Saturday, February 2, 2008


Before I booked our trip, I did a lot of research on the new Disney Dining Plan. After visiting a lot of different websites and Disney chat forums, I finally decided it was the best value for our money to do it. So, I booked it with our trip. I'm not entirely sure of the total cost, but I THINK it was around $360 or so. It was $38.99 a day for Bob and I and $9.99 a day for Beth, if memory serves me. Considering we did THREE character meals that cost $70+ just for that meal alone, I think we got a pretty decent deal. The "basic" plan includes, per person each day: a Table-service meal each day, which requires reservations basically anywhere you want to each sitting down. You MAY get lucky and be able to walk in somewhere, but honestly - just make reservations. Nothing happens if you miss them or decide not to go. The plan also includes a Counter-Service meal (entree, drink and dessert) and one snack (basically anything valued at $3.50 and below). It was A LOT of food....We rarely used our snack credits and had 4 left (out of 12) the day we left, so I stocked up on snacks for the trip home. The one thing that no longer makes the plan a "great" value is that gratuity is no longer included in the plan, so we has to tip about $15-$20 at each character meal and about $12 at our sit-down lunch one day. Other than that- the EASE of the plan is what makes it nice. I didn't have to carry around an obscene amount of cash. Its like an all-inclusive resort! I liked it and would recommend it. Even if it doesn't SAVE a lot of money, just consider it a pre-paid dining plan. Its so much easier!

That being said, let me review where we did eat. Our first night there, I made reservations at Chef Mickeys, located inside The Contemporary Resort, for dinner with Mickey and the gang. Probably not a place I'll go back to. It was very crowded and noisy! The buffet was...just okay. Not great. The best part was the dessert buffet! Beth loaded up on on gummy bears, chocolate chips and M&M's. Its vacation, after all! I had to-die-for caramel bread pudding! Bob had something chocolate! The characters were great here and each and every one came to our table, signed Beth's autograph book and took pictures. That was nice, but really, unless your kids just HAVE to do this dinner - skip it. I think next time, we'll do the Liberty Tree Tavern Mickey dinner. I heard it was MUCH better food!!! Here are some pictures of our Chef Mickey's dinner.

The second night, we had dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Resort for dinner with Cinderella. I chose this one over the dinner in the castle for several reasons. I had read and heard that at the castle dinner, the characters don't interact with you - especially Cinderella - and the dinner was 2 Table-Service credits, as opposed to the 1 Table-Service credit (per person) we were charged at 1900 Park Fare. The food was buffet style from countries around the world. Again- just okay. Nothing fabulous, but good. The characters were ALL great! You've seen the pictures with Cinderella, but here are a few of the other characters we met.

This is Cinderella's Step-sister Anastasia:

This is the other Step-Sister, Drizella:
Both Step-sisters were HIGHLY entertaining and very funny! They have a fun job!

Lady Tremaine (step-mother) was under the weather that night, so the Fairy Godmother filled in for her:

And I decided to jump in the picture with Prince Charming.......He was very sweet!

I'd HIGLY recommend this dinner just for the Character interaction and the beauty of the Grand Floridian.

The next morning, we headed to Epcot for the Princess Storybook Breakfast. BY FAR the best meal and best character dining experience! Beth got to meet FIVE princesses! (see yesterday's post for pictures!). The food was excellent! We were in the country of "Norway" so I was expecting strange food, but it was a "cold" buffet- cheese, fruit, pastries and then they brought out a platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and potato casserole for our table to share. Beth ate the best at this meal! If you have little girls, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this meal above and beyond any other character meal. Its worth it! We had a sitting time of 10 a.m., so we just called it brunch and didn't eat lunch that day. We also go a good hour of Epcot done while we waited for 10 a.m. to roll around!

Monday, we ate at Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom. This was our last Table-Service sit-down meal. It is Asian cuisine and it was YUMMY! I would consider it the best meal we had. No characters - we were charactered out!

As far as counter-service meals, we ate at Casey's Corner for lunch the first day - hot dogs and fries. It was good. The outside seating area has been taken over by ducks and seagulls, so be prepared to share your space with the fowl. (side note- also position yourself under an umbrella if possible. We had to make a trip into a store for a new shirt for Bob right after lunch...if you get my drift). We also ate at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe on Sunday night. I had BBQ and I'm not sure what Bob had. I THINK Beth had PB&J here. It was good - crowded, but a nice meal. This is the place where you can get a 1/2 rotisserie chicken, but the wait was 30 minutes till they were done, so we passed. But they looked big enough for 2 people to split...easily! At The Disney Studios, we ate at the ABC was good. I had fried fish and Bob had a cheeseburger. Beth had...hum....ham and cheese wrap. No one complained about their food and everyone said it was good! ABC (network) TV posters everwhere! Oh- the last night we at at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney. Also very good! Beth was NOT thrilled were her HOT PB& was beware if you have picky kids. Ask for this to NOT be toasted!

I think that covers our eating habits for the week! As much as we ate, we didn't gain any weight! We did enough walking to walk-away those calories each day! I also took along quick B'fast foods like Poptarts, Cereal Bars and Quaker Oats B'Fast cookies to eat in our room each day - that worked out nicely!!