Our forthcoming trip will be our first time staying onsite and therefore our first time using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). On our last visit we barely scratched the surface of the dining options available at Walt Disney World and so on the next trip I plan to make full use of the DDP to try lots of the restaurants in Walt Disney World.
I have started a list of places that we would like to eat at next time so that when it comes round to 180 days before our trip I can book our dining reservations (these can be made at www.disneyworld.com/dining). The list so far includes;
The new Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom (due to open in time for the Holiday season 2012)
‘Ohana at the Polynesian resort for breakfast with Lilo and Stitch (it is my birthday after all!)
The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom for breakfast
Olivia’s (this comes recommended from a good friend of mine!)
I am also fairly certain that the kids will want to go back to Chef Mickey’s and the Whispering Canyon Cafe as they loved both of these restaurants.
Now I know you might think I’m being a bit ‘over the top’ already thinking about our dining choices for a holiday that is still more than a year away, but dining at Disney is like no other dining experience I have ever had – from the theme of each restaurant to the fun antics for the kids – the restaurants are more than just somewhere to eat, they are a place to make memories.
Let me tell you a little about the places we ate at last time…..
Our first Disney restaurant was Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. We had booked a character breakfast as a surprise for the first morning of our holiday and Tusker House lived up to our expectations and certainly got our kids in the Disney mood. Before entering the restaurant you get to meet Donald and have your photo taken with him, you then head inside to a buffet area with large cloths hanging from the ceiling making it look like an authentic African marketplace. Our server took us through to our table and told us which side would be best to seat the children, in order for them to maximise their interaction with each of the characters as they came round, she told us that there was a bit of time before the first character so we could go up and make full use of the buffet. When we got back to our table she had bought out some ‘Jungle Juice’ (this was delicious!) and coffee for us ‘grown-ups’ too. Shortly after we had sat back down, music started to play and all of the children in the restaurant were invited to come up and take an instrument. They then got to see the main man himself as Mickey appeared and led all the kids round the restaurant in a ‘parade’ where they were all encouraged to make as much noise as they could with their instruments! After the parade we were visited at our table by Mickey, Goofy, Daisy and Minnie all in their safari gear. Each character posed for several photos and took time to sign the children’s autograph books. This was a really lovely way for us to start our holiday.
American food portions are huge and Disney are no exception to this rule so on several occasions we found that our ‘snack’ lunches were enough to keep us going for most of the day. We visited the Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney several times and even their sandwiches were like a small meal! The children loved visiting here for their Pizza sandwich before running off to play in the fountains. Don’t be put off by the sometimes long queues at this eatery, the staff are very efficient at keeping the line moving and you don’t have to wait long at all to be served. You place your order at the till and then move along the line to choose any extras that you want such as salads/desserts etc, you pay at the next till and then wait at the end for your sandwich which is quite often already waiting for you.
Other places we enjoyed for lighter meals were Starring Rolls Cafe in Hollywood Studios – we had some lovely pastries here for breakfast, Pizza Planet also in Hollywood Studios (the kids declared that we had to eat here as they wanted to be part of Toy Story!) Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom for hot dogs and fries – walk through the serving area and you’ll find a seating area and a tv showing cartoons for the kids.
Back to the restaurants…. we had a lovely meal at ‘Ohana where yet again the kids were encouraged to take part in the activities. The food is cooked in a fire pit and quite simply it was delicious! We were so full that we couldn’t manage dessert and could have quite happily taken a nap after all the food we had consumed.
For interaction and fun the kids’ two favourite restaurants were the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge and Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary.
Whispering Canyon is full on fun and craziness all evening! The kids loved all the ‘tricks’ that the servers played on us and enjoyed watching others have tricks played on them – one lady asked her server for a Coke and a few minutes later he bought her out the tiniest jar of Coke you have ever seen with a straw that was approximately two feet long sticking out of the top! The children loved the Hobby Horse race around the restaurant (although no running is allowed!) The food here was fantastic and the milkshakes were to die for – they turn up in jars rather than glasses and they taste so good that you can’t stop at one! My one tip for this restaurant – make sure you ask for Ketchup (you’ll see why when you ask!)
Chef Mickey’s is a character dining experience and we visited here on the last night of our holiday. The character interaction was very good. We got to meet Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Daisy and Minnie all in their chef whites. Donald was very funny and the kids found it hilarious when he wouldn’t turn round for his photo with them until hubby had taken a photo of him facing the wrong way! The food was buffet service and we found it very nice. This was a lovely way to finish off our wonderful holiday.
I must make a special mention for ice cream – you can’t go to Disney and not have an ice cream or two! The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main St in the Magic Kingdom is the place to go when you need to cool down. There is a huge choice of ice creams and they are delicious. We took ours outside and sat looking at Cinderella’s castle people watching while we ate. The other ‘must do’ in our books for ice cream is Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club. This is a small ‘cafe’ that sells THE best dessert I have ever eaten – the Kitchen Sink! This is the biggest bowl of ice cream ever – it has ice cream, cakes, cookies, fruit, syrups and a whole can of cream in it. We did our best but it beat us and we couldn’t finish it but we’re definitely planning on going back and trying again.
Well I’ve only got approximately 300 days until I can book my dining reservations so I’ve still got plenty of time to choose where we are going to eat, but I know that wherever we choose we will make plenty more memories for me to write about!
See ya real soon!