Walt Disney World Dining Review - Hollywood & Vine Breakfast

Hollywood & Vine is found in Disney's Hollywood Studios and is described by Disney as an Art Deco-designed “Cafeteria to the Stars,” a casual family buffet where diners can meet Disney Junior Friends (at breakfast and lunch anyway).

Heading here for breakfast on our Hollywood Studios day was a last minute decision, I thought LJ would get a kick out of meeting Jake and it meant I didn't have to line up to meet him at Animation Courtyard. I was thrilled to score a reservation before the park opened only a few weeks out from our arrival.

We arrived for our 8am reservation at 8:05am. Early breakfasts are hard to get to on time with three people, let alone seven people. Although, in our defence, we did wait 10 minutes for our bus to arrive. The restaurant is right next door to 50s Prime Time Cafe, so this area gets a little congested as the day progresses. I think the cast member had our ticket in hand before we even made it to the podium since we had been checked in at the park entrance, so we were seated straight away.

Handy Manny and Agent Oso were leading a dance party for one when we arrived. The restaurant was pretty much empty and those people that were there seemed more interested in eating. It would have made for great character interaction if LJ was big enough to join in. Agent Oso was cut from the character line up (along with June from Little Einsteins) not long after our visit and replaced with Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins. That alone has made this a must do for our next trip and the meal as a whole a little bit more popular.

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Disney's Hollywood Studios - January 2014

We were headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios for our first park day of this trip and I decided to treat LJ to a breakfast with some of his favourite Disney Junior characters.

An early breakfast meant an early bus ride and it was cold at 7:20am! We waited 10 minutes for the bus and then we were off on our way.

We arrived at the park at 7:55am, which didn't give us a lot of time to make it to our reservation. Thankfully there weren't many people at the gates to hold us up.

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Walt Disney World Dining Review - Chef Mickey's

Chef Mickey's is found on the 4th floor concourse of Disney's Contemporary Resort, right near the quick-service location Contempo Cafe. It is open, loud, fun and the perfect place to meet Mickey and his pals. After a day of shopping we wanted to stick close to 'home', so Chef Mickey's was an obvious choice. With some first-timers in tow it was also a great way for them to start off their Disney dining experience.

We visited Chef Mickey's when we were last in Walt Disney World and seeing as we chose to head back we obviously had a positive experience. If you want to read about it check out our Chef Mickey's review from May 2013. Since that post was a little light on for photos I made sure to take plenty on this time around!

We were a little late for our reservation after Sam and Jim joined us, as they were a little delayed returning the rental car. There wasn't really anybody else around, which considering the popularity of the restaurant I found a little strange that this was the case two visits in a row. We had already spoken to somebody about the fact that two of our party were running late, so they had no dramas checking us in. Disney restaurants won't let you check in until your whole party is present (in the vicinity any way, you don't all have to go to the podium).

Each family is invited to pose for a photo with a place holder Chef Mickey while waiting for their table. Our buzzer went off before we even made it to the photographer and the cast members waiting to seat us looked a little annoyed that we still had the photo. If you've purchased the Memory Maker photo package, this photo will be loaded on to your account to download later. If you don't have the Memory Maker package you can purchase a printed photo package for $35 USD. It is actually quite a nice package with an 8"x10" and two 6"x4" photos presented in a nice booklet. Our Mum was happy with the photo the photographer took and decided to purchase the package as we didn't get the Memory Maker package.

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Outlet Shopping

The first full day of our trip was Saturday of the Martin Luther King Birthday long weekend. Knowing this would likely be the busiest day of our stay in the parks, I opted to head shopping instead! Outlet shopping in Orlando is one of our must do's each trip; we have stopped buying clothes in Australia if we can help it and save all our purchases for when we're in the States (love you premium outlets).

With LJ in tow we opted again to rent a car so we could get him a car seat. We had rung Alamo the night before as soon as we arrived to arrange the shuttle pick up, and Jim and Josh were on their way in the blue bus at 8:30am.

LJ safe and sound in his car seat

They reported back that there was a bit of a queue and it was much quicker to have pre-booked. I had reserved us a full size SUV like a Chevrolet Tahoe but the agent convinced Jim to upgrade to a Premium 2-wheel drive for an additional $23. We ended up with a GMC Yukon XL and it was perfect for our group of 7. It accommodated the seven of us and all our shopping comfortably. It wouldn't have fit half of our luggage, so if we had been collecting it at the airport for the entire stay we would have been looking at renting two smaller vehicles. We loved the car so much we were a little sad to return it after our shopping trip and kind of wished we had a need to keep it for longer. It was the stereo-typical American gas guzzler V8 – but it was an amazing drive, and Jim was very sad upon return to the room after being our dedicated chauffer for the day.

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Walt Disney World Dining Review - Contempo Cafe

Contempo Cafe is the Contemporary Resort's main quick-service dining location and was an obvious choice for dinner on arrival night considering we didn't arrive at Bay Lake Tower until after 7pm.

The restaurant is located on the Grand Canyon Concourse and has a nice open feel to it, plus a great view of the monorails zooming by.

As you enter the restaurant you will find menu boards to your right guiding you towards the electronic ordering kiosks.

The kiosks are very user friendly and allow you to keep tabs on how much your order is worth on the right of the screen.

Once you've placed your order on the screen you take the receipt to the cashier, along with any other grab and go items you might want.

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