The appeal of Disney parks

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:28 PM

Jeff said:
I didn't know you could book online. And FYI, I just found several party-of-four openings for Le Cellier at lunch on 11/16. Such a hassle!


Shall I fly back down to eat there? I'm leaving the 14th.

Keep trying to demonstrate how this isn't a hassle. LOL.

I get it, you're all (mostly) a bunch of Disney nutswingers.

Last edited by billb7581, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:36 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:07 PM

I think the real deal here, is that you're just a stick-in-the-mud who is so set in his ways, that you don't want to try anything new. We get it, you're rolling your eyes and doing this "because the family wants to", but really, if I were you, I'd let them go by themselves.

If my dad acted like this when we went on family vacations, I'd have hated life.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:23 PM

There are only "2nd tier" table service places for the same reason Space Mountain will have over an hour line (often closer to 2) the entire day while Big Thunder gets below a half hour pretty regularly. Or why I couldn't get a Crystal Palace reservation but was able to get a Boma reservation. Boma was far from a "2nd tier" experience, and actually, I enjoyed it a lot more than I did Primetime 50s (one of those "1st tier" places, which I still got a walk-up for). The same reason that I can get a studio villa at Saratoga Springs (or OKW) for not too much more than a moderate resort room, but Poly and Contemporary are so expensive.

Seriously, chill out and stop worrying about your imagined "1st tier/2nd tier" crap, you're putting labels on things to find reasons to be unhappy. I saw it all the time; if one parent is clearly not enjoying it, no matter how hard the rest of the group tries, everyone has a negative experience. The only disparity between the places that you can and can't book are the number of people trying to eat there.

Also, I've been in each of those three you consider "must do," and the seating areas are surprisingly small. Le Celiere is TINY, and Via Napoli feels spacious, but doesn't have that many tables. It should come as no surprise that some of the hardest ones to get into also have some of the smaller seating areas and capacities.

EDIT: Ohana might have a larger seating area than I remember, but the image in my mind isn't that big, although there may be more seating that you can't see from the hallway area. It is, though, at one of the most popular MK resorts and sees a lot of traffic thanks to being on the monorail.

Last edited by maXairMike, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:29 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:22 PM

Raven-Phile said:
I think the real deal here, is that you're just a stick-in-the-mud who is so set in his ways, that you don't want to try anything new.

Seriously, do you even have kids? Pretty much any kind of wacky ethnic cuisine is going to be a no go for the average kid. Me, I'm up for anything, but don't feel like listening to kids whining about the food or expecting me to shell out for pizza when they didn't eat their 50 dollar Steak Tikkatikka.

If my dad acted like this when we went on family vacations, I'd have hated life.

Something happened to you.. you're into twirling around to jam bands.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 9:29 PM

Seriously, do you even have kids?

I do, and I have taken them to (and they have enjoyed) Japanese, German, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Korean, Thai, Mexican, Ethiopian, and Indian restaurants. The Ethiopian place is a particularly big hit, because there is no cutlery. You eat with your hands, using a sour, spongy bread to scoop up bits of stew. What kid doesn't love that?

And, Jeff is right about Le Cellier. The new Signature menu they have for dinner is actually not half-bad, but it is far from great. Hell, it's not even the best (or even the second-best) steakhouse within walking distance of Epcot. Number one is Shula's in the Swan/Dolphin complex. Number two is Yachtsman's at the Yacht Club/Beach Club complex. Mostly Le Cellier is a big deal because it's not scary to Middle America. Almost everything else in that park is either "ethnic" (though Disney's version of "ethnic" is usually watered down) or "fishy" (Coral Reef). As partial evidence, Rose & Crown is also often a tough reservation, and that's *not* because English cuisine is all that and a bag of chips (or, in this case, crisps).

If my dad acted like this when we went on family vacations, I'd have hated life.

I might not have hated life, but I would have thought my dad was a jerk.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 9:30 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 9:43 PM

billb7581 said:

Something happened to you.. you're into twirling around to jam bands.

Ooooooooh SNAP! My musical tastes are in question again, somebody better call the fire department, cause I just got burned.

Or, you know, it could be because my dad was a musician, and so am I, so I've been exposed to real musical ability since I was old enough to listen.

Seriously, am I supposed to be bothered that you don't like the same music as me?

The point is, you asked for advice, then when it's given, you just spit it back in some venomous tone that makes you feel like the queen of the jungle over here. Really, it's purely entertaining to watch you going around in circles with your thoughts and rants. It's like one of those pictures of a snake eating it's own ass.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:30 PM

I don't get the controversy. If you like the Disney branded vacation...go. If you don't...don't.

I think Gonch made a good point that a trip to Disney for a first time or someone who is only going once a decade or so is far different than for someone that goes once or twice a year. Yes, those people who are infrequent visitors are going to feel pressure to do more.

I also agree with Jeff that if you go into it with a bad attitude, nothing you find will make you think it was worth our while. That applies to any vacation; not just Disney.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:01 PM

I merely stated I was unable to get a DINNER reservation to any of the places I wanted to go. Jeff offered a Lunch oening 2 days after I left as proof of something.

I just find it amusing that the Disney shills in here can say that this planning is not a hassle. Deciding on where you want to eat half a year out in front of a vacation is a hassle.. it just is.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:02 PM

It's a hassle because you make it a hassle. The only reservation I've made prior to arriving, ever, was for Le Cellier. Honestly, the dessert was awesome, and Diana enjoyed the steak, but if I never go again, that'll be OK. Every other reservation I've ever made was day of, or day before.

My goals and aspirations as a parent, with regard to how my kid eats, keep getting clearer, with notions of what not to do.

I'm a fairly picky eater. I don't eat red meat or seafood (just poultry), and unfortunately because of my poor nutritional upbringing, don't eat vegetables or fruit like I should. That said, the only place I've turned away from on the Disney property is the restaurant in France at Epcot. Maybe the German place too, as it was a lot of sausage and what not. It's funny how many other places quickly became my favorites.

And you know, I just remembered that they have a counter service-only meal plan too. Perhaps if you want to eat pizza and burgers all week, that's the plan you should buy. Best part, no reservations.

Last edited by Jeff, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:03 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:11 PM

I concur. Then again, who goes to Disney World and only eats pizza and burgers? Oh yeah...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:36 PM

Jeff said:
...I just remembered that they have a counter service-only meal plan too. Perhaps if you want to eat pizza and burgers all week, that's the plan you should buy. Best part, no reservations.

I was alluding to that in one of my previous posts. It might make the trip more enjoyable if you just reserve a few sit-down meals, and do the rest at counter service restaurants. I'd do that, especially if I was taking my (imaginary) kids, because to me, a vacation is pizza and burgers (and I would probably enjoy a few sit-down meals). I can cook all the fancy stuff I want to at home.

...And the beauty of that is, your mileage may vary.

Chill, and enjoy. If you let it, Disney can be the classiest, most magical place will ever spend your time visiting. "Happiest Place On Earth" is not just some silly slogan. I have found myself a little teary-eyed, for one reason or another, with every visit to a Disney park, and I have never had a bad day there.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 4:44 AM

WhyBoblo said:
My short-list advice for a relative first-timer at Disney.

  1. Request the Vacation Planning DVD and the free customized park maps. Both can be found here.

I just got the DVD in the mail yesterday. Looking forward to finding some time to review it.

Brian Noble said:
Chris: 2012 packages and room rates went live just the other day. Right now only AAA and military discounts arevavailable, but others should be coming for anything other than a holiday. Keep an eye here: www.mousesavers.com

Thanks for the link. It's been a week or so since I checked the packages, I had no idea when 2012 would get added.

Question for anyone who's been there both with and without a dining plan. Is it even worth trying to go there without the dining plan? Could you get away with only eating at a table service place once or twice during your trip and save a decent amount of money over what the dining plan costs? Adding the dining plan to the package bumps me from "I can easily afford this" all the way into "That's way too much" territory.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:57 AM

billb7581 said:

Seriously, do you even have kids? Pretty much any kind of wacky ethnic cuisine is going to be a no go for the average kid. Me, I'm up for anything, but don't feel like listening to kids whining about the food or expecting me to shell out for pizza when they didn't eat their 50 dollar Steak .

How old are your kids? Even the crazy-go-nuts Moroccan place has burgers and chicken fingers on the kids' menu. It's a perfect way for you to get different stuff while they play it safe.

I actually had the opposite problem when we took my son down, as I'll be damned if I'm going to a Moroccan place just so he can have chicken fingers.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:29 AM

CP Chris said:
Question for anyone who's been there both with and without a dining plan. Is it even worth trying to go there without the dining plan? Could you get away with only eating at a table service place once or twice during your trip and save a decent amount of money over what the dining plan costs?

It is. My wife and I have figured out that the dining plan is just too much food for us and you can always show up to a restaurant and put your name in or call and make a reservation day of. We waited ten minutes for lunch at Via Napoli and about 45 minutes for dinner at Sanaa.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:31 AM

billb7581 said:
Deciding on where you want to eat half a year out in front of a vacation is a hassle.. it just is.

Numerous people have already said that you don't have to do that if you don't want to. You can show up and put your name in and wait just like you would on any other vacation.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:45 AM

I don't eat seafood but some of the best steaks I have ever had have been at seafood restaurants. We went to Coral Reef despite having no seafood eaters in the family. My kids thought it looked like a cool place to eat. No one had a problem finding something they liked to order. Food was good and we had a good time.

kpjb said:
I actually had the opposite problem when we took my son down, as I'll be damned if I'm going to a Moroccan place just so he can have chicken fingers.

But why? Seems to me one of the reasons so many restaurants have chicken fingers, hamburgers, grilled cheese, pizza, etc. on the kids menu is so that mom and dad can have a non bland meal and the kids can find something they like too. And they typically have at least one or two pretty bland/middle of the road dishes on the regular menu as well knowing that not everyone in a given group will want the Moroccan or Mexican or whatever fare. If you son wanted to eat chicken fingers, why not let him?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:55 PM

Because it's setting up your kid for a lifetime of crappy diet habits. I've seen it in action from very young ages, where crappy processed convenience food is all they give their kids, and what do you suppose they eat as grownups? I'm not gonna let that happen to my kid.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:36 PM

At home, we're big fans of Pollan's Rules: "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." Note that "food" does not generally include convenience/processed items. We do buy a few, but generally organic/minimally processed. (I'm a big fan of Alexia's potato products, for example.) A good chunk of our diet is organic produce (we get it delivered by Door to Door Organics, and while it's more expensive than conventionally-grown produce, it is typically cheaper than store-bought organic, because they source each week based on what is easy to get.) We generally stick to lean proteins: white-mean poultry, lean cuts of beef, lots of fish and some shellfish. We do eat white rice rather than brown, but otherwise avoid processed carbs like the devil. Some of this is driven by Weight Watchers; my wife counts, and it's easier to make filling meals that are on-point if you stick to minimally-processed foods that are naturally lower in fat. The vast majority of the time, dessert is fruit.

That said, we generally relax the rules on vacation. We don't do it very often, and it's okay to eat things that are "unnaturally delicious", as long as you do so only once in a while.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:43 PM

Question for anyone who's been there both with and without a dining plan. Is it even worth trying to go there without the dining plan? Could you get away with only eating at a table service place once or twice during your trip and save a decent amount of money over what the dining plan costs?

Yes. I've never, not once, spent as much out of pocket just eating what, when, and where we wanted as the appropriate dining plan costs. Cutting back on table-service meals is one of the easier ways to save some scratch at WDW, and some of the counter service places have not-your-standard-theme-park fare. For example, Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom has a hummus sandwich that is really good. The niciose-style fish at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot's Land Pavilion is also very tasty.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:54 PM

Brian Noble said:
That said, we generally relax the rules on vacation. We don't do it very often, and it's okay to eat things that are "unnaturally delicious", as long as you do so only once in a while.

Exactly. The kid is on vacation. You are not setting your kid up for a lifetime of crappy diet habits by what he/she eats on vacation.

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