Orlando Staycation Part 2: Dining

Hopefully you read Part 1 of my Orlando Staycation series. If not, I’ll catch you up real fast.

This summer we decided to do a staycation at Walt Disney World for my daughters 9th birthday. We stayed 5 days 4 nights at Buena Vista Palace, a resort across the street from Downtown Disney.

In this blog, I’ll be talking about all our dining experiences from eating at the hotel, room service, Downtown Disney restaurants and eating at the theme parks.

Now with two kids, I tend to overpack. For this trip we went out and bought some snacks and drinks for the hotel room. Publix had some buy one get one free deals so we took full advantage of that. Here is our little grocery list of items we took to the hotel:
– Water bottles
– Little soda cans (Sprite zero and coke zero)
– Juice boxes
– Little muffins
– Oranges
– Doritos and cool ranch
– Granola bars
– yogurts

The hotel had a little fridge in there. I figured if we could at least have breakfast BEFORE we went to the parks that would save some money.

When we checked in on Wednesday, we had planned on going to Magic Kingdom and eating dinner there. Each of their restaurants have some kind of theme and offer different menu items. There is a pizza restaurant called Pinocchio’s Village Haus that overlooks the guests getting on the Its A Small World ride. We like going there because they have pasta, pizza and salads.

Since we weren’t leaving to go to Magic Kingdom until 6:30 we all had a snack in our room knowing we weren’t going to eat until later. Once we got to the park the girls decided they wanted to do Pirates of the Caribbean and Thunder Mountain Railroad. Both waits were not too long when we started, however, Pirates had a malfunction and we ended up waiting about 20 minutes in line longer than the estimated wait time of 20 minutes. Thunder Mountain Railroad wait was 30 minutes (that’s the least we have seen in forever), however, they got a giant crowd of Fast Passers and our line leader let them all go through instead of doing half and half. We ended up waiting an hour to get on that ride.

With that said, by the time we figured it was time for dinner (around 8:45) we were stuck in Frontier Land. Note to everyone out there, when that Parade starts wherever you are is pretty much where you will be until it is over. The parade started at 9. There was one place in Frontier land but my little picky eaters did not want to eat there. So we figured we would wait it out until we go to Pinocchio’s Village.

Once the parade was over we hiked it over there only to find that the restaurant closed at 9pm. Most of the restaurants inside the park close at 9pm and most of the carts are already broken down.  Some sit down restaurants serve until the park closes but you can’t get in there unless you have a reservation. There were some quick service places open on Main Street, however, everyone in the park that was hungry at that time was there and the line was so ridiculous.

We decided to head back to the hotel and either get room service or see if the Kooks Family Sports Bar was still open.  Once we got back, we looked at the room service menu. They had a summer special that was 2 medium 2 topping pizzas, with drinks for $19.99. We decided to do that. Ordering in the room was fast and easy and by 11:10pm we had our dinner. Needless to say there was not much left of those pizzas.

Because of the dining disaster on Wednesday night, I wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to eat on Thursday. The original plan was to go to Hollywood Studios and have lunch there and then have an early dinner at the T-Rex cafe at Downtown Disney and then see the fireworks at Epcot. Most of that happened except the fireworks. Weather was horrible :(

We all ordered some chicken nuggets from the BackLot Express, which is located right next to Star Tours. I made the girls eat around 11:15 BEFORE the lunch rush and since we were planning on eating dinner early. The food was OK, can’t expect much from chicken tenders.

For dinner that night we went to the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney.  That was a fun experience. If you’ve ever been to a Rainforest Cafe’ it is owned by the same company and almost the same concept except with Dinosaurs. We were sat in the Ocean room and had several aquariums within our view.  Every 20 minutes they have a meteor shower where the thunder rumbles, meteors start falling and the lights start to flicker. The dinosaurs come to life and roar and growl.  The food can be pricey so if you are staying at a Downtown Disney hotel, check the book they give you at Check-in. Most times they will have coupons in there. We had a 15% off coupon that we used.  Kaili had Macaroni and cheese, Malia had pasta alfredo and I had a cheeseburger and a Sam Adams Oktoberfest! Our dinner was very good and a great experience.

For Friday evening, We had decided to celebrate Malia’s birthday. Since she loves STEAK and we happened to have a steak restaurant in our hotel, we made reservations there. Its called the Outback (but is not the chain restaurant). My husband and I have had dinner there several times and haven’t had a bad experience…yet.  Remember to check your coupons if you are staying on property or close by. Even though we had 1 free kids meals, I also had a coupon for 15% off the entire bill. We figured the 15% off would outweigh the free $8.99 kids meal, so we used that coupon.  For appetizer, we had sizzling bacon with root beer glaze. It was good, the cut of bacon was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  Malia had a kids portion of prime rib, I had the prime rib and my husband had a bone in ribeye.  His ribeye was very chewy and my prime rib was over cooked and very dry. Again, this was the first time we were not happy with our meal. Most of the time they have been spot on!

Saturday we hit the parks early, first stopping at Hollywood Studios and then onward to Animal Kingdom.We felt we should eat lunch early before the real lunch crowd. So before we got too far into Animal Kingdom we stopped for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.  It’s very consistent and everything was great! Tom and I both had salads and Malia had a cheeseburger. Can’t screw those up too much :)

For dinner, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do. We got back to the hotel around 4:30 with the intention of going to the pool but it started to storm.  When we decided that it was Saturday night and would be crazy, we got ready for dinner. Since it was still drizzling we decided to use our hotel coupon for the Kooks Family Sports Bar. This place is fun. They have TV’s set up all around the restaurant with high tops, lounge chairs and bar stools. Upstairs they have a Wii and X Box setup for FREE play. There is also darts, Foosball, air hockey and several other arcade games.  We found a spot and got a couple of drinks and looked at the menu. As the name of the restaurant says it was all bar food. I wasn’t too interested in eating that for dinner so we decided to get a few appetizers now and then walk to Downtown Disney for dinner later (hoping the mad dinner rush was gone).  We got some chicken tenders and a triple play; wings, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers.  It was good and filled us up.

For our actual dinner we ended up ordering some late night pizza back in our room since no one was hungry for dinner after walking around Downtown Disney.  Room service is great though, and you don’t have to go anywhere! We found Harry Potter on TV and ate some Pizza. Malia said it was a perfect ending to her Maliapalooza!

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