Archive for Disney Restaurants

Dining Promotion Released for Disney World

Disney World has released a promotion today including free dining for select dates and resorts during the months of September through December.

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Offer is available for most nights August 28 – Oct 2, Oct 25-31, Nov 8-19, and Dec 15-21. This must be booked between the dates of April 27-July 10, 2015.

When you stay at a moderate or deluxe resort, you receive the Disney Plus Dining plan that includes a table service, counter service, and snack (one per person, per night of the stay). When staying at a value resort Quick Serve Dining is included which includes two quick serve meals and one snack (per person, per night of the stay). Guests staying at a value resort can upgrade to the Plus Dining plan for a fee.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Packages must include tickets that have either a Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More Option. Offer excludes the following resorts: Villas at Grand Floridian, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Bay Lake Tower, Disney’s Art of Animation Little Mermaid standard rooms, campsites, 3 bedroom villas, Disney’s All Star Movies, Port Orleans Riverside (for certain dates), and Port Orleans French Quarter.

Contact Nicole at Visit the Magic Travel for your free quote before this offer slips away.

Jaime & Ethan’s Pinky Swear Trip – February, 2014 – Day 1: Part 2 “An Afternoon at Animal Kingdom”

This may be the nicest sight in the world…

Followed, this trip anyway, by this:

We checked in at Jambo House and got our Honeymoon buttons (Honeymoon #3!) before heading over to the actual Animal Kingdom.

We stop at Guest Services to activate our Annual Pass vouchers and purchase a Tables in Wonderland Card. The Tables in Wonderland (TIW) cost me $100, but it provides a discount at a lot of the table service restaurants on Disney property. You need an Annual Pass or to be a Florida resident in order to purchase one. (At 20%, you need to spend $500 for it to pay for itself. It’s good for 1 year. I think we’ll make it.)

We’re having lunch at Flame Tree Bar-B-Q today and we’re starving (it’s now almost 3pm!) Ethan, as always, orders the turkey on gluten free bread. I order the kids’ chicken drumstick meal (which used to have 2 chicken legs!)

Flame Tree meal

It was very good, but I missed the beans and cole slaw from last time, so I think I’ll stick with the adult chicken entrée from now on.

One of today’s goals is to show Ethan Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Yes, I realize we’re grown adults going to a petting zoo, but Ethan is new here and I want him to experience everything! As we walk towards Africa and the train back to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, we pass Baloo and King Louie hanging out and high-five as we go by. (I only mention this because Ethan keeps a running list in his phone of our every move on vacation – scoff away, but wow, it’s really coming in handy right now!)

We take the train ride and wander the path to the building. I can’t believe how far you have to walk once you’re off the train! It felt like we were walking back to where the train picked us up! We finally make it and head through the building portion of this area – looking at the Hidden Mickeys and other exhibits (most of which are creepy crawly things). We get in line for our picture with Rafiki.

Rafiki

We next go outside to the petting zoo type area.

We walk around, looking at the various animals. There are 3 pigs hanging out together when a trainer takes one of the pigs backstage. The remaining 2 pigs are bereft. They are squealing at the gate like they will never see their friend again!

He eventually is returned to them and all is well, but they reminded me of my dogs: put one in the yard for 5 minutes and there’s this huge reuniting scene they need to play out when you let it back in the house.

There’s a bunch of goats hanging out under a large tent structure (it had been raining off and on all day). Basically you’ll see sheep, cows, pigs, and goats out here.

We walk back to the train and head back to Africa. We get in the stand by line for the safari. We take all the normal pictures you take on the safari, nothing spectacular, until we get to the lions. They are out and gorgeous today!

Time for a Mickey bar!

Mickey Bar at Animal Kingdom

We get in line to meet Baloo and King Louie now (SIDE NOTE: we watched The Jungle Book before this trip and I found myself tearing up talking to Baloo and telling him I watched his story and when he got knocked out and they thought he was dead I was very upset… that bear had to think I was nuts…)

(ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We still had our ice cream and had to hold each other’s Mickey bars in order to be allowed near the characters)

Our room is ready and we are ready to check it out, so we head back to the bus to return to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 1

Ethan and I are both planners and love researching future destinations. Almost as soon as we got home from Ethan’s First Disney Trip in February, 2013, he started firing up websites and videos of the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.  He was going to be prepared for next February and that “pinkie-swear” promise to return to Disney in one year.  We started watching Disney movies on Netflix and Red Box and came across Tangled.  It became “our” movie, and we got very excited about New Fantasyland and the Tangled-themed bathrooms that were built.

One night last spring, Ethan suggested a “stretch goal”: a Thanksgiving Disney Road Trip. His definition of “stretch goal” is “if we manage it, great; if not, well it was fun trying”.  He quickly learned that “stretch goal” to me means “We’re going, come hell or high water, don’t you dare think of backing out or I’ll rip your heart out”. Just a slight difference in thought processes. I begin a spreadsheet with a plan: Leave Wednesday night after work, get there Thanksgiving Thursday, leave there Saturday afternoon, and get home Sunday night.  It was rudimentary, but just the start.

After tons of talk and planning, the plan is set: Hollywood Studios Thursday, Magic Kingdom Friday, and EPCOT Saturday. Animal Kingdom will just have to wait for February.

Then a storm is predicted to move across the ENTIRE United States right before Thanksgiving! We didn’t panic, but suddenly our Wednesday departure is actually Monday afternoon (made for a very interesting Sunday, what with all the packing I was going to do Tuesday night!)  We didn’t beat the rain (Ethan drove all night long in pouring rain – he’s my Hero! And I drove all the way to Ocala in the lighter rain) but we did beat the cold front, which would have turned all that rain into very dangerous ice!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013

We find ourselves in Orlando on Tuesday, instead of Thursday, with no plans! I Expedia’d a room on 192 called Seralago (not much more than a motel, serviceable but not repeatable).

After checking in and dumping our stuff, we head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge (it’s where we’re staying in February) for lunch and looking around. Back in June, I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and Ethan and I went gluten free. We both noticed a big difference in our energy levels and in our ragweed allergies. (Ethan was not officially diagnosed with anything, but we’re read enough to know that if you go gluten free and notice a change, then you probably had some type of gluten sensitivity). All that to say, this trip is our first gluten free Disney trip. Did you know about Disney and food allergies? It’s the place to be! They are amazing about helping guests with whatever food issues they have.

So for our first meal, we headed to The Mara and ordered the chicken pita sandwich with fries. They substituted the pita bread with an Udi’s pizza crust (we do that at home sometimes with burgers now). It was really good and slightly on the spicy side.

After lunch and some safari viewing, we headed over to Art of Animation to walk around and see this fairly new Disney Value Resort. It’s on the list of places to stay.

We have dinner plans at The Wave in the Contemporary (we made the ADR in the car on the drive down!) Ethan suggests driving to the Wilderness Lodge (another place we wanted to tour) and taking the boat over to the Contemporary.

Wait, what???

When did the Disney Newbie learn more about the Disney Transportation System then the woman who’s taken almost 40 trips here???

Turns out, Ethan sat on our balcony at Bay Lake Tower in February and watched the boats travel to the different locations. He memorized the routes. Works in my favor tonight!

We boat over to the Contemporary and check in at The Wave a little early. We go into the bar area and order a couple of drinks. This may have been a mistake – other than some napping in the car, we’ve basically been up for a day and a half!

We are offered gluten free rolls by the chef, but all they have is Udi’s bread (fine) with their normal salted butter (yum).

Two meat dishes later and we are completely wiped out.

Boat back to Wilderness Lodge, drive back to Seralago, and pass out on a bed made of concrete! Tomorrow awaits!!!

Ethan’s First Trip to Disney!

Hi, I’m Jaime! I love writing trip reports and tend to get very wordy about it. I’ve traveled with many kinds of groups in the past 10 years: friends, family, people I had never met, and now my new husband. I’m hoping to share some new, and old, stories with you all here on my friends’ blog, so grab your hat and reading glasses!

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Sometimes you get what you really want. Even when you’ve given up hoping for it, sometimes the Universe decides it’s finally time for the big payoff.  I was single for 8 years, mostly by choice, when I met an amazing group of people on a cruise I took in 2009.  The shell around my heart, that had formed after my divorce, cracked the just tiniest bit, but enough to know I might eventually be open to letting someone in… at some point… but that they’d have to be a really special someone.

Disney is a just part of who I am. There’s really no way to express in words what that means – you either understand it (and feel that way yourself, about Disney or something else) or you don’t.  Every attempt I’ve made to explain it has been pitiful.  I can’t convey the warmth in my heart as I watch a child hug a princess or the tears on my face as I stand and watch the Magic Kingdom’s opening ceremony.

I met my husband, Ethan, on a dating site called OKCupid in September, 2012. Like most relationships that begin online, it went from instant messaging to texting to phone calls and then to the actual first date.  My dating profile was a little “Disney” heavy – I needed to make sure whoever read it understood what they were getting into.  When we got to the phone call stage, Ethan took the plunge: “So, can you explain the Disney thing?”

I fumbled through what Disney means to me, convinced I was scaring him off. When I finished, his only response was, “So it’s not like Disney hoarding or anything?”

Whew. No, I do not hoard Disney merchandise.  He revealed he’d never in his life gone to a Disney Park.  WHAT??? HOW??? Parents do that to their kids???

So we meet and both realize right away this relationship isn’t like anything either of us has ever experienced before. Months go by and we begin planning a quick getaway to Disney to get Ethan’s feet wet in My World (plus I had some Disney Vacation Club points that were going to expire if not used soon!)  We didn’t have a lot of time or money, so we decided to just use the hotel points and not go to any of the parks.  We would only be there Saturday through Monday, and there’s a lot to see on Disney property without going to an actual theme park.

Yay, that plan didn’t last long… I convinced us both that $94 for a one-day EPCOT ticket was a decent deal; especially if we were there the full 12 hours EPCOT was open (that’s $7.83 an hour each) (THIS IS CALLED DISNEY MATH – the ability to convince yourself that the numbers only make sense by going to Disney MORE). One caveat on Ethan’s part was that he would not be meeting characters; not at meals, not standing in lines, not wandering down a street. He was a grown man and meeting characters was childish.

Believe it or not, I was okay with this. What I was concerned about was that he wouldn’t like Walt Disney World at all or that he’d think it was okay for an every few years’ vacation … it was nerve wracking, honestly, watching and waiting to see what he’d think.

So I stacked the deck in my favor and made a plan that would show him the very best Disney had to offer: my Vacation Club points were spent on a one-bedroom lake view room at Bay Lake Tower (Ethan loves modern design and water views).

 

I planned out transportation that would place him on boats, busses, and the monorail.

I showed him the resorts on the monorail line (deluxe resorts), took him to lunch at the Polynesian, and walked him down the path from the Magic Kingdom that looks like it’s headed for the Grand Floridian but actually ends at a bunch of benches (very secluded and romantic!)

We had dinner at Sanaa (Ethan likes Indian food)

and drinks at the Top of the World Lounge to watch Wishes (over-the-top romantic!)

before retiring to our room Saturday night to watch the Electrical Light Parade out on Bay Lake and see Illuminations from far-away EPCOT. It was an amazing first day!

Our EPCOT day was even more amazing: today was Super Bowl Sunday – EPCOT had about 35 people in it! We met up with my friend, Rob, and the 3 of us saw almost everything EPCOT has to offer. We even got a spot at the railing for the fireworks, right before they started!  We wore ourselves out!  We rode monorails back to our resort, and I had my head on his shoulder and my eyes closed.  Ethan nudged me awake, and I opened my eyes to find his pinkie finger crooked in front of me.  I hooked mine in his and he says “We will be back next Super Bowl Weekend.  That is a promise.”  My heart did that melty thing… it still does when I think of this.

Sunday was a blur – we went to Downtown Disney, but our feet hurt so bad from running all over EPCOT yesterday, that all that really stands out is lunch. I was torn between Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express.  Ethan says we should do both.  And we did!  It really was the perfect weekend.

Holiday Wish List at Earl of Sandwich

We’ve always loved the Holiday Turkey Sandwich but this year the Earl of Sandwich is stepping up their game.

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They have added a Holiday Ham Sandwich, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, and Peppermint Brownies.  YUMMMMMM!!!!  I may have to make a stop at Downton Disney this week to enjoy the new menu additions.

Don’t delay though, these holiday delights are only available for a limited time.

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