Thursday, September 29, 2016

Throwback Thursday : Our First Trip to Walt Disney World, Part 3

By Nick

Part 1 can be found here and part 2 here.

Tuesday 9/19/2006  

A beautiful morning at Coronado Springs, which is just a great resort to relax at, and enjoy a walk around the lake, especially in the AM.

Off to Epcot where we enjoyed Future World, spending a lot of time at the Seas with Nemo and Friends before heading to a terrific lunch at Le Cellier.

This was in the days when the Disney Dining plan included an appetizer, entree, and dessert. As an extra bonus, we were able to get chocolate milkshakes as our beverage! I don't believe these are on the menu any longer.

We went to the Magic Kingdom, arriving just as it started to rain, which really cut the already low crowd levels down to almost zero!

After a few rides, including the one and only time I will ever get on the Tea Cups, we headed back to Epcot for dinner at Marrakesh.

Wednesday 9/20/06

Late morning at Downtown Disney, which is now Disney Springs, with lunch at Wolfgang Pucks.

We spent the rest of the day at the Animal Kingdom.

Lilo and Stitch were there!

And this was the one and only trip I rode Kali River Rapids. I got drenched. 

It's also the only trip where I rode Primeval Whirl...

... and Expedition Everest at night.

Thursday 9/21/06

Last day of our first trip and we headed to the Magic Kingdom.

Barbie trounced me but good on Buzz.

It was a magical trip and I was so sad to say goodbye. 

This visit hooked my wife on WDW, and we have been back 20+ since then, buying into DVC less than a year later, and we hope to move there upon retirement!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Disney Dairy - 093 The Disney Exchange

The Disney Exchange is Lisa, Dave and me, Nick!

Podcast: Play in new window | Download 

 Me and Barbie

We start off with shout outs and thank yous to our wonderful fans. All 98 of you! You DO have a listener number right? If you do, you are automatically entered in our 100th Episode Giveaway, which includes fabulous free stuff!

If you don't have one yet, all you need do is ask for one via our Facebook page, Twitter, or email. Links can be found below. Now on with the show!

As you have perhaps gathered from the title this episode is about Ice Cream at Walt Disney World. And cheese. Why cheese? Because Lisa does not have much of a sweet tooth, so she shares her favorite places to get cheese plates.

 Waffle Bowl Sundae and ice cream sandwich 
at The Plaza in the Magic Kingdom

Kitchen Sink and Banana Split at Beaches and Cream

In addition to Dave and my favorite places for ice cream, we share responses that we received from listeners and friends (which should NOT be mutually exclusive, yet are) as well! Thank you for all the feedback!

The Wheel of Distiny topic : Favorite place to watch a sunset at Walt Disney World.

If you have a show suggestion or Wheel of Distiny topic, or want to get a listener number : please let us know on Facebook:, Twitter:  or email us at: info@thedisneyexchange  

Thanks for listening to The Disney Exchange Podcast!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Best 1-Credit Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World

By Lisa Green  
Once again, in the interest of full disclosure – I’m not a picky eater.  This is, you know, my blog and thus, my opinion.  I get asked a lot about the Disney Dining Plan in general and table service restaurants in particular.  Disney Dining Plans can be a great value (even if you pay for them and don’t get the free dining promotion), but to maximize your investment, you kind of need to choose wisely (if you care about such things).  There are some terrific web sites and blog posts that work out the details on where you can actually get the best value (Here’s a highly detailed great article from 2014) .  I’m not really into that per se.  I’m more about the overall dining experience versus straight up where-is-the-most-expensive-place-I-can-eat-for-one-table-service-credit.

Bearing in mind that these choices are based on my own family’s experiences – unless otherwise noted, we’ve actually eaten in every restaurant listed.  To make the list, we had to like the food, the selection, the service, and the ambiance as a whole.  Oh, and we’d have to want to eat there again.  So, if we’re all on the same page (HA!) here we go!

Disney World Dining – Best 1-Credit Table Service Restaurants
Exterior Rooftops / Animal Kingdom Lodge 

Boma Dinner Buffet (Animal Kingdom Lodge) – Boma’s also available for breakfast, but we haven’t tried anything but dinner.  We’ve eaten here several times because the variety of foods on this amazing buffet is simply unbeatable.  Soups, salads, breads, meats, stews, casseroles, kid-friendly fare, unique desserts – it’s all available at Boma.  As an added bonus, arrive early or stay late and enjoy the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s gorgeous lobby and savannah overlook for animal-spotting, entertainment, and educational opportunities. (More about Animal Kingdom Lodge for an evening out here.)


Sanaa Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village Section) – We recently ate at Sanaa for the first time and thought the atmosphere, service, and food were all excellent.  A bit more adult-oriented than Boma (our opinion), we adored the bread service starter and felt perfectly comfortable lingering over a leisurely dinner.  Romantic? Yes!

Olivia's at Disney's Old Key West 

Olivia’s Café (Old Key West Resort) – We discovered this unique restaurant mostly by accident.  We were staying at Old Key West, but honestly had no intention of eating there!  At the very end of our vacation, we found ourselves starving at supper-time with no ADR (Advance Dining Reservation) booked.  Olivia’s welcomed us with open arms.  Great service, broad selection (for all tastes and appetites), and cozy, welcoming atmosphere – Olivia’s won us over!  (Full review here.)

‘Ohana Dinner (Polynesian Village Resort) – This place has wide appeal for the entire family.  All you care to eat, great setting, tasty Brazilian-barbeque-style dinner, decent service – you won’t leave hungry!  If you’re tempted to give this place a try, you must book your ADR 180 days out.  You snooze, you lose…if you want to eat at this uber-popular restaurant.


Be Our Guest Dinner (Magic Kingdom) – Out of pocket, I thought this was an expensive dinner (review here), but for one table-service credit?  Absolutely I’d book an ADR at Be Our Guest.  It’s gorgeous, the service is great, and the food is fine.  Best, most gorgeous dining room(s) in Magic Kingdom.  Let’s put it like this – if you must book a table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, make it Be Our Guest where, no matter your opinion on the food or atmosphere, you can at least enjoy an adult beverage with your meal if you like. (Full review here.)


Rose & Crown Restaurant (UK Pavilion, Epcot) – We loved this place.  When we ate there (once so far), we were outside on a lovely evening with a great water view.  The service and food were both great.  We love the UK pavilion – enjoying dinner there is just one more great way to immerse ourselves in its awesomeness.

50’s Prime Time Café (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – This place is so cool!  The “props”, the atmosphere, the humorous servers, the comfort-food-based menu – it all adds up to a fun place for the whole family.  A good experience and value for one table-service credit.  I’m a notorious anti-fan of the Studio’s restaurants in general, but this place is a winner in my book.

Character Dining:

 Meeting Minnie at Chef Mickey's 

Chef Mickey’s (Breakfast or Dinner Buffet / Contemporary Resort) – For years (and years!) we ate at Chef Mickey’s on every single Disney World visit.  First for dinner, then when the kids were older, for breakfast.  We’d eat there again – and probably will next time we’re all together on vacation.  The Fab Five and a decent buffet – especially during the summer, this combination at an indoor venue, for a meal, just a monorail stop from Magic Kingdom is a pretty good deal!  (Review here.)

1900 Park Fare / Drizella and Anastasia 

1900 Park Fare Dinner (Buffet / Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) – We loved meeting Cinderella and her Prince, but Lady Tremaine and the Step Sisters steal the show.  What this restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for in character-meeting experiences and a good variety of tasty food.  We saw families of all ages there and our family of four adults had a great time! (Check out all the details here.)

Honorable Mentions:  Places we haven’t tried, but are on our to-try list because we’ve heard great things:
  • Kona Café (Polynesian Village Resort)
  • Whispering Canyon Café (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Cape May Café Dinner (Buffet)
  • Tusker House Dinner (Buffet)
Your turn!  Which table service restaurants would you recommend?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Please be sure to check out Lisa along with me and David Hodges on The Disney Exchange Podcast!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday : Our First Trip to Walt Disney World, Part 2

By Nick

Sun 9/17 2006

We were up early and took a walk around the beautiful lake at Coronado Springs before getting to Animal Kingdom for rope drop.

They had a wonderful opening show with the fab 5 at the time.

Lunch was at Tusker House, back when it was a counter service restaurant.

This was our first time at the AK, and we spent a good portion of the day there before heading to the Magic Kingdom.

After riding a few rides, we hopped the monorail to the Polynesian for dinner at O’hana.

Before the very tragic accident in 2009, guests were allowed to ride in the front.

Following a delicious dinner, we went back for a few more rides at the MK before calling it a night.

Mon 9/18

Rope drop at Epcot, and another opening show that is a distant memory.

Over to Mission Space, where my wife rode the green and I rode orange. Even the non spinning side made me ill, while the green side threw her hip out! Someone that was on with her was out in front of the ride visibly ill! Never again for either of us!

We took a boat over to MGM (yes, Disney's Hollywood Studios was still Disney MGM Studios in 2006) for dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby, which until this day is my favorite restaurant in WDW.

Part 1 can be found here. Please stop back next Thursday for part 3.