Sunday, 30 October 2022

Our Disney Dining & Experiences Plans!

Last week I shared our updated Walt Disney World holiday plans. If you're a fellow Disnerd then you'll no doubt be aware that planning a Disney trip is no easy feat - it takes a lot of forethought and effort! 

People often say "But holidays are supposed to be relaxing!"'s the thing though, I LOVE the planning. I'm a Virgo with diagnosed OCD...lists, spreadsheets and endless evenings spent planning a trip are all things that I enjoy the shit out of! I have dedicated Disney notebooks for my planning, and I am never happier than when I'm sitting with it - obsessing over what restaurant to eat at in 5 months time! What can I say?! Planning a Disney trip is almost as much fun as going on the trip....for me, at least!

So for those of you who also enjoy planning a Disney trip, or those who don't know where to begin with it - let me share my efforts so far!

Planning Our Itinerary

If you're the kind of person who likes to wing it on holiday, then a Disney World trip may not suit you....especially right now, as in order to be able to gain access to the Disney theme parks - you need to have a pre-booked park reservation for the park you want to visit on each day.

This applies to all of Disney's 4 parks - Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. You do not need to pre-book entry for their 2 water parks.

As well as visiting Disney World, we also have 14 days of access to Universal's 2 theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands Of Adventure) and their Volcano Bay water park, 7 days of access to Seaworld and Aquatica, and a day each booked at Discovery Cove and Kennedy Space Centre.

We also want to have some time to do some other things in Orlando, such as visit some of the shopping malls, go to offsite restaurants and see some other tourist attractions (more on that later!).

All of this means that we need a plan of action or else we will struggle to fit everything in!

I have written out a list of our days in Orlando, and planned out where we will be on each day as well as the opening hours for each park to enable us to easily plan out our dining choices.

Arrival Day

We are scheduled to land in Orlando at around 5.30 pm but as Orlando International Airport is known for its long and tedious security lines, I don't expect to actually be ready to leave the airport until closer to 8pm.
For that reason, I didn't want to waste one of our Disney days on arrival day - on site stays at Disney are pricey and I want to be sure that I'm getting my moneys worth!

So instead, I have booked us in to a low cost hotel for the night that we arrive and we will then transfer to our Disney hotel bright and early the next morning...enabling us to drop off our luggage and head straight into the parks for our first Disney day!

Our Dining Plans

You also need to book your restaurants in advance as most of the sought-after dining options are difficult to get and tend to be booked up months in advance. If you're staying on site at a Disney hotel, you get access to make dining reservations earlier than off-site guests which makes it a fair bit easier to get the reservations you want but there are still no guarantees.

These are the restaurants that I hope to be able to book once we're able to make our reservations in about a months time.

Story Book Dining @ Artist Point

This Snow White themed character dining experience has been at the top of my list ever since I first found out about it! The restaurant is located at Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, and the theming looks amazing - the food is all woodland/enchanted forest themed and you get to meet Snow White, the Evil Queen and some of the Dwarves... I am so excited for this one!

Be Our Guest

I am really hoping to be able to get a reservation here on the evening of my birthday, as it seems like a good choice for a special occasion.
The restaurant is actually Beast's Castle which is located inside the Magic Kingdom - there are three rooms that you can dine in, including the west wing and the ballroom - all of the rooms look amazing with incredible theming! You can meet the Beast during dinner, and I'm so excited to try the famous "Grey Stuff" all accounts, it's delicious!

Sci Fi Dine In Theatre

This is a 50's themed restaurant inside Hollywood Studios which is themed as a drive in movie - diners are seated inside 50's style cars with tables and there's a movie screen playing classic movie clips. It looks like a lot of fun!

Tusker House

This is a character dining venue located in Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's usually an African themed buffet but since Covid it's been a family style venue - which means that a selection of dishes are brought out on a platter for your family to share, and you can ask for more of anything that you want to. 
Here you can meet
Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy in their safari clothes - so fun!

Space 220

This is one of Disney World's newest restaurants, and the one that my youngest son is the most excited about! It's located in Epcot, and to access the restaurant you need to use the space lift!

This lift transports you from Epcot all the way up to the space station! You can see the ground disappear below you as you look down and if you look up you can see that you're heading into space...very clever! ;)

Once you're inside the restaurant, the windows around the edge give you a great view of space - you can see astronauts and spaceships floating past and everything! The food and drink are all space themed son is very excited for the Moon Rocks mocktail!

Topolinos Terrace

This is one of Disney's newest character dining experiences, located at Riviera Resort. This resort is just one stop away from our hotel on the skyliner so it should be nice and easy for us to get to.

The characters are only here during breakfast so this is when we plan to visit. You get to meet Artist Mickey, Writer Minnie, Dancer Daisy and Sculptor Donald as well as enjoy some delicious breakfast foods...I'm excited for this one!

Chef Mickeys

This is a character dining spot which is open for breakfast, lunch  or dinner. You get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto here and what appeals to me about it is that it's located inside the Contemporary Resort which means that you don't actually need a Disney theme park ticket to go here.

My plan is to book a visit here on our last day in Orlando - it will have been 10 days since our last visit to Disney world and I think it'll be a great way to say goodbye to Orlando on our last night, to see Mickey and the gang one last time.

Teppan Edo

This is a traditional Japanese teppanyaki style restaurant located in the Japan pavillion in Epcot's world showcase. This restaurant is my eldest sons choice as he is currently fascinated with Japanese culture and really wanted to try this place out - it's not too pricey as far as Disney restaurants go and it looks like a fun experience as well as a chance for a break from the usual burgers and pizzas!

Ohana Breakfast

Ohana restaurant is located in Disney's Polynesian resort and their breakfast was a big hit pre-pandemic as it featured characters including Lilo and Stitch. We are really only interested in dining here if Lilo and Stitch return, which the haven't yet so we'll just have to wait and see. The same goes for the Princess breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno too.

TRex Restaurant

This dinosaur themed restaurant is located in Disney Springs and looks like a dinosaur-y version of Rainforest Cafe. There are prehistoric animatronics all around, and the food looks well themed and yummy too. I know the kids will love it here and I'm excited for it too!

Crystal Palace

This is one I didn't intend to visit until my kids mentioned how excited they are to meet Winnie The Pooh and friends! I have to admit that Winnie and the Hundred Acre Wood gang are not my favourite so this character dining spot for Winnie and pals just never appealed to me, but they seem to really want to give it a try!

Cinderella's Royal Table

This is a real hit or miss dining venue for Disney guests, and I have to admit that I'm kind of in two minds about whether or not to visit. It's located inside the Disney Castle itself which makes it feel really special, and I do love the thought of getting to dine inside it but people tend to say that the food isn't the best and the character experience has been pretty lacking recently too - pre-pandemic the restaurant gave you the chance to meet 4 or 5 different Princesses but right now, it's just Cinderella.

If another Princess character dining spot such as Akerhus, Trattoria Al Forno breakfast or Grand Floridian's character brunches return then we may give Cinderella's Royal Table a miss but if it's still the only Princess dining available we'll go for it...maybe for breakfast though?

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

This Disney Springs restaurant is a firm favourite with a lot of the Florida based Disney YouTubers I watch. Everyone seems to say that it's by far the best quality food on Disney property, and I'm really intrigued by the Southern food it sells such as Church Lady Devilled Eggs and Chicken Biscuits - I think it'll make a nice change from the usual theme park fayre for a more fancy dining experience one evening.

We're also considering Garden Grill and Planet Hollywood, but I'm not totally sold on these.

All of the above are table service restaurants, so there are also a fair few quick service restaurants that we really want to try to such as Yak & Yeti, Chicken Guy, Woodys Lunch Box for their totchos, Gastons Tavern for the famous gigantic cinnamon buns, Docking Bay 7 for some Star Wars themed food and of course no visit to any Disney park is complete without a trip to Caseys Corner for hot dogs!

 If you've visited Disney World and have any feedback on our restaurant choices I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

I'll be back with a post next week all about the non-Disney experiences we're planning in for our Orlando trip.
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