I will be visiting September 14-29 with a family of 13. We are all first timers. We really want to get in all the iconic experience, and I am considering the Festival of Fantasy VIP seating dining package, but we honestly have absolutely no desire to eat at Tony’s Town Square. I’m wanting to know if it’s worth it? Will the views be much better? Will is save us any time, or should I just skip it and spend an hour staking out a spot?
I haven’t done this package myself, but I have read that with the package, you can basically just wander up 5-10 minutes before the parade and that the parade viewing is very nice except it is in the direct sun, and given the time of year you are going, it might be unbearable. I have had good luck getting a spot for the parade about 30 minutes before in Frontierland with a family of 6, although the shady side of the street may fill up earlier.
I considered it for our party of 5 in May, but ultimately decided that I didn’t want to eat a mediocre to bad lunch just to make it easier to go to the parade. We were able to find good spots about a half hour before the parade last year in early May.
On the other hand, it may make sense for your group because you’ll be there during what will probably be an (unexpectedly) busy time due to SW opening, and because you have such a large group. The bigger the group, the harder to find a good spot.
My understanding is that the views are good and it does save you time. Whether that’s worth eating at Tony’s is your call!
The viewing area is great but it is in full sun. I have not done the Tony’s package but it used to be the FP area.
We just got back from Disney, and did this package. The meal was fine - I was really not up for a heavy three course meal after a morning in the sun so a lot of it went to waste. They asked us to be at the viewing area by 2:55, and we didn’t get there until 3, and we still were right on the curb. It was in the full sun, though. On the other hand on our second MK day we staked out a spot in the shade on Main Street but we got there at 2:30 and it was already pretty full.
‘Worth it’ is totally subjective. I did it with DS a while ago. Yes, it is in full sun, so prepare for that. But, I am very crowd averse and have never seen the parade as a result. The food was ok (DS really likes it, I’m not a fan) but the view and lack of crowds were really what I was looking for so for us, it was completely worth it. We had lunch, returned about 10 minutes before the parade (stopped at the bakery on the way for a snack to eat), sat down on the curb and had an amazing time. Not sure I would do it again, but I’m very happy we did it once.
Thanks for the pictures! That helps a lot.
Thanks, that is helpful info. We are pretty crowd averse too.
I’m not a big parade fan (don’t judge me, people) but I once did the package because my sister really wanted to see the parade and I would rather pay than wait. I think Tony’s is totally fine. Its American Italian, not a signature meal, but there are plenty of options. And the decor is super-cute. And we did get to walk right out and see the parade in 10 minutes.
In January when I was in WDW I was getting ready to leave MK around 3pm to get some down time before getting up at 3am for the marathon, and since it coincided with the parade just found a decent place to watch. I was just one person, so it worked fine. I don’t think it would work with a group, especially with littles. If you do not want to stake out a position 30+ minutes before (and defend it against others, so you would need more than one person), you have a group, and your view really matters – and you don’t mind perfectly fine but nothing to write a Liners trip report about Tony’s meal, then it probably would be worth it for you to book the package.