Considering Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

With all the details nailed down for April’s Disney World visit, Megan and I have moved on to planning June’s “Epic Mother / Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip”.  This vacation will be different in a lot of ways…Not the least of which is it’s GIRLS ONLY and we couldn’t be more excited to have some time away together.

We’re planning to thoroughly explore Pandora and take advantage of Animal Kingdom’s nighttime Extra Magic Hours at least once.  We’re also planning an afternoon and evening in Magic Kingdom so we can do all our favorite attractions and see the new Happily Ever After show (replacing Wishes).  For sure we want to grab a few hours in Epcot’s World Showcase and based on all of that, we decided maximum flexibility will be key to our Disney happiness.

Normally we enjoy at least one, if not more, table service meals on every day of a Disney World visit.  We have our favorite places and also a list of to-try restaurants waiting.  When Megan and I talked about where we might like to eat and when we wanted to book ADRs, we realized how much time those meals might cut into the free-style park touring plans we were really looking forward to.  That’s when I remembered the Quick Service Dining Plan.

Considering Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

With two meals and two snacks per night of stay, we’ll be good to go and our food will be mostly pre-paid.  Since we’re driving, we can bring breakfast foods and use our meal credits for lunch and dinner.  Booked through the Disney Vacation Club site, we’d pay $46.24 per person, per day ($279.04 total).

I must confess…I did book one ADR for the last night of our stay, but this would actually work out perfectly.  We’d have one Quick Service credit left over to use for lunch on the day we leave AND we’ll get to try Paddlefish in Disney Springs for the first time.

No doubt about it, we will certainly miss the guys on this trip, but by making plans that are different from our usual Disney vacation style, we think we’ll have a great time!

Have you tried Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan?  What restaurants did you choose?

Disney FOMO is Real – I’ve Been Stricken

Google FOMO and the simple definition displayed says it all.

“noun: FOMO

  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

Therein lies my problem.  FOMO clearly afflicts people of all ages…including middle-aged Disney fans who have been obsessively watching all things World of Avatar on the internet.  My April Disney vacation is too soon.  My November Disney vacation is sooooo far away!  Pandora is finally opening in May and I want to see it!!!

Disney FOMO is Real – I’ve Been Stricken

It’s not like Animal Kingdom’s newest land is suddenly showing up after a few months of preparation.  The first announcement of Pandora’s imminent arrival was made in early 2011.  That’s SIX years ago.  Six years of speculation, starts, stops, controversy, rumor, and (for some) excitement.  Construction began in 2014 and, by bits and pieces, we’ve learned the details of exactly how Pandora will make its place in Animal Kingdom.  At long last, the time has arrived – May 27, 2017 – and I won’t be there.  New rides, restaurants, shops, exquisitely themed and amazingly detailed, and I’d already booked April and November before the opening date announcement was made.  The internet is full of ride details and food pictures – constant reminders of what I won’t be seeing anytime soon.

What’s a girl to do?

I have a plan, of course, and a willing cohort.  Megan and I have been talking about a mother/daughter getaway forever, so I filled her in during our usual Sunday visit.  In short order we had vacation schedules verified, 42 vacation club points booked (Saratoga Springs), and a route planned.  Since we have always flown to Disney World, this driving thing will add a different aspect to our trip, but Meg and I are pretty stoked.  We have virtually unlimited packing space for the first time ever and can bring important things like breakfast foods and wine.  As many pairs of shoes as we want!  Once we arrive at Disney World, we’ll have three whole days to explore Pandora before heading home.  Our first summer road trip, just the two of us, and we couldn’t be more excited.  See you in June, World of Avatar!

Have you suffered from Disney FOMO?  What new Disney World attractions are you looking forward to most?

 

 

DisneyBounding My Way

It’s less than a week until our next Disney World vacation and that means I’m already packed.  I always pack early, which is completely out of character for me as I’m a notorious procrastinator.  Packing makes the trip seem closer.  I’m excited about seeing and doing all the things.  We’ve got dining reservations, FastPasses and I’m ready to get going!

DisneyBounding My WayCinderella Castle

Most of you probably already know what it means to DisneyBound (See here for sample outfits), but in case you’re new to the concept, it’s the idea of dressing in a way that’s been inspired by a Disney character or attraction.  Touring Plans does a great job of explaining DisneyBounding here.  I’ve always thought this sounded like a lot of fun and am in awe of the creativity and, well, artistic way true DisneyBounders achieve their looks.  The accessories alone are incredible!

I want to give DisneyBounding a try, but in my own way.  For this first attempt I decided to draw my inspiration, not from characters or attractions, but from the lands in Magic Kingdom.  My goal is to dress in a way that’s comfortable, age-appropriate, and fun!  Here’s what I’ve packed for my DisneyBounding outfits…

Main Street U.S.A.outfit-inspired-by-main-street-usa

I always feel patriotic and nostalgic on Main Street.  To capture this, I’m going with red, white, and blue.  Navy & white paisley shorts, red mixed media top, and well-loved Reef slip-ons.  I’ve got quite a few Disney pins I can incorporate into this ensemble.

Tomorrowlandoutfit-inspired-by-tomorrowland

I’ve got the perfect shirt!  It reflects the colors of the Carrousel of Progress t-shirt I bought for the attraction’s 50th Anniversary.  I’ll pair this long top with some white denim capris (it IS okay to wear white after Labor Day in Florida, right?) and some comfortable sandals.

Fantasylandoutfit-inspired-by-fantasyland

I love the colors of Fantasyland.  I’m also a fan of it’s a small world.  I know, I’m among the minority, but, like Carrousel of Progress, it’s a small world and I are the same age.  For Fantasyland’s outfit, I’m drawing from the colors and have two outfits to choose from.  The first one pairs floral shorts and a navy polo.  The second option combines a colorful, geo-printed maxi and a light-weight navy top.

Liberty Squareoutfit-inspired-by-liberty-square

This past February, I ran the Princess Half Marathon in a Haunted Mansion-inspired outfit.  Drawing on that same idea, I’m combining a pale blue tunic and black jeans as a nod to the Mansion’s famous wallpaper.  Adding a pendant necklace and black sandals to complete the look.

Frontierlandoutfit-inspired-by-frontierland

This one might be my favorite.  This red gingham shirt and navy pants automatically make me think Frontierland.  Yes, I will be stopping in Grizzly Hall for a visit with the Country Bears.

Adventurelandoutfit-inspired-by-adventureland

While it would have been easy to embrace Adventureland’s bright tropical colors, I decided on a Jungle Cruise-inspired outfit instead.  I’ll fit right in among the foliage along the riverbanks in an olive t-shirt and floral cammo cargo capris.

What do you think?  Too subtle?  If you’ve giving DisneyBounding a try, what characters or attractions did you use for inspiration?

Disney World Dining – Party of Seven

In less than a week it’ll be time to book dining reservations for our fall vacation to Walt Disney World.  Sure, we’re mostly going for Food & Wine and plan to try as many kiosks as we can, but we’ll want some nice, sit-down meals as well.  Our travel party is made up of seven adults:  Our children, Megan, Joseph, and son-in-law, Grant, plus Joseph’s girlfriend, Lyndsey, and his lifelong buddy, Jason.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember Jason from 2010’s Castaway Cay Double Dip vacation, Walt Disney World in 2012, and our Magic in the Med Cruise in 2013.  Since the purpose of this vacation is to celebrate Joseph’s 21st birthday, we feel it’s important for Lyndsey and Jason to come along! We’ll be at Disney World for seven days and nights.

Yoda and Chewie Hats

Jason and Joseph – Star Wars Weekend 2012

Disney World Dining – Party of Seven

Choosing restaurants for this trip is harder than I thought it would be, so I reached out to my Disney friends on Twitter and asked for suggestions.  I want the restaurants to be unique, with crowd-pleasing menus, and also to be a good value (we have Tables in Wonderland, which helps a bit).  The response was tremendous and I got some great ideas, but I’m really no closer to knowing what to do.  That’s where you come in…please add your suggestions in the comments.  Thanks, everyone, for your help!  Here’s what’s been suggested so far…

@kivus was the first to weigh in with “Via Napoli. Ordering XL pizzas is a great value for a party that big.” @joshgonz seconded this idea adding, “2 XL pizzas should work for 7. They even split the pizzas into 2 different kinds so you could try 4 different kinds”  Josh also mentioned ‘Ohana as being great for big groups. – I am totally in favor of Via Napoli for our arrival day dinner and trying to squeeze in an ‘Ohana dinner.  Thanks, John and Josh!

@WITHinMCO suggested choosing “the latest Crystal Palace or Tusker House breakfast so it’s like brunch” – I’d been thinking along these lines already.  We’ve never been to Tusker House and if there’s a Rivers of Light dining package offered as reported by several reliable sites, Tusker House moves to the top of the list.

@HoCoHowie said, “Sanaa all day.” and, while this was another idea that hadn’t occurred to me for this trip, Sanaa is an excellent place for an adults-only dinner in a terrific atmosphere!  Howie also added, “And with the trios you can do a lot of sharing!” – Without a doubt, after Sanaa’s bread service starter, there’s no way I could do justice to an entrée, so sharing would be perfect (and economical)!RM-Sanaa-Bread

From @UrbanOtaku22 – “I would say The Wave and Raglan Road are two adult friendly places.  Raglan road because of the beer.  Wave due to food.”  We love Raglan Road and have enjoyed an evening there many times in the past.  Recently, Raymond and I discovered The Wave’s super menu and great service.  All these ideas may be making our decision harder instead of easier!  We will be staying at Bay Lake Tower, so The Wave is very convenient!Disney's-Wave-Entrance

@CT_Mickey_Man (aka my friend Dean) suggested Wolfgang Puck Express because, “a few can share their pizzas. Good sized salads. good prices.” – Yet another Disney Springs place we’ve never tried!  Sounds like an excellent choice for a big group, but I don’t know if that’s where I’d choose among all the great places in Disney Springs since we’ve not eaten there before.

@SC_singledad (Steve) threw Trails End onto the list of restaurant candidates.  I thought, Hey! We’ve never eaten there, but I understand the food at dinner is the same fare served at the Hoop Dee Do Musical Review.  I have to say, that fried chicken is amazing!  Plus, all you care to eat!  Good idea for a group with big appetites like ours!  Turns out, Steve was actually suggesting breakfast over dinner, and thinks Trails End and Boma are the top two breakfast buffets on property.RM-Welcome-to-Fort-Wilderness

@ree1064 offered up three different ideas – The Plaza in Magic Kingdom (economically good food), ‘Ohana (Polynesian Village Resort), and Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge).  Of these, ‘Ohana is my favorite – nobody goes away hungry, the food is good for the price, and the Poly has Trader Sam’s and the Tambu Lounge – both fantastic places for a pre-dinner cocktail.  I’ll confess, I’ve never been to The Plaza and Artist Point was a two-time disappointment.  ‘Ohana just moved to the top of the list (right after Tusker House).RM-Tambu-Lounge

@sprinklemedis mentioned hearing that Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany pavilion is good for larger parties.  I’m thinking this…Pros:  It’s in Epcot where we plan to spend lots of time, I’ve been trying to get there for a while (unsuccessfully) since I’m half-German, and it’s a buffet, so probably a good value with plenty of options to choose from.  I could use more input on this one if you’re so inclined.Germany Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase

@mechurchlady made several suggestions like Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge), Tusker House (Disney’s Animal Kingdom), Garden Grill (Epcot), Bongos (Disney Springs), Cape May, and Turf Club.  She added Kona Café (Polynesian), Boatwrights (Port Orleans Riverside), Olivia’s (Old Key West) and Portobello.  And also suggested The Plaza (Magic Kingdom), Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, and Coral Reef (all at Epcot) as well as Shula’s (at the Dolphin)  Of these, Cape May stood out – We’ve never been there, but have heard great things.  It’s at the Beach Club (convenient), is a seafood buffet (we’re all seafood lovers) and a good value.  If we can afford the splurge, Shula’s would be excellent.  Raymond and I could not have been happier with our experience there in December.Shula's-Dining-Room-Orlando

@SteveGehret was another vote in favor of The Wave – “The Wave has room for big groups, again pricey.  Hit that up at dinner then take the monorail to Trader Sam’s.” – nothing wrong with that, Steve!  Thanks!

@hkeller thinks, “Food and Wine. Every day.” is the way to go.  I’m with you there, Heather, we do plan on spending plenty of time making the rounds.RM-Epcot-Food&Wine-Passport

@JamboEveryone voted for Sanaa, Kona Café, Restaurant Marrakesh, and Tiffens.  I agree with Safari Mike on Tiffens as a very strong possibility – Opening at the end of April (I believe), Tiffens (new table service in Disney’s Animal Kingdom) sounds wonderful with a menu dedicated to the art of travel.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for either Tusker House or Tiffens offering that Rivers of Light dining package.

@PeasandCarrots3 (Hi, Carmen!) thinks La Hacienda (Mexico Pavilion) and Boma are two great options.  Of the two, Boma is the stronger option for our group since, sadly, Raymond and Joseph are not fans of Mexican food (at all, not even a little bit).  We haven’t taken a family vacation that did not involve at least one meal at Animal Kingdom Lodge in many years.

After all the helpful advice, I’ve got Tusker House, ‘Ohana, Via Napoli, Tiffens and Sanaa as top choices right now with Trails End, Boma, The Wave, Cape May, and someplace at Disney Springs as possibilities.  Have I mentioned how hard this is?  What would you do???

Special thanks to @DutchLombrowski for spreading the word on Twitter that I needed help.