Monday, February 7, 2011

More from Disney World Jan 2011

I'm going to share some more of the things I learned about Disney World. Maybe this info will help someone reading my blog. And of course I'll share more pics from our trip. :)

Emme was ready to go out for another day of FUN! She kept saying "Let's go! Let's go!" If you are wondering what is in her mouth, that is a goldfish cracker. She was having a snack.

Restaurants! If there are certain restaurants that you really want to be sure to eat at I suggest you make reservations as early as possible. I'm talking about months in advance. I think most restaurants can be booked up to 180 days in advance. The character meals seem to book up the fastest and some of the more popular regular restaurants do too. I wanted to eat at Le Cellier in Epcot's Canada but we never could get a reservation. Next time we go I'll try to book that place much sooner.

On Friday we went to the Magic Kingdom. Here is the castle that I was so looking forward to seeing. It's beautiful!

Here we are in line to ride Aladdin's Magic Carpet! Emme loved all the rides we went on. Sometimes she would get upset when they ended and didn't want to get off. lol Emme is blowing Daddy a kiss.

Emme and I enjoying the carpet ride!

Dining Plan - I highly suggest getting the dining plan if you can. You can add it onto your package. Just contact someone like Michelle Davis for help with that. I'll post her info at the end of the post. I think you have to be staying at a Walt Disney Resort Hotel to be able to get the dining plan. I think our dining plan ended up saving us about 35% (or so I read on the Disney website), we had the Deluxe Dining Plan which gave us 3 table service meals (table service is where you sit down and you have a waiter) and 2 snacks per person per day. So between me and Brian we had a total of 6 meals points and 4 snack points per day. You don't have to use them that way, you can carry them over into different days or use as many as you want each day. Everytime you spend some you will see your remaining point balance on the receipt. Some restaurants require 2 points per person instead of 1, like Cinderella's Royal Table. If you have a child under 3 years old they eat free at Disney World. They don't have a dining plan for kids under 3. What happens is you and your spouse (and any other older kids you may have) are each on the dining plan and get a meal. Your little one can either eat off your plate at non buffet restaurants or at non buffet restaurants you can choose to order your child something from the kids menu but you will have to pay for it out of pocket. That is what we did when we were not eating at a buffet. However, at buffet restaurants your children under 3 get to eat whatever they want. You can fix them their own plate from the buffet free of charge. At Cinderella's Royal Table (not a buffet) they brought Emme a plate of noodles in butter sauce and a dessert free of charge. That was the only non buffet place we ate at that gave her a free meal. At O'hana it isn't a traditional buffet but it is sort of family style where they bring everyone the exact same meal and you eat as much as you want just like a buffet. They also gave her a free meal and we got to choose what we wanted her to have from a list of kid friendly things. I think all the regular restaurants had kid menus with prices that were about $8.95, it included a drink, appetizer, entree and dessert for the child. For instance, we would get Emme a fruit cup, apple juice, grilled fish with rice and ice cream. I didn't think the price was bad for the amount of food they brought her and with it being a theme park. With our Deluxe Dining Plan Brian and I each got a drink, appetizer, entree and dessert at every restaurant, lunch and dinner. When it's a buffet you are basically getting the same things but you are just fixing it yourself. The buffets always have salads, fruit, entrees, sides and desserts. Don't skip breakfast, some of our best meals were at breakfast. I'll post some reviews of the restaurants we went to later on. As far as the snacks go, you can get a drink, ice cream, popcorn, fresh fruit, cookies, chips etc. They have these Mickey Mouse rice krispy treats on a stick that are halfway dipped in chocolate, those are great and you can get those with a snack point. Also included in our package we received 2 free refillable mugs. You can buy these mugs if you are staying at a WDW resort and I think they are about $14 each and then you can refill it at any of the resorts (not at the parks) for free. But our package gave Brian and I each a mug for free. That was nice. Our resort had a little snack/grill place that was open 24 hours a day and that is where we refilled our mugs in the mornings and evenings. You can put sodas, coffee, hot chocolate etc in them. We got a lot of use out of ours plus now we both have keepsake mugs! Oh and I want to add that there are different levels/prices of the dining plan. If you don't think you want 3 sit down meals per day then the Deluxe Dining Plan wouldn't be for you. Just ask Michelle about the differnt dining plans.

Emme and I in the Magic Kingdom

The following character pics were from our character lunch at The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.

Eyeore has soft ears! :)

Emme was so happy to see Pooh again!!!

She ran to him and gave him a big hug and didn't want to let go!

A big kiss for Pooh!

Piglet and Emme!

Emme and Tigger! He is her favorite!

The hotel we stayed at was the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. It was super nice, beautiful and huge. We loved the location of it. The fact that it was on the monorail system was awesome! We just went to the 2nd floor of the main building and walked right out to the monorail station and boarded. It was so easy. Much easier than having to take a bus everywhere. If we didn't have a child in a stroller then the bus thing wouldn't be so bad. But to board the bus you have to take the child out of the stroller and fold up the stroller and one of you has to hold the stroller. Major pain in the rear! On the monorail you just roll that stroller (baby in it and all) right on in and it's easy peasy! And you have a much better view of things from the monorail versus the buses. You can take the monorail from The Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Resort. We had a meal at both of those other resorts so it was really convenient for us to get there and back. O'hana is at the Polynesian Resort and Chef Mickey's is at Contemporary Resort. To go anywhere else you have to take a bus. So when we went to the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios we had to take a bus. To do that we just walk out the front doors of our resorts and the buses pull up off to the right to pick you up. They run the buses and monorail constantly all day long. They start before the parks open and end a couple hours after the parks close. Disney World is really huge, way bigger than I expected. You can't walk to the resorts/parks, it would be too far. Well, if you are staying at Contemporary Resort you could walk to Magic Kingdom, they aren't very far apart. I don't know about walking to parks from any of the other resorts. I believe there are some that are within walking distance to Epcot.

Fun fun!!!

Riding the It's a Small World ride!

Sitting in Minnie Mouse's living room.

Waiting to get on the Dumbo ride!

We both loved it!

If you are flying to Disney World you will fly to the Orlando Airport. It is very nice and big. It has lots of shops and restaurants. It even has a Hyatt Regency inside the main terminal. We stayed there the last night of our trip and it was really nice! The Magical Express is a bus that will take you straight to your resort for free. I don't know if everyone staying at Disney can do this, I think so as long as you are staying at a Disney World resort. This is something that Michelle Davis can help you find out. We didn't even have to get our checked bags from the luggage pick up. Disney sent them straight to our hotel room! We got to our hotel around 6pm on our arrival date and we changed clothes (clothes we took in a carry on bag) and went to our reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table in Magic Kingdom. When we got back to our room a couple of hours later our luggage was waiting for us. If you live as far from Disney as I do (about a 14 hour drive from our house in Louisiana and even further from our house in Texas) and can afford to fly, then by all means fly! We were originally planning to drive because we thought flying with a baby (21 months old) would be a pain. Emme was always a good car traveler because she has been traveling since she was born! But here in the last few months she gets tired of being locked into her carseat and starts getting fussy after several hours. We decided flying was definitely the way to go for us. And it really wasn't bad. The flight was short. Getting through security was quick and easy. We had no trouble. And when we got to Disney we weren't exhausted from driving across the country. If you can't fly and you have to drive a long distance to Disney World I think a lot of people wait to leave at night around their kids bedtime and they let the kids sleep in the car and drive all night there. So that might be the thing you want to do. But once you arrive at Disney you will need to get some rest before heading to the parks because there is one thing I can tell you for sure... Disney World will wear you out!!! It's big and there is a ton of walking. So get as much rest as possible when possible!

She was bouncing all over the bed after her long fun day at the Magic Kingdom park!

See my two previous posts for more Disney World tips and to get the contact info for Michelle Davis. She helped me plan this trip and I will definitely get her help again in the future!

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