Top 5 Table Service Restaurants at Disney World

These are my top 5 table service restaurants at Disney World. I based my list on service, atmosphere, food, and overall experience (on a scale of 1-5).

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1. Akershus at Epcot- buffet style appetizers with menu order for entree and dessert with character meetings

Service: 5     Atmosphere: 5     Food: 5     Overall Experience: 5

2. Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios- buffet style with character meetings (breakfast and lunch)

Service: 4     Atmosphere: 4     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 4

3. 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian Resort- buffet style with character meetings

Service: 4     Atmosphere: 5     Food: 5     Overall Experience: 5

4. Cinderella’s Royal Table- menu order with appetizer, entree, and dessert

Service: 4     Atmosphere: 5     Food: 5     Overall Experience: 5

5. Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary Resort- buffet style with character meetings

Service: 5     Atmosphere: 5     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 5

Top 5 Quick Service Restaurants at Disney World

These are my top 5 quick service restaurants at Disney World. I based my list on atmosphere, food, and overall experience (on a scale of 1-5).

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1. Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom

Atmosphere: 5     Food: 5     Overall Experience: 5

2. Pinocchio Village Haus at Magic Kingdom

Atmosphere: 4     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 4

3. Pizza Planet at Hollywood Studios

Atmosphere: 5     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 4.5

4. Sunshine Seasons at Epcot

Atmosphere: 4     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 4.5

5. Electric Umbrella at Epcot

Atmosphere: 4     Food: 4     Overall Experience: 4.5

Disney World:: Magic Kingdom

This was probably my favorite day of our Disney World vacation. We started in Tomorrowland. We had a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear’s Spin, but we didn’t use it because the line was not long at all. I think it got longer later in the day. The Tomorrowland Speedway was lots of fun. I just kept laughing because Abby was bumping along back and forth and I just kept thinking how scary it will be when she turns 16! Abby and Cade got to meet Stitch. He was very funny. He pretended to pick his nose with Cade’s marker, which Cade thought was hilarious. After we made our way through Tomorrowland, we made our way into Fantasyland. We took a quick ride on Dumbo and then we utilized the Rider Switch again on Splash Mountain in Frontierland. Derek and the kids got in line for Splash Mountain while Cara and I headed back to “it’s a small world.” We rode that twice and then met Derek, Abby, and Cade in line at Be Our Guest for a quick service lunch. Be Our Guest had a neat electronic way of ordering on the way in. The dining room at Be Our Guest was beautiful and the drink machines were accessible. I had the carved turkey sandwich which was very good. After lunch, we went to use a FastPass at Enchanted Tales with Belle. That was a fantastic experience. The kids really enjoyed it and I had fun watching.

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We spent the afternoon meeting characters, riding rides, and having fun. Around 4:00, we left the park and rode around on the monorail to have some rest time and to look around. Then we went to Contemporary Resort to eat at Chef Mickey’s. Chef Mickey’s was a lot of fun. The food on the buffet was great and the characters were fun too. After dinner, we went back into Magic Kingdom. We were still hanging around in the front when we realized it was almost time for the Main Street Electrical Parade to begin. We got seats right in the front where the floats come out. It was a lot of fun and I got some glow things out of the bag for the kids that I had brought with. I had glow necklaces, bracelets, rings, and swords. It sure was a lot cheaper than buying the souvenirs they were selling.  After the parade, we met some fairies and rode some more rides. It was an amazing day…and night!

Laundry at All Star Movies at Disney World

When trying to pack lightly for a vacation, one idea is to pack half of what you need and decide to do laundry part way through the vacation. That is what I did since we were flying Spirit and I knew that laundry would be cheaper than another suitcase. Planning ahead will make everything go much easier. I packed quarters and Tide Pods, which I had gotten as samples on Tide.

Laundry collage editedAfter we got back from Hollywood Studios, Derek got the kids ready for bed while I loaded all the dirty clothes into the suitcase. I grabbed my Rapid Fill cup and headed off to the laundry room. At All-Star Movies resort, it is located next to the pool area in its own little building. I was lucky to find two washing machines because a lot of them were being used. I got the laundry started, put the suitcase on top of the washer so it was out of the way and people would know it was being used, and then I headed to the food court. I filled up my cup with some Coke and sat by the pool for awhile texting my bestie back home about the weather. We hadn’t had great weather in Orlando, but back home it was negative 40 something with the windchill and lots of snow. (It sure is nice to have good friends who will check on your house and make sure the pipes aren’t frozen and then clear your super steep driveway for you!) Anyway, I think the most important thing about doing laundry on vacation is to bring everything you need so you don’t have to buy the overpriced (and not as good) detergent out of the vending machine. It was nice to walk in and get started right away and not have to mess with getting change either. The only thing I didn’t plan well enough was having a fully charged phone battery. I was mid conversation when my phone died and then I got bored waiting for the clothes. When the laundry was done, I just threw it back into the suitcase and folded it when I got back to the room. It really was quite easy and even somewhat relaxing!

Top 5 Character Experiences at Walt Disney World

The first time I visited Disney World as an adult, I had no idea how big of a deal the character meetings could be. When we went in 2010, Abby loved the characters (although Cade did NOT). It was even more special meeting them this time because all 3 kids LoVeD the characters. Although we did not have any character experiences that were not enjoyable, we definitely had some that stood out as amazing. Here is a list of our top character experiences (in no particular order):

1. Peter Pan and Wendy Darling: They were located at Magic Kingdom in the area between Fantasyland and Liberty Square where the bathrooms used to be. We just missed the cut off to meet Peter and Wendy a few times throughout the afternoon and kept saying we would come back. When we missed the 3:00 set, we found out that 4:00 would be their last one of the day. So, we decided to go ahead and wait in line even though it was only about 3:15. That put us first in line for the 4:00. When they came out, Peter came running into the area yelling and crowing. He actually made me jump a mile but I instantly started laughing when I realized what was going on. Peter and Wendy talked to the kids, asked them questions, and played their roles perfectly. Then they gave the kids “flying” lessons. It was such a neat experience and the kids still randomly talk about when they met Peter Pan and how he made them jump.

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2. Princesses at Akershus: When we went to Disney in 2010, we ate breakfast at Akershus and this time we ate there for dinner. Aside from the food and service being fantastic, the characters were fabulous as well. The night we were there, the princesses were Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella. We met Belle on our way in and had our pictures taken with her. The other princesses came out during dinner. They also had a Princess Parade where the kids walked through the restaurant with the princesses. It was cute and a nice way for the kids to feel part of the experience.

3. Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella: We met Cinderella’s step-mother and step-sisters near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom. They were perfect. They were in character but not mean and scary. The girls loved them. They asked Cara questions and Anastasia kept telling Cara how cute she was. Although they had their characters down perfectly, Cara was cute enough to get Lady Tremaine to smile even though I could tell she didn’t really want to.

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4. Playhouse Disney at Hollywood and Vine: We ate at Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios for breakfast in 2010 and lunch in 2014. The characters do not do appearances for dinner. When we were there, it was Oso, Handy Manny, June, and Jake. A few weeks after we left, the characters switched to Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake, and Handy Manny. Ugh! Cara would have LOVED to meet Doc and Sophia. Even without those favorites, the character experience was fantastic. They took their time at the table and didn’t make us feel like we couldn’t go to the buffet or we would miss out (as they told us at Crystal Palace). They also had times where the kids could go up and sing and dance with the characters. The kids really had a lot of fun and the fact that the food was amazing was a bonus.

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5. Enchanted Tales with Belle: This experience is at Magic Kingdom in the New Fantasyland area next to Be Our Guest restaurant. When we went in 2010, the New Fantasyland area was under construction so this was the first time we did the Enchanted Tales. We used a Fast Pass for this since we had the Magic Bands although I’m not sure how long the line would have been without it. It would be worth waiting for anyway. It reminded me of a reader’s theater. There were three different areas to the experience. In the first area, it is an introduction. The second area is where the kids “try out” for parts. They made sure everyone got a part that wanted one. Then in the last area, Belle came into the room and the kids acted out the story. Cade got the part of Belle’s father so he held up prison bars and shivered from the cold. Abby was Philippe so she galloped and neighed across the room. Cara got the part of Chip and she was to jump around. She did a great job! After the play, the kids all got a picture with Belle. It really was such a neat experience.

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Gaston’s Tavern

It took me a few days of trial and error, but I finally found the answer of how to utilize snack credits! As soon as we got to Magic Kingdom, we made our way to the back of the park to the new Fantasyland area and went to Gaston’s Tavern for breakfast. I went in to order while Derek and the kids snagged a table outside by the fountain. I ordered 2 LeFou’s Brew in a regular cup, fresh fruit, and a warm cinnamon roll. The menu price of the LeFou’s Brew was $4.49, but I used snack credits for those and the price of the cinnamon roll was $3.99, which I also used a snack credit for. The drink is a frozen apple juice slushy with a fruity foam on top. It was a pretty big cup and if I had it to do over, I would have ordered just one. Because it was icy, it lasted through all 5 of us for breakfast. Even though the cinnamon roll was big, I would have ordered two. It was so good. We all devoured it. It was warm and gooey and yummy!

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While we ate, we looked at the Magic Kingdom map and came up with our plan of attack. The kids enjoyed the breakfast and eating outside by the fountain was nice.

Autograph Photo Mats

Characters. Characters. MORE Characters. The first time we went to Disney World with the kids in 2010, I really had no idea that character meetings were such a big deal. Before we left, my sister-in-law bought the kids autograph photo books. Abby loved it. She wanted to meet all the characters. The books are really cute and a nice souvenir, but they never get taken out. No one ever looks at them. This time I wanted something for the signatures that I could display. I decided to use a photo mat.

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I found these at Hobby Lobby. The opening is a 4×6 and the mat fits into an 8×10 frame. I also read that click top Sharpies are easy for the characters to use and they worked out really well. We didn’t have caps to keep track of either, which was nice. I kept our 4 mats (one for each kid and one for Derek and I to share) and the markers in a gallon size slider baggie (yes, I have a baggie problem!). It fit well in our backpack and was easy to carry around. The characters seemed to have no trouble with the mat or the markers. The only problem was that they filled up fast. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought 2 for each kid. Maybe have all the princesses sign one and other characters for the other. As it turned out, the characters just signed both sides so if we want to, we can flip the mat around, although I doubt we ever will. The end result is an amazing and not very expensive souvenir that we get to look at every day hanging in the playroom.

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