Posts Tagged With: Advance dining reservation

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Adding Some Extra “Magic” To Your Magic Bands

Have you been to Disney World recently? If so, you probably have had a chance to try out their new Magic Band system – and if not, let me give you a quick rundown on what you’re missing out on: the Magic Band is essentially a bracelet that contains and electronic chip, which acts as your park ticket, your method of payment at the Parks for souvenirs/food etc, your WDW Resort room key, and it even stores your Fastpass/Dining Reservation information too. Pretty cool for a little bracelet, right? The design of the band itself is pretty basic – so of course people have come up with plenty of ways to personalize their Magic Bands:

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There are plenty of accessories available for sale at the Disney Parks

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….And then there’s the “after-market” Magic Band Accessories – many of which are available through sites like Etsy

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Or if you’re the crafty type, you can always decorate it yourself

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For those who like a little sparkle in their lives, check out this easy Magic Band Glitter DIY

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Personally I like to keep it simple – a little Muppet charm and I’m good to go!

TGIF!

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Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Rides/Attractions, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 Tips For Saving Time At WDW

Magic Bands

Walt Disney World is a busy place – there are hardly ever any non-busy times at the Parks anymore, which means you can expect to wait for everything from bathrooms to rides and everything in between, too. No one wants to stand around in lines all day, so I suggest you use my top WDW time saving tips to help avoid some of that waiting:

Use The Fastpass+ option: Disney allows you to essentially “Reserve” your spot on 3 rides each day – you pick a time online (you can do this up to 60 days before your trip!), and the information is stored on your Magic Band. You then go to the ride at the designated time, scan your magic band, and go through the (MUCH SHORTER) fastpass line and are on your favorite ride in no time! No 3 hour wait times for you (yes, wait times for rides can get that long – and trust me, it’s not pretty) – this can be a MAJOR time saver for sure!

Make An Itinerary: I know some people hate planning out their days and want to just go with the flow while on vacation – and that will work sometimes at Disney, but I find that it’s good to have even just a basic “what Parks you want to go to which days” type of plan – that way you can plan fastpasses and meals around what park you will be at, and you can avoid having to spend time traveling to another park to try and get there in time for your dining reservation….been there, done that – and that’s why I make an itinerary now!

Hook Up Your Credit Card To Your Magic Band: Magic Bands are amazing – the tiny chip in this bracelet holds the key to your room, your dining reservations, your park tickets, your fastpasses, and your payment information if you want – and trust me, you DO want! Pay for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, meals with just a wave of your wrist! Plus that way you don’t even really need to carry around your credit cards with you when you head to the Parks – win, win!

Make ADR’s: ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation – which means you can book what table service meals you want to eat at before your trip (180 days before, to be exact!), and when you arrive at the restaurant at the reservation time, you’re put on the list for the next available table for your party. Disney is so crowded these days that walking up to a sit down restaurant and expecting to get a table is near impossible – so I HIGHLY recommend you make some ADR’s before your trip, or else you might end up waiting a LONG time to eat, or waste time trying to find another less busy place to eat

Eat at “Off” Times: Avoid the noon hour and the 5-6pm hours for lunch and dinner – as pretty much ALL Disney dining spots are SUPER crowded at this time, and you’ll end up waiting in long lines for food, and might have to fight someone for an available table too – not worth it, in my opinion. Have a late breakfast, so that you can wait to eat lunch until after 1pm, you’ll save time this way for sure!

Basically – I recommend you plan ahead – and use the ALL the technology Disney has to offer – Magic bands, fastpasses, ADR’s, their mobile app, pre-trip booking via computer – use them, and you will for sure save time and frustration on your next Disney Trip

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only have ONE Day To Spend In Disney? Then Follow This Plan…

Cp Tigger

I personally can’t imagine a Florida vacation without Disney World – but I also know that there is a TON of great stuff to see and do outside of Disney – beaches, theme parks, shopping, restaurants – so much so that you can even spend a whole vacation in Florida without going to Disney (not something I personally would suggest of course, but hey, to each their own!). If you’re heading to Florida for vacation, I highly recommend you try and work in a day at Walt Disney World – it’s a fun experience, and while it can’t ALL be seen in one day, you can definitely see a lot and have a ton of fun doing it!

If you’re looking at spending just one day at WDW, then here are some tips and tricks to help you plan and prepare:

-Spring for the Park Hopper option – This is an additional cost on top of Theme Park admission, but it’s worth every penny – it allows you to visit multiple Parks in one day, and while I wouldn’t recommend attempting all 4 Parks in 1 day, I think that 2 or possibly even 3 is doable, and the Park Hopper option allows you to “hop” between the Parks with ease!

-Get there early, and plan to stay late – If you’ve only got one day to see WDW, you better make the best of it – arrive when the Park opens, and stay until it closes. I realize this isn’t always feasible depending on how far away you’re traveling from, or if you have young kids with you – but you want to get the most bang for your buck – plan to stay for the WHOLE day (or as much of it as you can manage!)

-Pack Wisely – Make sure you come with everything you need to get you through a long day of walking and being outside – Hoodies, sunscreen, snacks (granola bars, fruit, trail mix etc), water bottles, ponchos, and make sure everyone wears comfortable (aka broken in) sneakers and socks – your feet will thank you later! Of course, most of these items are also available to purchase at the various Disney souvenir shops – but it will cost you – and best to save your money for something you actually want, am I right?

-Do Your Homework – A little planning goes a long way – check out official Park Info and figure out which rides and attractions you might want to get fastpasses for, and if you’re going to eat at table service restaurants, you’ll want to make Advance Dining Reservations for those for sure

As part of your planning, you will want to have an itinerary in place so that you can make the most of your day. Here’s my suggested plan for a Day at Disney World:

-Arrive at the Magic Kingdom when the Park opens for the day, and spend the morning there. If you’re there right when it opens, you can hit some of the more popular attractions and rides without a long wait, and once the Park starts to fill up, you can head over to rides with quicker moving lines, like the Haunted
Mansion
, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Carousel of Progress

-Bring breakfast with you or eat before you arrive, and then fuel up with lunch at the Crystal Palace – a character meal serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style – and the best part is – your favorite 100 Acre Wood characters are there too! Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet all make their rounds for hugs, autographs, and pictures while you enjoy the fresh delicious buffet offerings – carved meats, an assortment of cold salads and hot sides, and some great desserts too! This not only gives you a chance to meet 4 characters in one place, but you can enjoy some delicious food and relax a bit before getting back out there!

-Once the afternoon hits, I recommend switching gears and heading to another Park – head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where you can experience all the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood! Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and take it all in – the décor, the music, the sites, the entertainment – it’s a movie lovers dream! Here is where your planning will come in handy – you will want to plan to use your Fastpasses here – for popular rides like Aerosmith’s Rock’n Roller Coaster, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Toy Story Midway Mania. You’ll definitely want to check out the Art of Disney Animation too – and the Muppets 3D show and the Great Movie Ride. There’s a lot to see here! Take your time and stroll through the “Streets”, and if you get a chance, grab a delicious treat (giant butterfinger cupcake perhaps?) at Starring Roles Cafe

-With all the walking you’ve been doing all day, you need a nice relaxing dinner, don’t you think? Head over to Downtown Disney for dinner and plenty of retail therapy! Downtown Disney is a shopping and entertainment mecca – with plenty of great stores, restaurants, clubs, bars, and they even have a movie theater and a bowling alley! Make plans to dine at my favorite spot – Raglan Road Irish Pub – where they have a huge bar with tons of beer options, plus a delicious menu featuring Irish classics (fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie to name a few), and live nightly entertainment – a band playing Irish tunes, plus Irish dancers too! Once you are full and ready for a stroll, do some shopping at some of Downtown Disney’s specialty shops, or grab a drink at the House of Blues

-Once you’re all shopped out, you can easily hop a bus back to the Magic Kingdom – where you can head on home, OR stay and enjoy the nightly fireworks (hey, if you’re only there for one day, might as well end that day with a BANG, right?)

Disney World is a place that’s best enjoyed over several days (several days, several times a year if I could afford it!), but it is possible to plan one day at Disney and have a great time – hope these tips help convince you to do a day at Disney on your next Florida vacation!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Dreaming of Disney Dining

Castle

My Christmas Disney vacation may still be 6 months away, but luckily, I am almost to the 180 day mark – which means I can make my ADR’s! For those of you who don’t know what that means, in a nutshell – Disney allows you to make dining reservations (similar to a call ahead service) 180 days before your trip for all sit down restaurants. So, I have been busy figuring out where we should eat and when and making my itinerary based on our restaurant choices (does that seem nuts? Maybe it is a little…but oh well!)

So Monday, June 25 is the day – I will be up early and ready to log onto the Disney Dining website, armed with my list….mmm the possibilities are sounding more and more delicious by the minute!

Here are our top picks – with pics!

Crystal Palace

Nothing says “Welcome to The Magic Kingdom” like a delicious breakfast complete with Winnie The Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace

Ohana

Ohana will be a new restaurant for us – but we hear the dinner is delicious – grilled meats, amazing bread and more – plus some super mouth-watering bread pudding to complete the meal!

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Boma is now a “must do” for our family – it offers unique African cuisine in a buffet setting for dinner, and the restaurant is located in the beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge – a great place to do some giraffe-watching!

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A traditional turkey dinner is in order for Christmas Eve – so we decided that the Liberty Tree Tavern would be perfect – they serve turkey and all the trimmings up family style, and the setting allows you to soak up some American History too (check out the artifacts on the walls and the décor!)

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Christmas Morning breakfast with the Mad Hatter himself? Yes please! Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort you will find 1900 Park Fare – a character buffet serving up all the breakfast classics

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Another restaurant on our “Must Do” list is Raglan Road Irish Pub – where the beer list is long, and the Irish dancing is the perfect entertainment to accompany the amazing Irish dishes on the menu

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I can’t WAIT to get my mouth on some wood oven pizza at Via Napoli in the Italy Pavillion at Epcot’s World Showcase. Pair it with some Italian vino and you are good to go!

Getting to make the ADR’s 180 days in advance is just another way for me to get to feel more connected to my WDW experience, and it makes me even more excited to head off to the Place Where Dreams Come True! Now if only the next 180 days would fly by….

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Close To The 180 Day Mark – Time To Plan out Those ADR’s!

 

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Our Walt Disney World Family Christmas Adventure may still be over 7 months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning – especially since our ADR day is only a month away!

First you may wonder – what the heck is an ADR day? It’s that magical day that occurs 180 days before your WDW arrival, where you can either go online and call the fine folks at Disney Dining and make your trip dining selections!

You also might not be entirely sure what an ADR is – it stands for Advance Dining Reservation, and how it works is you select a time to eat at your fave Disney restaurants, and when you arrive at that time, your name will be first called once a table becomes available for your party

Ok, so now that we are all clear on what makes this 180 day mark so special, we can get down to business! For us, a party of 4 adults, we want to make sure we are picking a variety of places – family friendly character meals as well as places that offer new and exciting cuisine, and also places that might be a little more “adult” friendly (aka – have a good wine selection!). Also, since we will be there on Christmas, we want to at least try and have some kind of familiar “holiday” meal, similar to what we would have at home.

So we sat down, talked it out, and utilized some menus to decide what we really wanted to experience when it came to our WDW dining experience

Our Final Choices?

-Via Napoli for Lunch – wood fired pizzas, wine and other Italian treats over in Epcot’s World Showcase

-Raglan Road for Dinner – This has turned into a “must do” – the atmosphere, entertainment, beer selection, and amazing Irish eats have been amazing every time, without fail

-1900 Park Fare for Breakfast – This is a “new” one for us (“new” meaning we haven’t been in about 20 years so none of us remember it!) – we are excited to spend time with the Alice In Wonderland characters and sample some delicious breakfast buffet items over at WDW’s beautiful Grand Floridian Resort

-Liberty Tree Tavern for Christmas Eve Dinner – Turkey and all the fixin’s are a perfect choice for a family holiday meal – and the rustic old American theming of the restaurant located in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square is a great place to feel happy and at home!

-Boma for Dinner – This has also become a “must do” for our family – at first I must admit I was hesitant to bring my family here, unsure of how they would react to the authentic African cuisine – but they LOVED it – and we will definitely be back for more unique salads, hummus, and bobotie (my personal fave – an egg based beef and lamb dish that is to die for!)

-Crystal Palace for Breakfast – This has been a “must do” for over 20 years for my family – the delicious food and amazing characters make it the perfect way to start a day at the Magic Kingdom. Pose with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet as you sample Poohs Breakfast Lasagna, Mickey Waffles, and much much more (bottom line – you won’t leave hungry!)

-Ohana for Dinner – Another “new” addition to our dining agenda, I have been wanting to try this one for a while (pretty much since I heard that they serve warm banana bread pudding for dessert!). This all you care to eat family style restaurant at WDW’s Polynesian Resort serves up Asian inspired meats, veggies, and rice in a relaxed, tropical setting

Now all I need to do is wait a month to make the ADR’s….then just another 6 months until I am back at my favorite place!

What do you think – Do you have any places you have to eat at/want to eat at/want to try while vacationing at WDW?

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disney Dining Selections – Where To Begin?

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One of the best – and most challenging things about planning a Walt Disney World vacation is deciding where you want to eat while you’re there. Disney allows you to make ADR’s (advance dining reservations) 180 days prior to your vacation, which is great, but daunting at the same time

As an all adult party, we want to try and get a good mix of places, some that are more “adult friendly” (ie – ones that have good wine and beer lists and fine dining options!) as well as a few that feature characters (because deep down aren’t we all just big kids?). Also, we knew there were some places we had to revisit, but wanted to make sure we were trying new things too

So where do we begin? Well, for us, we know there are a few “must do’s”, which include:
Chef Mickey’s – A chracter meal where you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and
Donald while enjoying a range of buffet options. Often overlooked by ‘food snobs’ as being sub-par in the buffet department, but
I have always loved it – especially the soft serve ice cream sundae bar!

Crystal Palace – Another character meal – this time Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and
Piglet roam the dining room for hugs and pictures while you enjoy a delicious buffet that serves up 3 meals a day. The food is
a lot better than at Chef Mickey’s, and the location of this restaurant is great – its right on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom

Raglan Road Irish Pub – We’ve been to this Downtown Disney twice now, and can’t get enough of its huge bar
menu (with a big beer selection), amazing Irish dishes, and live entertainment. A must do, for sure

And of course we will want to try some new things, including Be Our Guest in the New Fantasyland, and some Italian at Via Napoli over in Epcot would be a great new experience for us too!

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We will be using the Disney Dining Plan, which entitles each of us to 1 Table Service (sit down), 1 Counter service (fast food type) and 1 snack per person, per day, so this means that we will be planning 1 meal per day in advance. One thing that kind of throws a wrench in things is that we will be there at Christmas time, which means the Parks will be crowded, and that everyone will want to have a “special” meal booked for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of course the Parks do some special meals to help people celebrate, which means that it will be even tougher to get a restaurant reservation for those days.

I guess at the end of the day, I will plan it out as best I can, and if we end up eating Butterfinger cupcakes and Turkey Legs for our family Christmas Dinner, who cares? At least I will still be with the people I love most at the place I love most!

So the best advice I can give to someone who is trying to plan their Disney meals is to use the Walt Disney World website to do some research and try something new – you’re on vacation after all, so step our of your comfort zone and try some African food, or Chinese or Japanese to mix it up!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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