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  1. #1

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    I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Hey Everyone!

    My lifelong dream has finally come true! I finally took the leap and booked my visit to WDW for Dec. 2 to Dec 8. Im so excited I can hardly contain myself! Ive never been to WDW but I have heard so much about it and being a DLR fanatic I know I will love WDW.

    I booked my stay at the pop century, and I got the Deluxe Dining Plan (Im a big foodie and a chef so I want to try all the high end items) and Im going with my Bf of 4 years. Hes been there once before but barley got any park time and he was very young at the time so he doesnt remember much.

    Does anyone have any tips? Im so overwhelmed. Im planning on booking all my dining this week. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Id love any tips about busses, or what park needs how many days.

    Thanks everyone! I look forward to being on this section of the forum more now that I booked my trip.

  2. #2

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Some of my favorite restaurants at WDW are Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot. I also like Cape May at Beach Club, Liberty Tree Tavern at MK, 50s Prime Time at Studios and Teppan Edo at Epcot for Sit-Downs. Hope this helps you out and enjoy your first trip to WDW!

  3. #3

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    The California Grill at the Contemporary is also a wonderful restaurant, as is the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask here, since it can be overwhelming, but we're here to help!

    You're also going during the holiday season, so everything will be decked out in holiday splendor (don't miss the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios - fantastic!), and you might want to consider resort hopping to check out the deluxe resorts' holiday treatment and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, a hard ticket event.

    Also, you might have a chance of seeing The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast areas of New Fantasyland open. While you must have seen the DCA one already, the FL version, as well as the Be Our Guest Restaurant and the rest of Belle's village, are supposed to be open for the holidays, though the specific dates have yet to be announced.
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  4. #4

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Using a food metaphor, rushing through WDW and trying to see EVERYTHING is like eating a really, REALLY rich dessert way too fast.

    Pace yourselves. Decide what's most important to see, and if you don't see everything else, that's okay. Just leaves more for the next trip.

    I always like to get to the parks at opening, since that's the least crowded time of the day, and you can make the most of the time.

    And a lot of people don't realize this about Florida, but December can be quite cold there, so check weather reports right before you go, and don't be afraid to pack (or maybe even over-pack) for the weather. It's better to pack more than you need and leave it in the suitcase than not have what you need if the weather is unexpectedly cold.

  5. #5

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    I would say the first thing to do is establish a timeline of when you want to get everything done. You've already got a resort, dining plan, and plans to make dining reservations, so you're well on your way. Below I've outlined things you should look into and what order to do them in. Once you've got the basics planned, we're here to help with specifics, so don't be afraid to ask more questions.

    1. Dining reservations are a great place to start. It helps you lay a framework for when you're going to be in what parks. For sit-down reservations, I recommend Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom, the San Angel Inn in Epcot, and Prime Time 50s in Hollywood Studios. We've never tried any in Animal Kingdom, so I can't speak for those. If you want a chance to explore the restaurants at each resort, I also recommend Ohana at the Polynesian and the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. To get an idea of what each place serves, allears.net has updated menus and prices for every restaurant.

    2. Next, I would start looking at attractions and shows in each park and decide what you want to see. Since you're going to be there during the holidays, I would highly recommend Epcot's Candlelight Processional. Dining packages are offered if you're interested, but we've never found it necessary to pre-book to get into the show. There are also parades at every park and fireworks at all parks except Animal Kingdom. These are all worth seeing at least once, so try to plan out which would be convenient based on your dining reservations.

    3. Now that you have an idea of everything you want to see, start looking into planning how much time you want to spend at each park. For our family, the only park we're able to do in one day is Animal Kingdom. The rest we like to spread over two days. Since you have enough time to spread out your touring, I would suggest finding out Extra Magic Hour times and planning accordingly. If you don't plan on taking advantage of these hours, I would suggest avoiding those parks on the EMH days, since lines tend to get very long before you even arrive.

    4. Another thing to decide is whether you want to rent a car, take advantage of Disney transportation, or do a little of both. We've stayed at the Pop Century twice and relied solely on Disney transportation both times with no problem. Buses run to the parks frequently, but it can be a little tricky getting from one resort to the other. Once you're in the parks, it's very easy to move to different parks with Disney transportation. If you're thinking about renting a car, I think the easiest way to get around is to park your car at one park and use Disney transportation to park-hop. There's a couple of threads on this forum about transportation; make sure to check them out!

    Once you have all this planned out, you should be ready to get down to specifics, such as touring plans, good quick-service restaurants, and little things you should look for. Make sure you get acquainted with which attractions have FastPass and what may be closed for renovation while you're there. Other than that, this will give you a great start to planning. Good luck!

  6. #6

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Quote Originally Posted by niknakk View Post
    Hey Everyone!

    My lifelong dream has finally come true! I finally took the leap and booked my visit to WDW for Dec. 2 to Dec 8. Im so excited I can hardly contain myself! Ive never been to WDW but I have heard so much about it and being a DLR fanatic I know I will love WDW.

    I booked my stay at the pop century, and I got the Deluxe Dining Plan (Im a big foodie and a chef so I want to try all the high end items) and Im going with my Bf of 4 years. Hes been there once before but barley got any park time and he was very young at the time so he doesnt remember much.

    Does anyone have any tips? Im so overwhelmed. Im planning on booking all my dining this week. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Id love any tips about busses, or what park needs how many days.

    Thanks everyone! I look forward to being on this section of the forum more now that I booked my trip.
    Relax, enjoy! Make a list of all your favorite attractions that you must do. You'll have time do them all most assuredly if you spend a day at each park. Hollywood Studios no more than a day, Animal Kingdom a day, Epcot is huge to do everything you'd need 2 days unless you are going commando, MK is 2 days if you really want to sip it.
    Hoping to raise enough money to go to DL from Pennsylvania with my wife for our 5 year anniversary. (We went there on our honeymoon!)

    If you would like to contribute to the cause for a relatively poor private school teacher. Please private message me. I'd be very thankful.

  7. #7

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    I also want to say my favorite snack you should try are dole whips! There yummy located in adventureland. Also since your going during Christmas you should do Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.

  8. #8

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Filet Mignon at Le Cellier in Epcot was my favorite restaurant and food. It's cheaper if you go for lunch. Good luck getting reservations though!
    Hoping to raise enough money to go to DL from Pennsylvania with my wife for our 5 year anniversary. (We went there on our honeymoon!)

    If you would like to contribute to the cause for a relatively poor private school teacher. Please private message me. I'd be very thankful.

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    My top resturaunts are:
    Le Cellier - EPCOT
    Boma - AK Lodge
    Brown Derby - DHS
    Liberty Tree - MK

    Also, definetly see the Osborne lights- they are fantastic! And make some time to check out the hotels all decked out for the holidays. Specifically Grand Floridian has the gingerbread house and huge tree
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  10. #10

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    The second trip I took was mainly to enjoy the food...and with the deluxe dining plan you will have more than enough to eat ( I think I still had 6 credits after 8 days).
    One tip I would offer is to book your dinners as late as possible, that way you often end up in the parks after they are closed and you can walk through an almost empty park by yourself which was one of my favorite memories (I've done this several times and never had any issues with being rushed out.)
    Something that your servers might not tell you is that with the deluxe dining plan you get any no alcholic beverage (except the souvenir cups) not just soda/iced tea.
    If you're ever not sure if something is included just ask and the server will explain and even make suggestions.
    As for places to eat I would recommend:
    Sci-Fi Dine In (lunch, the only problem is the small tables for the amount of food you get with the dining plan, but you can sub a milkshake for a dessert and a bottle of water to take with you)
    Rose and Crown (if you do a dinner around closing you can watch the lake show from your table)
    Kat Cora's resturant (I can't remember it's name but it's at the Boardwalk resort) great for Breakfast
    Kona Cafe (Breakfast...pineapple macadamea nut pancakes were great, but extremely rich)

    The best advice I can offer, relax, recognize that you won't be able to do everything, and just sometimes the best experiences and the ones you just stumble upon.
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!

  11. #11

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Thank you guys so much!!! So much great advice, I don't know where to start! I'm so happy to know that you guys can all help with me all my questions and help me from getting lost.

    Im a complete plaNning freak so I went ahead and made my complete schedule for the days I'm going to be there (I'll post the excel sheet tomorrow hopefully) and with the help of my boyfriend I was able to lock-in all my reservations ( with the exception of Le Cellier and Be Our Guest restaurant due to the fact that they haven't started taking ADR's yet). I'm so excieted yet very nervous for this trip. I can't wait until this adventure begins!

    My boyfriend and I are also planning on going to Mickey's very merry Christmas party. Since were both Christmas freaks we decieded that we would go ahead and pay extra to go, not to mention this is a once in a lifetime experience for us since we've never been before so it will be well worth it.

    ---------- Post added 06-11-2012 at 08:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by longears View Post
    Something that your servers might not tell you is that with the deluxe dining plan you get any no alcholic beverage (except the souvenir cups) not just soda/iced tea.
    I never knew at, thank you so much for the tip!!

    Do you know if that includes "virgin" versions of alcoholic mixed drinks? My boyfriend will be trying out all the drinks I would love to join in on the fun with the virgin versions.

    ---------- Post added 06-11-2012 at 08:37 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo View Post
    You're also going during the holiday season, so everything will be decked out in holiday splendor (don't miss the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios - fantastic!), and you might want to consider resort hopping to check out the deluxe resorts' holiday treatment and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, a hard ticket event.

    Also, you might have a chance of seeing The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast areas of New Fantasyland open. While you must have seen the DCA one already, the FL version, as well as the Be Our Guest Restaurant and the rest of Belle's village, are supposed to be open for the holidays, though the specific dates have yet to be announced.
    Yes I cannot wait to see all the holiday things! That's the main reason I booked for the beginning of December.

    I am DYING to see the new FL!! Mostly for all the beauty and the beast things. I'm hoping they will let us book ADR's for be our guest soon. I'll be checking everyday so I can hopefully get a reservtion there.

    ---------- Post added 06-11-2012 at 08:40 PM ----------

    I'm really hoping that 7 days will be enough at WDW. I will definitely try and pace myself and really take everything in. I've tried to maximize my time in the parks (the parks close so early compared to DLR!) using the extra magic hours and planning my days around them.

  12. #12

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    One more suggestion is to buy the photo pass CD in advance (when I went last November it was $99 in advance or $149 in park or after you got home). That way you can use the photo pass photographers to take your pics through out the trip and every photo you have on the account will put on a CD. Since a single pic can cost between $15 and $20, a disk with unlimited pics for $99 is a good deal.

    As for the virgin version of the drinks I don't know, never thought about it.
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!

  13. #13

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Quote Originally Posted by longears View Post
    One more suggestion is to buy the photo pass CD in advance (when I went last November it was $99 in advance or $149 in park or after you got home). That way you can use the photo pass photographers to take your pics through out the trip and every photo you have on the account will put on a CD. Since a single pic can cost between $15 and $20, a disk with unlimited pics for $99 is a good deal.

    As for the virgin version of the drinks I don't know, never thought about it.
    Plan a day of hotel hopping. Example: you can catch a bus from any park. Get in the bus line for the resort that you wish to see. Your at animal Kingdom so you catch a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge. After enjoying it, board bus to MK, get on monorail and it has stops at theContemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. There are many more resorts. You can learn bus plan and visit them. Worth the effort especially at Christmas. Each resort is beautifully decorated for the holidays. My must see resorts are: AKL,Wilderness Lodge,Grand Floridian, POR, PO FQ, Boardwalk. You can take a boat ride from Epcot to Boardwalk. Talk to CM's and tell them where you want to go and they can advise you. Maybe you can take me with you as a tour director. Lol. Anyway have a great trip. Oh, schedule lunch at a resort of your choice. Your dining plan allows table service at most resorts. Have a wonderful vacation.

  14. #14

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    Quote Originally Posted by niknakk View Post
    Hey Everyone!

    My lifelong dream has finally come true! I finally took the leap and booked my visit to WDW for Dec. 2 to Dec 8. Im so excited I can hardly contain myself! Ive never been to WDW but I have heard so much about it and being a DLR fanatic I know I will love WDW.

    I booked my stay at the pop century, and I got the Deluxe Dining Plan (Im a big foodie and a chef so I want to try all the high end items) and Im going with my Bf of 4 years. Hes been there once before but barley got any park time and he was very young at the time so he doesnt remember much.

    Does anyone have any tips? Im so overwhelmed. Im planning on booking all my dining this week. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Id love any tips about busses, or what park needs how many days.

    Thanks everyone! I look forward to being on this section of the forum more now that I booked my trip.
    When it comes to food at Disney don't get your hopes up and you are likely to be happy... listen to some raving reviews and believe that you are going to get the best experience of your life and you'll be disappointed. In short the food varies greatly from place to place... frankly I prefer the options at Epcot where I can get a taste of something I might not otherwise experience... just be warned... some places are highly rated more for the atmosphere than the food... if you have the palate of a food critic don't expected to be wowed, expect to be satisfied.

    Buses: Avoid the if you can. They can provide reasonable service and horrible service, there is no way to predict what it will be. I've experienced them only twice... pop all-stars the service was reasonable both to and back, at AKL the experience was fine to the park but took nearly 2 hours of waiting in line to get back that night. From that point on I have never used the buses for park service I always rent a car. My vacation is to precious to waste hours waiting for bus. That said, DO NOT rent a car from an airport rental car location, if you do you are wasting money. The airport locations tack on extra fees and generally charge higher daily rates than the same rental company at an off-site location charges. In week long trips we have saved anywhere from $150 to $250 off the final bill by booking a car off-site and using a taxi when we arrive to get to the off-site location, that savings is after taking out the cost of the taxi. One other note on the rental cars in Orlando, they vary in price dramatically from day to day and from location to location... on any given day you can find a significant difference in the same car company depending on if you pick it up at location A or B... If you want to save money start looking for a car now and make a reservation, then look again every week and if you find a better deal make a new reservation... reservations cost nothing to make.

    Days at parks: A personal thing really. My family will often skip AK completely because no one likes it that much... but with you never having been I suggest you plan on hitting each one for a day the first 4 days you are there, then you will know which ones you want to hit the last days of your trip. Also note that it gets dark pretty early in December and parks close earlier than you might expect. Especially true of AK... so if you want a late dinner reservation somewhere out of the way make if for the day you plan on being at AK because then your reservation wont interfere with the park time.

    Very Merry Christmas: it is a special ticket event and is going to be going on 3 of the days you are there... I would suggest you get tickets for the day of the 4th or 6th the 2nd is also available but since you are just arriving don't plan on it because you might need a bit of rest first. That said the best part of the event is that rides that generally have long lines will often have very short lines... unless they've changed it they will also offer free cookies and hot coco at various points in the park, and a special Christmas parade... if you are into the meet and greet type stuff they will have characters wearing special Christmas costumes for photo ops.

    Reservations: Make them early and use them to plan which day you will be at which park. If you try to make a reservation and it is unavailable don't give up and try every day, often people will cancel a trip and spots open up. The hardest one to get is the Cinderella Castle, especially the breakfast... Frankly I would avoid that one like the plague for breakfast because it is probably the worst meal I've ever had in the park, done it twice because of our daughters and each time it was bad. I've heard the other meals in the castle are better but it is really for the atmosphere not the food.

    Boma is one you will hear about, to me it was just okay... again more atmosphere than food... but be warned it is at the AKL which is a pain in the backside to get to without a car. You will be at the mercy of buses and that will require you to waste some time getting there. If you do rent a car it isn't a big deal to get there, just make sure you get a map and directions because AKL is a bit out of the main WDW area.

    Parking Pass: If you rent a car you will get free parking at the parks... if you had made your reservations at a triple A office you would have also gotten a triple A pass that allows you to park so close to the park gates that you don't need to use the parking lot trams, a big time saver. You can also often pick these up on Ebay from people that got them and didn't use them... it would be worth it.

    Christmas decorations: As you might imagine Disney resorts will be decked out for the season. Some people like to visit each resort just to look at the decorations... I wouldn't bother doing that because it takes time to get to some of them and isn't really worth it. The better option is to simply use the monorail and visit the three deluxe monorail resorts... they tend to have the best decorations or at least have in the past... GF was always my personal favorite at Christmas time.

    ---------- Post added 06-14-2012 at 07:39 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by niknakk View Post

    I am DYING to see the new FL!! Mostly for all the beauty and the beast things. I'm hoping they will let us book ADR's for be our guest soon. I'll be checking everyday so I can hopefully get a reservtion there.



    If you are a big fan of Beauty and the Best and have the Very Merry Christmas tickets then you should try to determine where the Beauty and the Best meet and greet will be, in the past they have had a special spot set up where they are decked out in the Christmas special costumes but the lines for it can be rather long... so if you are into that sort of thing plan on trying to do it very early before the lines get too big... you could plan on it toward the end of the party but in the past we've had experiences where some meet and greets get closed down before the very end so you might be out of luck if you wait.

    ---------- Post added 06-14-2012 at 07:42 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by longears View Post
    One more suggestion is to buy the photo pass CD in advance (when I went last November it was $99 in advance or $149 in park or after you got home). That way you can use the photo pass photographers to take your pics through out the trip and every photo you have on the account will put on a CD. Since a single pic can cost between $15 and $20, a disk with unlimited pics for $99 is a good deal.

    As for the virgin version of the drinks I don't know, never thought about it.
    Good advice... the other thing to remember is that the quality of photos taken by the photographers at Disney can vary... do take your own camera and use it too, don't depend on a photopass only because I would say that overall we tend to get between 20-30% duds from the disney photographers... I get a little annoyed when feet and arms get cut off... or the horizon is straight and is at an angle.

  15. #15

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    Re: I just booked MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!!

    If you're a foodie, focus on EPCOT. The international pavilion has very few rides, but lots of places to eat.

    Some must do's as far as food:

    1) Le Cellier at the Canada pavilion at EPCOT
    2) Brown Derby (MGM) - be sure to reserve it and request preferred seating at Fantasmic. This means you get preferred seating and they take you down there on a golf cart. The people at the Brown Derby can answer your questions about it when you eat there...but it's worth doing.
    3) Rose and Crown (UK Pavilion at EPCOT) - Book late, they do Illuminations seating. You can eat dinner and watch the show.

    As someone else indicated, I'd start by deciding what parks you are gonna do what days, and if you are gonna park hop or not.

    Ignore any horror stories about Disney transit. I've done it for 28 days over the past 2 years, and never rented a car. It works, and the system is pretty easy to navigate. I would take time before your trip to familiarize yourself with the layout of the property so you have a general idea where you are going. There are some great back ways to get places (e.g., you can park hop to/from EPCOT and MGM using a water taxi and the back entrance at EPCOT, etc.)

    Once you know where you are going, start planning your dining (breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner). Disney has a map tool that allows you to mark restaurants/rides, etc on it that is pretty helpful, that way you can plan fast passes, etc..and when to be around what)

    I really only plan in general where I dine, and there are some must dos for me when it comes to snacks. One is to do a lunch (costs 1 dining credit) at frontierland of a turkey leg, then sit down across from the turkey leg kiosk on the deck (or rockers) and watch the 3pm parade. This is also a great place to watch the electrical parade. Not nearly as crowded as main street.

    I also have to get a dole whip, and at EPCOT take time to check out Club Cool and give a try to "beverly"...

    Since you are both adults, she would have fun with the "hidden mickeys" book. You can get it at any of the resort gift shops, as well as the park gift shops. It's a great thing to read on the bus before visiting a park, or while in a line...then the two of you can do a "treasure hunt" to find them.

    Most of the restaurants at Downtown Disney do not take the disney dining plan, though...but Planet Hollywood does.

    Here's a sample 5 day plan I wrote up for someone else. Hope it helps!

    Day 1


    Magic Kingdom
    (Fast pass rides are...space mountain, splash mountain, big thunder mountain)

    - Breakfast at Crystal Palace (1 credit on your dining plan, iirc)
    - Lunch of a turkey leg while watching the parade (drink, leg + chips, one credit on your dining plan)
    - Aloha Isle (after seeing the tiki birds) for a Dole Whip (1 snack on your dining plan)
    - Dinner (depending on timing, do NOT miss the fireworks on your first day)...either the Luau at Polynesian Resort (2 dining credits), the Diamond Horsehoe (1 credit).
    - Funnel Cake at Sleepy Hollow
    - Fireworks - Also Tomorrowland Terrace seasonally has a dessert and fireworks thing that is a lot of fun, if it's running when you visit. You get to sit on the Terrace and watch the fireworks while drinking coffee and tasting different sweets. It's a lot of fun, and gets you up out of the crowd...though, it doesn't trump sitting below the castle on the hot pavement looking up at it...it's still fun.

    Day 2 - EPCOT
    (Fast Pass Rides are Sourin', Test Track, Mission Space you MUST do a fast pass for Sourin...it will save you easily a 1 - 2 hour wait. Also at EPCOT they have Phineas and Ferb thing that replaced Kim Possible. Sign up for this. It's a really fun way to appreciate the details of the international pavilions, and enjoyable for all ages. Also be sure to take her by the Cool Spot and have her try a Beverly!)
    - Skip breakfast or eat at hotel (10 - 15 bucks per head if you do that, though you don't need to buy a drink if you do the dining plan, as you'll get a resort refill mug to use for coffee, juice, soda, whatever.)
    - Hand dipped ice cream at Fountain View (great to do after the character meet and greet)
    - Lunch at Le Cellier (2 credits, iirc)
    - Snack from Boulangerie Patisserie (in the French pavilion)
    - Dinner at Rose and Crown with Illuminations seating

    Day 3 - MGM / Hollywood Studios
    (fast pass rides - Toy Story, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and possibly Star Wars)
    - Breakfast at the hotel, or skip it.
    - Snack from Starring Rolls cafe
    - Lunch at the Sci-Fi dine-in theater. Remember, you can swap a hand dipped milkshake for a dessert option here.
    - Snack from Hollywood Scoops
    - Dinner at Brown Derby with Fantasmic Preferred Seating included
    - Fantasmic

    Day 4 - Animal Kingdom / Magic Kingdom
    (Fast pass rides are Everest and the Safari)

    - Breakfast at Tusker House (this is a character breakfast)
    - Snack at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop
    - Lunch at Yak and Yeti

    (hop parks to Magic Kingdom)

    - Snack at the fudge shop on main street
    - Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table
    - Fireworks

    Sorry so long, I really got into it. I hope you guys have a great trip!

    That being said, I would also recommend, you won't see everything. Don't try. Just go with the flow. But, if you do make reservations and don't want to keep them for whatever reason, be sure to cancel them 24 hours in advance, or there will be a charge.

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    By HMFan in forum Disneyland Resort
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    Last Post: 10-25-2005, 09:22 AM

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