Disney By Land & Disney by Sea – Part #3

Written by Sue Nowicki
Disney by land and sea
As I mentioned in my last post, booking our Advanced Dining Reservation was less than magical.

I don’t think it’s hard to see that I am kind of an obsessive planner. Approximately 220 days prior to our vacation I know where we are staying, what parks we will be visiting each day, how we will be touring each park and where we are going to eat. Therefore, at exactly 5:55am on the 180th day I have every computer in the house and my cellphone logged into My Disney Experience to start making my Advanced Dining Reservations. If that method doesn’t work I start calling the Disney Dining phone line at 6:55am. I have ALWAYS been able to get every reservation I wanted… until now.

We have been to Walt Disney World many times. Therefore, we have been lucky enough to experience a great number of the dining options at Walt Disney World. This means the method for choosing our dining plans have changed slightly. Instead of booking two or more table service meals a day, we have old favorites we like return to and we add in 1-2 new locations each trip. Therefore, we are only planning on one table service meal each day.

This was my plan going into the 180th morning:

Monday – Rose & Crown, 8:00pm – This is an old favorite for us and holds a special place in our Disney memories. When our daughter was 5-years-old we were dining at R&C and she was picked to start Illuminations. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime magical moments. Besides the memories we come back vacation after vacation because of the great food and the amazing view of Illuminations. If you are lucky enough to get one of the coveted verandah seat you will have a front row seat for the show. And even if you aren’t selected to sit on the verandah, they have a super-secret location reserved for their guests only to watch the show. Results: Nothing available

Tuesday – Whispering Canyon Café, 6:00pm – We are planning on spending at least part of this day at Downtown Disney with lunch planned at Earl of Sandwich. (The Holiday sandwich is calling my name… can you hear it?) We thought this would be a great day to have an early evening meal in the resort. After the meal we can either hit the pool (Of course, after the required 30 minutes waiting period, Mom), maybe go to the Polynesian and watch Wishes from the beach or just simply call it a night. Results: Nothing available

Wednesday – Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic! Dinner Package – If you ask my daughter we picked the restaurant because of the pictures of the chocolate fountain on their website. We have seen Fantasmic! before but we always seem to be in the extreme stage right area even with a FastPass+. With the dinner package we will get guarantee seats in one of the center sections. RESULTS: Dinner packages not available yet.

Thursday – California Grill, 9:00pm – How can you beat the view of Wishes from that vantage point… not to mention the wine list. RESULTS: SUCCESS! We got a 9:05pm ADR.

Friday – Be Our Guest, Lunch – We will be attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this day. My daughter and I have been to this restaurant while DH has not. He has to try the Grey Stuff… It’s delicious. RESULTS: NO LUCK!

I came out of the 180th day with ONE Advanced Dining Reservation. How can this be? Dejected, with my Ultimate Disney Planner title on the line, I headed to work with my head hanging low. Several of my Disney friends did their best to console me when I complained. “Don’t worry, just keep checking.” “It must be a glitch in the system.” “It’s the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, there’s no way everything can be gone?” “Try calling again?”

Here we are two month later and the bleak outcome of what I now call the ‘180th Day Massacre’ has turned into a not-so-bad plan.

Since Monday is the last day of the annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival we have decided to ‘eat our way around the world’. Recently the menus for F&W were released and there is no way I would be able to eat a sit-down dinner after eating all the tasty treats which caught my eye. As far as the view of Illuminations: We can always grab something from one of the outdoor kitchens and pull up a bench along the World Showcase Lagoon.

After checking multiple times for a Tuesday ADR at Whispering Canyon Cafe an 8:30pm reservation showed up. This wasn’t ideal but at least we would be able to eat there without a long wait. Using my friend Amy M’s advice I kept checking just in case something more suitable to our plans showed up. Lo and behold a week or so ago a 6:00pm reservation opened up. SCORE! As an added bonus the Garden Grill announced a special character breakfast featuring Chip & Dale. We were going to use Tuesday as a ‘catch up on some sleep day’ so we made a 10:00am ADR. I have been by the Garden Grill many times while making our way to Living With the Land and loved the idea of the rotating restaurant.

With the addition of this ADR and the fact that we are still planning on heading to Downtown Disney that day, we are considering cancelling our Whispering Canyon Café ADR. We have been there several times before so it’s not like we will be missing a new experience and we will probably still be full from the Holiday Sandwich from Earl of Sandwich.

Our Wednesday plans brightened as well. I guess I was always under the impression that the Fantasmic! Dinner Package reservations opened at 180 days like the rest of the reservations. Turns out that isn’t the case. In early July the Disney Parks Blog reported the dinner package was now open for booking. I immediately went over and booked the package at Hollywood & Vine for a late lunch.

There was a little twist to this when the brand new Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine opened up for reservations. Not only is this a character meal which features the characters in their holiday best including Santa Goofy, it also offers special seating for Fantasmic!. Again, I was on my computer bright and early… NOTHING. I started calling Disney Dining line at 6:55 a.m… NOTHING! Oh well, I guess we will keep our lunch reservation and keep checking to see if this opens up.

I am still hoping for some pixie-dust to get a lunch reservation at Be Our Guest on Friday but I did learned a few things from this misadventure: (1) Free dining really does have quite an impact of the availability of Advanced Dining Reservations, (2) Just keep swimming – by continuing to check we were able to get a couple of the ADRs we weren’t able to get on the 180th day, and (3) Disney really needs to get their act together BEFORE the 180th day on special dining experiences such as Candlelight Processional and Fantasmic! Dinner Package.

In the next post I will talk about a slight change we made to our Disney Cruise, how we got 8.9% off our Disney vacation and our first foray into the Fish Extender gift exchange.
Disney Land Sea
Sue Nowicki splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @JazzinDisneyMom.

Other posts by this author:
Latest Disney News
”The Descendants” Movie Review
Disney by Land, Disney by Sea: Part 1 & Part 2
”Tomorrowland” Movie Review
Best Walt Disney World Smartphone Apps
Restaurant Review – Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – The Way Life Should Be
A Day in the Life of Disney’s FastPass+ Service

Restaurant Review – Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room

Written by Sue Nowicki

LOCATION: Epcot – World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavilion
THEME: British Isle Pub

Have you ever just wanted to take a load off and relax along the banks of the World Showcase Lagoon after a long day in Epcot enjoying a Guinness and some Fish & Chips? Well then I have a great place for you: The Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in the United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot.

02-17-2015 Rose4The Rose & Crown is one of the restaurants my family MUST DO every time we visit Walt Disney World. Not only do we like the rustic ambiance, we enjoy the food and fantastic cast members.

Our love for the Rose & Crown started when my daughter was 5-years-old. We were at Disney for the first day of the land portion of our Land/Sea Disney Cruise Line vacation. I had heard great reviews of the Rose & Crown, especially about the view of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Therefore, we thought this would be a great way to start our vacation.

Approximately half way through dinner our waitress came over to inform us that Illuminations was in jeopardy of being cancelled. Needless to say, we were quite disappointed because we had been able to secure a table on the patio with a perfect view of the fireworks. Our waitress proceeded to tell us the cancellation was due to Mickey Mouse being stuck in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was then that my husband and I knew something MAGICAL was about to happen. After explaining the issue, she turned to my daughter and asked if she would be able to step in and start the show. A few minutes later my daughter was standing on a pedestal with a ‘magic’ wand in hand. The waitress told her to think magical thoughts and wave the wand when suddenly a single firework shot out from behind us. Pal Mickey (remember him?) was jiggling with glee because we were, without a doubt, having a MAGIC moment.

While the Rose & Crown is known for its great view of Illuminations. There are really only 10 or so tables with this coveted view. These tables are located on the bottom level of the patio. But don’t fret, if you are seated on the upper level or even inside the restaurant, there is a super-secret area just to the left of the restaurant reserved only for Rose & Crown guests to view the show. If you would like to view the show from this area, simply ask your server to take you to this area when the time nears, even if that’s in the middle of your meal.

02-17-2015 Rose3But wait! There’s more to the Rose & Crown than the Illuminations view, there is also the delicious food and authentic drinks. Do you have a favorite food from the British Isles? If so, it’s likely on the menu. Whether it’s Fish & Chips, Shepard’s Pie, Bangers & Mash or even a Scotch Egg, you will find an authentic and delicious version here. I have found one of the best culinary features of this restaurant is that it is great for kids of any age. If you have a finicky eater, like I do, there is plenty for them to eat without stepping too far out of their comfort zone.

Let’s not forget some of the most famous beers in the world are brewed in the United Kingdom such Guinness, Harps, Bass and Boddingtons. Want to try something light while still getting a taste of the UK? Try a Shandy. It’s ½ Sprite and ½ Harps. YUM!

02-17-2015 Rose2

When it comes to the Cast Members, the Rose & Crown’s are the best. They are knowledgeable, friendly and best of all: you get to listen to their accents. On our last trip we met a lovely Cast Member from Scotland names Aimee. She was a joy from start to finish when she left the girls a special note on our bill that summed up our entire vacation:


Remember, you don’t always need a wand to create magic.”

02-17-2015 Rose

Sue Nowicki splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @JazzinDisneyMom.

Rose & Crown Dining Room & Pub