Anthony chatted with Shannon about his January 2021 trip with friends to Walt Disney World and shared details about all of the food he ate along the way.
These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
Anthony went to Disney World with some friends in January 2021. He visited Sunday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 24.
Anthony said he and his friends had slightly different schedules, but planned to meet up at different points throughout their visit.
He flew in and out of Connecticut. Upon his return home, he had to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.
Anthony also said he planned on renting a car, because he finds it super convenient and said it was also the safest option during that particular time of travel.
Anthony used his Disney Vacation Club points and booked a triple stay at the following: Grand Floridian on January 17, a cabin at Wilderness Lodge’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins from Jan. 18-20, and the Beach Club for the remainder of his visit (21-24).
Since 2018, Anthony said he was also in the process of trying to eat at every single sit-down restaurant on Disney property.
Before getting to Disney World, he booked the following dining reservations:
- January 17: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom and Garden Grill at Epcot
- January 18: Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort for dinner
- January 19: Chef Mickey’s for breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- January 20: Breakfast at Wilderness Lodge’s Whispering Canyon Café and Animal Kingdom’s Nomad Lounge (reservations aren’t accepted here)
- January 21: Breakfast at Yacht Club’s Ale & Compass, Beach Club’s Beaches & Cream for the Kitchen Sink, and late-night dinner at Kidani Village’s Sanaa
After his trip, Antony told Shannon he encountered a lot of changes to his plans, including with his resort and dining reservations, but said it’s important to be able to pivot and handle changes when it comes to a Disney trip, especially when during an ongoing pandemic.
Arrival Day (January 17)
Anthony flew Jet Blue to Orlando. He said he prefers to buy Basic Economy and then pays extra (he’s never paid more than $55) for an extra space row. He said you can also see if anyone will be in your row this way.
After he landed, Anthony changed his park reservation from Magic Kingdom to Epcot to meet a friend. He said he and a friend ordered everything at almost every booth during Festival of the Arts, except for a couple.
Anthony said he learned if you just tell the Cast Member working at the booths you want a “Full House,” it means one of every single food item on the menu. He tried it at two booths and it worked.
Anthony said he really enjoys the festival, especially because it provides a unique experience it each time. Epcot has also become a favorite park because of this.
This was Anthony’s first trip back as a DVC member and hey also got to hang out in the DVC Member Lounge in the Imagination! Pavilion.
Due to a change of plans with friends, Anthony did not check into the Grand Floridian or staying in a cabin at Copper Creek. Instead, he and two other guests downgraded to a two bedroom at Copper Creek. He said he was sad about it, but it didn’t make sense in the long run.
Anthony’s Copper Creek room ended up being in the main Wilderness Lodge building on a higher floor, but he had a view of the roof, which wasn’t the greatest. The room overlooked the main lobby.
He said the room was gorgeous. There were two Queen beds in one room, two sinks in the bathroom, a walk-in rainforest shower, and a huge walk-in closet.
There was also a main sitting room, a full kitchen, a sink and toilet in one room, a walk-in shower in another space, another room with a tub and a sink, and then another bedroom with a King bed. The two-bedroom also included laundry amenities.
They went to Garden Grill at Epcot for dinner, which Anthony liked. The restaurant rotates, but Anthony said it was down for maintenance and they were lucky enough to have a good view of Living With the Land.
They loved the character meal. Anthony called it “fantastic.”
Keep in mind that if you’re not a DVC Member, there is a way to rent points.
Epcot (January 18)
Anthony and his five friends enjoyed the Festival of the Arts again and ate at a lot of the booths. The ordered two of everything and shared dishes.
They ended up not doing Topolino’s Terrace and spent most of their day exploring the festival and booths.
Chef Mickey’s & Magic Kingdom (January 19)
They started the day at Chef Mickey’s for breakfast at the Contemporary and Anthony loved it, especially since it wasn’t a buffet and family-style instead.
Overall, the food was good and he said the character interactions were “super cute.”
After breakfast, they went to Magic Kingdom. Anthony was with guests who don’t visit that often, so they tried to tackle everything they could, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarf Mine Train, Space Mountain, and more in the span of four or five hours.
Shannon recommended if you’re traveling with friends, ask them their style of trip. Do they sleep in? Do they like to rope drop? This way, you can get on the same page when touring the parks.
They went to Sleepy Hollow and got a corn dog and got some Dole Whip floats using Mobile Order.
Anthony suggested Mobile Ordering early before a time slot gets taken. You don’t have to Mobile Order at exact meal and snack times.
They went back to their resorts to relax and rest. This was partly a work trip, so Anthony did some work. Later on, they ate dinner at Geyser Point at Wilderness Lodge.
They also were able to watch the Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon, which was nice since nighttime entertainment was still suspended.
Animal Kingdom (January 20)
Originally, they were supposed to check out of Copper Creek and head to Beach Club, but they chose to stay one more night.
Before heading to Animal Kingdom, they had breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café. Anthony knew this Table Service spot is unique thanks to the servers, but he was surprised by how “rowdy” they were.
The skillets are all-you-can-eat and Anthony suggested trying different skillets so you have more choices.
When they were done with breakfast, they went to Animal Kingdom. They rode Flight of Passage three times in a row.
After they went to Nomad Lounge. Anthony got the bread service and a Roy Rogers, which was good. Anthony said the bread service was a pared-down version of Sanaa’s bread service.
They also watched the flotillas go by (this is a good spot to see character cavalcades) while eating. They were able to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest and finish the park by 3 p.m.
Later that day, they went to Disney Springs and snagged a last-minute reservation at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. Anthony and his friends were also able to enjoy Gideon’s Bakehouse thanks to the virtual queue starting later than normal.
Anthony loved the fried chicken and biscuits at Homecomin’, but especially the biscuits. After, he ordered three pounds of cookies and two pieces of cake at Gideon’s. He didn’t even finish the cookies by the end of the trip.
Hollywood Studios (January 21)
This day, they switched over to the Beach Club and went to Hollywood Studios. They used Bell Services to move their belongings.
In the morning, they were also able to snag Rise of the Resistance boarding group 44. Their group was called around 1:24 p.m.
For those trying to figure out when their boarding group will be called, Shannon it’s usually an average of 12 boarding groups per hour.
At 8 a.m., they called a Lyft and were inside the park by 8:20 a.m. They rode Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster twice, and Tower of Terror all before 9:15 a.m.
After lunch, they rode Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run after waiting 35 minutes. Not long after, their boarding group was called for Rise of the Resistance.
Anthony then snacked on churros and a Mickey Pretzel, the latter for the first time.
Later on, they all went back to their hotels and then split up for dinner. Anthony and his friends ate at Raglan Road in Disney Springs. Anthony “loved” it here.
When moving to Beach Club, they had to move rooms because there painters on their balcony and they had to cut through their room to enter and exit. Unfortunately, they were moved from a room that had a beautiful view of the pool to one of the road.
Non-Park Day (January 22 & 23)
Anthony had to work these two days, but he was able to eat at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop one day. Anthony said it was a “surprise hit” for him and the service was great.
Anthony also ate at the Ale & Compass Lounge, which he said was “really good.” He also recommend the Parker House rolls.
Final Day (January 24)
Anthony ended the trip by eating his “traditional” breakfast at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. He got the Tonga Toast, which he said was “delicious.”
Right after, he went straight to the airport because he needed a rapid COVID-19 test at Orlando International Report. He had to book an appointment online for a guaranteed time. It cost $65.
Anthony didn’t end up renting a car, but used both Uber and Lyft. He now prefers the latter.
- January is a great time to visit, specifically due to the nice and cooler weather
- Non-Disney Vacation Club Members can rent DVC points
- Chef Mickey’s breakfast is a great option for breakfast and way to start the day
- If traveling with a group you don’t normally go with, make plans and get on the same page when it comes to touring the parks
- Mobile Order ahead of time, especially if it’s busy (you don’t have to Mobile Order at exact meal times)
- Keep in mind that Whispering Canyon Café is a unique dining experience with boisterous servers
- Nomad Lounge is a good place to see the Animal Kingdom character cavalcades
- You can get a rapid COVID-19 tested at Orlando International Airport
- If you want to help and support furloughed and other impacted Cast Members, there is the Ear for Each Other Facebook group
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