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Our Walt Disney World Vacation Plans Have Finally Come Together - The Spreadsheet Rocks!

  • Aug 7, 2010
We’ve completed the basic structure of our vacation plan… hotel, airline, restaurant ADRs, special events, tickets and park choices. Onsite transportation is still up in the air, but Magical Express is likely. Some attractions and visits are on the tentative schedule, more choices and planning is necessary to be sure our goals are met.

Pop Century Resort

In Part I we were reviewing our funding, the hotel, and the appearance of “free dining” that changed some of our plans… and budget. Part II emphasized our discussion on food options and ADRs. This week, Part III, we’ll confirm some choices with background information but also include our current working copy of the planning spreadsheet.

So let’s take it from where we were two week ago.

We finally booked Jet Blue, but that was after missing one opportunity to save about $30 and arrive an hour and half earlier in the morning. If you recall, we were watching for the Tuesday pricing, since that’s a good day to book airfare, and we were leaving on a Wednesday, which is a great day to leave for low prices. If I had booked when my gut (and wife) told me to, I would have saved the $30 and gotten into Orlando at 11 am. But I waited, and three weeks later I was finally able to book the trip at a more reasonable price, but now I’m getting to Orlando at early afternoon with a two-hour layover and paying more.
It’s possible if I wait until closer to October, the seats might get back to the original price or lower, but I could also lose the flight times I want, get split seats or the back of the plane. I checked the number of seats that had been booked already, and I thought that I probably shouldn’t wait. But coming in a little later changed our lunch plan and could affect our Characters in Flight option. But we’re booked, leaving early the morning with one stop, but coming back on a direct evening flight. We wanted to come back later to get the most out of our last day.

Sometimes Persistence Works
You might recall the Food and Wine Festival is the primary reason for our trip, so I did want to attend a low-cost special event. The one that looked the best was the 3D Disney Dessert Discovery. It was $45 a person, but when we called 20 minutes after the phone lines opened (the only day it was held during our trip) it was sold out.
But, I’ve always tried to keep calling every few days for something I wanted to book, like a special event or a restaurant (but that’s never worked in the past). However, IT DID WORK this time. After about 10 days, I called one evening and there were openings and we booked it. Maybe someone dropped out, but that is rare for a hard ticket pay-in-advance event; maybe Disney lifted the cap on numbers. I didn’t care; we had tickets for the new 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery for “a variety of desserts and samplings of cordials certain to please any sweet tooth” and V.I.P. viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Restaurant Options
We were set on restaurant choices for the ADRs and had a list of preferred counter service meals. Food & Wine would absorb all of our Snacks for the walk around the International Marketplace. We booked ‘Ohana for dinner one night, it will be our first time there. We booked Sanaa for lunch on one day, since our last visit was really nice and there are menu items left to try. Flying Fish was added as a signature restaurant (at two table credits each), but it was also new to us and everything we’ve ever heard about it draws us to try it out. Anyway, we’re planning two daytime visits to the Marketplace (there are 27 nations to sample), so a two-credit meal fits into the schedule really well.
The menu choices from Flying Fish were attractive. Mary Ann has already picked out three entrees she would love to try. I’ve been perusing the Artisanal Cheese tasting platters and the desserts. Here are the menus from the Disney Web site: Dinner, Cheese, Wine, Drinks, and Dessert.

Flying Fish (c) Disney

Then Came a Change
Our last meal was planned for Nine Dragons, near the end of our trip. We enjoyed this stop the last time at the end of our visit and thought, maybe a new tradition? But for the last few weeks all I’ve been reading about is Via Napoli. It’s almost open, it’s going to open, it’s open, and it’s taking reservations. Oh well, tradition aside, we booked Via Napoli on the web site just after the start time.

Photos Above: Via Napoli Front, Pizza Ovens and Counter (c) Disney

It really does look interesting. I’m a little wary of pizza at Disney World, since this has never been our first (or second, or third) choice. But the host company (Patina Group) appears to have the experience and menu to make real pizza (they have NYC locations, so I felt much better).

Here is some of the research we did to come to this choice:

Here is the Jack Spence, AllEars.Net Video of Via Napoli

Disney Transportation
We have made a preliminary decision to use Magical Express from and to the airport. So far this works pretty well in our plans, and we’ll either rent a car onsite or at a Downtown Disney hotel for the middle days, do Disney transportation or use a Cab when time is an issue. This may change as we get closer and the pricing of car rentals become clear (and hopefully much lower).

Planning Spreadsheet
So we now have a pretty good structure to our planning spreadsheet, and starting to add a few specific visits in and outside the parts that will help build my photo collection (and more). For example (of the more) we would like to go back to Port Orleans French Quarter for the Beignets and maybe take a Sea Raycer up the Sassagoula River. We know we want to attend Wishes and Fantasmic, a few other resorts, and maybe take a walk along the Boardwalk, go to Downtown Disney and even enjoy Ye Ha Bob at POR.

More to Decide
We do have more to decide, but nothing that has to be done right away. We’ll do some reading, review our notes and past experiences and make a list of “must-do attractions” while at the parks. Actually, in preparation for that I bought a subscription to TouringPlans.Com (crowd calendar, touring plans, and lines). It’s only $10.95 for the year, but I have a copy of The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2010 (Unofficial Guides), so I get this for half price. Closer to our trip, I’ll print the list of attractions at each of the parks that will be on our checklist, and review the touring plans. Considering the time of the year, crowds are not that much of an issue, but specific parks on specific days can affect our choices.

A World View is now on Twitter (; and facebook ( to provide comments and feedback on stories. Check out the right side column on A World View for a wealth of links. Then, don't forget Disney Contests and Sweepstakes ( where you might win a free trip to WDW; and the Disney Bloggers Collection – New Every HOUR! ( where current posts of at least 205 Disney-related fan blogs are located.

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Bruce Brodsky ()
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