Sorry it has taken me a few days to round up all of this info and get it into a post! The post-Disney exhaustion is REAL! But there is info to be shared that I know you guys are waiting on! Today I am answering all of the questions that you guys sent in or have asked us recently about ALL. THINGS. DISNEY!
Question: How was the Riviera?
Answer: We stayed at the Riviera Resort this time, it’s Disney’s newest hotel on the property. It was great! We stayed in a two-bedroom villa and it had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, a living room, two balconies, and I just have to add- TONS of closet space. It had a great little coffee shop in the lobby and three other restaurants that we frequented. The brand new Skyliner runs between the Riviera, a few other hotels, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It was SO nice to be able to hop right on it and get to two parks very quickly. However, I must mention that when there is rain/a threat of rain, the Skyliner closes down and it was HARD getting back to our hotel from the back of Epcot.
Question: How do you get great dining reservations?
Answer: We stalk the My Disney Experience App! Dining reservations open 60 days out. We are actually almost 60 days out from our next trip, so we have started looking at reservations for July! Reservations are always coming and going so it’s important to check the app each day, even at different times during the day. Another big tip is that (I personally believe) that Disney “holds” reservations for certain groups of people such as Vacation Club members, Annual Passholders, Golden Oak residents, etc. and if those don’t get reserved, they open them up on the app a day or two before. Additionally, you have until exactly 24 hours before your reservation to cancel without getting charged a penalty fee. So a lot of people end up changing their minds and cancelling just before the 24 hour mark, so some really great reservations come up all the time while you’re AT Disney. The app is your best friend, use it to it’s full advantage and check it all the time!
Question: How does Peyton do with the long days at Disney?
Answer: It’s different every trip/day. This trip, Peyton was REALLY whiny and VERY anti-stroller. Which is just not acceptable at Disney World with the miles and miles you walk each day. I don’t think she was feeling 100% though (we are all battling bad allergies) and she wanted to be held and carried a lot. Some days we go back to the hotel for lunch and a nap, and other days we power through and she naps in the stroller. Either way, a nap is really important for her during the day at Disney because we try to stay out late at night too.
Question: Do you get Genie+ every time?
Answer: Yes! For those of you that don’t know, Genie+ is Disney’s new Fast Pass system. It’s about $15 to add it on to your park ticket and we think it’s worth every penny. Starting at 7:00am each morning, you can book your first time slot for the first ride of the day. After that, you can book another either in two hours time, or after you scan your Magic Band to ride the ride, whichever comes first. It most definitely helps us ride more rides, in my opinion. ESPECIALLY the kiddie rides! For all of those rides like Dumbo, the Teacups, Tomorrowland Speedway, Little Mermaid, Goofy’s Barnstormer; all the wait times are posted at like 20 minutes. So instead of waiting 20 minutes for each of those rides, we keep booking the Genie+ lane and basically walk to the front of the line and knock them all out in like 30 minutes. All of Peyton’s favorites! We also occasionally purchase a Lightning Lane pass too. For example, none of us this trip had ridden Ratatouille so we all bought that so that we could ride it for the first time! Lightning Lane’s are only for the brand new very popular attractions. It’s pricey, but if you really want to ride the new stuff, it’s really the only way unless you want to wait for an hour and a half.
Question: What’s the best places to see the characters?
Answer: You can finally hug the characters again! Woohoo! We saw SO MANY characters this time that I felt like by the end of the trip, Peyton was unimpressed. We have eaten at Chef Mickey’s twice now and I think it’s the all-time best place to get the character experience. We also ate at Topolino’s Terrace this time which is on the top of the Riviera and it had characters too! The food was stunning, but it is HARD to get a reservation. Chef Mickey’s is much easier to get into, and they have the five main characters that everyone loves. This time we also ate at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle and I have to say, it was a little disappointing for the price. The princesses are no longer inside the dining room, you only get a photo with Cinderella on the way up to your table. It was expensive, the food wasn’t as good as other places, and there wasn’t a huge character presence. Because hugs are back, there are more characters stationed throughout the parks, especially around the world in Epcot. There are so many chances to meet characters now, I am so glad things are back to normal!
Question: What’s your favorite restaurants and what restaurants are the best value?
Answer: Wow, this is hard! So many great options! When we went last year, we ate at Ohana’s for breakfast and it was great- but this trip, we ate there for dinner and it was THE BEST. The food in unmatched, and if you get a later reservation you have the best view on property for the firework show at Magic Kingdom, they even play the music in the restaurant and everything! Ohana’s is most definitely at the top of my list. We also love the Sci-Fi restaurant in Hollywood Studios and Tutto Italia in Italy at the back of Epcot. Honestly though, I love a good ‘ole quick-service meal and back to the hustle! Most quick service restaurants have really similar menus. Disney World chicken fingers are my all-time favorite and even just a kids meal fills me up. And last but not least, don’t be afraid to make a meal out of a few stands around the world in Epcot, you won’t be disappointed!
That’s all for now! I hope I have helped shed some light on the “behind the scenes” of Disney. It is such a magical place, but is even better if you know the ends-and-outs so that you can make the most out of your trip! If you have any additional questions, or if we missed anything- send it in! The Disney content is far from over!
I can’t hit publish on this post without giving a shoutout to Andrew. He puts up with my Disney obsession with a smile on his face and is right there alongside me with teary eyes as we watch Peyton light up when she sees her favorite movies come alive in the parks. I am so thankful to have a Disney loving partner in crime. 🙂