Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Disney: Extra Entertainment

It's bittersweet.

I'm almost done with all my Disney recaps.  Kind of sounds like time to start planning a new Disney trip, huh?

Ha!  I wish!

Ah, well, a girl can dream.

Today Disney topic?  Extra entertainment you can choose when you vacation at the "world". 
If there is one thing Disney does best, it's entertain you.  And trust me, you will be fully entertained if all you do is tour the parks.  However, sometimes it's fun to add a little special dinner or tour to your trip that you normally wouldn't do, just because you're at Disney World.

What does this entertainment look like?  Well, it comes in many different forms. 
  1. You can choose character dinners: Basically you make reservations for a specific meal with a specific group of Disney characters (princesses, Pooh characters, Mickey and the gang, etc).  The characters then come around to each table during the meal and you can get pictures and autographs with them.
  2. You can choose dinner shows:  Like character dinners you eat lots of food and see Disney characters.  Unlike character dinners, you see the characters as a group, not individually and you don't get autographs.
  3. You can choose tours in the parks:  You get to experience something special in a Disney themepark that others don't normally experience.
Mickey's Backyard BBQ
By far, character dining is the most popular entertainment choice.  However, when we were planning our trip, our kids were not interested in a character meal.  So instead we chose to do a dinner show.  More specifically we did Mickey's Backyard BBQ.

Why did we choose that one?  First of all, it had food my kids would eat.  Hey, if I'm going to pay an astronomical amount for dinner, I want everyone to like the food.  Mickey's Backyard BBQ had ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, and corn on the cob.  All food we love.

**TIP** - Pick a meal that your kids will eat.  All the food provided at character meals and dinner shows are listed on Disney's website.  So you know what will be there.  Also, pick a meal "style" that works for your family - buffet, sit-down, etc.  Buffet works well for us because each person can get what they want and as much as they want.

Second of all, it had characters my kids liked.  Julie has never been into princesses and David's favorite characters (Cars, Playhouse Disney) weren't at any meals.  But they both like the classic Disney characters - Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, etc - and Mickey's Backyard BBQ had the classic Disney characters.

**TIP** - Once again, look on Disney's website for a list of characters attending each meal.  Lots of times there are "for sure" characters listed, ones that will definitely be there, and "maybe" characters listed, i.e. out of the following list, 2 characters will be there but you won't know ahead of time which two.  If particular characters are important to you, make sure they are on the "for sure" list. 

What did we think of our choice?  It was perfect for us!  The food was good.  Not the best I've ever had - but good.  The entertainment was great.  The best part was when Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale came out and all the kids got to dance with them.  Since it was a BBQ/country theme, there was also a trick roper who showed the kids how to twirl a lasso. And there was fun music with a live band.

The highlight for Julie was that she lost a tooth on the way to the BBQ.  When we got there, the band leader said "Anyone with a birthday, an anniversary, or, hey, even a lost tooth, come sign this paper."  So, of course, we went and signed it and they announced Julie's lost tooth to the whole crowd.  Of course they also said that if you loose a tooth at Disney that Tinkerbell comes and puts $50 under your pillow.  We told Julie not to expect that one.  Tinkerbell only delivered $1 that night!  But Julie was happy with that.

Getting close to the characters.

 Dessert, YUM!

 Doing the Macarana...seriously.

Even Tim and David got into the dance groove.

Our only complaint about the night was that you don't get to pick your own seats.  And our seats?  Right behind a big pole blocking the stage.  Luckily we didn't spend much time in our seats.  But I was still a little annoyed that I paid the same as the people with good seats. 

Overall, we really loved Mickey's Backyard BBQ.  Would we do it again?  Probably not.  It was fun...once.

Family Magic Tour
Our other extra entertainment for the week was the Family Magic Tour.  Our kids were very excited about this.  It was touted as a kind of scavenger hunt around the Magic Kingdom; and since our kids love mysteries, we thought they would enjoy this.  We planned our tour for our second Magic Kingdom day.  That way we would have already been in the park one day and we wouldn't feel like we were missing anything by taking 2 hours off for a tour.

When we arrived for the tour, the other family that had registered for it didn't show up.  So it was just us on the tour - awesome!  Our tour guide informed us that Peter Pan had stolen Captain Hook's hook and as a result, Captain Hook was about to take over the Magic Kingdom and close all the rides.  Gasp!  Unfortunately Peter had forgotten where he put the hook and it was our job to find it.  So we hopped, skipped and jumped all over the Magic Kingdom and found that hook!!  The best thing?  Peter Pan was waiting at the end of our tour for a private little meet and greet.

David is holding our top-secret, hook-finding map that we were keeping safe from the pirates.  I'm holding our certificate stating that we successfully completed the Family Magic Tour.  We were so in awe of Peter Pan being there that we totally forgot to get his autograph!

This tour was wonderful for our kids.  They seemed to be the perfect ages to still enjoy the magic but old enough to understand the premise.  This was the highlight of their week.

So the next time you decide to visit Disney, try out some of the extra entertainment offered.  It's sure to put smiles on your kids' faces.

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