Other options for accommodations include Animal Kingdom (Jambo or Kidani Resorts), Beach Club Resort, Boardwalk Resort, Boulder Ridge or Copper Creek at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Old Key West Resort, Polynesian, Riviera Resort or Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.) Even if you don’t have young children, being that close to the park was a convenience after a long day with Mickey and Friends.
We also obtained our park passes to the various Disney World parks through DVC Rental Store. Although we have a AAA membership, the discounted park tickets through DVC was the better option.
As we did have young children in tow, I made several dining reservations through Disney World. My friend suggested Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort. Before COVID it was done as a buffet, but now they have switched to family style. Breakfast is $45 for adults and $29 for children not including tax or gratuity. Dinner runs $59 and $38 respectively. The children were given Mac n’ cheese, chicken tenders and broccoli. My friend said for her grandchildren, breakfast worked better, we chose dinner. Instead of a buffet, dinner is now served family style, they bought platters of protein and vegetables so there was enough for 4 adults and for the children to try. Our server asked if we would like additional servings once he saw something was gone. A half dozen of assorted mini dessert offerings was brought to the table. We also found that Disney was very accommodating to special diets as my one granddaughter has a peanut allergy. It was noted on our reservation and confirmed when we arrived at any restaurant. At Chef Mickey’s they offered special desserts for her. Characters at dinner included not only Mickey, but Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy.
One morning we did an 8:30 AM character breakfast at Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios. Breakfast here was done buffet style with a nice of assortment of hot dishes that included Bananas Fosters French Toast, made to order omelets, assorted fruit and breads to name a few. Visiting us during breakfast was Vamparina, Fancy Nancy and Doc McStuffins.
On our second day at the Magic Kingdom, I wanted to sit down for lunch andI was lucky to land a last-minute reservation at The Crystal Palace. Little did I realize it was also character with Pooh Bear and his friends, Tigger and Piglet. This was a buffet that offered, country fried chicken, carved prime rib along with seasonal vegetables and desserts.
My granddaughters were quite tired when we lunch and wanted to swim at the pool at our hotel. It gave the adults a chance to regroup too. For dinner one evening we hopped a Disney bus and made our way to Disney Springs. Disney Springs is a large outdoor shopping mall with restaurants and assorted retail stores. On this evening we made reservations at Enzo’s Hideaway. It was lovely, casual dining offering delicious Italian food. We started with an order of calamari and Caesar salad. For entrees we selected Eggplant Parmigiana (Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Parmigiana, basil and spaghetti with tomato sauce) Ravioli Formaggi (tomato sauce, basil and pesto), Salmon Alla Griglia (grilled salmon, crispy potatoes, broccolini with Chile and garlic, salmoriglio).
The last place we dined was a last-minute reservation at Grand Floridian Cafe. I had a reservation for my husband and I, but at the last minute my daughter’s family was going to join us. I couldn’t obtain a reservation through the Disney website, nor could the concierge help us as they see the same availability. On my way up to our room, I remembered a website my daughter recommended to me when booking reservations before our departure. The website www.mousedining.com alerts you when your desired restaurants, date, meal and time are available. No sooner that I submitted a request, I received an email stating they had my time available.
I had want to stay at The Grand Floridian if I ever returned to Disney, but this trip, it was all about the children. We hopped on the monorail and headed off to The Grand Floridian. It is a gorgeous resort with Victorian architecture reminiscent of Cape May. This restaurant offered an ala carte menu. That evening they offered a delicious butternut squash soup that I had and the other adults had the Grilled Romaine Market Salad. Entrees for the adults were shrimp and grits with chorizo and fennel served on a top of cream mascarpone cheese grits and Miso-Glazed Salmon with lemon-scented sticky rice, French beans and ginger-soy vinaigrette. Our granddaughters had children’s meal of grilled flat iron steak with two sides and a beverage. Overall, the meals we had at Disney were very good, adequate portion size and very accommodating to young children. We ate very well at Disney.
I almost forgot, on our last evening at Disney World, we brought the family to the Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Pioneer Hall. This two hour show includes music, comedy revue and a family style dinner. There are three nightly shows beginning at 4, 6:15 and 8:30 PM. We took a boat ride to Fort Wilderness campground. It took approximately 30 minutes to get to the hall from the Magic Kingdom. There is no direct transportation from Disney World resorts. Dinner includes cornbread, cowboy beans, creamy coleslaw, mashed potatoes, smoked barbecued pork ribs, a garden salad and fried chicken. Dessert was a strawberry shortcake. You also have available unlimited draft beer, wine sangria, lemonade and iced tea.
My granddaughters enjoyed the show as it took place both on the stage in involved audience participation. It was lively show that had you singing, stomping your feet and clapping your hands. We went 25 years ago and my husband didn’t want our granddaughters to miss this.
On our last evening there, my son-in-law wanted to take his oldest daughter to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and light show. As I didn’t purchase hopper passes and the Magic Kingdom wasn’t our last park, he tried to see if he could upgrade the park pass to allow entrance to the Magic Kingdom for the light show. Unfortunately, the upgrade would apply to each day of our passes, not just one day. Guest services at the Magic Kingdom very kindly offered him complimentary tickets so he could take my granddaughter for the last night. My husband stayed back at the hotel with the sleeping two-year-old, but I went with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. What a show they put on; it was extraordinary. Between the laser light show on the castle, fireworks, coordinating music and even Tinkerbell flying overhead it was magical, of course, very memorable for children. Overall, Walt Disney World lives it to being “the most magical place on earth.” I have one more grandchild to which he will also have the pleasure of seeing Disney World with his parents and grandparents.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.