was great! Easy access from MK on boat or monorail. This was our slowest meal as it took a long time for the characters to come around to our table, but it was fine for our schedule that day)

    Akershus for dinner...My DD is a huge princess fan so we had to do both princess meals.

    CRT for breakfast....okay, I got a little carried away with the princess meals...she still loved it, but I wouldn't do it twice in one trip again....wasn't nearly as special the 2nd time in the same trip

    50's Diner in HS....good home cooking meal (meatloaf, pot roast, that sort of thing), energetic place for my DD...loved it much more than Hollywood and Vine where we ate on a prior trip.

    Crystal Palace...had to make the most of the DDP so we obviously did lots of character meals...loved the food and interaction with Pooh and Friends

    Liberty Tree Tavern in MK...ate here bc it was the night before Thanksgiving and wanted a traditional meal...good food, don't think I would put on my "highly recommend" list if it wasn't Thanksgiving

    Obviously, we made the most of our DDP! Loved all of our meals and would return to all of those places. This year we are going to do some again and try a few new ones (finally got a ressie for Chef Mickey, trying Garden Grill and Boma)

    Good luck with your planning. My best advice is to just decide on some and go with it. As long as you read up on reviews, you should be able to pick many that you enjoy. One word of advice is to have your plan laid out with some backups listed as well. Get up in time to be online ready to go at the opening time (I believe it is 6 a.m. for online...account for your time zone) and make all of your ressies on that 180 day mark. Remember if you are staying at a resort that you can make up to 10 days of reservations on that 180 day mark. I didn't know that the first time we went and ended up getting up every day for a week to make my reservations. This year I knew to do all 8 days on the 180th day before our first day there. I got every ressie I wanted.
  8. sk8jdgca

    sk8jdgca DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2007
    if you have children under 10- really look at the kids menu for the places you are looking at. I ended up having to change reservations half way through our vacation as my daughter (9) was sick of the limited menus so we switched to buffets
  9. newdeal

    newdeal DIS Veteran

    Apr 12, 2009
    Most of the good places to eat are in resorts or in epcot. Figure out your park days based on the easywdw crowd calander (free) and then book an epcot place on your epcot day, CRT on your MK day then the rest book at resorts. Most resorts are only a short bus ride from the parks. You can take a nice boat ride from hollywood studios to the yacht club, beach club and boardwalk so those restaurants are easy to get to. Of course the monorail from MK and epcot to the polynesian, grand floridian and contemporary makes those easy to get to as well. There is a descent Buffet at the tusker house in the animal kingdom if you dont want to leave the park (although boma at the animal kingdom lodge is better). Nothing is good in hollywood studios but if you plan to watch fantasmic you may want to do the dinner package at mama melrose. There are so many good restaurants in the resorts its easy to get it worked out without hoppers. I would suggest character breakfast at chef mickeys in the contemporary and then take the monorail to the magic kingdom that day also.
  10. CajunMomof3

    CajunMomof3 DIS Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    It is overwhelming the first time you try to plan a trip! So, keep reading here and know that you will probably change things several time! This is our 7th trip, and I am constantly playing with our dining resevations!

    One thing I learned was not overload on character meals. Sometimes the kids are just done with that!

    I persoanlly think Ohana (at the Polynesian) is one of the best meals at WDW. There is a variety of food to keep everyone happy, and it is all good! There is also alot of interaction with dancing and such to keep the little ones entertained.

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