Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth?

Mickey Mouse is out to get me. Or at the very least, have me checking in to my nearest mental health facility. "Why?" you ask.

As I've mentioned casually over the last couple of months, we are planning a trip to Disney World for later this year. This trip has been in the planning stages for over 18 months now and I'm about ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat against the glorious cast members that so cheerily tell me bad news repeatedly.

I have spent the better part of an hour today, on the phone with Disney Dining Reservations, trying to get many of our meals booked for our stay. Boy, that sounds so easy, right? Wrong. Stupid me didn't heed the warning that Birnbaum's reiterates all throughout their book: Call 180 days prior to your visit to make reservations! No, I foolishly decided that surely the most popular character dining experiences restaurants wouldn't be filled during one of the slowest times of the year. Wrong. I have now conceded to dining at strange hours and at restaurants that I had no intention of trying. This should be interesting.

And now I have made the commitment to myself to call the hotline every day until we leave to see if maybe some poor schlub had to cancel a coveted reservation, so I can slip in and snatch it up. Wish me luck.

So, do any of your Disney World veterans out there have any sage advice for me? Places not to be missed? Inside info? I'm all ears! Mickey Mouse ears, that is.


Andrea's Sweet Life said...

This is exactly why I'm not taking my kids until they're much, much older. I'm hoping to make them do all the reservations FOR me!

We'll see how that turns out.

Thanks for stopping by Sweet Life!

American in Norway said...

Sorry girl... See if kelly knows anyone...she LIVES in the happiest place on earth! maybe she can dress up & meet ya'll?! Kidding Kelly...

heather said...

First of all, where and when are your ADRs? When exactly do you leave? If you're more than 45 days out, try calling on day 45; that's when you have to pay your final total and people cancel that day for them.

Also, call every day. Take ressies you don't want, go to disboards.om and trade them with others.

And finally, remember that you're there for more than just the food, and you can see characters all over the place. Is it the same as Chef Mickey's? Probably not, but the kids won't be totally deprived!

Lula! said...

Go on Amazon and get "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2009." (Or '08 if that's the latest edition available.)

It is the Bible of Disney. You MUST have it. This is not a suggestion, Angie. Go get it. Now. Please.

Trust me. It was a lifesaver on our Disney trip 3 years ago, and will be a lifesaver again when we go next year.

Shannon said...

I'm curious to see your ADRs... send me an email.

Have you ever visited disboards.com? I think I checked that site every day for 6 months leading up to our trip... got a lot of info and tips there!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'm no help...the last time I went to Disney World I was almost 15 years ago...i think some things have changed since then!

Julianne said...

I assume you are doing the dining plan. The Garden Grille at Epcot is great character dining and the food is pretty good, plus it is less popular than others.

Our favorite place is Jiko. It's worth two table service meals but it is SO yummy!

I'm a bit of a junkie, can you tell?

Kat said...

I like to think I am a Disney expert. And you must get the unofficial guide.

And I'd love to know what reservations you do have.

And then I can see what magic I can conjure up!

Michelle said...

You're kidding, right? We're doing Disney Oct 19-30 and I haven't made any of the reservations yet. Seriously they're all booked? Who else would go then? It's the middle of October and no one's around and the economy is terrible! Whatever you learn, can you pass along? (And let me know if you'll be there at the same time!)

Kelly said...

Believe it or not, I have no tips whatsoever on reservations...I don't know how long you're planning on being here, but my only piece of advice is not to try to squeeze everything in. There's nothing worse than going to the parks and seeing frazzled, stressed out families having forced family fun...No one is having it!!

Heather is right, you can see characters all over the parks. So don't stress about that too much. In fact, we took Cameron to Disney on her 4th birthday and made reservations that afternoon to eat in Cinderella's castle at 7 pm. You'll be surprised what you can schedule when you're here.

Oh and if you have a free hour or two, let me know...I would love to meet you face-to-face!

Sweetie Pieties said...

I had no idea about this. Though we're not quite ready for it right now, thanks for the tip for when we plan this vacation in a few years! I have a feeling everything is going to workout.

Cecily R said...

Good luck...I have no advice, only jealousy that you are even considering something that exciting!!!

Thanks for coming by my blog from SITS today!

Cecily R said...

Good luck...I have no advice, only jealousy that you are even considering something that exciting!!!

Thanks for coming by my blog from SITS today!

Connordog said...

I am jealous! I love Disney!!!! It's my most fav place. But we haven't been there in ages - we lived only an hour away from it, so we used to go all the time.

Are you going to do the dress up thing with the girls??

Jen said...

This sounds so complicated. You can't just go there. Wow! Thank goodness I have a few years before we will take a trip like this. I am going to have and remember this one.

CrystalChick said...

I'm a little behind in some blogs, but here's my two cents anyway....

We did Disney in 2000. Part of the Millenium celebration was still going on. It was crowded but we had no trouble getting into restaurants.
My hubby called me the Disney nazi, lovingly, but because I spent many hours writing things down, itineraries, what shows to see, what parks had what, what restaurants were recommended, etc.
By the last day, I was in a rented wheelchair because of shin splints from go.go.go.go all week long. LOL Oops.
The only reservation for meals we had was one character breakfast that was made at the time of booking because it was part of our package. Otherwise, we just went to places we wanted.
Maybe it was that our selections were for more basic restaurants?
I love the SciFi dine in theater! The food wasn't awesome, but we all loved the theme. Same with the Prime Time Cafe. I think we only did burgers there, but what a fun atmosphere.
Our kids were ... uh... around 16 and 7 at the time and we did everything as a family and all had fun. They both got autographs and we all saw the same shows. My son couldn't do Aerosmith's Rock and Rollercoaster so we took turns sitting with him. That ride ROCKS!!!

Gosh, I don't know what else to say, we just really winged it for meals and it seemed fine. But having gone 8 years ago I'm sure alot has changed. Good luck. HAVE FUN!! Our next trip is without kids. For our 25th anniversary this year we're going to Cancun. Yay! :)


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