WDW Tips — Resorts (ours)

Food and Young Kids:

Disney’s kids’ meals are for “9 and under.” A toddler is MUCH different than a 9 year old and we’ve found that many of the kids’ meals a 2 or 3 year old may not eat. Bring snacks and peanut butter and jelly and bread, assuming your child loves PB&J like ours does! Many of the hotel’s convenient store shops sell small jars of peanut butter, jelly, and even loaves of bread! Other suggested snacks are: individual servings of applesauce, pretzels, goldfish and teddy grahams.

 A PB&J Tip:

“In the resort food courts, you can buy two slices of bread (white or wheat) for $.69 plus tax. Peanut butter is about .50, and in some food courts it’s free because there are packets of it with the condiments. Jelly can be obtained for free because it’s a condiment. So for around a dollar or less, you can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” -Grace

Dinning Plan:

In our many trips to WDW we have only used the meal plan once and it was the Quick-Service only. Our experience was very good and we will be considering for our future visits. We have a number of friends that used the meal plans that include the Table-Service plans and they all thought it was a good idea, but warned us that it is a lot of food! Our dinning plan came with a re-fillable resort mug. We would usually eat breakfast at the resort, use this mug, and then get bottled water with our meal to use later in the day. The drink stations usually have a sink where you can wash out the refillable mug.

 Extra Bun Trip:

“Since 2008 some locations have increased the price of an extra bun to insane levels, with some locations charging as much as $4. So ask before using the price before using this tip. Order one double cheeseburger combo meal and ask for an extra bun. (The cashiers actually have an “extra bun” button on the register, so this is not an unusual request.) Then take one of the hamburger patties off the double burger, and put it on the extra bun. Most of the counter-service restaurants have a condiment bar where you can add any toppings you like to the two burgers. Split the fries and drink or order an extra drink.” – Grace

 Top 10 Quick Service Bites

(taken from the Disney Blog)

  1. Sweet Potato Cart, Frontierland, Magic Kingdom. Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores love this filling snack that’s low fat and full of vitamins – and you can eat on the run. Sweet potatoes are seasonal, so if we don’t find them, we head to Columbia Harbour House for the Lighthouse Sandwich – hummus, broccoli slaw and tomatoes on whole-grain bread. Or we throw caution to the wind and order the restaurant’s fried shrimp platter.
  2. Ditto for the veggie egg roll from the Egg Roll Wagon in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom. Low fat, not so much. But satisfying and easy to eat when you’re dashing through the park.
  3.  Taco Salad, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, Frontierland, Magic Kingdom. Better than a burger and you can load up with jalapeños at the toppings bar.
  4.  Half slab of St. Louis Ribs, Flame Tree BarbecueDisney’s Animal Kingdom. We’ve peeked in the kitchen to watch the chefs grill these tasty favorites – finger-lickin’ good.
  5.  Kung Pao Beef, Yak & Yeti counter service, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Grab some chopsticks and dig in.
  6.  Pressed Tuscan deli sandwich with shaved smoked ham, smoked breast of turkey, provolone, Caesar dressing and Pesto marinated tomatoes on a Tuscan roll, served with apple slices or French fries at Studio Catering CompanyDisney’s Hollywood Studios. Go for the fries.
  7. Southwest salad with chicken, tortillas, black bean relish, avocado, and cilantro vinaigrette at Backlot Express, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And since it’s relatively healthful, sometimes we sneak in a late-afternoon peanut butter and jelly shake at the bar at 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
  8.  Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad with honey sherry dressing at Sunshine Seasons, The Land pavilion, Epcot. Plain delicious if you love beets. If not, go for the seared tuna salad with sesame-rice wine dressing.
  9.  Does a chocolate crepe count as a meal? We think so. Stop at the Crepes des Chefs de France kiosk in Epcot World Showcase.
  10.  Sit at the outdoor tables and people watch while you share a shawarma platter at Tangierine Cafe at the Morocco pavilion in Epcot World Showcase. Generous tastes of hummus, tabouleh, couscous salad and Moroccan bread. We suggest the chicken and lamb combo.

Pre-order a PhotoPass:

If you booked through Disney you probably will get the opportunity to preorder a PhotoPass cd before you leave (at a discounted rate). We did this our last trip which be felt like was a good deal and it made us find the Disney people to take photos with and well as let us take family photos throughout the parks.

update 8/27/2011: Tower of Terror photos (that are taken durning the ride) now may be added to the PhotoPass.

Character Dinning:

We have only eaten at Chef Mickey and Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch Restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, but have had reports from friends on all the other ones that are listed here:

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (in Epcot) — had multiple friends recommend this one

The Garden Grill Restaurant Restaurant at The Land Pavilion (in Epcot)

The Crystal Palace Restaurant at Main Street, U.S.A. (Magic Kingdom)


Photos of the different Resorts: http://allears.net/acc/gallery.htm

We believe in staying on property.  It may seem that it is too costly and there are many better deals to be found just outside of Disney’s gates, but from outside Disney’s gates, it is at least a 15 to 20 minute drive to get to Magic Kingdom (a little closer for some of the other parks).

By staying on Disney property, you can take advantage of a few of these perks:

  • full service restaurants (some in your resorts if you stay in the moderate resorts)
  • food courts (in all resorts)
  • free transportation, which includes free parking at your resort or if you decide to drive to one of the parks one day (not recommended by us)
  • free river boat transportation (from some resorts)
  • multiple pools, some including waterfalls and water slides, you can also pool hop from one resort’s pool to another (some resorts do restrict this)
  • A fun themed hotel, amazing landscaping, horse and buggy rides (at some locations), boat and bike rentals (at some locations), and impeccable Disney service.

Time it right, (off-season) sometimes it is less than $150 a night. Very few resorts right outside the gates include all of these features.  With all of that said, resorts we like:

  • Port Orleans – French Quarter
  • Port Orleans – Riverside (we liked it better than French Quarter)
  • Polynesian – nice for location, but we didn’t find the rooms that much nicer than Port Orleans
  • Coronado Springs – we’ve not stayed there, but had some friends that did and liked it.  (Some conferences are held here, so it can get busy and there can be a lot of walking)
  • Pop Century – This resort is the only value resort we’ve stayed at during a WDW visit. It was ok. They have almost 3,000 rooms so it is one of the biggest resorts and is the farthest away from Magic Kingdom.  It does have its own buses (they don’t stop at other resorts, although that may change in the future with another resort across the lake being completed).
  • Bay Lake Tower – We are Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members and Bay Lake Tower is our home resorts, but you do not have to be a DVC member to rent a room in these resorts.  The 1+ bedrooms even have a full kitchen and a washer and dryer!  Views from DVC rooms can be found at this link: http://www.yesterland.com/views.html

BTW – We are Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Members and love it, more information about it from us is here.

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