Port Orleans French Quarter is in the New Orleans motif. Hence the French Quarter name. I wouldn't call the decor elegant, but the theming is cute and appropriate. It was fun and enjoyable to look around the property. In 2016, when we visited, the main building was undergoing a remodel. So some of the photo sets are not complete. Overall I prefer this side of the Port Orleans pair over the Riverside half out of sheer convenience. My husband and I stayed in the Riverside section a year and a half prior and it definitely has more as far as recreation activities. FQ is smaller, so your room will most likely be closer to the main building. This half of the resort also has the kids' splash pad and slide feature. When staying at either Port Orleans resort you have access to the other's amenities. We had dinner at the Riverside food court one night because we liked a few options over there better than the limited menu at FQ because of construction. We found this to be a great Moderate Disney resort, good food, and beautiful grounds.
We lucked out and ended up with a room in building five. This is the building directly next to the food court and lobby and also next to the pool. Maybe it was the fact that I was 6 months pregnant and they took pity on me? We encountered a lot of "good luck" mixed with some not so good on this trip. (It poured during our Not So Scary Halloween Party). I think much of our good luck came from my awesomely protruding belly! We were on the second floor, which was nice because we could look out the window and see some of the pool area and resort. The room had typical moderate resort amenities including an ironing board, coffee maker with Joffrey's Coffee, curved shower bar (yay, for no sticky curtain) and more. We didn't have any noise issues during our stay even though we were right near all the action!
My son spent some time checking it out and playing on it during our stay. He gave it two thumbs up! I, on the other hand, found it a bit hot. The benches weren't in shady areas and I kept moving around to be in the shade. I like that they had a large open area surrounding the equipment. Kids love to run around on playgrounds, by providing a wide open space they are less likely to clobber in to each other or the apparatus!
We actually spent a decent amount of time here on this trip. My son was 3.5 at the time and he loved the waterslide. I am not exaggerating when I say he went down it at least 100 times during our 3 night stay. He liked it so much that he took no interest in the splash pad area with sprayers and smaller slides. There was no height requirement for the big slide. Minimum heights have been an issue for us as my son is on the short side. Since this trip occurred, he's never been allowed on a water slide on a single cruise or hotel since. FYI, I am writing this two years after this trip occurred. That's what happens when you have a busy life with two kids! The one I was pregnant with on this trip is about to turn two. I am sure you can relate if you've made it this far through my blog. The pool itself was spacious. It could handle a fairly large crowd and probably still feel comfortable. We stay from a Sunday to a Wednesday, in the fall, so crowds were at a minimum for us. As Floridians the pool was slightly chilly in our opinion, but still comfortable once you were in. I'm sure northerners found it just fine or possibly warm.
One perk of the Port Orleans resort pair is the Ferry boat that picks up and drops off at Disney Springs. Each Port Orleans resort has a dock of it's own. The trip between Disney Springs and Port Orleans is 20 minutes give or take. It depends if you board at French Quarter or Riverside. Trips run from 10am to 11:30pm daily. The best part is, it's FREE!
*Remember, click on any image to view it larger!
Disney's Fort Wilderness is a unique gem situated off of Bay Lake, which means it has direct boat access to the Magic Kingdom ;) This was actually my second time staying in one of the cabins. My first experience was for one of my birthdays long ago, back in 2003. Things have changed since then and so I want to bring you the most up to date information I have on these spacious and relaxing "rooms."
Each cabin has a bedroom with full-sized bed as well as twin bunks. Floor space is a little cramped, but it's not a big deal because you have the rest of the cabin to sprawl out in! The bedroom also has a small closet with a curtain, flat screen TV, drawers, counter space, mirror, and side table. Remember you can click on the photos for a larger view!
Living & Dining Room
There is a dining table that can seat 6 total, I would say four comfortably though. One bench seat and three rustic chairs. It was nice to have a real table to sit down at for breakfasts, which we brought with us, and the one dinner that we ate in the cabin. In the living room section there was a 60+ inch flat screen HDTV on the middle far wall. It was placed between two windows, so I advise you close the curtains on either side for a less blinding view! The sofa unfolds to make an additional sleeping space for 2. Or in my family, one person takes up the whole thing ;)
There are 6 drawers under the TV and two cabinets on each side. A lot of storage space indeed. Finally, there is an ottoman and a rustic armchair for an additional seating space. Both the armchair and sofabed came in handy when my four year old spiked a fever on our second day of the trip.
This is quite possibly, my favorite feature of the cabins. Having a full kitchen at your fingertips is wonderful, especially when you are traveling with a 3 month old, 4 year old, and hungry husband! A refrigerator with freezer, two-burner glass top range, microwave/convection oven combo, kettle, coffee maker (with coffee and filters), toaster, and all the utensils needed to make meals. This was handy for quick and easy breakfasts. We kept all our snacks around for when we were back in the cabin and even ate a meal here one night. They also provide drinking glasses, plates, bowls, silverware, and more. It helps take the edge off of a potentially stressful vacation when you can come "home" at the end of the day.
We brought our own vehicle with us, but we also rented a golf cart for the stay. It was $59 per day and well worth it. With my son getting sick while we were there, a spin out on the cart in fresh air really helped perk him up. Many of the places in the fort (restaurants, pools, general stores) do not have parking for standard vehicles. There is, however, plenty of golf cart parking. Each cabin has a hookup outside so that the cart can charge overnight.
* A word of caution though, if you are not staying within Fort Wilderness it could take you a long time to get to the venue. You will need to take your car, or park transportation busses, to the front of Fort Wilderness. There is a bus stop with both Disney Parks busses, as well as internal Fort Wilderness busses. You will board a Fort Wilderness internal bus and take it to the Settlement stop. This is where both Hoop De Doo and the Backyard BBQ are located.
The meal is buffet style barbecue. It's not gourmet, but it's edible. We're barbecue snobs in our home and it was fine with us. Everything from ribs, chicken, mac and cheese, beans, corn, pasta/potato salad, and more! The buffet area is centered at the back of the pavilion flanked on the sides by soft drink stations. Finally, on each end is a cooler with Mickey Ears and other ice cream & treats. Sorry, we only paid attention to the Mickey Ears!
BONUS: Beer, Wine, and Sangria are included for those of age ;)
This Character Dining Experience is a bit different than others in that you can do a met and greet with the characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip & Dale, but there is also live entertainment on the stage. Singers, a band, a dance floor, and more! The characters come out to some of the open areas of the floor and dance with any willing participants. You'll see a shot of my 4 year old dancing next to Goofy below. There was even a guy doing rope tricks on stage and at the main dance floor. That part was pretty exciting other than the fact that my four year old complained it was too loud and scary when he cracked the whip :/
There were highchairs at the end of each picnic table, but it didn't seem like enough because people were searching and asking if they were being used. We gave ours to another family as soon as we finished our meal. Strollers are not allowed under the pavilion so we had to bring the baby's car seat in with us and hold it while sitting on the table. There is stroller parking by the front entrance. I will throw the picture in at the bottom of this post with some miscellaneous shots.
I know that many people go back and forth on whether they think the dining plan is worth it for a trip to Disney. Now if you're flying in from out of town and the only transportation you have is the Disney provided busses, boats, and monorail it may work a little different for you. Options are mostly limited to on-property meals. However, if you rent a car or drive your own- you have more options. I thought I'd give a break down of what we spent on food for the three/four days we were there and compare that to the dining plan to see if it was a good option.
Purchased 1 Rapid Refill Mug for $19.16 (only one as I drank mostly water)
Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside Mill Food Court (Quick Service) $35.06
Two pastas and two treats.
Breakfast at Port Orleans French Quarter Sassagoula (Quick Service) $24.78
Bounty Platter, Kids Mickey Waffle, and Sausage + Biscuits.
Lunch was at Sweet Tomatoes (off property, so it doesn't count!)
Dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express at Disney Springs (Quick Service) $38.77
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf and BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Breakfast at Port Orleans French Quarter Sassagoula (Quick Service) $24.88
Mickey Waffles, French Toast, and Ham + Cheese Omelette.
Lunch at Port Orleans French Quarter Sassagoula (Quick Service) $23.73
Chicken Quesadilla, BBQ Pork Po Boy, and 1 Cookie.
Dinner at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in the Magic Kingdom (Quick Service) $43.62
Hot Dog (not on kids menu so had to buy the "adult" hot dog for my son....), Greek Salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Milk, and 1 L Coke.
After Party Snack from Scat Cat Lounge at Port Orleans french Quarter (Quick Service) $12.65
Spinach and Artichoke Dip.
Breakfast at Port Orleans French Quarter Sassagoula (Quick Service) $4.87
Brunch at Chef Mickey's (Character Dining) $80.56
Buffet for two adults.
GRAND TOTAL: $308.08 for 3 days worth of meals. Not including tip.
So technically we ate for 3 days, as we arrived in the afternoon on the first day and left after brunch on the final day. I noted the "style" of dining so that you'd have an idea of what you might spend, yourself, at these places. The only time we purchased a meal for our son was two breakfasts and dinner at Cosmic Rays. All other meals he shared with us. This is important to note because some kids do eat more than others!
Pricing for the Disney Dining Plan 2016 (per day)
Quick Service Plan: 2 Quick Service, 1 Snack, and 1 Refillable Mug.
Child: $19.04. Adult: $44.13
Disney Dining Plan: 1 Table Service, 1 Quick Service, 1 Snack, and 1 Refillable Mug.
Child: $22.85 Adult: $63.70
Deluxe Dining Plan: 3 Meals (any style- quick or table service), 2 Snacks, and 1 Refillable Mug.
Child: $35.49 Adult: $115.08
Our eating habits did not mirror the Dining Plan options. We often shared meals, only took one refillable mug, and didn't purchase any snacks during our trip. We brought our own snacks since we drove. We also did mostly quick service locations with the exception of Chef Mickey. So you can't do a perfect comparison. BUT hopefully it give you a good idea of what to expect and will help you make a decision for your family!
3 Days Of
Quick Service: $264.78
Dining Plan: $382.20
Deluxe Dining: $690.48
In my opinion we came out a little ahead just based on our habits for this particular trip. Keep in mind that Character Meals can cost a lot, just look at what two adults are at Chef Mickey!!! Last year my husband and I did have a dining plan and it came out about even for us- but we also did more table service meals than this most recent trip.
Some people think I am crazy for what I just did. I am 26 weeks (6 months) pregnant and we just got home from a Disney trip. Now, granted, we live 2.5 hours away from Disney so I didn't have to get on a plane or anything like that. Originally we had planned to do two days of the Magic Kingdom, plus Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Animal Kingdom. When I found out I was pregnant we had to make some adjustments. So we opted to still go to Disney and just do the Halloween Party on this trip. We hung by the pool, explored Artegon Marketpalce (about 20 minutes away), and walked Disney Springs. We're saving our tickets for the winter/spring and my son's birthday- when I won't be pregnant anymore!
We definitely made the right choice. We had a good time over the course of the four days we were there. We took it easy and only made half-day plans so that all of us could relax. My husband even said he appreciated that we didn't feel rushed!
Something fun to note. When we showed up at 4pm it was really hot outside. Our first ride was Peter Pan. The Cast Member at the entrance was talking to us for a few minutes and asked if we had Fast Passes. I told him we did. So he let us in, then he came running after us with 3 "freebie" Fast Passes to be used on any ride we chose. We used them wisely and it saved us some time. A few of the Cast Members at ride entrances also handed them back to us and said to use it on another ride ;) There's nothing like Disney Magic!
Rides I successfully rode at 6 months pregnant:
We missed a few because there was thunder and lightening. So they closed those rides down. A couple were also under construction. Otherwise I would have also ridden:
My advice to pregnant women is to give yourself a few extra inches when those safety bars come down. We brought our down on the Little Mermaid ride and then my husband accidentally pulled it closer. I had to sit sideways because my belly was in the way of the bar! oops!
Disney is definitely doable while pregnant. As long as your doctor says it's safe to travel, you should still enjoy yourself! They like to sprinkle Disney Magic here and there. The photo below shows my son and myself with the free slushy we were given at Disney Springs (Downtown Disney).
Being that it was in the 50s during our trip, we did not use the pool. It looked like a fun area though with the water slide. The kids splash area was under refurbishment so I couldn't even get a good picture of it. However, based on the online photos I have seen, my son would have loved it had it been warm outside and operational! There were pool noodles available for use, life jackets for little ones who may need assistance, and plenty of pool chairs available. Under the gazebo there was a shaded pool table for use as well.
We played a round of mini golf and let our son play on the playground. Typically mini-golf has a small fee $1-2 per person, but because the splash pad was closed they were not charging. Both were situated next to the pool. This made it convenient to hop from activity to activity. They had bikes to rent for riding the trails too. Across the street is a large park, still park of the resort, with many other activities as well.
My favorite part of the trip was the Campfire Sing Along. Two Cast Members hosted the activity. Everyone met at the campfire The sun was just disappearing at that point so it became a little cooler. We did not pack properly for this trip, it was in the 80s back home the night before... So we brought the beach towels with us in case we needed to keep warm. They led interactive camp songs for about 20 minutes while the stragglers showed up. It was fun, but you need to have people who participate. If the other guests are just sitting and listening it isn't any fun!
After the sing songs, they broke out the s'mores! At most Disney resort they just provide marshmallows and roasting sticks. However, they provided everything needed to make a proper s'more here. Earlier in the evening we bought chocolate and graham crackers just in case. It was a nice treat to end the day!
In early February, we had to make a trip up to Orlando to look at a vehicle for my husband. Not wanting to drive for over 6 hours in one day we decided to split the trip. Drive three hours to Orlando early Friday morning, check out the car, then drive an hour and a half south toward home and stop at the Disney Vero Beach Resort for the night. I had always been curious about the place, so this was the prefect opportunity to check it out. We could have had better weather for the experience, as it was unusually chilly that weekend and we could not use the pool.
We arrived around 2pm that day. At check in they were very friendly, gave us a report map, schedule, explained the character breakfast that was being offered the next morning, and a few other features. We signed up for the Character Breakfast then just in case it filled up.
Once we checked in and dropped our bags in our room, we headed over to the pool deck for some lunch. The temperature was in the 50s, and that's just too cold for us Floridians to be swimming!! We ordered some food from Bleachers Bar & Grill because this is the only dining venue open for lunch on the property. I would say it's equivalent to the quick service dining at Disney's Yacht Club. I had the Hummus plate with vegetables, my husband had a tuna croissant sandwich, and the little guy had a grilled cheese. My husband ended up eating most of the grilled cheese though! Food was ready in a reasonable amount of time. We were given a buzzer to let us know when to pick the food up. They don't give straw because you are on the ocean and they can be dangerous to the wildlife and sealife.
We ate at Shutters for breakfast during our stay. Goofy's Beachside Character Breakfast, which is only offered on Saturday mornings. The food was fine, nothing exceptional. It was family-style waffles, bacon, sausage, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and a plate of pastries. Our main purpose was to allow our son to meet the characters. We had the earliest reservation available because we needed to get on the road fairly early. So a 7:30 breakfast time did give us prime character time. There weren't many other families in the restaurant that early so we were able to get a few minutes with the characters rather than a few seconds (like it is as WDW).
Price wise it was a good deal. I think we paid $20 per adult. Our son was free because of his age. Most character meals can be very expensive, but this was a lot more reasonably priced.
The decor was nice. Beachy-dive but classy. I loved the high ceilings and plenty of windows. The kitchen is open to the dining room, I assume for other dining events.
Disney's Port Orleans resort is divided in to two sections, the smaller French Quarter and the larger Riverside. My husband and I chose to stay at the Riverside location. I chose it because of a few factors: 1) It was a reasonable price for the weekend we were looking to go 2) I had seen a few pictures and heard feedback that it had a lot of recreation activities and beautiful landscaping.
We drove up to Orlando from our home in south Florida early on a Saturday morning. We arrived at Port Orleans around 8:00am. We wanted to activate our Magic Bands before heading over to Blizzard Beach. We parked at the main Riverside building. They have 30-minute Check-In parking so that you don't have to search for a spot in the general parking. Those reserved spots are right up front so its not . We went inside and "checked-in" for the weekend. Our room was not ready that early, but we were not interested in a room at that hour! Everything was taken care of in under five minutes and we grabbed a quick bit from the food court, covered later, then we headed off to Blizzard Beach.
The lines were short at the waterpark, so we finished at about 1:30pm. We decided to head back to the hotel, shower, and relax for a bit. While we were in the waterpark, I received the text letting us know our room location! We were assigned to the Alligator Bayou section, I was secretly hoping for one of the mansions. We were in building 35, which is also one of the furthest from the main building. For us it wasn't a big deal because we had our own car with us and we always snagged a front spot by our building. For people traveling without a car, this could pose as a challenge. The main building would be a far walk from here.
I have to say, I think the theming is adorable in Disney hotels. Even though I was hoping for a Mansion room, these had their own unique charm to them! I felt like I was staying in a rustic cabin, minus the dirt. The room was clean and fresh upon arrival. We booked a King room and that is what we received . There is a pull-down bunk directly across from the king bed, so if there was a family of three this room would be sufficient. We also had a corner room, which meant double windows! The photo came out terrible, but I placed it below so you can get an idea of what it was like in the room. The refrigerator is the box below the small coffee maker. My husband used this both mornings for a quick cup of coffee, Joffrey's Coffee was the brand and they were single serve pouches of fresh grounds that go in to the machine.
This is a table service restaurant that it just outside of the Riverside Mill Food Court. It serves southern and cajun style recipes. We did not have the opportunity to try it, but it looked like the menu had some good choices on it. Feel free to check it out here: Boatwrights Menu
Riverside Mill Food Court
This quick-service, food court style venue had a variety of options and plenty of seating. We grabbed a quick breakfast here earlier in the morning. We shared a breakfast platter and croissants. We returned to this venue for lunch. Because we had the Disney Dining Plan we ended up with a lot of food! We both went for the Make Your Own Pasta bar, which came with a bread stick. The serving was large and it was decent considering it is fast food. The Dining plan also entitled each of us to a dessert and an additional drink (beyond the refillable resort mug). So we grabbed a water and Powerade to bring back to the room for later. For dessert, my husband got an oatmeal cookie and I had a Magic Bar. If you've never had a Magic Bar, you've been missing out. Think of every sweet, tooth rotting, baked good and throw it together. There's coconut, chocolate, butterscotch, graham cracker, and more! My mom used to make them when I was a kid and it brought back a slice of childhood! Riverside Mill Menu
After lunch we decided to walk around so I could get some pictures of the grounds. We decided to rent a surrey bike, @ $19 for 30 minutes, because the property was so large. The bikes are harder to use than we anticipated, but it wasn't terrible. The only challenge was going uphill in some sections of the property. Select the first photo in the set below and you can click on the arrow to shuffle through them in larger form.
Port Orleans-River side has multiple pools. The main pool is directly behind the main building on Ol' Man Island. This is where the activities director will host pool side games. There is a water slide at this pool, kiddie pool, Muddy Rivers pool bar, hammocks, and lounge chairs. We did not use the pool area because we had a packed weekend, plus we spent half a day at Blizzard Beach. We were in the area when the Activities Director was hosting games and it was a lively atmosphere. Kids were excited, adults were excited, and everyone seemed to be happy!
Playgrounds & Activities
The resort has, quite possibly, one of the largest arcades I have seen on property. Many types of machines were available in a large room just off the Reception Desks. The playground fits well in to the theme of the resort with a wheel that matched the mill wheel by the food court. As with all of the resorts, there was a board by the pool area that listed the times and activities available each day. It lists the Movies Under the Stars, pool games, campfire hour, and more! Speaking of campfire hour, there is a permanent fire pit just off the side of the pool area, behind Muddy Waters. Each evening an activity cast member will be there with marshmallows and roasting sticks. We did not partake in this activity, although I wanted to. When I stayed at the Yacht Club, one month earlier, I did it and it was a fun activity!
There are two bars on this property. One, Muddy Rivers, is located on Ol' Man Island, for pool-side refreshments. It had a good amount of patrons there when we walked by one afternoon. The other, River Roost Lounge, is located just inside the lobby. After our day at Epcot and browsing Downtown Disney in the evening, we returned to the hotel and had drinks at River roost. My husband had a few Coronas and I had a Mai Tai. My drinks was good,typical Mai Tai and decent amount of alcohol in it, not too cheap :) There were approximately 8 other patrons in the lounge. We had to hurry with our drinks because the lounge closed at 11pm, that was the only downfall.
Both Port Orleans resorts have a boat that will bring you to Downtown Disney. I regret not trying this out, but we went to see a movie at DTD and we didn't want to be stuck there past the hours of operation. It's a nice, scenic, way to go there that eliminates the hassle of the bus system or fighting for parking with your own car.
Port Orleans Riverside is a nice resort with a little of everything. I don't think you could go wrong choosing this location. Young or old, there is something for everyone.
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When my husband and I stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, we had a Disney Dining Plan. We stayed two nights at our hotel, so we were given two days worth of credits. There are a variety of dining plans to choose from based on your needs, we went with the Disney Dining Plan. I wanted to show some flexibility in how you can use the credits during your stay. This entry will explain where and how we used our credits. At the bottom is a quick comparison of this year's Dining Plan Offerings. For a review of the dining locations see my previous entry about Quick Service, Table Service, and Character Dining.
In the Disney Dining Plan you are allotted (per person):
1 Quick Service Credit (per person) at Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside.
Make Your Own Pasta bar, bread stick, and Magic Cookie Bar. We filled our rapid Fill Mugs with Iced Tea and used the drink credit from lunch for a bottled water (Powerade for my husband) to bring back to the room for later.
1 Table Service Credit (per person) at Whispering canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge
Home baked corn bread is brought to every table. My husband and I ordered the same thing again, the Full-Slab of Pork Ribs. It came with corn, amazing mashed potatoes, and some of the best onion rings I have ever tasted. For drinks I tried the Pomegranate lemonade, but it was too sweet for me because they use Splenda. We both ended up with unsweet iced tea. We both got a dessert as well- Campfire-style Gooey Cake and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Both were good, but we were so stuffed form the meal we barely finished the dessert.
4 Snack Credits at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory at Port Orleans French Quarter
We used our snack credits for a light breakfast full of sugar! Three beignets (one serving), a croissant, a bagel w/ cream cheese, and a Cappuccino.
We paid out of pocket to eat at Biergarten in Epcot because it was less expensive than the breakfast reservation we had for the following day, so we made a decision to pay for this meal.
1 Quick Service Credit (per person) at Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney
I ordered a BBQ Chicken Pizza (large enough for two) and my husband ordered some sushi rolls. We also received two cups for drinks at the fountain. For dessert we got a key lime pie and a carrot cake.
1 Table Service Credit (per person) at Ohana at the Polynesian Resort
This restaurant is served family-style at the table. We received Hawaiian breads, fruit, POG (Pineapple, Orange, Guava) juice, and a skillet filled and refilled with biscuits, Mickey waffles, bacon, eggs, and seasoned potatoes.
Disney Dining Plans Explained
Landscape of Flavors
Art of Animation Food Court
This is one of the best food courts found at a Value resort. There were many options including a make your own pasta bar, Asian specialties, American classics, and more. The wide-bright windows make it pleasant to sit and eat. I ate here with my two year old son and my mom. We decided to walk around the resort to show my son the Car's themed section and then we had a bite to eat at Landscape.
Riverside Mill Food Court
Port Orleans Riverside
We ate here for lunch one day, looking back wish we had gone here for dinner as well on at least one evening. It had a wide variety of options like pizza, burgers, cajun chicken, bbq pork, and a make your own pasta bar! There were at least 6 dessert options each day, including a magic cookie bar! My mom used to make those when I was a child and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory
Port Orleans French Quarter
We ate here for a quick breakfast one morning. They had typical breakfast foods for a Disney Quick Service location along with beignets. A smaller variety of options compared to POR-Riverside just down the trail, but still plenty of food for munching. For lunch and dinner there were at least 7 different types of Po Boys, 3 different styles of baked potato, and cheeseburges, chicken & hot dogs of course. I did not notice the soups, but after returning from our trip I noticed that their menu shows 7 soups as well! For dessert, try the beignets which I have pictured below.
Wolfgang Puck Express
There are two Wolfgang Puck Express locations. We chose the smaller, less varied one. We went to the one located at the actual Wolfgang Puck restaurant. The other location, at the other end of Downtown Disney, has a much wider variety and larger seating area. The menu I linked above is for the better location. Our food was very good, despite choosing the wrong spot. I had the BBQ Chicken Pizza, hubby had some sushi, and we finished off with some dessert: Key Lime Pie! It was all very tasty.
Beach Club Marketplace
Beach Club Resort
This quick service location has a very limited menu. We had breakfast here one morning. The platter was good, I enjoyed the hash brown casserole that came with it. For lunch they have a few sandwiches. Quick and easy if you don't want to spend a long time.
Hurricane Hannah's Grill
Beach & Yacht Club
We had lunch here on the day we were hanging by the pool. There wasn't a wide variety of options but it meets the needs for a poolside snack. I had the Muffuletta-style Grilled Chicken sandwich. It was okay, but my main complaint was that the olive relish was cold while the rest of the sandwich was hot. The kid's meals come in a bucket with a shovel attached. This was perfect because the beach pool has sand to play in!
*Click on the photos to view them in larger sizes.
The months of May and June took me to many of Disney's restaurants. Table service restaurants are locations in which guests sit down at a table for a full meal. In May, I ate at Captain's Grill and Boma. In June, I ate at Whispering Canyon Cafe and Biergarten. Three of the four were in resorts, so they are more easily accessible.
Located in the Yacht Club Resort.
The menu theme is mainly surf & turf with same pasta dishes as well.
I would rate this as a good meal, but a boring experience. They brought us fresh wheat bread for the table. I had the Chef's Pasta, pappardelle with braised beef and a brown gravy style sauce. It was very good. My mom had the Wedged Romaine Salad and the Beer-braised mussels and clams. Both were also tasty (according to her). I don't have much else to say about the experience because it was just a meal, nothing extraordinary as far as ambiance or entertainment.
Located in the Animal Kingdom Resort.
An exotic mix of African recipes.
I chose this restaurant because I had heard great things about it. Whenever I have the chance to try something new and interesting I jump on it. That being said, I was less than impressed with Boma. Many of the items seemed like they were pre-packaged or non-ethnic! The pita bread is thin and dry. I prefer mine to be soft and fluffy. There were also many "American" dishes like mashed potatoes, key lime pie, and chocolate chip cookies. I expected better quality and less Americanized food. Especially because our bill came out to over $100 for two adults.
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Located in the Wilderness Lodge Resort
Barbecue and American specialties.
This is a fun restaurant. I don't want to give away all the secrets of this establishment because it's exciting to see it in action. At one point they had all the men stand up and sing/dance to "I'm a Little Tea Pot." When you are seated, they will give you a chip where you can indicate that you want to participate in the fun or just watch everyone else. The food was delicious! There was too much food actually, my husband and I could have shared a plate because we both ordered the ribs. The onions rings that came with the meal were some of the best rings I have ever had. I also ordered a Pomegranate Lemonade, but I was not a fan. They use Splenda to sweeten it and I can't stand the taste of artificial sweeteners. I opted for an iced tea after that; it was good, fresh brewed taste! For desert I had the Campfire Style Gooey Cake and hubby had White Chocolate Cheesecake. Both were YUM! I highly recommend this one for people who want to have fun with dinner.
Located in EPCOT's Germany World Showcase
Traditional German Fare.
My husband and I like German food. Our favorite German eatery closed down last year, and we've been craving it ever since. So we took advantage of the opportunity when we were in EPCOT. The Germany pavilion has a great buffet restaurant. The same items are served at both lunch and dinner, so I suggest eating there for lunch because it is significantly cheaper. The venue is set up in a half circle, with a stage in the center. A traditional German band plays music, encourages dancing, and provides entertainment. Be warned that it is communal seating, so you may be at a table with other families. Some of my favorite items from this meal: baked macaroni & cheese, zesty paprika sauce on the schnitzel, roasted potatoes, spaetzle, oh I could go on! There is a beer & wine menu. I suggest getting the recommend this place for a fun meal.
I recently experienced two different Character Breakfasts at the Walt Disney World Resort. In May, I went to Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast with my mom and son. In June I went to Ohana with my husband. Character dining experiences are very popular and many need to be reserved months in advance. If you're interested in a breakfast experience, I am here to give you some feedback on two of the options you have that are based out of Walt Disney World hotels. To view the images in a larger form, simply click on the photo.
Cape May Cafe
Located at Disney's Beach Club Resort, this buffet breakfast experience features Goofy, Donald, and Minnie. We had a 10:30am reservation and showed up at about 10am. We were given a pager and then called to sit a few minutes later.
We were seated at a half-booth right next to the buffet line. The food was average. You have to remember that you're paying for the character experience, not gourmet food. They had Mickey waffles, french toast, eggs, pancakes, potatoes, fruit, cereal, biscuits, etc. All standard buffet breakfast fare.
The characters showed up at our table almost as soon as the waitress left from taking our drink order. The characters were dressed in beach attire, to go along with the theme! My son is afraid of characters, people with face paint, and similar things. He was afraid when they came by. The only way he would get remotely close was if I was holding him. As you can see, he was more fascinated with the Mickey Waffles than anything else going on!
Located at the Polynesian Resort, this character breakfast has a different twist to it The experience was more interactive, but the food more limited. If you're not paying attention, you just may miss the desk to check in! It is located at the top of the main staircase. We happened to walk right past it because the physical location of the restaurant is on the other side of the upstairs lobby.
Ohana character breakfast differs from many other table service restaurants in that it's all-you-care-to-eat at your table. When the hostess walked us to the table she picked up some traditional Hawaii breads. One had raisins and cinnamon, the other had pineapple chunks in it. I enjoyed the pineapple bread. Once seated the waitress/waiter will bring over mixed fruit and POG. There isn't a buffet line to walk through. A large skillet is brought to the table with a little of everything: biscuits, Mickey waffles, bacon, eggs, and breakfast potatoes. Everyone gets a serving of POG juice as well: pineapple, orange, and guava.
Within the last month, I have visited Walt Disney World twice. The first time was with my son and my mom during the month of May, the second time was an adults only trip with my husband in mid-June! I am going to write up a few entries based on my experiences. Look for the following, not necessarily in the order below:
After I upload each entry, I will come back to this entry and update some direct links so that it is easy to find the information!
During the months of May and June I will be visiting Disney and doing research. As you might know, in March I visited six of the resorts while I was in Orlando, which I am currently writing up for future blogs and the website. I plan to write extensive reviews of the two hotels and the restaurants I visit in the coming months. If I can squeeze in another round of resort hopping tours, I'll get that information on here as well. In May, my mom and I are taking my son for our annual mother/daughter weekend trip. We normally do a cruise, but we chose to stay at a Disney hotel instead this year. We won't be visiting any of the parks because my son is afraid of characters and my husband wants to be there for our son's first Disney experience! We plan to relax and use one of the best pools on property: The Beach and Yacht Club! Then in June, I am headed to Epcot and Blizzard Beach with my husband where we'll be staying at Port Orleans Riverside. The little guy is staying home for that trip. Here are the resorts and restaurants that I plan to review & what to look forward to this summer:
Resort: Yacht Club
Restaurants: Captain's Grill, Boma, and Cape May Cafe (breakfast)
Resort: Port Orleans- Riverside
Restaurants: Boatwright's, Biergarten, and Ohana
Parks: Blizzard Beach and Epcot
**We have the Disney Dining Plan for this trip, so I will also review the value and convenience of purchasing a dining plan.
Other locations will also be visited for meals, but the ones mentioned above are currently reserved in advance. I am actually really excited for these two trips because I have a focused plan to seek out those details that others overlook. I have planned these trips so that I can have fun and do research for my Happy Travelers.
Many people question when the right age is to take their children to Disney. The honest answer is that it depends on your family wants and needs. Everyone has different priorities; people view the difficulty level of exploring the parks with a very young child from different perspectives. Some people are head over heels for Disney and visit frequently, others save up for years for that one trip and want to be sure their child remembers the experience! I can't throw out a set number to everyone due to the variety of factors that contribute to the decision. I know many people think of us as a cruise travel agency, but we are so much more! I'd be glad to consult with you and your individual situation and let you know if I think it's worth the trip. In the meanwhile, here are some tips for visiting Disney with an infant.
I recently wrote up a review of Legoland, a short drive from Orlando. I was impressed with the idea of Baby Center's for parents to take care of all the needs baby's come along with. I've always known about Disney's Baby Care Stations. They are coupled with First Aid stations within each park. So I've chosen to write about how they make it a drip easier to let your littlest one tag along with the family for a day in the parks. You will find one center in each main park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.) In there you will find everything needed to feed and change your baby. Well... almost everything! The Baby Centers are also the location where lost parents are reunited with their children. So if you ever lose your child in the crowd, send one person from your group to the Baby Center while the others form a search party ;) I'll be sure to snap some photos of the one in Epcot when I visit in June. I'll add them here at that time.
Each baby care center has nursing rooms available. In Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, they are private rooms. Magic Kingdom and Epcot have group nursing rooms with four chairs. Lighting is kept to a minimum to help with privacy and comfort. Keep in mind that Disney will not stop you from nursing wherever you choose, these rooms are provided as a location for those who would prefer privacy and a little bit of cool air circulating. Nursing rooms also have numerous outlets to accommodate pumping mamas. The baby care center also has a microwave and a few high chairs. If you need to heat a bottle or small amount of baby food, it is there for you!
Each baby care station has multiple changing tables. There are disposable table liners as well, so no need to worry & add more to your bag by carrying your own pad or liner. Wipes and Huggies diapers are available for purchase. Typically they have sizes 2-4 in stock. There are a few kid-sized potties as well for those who are already toilet trained.
The Baby Centers are housed in the same building as the First Aid stations. They sell various items such as diapers, wipes, formula, juice, pacifiers, feminine hygiene items, children's clothes for oopsies, over the counter meds, sippy cups, children's Tylenol (and similar items).
Magic Kingdom: Just off of Main Street, by Casey's Corner and Crystal Palace.
Epcot: In Future World, the Odyssey Building.
Hollywood Studios: At the front entrance to the park with Guest Relations.
Animal Kingdom: To the left of the Tree of Life, just past Pizzafari.
Baby Friendly Rides
Where to Stay
I always suggest staying on property if you can swing the cost. The hotels and their themes are so much fun, your kids will surely appreciate it (if you have older ones). As far the baby, well, they wont know the difference, but you will! Staying on property allows you easy access to the parks. Between,the monorail, boats, and buses, there is no shortage of transportation. You can even come back to your room mid-day to relax and nap if you choose one right near your park. Here is a list of hotels that are closest to each park.
Where to Eat
The best part about Disney is that it is designed for children and families. Every restaurant and quick service location will have high chairs and kid friendly food! If your child is under the age of three they can eat off of an adult's plate for free.
I want to extend a HUGE thank to my clients and friends who have allowed me to use their adorable babies for this blog post.
Lisa Perry, Nicki Poucher, Nicole Willi, Stacey Peleg, Christine Smalley, Jenny Roth, Jessica LaBossiere, Amanda Hicks, Katharina Terescenko, and Victoria DeFelice. As I am sure you have figured out by now, we did not take our son to Disney as an infant. At two, he is still scared of characters. We're aiming for next year when he's closer to three. ;)
Hi! I am Nicole Perry, owner of Sunkissed Adventures.
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