Disney Trip Summary

We have quite a bit of experience going to Disney World and Universal Studies in Orlando, Florida.  We’ve also branched out to do a Disney Cruise and Disneyland in California.  This section is intended to provide some historical perspective on our experiences. We’ve experienced Disney with our kids, with our extended family of 24 people, and as a romantic getaway with just Mark and Jeanne.

AnimMonorail

DisneyWorld Disneyland Disney Cruise
Mark 19 2 1
Jeanne 17 2 1
Ty 11 1 1

Continue reading Disney Trip Summary

Our Favorite Disney Restaurants

Over the years we’ve developed a passion for planning our days around a relaxing dinner at one of the tremendous restaurants at Disney World.  In the picture above the entire extended family is enjoying a great meal at the Yak and Yetti Restaurant in Animal Kingdom in 2008.

Here is a list of our favorite restaurants, in order of preference and showing where the restaurant is located and the dates we ate there.  Most of the restaurants also have links to the Disney web page where you can get a better description and an idea of the menu and price range.

In order of preference

Restaurant Description Location/Date
Narcoossee’s This is likely the best restaurant in Orlando.  Its much more upscale than other Disney restaurants Grand Floridian

2000

Yachtsman Steakhouse Our new favorite steak place, but just by a little bit.  Much easier to get a reservation, and its included in the Dining Plan while Le Cellier has been dropped from the Dining Plan Yacht Club Resort

2013 & 2014

Le Cellier Outstanding steak!  It was a memorable meal, and even the kids said it was one of the best. EPCOT – Canada
2010 & 2011
Teppan Edo Outstanding food and we had a terrific time.  Japanese hibachi cooking, and we had the best chef ever.  None of the other tables appeared to be having as much fun as we were having. EPCOT – Japan

2006

Boma Excellent food with some surprising flavors Animal Kingdom Lodge
2011
Yak & Yetti Located in Animal Kingdom, this restaurant has very good food.  Since Animal Kingdom often closes at 5pm, its usually easy to get reservations for 4:30pm – and its neat being the last people to leave the park. Animal Kingdom
2008
Tusker House Excellent food.  They had a pork shoulder that was very good and the sweet and spicy mustard sauce was fantastic.  This is a character dining location, so it was a bit loud, but the food was terrific Animal Kingdom

2017

Tokyo Dining Excellent quality.  One word of caution – don’t over-order.  We had a lot of food left over. EPCOT – Japan
2010
Cafe Cape May Great seafood buffet.  Excellent quality crab legs and clams.  Excellent desserts. Beach Club2013, 2014, 2017
‘Ohana Very good grilled food that they bring right to the table and serve off the skewers.  The food is very good, and the bread pudding dessert is awesome.  We were able to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the table, with the soundtrack playing in perfect timing with the fireworks.  Excellent!! Polynesian Resort

1978, 1997, 2004, 2010, 2014

Crystal Palace Excellent buffet with the added benefit of character visits for the kids Magic Kingdom 2014, 2017
Hollywood & Vine A surprisingly delicious buffet with an unusually high quality and broad range of food choices.  We highly recommend this. Disney Studios
2008, 2010, 2011
Coral Reef Located in the Living Sea’s pavilion at EPCOT.  Great food.  Terrific underwater view of the fish tank, including watching divers and sharks. EPCOT – Living Seas

2007

Whispering Canyon Cafe Great food and tons of it!  They really engage the diners with fun antics, games, and lots of hootin and hollerin Wilderness Lodge

2007, 2008

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Outstanding food and a terrific time Disney Studios

2002, 2004, 2006

Chefs de France I was disappointed in the food during our 2017 trip and have downgraded this restaurant France in EPCOT

2013, 2017

San Angel Inn Very good Mexican food, though the service was a little slow. EPCOT – Mexico
2008
Restaurant Marrakesh Excellent experience in 2011.  The chicken and the lamb were excellent EPCOT – Morocco
2000, 2011, 2014
Polynesian Luau Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.  This show hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years.  The food is okay, but not great.  The entertainment is just so-so – with one exception.  The fire twirler is awesome, and its worth doing this once just to see that act.  Incredible. Polynesian Resort

1976, 2007

The Plaza Restaurant Main St restaurant is slightly upscale, and has good food, but not my favorite.
Magic Kingdom2006, 2007
Rainforest Cafe This is the franchise and is a lot of fun for the kids Animal Kingdom1997, 2002, 2017
Nine Dragons I was a bit disappointed in the food quality.  I was expecting a flavorful Chinese experience and the food was actually a bit bland EPCOT – China
2000
50’s Prime Time Cafe A fun time, but the food was pedestrian and institutional (meatloaf, fried chicken).  The waitresses are fun – yelling at you for having you elbows on the table .  The decor is 1950’s kitchen – including the counter and old style kitchen chairs. Disney Studios

2007

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall We haven’t been here in a while and I suspect we’ll be happier today than we were in 1997.  EPCOT – Norway

1997

Liberty Tree Tavern
Just burgers – nothing special EPCOT American Adventure
Captain’s Grille Poor service and mediocre food. Stay away (This restaurant closed in 2017) Yacht Club

2013

Shutters Awful food.  There was nothing here that any of us liked.  Stay away.  This restaurant closed in 2017. Carribean Beach Resort
2010

Disney Resorts

Where To Stay

In 2002 we got a great deal staying at Homewood Suites right outside Disneyworld.  This should have been terrific – a nice suite including kitchenette, a Jacuzzi, a nice pool and free breakfast every morning.  But something didn’t feel right.  While the price was terrific, we found ourselves with people who didn’t seem to share our same values.  I don’t know how else to state this – it just wasn’t comfortable.  After a few nights we decided to call DisneyWorld to see if we could move to an onsite resort.  We cancelled the rest of our stay at the Homewood Suites and spent the remainder of the week at Port Orleans Riverside.  The difference was amazing and Port Orleans became our most favorite resort – at least up to the point that we tried another resort.  I don’t know what magic makes the in-park resorts so much more delightful, but this experience proved it yet again. Continue reading Disney Resorts

Disney Updates

I try to follow developments at Disney both as a stockholder and as a 15-visit fan. The news coming out of the D23 convention in California this weekend was very exciting and somewhat overwhelming. It looks like we will have many reasons to continue our visits.

 

Star Wars Hotel

This is probably the most exciting announcement.  This is a fully immersive experience.  Not only with the theming be entirely based on Star Wars, but all cast members will act like they have always lived in the Star Wars universe.  The rooms look awesome!  This will be a luxury resort.  Better start saving now.  (read more)

Disney Cruise Lines

  • Three new ships are being built to augment the current four-ship fleet (Fantasy, Dream, Wonder, Magic). We sailed on the Dream and would love to do another cruise. The new ships will sail in 2021, 2022, and 2023. (read more)

EPCOT

  • A new Ratatouille 4D attraction will be added to the France pavilion.  The attraction is based on the animated movie and duplicates the popular Paris-Disneyland attraction.  Opens 2021.  (read more)
  • Universe of Energy will be re-themed to Guardians of the Galaxy.  Looks like this might happen more quickly than normal since they’ve announced Universe of Energy will close on August13, 2017.  (read more)
  • A “Mission-Space” restaurant is being added next to the attraction.  (read more)
  • The 360-degree movie in the China pavilion will be upgraded.
  • Journey into the Imagination will be re-themed based on the awesome movie “Inside-Out”.  This one is just a rumor

Disney Studios

  • The last date for Great Movie Ride is August 13, 2017.  The Ride will be closed forever.  Its not clear what will be done in this space, but perhaps an expansion of Star Wars Land.
  • Art work for Star Wars Land (now called “Galaxy’s Edge”) was revealed.   Disney is continuing the process of creating immersive experiences that was started by Universal with the Harry Potter worlds.  Disney California did an amazing job with Cars Land and it looks like Galaxy’s Edge will be awesome.  (read more)
  • One of the new attractions in Galaxy’s Edge will be a ride in the Millennium Falcon

Magic Kingdom

  • A Tron light-cycle roller-coaster will be coming to the area near Space Mountain.  Initially it was reported that the roller-coaster would replace the Tommorowland Speedway.  However, the concept art shows the speedway to be intact.  The Tron roller-coaster duplicates the ride from Shanghai-Disneyland.  (read more)
  • A new theater will be added to Main Street.  This will be for live shows.  Its not yet clear where this will be constructed nor what will be impacted. (read more)

Transportation

Disney is implementing an exciting new way to get around with the Disney Skyliner gondola system.  The gondolas will have stations in EPCOT,  Disney’s Studios, Caribbean Beach Resort, and Art of Animation.  (read more)

MinnieVans – DisneyWorld will offer a new Uber-type transportation option with appropriately-themed MinnieVans.

Lodging

Disney Riviera Hotel will be a new Disney Vacation Club resort.