Definitely sounds more interesting than mice!
I’m going to Disneyworld in a couple of weeks with my wife. We were there in '09. We don’t have kids. What the fuck is going on. She doesn’t even like rollercoasters. Someone please help me because I think I married a ten year old.
Here is my advice.
Skip the giant turkey legs, they taste like hot dog.
Do not eat at the fancy restaurants at the Disney resorts, the quality is shit in relation to the price.
The all you can eat buffet at the African place, the Starlight Cafeteria in MK and the SciFi Diner at The Studios are the exception. Those places are legitimately good.
There are a ton of restaurants at the resorts, and this statement is way too general to cover them all. Have you tried the Polynesian? How about Narcoossee’s? How about the California Grill atop the Contemporary, right at Fireworks time?
Besides, if you sign up for the Dining plan, I’m telling you: Price cut in half. You end up spending 12.50 a plate, on average, for even the swankiest places.
To agree with you on one thing: The Tusker House in Animal Kingdom (the buffet) is fan-freaking-tastic.
Can I be adopted? I’m sure you can find a family relation via our shared genealogy.
I’ll disagree with this. Our favorite restaurant in Disney is Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We went there in 2002 and loved it, made sure we went there again in 2004, and went out of our way to go there last Fall. We rode 40 minutes worth of monorails and buses to get there, and it was more than worth the ride.
The Tusker House buffet in Animal Kingdom was fantastic, and many of the restaurants at Epcot are great (Le Cellier and Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki being my favorites).
Yeah, there are some FANTASTIC fancy restaurants on property and if you are on the dining plan, most of them are a steal.
The Yachtsman Steakhouse is amazing and displaced Le Cellier as my favorite place on property to get a filet. And they take the dining plan, so bonus.
If you want super fancy (and expensive) you can’t beat Victoria and Alberts. I have never eaten a bad meal there, everything is absolutely delicious and the wine pairings are perfect. It is, hands down, the best place I have ever eaten ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. The real world, not just Disney World.
I find Narcoosses to be hit or miss, so I’d rather go to the California Grill for the view and the awesome food.
I liked Jiko, but it was full of screaming children when I was there trying to have a nice dinner, which is another plus for Victoria and Alberts: no kids under 10. So save up and go there!
There are some places I’d advise people to avoid: Les Chefs de France is awful when it comes to food and service. I’ve never tried the Bistro De Paris, that might be better bu I don’t know that I’d risk it. Cinderella’s Royal Table because the food isn’t that great, I’d only recommend it for the atmosphere. It’s a must if you have kids but I’d say go once for lunch and then don’t bother again.
Thank you for talking about the other resort restaurants, we will definately check those out the next time we go.
We went to the fancy French restaurant and I thought it was good but no spectacular. We were happy that they accepted the dining plan.
We ate at the Royal Table last fall for the first time and I was pretty impressed. We took my 6 and 3 year old daughters there for lunch and the food and service were great. The meal was actually better than I was expecting and the girls loved hanging out with the princesses.
If you go to the California Grill you can either schedule your meal so you’re there to see the fireworks (they pipe in the music) or just save your receipt if you eat earlier and you can go back and watch them from their balcony. It’s really cool!
Victoria and Alberts costs a small fortune, but if you can swing it (even if that means saving up for a year), definitely do it. Bahimiron proposed to me there and it was amazing.
I enjoyed the Royal Table for a character breakfast experience inside the castle, but the two other times we went were for lunch and dinner. Our lunch was at the end of our trip and we were so, so stuffed from the dining plan (I think it was the first time we ever got it, back when it was AWESOME and gave you SO MUCH FOOD and didn’t have levels) that we barely wanted to eat anything we got there. The second time was for dinner and we were seated by a window which was cool because we got to watch the fireworks, but then was uncool because a huge cockroach crawled up beside me. When the waiter came over we calmly pointed it out and asked if he could get rid of it. Instead, he went to get a manager. Then the manager came over, saw the bug, ran into the back and got the chef (?) who took a napkin and removed it. Then they both spent 10 minutes trying to convince me that wasn’t a cockroach, it was a palmetto bug, which was totally not a cockroach!
And you know, I really wasn’t that put out by the bug (it’s Florida, they’re everywhere) until they treated me like I was a moron. I wasn’t even making a big deal about it, I just wanted it gone. Besides initially asking if someone could get rid of it, we just sat there and pretended it wasn’t there. So those experiences are why I don’t care for it. It definite is a must-do if you have kids. I remember dining in there when I was a kid and it was King Stephan’s Banquet Hall and it was just amazing to me to be able to eat in the castle with the Princesses!
I was surprised at how much we liked our meal at the California Grill. Though to be fair, the fact that we had a window seat when the fireworks went off kind of made it a bit of a cheat.
Flowers is definitely right about the Tomorrowland burger place and the SciFi Drive In at DHS. SciFi Drive In may very well have the best shake on property. And though I’m sure they all use the same frozen burger patties, something about Cosmic Ray’s is just better than Pecos Bill’s or a lot of the other counter service places around the World. Though I will add that there’s a seasonally open place at Typhoon Lagoon, right out of the lazy river, possibly Leaning Palms, that has a pulled pork sandwich as a special which is a hell of a lot better than it has any right to be.
Oh, and Flame Tree BBQ at DAK is probably the best BBQ on property. Not that that’s saying a whole lot, as there isn’t a lot of BBQ to be found outside of the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review (and yes, I do go see it every time we go!) but they use a pretty tasty dry rub and don’t sauce the shit out of their ribs, instead trusting that the rub and the smoke will do their job.
Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge is good for breakfast, especially with kids. Never tried it for lunch or dinner, but I imagine it’s the same BBQ and chicken you get over at the Hoop Dee Doo, in which case it is okay, but not fantastic. I didn’t care for Artist Point, also at the Wilderness Lodge, but I was also so drunk at the time I don’t remember a whole lot about it.
The Coral Reef is hells of overrated. I’ve been twice and neither time were we really able to see much in the tanks and the food itself wasn’t that great.
Places I really want to try next time we go: Saana at the Animal Kingdom Lodge vacation club villas, La Hacienda in Mexico at Epcot and the Tusker House. Didn’t make it over to the Tusker House last time, but we did hit the Yak and Yeti, which had great appetizers but I swear to god the lo mein I had was just spaghetti.
My son and I have been doing an annual WDW trip for the past few years, and we’ve never done the water parks. Are they Disney-awesome? Or should we stick to the main parks and just hit the area water parks when we get back?
The water parks are definitely Disney-awesome. I really was resistant to going and mmalloy had to pretty much force me that first time, now we go every time we go back and sometimes go more than once. People seem to prefer Blizzard Beach, since it has more waterslides, but I prefer Typhoon Lagoon with its gigantic (biggest in NA!) wave pool. Both parks have the same attention to detail as any of the other parks. Blizzard Beach has the more charming backstory (a blizzard hit Walt Disney World so they decided to open up a ski resort, when the heat came back they turned it into a waterpark) but I really do love Typhoon Lagoon’s setting. Also, you can swim with sharks.
These days we always add Water Parks & More to our tickets, though like Park Hopping that’s one that requires a serious consideration of how you think you’ll be spending your time. WP&M gets you into DisneyQuest, but these days DQ’s really only worth one visit to play the Pirates game, do CyberSpace Mountain and then play tons of classic arcade games quarter-free until you decide that maybe some ideas in classic video games were abandoned for a reason. DQ used to have really, really good wraps when their food was hosted by Cheesecake Factory, but now it’s not hosted by anyone and it’s kind of blah. Though they have ungodly huge cupcakes. Also, during a big thunderstorm one day mmalloy and I basically spent four hours playing through some Sega shooter game where you used a magic staff to shoot mummies. So that was fun.
(She’s such a goddam button masher in fighters, though.)
Yeah, I love Typhoon Lagoon. You can spend an entire day in that wave pool, it’s that much fun. I seriously did have to drag Bahimiron there. The first time we went to Disney he entirely overruled even setting foot in a water park. The second time we went I bought the “Water Parks and More” option and he agreed that we could go to ONE water park ONE time and we had to bring a change of clothes so that when he wanted to leave we could go to another park.
We stayed there the entire day and ended up hitting Blizzard Beach the next day, then Typhoon Lagoon again later that week. If he could live there I think he would.
I cannot swim. I had a phobia of the water as a child and never tried to learn after that because I still get edgy if I’m in water deeper than my chest. I wasn’t adamant about not going to the water parks on our honeymoon, but Meghan told me she was going and if I didn’t want to I could sit in the hotel room all day. I was fine with that until I found out wi-fi was $10/day, so I sucked it up and went.
I had a blast at Typhoon Lagoon… The waterslides range from easy to terrifying, but they all let out into a pool that I could stand up in. The wave pool is absolutely incredible. The lazy river is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes or hours, depending on your mood. I could have stayed in that inner tube for most of the day, just drifting along.
Go to the water parks. You won’t regret it.
Summit Plummet* at Blizzard Beach is the second tallest and fastest waterslide in the world. It’s worth riding. Once. Then pull your swimtrunks out of your ass and waddle over to Teamboat Springs while you recover.
*Or as Stacy calls it, “Summit! Plummet!”
Blizzard Beach was closed for renovations while we were there, so I didn’t get a chance to see it. That does sound pretty awesome, though.
The only waterpark I went to in Orlando is Aquatica by Sea World. It was absolutely amazing and I’m tempted to go back again, but I’ve never seen the Disney waterparks yet.
Haha, Stacey. She’s my favorite part of staying at hotels in Orlando.
Okay, given how much my son loves Great Wolf Lodge, your descriptions of the waterparks change the decision from “do we bother with the waterparks?” to “do we bother with the regular parks?” :) If I take him to the waterpark, I’m gonna have to do it the last day, or I’m not going to get to do my Mission: Space this year, I think…
I don’t have any tips to add, only that reading about all of this is kind of fascinating.
I grew up in the LA area, so while i was familiar with Disneyland (and Universal Studios, etc) as amusement parks, they were always a day-trip kind of thing. Drag my parents to the park on a weekend, go home. I sort of assuming the Orlando Disney experience was more or less the same.
However, from the discussions in this thread, it seems like that impression is pretty much completely wrong, and that the Disney-Amusement Complex is some kind of monstrous sprawling city-state (in a good way) that you can disappear into for weeks. Really, more like a G-rated Vegas than anything I’m familiar with.
I’m totally fascinated by the way people create playgrounds for themselves in the modern era.
WDW is four theme parks, two water parks, a large shopping area, a sports complex, four 18 hole, one 9 hole and two miniature golf courses, 23 hotels, over a hundred and thirty restaurants, a couple of convention centers, fishing, watersports on two lakes and a fully functional campground. It has its own fire department and emergency medical services, writes its own building codes, maintains its own roads (with the exception of two highways, I believe) and has its own power grid with electricity provided by an energy company Disney owns. They used to even have their own phone company*, though they ditched that for a profit in 2001.
So yeah, there’s a bit more to it than what’s going on at Disneyland.
*If you’re ever on property and you see a weird looking tree that’s too tall and too straight and too green, that’s one of their not-too-well-disguised cell towers.