Let me just get this out of the way. I am the LUCKIEST kid in the world and my hubby and kiddos benefit from that luck as well.
Every other year Mimi and Poppop take the whole clan, there are 11 of us now, to Walt Disney World for a week or so. This is their big gift to their kids, and grandkids. Something that we would never be able to afford on our own, and an amazing opportunity to spend time with our extended family having a fabulous time.
I won't deny it, I may have more fun on these trips than my kids do, but it is the happiest place on earth, who wouldn't have a blast?
The key to a successful WDW vacation is planning. Not the type of commando planning that takes you through every hour of every day, but enough planning to give your vacation structure. An easy way to to this is through dining reservations. You can make these 180 days in advance and for some of the more popular you really need to get as close to that 180 day mark as possible. Especially if you are trying to make reservations for 11 people.
Since I am obsessed, I am going to tell you a little bit about where we will be eating this year. I have a little over a month to wait and it is KILLING me. With the house on the market I can't take over the guest room with packing preperation so I have to get my planning fix somewhere!
BBDub and I love eating "around the world" at EPCOT's World Showcase. Each of the country pavilions have lovely authentic table service and counter service restaurants. Over the years we have tried many and definitely have our favorites.
England boasts The Rose and Crown. They serve traditional pub style food in a lovely setting on the water. BBDub's favorite part is the Guinness on tap. He doesn't get a Guinness very often, maybe twice a year, and he has said watching fireworks with a Guinness is about as perfect as it gets.
Germany has Biergarten, a traditional German Oompah band and all the sausage and meat a carnavore could hope for. At least that is what I have been told. I can't believe we have never been here, but we are all excited to try it out this trip.
France brings us Chefs de France. A lovely, crisp, french dining experience. I always make the kids try escargot, because new experiences are good for them and then I get to finish what they won't. Oooh, the buttery, garlicy goodness. I can't wait!! The food here is always great, buttery and rich. The men may grumble when we are headed out to eat, but they always finish their meals!!!
Just outside of Chefs de France there is a fabulous little drink stand. They sell wine by the glass and the most wonderful adult ices ever!! My favorite is the Orange with Grand Marnier and Mimi enjoys the Lemon lime with Grey Goose. These are the perfect "snack" to refresh a tired, stroller pushing mama on a hot day. I have a completely separate budget for these. No mickey mouse t-shirt bought on a whim is going to keep me from refreshment!
Resort dining is also wonderful. At the end of the day, settling into a lovely restaurant away from the parks is often the perfect solution to aching feet and tired kids. Years ago Mimi and Poppop discovered Old Key West, a Disney Vacation Club Resort and we haven't stayed anywhere else. The resort is set back from the hustle and bustle of the parks with a lovely laid back, family friendly atmosphere. The "kids" enjoy the grounds and the pool, while the adults revel in the over-sized rooms with kitchens, balconies, private entrances and washers and dryers in the room!!! For the laundry obsessed these make the trip!
But I digress.
Old Key West also has Olivia's, a southern comfort food filled with heavenly grits in the morning and key lime tarts in the evening. Everything in between is wonderful. My only complaint is the they removed the Razzle Dazzle form the menu a couple years ago and neither Mimi or I can remember how it was made. That still doesn't keep us from relaxing in the family friendly atmosphere to exchange stories of our days and enjoy the fabulous food.
The Polynesian, a fancy-schmancy monorail resort, offers O'Hana. We have never been but we all enjoy hitting the counter service offerings there for lunch. My brilliant sister-in-law suggested we all try this one out since the kids would enjoy the luau and the menfolk could once again get all the meat their little hearts desired.
I am really excited to try this one out and I think the kids will get a kick out of the coconut races.
Beach Club, offers Cape May Clam Bake. Who can go wrong with an all you can eat schmorgus board of seafood. Crab legs, scallops, oysters, steamed mussels and the best clam chowder!!! I can't wait. I may need to bring a bib to save me from the melted butter mess, but it will be worth it!! Plus this restaurant is an easy walk from the back entrance to EPCOT, making firework viewing after dinner a piece of cake!!
Last but not least it Downtown Disney. A collection of restaurants and shops, an easy boatride from Old Key West. Here we enjoy Raglan Road. An Irish pub with bangers and mash, more Guinness, and live entertainment!!! I love the food and can't wait to pertake in the entertainment this year.
There you have it, all of our table service dining plans for our next trip. I have to admit, I love the food, but the opportunity to experience other cultures in a way only Disney can provide it part of the magic. Plus, having the chance gather as a family at the end of the day, often spent having seperate adventures, is what makes these trips so wonderful.
As we get closer I will be forced to go over other things that I am excited to do in WDW!
Thank you Mimi and Poppop for these wonderful gifts!!!