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First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Melbourne, Australia
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First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Hi all,

We are going in Mid September for 12 days, it will me me, my darling BF, a 12yo boy and 6yo boy (both are super excited and already start counting down til we are there).

This will be our first time together to Orlando, the bf went there app. 15 years ago.... So things probably changed by now.

We bought a 14 days ultimate pass that also allows us to park hop which the bf said we will need, now after reading the forums I kinda glad he insisted to get it. There are sooooo many things to do in so little time!

We will be staying in the Swan/Dolphin (not sure which one) and I'm wondering if anyone can anyone recommend a good dining experience? what's the best one to go? we want to do at least one character dining breakfast and dinner. Is there any other good dining experience that anyone can recommend?

We don't have any itinerary yet but will start working on it. So, any advice will be excellent.... Thanks :)

We are thinking of breaking up the day and not spending the whole day at the park cos that will be too tiring for the boys, so the plan is to go there early morning, spend a few hours til go back to hotel and relax by the pool and go back to the park after everyone is rested. Is that a good plan or do you think we should just spend the whole day at the park?

Soooooo many information out there to process, so any help will be greatly appreciated.... :)

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1. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

I think your plan to break up the day is excellent as a full day in the parks can be very tiring.

As for character meals we did breakfast at Ohanas with Lilo,Stitch, Mickey and Pluto and lunch at Tusker House with Donald, Daisy, Mickey etc.Of the two we found the breakfast to be more enjoyable. The food was delicious and our 5yr and 6 yr old seemed to enjoy it more too. Your 6 year old might also enjoy eating at Trex which is at DTD. The restaurant is dinosaur themed and we all really enjoyed the decor.

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2. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Sounds like you've done your research. Breaking up the day is always a good idea, but to be honest in September the parks will be empty. We've managed to do all 4 parks in one day before!

I would start checking the availability for character meals. I've found that these are fully booked (even though this is a low period for crowds). We've booked Chef Mickey's for breakfast this time. We did lunch at Disney HS with Agent Oso last time and my daughter loved it (couldn't focus on the food!).

If you want to eat away from Disney (not sure if you have a car or not?), then the Mall at Millenia has a great selection of restaurants (Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, California Pizza Kitchen etc). Closer to Disney is the US 192 which has all your standard American fare (Denny's, Bob Evans, Chicago Uno Grill etc).

Nashville, Tennessee
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3. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Chef mickey is a good character meal. Breakfast or dinner works a little easier from a planning standpoint. The boys wouldn't necessarily like the castle breakfast witht he princess, but it is a great experience.

I also liked the ohanas character meal and the Tusker house character meal.

You might also look at the Hoop-dee-do revue performance at night. Really funny and entertaining (camp grounds I believe???). Good food as well.

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4. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

We like Tusker House at Animal Kingdom, Crystal palace at MK and T-Rex at DTD

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5. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

The day you visit M.K. I would think about the Mickey and friends meal at the contemporary resort, you can hop on the monorail from there. We have always enjoyed the Crystal Palace but not sure if your boys want to spend time with Pooh and Friends? At Hollywood my boys always liked the Sci-Fi restaurant. It plays old cartoon clips on a big theater screen and you sit in an old fashioned car with tables in it. It is dark in there and it is hard to read your menu, some people have complained that the food there is not great, but we have always had a good experience there. At Animal Kingdom I would choose the Tusker House for breakfast with Donald and friends (if they still have it) and dinner at the Rain Forest cafe right outside of the park. I always made reservations for when the park closed at 5 or right after. Epcot has many choices, we enjoyed the meal where you are by the aquarium at the Coral Reef restaurant, but of course there are many nice restaurants there. At Downtown Disney I would eat at the T-Rex restaurant, you do not need reservations, even though they are now taking them for the dining plan, they only hold so many tables for that and the rest is walk ups. It is a great idea to hit the parks early, take a dip in the pool mid afternoon and then go back to the parks, but it never happened that way for us. Once we were at the parks we stayed till the fireworks, the day goes fast. Just make breakfast or dinner reservations and then make up you mind once you are there, then you do not have to stick around for a late lunch reservation unless you are wanting to. Keep in mind that Animal Kingdom usually closes at 5, check the times, I would plan for a full day there, not unless you are planning on two different days of going.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Thank you everyone,

I've booked the Tusker house for lunch on our first full day there....

Unfortunately there is no availability for the Chef's Mickey character dining the whole 2 weeks we are there.

Does anyone know if we can just walk in and queue up on the day? Same with Crystal Palace, can we just go there and queue up?

Anything else everyone can recommend?

So far, the plan is to go to AK on the first day, then Epcot the following day, HS then MK. Once we have visited all parks then we will reasses which park should we go back to. We also want to go to the water park as well as Kennedy Space Centre and shopping..... Sooooo many things to do with sooooooo little time.....

Decatur, Alabama
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7. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

I would book Crystal Palace ~ that way you know that you will have seats. It's a buffet and Winnie the Pooh and Friends will be there to greet and meet you. Chef Mickey is a busy place but so can the other restaurants.

Chose a time to allow your meal to be a break. See MK for a while and then when you are a bit tired go for a meal in air conditioning.

I think Crystal Palace is so pretty and we have eaten there twice. It's noisy but fun.

Since you are still in the planning stages of your holiday please search out and buy The Unofficial Guide to WDW. There may be one geared for UK visitors. UG will tell you all you need to know about the theme parks, has dining and lodging reviews, touring plans, Fast Passes, and other info. It's written with sense of humor that I really appreciate.

We love AK. Find out the times for and don't miss Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo plays. They are both about 30 mins long and fantastic, are do not miss attractions. I point these out because I think so many visitors hit the rides and not the shows. Kilamanjaro Safari is also great, if you go before it's too hot the animals may be seen moving about. If there is a long line for for the Fast Pass. If you get tired and want to sit for another attraction then Flights of Wonder is perfect.

Look for Miss DeVine (sp?) she always amazes me and people will walk right by her and never notice her.

Also look for It's a Bugs Life which is in The Tree of Life and is a 4D show. It may scare your 6 year old but I don't know your child and how he reacts. We like it.

We love Expedition Everest with the Abominable Snowman. Riders must be 44 inches and you may need/want a fast pass. Hope your youngest meets the height requirement.

The only attraction I don't like is Kali River Rapids because I don't care to get wet down to my underwear. No matter how hot it is.

We do like Maharajah Jungle Trek especially the fruit bats.

Don't know whay I got so carried away with AK. Just want you and yours to enjoy it as much as we do. So get Unofficial Guide and you can read about all the other things to do. Have Fun!

Edited: 08 August 2012, 14:24
Horsham, United...
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8. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Keep trying for Chef Mickeys, people do cancel and slots become available. You will not get a walk up for this place it's always heaving.

Cape May Cafe for breakfast would be a good one if you can get in, you can walk there from the Dolphin, it's held at the Beach Club, great buffet.

Bristol, Connecticut
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9. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

You may want to try Cape May for a character meal, we really enjoyed it when we stayed at The Dolphin. I also enjoyed The Big River Grill on the Boardwalk. If you are leaving HS or EPCOT and it is late and busy you may want to walk, there are pathways the entire way and I found it to be a peaceful way to wind down after the parks.

I also enjoyed Tusker House. I like to get to AK first thing in the morning and head over to Asia and watch the monkeys wake up. They make a racket and run around it is a lot of fun to watch. I find AK to be the quietest park in the morning. We went mid September 2 years ago and in some pictures we were the only ones in the area, it was great.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: First timer here, advice needed please.... :)

Thanks again Everyone,

I have managed to book Crystal Palace now.. YAY...

So far we have breakfast at Crystal Palace and Lunch at Tusker House.

Also going to prepay the Disney Photo Pass, bought the Unofficial Guide Book, bought Kennedy Space Centre tickets, bought Kids Eat Free Cards (so if anyone wants it after we are done at the end of September, just message me...)

Anything else I should book? It's only 37 days to go and the boys are getting more and more excited by the day.... I am beside myself, so many research to do with so little time!!!!