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Old 02-17-2014, 02:58 PM   #31
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Thanks! We apparently are frequent flyers going every other year or so. Right now- we're planning on going to Orlando for the summer but only doing some kind of non-park dining experience with character interactions: Mickey's Backyard BBQ or Chef Mickeys or something.

Two complete different experiences. Guess it depends on the kiddos. We feel mickey's backyard BBQ is one of the most over-rated (and priced) dining experiences at Disney. Some seats are pretty far from the entertainment... And if people up front start standing, it can be frustrating for others. Getting food is a challenge, standing in a (loooong) buffet line is not for us. There is little character interaction unless you're will to stand in another long line to get pictures.
Chef Mickey's we enjoy and would do again. Food is average... the Characters come to you during dinner... And all the main Disney characters are in attendance, so there's always a couple coming around continuously... The kids get to give them a little hug, get a signature and a picture... And they move onto the next table. Perfect for us.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:18 PM   #32
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Two complete different experiences. Guess it depends on the kiddos. We feel mickey's backyard BBQ is one of the most over-rated (and priced) dining experiences at Disney. Some seats are pretty far from the entertainment... And if people up front start standing, it can be frustrating for others. Getting food is a challenge, standing in a (loooong) buffet line is not for us. There is little character interaction unless you're will to stand in another long line to get pictures.
Chef Mickey's we enjoy and would do again. Food is average... the Characters come to you during dinner... And all the main Disney characters are in attendance, so there's always a couple coming around continuously... The kids get to give them a little hug, get a signature and a picture... And they move onto the next table. Perfect for us.
We haven't previously done the Mickey's Backyard BBQ, but your assessment is what we figured it was like from reading reviews and whatnot. If I understand correctly, it's also outside. We're going to be there late June/July timeframe and are worried about the heat being unbearable to enjoy our time there.

We have done Chef Mickey's before. Honestly found the food to be mediocre but the character experience was nice- just as you described it. We're kicking around trying to hit up a breakfast there.

We also stayed at did a breakfast at the Grand Floridian, I think. But that was more princess/prince stuff than the cartoon characters. Good for my daughter when she went- she was in love with those characters. (Good for me- I've got a thing for Cinderella!)

Any other character-experience ideas? We need it to be a hotel/resort of some sort since we aren't actually going into the parks this trip. Just want a little Disney taste primarily for our son (will be 2- he loves Mickey, Goofey, Jake and Doc McStuffins).
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:07 PM   #33
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I've put together a spreadsheet of possible character dining options as part of my analysis for our planned trip this fall. (Yes, I'm **** like that.)

Checking it for you, outside the parks your options are:

Beach Club Breakfast Buffet (Beach Club)
Chef Mickey's (Contemporary)
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast / Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner (Grand Floridian)
Best Friends Breakfast (Polynesian)
Mickey's Backyard BBQ (Fort Wilderness)

That's it. Everything else is in the parks.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:23 PM   #34
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A spreadsheet? Now you're speaking my language!
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:36 PM   #35
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Yeah, I had put it together to evaluate cost of dining plan credits vs paying for the meal. Things like "Cinderella's Royal Table" are actually a lousy use of dining plan credits. Actually, most of the character dining is. You often pay more per credit than you do per meal if you pay cash for the dinner.

When we go I want to see if I can double up benefits by doing lunch at Hollywood & Vine. They have breakfast or lunchtime dining with Disney Jr characters, as well as you can get preferred seating tickets at the Fantasia show at lunch or dinner. I'm hoping to find a day where I can get tickets to Fantasia AND the kids get to dine with Disney Jr characters all for the one low price of lunch.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:52 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Kaadk View Post
I've put together a spreadsheet of possible character dining options as part of my analysis for our planned trip this fall. (Yes, I'm **** like that.)

Checking it for you, outside the parks your options are:

Beach Club Breakfast Buffet (Beach Club)
Chef Mickey's (Contemporary)
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast / Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner (Grand Floridian)
Best Friends Breakfast (Polynesian)
Mickey's Backyard BBQ (Fort Wilderness)

That's it. Everything else is in the parks.
We typically don't do breakfasts... but we have enjoyed Cape May Breakfast Buffet (Beach Club). If i remember correctly, it had Minnie and Goofy. The only place you'll find Mickey for breakfast is Chef Mickey's. Never had Ohana (Poly) for breakfast, but the dinners there are fabulous (no characters). Wait times for Ohana are notorious for being painfully long. Expect to wait 20-minutes to 1-hour past your reservation time. Not always, but it's a good estimate. All the character meet/greets for breakfasts are set up similar to Chef Mickey's.

To answer a previous question (ependydad)... yes... Mickey's BBQ is under a tent... we did it in January, so not hot... but i could only imagine it in June/July heat.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:17 PM   #37
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Yeah, I had put it together to evaluate cost of dining plan credits vs paying for the meal. Things like "Cinderella's Royal Table" are actually a lousy use of dining plan credits. Actually, most of the character dining is. You often pay more per credit than you do per meal if you pay cash for the dinner.

When we go I want to see if I can double up benefits by doing lunch at Hollywood & Vine. They have breakfast or lunchtime dining with Disney Jr characters, as well as you can get preferred seating tickets at the Fantasia show at lunch or dinner. I'm hoping to find a day where I can get tickets to Fantasia AND the kids get to dine with Disney Jr characters all for the one low price of lunch.
There was a day when the dining plan was a slam dunk. In our early years, the dining plan included an appetizer, entree, desert, drink, taxes AND tip... then came "free" dining... yada yada yada... i think it's now down to entree, desert and drink. After years of watching the "free" dining plan reduce most of the restaurants to cafe food, we're of the opinion that the dining plan doesn't save you a dime in most cases anymore... paying double credits for a single meal is an outright scam, IMO.
If you eat desert with every meal... and eat only at the most expensive restaurants... and only order NY Strip/Surf and Turf type meals... you can come out a little ahead with the dining plan. But that's typically if you have all adults... kids that are in the 10-13 age range (10+ pay adult prices) are almost never a good deal unless you go buffets all around. I would bet that the majority of the people who are on the dining plans now are those who think they're getting it for free.

We purchased a couple DVC contracts years ago and now eat most of our meals in our villa. We eat less... we eat healthier... and we eat when we're hungry, not when we must because we booked our reservation 180 days ago.

In case you haven't noticed... i dislike the dining plans (but mostly just the "free" dining).
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:16 PM   #38
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We are considering camping at the campground for another weekend, but going to Universal's parks instead.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:38 PM   #39
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We are considering going for Spring Break and camping at Fort Wilderness? Is this a busy time of year for them?
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:47 PM   #40
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We are considering going for Spring Break and camping at Fort Wilderness? Is this a busy time of year for them?

Boy is it ever busy right now...Spring Break crowds @ Disney begin by mid February and crowds don't ease up until kids back in school, about mid September.
Either way, if you don't mind the crowds...you'll have a blast
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