Our trip is rapidly approaching and we are all getting quite excited. I'm really excited about all of our ADRs. (Advanced Dining Reservations) As soon as we found out that this trip was a possibility Caroline, my sister-in-law, and I began to build a master list of places we wanted to eat. We also began booking stuff for several different weeks because our timeshare reservation wasn't locked in, yet...and we wanted to make sure we got our top choices. The beauty of Disney is you can begin booking a 180 days out and then cancel if need be without penalty. They tweaked their ADR policy this fall but it's not a bad change. You now have to have a credit card on hold for certain reservations and if you don't give 24 hours notice they'll charge you $10 a head.) This applies to character dining and hard to secure reservations like Le Cellier at Epcot. (Which happens to be the hardest reservation to secure at Disney and the state of Florida! We managed to snag one!)
So, here's a list of the places we have reservations at for our trip:
~Crystal Palace--This one will just be our family the first morning since we are arriving a day ahead of everyone else. We wanted to get in to the Magic Kingdom before the park opened and do something special since it was Avi-Kate's first trip. AG loved this character meal when we did it on our Christmas trip in 2010. I'm not going to lie I'm looking forward to eating the beignets again...almost as good as Cafe Du Monde.
~Liberty Tree Tavern--Lunch reservation. This will be a return meal for us and Misty and a first trip for all of Andy's family. We did dinner last March and it was wonderful. Dinner is served family style and the lunch menu is a little different. So, we are all looking forward to this reservation.
~Via Napoli--Known for it's three wood burning pizza ovens this will be a first for the whole group. From the reviews we've read it looks fabulous.
~Le Cellier--Hardest reservation to secure at Disney and we managed to snag several for the week! We plan to hand off kids so that this is an adults only meal. Andy said if we are going to put down money for a good steak we plan to enjoy ourselves fully. :) I think we have two or three of these reservations so that we can make sure everyone gets to enjoy it.
~Rose and Crown and Akershus--Tommy and Caroline really wanted to eat at Akershus so while they are enjoying lunch there the rest of us are eating at The Rose and Crown in the UK. Andy and I decided that we wanted to wait to eat at Akershus because it is a Princess meal. If we are going to spend the bucks we want Avi-Kate to fully enjoy the meal. (Same reason why we are waiting to eat at Cinderella's Royal Table inside the castle. Probably in another year or two.) The Rose and Crown will be new to Misty, Gwen, and Nanny. We are all looking forward to it. The last time we ate their it was for the Candlelight Processional Package and we ended up with a TON of food. This time around we won't eat as much since we don't have a package. (Which isn't a bad thing since the portions are huge.)
~Hollywood and Vine--This is a character meal and a buffet. We are doing this for the little ones in the group because we know how much AG and Ronnie will love to see all the Disney Junior characters.
~None. We have just one day allocated for AK and since it closes earlier than the other parks we plan to go to Epcot that evening for our Via Napoli reservation. We don't really want to eat a HUGE meal before that reservation so we opted to not snag a table reservation in Animal Kingdom.
~Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge--This will be our first meal all together once the rest of our group arrives. We'll hop over from our day at Magic Kingdom to meet up with everyone once they arrive in Orlando. Afterwards, we'll head back to our resort to get ready for our first park day all together. First for the whole group.
~Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary-- This is our last character meal of the trip and we opted for breakfast. This reservation falls on our last day and it will be a nice place to kick off our final day at Disney. Everyone can head off to their favorite places I'm sure most people will end up at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT and being next to the monorail is perfect. I ate here as a small child but it has been years so it'll be new to me as well as the whole group.
~O'hanna at The Polynesian-- This is our last meal of the trip and we were able to snag a dinner reservation early in the evening. Perfect, so that people can leave and head back in to the parks or back to the resort to finish packing. We are all really looking forward to this meal since we have heard nothing but rave reviews about how amazing the food is.
That's a lot of table meals, isn't it? Yes. However, we do this on purpose. After the last few trips we've realized that we enjoy our days best when we structure our day like this: something small for breakfast to grab on the way to the parks. (Unless we have a reservation that morning specifically for breakfast.) One table service meal for the day and the other meal is quick service. We don't really need to eat three full meals at Disney because portions are so large. We enjoy having a sit down meal to be able to rest and re-evaluate our game plan for the rest of the day. The other reality is that the kids probably wouldn't handle two full sit down meals a day every day since they are so little. Plus, sit down meals are more expensive so we save some money by not doing sit down meals multiple times a day. It also saves valuable park time that you can use to see more attractions. The other way we save money on our ADRs is by using the Tables in Wonderland card. It's offered to Florida residents and Annual Pass holders. It's like buying a Sam's membership for restaurants at Disney. It gives the cardholder and up to 10 guests 20% off ALL food and drinks. (Including alcohol.) It quickly pays for itself and we got our money out of it last year. We plan to secure another card for this year and put it to good use on this trip. Lastly, here's AG enjoying our breakfast at the Crystal Palace in 2010.
Almost time to go...so much to do in the coming weeks to get ready! One thing is for sure we will be eating very well on this trip! :)
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