My husband and I will be taking our 6th trip (my 7th trip) to Walt Disney World, since we got married in 2007. We’ve taken trips to Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Kelley’s Island, and Siesta Key Beach, but there is something special that always keeps us coming back to Disney. While new experiences are definitely possible in cities like Chicago, New York, and DC, it’s the magic of new experiences at Disney that keep us coming back.
Some may question, well you’ve been there so many times- haven’t you seen everything there is to see yet? The answer is a definite no. Walt Disney World is massive. I’m pretty sure I could live at Disney for a 6 months, and still not have seen and done everything there is to do there. Because there are so many new and unique experiences at Disney my husband and I have decided that we want each trip to be special and different in some way. On our upcoming trip (we leave in 12 days WOO HOO!!!), we’ve planned it so that we will experience many new things, however there are three in particular that I am most excited about!.
1) The Resort
My husband and I are generally fairly frugal people. Every time that we have stayed on Disney property, we have stayed at the All Star Resorts. Once at the All Star Movie, and several times at the All Star Music resort. These resorts are wonderful! They are beautifully and whimsically themed, have a pool, clean rooms, and are on disney property for a under $100 per day (depending on what time of year you go). They are a winning hotel situation. We were originally going to go for a longer stay in June and had budgeted to stay once again at the All Star Resorts. We ended up having to cancel the June trip because of job changes and make up snow days (Trust me, calling Disney to cancel was the worst day of my life… no joke, I was in tears after I got off the phone). BUT, we had already saved up the money for this 9 day trip, and it was all on gift cards. We knew that we would be able to go back to Disney, we just weren’t sure when it would happen. Through some strategic planning we were able to rebook or vacation for August. This time it was going to be a much shorter trip, only 5 or 6 days. Since we had already budgeted for the longer trip, we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a Moderate Resort. On this trip we will be staying at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. There are so many different resorts at Disney, and I am excited to be trying a new one for the first time. Yes, this difference is minor, BUT it is a new experience that I am excited for.
When you book a Disney vacation on Disney Property, you can make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) up to 180 days in advance. This may seem crazy to make your reservations that far in advance, BUT the most popular restaurants fill up 180 days out. If you want to ensure the restaurants you want be sure to plan in advance!
Craig and I are using the Disney Dining Plan on this trip. Which means that our meals are pre-paid. We added this onto our plan and with it, we each receive 1 quick service credit, 1 table service credit, and 1 snack for each night we are booked. We’ve done the dining plan before, and definitely have our favorite restaurants, however we decided on this trip we want to try all new restaurants. So when making our reservations, as much as I wanted to make a reservation at San Angel Inn, and Le Chefs de France, I opted to book elsewhere for the sake of a new experience. The restaurants that we selected for our table service credits are a mix of restaurants both in the parks and at the resorts, and all restaurants that we’ve never tried.
Tuesday Dinner- Boatwrights Dining Hall (Port Orleans Riverside Resort)
Wednesday Dinner- Boma- Flavors of Africa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Thursday Lunch- Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
Friday Dinner- Biergarten Restaurant (Germany Pavilion- Epcot)
Saturday Dinner- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (Hollywood Studios)
Sunday Dinner- La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico Pavilion- Epcot) (and yes this is different than “San Angel Inn” that I referenced earlier! There are now two table service restaurants at the Mexico Pavilion. San Angel is our favorite, but then again we’ve never tried La Hacienda!)
Sunday “Wind Down”- Tutto Gusto (Italy Pavilion- Epcot) This is a new and unique special event that is offered at Epcot on select evenings. It starts right after Illuminations as the guests are exiting the park. We will enjoy small plates and wine pairings, as well as get a unique look at the park with very few guests! (This is an additional paid experience, not included in the Dining Plan)
The above listed will use all 6 of our table service dining credits, however, we were able to snag a coveted fast pass for lunch on Monday at the Be Our Guest Restaurant (New Fantasyland- Magic Kingdom). This restaurant is inside the Beasts Castle at the Magic Kingdom. By day it is a quick service lunch spot and by night it is a table service restaurant. With its newness and unique theming if you want to eat here this is one where you’ll need the ADR nearly 180 days out. If not try it for lunch!
3) Downtown Disney
In my mind a visit or two to Downtown Disney is just as much a part of a Disney trip as the parks are. If you’ve ever been to DD you’ve seen a large balloon floating in the sky. That balloon is called Character’s in flight. We’ve often seen it and thought “Wow, that would be awesome.” This year we are doing it.
Disney trips don’t have to all be the same. If planned you can definitely have a different experience every single time you go!