Edition #3: Planning your Days at the Theme Parks!!
This blog is the third and final edition in a series to help you plan your extended family vacation – Disney style!!!
Hmmmmm…where should we eat tonight?
Here are some great ways to help ensure you get a reservation together
in one of your favorite restaurants:
1) Be ready to book your restaurant choices the first day that your dining window opens. This date is: 180 days from your check in date @ 7:00am EST. Many signature dining experiences and character meals book quickly; if you were thinking of dining at “Cinderella’s Royal Table”, or visiting the Beast at, “Be Our Guest”, you will want to be online first thing in the morning.
EARS OF EXPERIENCE TIP: If you book through me, I can help you with dining suggestions AND even reserve your meals for you, so you don’t have to get up early in the morning!
2) Consider eating during non - peak meal times. Often times, we will grab a snack in the morning as our breakfast (either at the resort, or in the parks). When we arrive at the parks, we try to do as many rides as possible in the morning and then sit down for lunch at a Quick Service restaurant around 11:00am. There have been so many times that we’ve been one of the only families in the restaurant – we’ve had our pick of lunch tables and get everyone close together!!
For dinner, we’ve found that eating earlier has also allowed us to find reservations for the entire dining party. On our last trip – we found a 4:35pm reservation for the coveted “Be Our Guest” restaurant – for all 12 people!! By the time the later evening hours arrive, everyone was ready for a favorite snack (Dole Whip or Mickey Bar – your pick!) and no one was too full to indulge!
IMPORTANT PAYMENT NOTES: All groups that are 6 or more will automatically have an 18% gratuity added. Additionally, if you plan to dine at a restaurant that requires prepayment (like Cinderella’s Royal Table) don’t forget that you will have to prepay for everyone unless you are on the Dining Plan.
Lets ride some rides!!
Now that your dining plans are taken care of, your next big park planning decision is which attractions to reserve a Fast Pass for. Walt Disney World’s Fast Pass + system allows each guest staying on property to pre select- FOR FREE - three Fast Passes each day of their visit (based on the number of park tickets linked to the reservation). Your Fast Pass + window opens 60 days from your check in date @ 7:00 am EST and on site guests can select Fast Passes for the entire visit, again based on the number of theme park tickets purchased. Fast Passes can be used for theme park attractions, theatrical performances and even evening shows and Meet and Greets!
When traveling with a large group, here are a few tips to help the process go smoothly:
EARS OF EXPERIENCE TIP: In booking thorough Ears of Experience, we will provide you with a list of all the attractions that allow Fast Passes (along with height requirements), as well as our suggestions for which rides are the best use of your Fast Passes!!! I'll be able to help you through the entire Fast Pass process!!!
That’s everything!! Room booked … My Disney Experience accounts linked…dining reserved and Fast Passes selected – whoo hoo!!! The last piece of the puzzle is to sit back and let the excitement begin because… EVERYONE'S going to Walt Disney World!!!
Let me know if you have other tips and tricks to help other families that are traveling together have a magical experience!!!