Christmas in Disney - 2019 - 2 weeks, no dining plan

roxysmum123

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Welcome welcome! I have much good food to show you :love:

I'm terrible at writing intros - so I'll just give the nitty gritty details:
We had a 2 week trip to WDW for Christmas, the week before and the week of the holiday. The crowds were beyond bananas, it was way worse than when we went in 2017 for a similar time period. Thankfully, we were mentally prepared for it and took it in stride. Just 2 adults, I have an Annual Pass and my husband got a 10 day ticket. We also had a ticket for the Christmas party. We did not do the dining plan, it never makes sense for us. I have Tables in Wonderland, and paying out of pocket always works out in our favour. We ordered whatever we wanted, and didn't miss out on anything by doing this.

At the end, I'll do a breakdown of our costs, as well as the cost of 'free' dining and if we would have benefitted from it at all or not.


Anyway, you care about the food more than my stories, so here goes.

First meal was at Homecomin' - Brunch is SO good here, we've done it once before and will book it again for sure. He started with the:
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I'm not a devilled eggs fan, so he asked if he could just get 2 (a standard order is 6) and they happily obliged. We were charged 4$ for the smaller order, so bank on 2$/egg if you ask for a smaller order yourself

For his main, he had:
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He really liked this, and about a week after coming home he tried to make chorizo hash. It did not go well lol. But I know he'll order this again next time we're here for brunch!

I had the:
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This was very very good, I had forgotten it had fried chicken on it so that was a very great surprise (I should pay attention to menus less often, haha). Looking at it now, I'm sad there's nothing comparable closer to home - it was a great breakfast!

A great meal to start our trip. With Tables in Wonderland, we saved $11.60.
 


Candycane83

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
I’m following! Planning to go Dec 22-28 this year with no dining plan with my DH and DS! :) wanna know how crazy it is! We were at Universal last year from 20-26 and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be
 
  • roxysmum123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2011
    A great start! Looking forward to more.
    Thank you!

    I’m following! Planning to go Dec 22-28 this year with no dining plan with my DH and DS! :) wanna know how crazy it is! We were at Universal last year from 20-26 and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be
    Thanks for following! Hopefully you find some good ideas in here - it's a fun time of year to be there for sure
     

    roxysmum123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2011
    Dinner on that day, we planned in Magic Kingdom. Since we had Christmas Party tickets for that day, we planned on going to the park at 4 and not using a park ticket. We were able to get in early, and do 3 fastpasses and dinner before we went to go line up for the Seven Dwarves photo op. We decided to try to do as many new spots as we could this trip, and this was our first one: Liberty Tree Tavern!

    I've done this for lunch a couple of times, but never dinner. It was a decent meal and we would go back.

    We started off with rolls and Declaration Salad. The rolls were great - I ate most of them before our mains came out - I'm a bread fiend. The salad was very good, we googled the dressing recipe while we were waiting for our mains - we still haven't made it but likely will one day.




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    For the mains, since there was only 2 of us it didn't come out as usual with a ton of platters on the table. We each got our own plate with all of the items on it, and could get refills of anything we needed if we requested. Obviously, it was a lot of food to begin with so we didn't need refills but they don't make you go refill-less if you get served this way. Also, this way of serving a small party was a blessing because the table we were sat at was very small.
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    I barely touched the stuffing, so can't comment on it, but the meat options were good. The Turkey was the weakest of the three, if I recall correctly I enjoyed the pot roast the best.

    Dessert was the famous Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake
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    I know I'm in the minority here, but I found myself really underwhelmed by it. I don't know what I was expecting, it was good but not life-changing good. As far as the 'all you care to eat platter' style meals at WDW, I think the cobbler at Garden Grill is much nicer.

    We had an enjoyable meal here. I think my only complaint was that the service felt inattentive? I looked around at larger parties (sometimes when you're a small table you get ignored, I get it) but they all seemed to have an absence of service as well. My husband had to send his plate back and it took a little longer than you'd expect for someone to come and check in on how things were going for him to be able to do that.

    Up tomorrow, breakfast on Batuu after a VERY early wake-up call for Rise of the Resistance, and Animal Kingdom quick service dinner.

    Total saved this meal with Tables in Wonderland - $15.60, total saved today - $27.20
     

    Attachments

    bizeemom4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2004
    This is a good review. Don't apologize for not writing out a comprehensive introduction. The quick and dirty approach is so refreshing! I don't really care to read a three post back story and see the family photos - I'm just here for the food pics! :-) Keep it coming!
     

    Candycane83

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2012
    Dinner on that day, we planned in Magic Kingdom. Since we had Christmas Party tickets for that day, we planned on going to the park at 4 and not using a park ticket. We were able to get in early, and do 3 fastpasses and dinner before we went to go line up for the Seven Dwarves photo op. We decided to try to do as many new spots as we could this trip, and this was our first one: Liberty Tree Tavern!

    I've done this for lunch a couple of times, but never dinner. It was a decent meal and we would go back.

    We started off with rolls and Declaration Salad. The rolls were great - I ate most of them before our mains came out - I'm a bread fiend. The salad was very good, we googled the dressing recipe while we were waiting for our mains - we still haven't made it but likely will one day.




    View attachment 466023

    For the mains, since there was only 2 of us it didn't come out as usual with a ton of platters on the table. We each got our own plate with all of the items on it, and could get refills of anything we needed if we requested. Obviously, it was a lot of food to begin with so we didn't need refills but they don't make you go refill-less if you get served this way. Also, this way of serving a small party was a blessing because the table we were sat at was very small.
    View attachment 466025
    View attachment 466026

    I barely touched the stuffing, so can't comment on it, but the meat options were good. The Turkey was the weakest of the three, if I recall correctly I enjoyed the pot roast the best.

    Dessert was the famous Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake
    View attachment 466027

    I know I'm in the minority here, but I found myself really underwhelmed by it. I don't know what I was expecting, it was good but not life-changing good. As far as the 'all you care to eat platter' style meals at WDW, I think the cobbler at Garden Grill is much nicer.

    We had an enjoyable meal here. I think my only complaint was that the service felt inattentive? I looked around at larger parties (sometimes when you're a small table you get ignored, I get it) but they all seemed to have an absence of service as well. My husband had to send his plate back and it took a little longer than you'd expect for someone to come and check in on how things were going for him to be able to do that.

    Up tomorrow, breakfast on Batuu after a VERY early wake-up call for Rise of the Resistance, and Animal Kingdom quick service dinner.

    Total saved this meal with Tables in Wonderland - $15.60, total saved today - $27.20
    Great review and spot on! Had the same thoughts mostly when we attended the Christmas party too this year. Not sure if we were there at the same time! We went on 22nd (as my Disney fix since we were in Universal) It was ok, prefer the lunch when it’s not too much food!
     
  • DLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2006
    Following along. Looking forward to reading more. Great start. I love Homecomin brunch !
     

    roxysmum123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2011
    Today was our Rise of the Resistance attempt. We didn't book any dining because we weren't sure how things would go over in HS - so it was a QS dining day! I LOVE QS dining days once in a while, my gut thanks me for it lol.

    To attempt RotR, we set our alarms for 430am and had called for a Minnie Van right at 5am. We usually just use regular Lyft but we figured for the RotR madness we needed an extra bit of luck on our side. Our driver was great, and even took us through a back way and dropped us off right at the back of a very long line. This was about 3 days before they changed the process....when we were there, the process was come, get in line, wait.....wait....wait....we're moving!...no we're not....wait....and then sometime before actual park opening you were let in through the tapstiles and immediately on getting through the entry you could get into a boarding group. I believe it was a 7 or 730am opening time, and we started to get in about 45mins-an hour prior to that? Anyway, this was the line infront of us at 5:30am:

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    Our game plan was to get in, get boarding group, then go to Toy Story Land. Which is what we did. Got in, got boarding group 18, and then walked right on to Slinky Dog, then Swirling Saucers, and then finally Midway Mania. The three top rides in the park (or at least former top rides, lol) done within 30 mins. Was this whole process madness, YES, but I must say I far prefer it to what they're currently doing where it's more like an early morning lottery. I'd hate to get there for park opening, early even, and not get a boarding group because everyones trying to get one at the same flippin time.

    But you're not here for my opinions on rides and queues (however...yes, the ride is as amazing as people say), you're here for the food.

    For breakfast, we made our way over to Batuu. We went to Docking Bay 7 and both got:
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    There aren't a ton of options on the breakfast menu, one of which is overnight oats. I'm not a fan so I got the breakfast platter. It was actually pretty good. The egg bite was kinda like the sous vide egg bites that you can get at Starbucks, and the pork sausage was very good and had a great spice to it. I imagine this is what they have in the Ronto Wraps (which sadly we didn't get this trip), and if that's the case I'm guessing they're fantastic.470039


    A little later, he wanted to try the different "milks".
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    The Blue and Green Milk. I found these both really nasty. I didn't like the flavour or the texture/mouth feel. If you're a fan, you can have my share for a lifetime.

    Eventually, we made our way over to Animal Kingdom. I think we had fastpasses there? When the clock struck dinner time, we knew we'd end up at Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe. We've had many a trips where we've gotten late night Chinese food from here, and walking through an almost empty park with our sesame chicken and rice is some of our fave memories from some trips. We actually ate at a sensible time this time around, and sat at the tables there. There's a lot of seating here, and the food was very good!

    He got:
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    I stole a piece of chicken, and it was great as always. Big pieces of chicken, and not over breaded or over fried.

    I got

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    I would get this again for sure. I love snap peas, and the flavour was good. It hit the spot for sure.

    The last thing for today, was a cupcake I picked up from the Starbucks near Africa. Behold this adorable cupcake!


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    It's beauty is entirely skin deep. This was a gingerbread cupcake with a cream cheese frosting. It was very very disappointing. The frosting was more like a block of cream cheese, so it was just unenjoyable. I think I only made it through a third of this, and a couple days later I finally gave up and threw it out.

    Obviously no savings with TIW today, but a great day of eating and easy on the wallet today too :)
     

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  • tweetylori

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2004
    Loving your review and pics! Funny that I was wishing we had gone to Dockside instead of Ronto Wraps.
     

    roxysmum123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2011
    I'm going to try and do a double dip post today and post two days back to back....lets see if I can get it done before the real world catches up with me lol.

    Today was a double-hit of new dining spots for us. Or technically a triple hit, since we were at MK and feeling peckish! We knew we had lunch coming up at the Grand Floridian Cafe so we finally went and tried the Spring Rolls from the cart! We split this, and tried the pepperoni spring roll and the cheeseburger spring roll. We agreed that the Cheeseburger was the proper winner. These are also quite greasy so if you've got a sensitive gut, these might be a "skip" for you.
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    Eventually, we made our way over to the Grand Floridan Cafe for our lunch. The place was a total zoo. I was hoping for "hidden gem" status on this one, but it's not. It's a total gem, but nothing hidden about it. The dining area was very noisy due to the amount of people and we waited almost 30mins past our reservation time to be seated (the longest we've had to wait in many Disney trips). Our server was very kind and friendly, but somewhat inattentive. I don't blame her, we're a table of 2 and she had very needy larger tables, so she was spread thin. I'll come back here for sure, just try to book less "peak" type times.

    For lunch, he had:
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    He loved this, and wants to go back for it a.s.a.p..

    I had:
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    I swapped out the chips for a cesar salad. This was a great call, since the salad they brought me was a good size and very tasty. I also like that it got its own plate, especially considering how messy a Reuben can be. Looking at my bill, there was no upcharge for the salad swap, so I'd say this was a steal for $16.00.
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    Total saved with Tables in Wonderland - $6.20



    For dinner, we had our third new dining pick of the day, Tutto Italia. I was apprehensive to try this, as there are fairly inconsistent reviews. When we got there, at prime dinner time, the place was darn near empty. While it's nice to be seated immediately, it makes me suspicious about what my experience is about to be like. The food was good, my assumption is their shaky reviews and proximity to Via Napoli hits the interest level for them. We had a pleasant dining experience though, and enjoyed our meals.

    As a bread service we were brought these "fresh Italian rolls".....there's nothing fresh about these, they're hard as rocks. Do yourself a favour and tell them you don't want/need any bread before they even bring it.
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    The olives were ok though. But I can make a meal out of olives so I'm biased.


    For my main, I had:
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    It was actually very good. The sauce was a little thin for my personal taste, as you can kinda see from the Tortellinis on the right side that look almost bare, but the pasta was very good and the proper thickness for my taste. I would go back here to order this again, however if given the choice I would go to Trattoria Al Forno instead.

    For his meal, he got the Chicken Parmesan which is not listed in the menu online but is on a "daily special" card at your seat which I'm sure is a 365 days a year "daily special". This came home with us. It was HUGE, and very good. Tasted great as a leftover too - cost on this was $33.00
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    I also got dessert here, which was the Mocha Tiramisu for $10.00
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    This was very good, I think I ate most of it. It's a pretty standard Tiramisu, so if that's up your alley be sure to order it.

    Total saved with Tables in Wonderland - $16.45

    All in all, a good food day for us :).

    Total Saved with Tables in Wonderland today - $22.65
     

    roxysmum123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2011
    Lunch today, we were planning on just getting some Hollywood Studios quick service....but for some reason we just weren't feeling it. We decided to try our luck as a walk-in at Mama Melrose and to our surprise they actually have that front bar area reserved for walk-ins. Eat here at your own risk - everyone waiting around for their tables will hover around you while you're trying to eat, steal your chair when you get up to use the restroom, and generally just disrespect your personal space. It takes a lot to bother me, but my husband was getting rather irritable by the end of it. However, we had a great lunch so he's not complaining.

    We each ordered a flatbread - I had the mushroom and he had the margarita
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    These are made fresh, we watched the chef make them while we sat there, and are absolutely delicious. They're a great size for one if you're making a meal out of it - if you have a lighter appetite you may even have a slice left over.

    These are $15.00 each. This is almost the same price as if we were to have gone to a QS spot - it only would have saved us a couple dollars. Not worth the savings when you can get something as fresh as this!

    I had to get dessert, so I got:
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    It was not a "Tort" as I was expecting, but it was very very good. I'd go back just for this - but I don't need to since everything at Mama Melrose is consistently great in my experience

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    Saved with Tables in Wonderland - $9.22


    Dinner, we eventually made it over to one of our favourites - Trails End. If you want Hoop De Do, but you can't snag a reservation or stomach the cost, Trails End is where you need to go. They share a kitchen, you can get the same food and so much more here. Consistently good service, always hot and plentiful food, it's the Disney Deal of the Century at $37.00. I don't take pictures of plates at Buffets, I believe that to be dirty food porn, but I did snag some photos of the set up for you guys - hopefully it answers some questions you may have of what they have here....
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    Total saved this meal with Tables in Wonderland - $14.80

    Total saved today with Tables in Wonderland - $24.02
     

    hereforthechurros

    Here for the spring rolls too
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2017
    Does the Trails End buffet have mashed potatoes?

    Dirty food porn made me laugh. Totally get the difference between that and sexy plated food pics!
     

    acndis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2012
    I love your reviews! Keep 'em coming. We were there at the same time and it was really crowded!
     

    Harambe

    I miss Tapestry of Dreams!
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2003
    Love your reviews, along with your touring tidbits! Keep it up!
     





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