Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dining in Epcot


So you've booked your hotel.  You've picked your dining plan.  Now it's 180 days (or less) before your vacation and you're thinking, "There are so many options!"  I've been there.  How do you decide between restaurants around Disney property and in each of the parks?

I'm here to help.

Epcot has the most options out of all the parks for table-service dining, with 16 options to choose from!  Epcot also offers some of the more exciting options, with a table-service restaurant (or 2!) in most countries around World Showcase.  This can make it especially difficult to determine where you want to make a reservation.

We'll start in Future World, with The Coral Reef in the Living Seas Pavilion
Ideal for: The Spender, The Romantic
Price Range: $18-$30, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • A little pricier in comparison to some of the other restaurants, likely due to the well-known atmosphere.  Also, the tables next to the water make it a romantic destination for couples.
  • Pros:
    • Awesome view of the aquarium while dining here, with overall great atmosphere
    • Food is pricey, so it's a good use of table-service credits
  • Cons: Food is only "okay" compared to other venues
  • Other Notes: Try some of the ocean themed cocktails here!


Also in Future World, the Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion
Ideal for: The Planner
Price Range: about $40, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Garden Grill
  • Because of the fact that this restaurant is character dining, it can be a little more difficult to get a reservation.
  • Pros:
    • Served family style, with limitless refills of the food items
    • Most of the food items here are sustainable options
  • Cons:
    • Character dining (with Mickey, Pluto, and Chip & Dale), so it likely has a lot more children
    • The fact that the restaurant rotates is a big draw for kids as well
  • Other Notes:  The restaurant rotates slowly while eating, giving diners various views of the Living with the Land ride below the restaurant.  The best views are from a booth, so request one if you go.


Now, working our way around World Showcase, we'll start in Canada at Le Cellier Steakhouse
Ideal for: The Planner, The Spender
Price Range: $26-$56 (per entree), or 2 table-service credits
Link to Menu: Le Cellier
  • Being one of the signature dining options in Epcot, this restaurant can be very hard to get into.  However, if you can spend the money to do so, it's lives up to the expectation and has great food and service.
  • Pros:
    • The food here is great, despite the high prices
    • Service is fantastic
  • Cons:
    • Lunch and dinner are both expensive
    • Difficult reservation to get, likely need to book it 180 days in advance
  • Other Notes: The restaurant is supposed to inspire the feel of dining in a wine cellar, so it's great for an adult atmosphere, as well as a glass of wine!


Next is the United Kingdom, and Rose and Crown Pub and Dining
Ideal for: The Saver
Price Range: $15-$30, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • Rose and Crown Pub is a moderately priced option that has good food and a great atmosphere, and can be fun for all types of visitors!
  • Pros:
    • Food is considerably good
    • Lots of quality alcohol options (beer, scotch, cider, and cognac especially)
    • Theming is very authentic
  • Cons:
    • Pricey and small desserts
    • Limited indoor seating
  • Other Notes:
    • The pub and dining room are separate.  So if your goal is to "drink around the world," head here for a unique beer, but also consider making a dining reservation for some good food.
    • The outdoor patio offers a great place to view Illuminations at the end of the night, but if you don't want to endure the "fighting" for a patio, choose to go for lunch instead.


Pass through the International Gateway to France, and Les Chefs de France
Ideal for: The Impulsive, The Romantic
Price Range: $24 for lunch, $40 for dinner, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • Despite being pretty easy to get into, this restaurant has really good food and a great Parisian feel, making it perfect for couples to experience "The City of Love" Epcot-style!
  • Pros:
    • Very authentic French theming
    • Large windows with outside views that are great for people watching, but shelter from the cold/heat
  • Cons: The tables are in close proximity to each other
  • Other Notes: An animatronic version of Remy (from Ratatouille) sometimes visits, more likely during lunch and dinner, and helps deliver your food.


Also in France is Monsieur Paul
Ideal for: The Planner, The Saver
Price Range: $40 (per entree), or 2 table-service credits
Link to Menu: Monsieur Paul
  • Just like Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul can be difficult to get a reservation for, but as a signature dining option, has high quality food (with a cost).
  • Pros:
    • Quiet restaurant
    • High end options (filet mignon, escargot, duck breast, soufflé, and creme brûlée)
  • Cons:
    • Expensive, and possibly not considered "worth the cost."
    • Despite renovations recently, it might still be a little outdated inside
  • Other Notes: If you get a window seat during a late dinner, you can view Illuminations from the restaurant, which offers a great vantage point from the second floor.


After France, you enter Morocco, with Restaurant Marrakesh
Ideal for: The Impulsive, The Saver, Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: $15-$30, or 1 table-service credit 
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • In addition to being pretty easy to get into without a reservation as well as fairly cheap compared to the other table-service restaurants, Restaurant Marrakesh is a fun place to try new and adventurous foods and enjoy belly dancing while you dine.
  • Pros:
    • Moroccan music and belly dancers perform, and has a lavish atmosphere
    • Interesting foods!
    • Typically easy to get a reservation here
  • Cons:
    • Though the food is interesting, some less adventurous individuals may not like menu items (though just ask for a modification, and they will be happy to oblige)
    • Some consider it to be too "Americanized," not as immersive
  • Other Notes: If not on the dining plan, eat here for lunch instead of dinner.  The menu options are mostly the same at lunch and tend to be cheaper.


Japan is next, featuring Teppan Edo
Ideal for: Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: $25-$30 (per entree), or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Teppan Edo
  • Teppan Edo creates a fun atmosphere to enjoy your food (and sake) by making dinner into a show!
  • Pros:
    • Hibachi-style, with good food and generous dinner portions
    • Simple cooking style is great for those watching calories
    • Entertaining chefs (would you expect anything less with Disney??)
  • Cons:
    • Like most hibachi restaurants, you could be seated with other diners (which some may not like)
    • Dessert portions tend to be small
  • Other Notes: Try some sake (Japanese rice wine) with your meal here!


Also in Japan, try Tokyo Dining
Ideal for: The Saver
Price Range: $15-$30, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Tokyo Dining
  • This place is great for the saver because you can get really interesting, ethnic sushi choices while still not spending the money that you might at other table-service restaurants in Epcot.
  • Pros:
    • Usually easy to get a reservation
    • Elegant atmosphere
  • Cons: Sushi is really the specialty here, so not the best pick for the less adventurous
  • Other Notes: There are two dining rooms, and one allows you to watch chefs prepare dishes.


After Japan, pass up the American Adventure to find two dining spots in Italy, Via Napoli...
Ideal for: The Saver
Price Range: Pizza for 3-5 people is around $40, or 1 table-service credit (per person)
Link to Menu: Via Napoli
  • If eating in a group, this can be a cheap option by splitting a pizza (the signature dish here) but still having the table-service experience.
  • Pros:
    • Considered to be some of the best pizza in Disney World
    • Lots of dessert, espresso, and cocktail options
  • Cons: Not the best acoustics, as this restaurant tends to be pretty loud
  • Other Notes: If you come here using a table-service credit and the table orders a pizza, each person gets deducted a table-service credit.  However, if you want a pizza in Italy, this might be your best option, as there is no Italian quick-service option.


...and also in Italy, Tutto Italia Ristorante
Ideal for: The Romantic
Price Range: around $25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • The old world Italy feel inside the restaurant creates a great atmosphere for couples to dine in.
  • Pros:
    • More formal than Via Napoli
    • Extensive list of desserts, espressos, and cocktails
  • Cons:
    • Some of the tables for 2 are very close together
    • Not great acoustics, can be fairly loud
    • Food can be inconsistent
  • Other Notes: This restaurant is better for a little more formal dining experience, but for pizza, try Via Napoli instead.


Try Biergarten in Germany
Ideal for: Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: $25 at lunch, $35-$40 at dinner, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Biergarten
  • This restaurant is great for those who want to be social, as you might be seated with other diners.  There is also German-style entertainment on the stage up front that makes it more than just a meal here.  Chanting phrases from Oktoberfest really brings the German party atmosphere to life.
  • Pros:
    • Buffet style meal, so it can be fun to sample a large range of German foods
    • German entertainment (where they encourage diners participation) takes place on the stage every hour
    • German beer (pretend you're at Oktoberfest!)
  • Cons: "Family-style" seating means you may be placed intimately at a table with other vacationers
  • Other Notes: The inside of the restaurant creates an atmosphere of being outside at night in Germany


And in China, try Nine Dragons Restaurant
Ideal for: The Impulsive
Price Range: $15-$25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • It is typically very easy to get into this restaurant!
  • Pros:
    • Recently renovated, nice interior atmosphere
    • Typically easy to get a reservation
  • Cons: Food reviews tend to be mediocre (typical Chinese food)
  • Other Notes: If you go, make sure to order appetizers, as those tend to be the star of the meal (unfortunately not included on the dining plan).


Norway is home to Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Ideal for: The Planner, The Spender, The Romantic
Price Range: $40-$50, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: BreakfastLunchDinner
  • Being a princess meal, it is a very desirable, and expensive, option.  However, the restaurant is set up like a castle (with one circular room that feels like a turret) and is very lavish on the inside.  Also, great for the couple that wants to feel like royalty and dine along with the princesses (and with 1 table-service credit, is less expensive than Cinderella's Royal Table in Magic Kingdom).
  • Pros:
    • Lunch and dinner tend to have small (but tasty) portions, but are supplemented with a cold buffet
    • Only Breakfast option for table-service in Epcot
  • Cons:
    • Expensive if paying out of pocket
    • Character dining, so many children likely present
  • Other Notes: A printed photo package is included in the meal with the princess greeting in the entrance (typically Belle).


And last on the tour of World Showcase is Mexico, where you will find San Angel Inn Restaurante...
Ideal for: The Impulsive, The Romantic
Price Range: $20-$25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • It is typically pretty easy to get into this restaurant, and the constant twilight created with the lighting here creates a romantic atmosphere for couples.
  • Pros:
    • Located inside the pyramid in Mexico, great ambience of perpetual twilight
    • Strong margaritas and very good appetizers
  • Cons:
    • Though food ratings in the past were inconsistent, they seem to be improving
    • Small dessert portions, not of the highest quality
  • Other Notes:  Try and request a seat by the water, it lets you watch as the boats from the La Gran Fiesta attraction go by.


...And also in Mexico, the last restaurant on the list, La Hacienda de San Angel
Ideal for: Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: around $25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: La Hacienda
  • Good Mexican food with tasty margaritas can create a great party feeling for friends!
  • Pros:
    • Elegant atmosphere
    • Good margaritas, appetizers, and desserts
  • Cons
    • Some of the entrees are less than flavorful
    • Service can be inconsistent
  • Other Notes:  With outdoor seating as well as views from the windows inside, (like many other restaurants in World Showcase) it can be a great place to view Illuminations.


From my experience of Epcot's restaurants, I would likely suggest Rose and Crown Pub, Les Chefs de France, Teppan Edo, and La Hacienda de San Angel as top choices.  However, it's important to think about exactly what you want out of your trip, because the options are extremely varied and suited to every taste!

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add or questions to ask?
Leave a comment!
Tell your friends!

Next post: Dining in Hollywood Studios

Until next time...




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And on Twitter! (@YADisney20)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dining in Magic Kingdom


So you've booked your hotel.  You've picked your dining plan.  Now it's 180 days (or less) before your vacation and you're thinking, "There are so many options!"  I've been there.  How do you decide between restaurants around Disney property and in each of the parks?

I'm here to help.

There are 6 table-service dining options within Magic Kingdom, with distinct personalities and experiences to satisfy every vacationers needs.

First stop: Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland.
Ideal for: The Planner, The Romantic
Price Range: $15-$20, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Be Our Guest
  • This restaurant is best for the planner because, as it is the newest restaurant in Magic Kingdom, reservations need to be made also 180 days in advance.  It's great for the romantic because it throws you right into the middle of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Pros:
    • Interesting French food
    • Nostalgic atmosphere (the ballroom is right out of the movie)
    • Only place in Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol
  • Cons: Service has been notedly inconsistent
  • Other notes:
    • The Beast is in the "West Wing" during dinner
    • Alternatively, Be Our Guest is open as a quick-service option for lunch.  This requires no reservation, but has the same menu!  (Hint: for the impulsive)

Next Up: Cinderella's Royal Table in Cinderella Castle.
Ideal for: The Romantic, The Spender
Price Range: $55-$70, or 2 table-service credits
Link to Menu: BreakfastLunchDinner
  • This restaurant is best for the romantic, because every princess and prince charming deserves to dine with the princesses inside Cinderella Castle!  It's good for the spender because it's the most expensive dining option in Magic Kingdom, for great reasons!
  • Pros:
    • The view and experience of dining inside of the castle is very memorable
    • Includes picture package
    • Offer a proposal package for those planning on getting engaged at the parks
  • Cons:
    • Character dining means that many children will be there
  • Other notes:
    • Getting an 8 AM reservation means that you'll likely be in the park before it officially opens.  This allows for great pictures in front of the Cinderella Castle without other visitors in the background

Next: The Crystal Palace in Main Street U.S.A.
Ideal for: ...no one?
Price Range: $25-$40, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: BreakfastLunchDinner

  • The meal is a little more expensive, since it is character dining, but the buffet style means that you can fill up on as much as you want while dining here!
  • Pros: Includes many of the "favorite" dishes from around the parks (such as Mickey Waffles for breakfast)
  • Cons:
    • Character dining (especially since it's the Winnie the Pooh characters) means families with small children will likely be the primary guest.
    • Often requires a reservation far in advance
  • Other notes:
    • Cast members here are known to be great at acknowledging "special occasions," so be sure to let them know what you're celebrating if you go.
Honestly, I would not recommend going to the Crystal Palace.  It's hard to get a reservation, it's character dining with Winnie the Pooh, and the buffet style is very unspecific.  Unless you have a passion for buffets or characters, stick to another option in Magic Kingdom.


My boyfriend's pick: Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square
Ideal for: Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: $15 for lunch, $35 for dinner, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • The "Thanksgiving Style" dinner meal is really fun to experience in the middle of Magic Kingdom, and the atmosphere of the restaurant takes you back to the time period!
  • Pros:
    • If you go for dinner, it's served family style on platters.  If you run out of any of the dishes, they'll bring you a refill!  It's easy to really fill up on food here.
    • The food is (from my experience) really delicious
  • Cons: During busier times of the year, waits can be long even with a reservation
  • Other notes:
    • I really recommend going for dinner, not lunch.  The family style experience is a really good time, and all of the food is really good.
    • My boyfriend (a meat and potatoes kind of guy) liked this because he could eat as much as he wanted of the stuff that he liked, and we were both stuffed at the end of the meal.

And next: The Plaza Restaurant in Main Street U.S.A.
Ideal for: The Saver, The Impulsive
Price Range: $11-$18, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: The Plaza
  • This table-service restaurant is best for the saver, because most of the entrees are comparable in price to quick-service options, if not using the dining plan.  It's good for the impulsive because there are often reservations, even the day before.
  • Pros:
    • Really good sandwich options
    • View of the castle from inside the restaurant
  • Cons: Service can sometimes be inconsistent
  • Other notes:
    • The ice cream on the menu comes from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor next door.  You can save time waiting in line there by ordering dessert after your meal.  If you're trying to save money, get a banana split and share!

And last, but not least: Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Ideal for: The Impulsive
Price Range: $15-$25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • This restaurant is best for the impulsive because, like The Plaza, there are reservations even the day before.
  • Pros:
    • Cute Lady and the Tramp theme
    • Many pasta options
  • Cons: Not the highest quality food in the park
  • Other notes:
    • If you get into the restaurant about an hour before the parade, you might get lucky and be seated by a window, and have the parade pass right by while you eat!


I hope that helps you make a decision when it comes to dining in Magic Kingdom!
Agree?  Disagree?  Have questions?  Leave a comment!  I'll be happy to help!

Next post: Dining in Epcot



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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Disney Dining Plan


A lot of sources around the internet question if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it.  My personal opinion is that it depends on what you want to get out of your trip.  It might be a great option for some, but for others, it could be a total waste.  Here's the breakdown:

Spender vs. Saver

Pictured here: the fine dining option, Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort.

 Spender

Obviously, if your Disney vacation is all about living the life of luxury, you should choose the Deluxe Dining Plan!

  • Including 3 meals a day (either table-service or quick-service) and 2 snacks, you will never be hungry on this plan.
    • Each meal includes a drink and dessert, and the desserts at Disney are wonderful, even at most quick-service locations (read: Cappuccino cupcake at Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios)
  • Fine-dining (signature) options, such as the Yachtsman Steakhouse shown above and Le Cellier in Epcot, use 2 meal credits, but with 3 allotted per day, it is a much more accessible option.
  • As with fine dining, certain dinner shows (ex: Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian) and character meals (Cinderella's Royal Table) cost 2 meal credits.
With so many meal credits to combine in so many different ways, the Deluxe Dining Plan gives you 
endless dining possibilities!

Saver

If your goal is strictly to go to Disney for as little money as possible, then it is unlikely that you will want to purchase any variation of the Disney Dining Plan.  Why?
  • Unless you consistently buy the most expensive options, you are unlikely to save money. (In fact, you might not end up breaking even).
  • Most meals include a drink and dessert, which are added in to the average meal cost on the plan, but would not be a cost for you if you typically get water or no dessert with your meal.
  • The dining plan does not include places outside of Disney, which if you have a car and access to those places, will likely be cheaper if you want a sit-down meal.
Penny for penny, you are more likely to save money by buying out of pocket meals during your Disney vacation.


Planner vs. Impulsive

Pictured here: Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, a quick-service option in Magic Kingdom.

Planner

For the planner, I recommend the standard Disney Dining Plan.  Here's why:
  • The standard plan includes one table-service and one quick-service meal per person per day, as well as a snack.  In my experience, this is more than enough food for the day (especially as both meals include dessert).
  • One table-service meal allows you to plan your reservations for each day.  This is a great way to develop a plan of what park you will go to each day of the vacation.
  • Having the quick-service option allows you to plan other activities/events for the day, and not have your vacation revolve around your meals.  There are quick-service options everywhere, so the meal can be fit in between your ride on Space Mountain and grabbing your spot for the afternoon parade.
To me, the standard Dining Plan gives a great balance of table-service and quick-service, and just enough food for everyone to be satisfied, making it perfect for the planner.

Impulsive

Those who are impulsive may not want to have the commitment of choosing a table-service restaurant, especially since it can be hard to get into most without a reservation.  I believe that the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan works especially well for you.
  • Quick-Service Dining provides each guest with 2 quick-service meals (entree, drink, dessert) and 1 snack per day.
  • The large availability of quick-service options in each park and resort means that it will be easy to find a place to eat.
  • Not having to have a reservation for quick-service dining allows you to eat when you're hungry, and not have any set schedule to adhere to based on a table-service reservation.
  • The dining option keeps you from having to worry about having cash for food, as it is accessed through the Key to the World card or Magic Band.
For the most worry-free option, choose Quick-Service Dining!


Romantic vs. Fun

Pictured here: Tutto Italia Ristorante, a table-service option in Italy, Epcot's World Showcase

Romantic

For those couples going to Disney, I recommend first thinking about how much time you want to spending eating with visiting!

  • If eating really delicious meals is something you really want to do, go with the Deluxe Dining Plan.  Like I said above, it makes it much easier to use 2 credits for the Signature Dining restaurants.  And with places like California Grill on the list, with it's beautiful Magic Kingdom fireworks view at night, it's something to consider!
  • If you don't want to revolve your vacation around food, then the standard Dining Plan is liking more than enough.  Though it is harder to allott 2 credits to Signature Dining, there are plenty of other beautiful restaurant with delicious food (and great cocktails!) that are available for just 1 table-service credit. (Note: No meal on any dining plan includes alcoholic beverages.)
Either option is great for couples, it just depends on exactly what you're looking for!

Fun

Determining the right Disney Dining Plan for those who want to have fun just depends on what you think is fun!
  • If one of your favorite things to do is go out and get a good meal, then the Deluxe Dining Plan is likely your best option.  This plan gives 3 meal credits a day, so using 2 to dine at the fine-dining options is much more accessible.
  • If you want to have table-service meals, but don't want to revolve your vacation around them, then the standard Dining Plan is likely the right option.
  • The standard Dining Plan is also good for those who want to meet characters.  Most character dining locations only require 1 table-service credit (exception: Cinderella's Royal Table), and are often a good way for 20-something to interact with characters without wasting time standing in long line.
  • For those who don't want to be tied down by food, stick to the Quick-Service Dining Plan
Since there are so many dining options on property, figuring out your ideal dining plan should be done by first determining what your main goal for the time spent eating is!





Quick tip:
Something I learned during the first trip I planned was that the Dining Plan is factored for each night staying. So if you are going for 5 days/4 nights, on the standard plan you will get 4 table-service, 4 quick-service, and 4 snacks, not 5 of each.


Questions?  Feel free to comment, I'd be happy to answer!
Ideas for future posts?  Let me know!



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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Right Resort for You

When looking at the multitude of hotel options on the Walt Disney World Resort property, it can be hard to choose the right one for your vacation.  Depending on what you want to get out of your visit, though, your options can be made a little easier.

Spender vs. Saver

I realize that as 20-somethings, the cost of the hotel is a major indicator of where you will stay during your trip.  Splurge and stay somewhere amazing, or save and still get the perks of choosing a hotel on Disney property.  There's really no bad option here!

Spender


My recommendation for those who have a larger budget for their trip is the Polynesian. Why?

  • Great location: This resort is located on the Seven Seas Lagoon, very close to Magic Kingdom.  In fact, one of the best parts of this is being able to view the Wishes fireworks show in Magic Kingdom from the resort.
  • Transportation: Ferries to Magic Kingdom, Monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and buses throughout WDW.
  • Food: Not only does the Polynesian house my personal favorite restaurant, 'Ohana, but it has great cocktails, as well as the ability to get a Disney Breakfast favorite, Tonga Toast (extreme French toast) at Kona Cafe.
  • Theming: The Polynesian itself is a place to escape, to feel like you are really on a set of islands, not just a hotel in Disney.  And with recent room upgrades, the luxury feel is only improved!

Saver


My advice to the saver is to stay at the Pop Century Resort.  I know, it isn't the absolute cheapest on property, but for various reasons, the small difference in price is worth it for the upgrade.
  • Transportation: The buses at Pop Century services only the Pop Century Resort, whereas the buses at the All Star resorts service all three. What does that mean?  On busy days, longer waits and buses with more people at the All Stars, and more direct service at Pop Century.
  • Nighttime Movies: If you're anything like me, it's likely that you won't be taking much down time during your vacation.  However, if you make it back to the resort a little early, there are nighttime screening of movies that are projected in the main pool area.
  • Theming: It's fun to enjoy the retro theming of the Pop Century.
  • Transportation: Seriously, it's that important. You will spend most of your time going to the different parks, so the bus system is key.

Planner vs. Impulsive

So if you're anything like me, you'll want to know what is going to happen from the minute you arrive at Disney to the moment you leave.  That being said, I see the appeal of not worrying about every little thing and just going with the flow (though if that's the case, the "research" thing probably isn't happening for you...).  Which resort is best for each option?

Planner


So, if you're a planner, then you can, and probably will, analyze each of the other categories separately, and decide based on the other priorities of the vacation.  However, the even mix of all the options makes the Caribbean Beach a great choice!
  • Theming: Caribbean Beach is unique, with each "Island" (which are the hotel groupings) colored a different pastel shade, the white sand beaches with hammocks, and the main "Spanish fort" pool with waterslides.  The Pirates of the Caribbean rooms are also a fun option; the beds are pirates ships, and the attention to detail is impeccable.
  • Transportation: For the planner, transportation won't be an issue, because the bus system is reliable.  However, because the resort is HUGE, there is an internal shuttle to get to each "Island," as well as the main building and food court.  This may require leaving the room sooner rather than later.
  • Food: The food court has quite a few options, and Shutters, the main restaurant, has a great list of tropical drinks!

Impulsive

For those who want the freedom to decide, or change, their plans last minute, then the Contemporary is likely the best option!
  • Great Location: The Contemporary Resort is located within walking distance of Magic Kingdom!  Many rooms offer a view of Cinderella Castle.
  • Transportation: The Monorail runs right through the center of the Contemporary!  This provides direct service to Magic Kingdom (if you don't feel like walking) as well as transportation to Epcot.  Buses are provided to take you to the other parks.  This ease of having the Monorail come right inside the building means having the ability to decide at the last second where it is the group wants to go!
  • Food: The California Grill is a delicious restaurant, and provides a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks for diners late at night.

Romantic vs. Fun

Visiting Disney with a significant other and visiting relatives or friends tend to lead to very different vacation experiences.  This can set the mood with the first moment walking into the hotel lobby, so having the hotel to fit with the goals of the trip is definitely something to consider!

Romantic


My pick for a romantic vacation is the Coronado Springs resort.  Though many of the hotels on Disney property are themed to create a mature and immersive experience, there are a few things that makes Coronado Springs stand out.
  • Other Visitors: Many sources I have read consider Coronado Springs to be a very "adult" resort, typically having a smaller population of kids staying there than some of the others.
  • Spa: Though Coronado Springs is not the location of the main spa on property (Senses is at the Grand Floridian), there are a variety of massage options for adults here, as well as a salon that provides hair services and manicures/pedicures.
  • Transportation: Coronado Springs is located near Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and has bus transportation to all parks.  The resort also has an internal shuttle to take you to the restaurant, main pool area, and lobby

Fun


Last on the list is the "fun" hotel!  Though every resort at Disney has some unique feature that makes it fun, I believe that certain aspects of the Yacht Club Resort makes it adventageous for those looking to get the most out of their vacation.

  • Pool: The Yacht Club shares the pool area with the Beach Club, and includes a 3-acre "water play area," with a lazy river, whirlpool, and large Shipwreck scene that has the tallest resort water slide.
  • Location: Not only is the Yacht Club within walking distance of Epcot's International Gateway entrance, but a short jaunt around the lake puts you at Disney's Boardwalk Area, with various restaurants and entertainment.  One of the most mentioned aspects of the Boardwalk (though I have yet to go myself) is Jellyrolls, an over 21 dueling piano bar.
  • Transportation: In addition to the 10-minute walk to Epcot, there is also a Ferry service that takes guests to Epcot's International Gateway Entrance as well as Hollywood Studios!  The normal bus service is provided for all other locations.
  • Dining: Though the Boardwalk area is very close, there is no reason to leave the resort for dining!  The Yacht Club has the Yachtsman Steakhouse (a Fine Dining Option) as well as other casual dining and lounges.  The Yacht Club is also home to Beaches and Cream Soda shop where, among other things, you can get "The Kitchen Sink," an ice cream sundae with 8 scoops of ice cream and every topping that they have!



So that's it!  My overview of the right resort for every vacationer!  However, no hotel you stay at on property is going to be a bad one.  Disney does a great job making each resort unique, but still keeping the Disney Magic!

Sometime soon, I plan on doing a breakdown of each price bracket (Deluxe, Moderate, and Value), so that those romantics who wants a deluxe resort or savers who want to have fun can know exactly where to go!

Have a question?  Leave it in the comments!




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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What is Young Adult Disney?

So, you've stumbled upon the Young Adult Disney blog.

What is "Young Adult Disney," you ask?


When planning my first adult trip to Disney, I found myself searching for resources that catered to adult trips.  Though the occasion blog had a post about adult planning, most were centered around family trips with children. But we all know Disney isn't just for kids!!

Since then, I've taken another trip and I've done a lot of research, and want to be able to help other adults and young adults plan their vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

When applicable, I will analyze aspects of park planning based on the following criteria:
1. Spender vs. Saver
2. Planner vs. Impulsive
3. Romantic vs. Fun
Though this won't always work for all posts, I hope that it gives you a sense of how to create a vacation tailored toward your goals.


Also,
We all know vacations at Disney can be expensive, even going the cheapest route in your planning.  For those that can't always make the trip, I plan on doing some posts for Disney at Home: cocktails, recipes, cool products, just about anything I can think of to bring Disney to you.  


I want to provide what you want to know, so feel free to leave comments asking for what you want!

Also, feel free to email me at YADisney20@gmail.com for help planning your trip or ideas of what to post!




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