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Vacation Planning Tips & Tricks Discuss Going to Disney with a first timer! in the Vacation Planning forums; Hello everyone, I'm new to the boards, but have been a fan of reading all you have had to say for quite some time. My boyfriend and I booking our ...
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    disneydancer13's Avatar
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    Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the boards, but have been a fan of reading all you have had to say for quite some time.

    My boyfriend and I booking our first 'alone' Disney trip for this spring, May 24-28 2009. We are deciding between Port Orleans - Riverside, and Coronado Springs. My boyfriend has never been to Disney World before, yet I have been there over 15 times! I want to make sure this vacation is perfect for him. I would really appreciate some suggestions for:

    -places to use our table services for each night of our visit
    -your views on each of the resorts we are deciding on
    -a cute gift to give him before we go
    -anything you think a first timer MUST do

    I know I will bring him everywhere and try to show him everything but I'm afraid I might miss some things in all the excitement. I've been reading the WDW Secrets thread and am keeping track of all the things I think he'll find really neat!

    Thanks in advance for the help!

    Disney Dancer







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    lilo88's Avatar
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Welcome!!

    I love Port Orleans- Riverside! The resort is beautiful and yet still seems all connected and not as spread out as Coronado Springs. The pool is awesome kinda makes you feel as if your in a swimming hole with Huck Fin and Tom Sawyer with out the fish and dirty water lol.
    I also like Coronado Springs but not as much. It seems to be spread out and takes forever to get to the main building it seems even if your staying right next to it. Yet the resort is beautiful and themed great. The main building is large because of the convention center and the pepper market is a nice lunch and breakfast place. They also have a table service restaurant I believe but I haven't ate in there.

    Table services-
    Garden Grill (awesome looking at the Living With the Land ride while your eating and the characters are great!
    Liberty Tree Tavern- awesome food and nicely decorated
    Chef Mickeys is good but I like the breakfast better than dinner.
    Crystal Palace- Winnie the Pooh and friends are awesome and the food is to!
    Coral Reef is a romantic restaurant but I have never eaten there before.
    Prime Time cafe is also great! The staff is funny and the food is great! But make sure you clean your plate or you might get a talking to from mom.

    Gift-
    maybe try to look for a mickey and minnie frame and get a picture together with mickey and Minnie while your there to put in it. Or maybe some mickey ears from online somewhere that way he could where them on his first day there. And when you get there don't forget to get him a first visit button.

    Must do-
    see wishes and illuminations!

    Hope all turns out well and have a WONDERFUL time!!
    Tiffany~o ~ D23 member

    Sufferer of Disney Vacation Depression

    97'~French Quarter, 99'~CBR, 01'~Movies, 03'~Music/PORriverside/DCL, 05'~POP, 06'~Movies, 08'~Movies, 09'~Disneyland/ Embassy Suites Irvine/ 10'~Music, 12'~LBV Best Western Disney View

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    GIOny's Avatar
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    disneydancer13. I share your enthusiasm of going with a first timer, it is so much fun to show them around and sometimes they can show you things that you have never noticed. It's a win win situation. Spring is a beautiful time to go (I assume you mean you are going May 2010), I'm not sure how the crowds are in May but even if they are light I wouldn't overwhelm him with to much, save some for next time you go.
    Resort
    I don't know much about the Coranado Springs resort but I just stayed at Port Orleans Riverside (Aligator Bayou section) in November and loved it. If you end up staying there I would really take advantage of the resort because chances are if you go back you will probably stay somewhere else. You may want to try the restaurant right on property called Boatwrights, not really a themed restaurant but good if you going to be on property. Like Lillo said be sure to hang out by the pool for awhile and also you can go pole fishing at certain hours (it's not far from the pool area). Make sure to make ressies to take a carriage ride around the property (very romantic) and the boat ride to DTD is very pretty. On certain evenings you can catch Yee Haw Bob in the lounge at Riverside (I think it's the River Roost lounge).
    Restaurants
    It's tough to name restaurants without knowing the areas you are going to be in. I usually like to make up a calender to decide what parks or area we are going to be in and then I like to make the ressies from there. It's also tough not knowing the type food you like. Are you on the regular meal plan?? Were you planning on doing any 2 credit restaurants?? I think your best bet is to show your BF the menus over on allears.net and you and he should go over them and decide what suits your taste.
    Gift
    I love lilo88 idea, you can never go wrong with a picture. I would say an autograph book but I don't know if you would want to waste to much time standing on line for them. Maybe a Hidden Mickey book or Lou's trivia book would be something he would enjoy. He could read them and then look for stuff in the parks.
    Must Do
    again I agree with lilo88 as well as Spectro Magic (see it before they take it away). Just remember to relax and remember whatever you don't do this time you can do on future visits. Have fun
    Last edited by GIOny; 02-24-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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    disneydancer13's Avatar
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Thank you both so much!

    We have decided to stay at Riverside. I think we are going to request a room in the mansions. The carriage ride sounds like something we'd be into doing! All the times I've been to Disney before I've never spent a whole lot of time at the resorts, so it will be a nice change!

    The dining plan we have decided on is the 1 snack, 1 QS, and 1 TS per day. I'm not sure of the proper name, but I know that's what we get with it. That's a great idea about allears.net, we will be sure to do that asap! (It's almost 90 days until we go! Gotta make those reservations!) I think mainly we have decided to do just regular dinners or lunches without the characters. He said for his first time, he wants to go meet them.

    I think for this trip, I'll try to get him to Wishes, Spectromagic, Illuminations, and possibly Fantasmic if we have enough time to get on the line. I, myself, have only seen Fantasmic once because of the long wait to get good seats.

    I have heard that the castle has scaffolding up?! I'm hoping this is just a rumor!!
    Also, has Fantasyland started going under construction yet?
    Disney Dancer







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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    And yes I do mean 2010!! Oh gosh, I guess I'm really in need of a vacation! haha
    Disney Dancer







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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    When I used the dining plan (only once so I havent been to many restaurants), our favourite restaurants were Ohana (I'm have reservations again in 2 weeks with my bf for the first time YAY), Yak and Yeti and Chefs de France. I regret not doing Le Cellier (we're from Canada so it seemed silly haha). The best character dining I've done was Chef Mickeys.

    Also I think that with a first timer you should make sure your first park day is the magic kingdom and you go for the park opening- just to get even more excited! Oh do the monorail and the ferry... one for there and the other back. And all the fireworks! Oh I LOVE going with newbies haha. I was supposed to go in August with my boyfriends Aunt and 12 year old cousin who had never been, but they cancelled on us because they spent their money on a dog instead haha. We've decided to just go anyways without them!

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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    I'm glad you decided on riverside. We have stayed at both POR & CSR 3 times each and while I really loved CSR we much prefer POR for several reasons. First, its much closer to the magic kingdom; and the boat to DTD is so much better than catching a bus. The resort seems alot less spread than CSR and to me it has alot more shade when you are walking around the resort.
    We had the dining plan last September and loved Yachtsmans & Narcossees, just remember signature restaurants use 2 table service credits. For counter service we really enjoy Columbia Harbour House.
    One thought on your first timer-- you know so much about WDW give him the park maps to check and kind of get the idea of the parks. Don't forget to tell him when he wants to do it all now that you will take him back again, lol. Have fun.
    "I just want it to look like nothing else in the world... and it should be surrounded by a train" -Walt Disney.
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    I think you have a good plan and agree with previous recommendations. A photo book is a great idea.

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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Since you mentioned the long wait, an option for Fantasmic is booking the Dinner/Reserved Seating ADR. The view is second tier but the benefit is waiting only 30-45 minutes to line up on Sunset Bvld.

    Sounds like you have a great trip planned, make sure you get those ADRs early!
    Mario P.
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    These are great ideas and recommendation Disneydancer13! Let me add my 2 cents as well:

    Resort - perfect choice with POR - good food options, great ambiance, boat to DTD, Yee Ha Bob, good pool, romantic carriage, nuff said! POR is also pretty close to the parks as compared to COR, so your commute times should be a little quicker.

    Dining TS- Here is where the tuff decisions start happening! About the plan, remember you receive a batch of credits for each NIGHT that you stay, not day. So if you are there for 3 nights/4 days, you will only have 3 TS credits to use. That being said, here are my recommendations:
    • Cinderella's Royal Table - the food is good, but you can't beat the ambiance of the restaurant interior and the fact that you are dining IN THE CASTLE! Can't think of a better place to eat for a 1st timer. Just remember that this one will take 2 TS credits.
    • Le Cellier, Canada, Epcot - The food is very good here and the ambiance is really nice. The only caveat that I will put down is that when DW and I went MANY moons ago, the service was terrible, but I am sure that has been rectified since as the reviews that I continue to read are nothing but stellar.
    • Artist's Point, Wilderness Lodge - DW's favorite restaurant! Great food, wonderful ambiance over looking the meadow and stream in the courtyard at FW, great romantic walk along the dock/walkways to catch the bus back to MK, and you can catch the Electric Water Parade at around 9:45pm ish (great parade that has been done since about when the park opened!) Downside is that this is another 2 TS credit location.
    • Ohana's, Polynesian -family style eating (aka - all you can eat!!!) with a wonderful view of the Castle at MK! Warning, if you don't deal well with pork (my tongue loves it, but stomach does not!) then you may want to skip it!
    • Coral Reef, The Living Seas, EPCOT - Great seafood location with a good view of the tanks! Make sure to request a table right at the glass!
    • Garden Grill, EPCOT; Liberty Tree Tavern, MK; San Angel Inn, Mexico, EPCOT - I group these all together due to the theming being the major draw here. The food is pretty good, but not something that you can't get outside of WDW. Which, when you consider that outside of the 2 TS credit restaurants and the restaurants at the country pavilions, that would really hold true for almost all of the restaurants - I know, sacrilege! That being said, eating on the riverside at San Angel, over looking the Living with the Land boat ride at Garden Grill (great hidden Mickey here!) or enjoying the cozy, antique feeling at Liberty Tree Tavern are all great reasons to go!
    • Sci Fi Drive In Theater, Hollywood Studios - great restaurant with great burgers and shakes, however, I would go at lunch and pay out of pocket as I don't see the $ value on using a TS credit here.


    Dining CS - at alot of the CS restaurants, you are going to find very similar items with pretty much the same flavors, but here are my stand out recommendations in no particular order!
    • Flame Tree BBQ, Animal Kingdom - great BBQ and a good place to eat at AK! We have never used but 1 CS at AK as the rest of the restaurants do not appeal to us - Yak & Yeti don't do it for us and our palate, however, we haven't eaten there either.
    • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe, Magic Kingdom - mmmmmm, now that's a good burger! Wait, the fixin' bar! Wait, all the themed rooms! This is a must!
    • Yakitori House, Japan, EPCOT - great little restaurant overlooking the peaceful Koi ponds at the Japan pavilion. This is DW's favorite!
    • Backlot Express, Hollywood Studios - good burger joint and a nice alternative to ABC Commissary that I have gotten sick EVERY TIME that I have eaten there!
    • Columbia Harbor House, Liberty Square, MK - can't beat their chicken strips and their clam chowder is the best so I've been told (allergic to seafood ). Eat in the upstairs dining areas if they are open and explore! The level of detail and views of the park are great!


    A recommendation for your snack credits, we found that you can use a snack credit at the food court at PoP! Century to get a 1 dozen box of Entenmann's assorted donuts! This was a great breakfast alternative for us instead of using important CS and TS credits and we got out of the room and to the parks quicker!

    I would recommend paying out of pocket if you do any breakfast TS restaurants as you get the least bang for your buck during the breakfast hours!

    Must do's - This could go on and on and on!
    • I like the 1st time button but you can go further by taking him down to the barber shop on Main Street, MK and get his hair cut, have them put Mickey sprinkles, and draw a Mickey silhouette on the back of his head if he's game! I did it at age 36 and had a blast with all the CM's and characters!
    • Disney PhotoPass photographers!!! Get all the photos that you can with them! Not only can you get them to use your camera as well, but the locations (Rose Garden, Main Street, in front of SpaceShip Earth, etc) are absolutely beautiful! You also may want to pop over to the Grand Floridian as they had a more traditional posed photo location on the 2nd Floor with a photopass and is a great spot for a couple's photo without being over Disney-fied - again, with the sacrilege !
    • Have a quiet moment/picnic in the rose garden at MK. Very romantic with a great view and usually, and you can be alone there! Great shaded place to get away from the crowds! Downside, no benches.
    • Jungle Cruise/BTMRR/Splash Mountain at night - great views!
    • Carousel of Progress - make sure to explain the history of the attraction.
    • If you are celebrating ANY event (hint - an anniversary of any sort), make sure to tell Disney when you make any reservation. The resorts and restaurants usually go way out of their way to help you have a spectacular time!


    Things to do before you go to get him excited - the book ideas are great, however, unless you've been there before or have a love of scavenger hunts, the hidden Mickey's may be hard for someone to grasp the concept. What we do with family trips or first timers is I design a T-shirt for the entire group with customized parts i.e. for the last one, everyone got to choose their favorite character and that went on the front breast pocket! I lay everything out in a paint program and customize everything with names and dates of the trip. I then save it as a .pdf file and take it to my local printer and print the files out on the iron on transfer paper that you can get at Walmart! Great way to have a very personalized souvenir and spend time working on it and getting excited before you go.

    Sorry this is so long winded, but I tend to ramble when I get excited! Good luck on you trip and I hope you both have a GREAT time!

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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    These are such great ideas everyone! This is really helping me with my trip planning so I'm really truly appreciative!

    I'm still stuck on my TS debate. I don't know whether it's better to spend our 4 TS credits for two really nice dinners or to go out to a TS every night. I know my boyfriend doesn't really care (he has no clue how much there is to do there!), but he's leaving most of the dining options to me. I would LOVE to go to Cinderellas Royal Table, especially for dinner, but I know that's such a difficult thing to reserve.

    I know for a fact that we will be going to MK on our first day (it's a tradition in my family) but we will be arriving there around 1 in the afternoon because we are flying in that day. I believe it's open until 10PM that night, so it's going to work out nicely. I'm stumped on where to take him the second day though. He loves roller coasters and thrill rides so I know that HS would be great for Day 2, but also he's in love with cars (probably more than he likes me) and is going to jump out of his skin when he sees Test Track in EPCOT. The day that we go to AK, we are going to go to DTD that evening.

    Anyone have any good recommendations for DTD? I'm still upset they took away all the night clubs, that would have been fun, but I was thinking either Planet Hollywood or Cap'n Jacks for dinner. What other good things are there to do besides shop? Anyone know the ticket price for DisneyQuest?
    Disney Dancer







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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Try Characters in Flight at DTD.... at night would be very romantic....

    Lights, Motors, Action.... stunt show
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    GIOny's Avatar
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Quote Originally Posted by little grammy View Post
    Try Characters in Flight at DTD.... at night would be very romantic....

    Lights, Motors, Action.... stunt show
    little grammy is right if he likes cars then Lights, Motors, Action stunt show is a must. I really enjoy Wolfgang Pucks (the downstairs part, I think it's the cafe). The food is really good. Planet Hollywood is ok food wise but if either of you are into the movie memorabilia then go, you'll enjoy it. If your getting some kind of Disney package many times they throw in discounts over at Planet Hollywood. If your BF is into dinosaurs then he may like T-Rex, I think the food is very similar to Rainforest. I've heard many mixed reviews about Cap'n Jacks but I think I was only there for lunch a long time ago so I don't really know first hand. Now that all the nightclubs are gone maybe Raglan Road would be fun. I believe they usually have Irish entertainment there, I haven't been yet but I've heard it's alot of fun.
    "Other things to do besides shop"-how about a round of mini golf? Again if you get a package they uaually include 1 round of mini golf for 1 person (you have to pay for the 2nd person) but don't forget to leave time for that carriage ride
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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Alright! Here are my boiled down suggestions for the use of your TS credits. I am interpreting that you will be there for 5 days since you have 4 TS credits, but your brief itenerary only indicates that you will be there for 3 or 4 days - be sure to check the number of nights you will be staying to determine your final total of TS credits. These are in the order that I would try to get ADR's:
    1. Cinderella's Royal Table
    2. Le Cellier
    3. 'Ohanna

    If you can get these and you want additional TS meals to pay out of pocket for, I would recommend picking from these for the additional two (listed in order of preference):
    • Liberty Tree Tavern (Dinner = family style food at $27.99/adult)
    • Garden Grill at The Land in EPCOT (family style restaurant at $28.99/adult for dinner. Not sure if they are doing lunch anymore, but I doubt it.)
    • Crystal Palace (all you can eat buffet - we did breakfast and was yummy!)
    • 1900 Park Fare (my favorite buffet for breakfast!!)
    • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
    • Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary Resort (great buffet with wonderful view of the MK and monorails and I think that your boyfriend will be blown away by the resort)


    As you can see, I favor paying out of pocket for the family style and buffet meals as they tend to be a little less expensive. I would NOT recommend Planet Hollywood what-so-ever. I have gone twice, the second time with a voucher that we got with our resort package. We got $15 off and a free 'souvenir' from the gift shop. The $15 almost payed for my charcoal brickette of a burger . My DW had lasagna and it was absolutely aweful! The service seriously was horrendous. If you really are interested in the displays, I would recommend going during an off meal time and just ask to go in to see the displays as they will ussually let you. I really can't fathom why this place is still in business. If it were anywhere else than DTD, it would be closed due to lack of repeat local business. If you want to eat at DTD, I would recommend either House of Blues, Wolfgang Puck, or Rainforest Cafe (be warned, it is pretty pricey). I personally would go the sandwich route at Earl of Sandwich though!

    As for non-shopping things to do at DTD, there is of course Cirque du Soleil (highly recommend if you have not seen one of their shows - $69-120/adult), House of Blues Concerts (nothing scheduled during your trip as of right now, but can change), Characters in Flight ($16/person), DisneyQuest (if you really like video games - $35-41/person), Salsa Dancing at Bongos Cuban Cafe (if still allowed), or rent a Searacer rental and tool around in the river to get a different perspective on DTD. Personally, I ussually get lost in World of Disney and Mickey's Mart - 'Everything Ten Dollars and Under' for a couple of hours!

    If you want to try some miniature golf, DW and I really like the WinterSummerland course near Typhoon Lagoon. It usually doesn't have as much as a crowd as Fantasia does - that and DW just likes it better so that's where we go!

    Hope this helps! Start making those ADR's!!! Time is working against you!

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    Re: Going to Disney with a first timer!

    Thanks everyone!! This has really helped us. We are going to try our TS at Le Cellier, Tony's, and 50's prime time. If I can get the Cinderella's Royal Table, we will probably drop Le Cellier.

    Does anyone know about any construction going on because of the new Fantasyland project? Or anywhere else for that matter?
    Disney Dancer







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