This is What Fall Tastes Like at Disney World! Oct. 29 – Nov. 12, 2019 Trip Report (Updated 12/11)

I’ve returned from my annual fall trip to Disney World and am very excited to share with you all of the details from my 2 week adventure.  First I must confess, though this trip was one of my longest, I still was unable to see, do, and eat everything that I’d hoped to.  That seems to always be the case with my WDW trips.  So my goal in writing these trip reports is to help others that are planning a trip to Disney World and are trying to figure out the best use of their time and money, especially when it comes to Disney dining.  Hopefully, as you follow along with my report, you will learn from both my successes and mistakes from this trip.

Now to answer the questions of Who? When? Why? and Where?
Who: In addition to myself (Barb), my son (Andrew) joined me for the first week of my trip.  On his departure day my old friends (Paula & Hunter) arrived and I had dinner with them (plus a new friend, Nancy) twice.  Those of you who have read my 2016 and 2017 trip reports might remember Paula & Hunter, as I spent most of my time on those trips with this great couple.  Then for the last 5 nights of the trip my daughter (Allison, who is shown with me in the photo above) joined me and we celebrated her 30th birthday.  And then last, my friend Rachel (who has made appearances in many of my trips) joined Allison and me for one evening.  That’s 3 stars plus 4 guest stars appearing in this trip report, which means a lot of food was eaten and reviewed! 
When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 – Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019
Why: Fall is my favorite time of year to be at Disney World because that’s when the Epcot Food & Wine Festival and the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic are held plus the weather is usually warm (but not hot) with little rain and the crowds are relatively low.  Unfortunately, the weather & crowds didn’t always cooperate this year.  However, a hot, crowded day at Disney World is still better than a freezing cold, snowy day at home.
Where: The first 5 nights of our trip, my son and I stayed at the Contemporary Resort.  We had two reservations (one for the first 3 nights and then the second reservation was for the next 2 nights) after I decided I wanted to spend a little more time at the Contemporary.  For some reason, my travel agent was unable to just add the two nights to my existing reservation so consequently we ended up with two back-to-back reservations.  The remaining 9 nights of my 14 night trip were spent at the Beach Club Resort. The first 2 nights my son was still with me, then I had 2 nights on my own before my daughter arrived for the remaining 5 nights at the Beach Club.
Disney Dining Plan
This is another important detail regarding this trip, one which directly affected our dining choices.  My son and I were on the regular Disney Dining Plan during our 5 nights at the Contemporary.  Since we had two separate reservations we did have the option of just doing the first 3 nights with the Dining Plan or just the last 2 nights.  We also could have done the regular Dining Plan for 3 nights and then the Deluxe Dining Plan or vice versa.  Having the two Contemporary reservations (each for a short time) gave us several options to consider.  Ultimately though I decided to go with the regular Dining Plan (1 Quick Service credit, 1 Table Service credit, & 2 snack credits per person/per night) for all 5 nights for a total cost of $754.90 for the 2 of us ($75.49 per person/per night).  The two reservations did though complicate our use of Dining Plan credits just a bit.  Our credits for the last two nights were not credited to our account on the morning that our second room reservation began, which was what I had planned for when planning out our dining schedule.  Instead we did not receive our second group of Dining Plan credits (snacks, QS, and TS credits) until every single credit had been used from our first group of credits.  When this was discovered on Day #4 of our trip I had to make some quick adjustments to our dining plans, but it all worked out fine in the end.
Our Park Tickets
Though I purchased an Annual Pass, my kids each had only 5 day park tickets (1 park per day).  This meant no park hopping.  They both chose to visit Epcot (their favorite park and mine) on 2 out of their 5 park days, therefore much of our dining took place at Epcot.  In fact we dined or snacked at all of the countries in World Showcase except for China, Germany and France (yes, I didn’t get to the French bakery on this trip😢) as well as two locations in Future World.  Also related to our dining, being an annual passholder I was able to get a 10% discount (alcoholic beverages excluded) at most of the Table Service restaurants we visited.   This discount, along with being on the Dining Plan for about one-third of the trip, led me to the decision to not purchase the Tables in Wonderland membership card (with its 20% discount, including alcohol) for $150.

And then finally and most importantly for a Disney World trip report which focuses on dining, “Where did we eat?”

Here is a list of the places/events which I will be reviewing in this trip report:

Table service Restaurants

  1. Story Book Dining at Artist Point on the Disney Dining Plan (Wilderness Lodge)
  2. Teppan Edo Dinner on the DDP (Epcot, Japan Pavilion)
  3. California Grill Dinner (mostly) on the DDP (Contemporary Resort)
  4. 50’s Prime Time Cafe Dinner on the DDP (Hollywood Studios)
  5. Wine Bar George Brunch on the DDP (Disney Springs)
  6. Le Cellier Lunch (Epcot, Canada Pavilion)
  7. Grand Floridian Cafe Breakfast/Lunch (Grand Floridian Resort)
  8. Jaleo Dinner (Disney Springs)
  9. Jiko Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  10. Garden Grill Lunch (Epcot, The Land Pavilion)
  11. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Dinner (Epcot, Norway Pavilion)
  12. Kimonos Dinner (Swan & Dolphin Resort)
  13. California Grill Brunch (Contemporary Resort)
  14. Cinderella’s Royal Table Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
  15. Cape May Cafe Breakfast (Beach Club Resort)
  16. Restaurant Marrakesh Lunch with the Eat to the Beat Dining Package (Epcot, Morocco Pavilion)
  17. Rose & Crown Dining Room Dinner (Epcot, United Kingdom Pavilion)

Quick service/Specialty Shops/Kiosks

  1. Be our Guest Breakfast on the DDP (Magic Kingdom) – COMPLETE
  2. Aloha Isle Snack on the DDP (Magic Kingdom)
  3. Contempo Cafe Lunch (Contemporary Resort)
  4. Sunshine Seasons Lunch on the DDP (Epcot, The Land Pavilion)
  5. Funnel Cakes Kiosk Snack on the DDP (Epcot, American Pavilion)
  6. Creature Comforts (aka Starbucks) Breakfast on the DDP (Animal Kingdom)
  7. Flame Tree Barbecue Lunch on the DDP (Animal Kingdom)
  8. Satu’li Canteen Snack on the DDP (Animal Kingdom)
  9. Restaurantosaurus Dig Site Burgers & Sundaes Dinner on the DDP (Animal Kingdom)
  10. Woody’s Lunch Box Breakfast (Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land)
  11. Milk Stand Snacks on the DDP (Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge)
  12. Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo Lunch on the DDP (Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge)
  13. Cookie Dough & Everything Sweet Food Truck Snack on the DDP (Disney Springs)
  14. The Polite Pig Dinner on the DDP (Disney Springs)
  15. Boardwalk Bakery Snacks on the DDP (Boardwalk)
  16. Ample Hills Creamery Snacks on the DDP (Boardwalk)
  17. La Cantina de San Angel Dinner (Epcot, Mexico Pavilion)
  18. Beach Club Marketplace Breakfast (Beach Club Resort)
  19. Woody’s Lunch Box Lunch (Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land)

Lounges/Bars 

  1. Enchanted Rose Drinks (Grand Floridian Resort)
  2. Oga’s Cantina Drinks – Visit #1 (Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge)
  3. Enzo’s Hideaway Drinks (Disney Springs)
  4. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Drinks (Disney Springs)
  5. Raglan Road Drinks (Disney Springs0
  6. Victoria Falls Lounge Drinks (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  7. Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar Drinks (Epcot, Italy Pavilion)
  8. Crew’s Cup Lounge Drinks & Snack (Yacht Club Resort)
  9. Oga’s Cantina Drinks – Visit #2 (Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge)
  10. Nomad Lounge Lunch (Animal Kingdom)
  11. La Cava del Tequila (Epcot, Mexico Pavilion)

Special Food & Wine Festival Events & Booths 

  1. 15 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booths Visited (over 4 days)
  2. Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon held at Tutto Gusto on Nov. 6, 2019 (Epcot, Italy Pavilion)
  3. Swan and Dolphin’s Food & Wine Classic held on Nov. 9, 2019 (Swan & Dolphin Resort)

Other Special Dining Events

  1. Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing (Magic Kingdom)

Miscellaneous Non-Food Stuff

  1. Contemporary Resort & Room 5367 (Garden Wing, 3rd floor)COMPLETE
  2. Extra, Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom (see Oct. 20), Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios
  3. Halloween Castmember Pumpkin Decorating Contest at the Contemporary Resort
  4. The Latest Version of Rivers of Light Nighttime Show (Animal Kingdom)
  5. First Impressions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge & the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride
  6. The unDISCOVERed Future World Guided Walking Tour (Epcot, Future World)
  7. Epcot Forever New (Temporary) Nighttime Show (Epcot)
  8. Beach Club Resort & Room 3705
  9. Riding the Skyliner
  10. My Daughter Arrives and so do the Crowds! (Crowded Parks during the Veteran’s Day Holiday Weekend of Nov. 8 – 11)
  11. “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” at the Parks & Resorts in early November
  12. Sunset Seasons Greetings (Hollywood Studios, Sunset Boulevard
  13. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Fireworks Show (Hollywood Studios)
  14. Big, Bad Voodoo Daddy Eat to the Beat Concert

 

DAY 1 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29  OUR ARRIVAL DAY (Contemporary Resort)

The countdown to our arrival began at about 1:35 in the afternoon (Central Time) when I received the texts and notifications on my phone that our room was ready.

Unfortunately our flight to Orlando was not leaving for 6 more hours.  IT WAS A VERY LONG 6 HOURS!!!  But at about 11:00 p.m. our plane finally touched down at the Orlando Airport and then it was on (via the Magical Express bus) to Day 1’s  final destination…

Our Review of the Contemporary Resort & Room 5367 (Garden Wing, 3rd floor)

DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30 (Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian)

After less than 4 hours of sleep, the 5:15 a.m. phone alarm was not a welcomed sound.  But it was the first full day of our trip and we wanted to hit the ground running.  So by 6:15 we were out the door and on our to Magic Kingdom via the walkway from the Contemporary…

The walk took only about 10 – 15 minutes, and that included a quick stop at the Security canopy which was set up along the walkway.  It was manned by 3 guards who checked my bag and guided us through the walk thru scanner.  We were the only ones there at around 6:30 a.m. so we were through very quickly and continued down the path to the Magic Kingdom.  This allowed us to bypass the security at the park entrance, which was a big time saver.  Once we reached Magic Kingdom I had to first visit the Guest Services window and present to them my annual pass order confirmation number along with a government-issued photo ID to get my actual annual passholder ticket/card.  I had purchased my annual pass online just before our 60 day Fast Pass window (for WDW resort guests) opened up so that I could reserve Fast Passes for both me and my son, who had a regular 5 day ticket.   (NOTE: Unfortunately though I didn’t purchase my annual pass before the huge price increase in June 2019 so I paid the ridiculous price of  $1,191.74 for my Platinum Annual Pass.  Yikes!  I did though go to a park on 13 days of my 14 day trip so that calculates to about $92 per day.  Still not great, but I also plan to take another trip before my Annual Pass expires on Oct. 30, 2020 so that will help bring down the per day cost of the ticket.)  Anyway, I was able to link the temporary AP number I was issued at the time of purchase to the My Disney Experience account in order to make my Fast Pass selections 60 days before our trip began, however my annual pass wasn’t activated (and the one year clock didn’t start ticking) until I was issued the actual card.  Once I had my card we joined the line of guests waiting to enter the park.

Our Experience with Extra, Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom

What were Extra, Extra Magic Hours?

In anticipation of the heavy crowds at the parks after the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Disney announced in May that 3 of their 4 parks would open extra early every morning from August 29 – November 2, 2019 for guests of their resorts.  For Magic Kingdom, Extra, Extra Magic Hour occurred daily from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. 

Though the scheduled opening time was 7:00 a.m. (for Disney resort guests),  we found that they actually opened up the entrance gates at about 6:45.  Right after we entered the park we again had to have our Magic Bands scanned by a Cast Member to verify that we were Disney resort guests and therefore qualified to enter the park early.  We then walked up a relatively quiet Main Street and stopped for a Photopass photo in front of the castle…

The photo was taken at 6:52 a.m. and (as you can see) the sun was not even up yet.  Crying Laughing Emoji 😂

By the way, one of the benefits of being an Annual Passholder is that all of  the Photopass photos we had taken plus all of the ride photos were available to download free of charge from our MDE account.  This takes away a little bit of the sting from paying the hefty price of an Annual Pass…just a little bit though.

At the Tomorrowland bridge we were guided by Cast Members into two directions.  Only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland were to be open at 7:00 so guests either went right if they were heading to one of the rides in Tomorrowland or left if heading to a Fantasyland ride.  Here is a list of what was open during the Extra Magic Hour with links to the ride description on the official Disney World website:

TOMORROWLAND RIDES/ATTRACTIONS

FANTASYLAND RIDES/ATTRACTIONS

I believe these are the same rides that are open now for the regular Morning Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom that are held a couple times a week.

We were headed to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so went left along with a majority of the other guests.  The next holding area/rope was set up along the walkway to the Mad Tea Party.  Here we were again stopped and we waited for the Cast Members to drop the rope and lead us in a fairly organized fashion to the Mine Train ride entrance.  This occurred right at 7:00.  We didn’t make it on the first train of the day but we were on the second one.  So by 7:11 we were enjoying the ride from the back of our train car…

I love Andrew’s face! Crying Laughing Emoji 😂 I never remember to pose for the ride photos.

After the Mine Train we headed to the Peter Pan ride.  I told Andrew that the wait time for this ride would be incredible later in the day so I wanted to ride it next.  He was very skeptical but went along with my plan.  He thanked me when just an hour later the posted wait time was 90 minutes for Peter Pan!!!  At the same time, the wait time for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was 60 minutes.  Anyway we enjoyed seeing the themed walk thru area before you board the ride.  Usually if I ride Peter Pan I do so with a Fast Pass and the Fast Pass line bypasses this area so it had been a long time since I had seen this area.

We then left Fantasyland and made our way to Tomorrowland, or more specifically to Space Mountain.  It had been several years since I’d ridden SM because I really don’t like it.  However, it used to be one of my son’s favorite Magic Kingdom rides so I agreed to ride with him…

Notice I said “used to be one of his favorites”.  This time he agreed with me…not so great.  Crying Laughing Emoji 😂

Anyway, by the time we had completed our mission on Space Mountain it was about 7:40 so we had time for one more ride before the rest of the park opened at 8:00.  We both like the Buzz Lightyear ride, Buzz Lightyear was nearby, so Buzz Lightyear it was…

Yep, Andrew outscored me by 181,000 points!!  Nothing new there.  Not sure why I like this ride because I suck at it.  Crying Laughing Emoji 😂

Next we headed toward Frontierland for my favorite Magic Kingdom ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  For some reason they had Cast Members posted before the bridge to Liberty Square and they were redirecting traffic to the left, towards the entrance to Adventureland.  The rope at the entrance was still up, as it wasn’t quite 8:00 yet.  We waited there for rope drop along with a few other people.  At 8:00 we were allowed in and walked through Adventureland and on to Frontierland where we walked on to BTMR.   Then we backtracked to Adventureland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean…

By 8:25 we were back in Frontierland to use our first Fast Pass of the day for a second ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Yes, we road it again…because it is my favorite ride at MK after all.  We then returned to Fantasyland, where we had a 9:20 breakfast reservation at Be our Guest.  However it was only about 8:45 so we had some time to kill.  We decided to ride Journey of the Little Mermaid, as it was close by and had little to no wait time.  By the way, as we were entering this ride my Fitbit let me know that I had successfully completed my daily goal of 10,000 steps…and it was only 8:45 in the morning!  Crying Laughing Emoji 😂

So in the 2 hours since the park opened for Extra, Extra Magic Hour at 7:00 a.m. we rode 8 rides (only one using a Fast Pass) and spent almost no time waiting in line.  I would say it was a very successful 2 hours and was worth getting up before the sun was up… I guess.  Crying Laughing Emoji 😂

We celebrated our successful morning by taking a break for breakfast at…

Image result for be our guest restaurant

Be our Guest Breakfast with the Disney Dining Plan

2 Quick Service Dining Plan Credits Used – $85.20 Value (or $42.60 per credit)

Next up: Our first (and only) snack of the day


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