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View Full Version : Advice on 1st planning draft please! [Subsequent Drafts Added, too!]



Busy Mom
04-29-2009, 04:46 PM
The family (2 adults, 2 teens) are planning to take advantage of the free dining package late August. We’re driving and have already made reservations at POFQ. We never would have bought the dining package (too much food and I’ve never liked the idea of being tied to a restaurant every night), but the deal is too good to pass up. We were going to fly next April break and figure with driving and meals we’ll save about $1500 even when taking into account gas and misc travel expenses.

Basic Beginning Thoughts/Plans
• We want to not feel obligated to use all of the credits up since we didn’t pay additionally for the plan
• We will be bringing “tide me over” breakfast items and beverages for the room
• We will not eat a table service meal every day (most)
• DD & DS are somewhat picky eaters which will limit our table service menus considering that they can’t order off the kids menu anymore
• A quick service dinner may end up being room pizza a time or 2 which is actually table service credits
• DH & I will be sharing quick service meals and snacks to save calories – the portions are huge! We’ll end up with extra quick service credits to use instead of table service
• DD & DS will not be sharing quick service meals because they won’t be able to agree on what to get.
• We want to plan our days and table service meals so that I can make ADR’s, but we want to make the nights a little more flexible (exception – MK shows may have to be planned since they don’t always happen every night
• I’ve picked a tentative park based on the Unofficial Guide’s website crowd calendar


Can you (or many you’s) please look at my 1st draft and give suggestions? It would be so appreciated?


Day 1 - Thursday
~12:00 Arrive WDW - wait for lunch until we get to resort
Check in
Quick Service Lunch (3 QS)
~3:00 Hollywood Studios
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)

Day 2 - Friday
9:00 Crystal Palace Breakfast (4 TS)
~10:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)



Day 3 - Saturday
~9:00 Epcot
Quick Service Lunch (3 QS)
5:30 O’hana (4 TS)

Day 4 – Sunday
~9:00 Disney Studios
1:00 Prime Time Café Lunch (4 TS)
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)

Day 5 - Monday
~9:00 Chef Mickey’s Breakfast (4 TS)
~10:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)

Day 6 - Tuesday
~9:00 Animal Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch (3 QS)
5:30 Boma (4 TS)

Day 7 – Wednesday
~10:00 Epcot
11:30 Le Cellier (2 TS) – DD only
Quick Service Lunch (2 QS)
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)

Last Day - Thursday
Choice Day
Lunch TBD – discuss Wednesday
Dinner TBD – discuss Wednesday

DisneyDustin22
04-29-2009, 05:19 PM
So far so good to me. Since you're driving it's good that you can bring other things to utilize like water bottles or poptarts or whatever for breakfast items. We saved our snack credits up to use mainly during the food and wine event, which was taking place the last two days of our vacation. Definitely don't waste them on things like water or bags of chips. Try and find things that would be unique to Disney. We ended up with I think 4 Snack credits at the end of the trip and we just grabbed some mickey pretzels and candies to enjoy on the plane ride home!

Personally I wouldn't waste 2 TS on a pizza for one night. You can get a pizza delivered from anywhere when you're at home. If you can utilize the TS then do so. Afterall you're on vacation! They won't stand over you making sure you clean the plate off! ;) So enjoy the food. You'll be doing plenty of walking to burn it off.

I haven't stayed at the POFQ so I don't know what their QS situation is like but when we went we stayed at CB and sometimes would come back late and the food court would still be open and we could get a QS personal pizza that was easily enough for two people.

Remember, your schedule so far looks like a lot of planned peak meal times, so be sure to hit your ADRs right at the open window for your dates of visit. Otherwise, plan for eating at off hours. And if you don't want to feel too confined to meals, try spacing the meals apart. Like do a big breakfast, and then another big meal til late in the day for dinner. The foods at the park can be filling and a lunch at 1 and a dinner at 5 leaves not a lot of time for digestion and plus you are losing time traveling to and from different parks, assuming you want to eat at different ones each time.

And be ready to change your plans. Make a few schedules. Chances are you won't get all yoru ADRs when you call. So you may have to adjust others that you already made if you can.

Good luck!

Drince88
04-30-2009, 05:15 AM
Day 2 - Friday
9:00 Crystal Palace Breakfast (4 TS)
~10:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)
Do you think you could get your crew up earlier? (With teenagers, I know that's almost universally hard to do!) If you could make the ADR for before park opening, you'll not be wasting those prime-park touring hours. The other idea would be to do a very late breakfast, and utilize those first couple of hours in the park to 'get your appetite built'.



Day 7 – Wednesday
~10:00 Epcot
11:30 Le Cellier (2 TS) – DD only
Quick Service Lunch (2 QS)
Quick Service Dinner (3 QS)
This confuses me. JUST your daughter is going to LeCellier? LeCellier is only one TS credit. I personally am comfortable eating by myself at TS restaurants, but there are many people my age (44) who are not, and I sure wouldn't have been as a teenager.

You have some interesting planning challenges!

I would probably make a 'safety' ADR for that last day that you could either pay for if you don't have credits, or use as an opportunity to use any leftover credits. The only potential issue with that, though would be that it doesn't look like you have park hoppers, so you would likely want to make them outside the park you THINK you might be at - just in case you end up not going to that park. (Though personally I'd recommend park hoppers to allow you to react to 'unexpected' heavy crowds at one park when the other parks might be less crowded.)

You might find it makes more financial sense to pay for the pizza out of pocket, too, instead.

Skawt
04-30-2009, 09:27 AM
I do like you table service choices, Ohana', Prime Time, and character meals are sure hits.

Sci Fi is another great choice for kids (ours anyways)

Busy Mom
04-30-2009, 01:53 PM
DD means DH & I - our 1st names both begin with D (how could you not know that - LOL?)

We will have park hopper but it seemed smarter to choose a bfst or lunch spot near the park we were planning on. We're trying not to plan evenings so that makes it look like we are staying in the park all day. When we went before, we got up early, stayed until about 1-2, went back to the resort for a swim or nap, and then went back in the evening to another park. That's probably what we're going to do again.

DS will be up early, but DD not so much. I have to work on her about that. I like the idea of a late breakfast but will the buffet be picked over?

Drince88
04-30-2009, 02:08 PM
DS will be up early, but DD not so much. I have to work on her about that. I like the idea of a late breakfast but will the buffet be picked over?
Now is the DD in the part I quoted here Mom and Dad or is it daughter?!:D

I know they keep bringing food - but obviously at some point they stop making pancakes (or whatever) so they can start making some lunch thin on the same piece of equipment. What about doing an early lunch?

Ok, overall I LOVE your approach. You're doing what works for you and your family within the constraints of the dining plan. Not having 'scheduled' evening things is really a good approach if you 'aren't sure' when you're going to head out of the parks for a break, how long that break will be, and when you'll be ready to be X place afterwards. What stops MANY people from doing that when they're on the dining plan is the fact that dinners are more expensive, so to get 'the most bang for the buck' out of the plan, they need to do TS dinners. Since you're looking at it as 'found food' (like 'found money') you're not trying to eek every penny of value, and as such you are making the plan work for you - vs you working to the plan.

And you've picked some locations I like!

DisneyDustin22
04-30-2009, 02:17 PM
Another chime in...

One thing we did with our TS meals at EPCOT was we planned them to be all dinners. And we would plan another park during the day, usually AK and HS, and then take our break around 3pm, and head back to the hotel, rest for about 20-30min, clean up, change, then head over to EPCOT for the night and enjoy some of the park and have dinner. It actually worked well for us as it allowed us to almost get a full day in World Showcase out of 2 nights there eating. For example one night we ate at San Angel in Mexico, and spent that exploring the left half of WS. Then another night we ate in France and spent that night exploring the right half. Granted we were there in late Sept too so it wasn't as crowded as normal and a little easier to get around.

There really are tons of possibilities to schedule your time.

TinaMouse
05-01-2009, 03:22 PM
That's a good idea. We end up doing that a lot. Epcot in late afternoon and evenings with a TS tossed in....

mom22gls
05-02-2009, 10:04 AM
Why don't you plan at least one signature dining (2 TS) meal, so you don't "have" to do a TS every day, and it will also give you the opportunity to enjoy a more upscale meal "for free." Don't be scared off by restaurants that have a "dress code," with the exception of V & A, no restaurant requires dressy clothes. It's more like the "sharp casual" code you might find at a nice resort-guys wear a polo shirt, instead of a collarless shirt with a slogan on it. girls put on a comfy sundress. They won't kick you out for dressing casually. I've taken my kids to some signature dining places, which were quite kid-friendly, and my picky eater had no problems finding something to suit her. California Grill at the Contemporary is a wonderful restaurant, and if you time it right, you can see the fireworks from the MK from a great vantage point. You already have some really good places picked.

Busy Mom
05-03-2009, 06:50 PM
Same basic premise and philosophies with a few small changes. We decided to fly rather than to drive to save wear and tear on the vehicle and our bodies. This does mean that we may need to pay out of pocket for some dining expenses and beverages since we are not going to be able to bring much food and no drinks. In order to save money on the flight, we moved our travel days up by a day (still in mid to late August) with no problem I might add which makes me feel optimistic that the crowds will be lighter maybe. Basically kept the same table service places but adjusted the days a bit. Thanks for any input you have!

Wednesday
6:00 flight (ouch)
~12:00 Arrive in Disney
Check in
~4:00 Epcot (probably not stay for show)
Quick Service Lunch
Quick Service Dinner


Thursday
Sleep in
~9:00 Animal Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch
~5:30 Boma


Friday
~9:00 Magic Kingdom
~11:00 Crystal Palace Breakfast
Quick Service Dinner


Saturday
~9:00 Epcot
11:30 LeCellier – DH/DW only
DD/DS Quick Service Lunch
Quick Service Dinner


Sunday
~9:00 Disney Studios
1:00 Prime Time Café Lunch
Quick Service Dinner


Monday
~8:15 Chef Mickey’s Breakfast
~9:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Dinner


Tuesday
~ 9:00 Disney Studios
Quick Service Lunch
~5:30 O’hana


Wednesday
Choice Day
TBD Table Service Lunch
Quick Service Dinner


Thursday
~9:45 Leave on Magical Express
~12:55 Flight Home
~5:45 Flight Lands

4biegelboys
05-04-2009, 08:57 AM
Use your snack credits for bottles of water and then bring some crystal light or whichever brand you like, packets and add them to it. They are small and shoud be able to fit easily into any of your bags. Just put them in an additional baggie just incase! We do this a lot and it makes the water more drinkable from the water fountains. I am not sure if they do this,but many parks will give you a free glass of ice water if you ask, excapt at the carts. Dining choices sound great. We are on the middle of planing our meal choices in September. We will more than likely use all of our meals since we will be traveling with a child under 3 who will only really get his own meals at the buffets, so we willbe sharing with him. We also may use 2 for a dinner show. Not sure which one yet. probabaly Hoop de do, did it before and it was a great time!
Also if you rent a car there is a grocery store near Downtown Disney. (Publix maybe? It's been awhile) Where you can get some stuff.

Drince88
05-04-2009, 09:15 AM
For your quick serve lunch on arrival day, I HIGHLY recommend eating at the food court in your resort. I usually land about then (sometimes a bit earlier) and although you're anxious to get going into a park, if you're anything like me, you won't eat right away when you get into the park (I mean, come on - let's ride some rides!), and then you'll find yourself not eating until you're close to/past the 'I'm a total grump because I'm hungry' stage. Not a pretty stage.

So do everyone a favor and eat at the hotel. Plus, if you have a 6 am flight, you're going to be HUNGRY!

TinaMouse
05-05-2009, 07:31 AM
Just to echo what Drince said, we usually are up at 4:30 a.m. and get to the resort about 12:30 or 1. We grab lunch at the resort, and by the time we're done eating, our room is ready (NOTE: This is not a guarantee; just our experience. Rooms are not guaranteed to be ready before 3:00). We dump our stuff, get our "park packs" ready and are at the parks by about 3 ish. Just take it easy that first night. It really sets the tone for the rest of the trip....

Busy Mom
05-09-2009, 04:48 PM
We are scheduled to be in the world mid to late August. Now that the park hours and shows for August are in, we redid a few things to allow for late nights, etc. We are not going to preplan for Illuminations - it shows every night so we'll pick one night and go (maybe 2x)! We did decided to schedule a sit down meal every day which we weren't going to do, but based on everyone's advice we decided that we'd rather have it and cancel (do you get charged if you cancel that day?) than want it and not have it. Since it's free, I don't care if we don't use something, but I do care if I have to spend money on food now with a few exceptions (I am going to try the cheese soup in Le Cellier even if it is extra!) Any thoughts on the new plan would be appreciated. I have to make my dining ressies in a couple of weeks. I plan to do them the 1st day so that I can get what I want at the time I want.

Wednesday
6:00 flight (ouch)
~12:00 Arrive in Disney
Check in
Quick Service Lunch @ resort
~4:00 Epcot (Future World)
~6:30 Garden Grill


Thursday
Sleep in
~TBD Animal Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch
~4:30 Boma
9:00 Fantasmic


Friday,
~9:00 Magic Kingdom
~1:00 Whispering Canyon Lunch
Quick Service Dinner


Saturday, August 22, 2009
~9:00 Epcot
11:30 Le Cellier – DH & DW only
Quick Service Lunch - DS16 & DD13 only
Quick Service Dinner


Sunday
~9:00 Disney Studios
Quick Service Lunch
Rest at hotel
~5:30 O’hana
~9:00 Spectromagic
~10:00 Wishes Fireworks
MK Extra Magic Hours


Monday
~10:30 Chef Mickey’s Breakfast
Rest/Choice Day
Quick Service Dinner

Tuesday
~ 9:00 Disney Studios
1:00 Prime Time Café Lunch
Quick Service Lunch (3 QS)


Wednesday
8:45 Crystal Palace Breakfast
Choice Day (probably will really bounce from park to park)
Quick Service Dinner


Thursday
~9:45 Leave on Magical Express
~12:55 Flight Home
~5:45 Flight Lands

TinaMouse
05-10-2009, 08:33 PM
I LIKE it! Looks really good. Excellent idea to get ADRs the first day the window opens.

bandontherun
05-14-2009, 08:07 PM
You may be shorting yourself on the second day at AK after sleeping in and also looking to do Boma at 4:30.. I guess that depends on your appreciation of AK, but I'm guessing you'll get about 4-5 hours. Also, work in on the transportation time depending on where you're staying. The only way to AK is by bus and that is usually about 30-45 minutes.

Busy Mom
05-15-2009, 06:42 PM
I agree Band on the run - we are going to try for 5:30 or later

bobaloo000
05-16-2009, 01:30 PM
Am I the only person who makes itineraries that look like this? BTW, we are also going down in late August and staying at POFQ.

Animal Kingdom
Leave Room 7:15 Take Car

8/24/2009 Epedition Everest
Get EE FP
Dinosaur
Kilimanjaro
Pangani Jungle Trail
Tough to Be a Bug
If time explore Tree of Life
Breakfast - Tusker House 10:45
Epedition Everest use FP
Leave park Go to Typhoon Lagoon
Stay at TL until 5 then head to Studios
Get FP for TSM or RNRC
ToT
Enjoy Street Characters
Great Movie Ride
Dinner at ABC commisary
Use Fast Passes
Try TSM
Check Show Schedule

TinaMouse
05-17-2009, 03:13 PM
If you're following tour guides, then yes, the itineraries could look a lot like that. Mine aren't quite that involved with WHAT we should ride, but include confirmation numbers, etc. Here's a page out of one of mine with some of the info out to protect the innocent...:rolleyes:. It's in Excel, so a lot of the formatting isn't showing up here.....

This is all very, very fluid once we're there. Wanna stay longer? Cool. Wanna take off early? Wanna dump the whole thing? OK! Confirmation numbers and special notes are also a column. Each day also notes the park hours for each park, but that didn't show up either. I leave a huge chunk of space to write down actual prices of whatever I spent for the day and compare to what I expected it to be. I USUALLY do this every day after the kids are asleep, but sometimes I do it every other day.

Monday, 08/24 MK Best/AK Worst
AK am EMH 8-9
DHS pm emh 7-10

7:00 AM Up and Ready $5.00
7:45 AM Breakfast in Room
8:15 AM Bus to Magic Kingdom
9:00 AM Arrive Magic Kingdom
10:00 AM Magic Kingdom Sn Cr Dole Whip
11:00 AM Magic Kingdom CS Cosmic Ray's
12:45 PM Bus to Pop
1:15 PM Pop Rest/Swim Time
3:45 PM Drive to Epcot
5:15 PM Arrive at Epcot TS Teppan Edo (Anniversary Dinner)
7:00 PM Epcot Epcot
9:00 PM Epcot Illuminations
9:30 PM Drive to Pop
10:00 PM Bed

bandontherun
05-18-2009, 10:44 AM
I really only plan the optimal day for which park based on events, EMHs etc.. generally avoid the EMH or the MK if a special event in the evening. Also since AK closes early, we know that's usually a morning we need to be up early. Once I know about where I may be, I start figuring out what place we want to eat at so I can make ADRs.
Of course no plan has ever gone according to plan. It is a vacation after all, so we end up at about 60-70% of what was in the plan. We're definitely no where near the detail of what we do hour to hour..

Busy Mom
05-18-2009, 04:42 PM
Gosh darn it - unofficial guide changed its best days for August online so we had to adjust our plans and our dining plans so I can make my ressies. I don't like this plan as much as the other, but here it is....we aren't going to plan our evenings except for a couple of dinners. For the most part, I want to leave that more spontaneous.

Wednesday
6:00 flight (ouch)
~12:00 Arrive in Disney
Check in
~4:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch @ resort
~7:00 O’hana

Thursday
~9:00 Disney Studios
~1:00 Prime Time Café
Quick Service Dinner

Friday
~9:00 Epcot
~11:30 Le Cellier (DH & me)
Quick Service Lunch (DD & DS)
Quick Service Dinner

Saturday
8:30 Crystal Palace Breakfast
~9:00 Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Dinner

Sunday
~9:00 Animal Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch
~5:30 Boma

Monday
~10:30 Cape May Breakfast
TBD Epcot
Quick Service Dinner

Tuesday
~9:00 Magic Kingdom
~1:00 Whispering Canyon Lunch
Quick Service Dinner

Wednesday
~9:00 Start @ Magic Kingdom
Quick Service Lunch
Hits & Misses Day @ other parks if wanted
~4:30 Garden Grill Dinner

Thursday
Travel home

Drince88
05-19-2009, 03:17 AM
Gosh darn it - unofficial guide changed its best days for August online so we had to adjust our plans and our dining plans so I can make my ressies.
I bet it's because Disney really moved the days around for EMH, especially for that last week. They include EMH in their determination of crowd size/best days, so when that changes from what they expect Disney to do, they're likely going to change their guidance.

Your plan looks reasonable to me! When you said you were going to play the evenings by ear - don't forget that some evening activities aren't going to be going on every evening - so make sure you don't 'spontaneous' yourself out of seeing something you really want to see.

TinaMouse
05-19-2009, 12:33 PM
Oh crud. I didn't realize they'd changed them. I'll have to look REALLY fast as my ADR day is Friday. My TA will kill me if I send her ROUND 3 of the ADR list. Good thing she's my friend!