One of the best tips I can give families visiting Disney Parks and resorts is to combine hearty days of theme park fun with equally long days of rest and relaxation in between. A day after starting our best of Disney theme parks visit we decided to recharge by hanging out with our family at some of the Disney resorts and restaurants.
Even though we stayed at the Contemporary Resort, which is located “across the street” from the Magic Kingdom, we spent most of our relaxation day at two of the All Star Resorts where my family stayed, the All-Star Movies and the All-Star Music Resorts.
Disney’s All-Star Resorts are located near Animal Kingdom and are designed around themes like sports, film, music and pop culture. From a budget perspective, they’re a strong value because you can get an all-inclusive packages starting at $69 per day per person. If you include the meal plans, you can get your meals at a 20% discount.
Each of the All Star resorts preserve the Disney magic experience and feature huge pools that match the hotel’s themes, state of the art video game rooms, gift shops and thematic restaurants with food options that include plenty of healthy dining.
Regardless of which resort you stay in, all Disney Resorts feature the same key benefits: discounted meal plan packages, free parking, free transportation to the theme parks and complimentary transportation to the airport. Personally the benefit I most like is the Magic Park Hours, which allows Disney resort guests to enter the parks an hour before everyone else and to stay as late as three hours after the parks close. This came in handy for us as it allowed us to see a lot more attractions.
When we go on vacation we always like to eat well but usually save the most special meals of the day for dinner. During this trip to Disney we dined at what we believe are two of the best dining experiences in all the Disney resorts themselves: The Wave restaurant inside the Contemporary Resort and the Kona Café in the Polynesian Resort.
The Wave Restaurant
The Wave restaurant features local and fresh organic ingredients in all entrees, including the incredible crab cakes you have to order and the sustainable fish of the day blackened Grouper. The entrees in the kids menu included grilled fish and baked chicken tenders, which they really liked. The menu also had a selection of organic beers from a local Orlando brewery that we liked and if you’re into dessert, you have several sinful options. We highly recommend the dessert sampler that features an unbelievable Crème Brule and Chocolate Mousse.
The Kona Café
The Kona Café features South Pacific and Asian-style seafood and sushi that was also delectable.
My wife and I ate the Tuna Oscar entrée that brings tuna served with fried green tomatoes, tempura-fried jumbo lump crab and wasabi hollandaise. Our kids felt inspired to eat from the adult menu. They had the Lump Crab Cake appetizer and for their entrée the Shrimp and Scallops dish.
For dessert we ate ice cream and we deeply regretted not realizing that the restaurant serves the world famous coffee it’s named for: Kona.
Both The Wave and the Kona Café feature dining packages that can save you 20% off regular prices so if you’re planning to eat at either one of them, don’t forget to factor the package discounts. Getting into both restaurants is not easy so be sure to reserve your meals in advance.
Planning Your Disney Resort Experience
Based on our experience, it’s always best for you to plan your resort experience with as much advance notice as possible. If your resort plans include fine dining at one of the top restaurants like Cafe Kona or The Wave, make your reservations quickly. Disney features online trip planning that can help you map out your entire Disney experience.
If you’re planning to stay at one of the All-Star Resorts, which are known as the value resorts, consider buying the Park Hopper tickets because the Magic Hours option gives you the ability to visit more than one theme park in one day with gusto.
Last but not least, consider bringing more family for your visit. The All-Star Resorts actually feature two types of rooms, including a suite that is perfect for family. See pictures below.
DISCLOSURE: Disney Destinations and Buick are proud sponsors of the PapiBlogger Making Memories Family Road Trip. This year’s PapiMobile is a 2011 Buick Enclave.