How many attempts does it take to end up in a diabetic coma: An adult adventure at Food and Wine Festival
Hi there, Hey there, Ho there!
Most of the planning has been concluded and we are just in that waiting phase for the adventure to begin. It all started with three friends enjoying happy hour in the late spring of 2018. Getting together we realized that we all loved Walt Disney World, wanted to return, and all agreed on key things for our trip, such as we must stay on site, we must spend about a week there, we must have the Disney Dining Plan, and we needed Park Hopper tickets to minimize line waiting times. Since then, there have been a lot of changes, including who is going. I’ll spare you the play by play of it all.
Who: All three of us are young at heart fans of the Disney parks.
Douglas – I’m the plotter, the planner, the organizer living in Philadelphia, PA
Keith – My roomie is a gigantic Star Wars fan. When we first started our plans, we weren’t sharing a 3-bedroom house. But life has brought the two of us together (omg, I just read that and thought, no, no, no. We are not Tiana and Naveen. He is like my brother. Purely platonic). We agree we are our favorite roommates ever.
Andy – A local Floridian who used to live in Philadelphia but moved to Naples, FL and signed up to share in our adventures.
When: Even that has changed. Originally, we were going to be visiting for the traditional first week of June to Gay Days in Walt Disney World. Now, we are visiting from October 22 through 28, 2019. We figured the three of us had enough of a gay factor we really didn’t need to go at that time. While we aren’t lushes, we do enjoy an adult beverage. A lot. The fact that this time is Food and Wine Festival time is great fun and I know that Keith and I have never been at that time before. Months after we had booked our vacation, Disney announced an earlier opening for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Keith is super excited to explore the planet of Batuu. I mean you should see his bookshelves. He has so much Star Wars literature I had no idea that it all existed until I moved in.
Where: We wanted to stay on site. For those few short hours where I am resting my head, it is Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter for us. A moderate Disney resort fits the bill. I’ve always wanted to stay there since it is frequently people’s choice for favorite moderate Disney resort. For me, the biggest bonus is the extra magic hour. Having a time in which I can have less line waiting is terrific.
Even though I’m an excellent planner, I hired a travel planner that I have known for over 15 years. I can’t believe that it has been that long. She owns her own Disney specialized agency. It is nice to bounce ideas off her. Why not have her be up at the crack of dawn contacting Disney for me while I get a decent amount of sleep. I’m not paying her, Disney is. Denise Lang is the best! Whatever you do, I highly recommend getting a Disney specialized travel planner.
Getting a park hopper option was important to me and Keith agreed. We can go to the extra magic hours and then move on to a park that has a predicted lower crowd level for the day. That leads me to one of the subscriptions that I purchased. I subscribed for a year to touringplans.com. It is the web tool brought to me by the folks at The Unofficial Guide of Walt Disney World 2019. I purchased that guidebook as well. A good guidebook is a $20 investment towards a better $4000 vacation. I’ve been using the touring plans in the Unofficial guide since 1994. They have worked incredibly well. Now that Walt Disney World’s popularity is bigger than ever, touring plans are more important than ever. That’s evidenced by the fact that there no longer is a slow season. There is just crowded and wildly crowded, it seems by all reports. It’s the crowded times that touring plans come into more importance.
I also subscribe to the Disney Food Blog mailing list. Much of the information that I learned over the past year is from the copious amounts of emails and YouTube videos that I received from that team. The DFB 2019 Guide to Food and Beverage is incredibly thorough and allowed me to make important decisions. I also purchased the 2019 DFB Guide to the Food and Wine Festival. Basically, we will be taking AJ Wolfe and team’s recommendation to use our snack credits from the Disney Dining Plan at food booths of the festival. There are so many choices. Let their guide help you make the necessary decisions about food and beverages.
Do I think the Disney Dining Plan is worth it? For me, it is worth the peace of mind. I like knowing that most of my meals are paid for in advance. Anything I can do to enjoy the moment is appreciated. Also, I like being able to pick whatever I want on a menu and not be concerned with price. Will I save money? I really doubt it. I figure the cost of the meal plan will be close to what I would spend out of pocket. But I intend to track all of that just as a curiosity exercise.
Another resource are YouTube videos. The DIS team have given me countless hours of insight, information, and excitement about my upcoming trip. Since I’ve been watching them over a year now on a weekly basis, I feel like they are my friends even though we have never met. DISunplugged is my church, if you will. The DFB team makes a plethora of videos multiple times a week and I watch them religiously too. You never know what tidbit I might pick up from a trip report like this one on the forums. One thing that any expert on Disney can agree on is that it is an ever-evolving destination. You might have fallen in love with a restaurant on your last visit. Well guess what, the executive chef has been changed out now and it is just not up to the level you are used to. You used to be required to go to your resorts check in desk. Now, your room assignment will show up on MyDisneyExperience and you can unlock your door with your phone.
Podcasts are another great source of ideas. I love the duo Annie and Brady from “Never Growing Up”. It’s geared specifically to those of us who frequent the parks without children. They are speaking my language. I have known Sara Vance Varney for over 15 years. She and her fellow travel planners are great at giving tried and true tips on their weekly podcast “Disney Park Princess”. The duo at “Gays on the D” are also great at providing a different perspective.
I can not overstate how much insight I gain from reading trip reports. For this trip my resource was mainly trip reports. If a trip report had a lot of detail, I probably got more out of it. I really don’t need a list of all the attractions you visited. I need opinion, insight, and tips. Thank you everyone in the Disney community for helping me out.
Part of the challenge for our visit is no one, I mean, no one can predict really what the line waiting will be like now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is due to be open roughly for a month before our arrival. Disneyland really can’t be used as a template because it is a different type of park. It is more of a park for locals whereas WDW has a much larger vacation crowd. Disneyland blocked the annual passholders from entering Galaxy’s Edge at the beginning. WDW will not. I say it is anybody’s guess what the heck will happen even though folx can see hotel availability for October. Walt Disney World’s answer to help manage crowd levels is to introduce what are called extra, extra magic hours. These are hours that only guests staying onsite may experience. During our visit, Hollywood Studios will open at 6 am. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will be open at 7 am for their magic hours. It is only on our first day that any evening extra magic hours are offered.
Based on touring plans crowd level predictors, I came up with a game plan for what parks to visit for extra, extra magic hours, and regular operating hours. Once I knew where I would be, I figured out my dining based on my location. I came up with a list of which restaurants to patronize in each park. I simply plugged my choice into the day I am visiting that park.
I created a Google Doc which was our itinerary of the day and contained some notes for myself so I wouldn’t forget to do or see some key things at that time. Instead of boring everyone with where I will be every minute of every day, I’ll give you all highlights of my days because no one is interested in all of that, except me.
Be Our Guest, Sunshine Seasons, Docking Bay 7, Ronto Roasters, Oga’s Cantina, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, The Wave…of American Flavors, The Edison, Restaurant Marrakesh, California Grill, Satu’li Canteen, Boma, Kusafari Coffee and Bakery and the International Food and Wine Festival.
Eat to the Beat Concerts, Savi’s Workshop, Happily Ever After, Epcot Forever, Monorail pub crawl, Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party, Sangria Hour at Jaleo, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
Memory Maker: I’m happy that I could add this on later as opposed to having to order it at the time of booking my package, like travel insurance. Looking forward to seeing the three of us in front of the big icons at each park.
Thanks to surfing around the forums at touring plans I discovered that I could create my own family reunion and reduce the cost of the Memory Maker. Ordinarily in 2019, Memory Maker costs $169/$199 for your group. However, I made a post asking other groups going to Walt Disney World in October if they would be interested in sharing the cost of Memory Maker. I was able to create a family reunion with complete strangers found on touringplans.com forum and reduced the amount I had to pay for the Memory Maker to $14. That I could afford. Basically, we connected with each other on MyDisneyExperience to share our photographs with a dummy account. Sssh! Don’t tell.
I am creating a little gift bag for Keith and Andy. Keith will get his when the Magic Bands arrive. I’m sure he wouldn’t shop for travel things until the last minute. I think he wouldn’t think to get most of these items. Andy will get his when he meets us our first day when he meets us at Port Orleans French Quarter. The gift bag will include the complimentary Magic Band, a cooling towel in the same color as the Magic Band (this way we will know whose towel is whose) and a dining tray for Food and Wine Festival. The tray is like what we had as children at the school cafeteria. It is decorated with a sticker from the Disney Food Blog to announce that this is a Food and Wine Festival Official DFB Tray. DFB where “food IS a theme park”. I get a cooling towel and a tray too. I also made customized t-shirts for each of us for the main day we visit Food and Wine Festival. I made a graphic that is consistent for each and then have a fun saying that is individualized for each person. Oh! I just discovered a travel rain jacket in purple which is Keith’s color in the basement, so I’ll add that in.
FastPass+ selections were complete for Keith and I since we are the ones in Port Orleans French Quarter. Since Andy is a local Floridian with an annual pass I will try to make FastPass+ selections for him once the 30 day window opens up. Obviously, the times I was able to make today for Keith and I, Andy probably will not be able to get. My plan is to just get the same attractions and later try to modify, modify, and modify. Just pound that app. Hopefully we can sync it so we share the same window and can then experience the FastPass+ attractions together. My plan is to experience Toy Story Land on a Hollywood Studio day during extra, extra magic hour. The majority will head to Galaxy’s Edge so I shouldn’t have too long a wait for Toy Story Land attractions. Andy already said he is only interested in doing Peter Pan Flight. Other than that all that he does will be gravy. Since he has an annual pass and visits regularly The good news is I was able to get all of my FastPass+ choices today and the majority at the beginning of the day so I will be able to get additional FastPasses the day we tour. Only time will tell.
Basically, my plan is to sleep when I get back to Philadelphia from Orlando.