A few months back I started telling you about a trip I was planning for later this year. Some other topics for posts (and real life) have come up in between but I wanted to get back on track with some more planning tips, tricks and information for you (to help me get back on track for planning). I want to share some more information on lodging and food in this installment.
On Site Lodging
Last time we talked about deciding some basic information for your trip: dates, lodging, tickets, food and an idea of how you’ll spend your day. For our group, we decided that we all wanted to stay on site. I suggested a hotel on site in each of Disney’s price ranges – Value, Moderate, Deluxe and a Villa – that our family would be happy at (based on our past experience and feedback from friends) to help narrow down the list for the rest of our group. Our value suggestion was Pop Century. We’ve stayed here before and had a really great time. My kids loved all the fun things – life sized Twister, the giant Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, giant Playdough cans and so much more. The rooms were decent sized and worked for us while we were there.
We recently stayed at Port Orleans Riverside (POR) and loved our time there. It was a really nice resort – very quiet but still fun activities. My favorite part of this resort was being able to take a boat to Downtown Disney. I really liked the feel of these rooms. We had two beds made of logs which my boys were amazed by. It reminded me of a cabin back up north.
Having never been lucky enough to stay in a Deluxe resort, we had to rely on our visits to various resorts and what we thought of families would like. We decided on the Polynesian because my mom and step dad have visitedHawaii and I thought this might be something fun for them. The view of the castle and being on the monorail might have also had something to do with it.
The villa we’d decided on was Saratoga Springs partially because of a visit there and because it also had the option of being able to grab a boat to Downtown Disney which we loved so much at POR. There was also an option of us all staying together. We considered the Treehouse Villas, which are part of the Saratoga Springs resort area.
In the end our group wound up picking POR as our “home” for this trip. I’m excited about that because it’s a resort we’re familiar with so we”ll be able to help out my mom, step dad and mother in law who haven’t stayed at the resort before.
On Site Table Service Dining
Now that we knew where we were staying, we talked about the next most important thing to our group: food! One of my most favorite things about Disney is that you can find just about anything you want to eat somewhere on property despite any food allergies standing in your way. My youngest son has a long list of allergies and every chef we’ve come in contact with has been more than accommodating to make him something not only that he wants to eat, but that he can eat.
Since I’m the planner for this trip and we’ve been to Disney several times, I knew there were a few places we couldn’t miss on this trip. Because we’re staying on property for the trip, it made sense for our group to go with the Disney Dining Plan while we were visiting. Be sure to do some research before you visit and make sure the Dining Plan is a good fit for your family. Every time we’ve used it in the past we’ve eaten more than the cost of the plan so for us it’s a deal.
Here’s our “must do” list of table service restaurants for this trip:
- 1900 Park Fare – We happened upon an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) here on a trip when we were just looking to try something new and different. My husband instantly fell in love with this place when he saw the dinner offerings and the character interaction with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Wicked Stepmother and the Stepsisters was great. This is a great way to end some special time at the Magic Kingdom.
- Crystal Palace – We’ve eaten breakfast here several times over our trips and it’s always been good. The characters are a bit slow but my mom loves Tigger so this is a must do this trip for her to be able to see him. When making your ADR, if you’re trying for breakfast, make your ADR either as early as possible to gain entry to the Magic Kingdom before it opens (having a picture of the castle without droves of people in front of it is worth getting up early!) or at the very end of breakfast service so you’re not as rushed. My boy’s favorite thing here is the “triangle cinnamon toast” on the kid’s buffet.
- Tusker House – This is another favorite for us if we can get an ADR before the park opens. The Jungle Juice here is amazing and super tasty!! There’s a wide variety of food so you can try some new things but also have old favorites there as well. If you can’t get an early or late morning ADR, to us it’s not worth giving up valuable park time. The characters are always very prompt here which is a bonus.
- Chef Mickey’s – This is a “must do” if you’ve never eaten here. The food’s typical Disney breakfast food but this is a great way to see some classic characters without waits in long lines during your trip. We try to make ADRs here on a Magic Kingdom or EPCOT day so we can just zip right over to the park when we’re done eating.
Be sure to check back soon because next time we’ll talk about tickets and itineraries.
Let me know what resorts you prefer and where you love to eat while visiting Disney!