Once again my fellow Liners I need your help. I’m a Disney veteran but my DW, DS (12) and DD(5) are all rookies. We are going down for 8 nights in September and I think I need all of your creativity to help me think outside of the box. In terms of dining for the trip, the only dinners that are locked in for us are Via Napoli, HDDR, and Victoria and Alberts (if we can get a reservation of course) for the wife and I. We are staying at the Poly so at some point I figured we would eat at Ohana as well. But back to the point of this thread. My plan originally was to do Chef Mickeys for dinner on our first night. I thought the characters and the experience of the monorail at the Contemporary would be a cool way to start our trip. However, I’ve never been a huge fan of the food at Chef Mickey’s, although I know it’s not really about the food there. I’m just not sure if it’s the right meal to start the trip. Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this and any suggestions anyone has.
Are your kids Mickey fans? (Sometimes we do dinners for other reasons ) Have you thought about maybe Raglan Road in DS? The music and dancers and the entertainment around DS makes for a fun night.
Few places “feel” like Disney the way that the Contemporary does. I like this idea. In fact, we did this very thing on one trip a few years back.
You’ll do a few things at once: ride the monorail (which staying at the Poly might be a daily thing for you), meet several of the main characters in a cool setting, and see the Contemporary. You’ll definitely know your in Disney!
Make sure you have autograph books before you get there!
How about Crystal Palace. That will put you in MK and give you characters.
We’ve done Ohana for dinner on our first night the last two trips. I think it’s yummy and is just enough excitement for our kids after a long travel day. The dancing, singing, and coconut races are adorable! We get the dining plan and Ohana is just one credit - another plus!
Have you done 1900 park fare for dinner before? It’s a fun character experience with the Stepsisters from Cinderella and Cinderella/Prince. Both my son and daughter really enjoyed it and I thought the stepsisters were a riot. It’s on the monorail - so you still get that fun for the first evening.
These are all really good suggestions! It always helps to get other peoples perspectives.
I think dinner at Chef Mickey’s is a terrific way to start the trip, especially for your “rookie” DD5. We did exactly this for our first night dinner with our rookie DD5 and DS5. What’s better on day one than to have Mickey, Minnie, et al welcome us to WDW. For us, it was a perfect first night meal/activity, before hitting our first park (MK) the next morning.
Outside the box, Grand Floridian Cafe, Kona Cafe, or somehwere simple off the monorail. Not sure what time you check in, but from past experience the first night kids are a bit tired due to traveling all day. After dinner do the pirate and pal fireworks voyage from the Contemporary Hotel. Great view from the boat of fireworks with no crowds. Then you can go on rides the night at Magic Kingdom when everyone else is watching the fireworks.
For my kids first trip (ages 5 & 7 at the time) we had dinner at TRex and checked out the lego displays and stores at Disney Springs. A nice way to start if you’re not planning to visit a park the first day.
I can’t give you too much feedback other than that we are trying Chef Mickey’s for the first time on this trip. It will be our first night, but we will be at MK all day before. It has taken us about 8 trips to try it, and we know that the food might not be the best, but it’s so quintessential Disney that we just have to do it. We also met a CM last year who worked there and was very enthusiastic about it, so that got us in the spirit.
we are doing Trails End at Fort Wilderness then heading over to the pool area for Chip n Dale and a movie
What time are you due to arrive? I would be wary of making an ADR unless you are sure you can make it.
My plan is to fly direct from Tulsa to Sanford in the morning sometime then hire a car service to get me to Disney. I feel pretty comfortable that we will be a the resort by the mid-afternoon. Was thinking of a 6-7 ADR somewhere.
I think Chef Mickey’s is actually a great way to start your Disney vacation! I agree that the food is just mediocre, but the atmosphere is lively and the character interaction there is awesome. It’s a perfect way to get into the spirit of the trip! It is also very conveniently located for you if you’re staying at Poly. We stayed at Contemporary in 2014, and started our trip with a Chef Mickey dinner. It was so cool to see my kids smiling and waving their napkins in the air! It got them more excited for going to MK the next day.
Some of your replies have raised another interesting but unrelated question. A few of you have said how you started your trips at MK. However, I know the UG says to not do MK first. I’m sure I could convince the family to hold off on MK since they don’t know what they’re missing but I’m not sure that’s the right way to go. Despite what the UG says…
We always start with chef mickeys for the same reasons that you do. I agree with you though that the food isn’t really that good and I always feel like the character experiences are rushed. I told my husband I don’t think I will go back. On our last trip we did dinner at 1900 park fare in the grand Floridian. The dinner features, cindarella, prince harming, lady tremaine, Anastasia, and dtizella. I booked it more for my daughter but I have 3 sons as well who loved this. The characters are hysterical and spent a good amount of time with us. Lady tremaine kept trying to marry her daughters off to my sons, dtizella kept coming over to our table to play with my oldest sons hair, and Anastasia chose my 3 year old son to dance with during the royal dance. Everything they did was hilarious! The food was delicious as well. We will go back for sure, and I would highly recommend that character meal : )
I always start and end the trip with MK
We’ve done MK on our first full day - I have two littles (5 and 3) so we wanted to make the most of MK at the beginning of our trip as opposed to the end when everyone might be exhausted and burned out!
I understand why the UG recommends waiting on MK, but with my rookie DD5 and DS5, there was no way we were going to be able to wait on MK. Nor did I want to. Plus, MK was the focus of our trip, so we dove right in.
Agree with EGK that this way we tapped into that early in the week energy/excitement level. And when we went to Epcot and DAK (but not DHS) later in the week, it was very important that we had set the bar lower – or differently – for those two parks. I think that helped the whole family still very much enjoy those parks.