My Favourite Restaurants in Disney and Beyond…

What better time to tell you about my favourite restaurants at Disney and surrounding area. I am looking forward to visiting these next month (much sooner than I had anticipated a few weeks ago)

Victoria & Albert’s – Disney’s Grand Floridian

Victoria & Albert’s is a very exclusive, awarding winning, fine dining establishment located inside Disney’s Grand Floridian, it has  an AAA Five Diamond rating. As expected the dress code is much more formal than most other dining in Disney, men must wear a Jacket and a posh frock would not be out of place for us ladies. Throughout the evening a Harpist places gentle music in the background which sets the scene beautifully. The meal itself is a seven course meal (including bread with each course – I love bread and the selections are amazing) in the main dining room (more course are available in Queen Victoria’s room or at the Chef’s table), you can also add Wine Pairings (if you enjoy your wine I would highly recommend), each course comes with a wine specifically chosen for that course. I love the dessert, I am sure I have the same one each time we go…Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Soufflé, you have to order this particular dessert at the beginning as they need the time to prepare it…and it is delicious, my mouth is watering just thinking about it 🙂

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At the end of the meal you can enjoy coffee…not done your usual way.

At V&A’s they use a Cona Vacuum Coffee Maker, I think it is amazing how this works and just have to have coffee…eventhough it is late at night…who cares if you can’t sleep…you’re on Vacation!

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At the end of your meal you receive a personalised menu and the lady receives a red rose. Reservations are a must.

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Bubba Gump Shrimp – Universal City Walk

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If you like Shrimp you’ll love Bubba Gump, it is a great place for a ‘light’ bite or a big evening meal. They do great Smoo

The Shrimpers Net Catch (Appetizer) is delicious

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If you still have room the Dessert samplers are lush…probably best to share though!!

They have a great system for getting the attention of the wait staff, on your table you have 2 license plates…Run Forrest Run and Stop Forrest Stop…the first time we visited I got confused and picked Stop Forrest Stop…lo and behold the waiter came by…but I didn’t actually want anything!!

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Tip: Watch the Forrest Gump film before you go!

Raglan Road – Downtown Disney

You can either sit in the main restaurant which may involve an ADR or a wait, or you can sit at the Bar, the food and service is great either way.

I love the Dalkey Duo, battered cocktail sausages presented on forks with extra ones in a bowl on the side and a mustard dip. A favourite of the other half is Kevin’s Ham

Shula’s Steak House – Walt Disney World Dolphin

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Photo Credit: donshula.com

If you like Steak this is a great restaurant, reservations are a must, however you can sit in the lounge area without one. Here you can catch the game whilst enjoying delicious Steak & Seafood.

Beaches & Cream – Disney’s Yacht Club

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Photo Credit: disneyworld.disney.go.com

Although a restaurant I have only experienced take out. I usually go for Delicious Ice Cream Sundaes and Milkshakes. They are also famous for their ‘Kitchen Sink’ dessert…I am yet to try this particular delicacy!

Thai Thani –  I-Drive (near Seaworld)

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Photo Credit: thaithani.net

This is our favourite Thai restaurant, we discovered it many years ago and try to make time for at least one visit each trip. It has a very authentic feel, they have cushions on the floor for sitting at the lower tables and lots of Thai antiques, statues and carved tables. The first time we went I did not know what to order and was recommended the Phad Panang…this is my favourite dish (although I do pick out the string beans!!)…and I always have Sticky Rice.

I hope to add to this list after our New Year/Anniversary trip 🙂

Emma x

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My Top 10 Disney Vacation Tips…

So, I thought I would share some tips for my number one vacation spot…

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1. Virgins Downtown Disney Check in

For a fee (or free if you have booked your holiday through Virgin Holidays) you can check in at downtown Disney on the morning of your departure – giving you more time to enjoy your final hours in the most magical place on earth. You will receive your boarding passes and your luggage is taken to the airport for you. It also means you do not have to be at the airport quite as early as if you have to check in, but please be aware there can be big queues at security.

2. Luggage..

Buy a Luggage Scale, they are relatively cheap, small and light so won’t take up too much space but it means you can check your weight before checking in…potentially saving you quite a few pounds on excess luggage. If you know you are going to buy lots of goodies (like me!) pre book extra baggage as it is cheaper than at check in. We usually buy an extra suitcase from Walmart, so just pay extra coming home not both ways!

3. Take a trip to Walmart/Target/Publix

Stock up on breakfast goodies…buy a cheap toaster for bagels! This will save you so much money and time, especially if you want to get to the parks for opening.

Most Hotel rooms have a fridge so you can buy Water, OJ, Milk, Cream Cheese…

Walmart is also good for cheap clothes…you can return items with a receipt at Asda when back in the UK (although this is something I have never tried).

4. Hire a car

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Disney World is humongous…you can’t really walk from place to place, so by hiring a car it means you can pop out of Disney much more easily to grab a non Disney Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner, there are so many fantastic, great value restaurants (I think this deserves a post to itself!!)

There are also several Malls and Outlet Shops which deserve a look in if you have the time.

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Florida Mall
Orlando Premium Outlets (2 locations):Vineland Road and International Drive. Vineland Road is closest to Disney.

5. Don’t try to fit everything in…plan plan plan and plan some more

So you have booked your vacation, now the excitement begins…where to go, what to do??? “Lets go to Disney World and Universal and  Busch Gardens and Seaworld and Discovery Cove and Legoland and Gatorland and Kennedy Space Center…oh dear, I don’t think we’ve got enough time!” There is so much to see and do…the list is endless, I bet you feel exhausted just thinking about it!!

Try to work in some pool/quiet time, even if it is a morning or afternoon every few days. Some days you will want to stay at the parks late for the fireworks, this is a good day to spend the morning by the pool. The waterparks are also a good ‘rest’ day, you just have to decide which one to pick; Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Aquatica.

6. Buy your park tickets before you go

Disney have a special Ultimate ticket which is only available in the UK so buy before you go…if you are planning on visiting Disney the most on your vacation it is definitely worth the cost. It gives you 14 (or 21) days in all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, ESPN Wide World of Sports and one round of Mini Golf a day.Virgin Holidays have recently launched ticket bundles which seem to be excellent value for money and include a range of parks in Orlando.

There are many discounted ticket websites, some offer real tickets, others you will receive a voucher which can be exchanged at guest services at any of the parks.

7. Use Virgin Holidays

If you don’t want to book all the bits of your holiday separately I would highly recommend Virgin Holidays, you get extra perks and I have always have great service using them in the past. If you do like to book things separate, again check Virgin Holidays for hotels, some of the hotels receive extra perks, such as free parking.

8. Disney’s Boardwalk Area

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This is our favourite non park location. It is a perfect hotel location (although very pricey). There are 5 resorts in total, 3 Disney (Yacht, Beach & Boardwalk) and 2 Non Disney (Swan & Dolphin). There are a few restaurants and ESPN Club which has hundreds of TV’s showing all different kinds of sports. These are the only resorts which are in walking distance to TWO Disney parks, Hollywood Studios (my favourite park!!) and EPCOT. There is also a Water taxi if you feel the need to rest your weary legs!!

9. Raglan Road Bar

It is a great place to have a bite to eat, you can usually find a spot at the bar, they have live bands and Irish dancers on too. Kevin’s Ham is a firm favourite with my other half!

10. Make Advanced Dining Reservations

If there are Disney restaurants you really want to eat at I would highly advise that you make reservations in advance. Disney’s Advance Reservations can now be done online. Most restaurants now require a credit card guarantee when making the reservation. You can make a reservation 180 days in advance of when you want o dine, if you are a Disney resort guest it is 180 + 10 days. Some Advanced Reservation tips from WDWInfo.com.

Finally…

Two of my favourite books, even as a ‘Pro’ I buy the updated editions regularly.

Brits Guide to Orlando
The Unofficial Guide to DisneyWorld

Great Websites I visit on a regular basis

Disney Parks Blog
DisBoards
WDWInfo
Offical Disney Website

Happy Planning

Emma & Winnie the Pooh x

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