I'm going to Disney World in two weeks!...
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2006:
I'm going to Disney World in two weeks!...
with a 20 month and an 8 yr old....ALONE.
I have been hearing friends going to Busch Gardens or Disney a lot lately so today I went to AAA to check on ticket passes, "just because."
Well, the special passes I wanted were not really what I wanted, so I asked about Disney, just out of curiosity. She sent me to the travel agent to check on full package deals.
I am bursting at the seams with excitment, esp because I won't be telling DD until that day when we drive PAST her school and keep driving. I'm just going to tell her we are going to the park.
Here's what we get: two nights in prefered room at Pop Century Hotel, and two days worth of snack, lunch and dinner at the parks OR at one of the Disney hotels, AND a ticket for each day at one park for that day (not a hopper).
So I will be leaving home before 7am, just like a regular school day (DD in uniform as well), I will drop off her spelling and reading test that I give to her on Thursday at home (I've already worked this out w/ the teacher! What a great teacher!), and then tell DD to get back in the car! How funny is that??
We get to the hotel around 10am, drop off lugage and DD change clothes. We take a shuttle bus to Animal Kingdom. We use a snack voucher when we get there. Then for lunch we head to hotel for checkin, lunch and nap for the baby. BAck to Animal kingdom after nap and stay til closing. Bus back to room, get in car to BK Lounge or the likes for a cheap and easy dinner (I used my 1st night dinner voucher to make a character dinner the next day). Play at the hotel until bedtime. Wake the next morning for some breakfast items I brought from home. Head to Magic Kingdom as soon as it opens! Use lunch voucher at the park. Bus back to hotel for nap, and bus back to Magic Kingdom for 4pm dinner w/ Cinderella reservation. Play the rest of the night at park and hopefully baby can make it thru til fireworks and use up our last snack voucher. Back to hotel for sleep and leave the next day.
All of that is included in my package, this includes the tax and tip for my meals. Can you believe it? All for just over $500!
So this is where I need help from avid Disney visitors. I want to make out my day keeping a 20month old in mind but still allowing DD to have fun. She has only been to Disney once when she was 4. I will not have someone to take turns watching the baby, so we won't be able to do the funner rides for DD, unless it is the type I can see her while I stand watching.
I need to know the best mapping route to get as much done as possible before the park gets too crowded. Also, which food places to avoid (I don't like that burger place in tomorrow land for example) Not all restuarants are included for all meals on this package, but it is still offers a large variety.
Has anyone been to the new baby section at the park?
I can't wait!!!!!
Much to say and not much time. If it were me, I'd skip Animal Kingdom...mostly because you don't have hoppers and it closes so early that you're wasting an evening. I'd do both days at MK, actually. I assume the reason you won't be using your table service credit on the first day is because the Cinderella Castle dinner requires TWO table service credits? Have you actually reserved that, btw?
The rides I can think of that you can't do would be Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and of course you won't even WANT Stitch. So that leaves you with a LOT to choose from....in Fantasyland you'll have ALL the rides, even the teacups if you choose, as they don't spin unless you MAKE them spin AND you need extreme arm strength to do so anyway. So you can do Tea Cups, Peter Pan, Pooh, Philharmagic (altho Baby might not like that...might be boring) Small World, the Pooh playground across from the Pooh ride (truly boring and hardly anything in it....), Dumbo, and the caroussel. Haunted Mansion would work if they won't get too scared (Baby would probably not notice) and of course there's Country Bear Jamboree, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates in Frontierland and Adventureland. Oh, and Aladdin's Magic Carpets. And Tiki Birds altho that gets dark and has angry Tiki gods with red eyes....
Let's see in Tomorrowland you can do Astro Oribitor but it does go HIGH and you might have trouble getting in and out with Baby. You can do Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Buzz Lightyear and the Speedway. In ToonTown you'll have to skip the Barnstormer I would think, but can do all the tours of houses and character greets.
I would be there before the gates open at MK and head straight to Dumbo and ride a couple times, then Peter Pan a couple times, then Pooh a couple times, then you can relax and go slower. Toontown opens later than the rest of the park so you might want to finish off Fantasyland before heading there. Toontown also has a playground almost as bad as the Pooh one.
I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, especially about the dining plan that I've used on two trips now.
I'll talk about AK later!
Oh, and since your room won't be ready it might not be much fun to change your daughter in the public hotel bathroom....perhaps you just want to tell her it's a special 'non uniform day' at school on Friday?? Just to avoid that hassle...
You actually get more for your dollar at the burger place at Tomorrowland called Cosmic Rays. On the dining plan you can get a half a chicken and half a rack of ribs platter (which is about $13 when not on the plan). You can get that with just ONE of your counter service credits, and you can all share it. You'll be getting fries or something with it, and a drink and dessert, too, remember. Plenty of food. Then you could use the left over counter service for dinner that night at your hotel or at the parks and split it again. OF course, if you do go to AK that first day you'd have to disregard this and find a good counter service place there or at POP to share a lunch and then share another dinner. If you really don't want Cosmic Rays you might want Pecos Bill in Frontierland. There aren't any stellar counter service restaurants in the MK. Maybe POP has a better choice for you....since you're going back there each day to nap anyway. Main Street bakery might have lunch/counter service options, too. And don't hesitate to use those snack credits at the bakery!! Yum!
I agree that you should skip Animal Kingdom and do Magic Kingdom both days. I don't know if you have been to AK, but it's kind of boring. There is plenty to do at MK for 2 days. Of course at 3:00 you've got to go watch the parade. Baby and other dd will love it.
If you have not reserved your dinner with Cinderella by now, you probably won't be having dinner with Cinderella. That's the first one that fills up, of course.
It sounds like tons of fun! What a great surprise for your daughter!
Okay, here's more advice that you can take or leave...
As I said, I would skip AK since you're not arriving at opening and it closes so early. If you go, there is Camp Minnie Mickey where they can meet four or five characters that they can also meet in Toontown at MK. Chester and Hector's Dinoland has a ride they can both ride, some midway games, and the dig site where they can dig for dino bones. They could ride on the safari ride and tour some animal areas. We, personally, don't care for AK, but if your kids are big into wild animals they might love it. It's a hot park, crowded because of narrow aisles, and my biggest gripe with it is that the pathways/cement is GUTTED with animal tracks and jeep tracks, in keeping with the theme and ambiance. However, this makes it very hard to walk and push a stroller over this uneven terrain. ANYWAY, if you do AK I would eat dinner that night at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian since you won't have a park to go back to that night. You can eat there with Cinderella, the Prince, the Godmother, and the two girl mice, Suzy and Perla. Then you can go back to POP and swim or hang out.
Now....I realize you can only do that if you cancel your castle dinner the next day, which was my next suggestion. Since it takes two table service credits, you have to decide if it's worth it. It only has the fairy godmother as far as I can tell....NO princesses....My suggestion was to cancel it and see Cindy and Co. at Park Fare, and book Crystal Palace at the MK for Saturday. There you will dine with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet and BOTH your children will love it. Also, both Park Fare and Crystal Palace are buffets, so you will find PLENTY of good food to eat. The castle is a fixed menu and very few kids enjoy the selections. Castle is NOT a buffet. Park Fare is my absolute favorite character breakfast. Both Park Fare and Crystal Palace only require one table service credit. Of course ANY of these restaurants could be booked so if you're interested, you need to inquire immediately and keep checking back for cancellations.
Here is a site that lists the restaurants and menus:
On the left you can choose the parks you are going to to find the restaurants you want, and then you can read their menus, too. From there you can make a good decision if you want to eat there or not.
Good luck!! I hope I haven't offended you or hurt your feelings. Your trip sounds very fun the way you have it planned already, but since you're on such a limited time schedule and you want both kids to enjoy it, I made some suggestions. Also, your daughter can meet all the princesses in Toontown.
We already reserved Cinderella Dinner. That is for sure, on Sat at 4pm. Do you sit at round tables w/ other guests or do you have your own table for your party?
And yes, I turned my Fri/Sat dinner vouchers in for the character dinner. That particular Friday night MK closes at 5pm for the Halloween special ticket holders. That is why we were thinking Animal Kingdom. So you think I should still reconsider and to MK both days?
I just got off the phone w/ DH and he was kinda "poo pooing" my package deal saying that it would cost less to buy tickets and just eat when and if we feel like it. As I mentioned, it is only for me and the kids. I did not put him in the package cause it would cost a penalty to cancel him, but not cost to add him on. It will cost $210 to add him for the full package. I was thinking we could just do Sat w/ him (if he can get the time off work) buying only the gate ticket and letting him do his own thing for food. I won't have a dinner voucher for Sat to split with him since we are doing Cinderalla dinner. So he will be buying his own. Just exactly how expensive is the food there?
You eat at your own table at the castle.
Can you get tix to the Halloween party? That is supposed to be super!
If not, would you reconsider to another weekend where the MK didn't close early for the party? I think the party runs all of October so early November might be safer.
If not, since MK closes early anyway, if you think AK is a good choice it probably is!
Food prices can be found on that menu link I posted.
That above post was suppose to say "not an EXTRA cost to add him" (just the regular price if he were already in the package)
Thanks a bunch, Kate. Do you even know how many times you have been to Disney, or have you lost count? LOL!
Hmmm, the buffet sounds pretty nice. Then I could fit DH in better for dinner on Sat if he doesn't do the full trip (or even comes at all).
I have no idea how the character dinners work, so I just thought it being a "special" dinner means it would be better. DS(the baby) would be totally in love w/ the pooh bear characters. DD likes them too, she thinks she's to old for that "girly princess stuff."
I really like your suggestions, Kate. Thanks for posting and being so specific about everything. My daughter adores wild animals and we had a great time at AK when she was 4. I don't think DS will care one way or the other.
So knowing the MK will be closing early on Friday, do think doing AK is a good idea? I'm not totally "I must do AK" by any means. I just don't know much about the place. I do know that when DD was 4, MK closed early and DH spent and extra $100 for all of us to go in for the halloween night. We were so ticked that we were not told about this when we bought our tickets. This time I know and didn't want to waste a day in MK knowing we would be gone by 5pm.
We were posting at the same time on both of my last two posts . I kept getting interupted and my posts sat for several minutes before I sent them.
I really like the sound of the buffets you recommend.
Well, I need to run off again for a bit. I'll keep checking out that site you gave me. Now I feel really good about the price I was given.
Okay, we have to think about this now....hmmm....AK closes at FIVE and MK closes at SEVEN on Fridy night. SO, you WOULD get two extra hours at MK over AK...BUT, if your DD liked AK when she was younger, you must remember it pretty well and I guess you and your DH just have to try and figure out where the kids would want to be. There IS plenty to do at MK over the course of two days, IMO, but your kids might thoroughly enjoy exploring AK, too!! I'm SO much help, aren't I???
I just realized your post says you have to leave at five on Friday for MK....the Disney calendar says seven....I'm not sure whose info is correct.
I know the castle dinner sounds like a big deal and it comes with complimentary photos and such, but I do think you'd get more for your money if you put the credits toward TWO great dinners, instead of one. And you get characters! At the castle you only get the Fairy Godmother. I thought your DD would want princesses which is why I suggested Park Fare, PLUS I LOVE Park Fare. And again, at the castle you're really limited in what you can eat and the desserts aren't nearly as yummy as Park Fare's and Crystal Palace's. Cindy and her Prince are great at Park Fare, and the two mice are great fun, too. And the GF is SUCH a beautiful hotel that it's fun to go to. And since no matter where you go on Friday you have to leave early, you could do a later dinner at Park Fare. And then with the MK open until 10:00 on Saturday you have a better chance for finding an opening at Crystal Palace. You could also do Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary on Friday night if you prefer Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Donald and Chip and Dale. That is also a yummy buffet. If Crystal Palace is closed out for you Saturday night, you might want to buzz over via the monorail to Chef Mickey's if you didn't go Friday, or Park Fare if you didn't go Friday. Liberty Tree Tavern is another Minnie/Chip/Dale/Pluto dinner but it's NOT a buffet. It's a set all you can eat menu of Thanksgiving type food. I'd try any of these for openings but I'd try and figure it out ASAP so you can begin calling and setting this stuff up. I have 800 numbers if you need them.
I LOVE doing this stuff, so feel free to ask questions and change your mind!!
Can we call Kate our resident Disney World expert? I wish I'd mentioned I was going before I went and gotten all of her great advice. LOL
Kate, I can't wait for DH to get home. I am sending DD next door for the evening and we can really discuss this stuff while online. Your ideas are great and so helpful.
Dana, I have not done the Cinderella Dinner, but have heard very mixed reviews. Several people have posted on the Dis boards that the food isn't very good. A few years ago we did the dinner at Crystal Palace. My dks loved it. The food was really good, and there was lots of character interaction with Pooh and the gang. I have also heard great things about Park Fare, the one Kate mentioned.
I will have to say that AK is our family's least favorite park. I personally wouldn't do it since you don't have the option of hopping to another park. We actually love Magic Kingdom and Epcot the best. When we go, we usually spend 4 days at the parks, 2 at Magic Kingdom, 1 at Epcot and 1 at MGM. So, with only 2 days, I would probably do both at Magic Kingdom, especially with the ages of your dks. Since the park closes early on Friday, how about going to Magic Kingdom and then doing a character meal on that night,either Park Fare(you can ride the monorail to Grand Floridian) or Crystal Palace. I will say that Saturday is usually pretty busy at Magic Kingdom, even at this time of year. If you go on just Saturday, you may not be able to do all that you want. Between the rides, parades and shows, you wouldn't get bored. You can do all the rides in Fantasyland, Buzz Lightyear, Tommorrowland Transit Authority, the cars, Toontown is great to met the characters, there is pirates, and haunted mansion...really a lot of rides that you can do with both dks. Unless your dd is interested in walking around the animal trails, there really isn't a lot at AK. There is the safari, a ride like Dumbo, but with dinosaurs, the boneyard(a play area), and a few shows.
Whatever you decide to do, have a great time. I am jealous(though I shouldn't be, we just went to Disneyland this summer) I love Disney.
I think we will take the advice and do both. My only concern about MK on Friday was the early closing. But as you said, maybe we can possibly get a reservation for a dinner that night and still be home for baby's bed time around 8pm. I hadn't really thought about him going to bed, but with the busy day the next day, I wouldn't want to be staying up late on Friday.
We can always goof around riding he monorails and seeing all the hotels if we can't find enough in our room (I doubt that will happen).
Does anyone know which (if) any park does stuff from "That's so Raven?" DD is big time into the Disney channel shows. DS loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
I have not done a Character dinner, but we did the character breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club resort. It was great. Goofy and Minnie came by our table and visited with the kids for a minute or two. Goofy actually came by our table 2 or 3 times, it was really cute.
Just wanted to add my two cents.
The breakfast buffet was pretty good, but nothing extraordinary. It was like any other breakfast buffet except the waffles were shaped like mickey's head LOL.
I don't know about Raven or MM Clubhouse, but if they are there they're in the Studios. I've never heard anything about them, though.
So you're doing both days at MK now? What did you decide about dinners?
To answer your question, I've been to Disney a couple times as a teen, and four times as an adult. In 1999 we took our three year old and I studied up on Disney with THE book 'The Unofficial Guide to WDW' by Bob Sehlinger. Then our next trip was last year, 2005 and I finally caved in and went to the famous DISboards. I spent hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours, week after week after week after week....researching and studying up on Disney. At first it was utterly overwhelming and not much fun. Then it was tedious. Then it was scary when I had to put that knowledge to use and BOOK the trip and dining reservations, then it was easy, and now it's second nature. (thank goodness!) We went again this year, in August, and all I did to prepare was double check that all my info/knowledge was still current. I still visit the DISboards daily, often just lurking, and I'm one of those rabid DISers, I'm afraid!!
Debbie (ImamommyX4), please start planning another trip so I can help you. I'm not planning one of my own at the moment and I go thru withdrawal....
From everyone's suggestion, is sounds that MK twice makes since, so yes I am now looking into that.
DH says he would like to go to just to see the kids faces, esp the baby with all the characters and sights and sounds. DS is going to love looking around! We are just trying to figure out if he can take the time off for the Fri part of the trip. Well, we are actually still trying to see if he can even do either of the days since we don't have a feel for what his work schedule will be (he owns his own business and if he's not there, it doesn't open and there is no income while we are out spending).
Hmm, looking at that dinner site you gave, 1900 Fare doesn't have character during dinner, just breakfast. I'm not sure about my meal plan, but as it is described in my papers it is SNACK LUNCH DINNER. It does not say that I can use dinner for a breakfast. I guess I can figure that out when I call for reservations. Cause it being a buffet, I can see where breakfast snack and lunch would be plenty filling for one day.
Kate, do you know if you have to eat lunch during a lunch time or is lunch avail at all times (like the BBQ you mentioned)?
What are the best websites for mapping out your day? I just signed on at disneyparks.com. and am using that dinner site that Kate mentioned.
1900 Park Fare is definitely a character dinner from 4:30 to 8:30. My guess is you accidentally clicked on their 'Citricos' restaurant which is right underneath the 1900 Park Fare Character Dinner link.
Are you on the Disney Dining Program? I assumed that was what it was. If so, what you get are SNACK CREDITS, COUNTER SERVICE CREDITS, TABLE SERVICE CREDITS. I don't know what the 'SNACK LUNCH DINNER' stuff is.... With what I am talking about, it doesn't matter what you use the credits for....breakfast, lunch, or dinner...you can use them at any time on any day, as long as you use a table service credit at a sit down restaurant and a counter service at a 'fast food' type restaurant, and snacks can be used almost anywhere. Get back to me on whether or not you have the actual Disney Dining Plan and if anywhere on your paperwork it mentions 'SNACK CREDITS, COUNTER SERVICE CREDITS, AND TABLE SERVICE CREDITS.
I didn't mention a BBQ place....not sure who did.
Also, *I* love Park Fare, but my girls like Chef Mickey's better. Park Fare is pretty and I like pretty. It's also quieter and less chaotic than Chef Mickey's. But Chef Mickey's is lots of fun and we always go there, too. So your kids might prefer that restaurant, too. You have to figure out which characters they would like better....Mickey and Friends or Cindy and Friends...
That site is from the writers of THE book I mentioned, 'The Unofficial Guide to WDW' by Bob Sehlinger. You should check your library for it...find the most current edition you can. If you choose to buy it it's only about $12. WELL worth it. Anyway, that site is good for planning out your day.
Kate--I don't plan on going back until our grandson is at least 3 and we can take him. That'll be at least 2 1/2 years. I love the whole Disney thing but it wears me out and empties my pocketbook.
But there are always ladies on Momsview headed that way that can use your advice. I'll keep on it so when we do go back, I'll have it all down pat.
Thanks for the link, Kate. I'm looking at it now. What is EMH (re: crowd population)? I couldn't find a list of abreviation definitions on that site. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out the rest of their jargon.
EMH is extra magic hours. If staying onsite, guests can get into a specific park an hour early, or stay three hours after closing. There is a specific schedule for this. You're going October 27 and 28, correct? Magic Kingdom doesn't have any extra magic hours those two days. Epcot has them the 27th and the Studios have them the 28th. So it doesn't apply to you if I have your dates correct.
Did you figure out if you have the official DISNEY DINING PROGRAM with SNACK CREDITS, COUNTER SERVICE CREDITS, and TABLE SERVICE CREDITS?
It is the same package but I bought thru AAA. All the wording is the same except for "lunch, snack, dinner" But everything else is exactly as it is worded on the disney site. It has got to be the same thing. I'm gonna be going to AAA with some more questions about adding DH. I keep getting different prices on adding him.
Okay, IF it's the same thing, then to answer your earlier question, it doesn't matter if it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner and no, it doesn't matter what time of day you eat your meal. If you choose a sit down breakfast, there goes a 'table service credit'. If you choose a fast food dinner, there goes a 'counter service credit'. You'll be getting two each for you and your DD, so one day you could use the table service credits for both of you for a sit down breakfast, and the next day you could use them for a sit down lunch or dinner. Or both breakfasts both days. Or both dinners both days. Etc. You realize Baby doesn't get any dining credits, right? Kids under three don't qualify, but he can eat off your plate, and if you choose buffets you're especially all set.
Yes, I am aware that baby is not getting anything of his own. That's how we do it anyway, he just eats off ours at this age.
Thanks again for all the help you have given me.