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tuleppy Dec 13th, 2007 06:29 AM

Family of 5 Going to Disney over Christmas Break
We are going to Disney World Dec 27-Jan 1st of this year. I need some suggestions on fine dining. We have a 11, 9 and 6 year old. Are there any must see shows?? Like a dinner and show? Any suggestions on what to do for New Years Eve? Our trip is coming up fast and I need to get some reservations made asap. Please let me know of any Must See's in Disney World. Thanks!

mollmatt Dec 13th, 2007 07:28 AM

You may be too late to get any restaurant reservations at Disneywold for that time period. This is the busiest week of the entire year and the popular restaurants book up months in advance.
The theme parks can actually close due to capacity issues and if you are not staying on Disney property in one of their hotels, you will not be allowed to enter.

If you don't already have a guidebook, get one quick and start making a plan. The best one in my opinion is the "Unofficial Guide"

I think each theme park will have fireworks at midnight on NYE, you can go to the disneyworld website and check on their calendar for operating hours,parades, fireworks etc....

The best suggestion I would have for you visiting at this busy time of year is to get to each theme park at least 30-45 minutes before they open, have a touring plan as laid out in the Unofficial Guidebook and stick with it.

Good Luck!

Dodos_World Dec 13th, 2007 07:29 AM

You may be on the outside looking in! We will be at WDW the same days as you and all of our shows were booked months ago. It was our understanding that we would be hard pressed to get reservations for anything a day or 2 after reservations are opened for booking at this the busiest time of the year.
Hopefully my bad news is incorrect and a more experienced traveler can give you some better news!

padams421 Dec 13th, 2007 07:31 AM

Start calling for reservations now. You might be able to get someone else's cancellation.

Orlando_Vic Dec 13th, 2007 07:54 AM

For FINE dining, consider:

California Grill (Contemporary Hotel)
Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge)
Victoria and Alberts (Grand Floridian Resort and Spa)

I agree with all of the others about the urgent need to pursue reservations NOW!

If you strike out with reservations the conventional way, I have a contact who may be able to work some magic for you. If you would like to go to Artist Point, contact the Restaurant Guest Services Manager (Curtis Corneal) himself directly. Ask him if he can get your family a reservation. His phone number is 407-824-2269 and his pager is 877-313-4763. Alternatively, you may wish to contact him via e-mail <[email protected]>

Good luck!

tuleppy Dec 13th, 2007 08:32 AM

Wow! We booked this vacation in September and are staying at a Disney Resort. The women we talked to said this was a great time of the year to go because it was not as busy. ???? She said there are a lot of conventions going on and it is good time to go because the parks are not as busy.

Thanks to all of you for the head's up! Our kids are so excited and I hope we can fullfill their dreams of seeing everything!

Any more advice is appreciated! Thanks!

Orlando_Vic Dec 13th, 2007 08:45 AM

Dec 27-Jan 1st is the absolute busiest time of the year. Don't underestimate the need for advance planning...and the necessity of getting to the parks early in the A.M., in case they reach maximum capacity and close the gates to new arrivals.

321go Dec 13th, 2007 08:57 AM

tuleppy, I am just shocked that someone would tell you that - it's flat-out wrong. As Orlando Vic says, it's the busiest time of the year. Don't despair, though. Plan, plan, plan. Go to or and read up.

mollmatt Dec 13th, 2007 09:05 AM

One other thought about meals, specifically dinners. You'll most likely be out of luck on Disney property but you could try for reservations.
I've had good luck with them and they handle a few nice places in Orlando.

That reservation agent totally steered you the wrong way. There are very few companies that hold their conventions this time of year.

Trust me when I tell you the only way you'll get anything done at the theme parks is to get there early, early, early and bail out when it gets too crowded. You'll have to use fast passes and really have a plan that you stick to, otherwise, you'll be standing in lines for an hour or more at all the main attractions, especially at Magic Kingdom.

tuleppy Dec 13th, 2007 09:14 AM

Thank you all soooo...much! The websites will help out tremendously! VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!!

janisj Dec 13th, 2007 09:24 AM

&quot;<i>The women we talked to said this was a great time of the year to go because it was not as busy. ???? She said there are a lot of conventions going on and it is good time to go because the parks are not as busy. </i>&quot;

Was that someone you talked to when you booked? Maybe they outsource their CS agents to folks learning English and just use that as a practice script ?? Otherwise I can't even understand anyone telling you that.

nytraveler Dec 13th, 2007 09:24 AM

Orlando in general and Disney in particular is not a home of fine dining. I've been 4 times - 3 on business - and have eaten at most of the &quot;name&quot; restaurants. None qualify as fine dining as you would define it n New York or San Francisco or Los Angles. (And, believe me. we searched, since we were trying to entertain clients. One of the main issues was way too many small children out way too late at night - causing more or less to do and preventing adult conversation and enjoyment of a fine meal.)

There are places that are perfectly adequate (but ask a lot for the quality/sophistication) - but frankly most places have too many kids to allow for real fine dining.

If you're asking about reasonably good food, the places listed above are OK.

Separately, and I know this is none of my business - but IMHO there are very few 6 year olds who it would be appropriate to bring to a fine restaurant. They just don't like (and many simply aren't able) to sit still and quiet for the 2 or 2.5 hours it takes to have dinner. And they're already exhausted from the parks and ready to be in bed before dinner is done at 10 pm.

amcc Dec 13th, 2007 10:20 AM

Were there last week, and we really enjoyed the princess dinner at Norway in Epcot. I've heard lunch isn't as good, but we found the food to be pretty good. And, if you have girls, the princess interaction is great. When you call, be flexible about dining hours and you might get lucky. I've heard good reviews on Narcoosee at the Grand Floridian, and the 1900 Park Fare breakfast at that hotel was excellent. It's worth it to take some time and visit some of the hotels. The Grand Floridian has beautiful decorations, and the Boardwalk is an awesome place to relax, take a leisurely walk. It's got a very nice atmosphere.

The only shows I'm aware of that you could get reservations for are a Fantasmic dinner package in MGM, and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. You can see both of these without booking a package, you will just have to line up earlier. Otherwise, all the shows in the theme parks are first come first served. Outside the parks there is a luau at the Polynesian, a barbecue at Fort Wilderness that are seperate dining reservations.

I found that the people with the absolute widest breadth of knowledge was on Any question I could think of, they had already answered it several times.

The dining reservations numbers is 407-wdw-dine.

wyatt92 Dec 13th, 2007 10:24 AM

If you plan on being at Universal Studios, Emeril's is nice.

Not to be rude but I really don't understand why you'd think a vacation week wouldn't be busy at Disney, despite what anyone tells you.

mouseRD Dec 13th, 2007 10:34 AM

There is also Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom; call WDW for availability. We (my husband &amp; I) really enjoyed Jiko's at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge, the Flying Fish Cafe; it was much more of an adult atmosphere when we were there, not very many children. You may also wish to try to arrange a late lunch reservation if you have trouble making ressies for dinner. Some that the children may enjoy include Coral Reef, which is in Epcot, &amp; has the visual appeal of fish swimming around you. There are 2 Rainforest Cafes, which kids really seem to like, one in Downtown Disney, one by Animal Kingdom. There is also Ohana at the Polynesian resort &amp; 50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney Studios (MGM). I think the websites &amp; other suggestions people have given are great. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

missypie Dec 13th, 2007 10:38 AM

You need to do some serious planning this very minute. You have chosen the busiest week of the year. Get to each park 30 minutes before it opens. Do the &quot;big&quot; rides first and always get a Fast Pass the minute you can get another one.

As for restaurants: LOTS of people made their reservations for this week in JUNE (you can reserve 180 days in advance.)

With all of those dire warnings said, here's a tip: Look for reservations at odd times-like lunch at 2 pm or dinner at 5 pm. On the night before Thanksgiving, we had 5:45 dinner reservations at Libery Tree Tavern. The group ahead of us walked in with no wait with no reservations. 30 minutes later the place was packed. We had 1 pm lunch reservations at Kona Cafe and when we left (around 2 pm) the place was half empty. Same with the Plaza at the Magic Kingdom. Take the latest dinner reservation you can get at Epcot...lots of people time their meals so they can see the fireworks at 9 pm; if you are willing to be in a restaurant then, you might get a table. You'll probably have better luck getting into the resort restaurants rather than the theme park restaurants. Go to and read the menus. Decide which park you will be in on what day and choose your 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5th choices for each day, then call Disney Dining. Good luck!!!!!

tuleppy Dec 13th, 2007 10:42 AM

In response to the

&quot;Not be rude but I really don't understand why you'd think a vacation week wouldn't be busy at Disney, despite what anyone tells you.&quot;

We were originally going to go to Disney World over MEA and the resorts were full. The agent we spoke with through the Disney website recommended to go over Christmas break. She said that it was a great time to go because of all the conventions. My husband and I were surprised and did think this would be a very busy time, but the agent assured us it was the perfect time and that the Resorts fill up fast but it was due to Conventions so the Parks would be slower. I was only trusting the agents professional opinion, since we have never been to Disney World.

I did just get in to the Cirque Du Soleil show on New Years Eve, and am thrilled. However I am having problems with dining reservations. I called the Disney Dining number and restaurants all restaurants are full, however they are leaving a few seats for walk-ins.I am not sure how early we need to be at a restarant with a walk-in reservation??

mollmatt Dec 13th, 2007 10:51 AM

Not to be negative here, but tuleppy and her family will never be able to get a Candlelight Processional, Fantasmic, or Norway Princess Breakfast reservation. These are booked months and months in advance for that week. In order to see the Candlelight Processional, they'll need to get in the stand-by line at least 90 minutes before one of the shows, probably more like 2 hours. With 3 children, I don't see that being too much fun! Same for Fantasmic at MGM.

The idea of eating lunches and dinners at off times is probably a good one but really, it's going to be tough. I wish you well, tuleppy!

janisj Dec 13th, 2007 10:52 AM

&quot;Conventions&quot; over the Christmas/New year holidays?? That sounds even weirder. The holidays are the slowest time of the year for conventions/trade shows.

Maybe a trainee telling you anything she thought would fly . . . . .

canyonjane Dec 13th, 2007 12:14 PM

When we went to Disney World, we were there during Easter Week. Every day we ate dinner when dinner opened at a different country in Epcot. The food was excellent! We were able to make reservations for these dinners ahead of time because we were staying inside the park. Our kids were about the ages that your kids are now. They loved the idea of being in another &quot;country&quot; and we had a solid meal every day, which I personally think is absolutely key to maintaining the stamina required to really enjoy Disney World.


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