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Walt Disney World.

Updated on July 15, 2013
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Planning for Walt Disney World


You know the saying, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go array."

Planning a family trip at Walt Disney World takes a lot of time and effort, but even with detailed planning, you must be able to spontaneously alter your ittinerary due to such factors as weather--Disney is stifling HOT in June--; family member's moods; crowded pools; long wait times in line; folks cutting ahead in the Fast Track Pass line (seriously, this happened to us several times! RUDE!); your brother showing up at the last minute from three thousand miles away to introduce you to his girlfriend; the list goes on....and on and on.


I started planning our WDW trip a year in advance. I read every book, well not every book, on Walt Disney World--the insider guides; the outsider guides; Disney with families; Disney for adults; The Dummies Guide to Walt Disney World, etc. I couldn't get enough, after-all I was planning the perfect trip for my family of four.

Truth be told: I needed a vacation after our WDW vacation. As a rule follower; I made two critical errors: I admitted that my oldest child was 10, in fact he just turned 10 three days prior to our arrival at WDW; and I did not yank my children out of school; nope I followed the rules and waited until the school year ended to head to wickedly hot Orlando.

Walt Disney World has the odd view of what constitutes and adult. According to the folks at Disney, a child of 10 is an adult. So that Walt Disney World Deluxe Meal Plan will set you back about an additional 80 bucks a day, yes a day, times in our situation 8. Oh my, I just did the math--I want a refund! The heck with honesty! What was I thinking; seriously, it was not like they were going to card my child at the entrance to The World!


Lessons learned--don't follow the rules. Those rude folks cutting in line to get Fast Track Passes certainly weren't following any rules.



Eight day seven night itinerary for WDW

We each had 21 meal credits and 14 snacks to use during our stay at WDW. My 10 year-old adult had to use the adult menu with adult extra-sized portions. Each meal credit includes an appetizer and a dessert. The snack credits could be used for non-alcoholic beverages and ice cream novelties, things like that. We each had a 32 ounce cup that could be filled with non-alcoholic beverages at our hotel. Keep the sugar high coming.

TIP: Make all of your meal reservations 90 days prior to your arrival; you now can do this online at the WDW site.


Itinerary


This was my hope for day one of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

Arrive at The Beach Club Resort ** ask for a newly renovated room with a full balcony with a good water view.

Swim

Eat lunch (Possibility: Beaches & Cream at our hotel) One meal credit.

Dinner reservations at 7:30 @ Flying Fish located within walking distance at Disney’s Boardwalk. Reservation: Two meal credits/ collared shirt.

This is what actually happened:

The Beach Club Resort was very nice; however, my water view, was really a tiny view to the side off of our balcony. Forget the balcony--in June in Orlando it is TOO hot to sit on your balcony; plus the balcony was tiny. TIP: Do not pay extra for a balcony!

The room was small, but there was a nice sized area to get dressed off of the tiny bathroom. But, hey, you do not go to Walt Disney World to sit in your room!

Right out of the starting gate, we strayed from our itinerary and ate at ESPN on the boardwalk. The sweet waitress explained how the meal credits worked, which was very helpful. The food was typical pub food, and it was a great place to grab a beer and decompress from the mad rush of morning travel: leaving the house in the dark; getting to the airport; arriving in Orlando then waiting for the WDW transportation to take us to our hotel--of course our hotel was near the last stop--; waiting in line to check-in; etc. Long day!

ESPN cost one meal credit--20 more to go!

We did get to swim on the first day, well, my family swam while I unpacked. The pool at The Beach Club Resort is really nice; the only negative is that it shares the pool with the resort next door, so it was really crowded, and we had difficulty finding empty chairs. It seemed like folks just marked their territory with a towel, but they never seemed to sit in the chair. Annoying.

We went to Disney Studios and rode The Tower of Terror, which we all loved. I had rode it several years earlier, and it was a great surprise to find out that they made the ride a bit more intense! The park was crowded, and the wait-times were long. We used snack credits for ice-cream at the park.

We ate so much at lunch, and we just wanted to see the parks, so we ended up not eating dinner. The dinner that I had planned for was two meal credits, so already on the first day, we had two meal credits in our bank. Due to the cost; I was planning on using every single meal credit that we payed for.

TIP: Make sure to cancel any reservations that you are not going to use, so that another family, one that didn't plan a year in advance, can have someplace to eat.

This was my hope for day two of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

Magic Kingdom Breakfast reservations in the Magic Kingdom at The Crystal Palace at 10 am. Reservation: One meal credit.

Possible quick lunch ideas in the Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bills or Cosmic Ray’s (located in Tommorowland): One meal credit. Or head back to the hotel to swim and have lunch.

Dinner Reservations at 7:40 at The California Grille in the Contemporary Hotel. Ask for a window seat to view the fireworks.

Reservation: Two meal credits/ collared shirt.

This is what actually happened:

This was a perfect (nearly) day! We had fun at the character breakfast with Winnie The Pooh and his gang! My kids got their autographs, and we ate from the buffet. The food was not anything special, but the Micky Mouse pancakes were cute. The food here is definitely better than the breakfast buffet that we had on our third day at The Cape May Cafe in our hotel.

We enjoyed spending the morning at The Magic Kingdom. You just have to love looking at the castle. We loved the haunted mansion and running from line-to-line.

TIP: Do not go to WDW in June--it is hot and crowded--which makes folks cranky.

We actually followed the planned itinerary, and it worked out great. One of our most memorable meals was at The California Grille in the Contemporary Hotel. We did get a window seat, and we enjoyed watching the castle change colors during our incredible dinner. This place is definitely worth two meal credits. The dessert that came with the kids meal for my 7 year old looked like a masterpiece. It was rice Krispy teats and chocolates designed as sushi. My poor 10 year old had to get an adult dessert, which was by the way, was spectacular!

Our waiter was great, and before the fireworks began, he told us to go out to the roof through the door by the restrooms. What a great tip: we were on a less crowded section of the hotel's roof, and we were able to really enjoy the amazing Disney fireworks.

TIP: Men must wear a collared shirt.

This was my hope for day three of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

Breakfast at our hotel at The Cape May Café at 8:55 (Character breakfast)

Reservation: One meal credit.

Swim Rent a boat Whatever Free Day

Go to Epcot about 4 o’clock.

Epcot Dinner at The Rose and Crown Pub. Ask for an outside terrace table to see the Illuminations’ laser show. Reservations are necessary. One meal credit.

This is what actually happened:

The food and atmosphere was much better at yesterday's character breakfast. I would not really recommend eating at The Cape May Café, unless you are staying at the hotel, like we were. Sometimes convenience is worth bland food and fewer Disney Characters.

The Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot is a fantastic place to view the Illuminations’ laser show! We sat outside and had a great experience. This is a fish and chips kind of place, and it was worth going to due to the location. The food was fine, and the drinks were cold. IMHO: Walt Disney World needs to have an adult-beverage plan!

Epcot is really cool; there is so much to see. TIP: Staying at The Boardwalk Resort is really convenient to Epcot and The Magic Kingdom. Epcot is a short easy walk, and The Magic Kingdom is a fun boat ride away.

This was my hope for day four of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

9 am breakfast at The Captain’s Grill Reservation: One meal credit.

Go straight to Animal Kingdom after breakfast.

1 pm lunch in Animal Kingdom at Yak & Yeti Reservation: One meal credit.

Leave Animal Kingdom by 3 o’clock

Swim/Chill

Evening: Downtown Disney. No reservations, but possible Reglan Road for dinner or Wolfgang Puck or Captain Jacks: One meal credit.

This is what actually happened:

Our morning started out as planned, but as the day progressed we got off schedule. My brother and his new girlfriend came down to Orlando to visit us. It was our first time meeting the girlfriend, so it was a bit awkward during the middle of vacation, but flexibility is key. We met them at Animal Kingdom and ate at Yak & Yeti. Yak & Yeti was not that great, and I was disappointed, because the restaurant had gotten great reviews. We rode some rides, but Mt Everest was closed for several hours, so that was disppointimg,too.

We all went back to our hotel, since my brother's trip was last minute, he was unable to get a hotel located on Disney property.They stayed at a Hilton outside of the park. We all swam, and enjoyed the sand=bottomed pool and the lazy river.

For dinner we ended up at The Flying Fish Cafe , which was not very good.It was probably the second to worse meal that we had during our WDW trip. The place seemed dirty, and the waitstaff seemed bored.

The kids had ice cream at Beaches & Cream at our hotel. They loved it.

This was my hope for day five of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

Maybe just baked goods and coffee for breakfast (pay cash)

Disney Hollywood Studios

Lunch at The Sci Fi at 1 pm Reservation: One meal credit.


Leave DHS around 4 to swim/chill at the hotel

Dinner close to our hotel at 7:45: The Yachtsman Club.

Reservation: Collared shirt /two meal credits.

This is what actually happened:

We met up to say goodbye to my brother and his girlfriend (she recently became my new sister-in-law), and then headed to Disney Hollywood Studios. We were impressed with the stunt show and the park, overall. Walt Disney World is such a cool place. Everywhere you turn these is something fascinating to see; they actually make standing in line interesting. Ride wise, though, this was our least favorite park.

Lunch at The Sci Fi was fun! How cool is it sitting in convertibles eating lunch while old martian movies planned on the screen?

We stayed at the park longer than planned. Dinner at The Yachtsman Club was great! I definitely recommend his place if you like meat. There is an actual in-house butcher, and you can see the ageing steaks. I had lamb, and it was great. The atmosphere is country-club like; although, I have never actually eaten in a country club. The service was great, too.

Men need to wear collared shirts, and this place is definitely worth two meal credits.


This was my hope for day six of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:

No breakfast//early lunch at The Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning

Lunch at The Liberty Tree Tavern 11:15.Reservation: One meal credit.

Perhaps break at hotel before Epcot

Epcot

Dinner in Epcot at Le Celler Steakhouse at 7:40. Reservation: One meal credit.

This is what actually happened:

First of all, The Liberty Tree Tavern is not a tavern; unlike the rest of alt's world, there is no alcohol in The Magic Kingdom. The food was just okay, very unmemorable.

Our worst meal in Walt Disney World took place in Canada at Le Celler Steakhouse. This place now costs two meal credits. TIP: Don't eat here. After the incredible meat that we ate at The Yachtsman Club, this place was a huge disappointment. I had the salmon and it was awful. My spouse had a steak, and it was chewy and full of grissel. Poor quality of food, and the worst service we encountered during our seven night trip. The waitstaff was a abrupt and rude. I give this place zero stars.


This was my hope for day seven of our fabulously expensive Walt Disney World dream vacation:


No breakfast early lunch at DHS

Disney Hollywood Studios

Lunch at DHS at Mamma’s at noon. Reservation: One meal credit.

Epcot

Dinner at Epcot at The Garden Grille at 6:45 Reservation: One meal credit.

This is what actually happened:

Mamma's in The Disney Hollywood Studios is worth bypassing. Not outright horrible like Le Celler Steakhouse, but not worth planning your day around. We canceled our reservation for The Garden Grille, in Epcot because we need to use more food credits. we went to The Grand Floridan and toured the beautiful property. We were lucky enough to get reservations at Narcoossees. This is a fabulous seafood restaurant. Men need to wear a collared shirt. Amazing fish and lobster; incredible food. The bonus was viewing the fireworks from the window. However, by this time we were just tired of food; tired of ordering it; tired of looking at it; tired of eating it; and especially tired of wasting it.

The Walt Disney Word Deluxe Dining Package proved to be too much for us. On our next trip, I will get the less expensive plan and save up meal credits for two incredible meals, while eating lightly the rest of the time. The only dilemma: deciding from the abundant restaurant list which two to save credits for. Due to our overall experience The California Grille in the Contemporary Hotel is definitely one of them!



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