Sunday, January 25, 2009
Destination Disney Part 2
O'hana Character Breakfast
This is the 2nd posting on my Disney Tips. (See Part 1)
So you have figured out the best hotel for your family (and budget). If you've chosen an on-property resort, your next decision will be your ticket type. Many factors will play a part in which ticket you choose... and as with ANYTHING Disney, you'll have several options to choose from. Decide if you intend to go off property to that OTHER theme park in Orlando. If you are, then you may or may not want to get Disney passes for those days. Decide if you will want to go to one of the water parks too. Because my girls have been younger and not the strongest of swimmers, we haven't been to the water parks. The option we ALWAYS choose is the Park Hopper option. This will allow you to have breakfast with Cinderella and a late night at the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios. Also, Animal Kingdom generally closes much earlier than the other parks. You can go there for the day, leave to eat dinner, and then have a wonderful night at another park. A couple of my friends and I have debated another option... When you get above 5 or 6 days the cost to add additional days becomes shocking... shocking as in CHEAP. You can buy up to 10 days and then choose the No Expire option and have your tickets for pennies ready for your next trip! This works especially well if you are psycho about Disney like we are. We know we'll be there at least once every year or so, and we've saved 100's of dollars by doing this.
Mad Hatter Tea Party... look in the back... Yep! that's the Mad Hatter and Alice!
One of our favorite vacation options wasn't available when we first started taking the girls to Disney. The Dining Plan.
I put people into 2 categories when it comes to dining advice. Are you comfortable and perfectly happy eating a quick burger/hot dog/chicken strip etc. and getting on with the business of Disney? Does taking your child to a restaurant normally mean taking them to some place like Chili's or the like? Then the dining plan may not work to your favor.
Abby's favorite place, Coral Reef in EPCOT. She loves the lobster bisque.
However, if you like to sit and relax at a quiet dinner, and your children are used to a longer meal in a restaurant, then go for it. Here's our favorite example of why the Dining Plan works for us. Picture your family of 4 eating in a nice steak restaurant. You order the normal appetizer, salads, steaks (or whatever), and maybe a couple of deserts. You also order a bottle of wine. Then picture your lovely waiter bringing your bill. We've personally had a bill from Jiko that hit upwards of $250 for our family of 4, and that was with Abby eating mac and cheese. Surprisingly enough, we've had this scenario happen several times at O'hana, Le Cellier, and other nicer places too. Now picture you and your family stopping for lunch and getting a hot dog, fries, and drink (We always have to go to Casey's Corner). And you realize you will be paying over $30 for hotdogs. Nice. IN COMES THE DINING PLAN... If you like to have that break from the hustle and bustle at dinner, and prefer a nice sit down restaurant - GET THE DINING PLAN. It covers character meals, wonderful restaurants, and even a snack and another counter-style meal during the day. (some places require 2 points for the meal like Jiko and Cinderellas Royal Table) We like to hit the parks early in the morning after breakfast at the hotel, then work our way through lunch and early afternoon. Then around 3 or 4pm, we'll go back to our room, rest/nap, freshen up for dinner, go to dinner and then go back out to the parks for the nighttime festivities. It keeps our kids (and mom) sane when 9pm hits, and gives us some quiet vacation time together.
Disney ice cream sandwich bars do not rot your teeth...
And to answer your question of "Is it really worth the $$$?", my spreadsheet and number obsessed husband would answer a resounding YES. Trust me folks, it's worth the money.
Tuckered out with Lady...