The last time that we traveled to Walt Disney World, (as Ashley correctly calls as opposed to the usual "Disney World"), it was back in September of 2001. In fact, we flew back from Orlando, Florida on September 10th, one day before 9/11. Whether it is because of the tragedy of that day and the aftermath or whether it is simply because I am getting old(er) - I do not remember much of that trip other than to know that we definitely wanted to go back.
Then, June of this year happened. Disney decided to run a great promotion for September on the Disney Dining plan, similar to what they are running now. Basically, when you buy a package for a pre-determined date range, you eat free - for the most part. In addition there were some room discounts. While we had not planned on this particular vacation given that we had just come back from vacations to Germany and New York, we thought it was a cannot miss opportunity. So, we booked the trip through AAA Travel - they throw in a couple of extra goodies - and invited my parents to join us.
While some of you may think that we were ready to go, the work was just beginning for Ashley. Armed with a spreadsheet that few can rival, Ashley put together a detailed agenda that include parks, events, and meals - including reservations for the entire trip. (If you're interested in the Excel Spreadsheet, just email me a leave a comment on this post) The meals were carefully selected based on ratings from both Internet and book sources including the one we found to be the most helpful, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2007. Then Disney Dining was called to make the reservations - the one reservation that is highly recommended but we were not able to get is the Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada. We have been a couple of times and it is worth it, if you can get in. In most cases, reservations for this restaurant fill up right at 180 days - so you need to plan ahead if you want to eat there!
Update: The spreadsheet is now available online! It includes trip planner, park guide, restaurant guide, and budget. If you try them out, please come back and leave a comment to let us know how it worked for you.
- Walt Disney World planning sheet - Google Docs & Spreadsheets
- Walt Disney World planning sheet - Microsoft Excel
- Walt Disney World planning sheet - CSV (Comma Separated Values)
- Walt Disney World planning sheet - Adobe PDF
Read the rest of our trip log for all the details: