Friday, November 27, 2009

Disney's online reservations for dining

I mentioned that Kevin and I are headed to WDW in January, sans kids.

And so, we have decided to spend that first day at Epcot and we thought wouldn't it be nice to have a nice, relaxing, character-free dinner? There are so many places to choose from - but I've been wanting to try Kouzzina by Cat Cora™, and since I know that you really shouldn't just show up at any WDW table service restaurant without reservations, I figured it was about time to make an ADR. (Which is an 'advance dining reservation' in case you were wondering).

Now, you can always call 1-407-WDW-DINE to make your ADRs. If you are staying 'on property' you should always call 180 in advance (meaning, count out 180 days from the day you arrive at WDW and call on that day. At 7 a.m.). If you aren't sure what your 180 day is, check out this site -- you can type in your arrival date and your 'call date' will be calculated for you.

However, I decided to try out the online dining reservations at the WDW web site.

For the table service restaurants at the parks, resorts or other on property locations there will be an orange square that says "Book a Reservation" -- click on that square and you'll be taken to a page where you will be asked to enter some basic information:

- the date and time when you'd like the reservation
- the number of people in your party (adults and children) - please be sure to count EVERYONE, even if there's a baby in the party [Note: if your party has more than 10 people, there is a number to call to make ADRs - (407) 939-5665]

After entering that information, click "check availability". From here you will be taken to a page that shows what times are available and other "options" at other restaurants.

For our trip, I had requested a 6 p.m. reservation at Kouzzina - and was given the choice of 5:20 p.m. or 6:10 p.m. -- and shown other options such as Artist Pointe at the Wilderness Lodge.

Choose the time you want and then you will be asked to provide some basic information - name, e-mail address and the phone number where you can be reached while on vacation. And then, that's it. Easy peasy. You'll be taken to a confirmation screen where you will find your reservation confirmation number. Write down this number!

After making my time choice and providing my cell phone number, I was done! A mere two minutes later I received my e-mail confirmation - which I will be printing and taking with me. Just in case.

The online ADR system is very user-friendly and so much faster than calling and talking to someone on the phone! I will definitely be using the online reservation system again!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You're going to WDW without the kids?!?

Kevin & Me, April 2009

Yes, in fact I am.

In 60 days I am headed to the most magical place on Earth without my kids.

And, I am feeling a little bit guilty about that.

Last month, K was invited to a trade show by one of his biggest national vendors. And, the trade show just happens to be in Walt Disney World. Oh, and I should mention -- they are paying for everything - his airfare, hotel, tips, transportation, food. Everything. So, we weighed the pros and cons for, oh, about two hours and decided "let's go!"

But we are leaving the kids at home. Well, OK...we're leaving them with their grandparents, but still. The point is, we aren't taking them when we go to WDW - their favorite place!

The biggest would be way too costly to take them for such a short trip. We're arriving in Orlando on a Sunday and leaving on Tuesday morning. To buy plane tickets for the kids it would be an additional $300 plus the cost of food and park tickets -- essentially it would be an additional $700 or more and we just can't swing that right now.

So, we'll be staying at the Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (and I'm very excited about this!) and we've decided to head over to Epcot on the day we arrive. Epcot without the kids = we don't have to rush through the countries and/or stand in line to meet the characters. And, we're planning on having a nice 'adult' dinner (read: minus any characters) ... maybe at Kouzzina.

And then on Monday, I will be heading to the Magic Kingdom, alone. That's right...I'm planning on going all by myself to my favorite park in all of WDW. A friend said "um, isn't there a spa you could go to?"....and I'm sure there is, but WHY would I want to spend a day in the spa when I can spend a day at the Magic Kingdom?!?

I plan on riding what I want to ride, walking at MY own pace, stopping when I want to stop. You know, doing what I want to do! And then after lunch, I'm going to meet K at Downtown Disney!

But the highlight of this trip just might be the private party we get to attend on Monday night. We aren't sure what park we'll be going to, but we know it's a PRIVATE party -- which means it takes place AFTER the park closes and it'll just be us and the other 1,000 trade show attendees! (My guess is Disney's Hollywood Studios, because it closes at 7 pm that day...but we'll see. I might be wrong).

Can you imagine? Having one of the theme parks almost entirely to yourself??? It's like a dream come true!

And so, I'll have a trip report in mid-January ... full of tips for traveling to WDW without your kids.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Disney Driven Life ... and me

A friend of mine, J.L., has this amazing web site/blog called The Disney Driven Life - True Confessions of a Neurotic Disney Mom, and one of the many things she does with this blog is give out the titles of Neurotic Disney Mom/Dad/Aunt/Kid/Grandma, etc. Basically if you LOVE all things Disney and are at all neurotic about that love, you too can be crowned a "NDP" (Neurotic Disney Person).

Long story short ... a few months ago I was lucky enough to be named "Neurotic Disney Mom #118" (NDM #118).

[JL and I both made it to Round 2 in our quest to become members of the Disney Mom's Panel....but didn't make it to Round 3. (Personally, I think 2011 is our year for the panel!)].

Last weekend, JL tweeted about meeting someone from Disney Russia via Twitter and I tweeted back something like "cool! I took Russian in college." ... and then, JL asked me to write a review/short article about the first movie produced and released by Disney Russia - The Book of Masters. Oh, and she made me the 'resident Disney in Russia news correspondent' for The Disney Driven Life! (Thanks again, JL!!!)

And so, without any further ado, you can check out my 'guest post' on The Disney Driven Life here.