April 12, 2018

Our Wonderful Disney World Holiday Venture (Part 1 of 2)

As I said on several occasions before, going to Disney World is always exciting and a lot of fun. For us, it was even more special this time around as it was our first visit during the Holidays. My open schedule also allowed for some extensive planning and the freak planner in me really enjoyed the whole process.

Sorry it took a while to write these posts, but it gave me an excuse to continue savoring this magical once-in-a-lifetime trip even more.

We’ll do our best to give you a glimpse and pointers regarding our incredible experiences like our second visit ever to Cinderella’s Royal Table, the remarkable restaurant inside the famous Disney World castle or the fact we were finally blessed to land a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest.

Temperatures were cold, even sometimes freezing which is very rare and atypical for Florida, but it didn’t ruin our pleasure being Canadian and kind of prepared. You can read more about it in the second part of this brief Disney series that will include some of our best strategies and tips to accommodate any vacation at Disney, along with other always interesting Disney related topics.

As usual, we’ll use this opportunity to talk about Disney’s amazing values. In fact, let’s start with one of their most profitable ones.

Providing Quality at Every Level

Today, we will reveal one of Disney’s secrets. So, be ready to learn what may even be considered one of their greatest practices, from a business standpoint at least.

Don’t worry, we won’t spoil the magic and tell you there’s more than one Mickey. Oops! Maybe we inadvertently just did it anyway… Sorry!

Joking aside, the grand secret in question is in fact quite simple. Disney makes it a point and a thorough policy to provide quality at every level of their offerings. For Disney, providing quality is not an option, it’s a requirement.

On our latest trip, we truly experienced that renowned Disney quality and service first hand.

We usually stay at Disney’s hotels in the Moderate category. This time, it was our first experience in a Value resort. We were pleasantly surprised and didn’t notice a huge difference.

Sure, rooms and beds are a little smaller. But in true Disney fashion, everything is very comfortable and spick-and-span clean. This includes comfy beds with lots of pillows that will procure you a good night sleep after long days in the parks, a clean and cleverly efficient bathroom with for instance, hooks at both end of the shower curtain to prevent spills and plenty of supplies like toilet paper, shampoo and soap. All of it decorated with the usual detailed Disney touch.

The atmosphere is also incredible at Disney’s Value hotels. At our resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies, giant interior courtyard characters seem to almost get alive. We were even fooled in thinking green toy soldiers on top of our Toy Story building moved from a day to the next. Even though it won’t serve gourmet cuisine, service at the food court is always fast and courteous. All that volume also assures you of extra freshness. Similarly. activities like movie night for kids are a lot of fun anywhere.

Things may not be perfect, but Disney’s cast members will do their best and make sure to fix any issue as fast as possible.

In our case, we had minor difficulties with missing tv channels and a too-efficient fridge freezing our juices. All of it magically resolved after a short stop at the front desk. Repairs were made when we were out after checking our schedule, they offered to store our food meanwhile and even generously reimbursed us two frozen orange juices.

One morning, the bus taking us to one of the parks was full and only our family was left standing in that loading area. The driver immediately radioed a colleague that took us on, just a couple minutes later.

In the end, the point is Disney won’t make you feel inferior if you choose a Value resort. You will still feel like an esteemed guest. That policy makes a lot of business sense and can, in part, explain why loyal Disney customers, after telling all their friends, are often coming back for more.

Wonders Accessible to Every Guest

Like any other respectable business, Disney is still trying to make money, so not all their choice experiences and merchandise will be included. You could even qualify many of them as expensive but at least, they will almost always provide more than fair value on top of quality.

Being only a Value resort guest will still give you access to many benefits like cool MagicBands, early and late access to the parks with Extra Magic Hours, access to Fastpass+ planning 60 days before your arrival (instead of only 30 days ahead of a park visit) or the opportunity to enroll in Disney Dining Plans.

One of our favourite perks is hopping on the Magical Express to efficiently get from the airport to our hotel. It’s also quite amazing that our luggage magically appears in our room (after a reasonable delay). However, despite flawless service, we have to admit the commute back at the end of any Disney trip will always be a little depressing and kind of loses its enchanted touch.

We have a funny luggage story that again illustrates Disney’s impeccable service. With an early flight, we got to the hotel just after noon and our room was not ready yet. We knew this would probably happen, so we had planned to change, grab a quick lunch and head to Disney Springs after leaving some of our carry-on luggage with the concierge service. When we returned that evening, we directly stopped at the same counter to get our stuff back, but it was not there. We worried for a minute or two. After a quick check, the very friendly cast member solved the mystery. Everything was already waiting for us in our room as it was brought up along with our airport luggage. We just didn’t think of getting to our room first...  

Live entertainment, shows and parades are also available for any Disney guest. We especially admired trumpet playing soldiers from the Christmas parade. How the hell can they move and play through these minuscule holes? It sure beats us!

Other benefits are accessible to everyone, not only resort guests. Hence, anybody can make reservations at Disney’s table-service restaurants, buy park admission tickets or freely use Disney’s elaborate transportation system (buses, boats and monorails). Naturally, everybody is welcomed at shops at Disney Springs. You could even do some shopping, eat and have a look around at Disney’s Deluxe resort hotels. You just won’t be able to access rooms or some restricted areas like pools.

Some of Our Best Disney Experiences

Once again on this trip, we had the opportunity to live great Disney experiences. 

Here's a nice look at my dessert plate from famous yet now classic Chef Mickey’s, situated inside luxurious Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Surely an eloquent representation of my sweet tooth.

As eluded to at the beginning of this post, we were very fortunate to have dinner at Be Our Guest. We realized after the fact we were even luckier that we initially taught, as it was probably our last chance to eat at that iconic restaurant at night, cheaply at least.
Indeed, we just learned the dinner offering at Be Our Guest will change next summer, costing two table service credits instead of only one now.

Enjoying the castle ambiance and meeting the Beast was delightful. Compared to Mickey, it’s a very funny fact that babies are much less afraid of that supposedly scary monster. Very young children seemingly can’t resist caressing all that furry facial hair. Little ones were almost as attracted to the Beast as we were to the dessert tray. We were impressed by all the attention Be Our Guest servers put into detailed dessert decoration. This midnight chocolate cake was certainly nice looking and provided a tasty sublime sugar rush.

Another unique castle-like experience is Cinderella’s Royal Table. The settings in and around the Castle are simply stunning. The check-in process and royal introducing announcement of your family is quite grandiose. Likewise, meeting all those royal characters is fantastic, it should especially please little princesses in your party.

We’ve heard complains about the food in the past but ours, along with impeccable service, was particularly enjoyable. This special meal event sure is pricey. However, you should relish it at least once in your life, it’s that good! We didn’t regret our choice and adored our second passing at it.

To avoid disappointment, make sure to reserve your table 180 days in advance. In fact, Cinderella’s Royal Table should probably be your top dining reservation priority.

That’s all from us today. Be sure to join us again in 12 days for the second part of this exciting (at least for us) Disney series. Among others, that second installment will contain some quite useful Disney tips.

Photos by Lady C

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