Most Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) system and used it as designed. In reading some of the many Disney forums on the web it is a bit disconcerting to see that there are still a lot of folks out there (particularly first time visitors) who believe that you can just walk up to one of the Walt Disney World restaurants and get a table. Check out this article Disney World Quick Tip: Dining without Reservations for more.visitors plan on dining at some table service restaurants while they are on vacation. I thought most everyone was aware of the
Please make your ADR’s or you will be eating at counter service locations throughout your visit. Just making your reservations will work if you are planning on eating at the normal table service restaurants but if you are planning on hitting the really “popular” or “in” places there are some strategies you should employ. By “popular” or “in” restaurants I mean places like Le Cellier, Cinderella’s Royal Table, OHana, etc. etc. Here are a few tactics you might employ as ADR day approaches and arrives:
- Have A Plan - Know where you want to dine, what day you want, and an approximate time and write them down!!!
- Credit Card At The Ready – There are some venues that require either pre payment (Dinner Shows) or a deposit of some type ( Dining Package) so whether you use the on line system or call 407- -DINE have your card available. Policies are thoroughly explained as you make each and every reservation so be patient.
- Prioritize Your ADR’s – This is key whether you use the on line system or call. Always make the most difficult reservations first. You can make your ADR’s in any date order so if you want to have breakfast in Cinderella Castle that should always be your first reservation.
- Use 180+10 Wisely – One of the major benefits of staying on site is that you can make reservations for the first 10 days of your vacation at the 180 day from check in mark. If you are planning on making ADR’s at some of the wildly popular venues you may want to consider scheduling them later in your vacation. Doing that will somewhat reduce the competition from those folks who check in 4 or 5 days earlier than you and are scheduling their ADR’s for the first few days of your vacation before you get a chance to start. It sounds a bit strange but it works.
- Be Flexible On Times - Don’t depend on eating lunch at 12:00 or dinner at 5:00. Lots of other folks are trying to do exactly that so be a bit flexible in your times so you won’t be disappointed.
There is no sure fire way to get the exact ADR’s at the exact time you want but if you utilize these suggestions you will likely have some success. I know these things work because that’s what I do. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Disney World Quick Tips: Count ALL of your family for ADRs (chipandco.com)
- Top 10 Table Service Meals at the WDW Resorts (chipandco.com)
Yes, there are quite a few things you can do while you are at Walt Disney World for free. Free is not generally a word associated with anything Disney but if you look, these things are there at no cost!! Here is a quick outline of ten things that run the gamut from FUN to USEFUL.
- Boat Ride From Downtown Disney To Port Orleans – If you look at the above picture you can see just how beautiful and serene this ride is It takes 20-25 minutes each way and the entire route looks much like this.
- Free Coca Cola Products - Club Cool is a cool (temperature) place to take a break from the heat and sample free Coca Cola products from around the world. Many of them are excellent but if you can con someone to try a drink called Beverly, have your camera ready for the reaction.
- Monorail Rides – Too often, the Monorail is looked at as transportation only. It’s actually a fun and relaxing way to pass some time. If you happen to be going to one of the Monorail Resorts, the Magic Kingdom, or Epcot it also meets your transportation needs – two for none so to speak.
- Entertainer Bob Jackson At Port Orleans Riverside – Bob Jackson provides music and comic antics for an evening of fun at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside. There is no cost for the entertainment but you may be inclined to have a beverage or two (drinks are not free – but you knew that).
- Music In The Grand Floridian Resort Lobby – Depending on the time of day and day of the week you can usually find either a talented pianist or a full dance orchestra playing in the lobby. This is a marvelous way to relax and unwind.
- Electrical Water Pageant – This happens nightly on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. It is a group of lighted and decorated barges with accompanying music that passes by the Polynesian at around 9:00 PM and works its way past the Grand Floridian and then over to Bay Lake where it passes the Wilderness Lodge and ends up passing Fort Wilderness at approximately 9:45 PM. Very neat!! You can view them from the nearest beach or dock.
- Free Character Photo For Disney Visa Cardholders – In the Innoventions West building between 1:30 and 4:30 PM daily you can have a meet and greet and get a free 5×7 picture if you are a Disney Visa cardholder. Just show your card to get into the meet and greet.
- Storytelling At The Animal Kingdom Lodge - Each evening at the firepit at Arusha Rock outside the lobby, there is a storyteller who spins tales of Africa. If it’s rainy, they move the whole thing inside to the indoor firepit. Check with the Cast Members at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the exact time because it varies by season.
- Free Entertainment On The Boardwalk – There are roving entertainers of all types each night on the Boardwalk. They are all free for your enjoyment and generally begin their performances at around 6:00 or 6:30 and go until 10:00 or 10:30 (people staying at the Boardwalk Inn have to sleep you know).
- Free Package Delivery To Your Resort - Items purchased while touring can be delivered to your resort for free. Just tell the cashier that you want them to go to the resort before they begin ringing your order. They say to allow 24 hours but I generally allow two days if you are leaving soon.
There you go!! So now you know that there are at least 10 free things at Walt Disney World. There are actually a lot more but 10 is a good starting point! As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Resort Hopping – Taking the Monorail Express (chipandco.com)
- The Best Things in the “World” are Free (chipandco.com)
See the above picture! That is my personal nemesis – Mission Space!!! I have a huge problem with motion sickness on almost every single attraction that involves any sort of physical disorientation. How many of these attractions do I avoid? NONE of them. There are lots of things you can do to help but the solutions are not the same for everyone. I can tell you what I have tried and what works the best for me but before you try any of them check with your Doctor even though the “remedies” are mostly Over The Counter (OTC).
My motion sickness is so bad I immediately went for the 800 pound gorilla remedy, the Scopolamine behind the ear patch. My Doctor prescribed the smallest dose available and told me to try it before I went to WDW to make sure I didn’t have any side effects – so much for the 800 pound gorilla. That stuff made me slur words and trip over my own feet!! That’s not the way to spend a vacation!!!
Next came research and lots of reading on the internet. After trying some of the available remedies (but not before discussing them with my Doctor) I settled on the following. Two ginger tablets (available OTC at any drug or health food store) twice a day and the recommended dose of Bonine (also OTC) in the morning took excellent care of the motion sickness throughout the day. Some “experts” will tell you that ginger does not work as a preventative but I know what worked in my case. I also carried extra Bonine and ginger in case it was needed but it never was. That same word of caution – run it by your Doctor before you try any of the recommended motion sickness remedies that you get from any source.
Motion sickness can really interfere with your vacation and keep you from experiencing some of Walt Disney World’s best attractions. There is something much worse than that though – harming your health by taking any “cure” without checking with your Doctor. I hope the important theme about motion sickness is overly obvious – there is relief but don’t try it on your own. Only your Doctor can tell you how these OTC remedies may react in your case. As always, enjoy your motion sickness free visit to Walt Disney World!!
Here is a list of rides I would avoid at Disney World that might make you sick.
- Primeval Whirl
- Mission: Space
- Star Tours
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Mad Tea Party
- Space Mountain
Are there any I missed? Let us know in the comment box below.
- What to do when things don’t go as planned: The top 5 ways to make the most of your WDW vacation (chipandco.com)
- The top 5 ways to make the most of your WDW vacation (chipandco.com)
It’s 2012 and I’ll bet a lot of you are planning trips to Walt Disney World this new year. We have made quite a few visits and over the years have developed a viable plan involving a number of steps that have proven very reliable over the years. Let’s take a look what we do in order to make the planning as simple and orderly as possible:
- Decide Who Is Going: This seems pretty obvious but if you don’t know who is definitely going on the trip the rest of the steps will not fall into place.
- Decide When You Are Going: This is why #1 is so important. The trip needs to be planned around everyone’s availability to travel taking into account work and school commitments in particular.
- Get A Great Travel Agent: Having a great Disney Specialist as a Travel Agent (TA) takes the detail load off your back. The TA will generally do as little or as much as you want them to but the most important thing they possess is KNOWLEDGE. They know when and where to look for available discounts and how to get them applied to your trip.
- Book A “Room Only” Reservation: We do this because this locks the room to you and everything else depends on your having someplace to sleep. Fear not, as discounts or deals become available your TA can present you with options and you can decide on the direction you want to take. You can add to your reservation at any time without fees (this includes applying discounts as they become available). “Room Only” reservations can be made up to 500 days in advance of your check out date. TA will do this.
- Book your Flights: It’s important to have the room first because it’s easier (and definitely cheaper) to adjust your room reservation as opposed to flights. TA can do this, we do our own.
- Give Disney’s Magical Express (DME) Your Flight Information: Your TA will do this. Airlines do make changes to times and flight numbers and if they do, at 45 Days prior to your arrival call DME with the changes. Once again, your TA can do this. Do it as close to 45 days as possible so changes can be made to your DME paperwork before they mail it to you.
- Take Advantage Of Planning Websites: By planning websites I mean both fee based sites (Tour Guide Mike, TouringPlans.com etc.) and discussion boards (Passporter.com,Dis Boards etc.). You can get help, advice, and very valuable planning information from these sites. Personally we use Tour Guide Mike and the Passproter Boards.
- Begin Formulating Park Plans: Approximately 6 months in advance, Park Hours become available and the fee based sites from #7 put together their crowd estimates for each park. They actually do this quickly, about 10 days to 2 weeks after Disney releases hours. Use these crowd estimates to determine Which Park/Which Day for your trip. Do this before you do #9.
- Book Advance Dining Reservations(ADR’s): This can be done at 180 days prior to your arrival and you can book the first 10 days of your vacation if you stay on site. Most very experienced Disney visitors seem to agree that you base your ADR’s on where you will be rather than planning where you will be based on your ADR’s. You can make exceptions to this if you get an ADR that you absolutely must have (Le Cellier) and you were not planning to be at Epcot that day but be a bit careful. Don’t lock yourself into a very crowded park just to have lunch or dinner. TA can do this (at least a good one will), we do our own.
- Take It Easy, Your Trip Planning (with Disney) Is Done: Now that you have completed these steps your basic planning involvement with Disney is done except for paying off your package (if you bought a package) 45 days prior to your arrival (TA can do this too). If you keep your “Room Only” and buy the rest separately you can wait until you arrive to pay off your room balance (total cost minus deposit). You can do some planning refinement as you approach your trip if park hours or other circumstances change but basically the hard work is done.
These 10 steps have worked well consistently for us and you can use them or develop your own planning strategies. Please, please,please do some planning especially for ADR’s because when Free Dining or other deep discounts are available, a place to sit down for a meal can be impossible to come by. ” Winging” it just doesn’t work anymore. I have recommended the use of a Disney Specialist TA, remember, they do not charge for their services because Disney pays them. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Disney’s Magical Express Tips & Details (chipandco.com)
- I Don’t Need a Disney Travel Agent…or do I? (chipandco.com)
When we, as Oldies, visit Walt Disney World we approach it a little bit differently from our younger friends. For example, after getting up at 4:00 AM and catching an early flight we then spend a good portion of the day getting to our happy place. After a long day of travel and getting to our resort hotel, I don’t know about the rest of my Senior friends but I’m ready to rest for a bit. For that reason our arrival day is always an easy one. We generally get checked in and have dinner after which we walk the resort. Occasionally, if we are staying at Port Orleans, we will take the boat to Downtown Disney and then take it right back again. It’s a great way to unwind so you can get to bed and sleep well to be ready for your first day. Many of our younger friends head for a park or go to one of the entertainment areas for some clubbing, not us!!!
In talking to other Oldies we have found that most of them spend 7-9 days on site not counting travel days. This calls for pre-planning your day to day park visits before you arrive. Pre-planning your park visits also allows you to make Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) based on where you will be each day (that’s a lot better than planning your park days based on which ADR’s you have). I always use one of the subscription websites that produce charts indicating what crowds will be like each day in each park for planning purposes. Both Touring Plans.com and Tour Guide Mike do a good job of this but my preference is and has been Tour Guide Mike. The accuracy at that sight is always spot on and I rely heavily on their recommendations.
Just a few quick hints, make sure you allow enough park time in your favorite park. Ours is Epcot and on a 9 day visit we spend at least 2 1/2 to 3 days there. We then divide the majority of the rest of the visit between the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios with just a short half day visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for our favorite attractions. The most important thing that we Oldies can do is to plan a rest day somewhere towards the middle of your stay. On this day you can sleep in, spend a bit of time by the pool, visit some other resorts (to plan for future visits), play some golf, do some shopping, etc. You should just do something that gets you away from the pace and intensity of the parks. As much as we all love the theme parks, they can be exhausting. Please don’t ignore this, it will make your entire visit much more fun!!!
This is nothing more than a few suggestions to make sure you get the most out of your visit without exhausting yourself and perhaps endangering your health. Nothing is worth making yourself sick trying to enjoy yourself too much. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Top Five Walt Disney World Resort News Stories in 2011 (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Quick Tips – Don’t Visit Walt Disney World Through A Viewfinder (chipandco.com)
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