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Family of 5 Going to Disney over Christmas Break

Family of 5 Going to Disney over Christmas Break

Dec 13th, 2007, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,337

You said "I am having problems with dining reservations. I called the Disney Dining number and restaurants all restaurants are full...."

Did you contact the person at Artist Point whose name, number and e-mail address I gave you?

(This contact information was given to me when we ate there in October. He said that he might be able to help if we ever had trouble getting reservations in the future.)
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 217
If you get to the restaurant right when it opens, you'll have more luck with the walk-in seats that may be held in reserve. The downside of that is you may have to wait for an hour or more before they release the tables....

A lot of the restaurants serve food in their bars and lounges. With children in tow, that might not be your best option but it might tide you over until they call your name.

Did you try opentable.com yet? Assuming you have a car, it might be worthwhile to drive off property and have a nice dinner at your chosen time. You might find that "getting away" from Disney might be a welcome break.

Glad you got the Cirque show for NYE. Be sure to allow enough time to get to Downtown Disney/Westside before the show. Parking and general travelling around this complex will be challenging on NYE.

If you are intersted, the deluxe hotels offer childcare programs at night that are quite good. It's been awhile since we used them, but my children loved the Neverland Club at the Polynesian Resort. They got dinner, a character visit, entertainment, and had a great time. I'm not sure if they still offer them, but it might be fun for them and for you one night to get out alone and try and for a table for dinner!

You didn't have to be staying at the particular resort to send your kids to the clubs.

Have fun, let us know if you have any other questions. I've been to Disney with my family over 25 times!

mollmatt is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 257
Just a heads up - we went during and just after Thanksgiving weekend (wow, busy) but we booked seats for the Fantasmic show which offered a box of goodies, hot or cold drinks and right in the line fo the show, no waiting to hold a spot and best of all we were able to stay seated for the firework afterward. Also it SNOWS on top of you! So worth it! Always utilize the fastpass and check out the websites beforehand. You must go to early entrance and always try to get to the park at least twenty minutes before opening. During the day it will become ridiculously busy - remember to eat at off-peak times and if you own a park hopper ticket you could go to the lessor busy but fun CA adventure park where you will still meet characters and Santa!
You can also book the 'holiday tour' if you feel like springing for it as we did. We walked around the park with headphones on and got a free candy, free pin, seats reserved for the holiday parade, walked on Small World and walked on Haunted Holiday Mansion.
DO use the 'parent' swap. If one is in line for a ride you can get a free pass to walk straight on - just ask a staff member.
Well I hope this helped a little and have a wonderful time. (Remember to buy cheaper Disney toys/clothes/accessories BEFORE you go!)
mousireid is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 36
Call Fantasmic!!!
We just canceled the reservations we made months ago, due to a schedule conflict. Check the 24th
Dodos_World is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Note that mouseireid's comments above were about the California parks, not Florida.

When you called Disney Dining, were you only asking for ADRs in the parks, or were you asking in the resorts, too?

Possiblities in the resorts:

Kona Cafe in the Poly
Concourse Steakhouse in the Contemporary (both just a monorail ride away from the MK)

Yachtsmans Steak House in the Yacht Club (a short walk from Epcot and a short boat ride from MGM)

Boma and Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There are also places that are reviewed well in the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, which are a short boat ride from both Epcot and MGM.

Based on my experience during Thanksgiving week, if you go to places like Kona Cafe, the Plaza and Chefs de France and others after 2 pm for a late lunch, you'll get in. Plus, a nice lunch will cost you less than the same food at dinner time.
missypie is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We just came back from WDW 2 days ago. We went at this time because it was rated as less busy. You can see the expected crowd levels at http://www.touringplans.com/tp2/UG2_index.php?PageID=14

At the time we went the level was 4-6, out of 10. Between Christmas and New Years, the rating is 10. Which means a lot of people.

The park had a lot of people, and it was scary being with the huge mass of people jamming into the park just as it opened, but the wait times were minimal to 35 min. We did not have to take any 'fast psss' times.

We went to California Grill, and the dinners were excellent. There were less kids there, because it was more expensive, and required 2 "sit-down dinners" if you get the dining plan, which we did. We felt that it was a very good saving. We made reservations about 6 months ago, and even then could not get some restaurants and times that we wanted.

We stayed at the Contemporary, which was convenient.
Jed is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,449
Definately take them to Blizzard Beach Water Park! (Weather permitting, though I think they heat the water.)

For food, I might suggest JIKO at the Animnal Kingdom Lodge. Interesting food and beforehand, you can overlook one of the Animal Savannahs.

In terms of dining, I agree you must make reservations now. The places in EPCOT usually fill up, quickly. We've had better luck at getting a last minute table at the MExican restaurant in the volcano. It recently underwent a refurbishment so may no longer be called the Cafe San Angelo (or something similar.)

In terms of avoiding crowds, if your kids are hearty stay for the PM extra magic hours and stay until the park closes. (which could be as late as 2 or 3 a.m.) My son and I last summer did that one night at the MK and got on at least 10 rides in the last 90 minutes.
Ryan is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
If you can't get in at Disney, you can always go to the better restaurants on Sand Lake Rd. Seasons 52, Morton's, Ruths Chris, Moonfish, plus many more.
Legin is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I'll echo what others have said -- you are going the busiest time of the year. Parks can close on NYE and NY day - be there early. Have a plan, be prepared to deal with crowds. I would also recommend possibly splitting up if the kids want to do different things.

Take a break during the day - go swim. Either come back later or take some time away to relax. It can (and does) get overwhelming. You are better off enjoying what you did and not doing it all then doing it all and driving yourself and your family insane in the process.

I recommend www.tourguidemike.com. Its a paid service ($20) where he lists park touring plans - just use his 'sample park tours' and he gives you a great sense of how to avoid crowds. Also look at his recommendations of which parks to visit on which days - your choice of parks can make a HUGE difference in crowd levels.

Your best bet for meals is to eat early and late. Lunch at 11am or 2pm, dinner at 4:30pm or 9pm. Fill in with snacks (there are now great fruit options in every park selling apples, carrots, pickles, honeydew, etc.). Lunch at 11am sounds early, but if you arrived at the park to watch rope drop and were busy, you will be hungry!!

Off property is the best for calmer, cheaper meals. Where are you staying ? Are you renting a car ?
surfmom is online now  
Dec 15th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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Greenhouse is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
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I can not thank you all enough for all this wonderful information! Orlando Vic thanks for the info on the contact person for Artist way! We did get in!However not on New Years Eve. I think it is going to be near impossible to find any kind of dining on New Years Eve. Who do I contact to get into Fantasmic? What is everyones opinion on renting a car? We are staying at a Disney resort, and I am wondering if its easy getting around on shuttles or monorail?
tuleppy is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 217
I just checked opentable.com for NYE and there is availibilty for a bunch of different restaurants at all different times. You mentioned that you were going to the Cirque show that night.....there is an Irish Restaurant called Ragland Road located in Downtown Disney (where the Cirque show is) that participates in opentable.com reservation system and they have tables available. It's a short walk between the restaurant and the Cirque theater. Ragland Road is a newer place that I haven't yet eaten at. It's received mixed reviews on tripadvisor but beggars can't be choosers, right? The good point is that you'd be right where you needed to be for both the dinner and the show. Like I said earlier, driving around that area on NYE is going to be really tough.

You don't absolutely need to have a car at disney, but it might make your travel times a lot shorter when you are moving between your hotel and the parks and other attractions. You didn't say which hotel you are staying at, but you may find yourself in a huge line to board a bus back to the hotel or standing room only situations when you are trying to get to the parks early in the morning. It's not unheard of to see busses drive right by your stop without stopping because they are too full to add additonal passengers. If you have your own car, you will avoid that. That being said, if you've never been on Disney property before, while there are lots of signs directing you around to the various parks and hotels, it can be confusing because there are so many exits and directions to have to keep an eye out for......also, parking lots might close to vehicles and the only way you'd be able to get into a park would be via Disney transportation, which is for those guests staying on Disney property.

Fantasmic itself doesn't need a reservation. It is a show located at the MGM studios and will probably run twice each night during that time of year. You'll need to be in the theater at least 90 minutes before showtime to get a seat. Really, I'm telling the truth.....

There is a Fantasmic dinner package available through wdw-dine phone # which gets you a reservation at one of the MGM restaurants and then a guaranteed seat for the Fantasmic performance but I'm sure those reservations are long gone. Unless someone puts in a cancellation, you're out of luck for that one.

Something you could try once you get to Disney, is to call each day to see if there have been any cancellations for dinners. Lots of people make multiple reservations and then make up their minds the day of as to which one they are going to use. Again, good luck!

I bet you never thought this was going to be so much work, did you?
mollmatt is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 8
I am the Family Travel Expert for VisitFlorida.com, where I write a weekly blog, share stories and videos, so I have a bit of advice: I just had a great experience dining at our resort's restaurants in Orlando. Most Orlando properties are set up for dining with children. You can also check out my own site at www.FamilyTravelPlanet.com to read my suggestions and links. There are many dinner/shows in Orlando, just outside of the Walt Disney World park as well. We went to see Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando and the kids loved it! (My boys are 9 and 6, so I am sure yours would love it too!) If your kids are anything like mine, they are more interested in riding the rollercoasters than stopping to eat! A big pretzel is often lunch! For dinner, if you want to sit and "fine dine," the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande-Lakes has some wonderful dining options, as does the JW Marriott next door. This time of year, the "don't miss" things are Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, complete with parades and an amazing fireworks spectacular! Here's a tip: The second parade is usually less crowded if you want to avoid the holiday rush! The Orlando Convention and Visitor's Bureau is a great web resource to check out as well as VisitFlorida.com.
FamilyTravelPlanet is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We were fortunate that when we saw Fantasmic, we had reserved seats. (Not the dining plan reserved seats.)

We did see several people that did it the smart way. They got their seats then someone from their party went to the food area nearby and brought dinner back. With young kids, that would seem to be a good way to keep they them occupied.
Ryan is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 895
I really like Raglan Road. You can often get a reservation by calling them directly, even when one isn't available through the Disney Dining number. Phone: 407.938.0300


The official site has the menu but no prices listed. This link will have prices: http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/menus.htm#pi

Yak & Yeti is a new restaurant that recently opened at the Animal Kingdom theme park and it is not accepting any advance reservations at all. They are strictly walk-up until Jan. 4th. You have the same chance as anyone else so you may be able to get in here but show up early. Lunch opens at 10 AM and this is the same area as Expedition Everest, which is very popular so people will wander over that direction after riding the rollercoaster.

For dinner, try to get on the list before the afternoon parade (4PM). Then (depending on your estimated wait) watch the parade from the trail in between the Asia Bridge and "Flights of Wonder". Hopefully you'll be able to dine after the parade without a terrible wait but I don't really know.

Lunch - 10 am - 3:45 pm
Dinner - 4:00pm to varies with park closing

Appetizers start at $6.99
Entrees start at $13.99
Desserts start at $5.99

Adult Menu: http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/menu_yak.htm
ajcolorado is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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This link will help with closures, crowd warnings, etc.

ajcolorado is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Here's some information from the Build A Better Mouse Trip December Newsletter. They're a company that does custom touring plans.

"Disney Dining - are you desparate for a character meal and everything is booked?

The Garden Grove Cafe at the Swan Hotel in the Epcot Resort Area (Saturday & Sunday only) has weekend character meals featuring Goofy & Pluto. They do not accept advance reservations for this meal. They start serviing breakfast at 6:30AM but characters are present only from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. Buffet & ala carte menu options available. It is $18.99 per adult / $11.99 per child. This restaurant is not owned by Disney and does not participate in the Disney dining plan.

I recommend arriving by 7:30AM to begin your meal. The characters will arrive at 8:00AM. This is a great choice for your departure day.

If you're going to Epcot, you can take the boat from the Swan or just walk to the International Gateway near the Boardwalk resort. Go quickly to get there before park opening.

Those going to Disney-MGM Studios should take the boat to the theme park.

You'll need to take buses from the front of the resort to the other theme parks or waterparks if you do not have your own transportation.

Don't forget that Disney offers a free character interaction - the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale over at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This is offered every evening and you do not have to stay at the campground to participate. See: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com...-campfire.html

If you need princesses but cannot get into a princess meal, see our princess page for all the places you'll find the Disney Princesses in the parks. See: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com...incesses.html"

ajcolorado is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Tip for "The Seas with Nemo & Friends" at Epcot. This pavilion has recently been refurbished, which increases its popularity. It is also right next to Epcot's most popular attraction "Soarin'" in the Land Pavilion. The Seas does not have fastpass capability so you need to do this first:

Step 1. Give Dad all the park tickets and have him rush over to "The Land" as soon as the park opens to get "Soarin'" fastpasses. These will be available at the fastpass machines near the stand-by entrance of the ride. He will probably have to pass through the line to get to the fastpass machines.

Step 2. Mom heads immediately over to "The Seas" pavilion with the kids. You can either enter the ride and meet Dad inside - or - just wait at the entrance of the ride and all go together as soon as Dad arrives.

Step 3. Be in line at least 20 minutes early for the first showing of Turtle Talk with crush (check the schedule or ask an attendant). The theatre is fairly small and this line starts building as people head over from "Soarin".

Step 4: finish touring "The Seas Pavilion" and exit. If you have time before your fastpass window, go ride "Journey into Imagination" and see "Honey, I shrunk the Audience" before riding Soarin'.

Go at the end of your fastpass return time, not at the beginning. It is far better to take advantange of the lower crowds on those attractions with no fastpass option.

Step 5: Ride Soarin' using fastpasses. Send Dad across for Test Track fastpasses. Eat at Sunshine Seasons, if the lines aren't horrific or head over to the Mexico pavilion or Norway pavilions in the World Showcase. Those are the only two rides in teh World Showcase and lines will build but people tend to finish Future World first and it gets busy later as the afternoon progresses.

You can come back for Mission Space Fastpasses & ride "Ellen's Energy Adventure & Spaceship Earth (if open) later in the afternoon.
ajcolorado is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Are you back home, tuleppy? How did it go?
missypie is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Yes, I've also been wondering how tuleppy's trip went.
321go is offline  

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