Unique Dining Outside of the Parks – Part I

Sometimes when planning dining reservations for a Walt Disney World vacation people focus on restaurants in the parks.   Fortunately, there are many, many choices outside of the parks and if you plan correctly going to a dining reservation outside of the parks doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day.  Of if you aren’t planning to visit a park you can still have plenty of fun and even meet some Disney friends!

 Magic Kingdom Resort Area:
Grand Floridian Resort has two very unique character meal options both at the same restaurant, 1900 Park Fare.  For breakfast you can meet Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.  For dinner you can meet up with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drizella.

Also at the Grand Floridian there is Victoria & Albert’s a very upscale restaurant, having an AAA Five Diamond rating since 2000.  There is also the highly coveted Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s which features 13 courses and the chef personally conversing between courses.  This is definitely a bucket list item!

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Photo via Disney.com

Citricos Dining with an Imagineer is a very unique option outside of the park.  Who wouldn’t love to pick the brain of a Disney Imagineer?  This is your chance to ask questions and learn about the behind the scenes of Walt Disney World. 

Within the Wilderness Lodge you will find the Whispering Canyon Café, a buffet with some shenanigans.  If you love great food, a neat atmosphere and sassy and fun cast members you will want to make the trip to Wilderness Lodge for this family style bottomless platters!  Just be careful when you ask for ketchup or straws!

 In the Polynesian Village Resort there is a unique character meal featuring Lilo and Stitch as well at Mickey and Pluto in Hawaiian gear.  Lilo is not featured anywhere else so if you have a person who loves Lilo and Stitch this is THE place to go!

 Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is located at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness and boasts an amazing dinner show with great food, fun, vaudeville comedy, singing and dancing.  And of course Strawberry Shortcake!  There are multiple shows each day in different price categories based on your seat.  You can read Tara’s review here.

Epcot Resort Area:
Another great character meal option is at the Beach Club, Cape May Café!  This is a character meal for breakfast only and features Minnie and friends in their beach attire!  So if you are in Epcot or Hollywood Studios or staying at an Epcot are resort this is a fantastic option that isn’t as well-known as other character meals.  You can read a review right here! 

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Photo via Disney.com

Beaches and Cream in the Beach Club boasts more than just ice cream.  This old-fashioned soda fountain has a full menu of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and soup.  But most people are coming for The Kitchen Sink.  This creation has scoops of 5 different types of ice creams, every topping imaginable plus a whole can of whipped cream.  You will need the whole family to finish this monster!  But beware when you order it you will cause some heads to turn since the whole restaurant will light up as this treat makes its way to your table.

 Todd English’s bluezoo located in the Dolphin Hotel is a sleeper choice.  It is a pricey dinner, so maybe for a special occasion this is a great choice.  It has won numerous awards and does awesome seafood as well as plenty of beef, chicken and pork dishes to keep everyone happy.  They even feature a pretty great kid’s menu if you are bringing the whole family.  The restaurant itself is beautiful and you will want to get dressed up for this dinner.

bluezoo

Photo via Disney.com


Check back soon for more  dining suggestions on the Animal Kingdom Resort area and Disney Springs!

 

Difficult to Get Walt Disney World Reservations

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be tricky and time-consuming. You really have to know the ins and outs of planning a vacation before you even get started. Dining at Disney is a very important aspect of that vacation. Let’s start with the basics. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort you can make dining reservations at 180 days plus 10. What that means is that when you are 180 days from arrival you can make all the reservations from that day through 10 days of your vacation. Say you are arriving on January 1 until Jan 10 you can make all your dining reservations in a single day. The difference in staying offsite is that you would have to make these reservations each day as that 180 days arrives.

Having these bonus 10 days means that you can make all your reservations at once and reach into the tail end of your vacation to get the restaurants and times you want.

But knowing which restaurants are most popular can help you prioritize which reservations to get.

Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest This is Disney newest restaurant which is Quick Service for breakfast and lunch and Table Service for dinner.

Cinderella’s Royal Table- Still so popular with little ones and adults alike, everyone wants to eat in Cinderella Castle!

Epcot
Le Cellier- While not nearly as popular as it once was this restaurant is probably the hardest to get reservation in Epcot but no need to worry there are plenty of choices in this park!

Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Brown Derby- This is Disney nicest restaurant in Hollywood Studios if you are looking for a nice night out this is the place to go!

Hollywood & Vine Play and Dine- Very popular with the Disney Junior crowd this is a character meal for breakfast and lunch featuring: Doc McStuffins, Jake, Handy Manny and Sofia the First.

Animal Kingdom
Tusker House- Another popular character meal featuring Mickey and friends in safari gear.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s- Character meals are so popular and this one with Mickey and friends in chef outfits that so many people are clamoring to get this reservation.

California Grill- A popular one with adults, this one has delicious food and a fantastic view of the Wishes Fireworks!

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
‘Ohana-Breakfast is a fantastic character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto. Lunch and dinner are also a great meal served family style. It is not to be missed.

The Grand Floridian Resort
1900 Park Fare- If you are interested in breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. Then there is the Wonderland Tea Party in the lunch time. For dinner the Happily Ever after Dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the step mother and step sisters and you won’t want to miss their antics!

Of course if you have further questions you can always talk to your travel agent for suggestions and help!

Value Resorts vs Moderate Resorts

If you’re not overly familiar with the Walt Disney World Resort, you may not know the difference between the classification of on-property accommodations.  Knowing which resort is right for you and your family is essential to making the most of your Disney stay.  In this post, we’ll compare Value level resorts with Moderate level resorts.

Location, location, location

Value resorts are usually located farthest from the parks while Moderates tend to be closer.

Advantage: Moderate

Transportation Situation

Value resorts like All Star Music, All Star Sports, and All Star Movies share buses.  This can mean full buses and longer wait times.  Moderates typically have their own fleet of buses, though busier seasons can still mean full buses.  The Port Orleans resorts also have water taxi service to Downtown Disney.

Advantage: Moderate

What’s For Dinner?

Value do not have have table service restaurants on site.  Some of the Moderates do.

Advantage: Moderate

What’s This Going To Cost Me?

Value resorts tend to be less expensive than Moderates, so if budget is an issue a Value might be your best option.  However, I think it’s important to take into account getting the most bang for your buck.  With a Value, you’re farther away and possibly waiting longer for transportation, wasting valuable park time.  If your vacation is longer, then that probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re trying to make the most of a short trip, Moderate is the way to go.

Advantage: Draw, but possibly Moderate for shorter vacations

If you would like more help deciding which resort is right for you, please contact one of the Dole Whipped team!  We’d love to help you plan the perfect magical vacation for your family!