I DON'T want to cook while vacation at "The World", BUT...
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I DON'T want to cook while vacation at "The World", BUT...
We are planning our next trip to WDW for May 9 - 16, 2009. There will be 14 of us in all and we will be split into 2 villas (resort yet to be determined, currently requested thru Interval). We've allways been granted OKW and absolutely OVE it there, but we are hoping to finally get the chance to stay in a different resort. The 14 of us consist of my Dad and his gf and my brother and sister and both their families, and of course, my family of 5.
We've only done the DDP once when it first came out and we were hoping to do it again. As many of you have mentioned, why cook on vacation (especially at WDW), right? Well, my brother's wife is a strict budgeter and she said that she would have no problem going down to Florida, staying with my Dad and preparing several crock-pot meals in advance!!
So, I am looking for anyone who has cooked while vacationing. Please tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly. Would you do it again? I'm sure you saved $$, but was it worth it cooking and doing dishes?? What meals worked out best? Did you utilize any grills ... where?
I figure that we've allways had a full kitchen and never used it before (actually we'll have 2!) and this isn't our last vacation to WDW, so we'll get to do the DDP on a future trip.
We are planning on going out to Chef Mickey's one night and I'm hoping to save enough $$ for our entire group to do the Grand Gatherings Illuminations Dinner (since sil says it's too expensive for 1 meal). Has anyone ever done the Illuminations Dinner? What food nationalities are served? Is it "child-friendly" (hot dog, pizza, chicken nuggets, etc.)? What are the character experiences like? Where is the viewing for Illuminations? How is the dessert social?
I can't help with your Grand Gathering questions, but I am pretty sure the villas do NOT have crock pots, so you would have to bring your own. Planning meals that 14 people WILL eat seems like a lot of work! Plus not sure if you are driving or flying, but you will also have to consider how you will get your groceries. There are several great grocery delivery services if you don't have a car/cars down there to go to the store yourself.
I think it would be fine to plan SOME meals in the villas. If it were ME, I would opt for something a bit more GROUP friendly like a big pasta meal, and salad. If you are driving and plan on bringing prepared crock pot meals already frozen and ready to go, that could be easy enough, just be sure to bring enough crock pots to heat it up in.
We are all flying, but my Dad lives about 2 hours away. I have 2 large crockpots that we are planning to ship to my Dad's house ahead of time to use down there. And if they break, oh well. They're about 5-6 years old anyway and have logged their crocking hours with the scars to show it (handles missing on one ~ LOL).
Our large cooked meals are going to be shared dinners.
My sister's family & mine are early risers and park-hoppers, so we will be in one villa and will eat breakfast before we head out. Maybe some pre-made pancakes (Mickey, of course!), french toast, cereals, pastries, fresh fruit, etc. We can "nuke" the pancakes and french toast. Hopefully that will fill us up. We'll grab a snack for lunch at the parks and then head back to our villa in the afternoon, clean up and then head out until we close the parks.
My brother and his family are not as fanatic about WDW as we are and they only plan on going to the parks every other day, or so at their leisure.
I hope that we will be able to stay together on the days that we do the parks together, even if we head out at park opening and they join us later in the day.
It's hard traveling with families when your idea of a vacation & someone else's differ.
I don't like cooking on vacation either & would opt for the dinning plan! You may not feel like going back to the resort for lunch & again for dinner. If you are spending all day together at the parks, maybe you could split up for lunch & dinners, and your family could do the DDP. Might be good, having some time just with your DH & kids. Sometimes being with a large group 24/7 can get a bit much. Then you could arrange to meet up & re-group after meal time.
Good luck with your plans.
Every family has their own traditions. While I'm not a fan of cooking at WDW (other than quick breakfasts) under most circumstances, when I'm there with an extended family group, it's a different story. At that point, for me, the focus shifts from Disney to Family. If your family gets pleasure out of cooking family meals (like mine does), then go for it. It may mean a bit less park time, but I think the family time makes up for it. There's always the question of balance. Too many home-cooked meals, and some part of the group will feel like they're being denied park time, and others might begin to feel the burden of prepping and cleaning. In my case, I'd make it into a rare, special event, rather than a daily thing.
Co-Author, PassPorter's Walt Disney World, PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line, and PassPorter's Disneyland and Southern California Attractions
I agree that it should be a balance. Since everyone is making the effort to share in this grand gathering it would be great to utilize the villa for at least one or two family meals. It will force everyone to sit down and share about what's going on in their lives and talk about the experiences that are happening while there. I also think that some meals should be enjoyed outside of the home...perhaps each family go a seperate way for dinner once or twice. Although it is a grand gathering, it's important to enjoy your family of five as well. Maybe plan two days that are the vacation equivalent of "fix your own" night where each family can enjoy their own plans.
We just got back from WDW and we had the 3 bedroom grand villa at SSR. DDP was going to cost us way too much money since my 10 yo had just turned 10 only the week before we arrived - causing us to have to buy him an adult plan, even though his appetite is more in line with a 9 yo. Same thing with my 3 yo.
Anyway. To save money, we had breakfast foods delivered - milk, eggs, butter, bread, peanut butter, jelly and OJ. We brought our own generic cereals, the kind you buy in a bag. (that gave us more room in the luggage at the end of the week.) We had 9 people total and the grown ups mostly ate eggs and toast for breakfast and the kids ate cereal. We brought in our own granola bars for snacks, too, as well as empty water bottles which we refilled all week, then tossed at the airport. Our TOTAL grocery bill for breakfast foods for 9 people was just over $30. For the whole week. The DDP would have cost us at least $40 a day just for the adults for breakfast. We were there 6 days, that's $240 each. And that's not even factoring in the two 10 year olds (who must purchase an adult DDP) and the 3 other children.
Another advantage to eating breakfast in the room is that everyone eats when they are ready. Mom or Dad still in the shower but kids are up and ready to go? No problem, they get themselves breakfast. Dad hogging up the sink while shaving? Mom gets breakfast then returns to dry her hair when dad is done.
We ate all our lunches in the park, mostly because we have a sad history of squashed sandwiches at the bottom of the backpack.
We ate dinner in our room twice. Once we ordered in pizza. Three large pizzas easily fed our group (remember though that we had a 3 year old) for less than one family was paying for counter service lunch. The same delivery company also offered Italian dinners for delivery at reasonable prices. So again, 9 people fed for $30 instead of about $72 for just the grown up adults and the 10 year old "adults".
Since we also brought in our own snacks, snack credits would not have been worth it.
The DDP would have cost my family $133 a day. Eating breakfast in our room, bringing in our own snacks (though we did buy Mickey bars, popcorn, cotton candy and frozen whatevers on occassion) meant we only spent about $90 a day in the parks. We could have done better if we'd had a couple less table service meals. And WAY better with more dinners in our villa.
As far as the dishes are concerned - there's a dishwasher! If everyone rinses their plate and loads it in when they are done, then no one person has to do all the work. Unloading takes 5 minutes. Get one of the kids to do it.
Last edited by JustLorri; 11-18-2008 at 02:41 PM..
I ususally bring quick breakfast foods with us (cereal, poptarts, cereal bars) so the kids have breakfast food in the room. We have always used the DDP on our trips but usually use the credits for lunch and dinner. I am okay with 2 meals a day but 3 growing boys always need breakfast.
Personally, cooking for that many people doesn't sound like vacation to me so I wouldn't plan on doing it every day. I agree that breakfast is no problem at all as it doesn't require that much preparation. Dinner, however, is a different story. I like the idea of having a few nice meals together in the villas. That way, it'll be something special instead of a daily hassle. You could always split up so that the part of the family that would rather save money can eat in while the rest of you go to a restaurant. If saving money is an issue, you could always consider having a meal or two off property (I know, did I just suggest that? ). We've done that before.
I think having everyone together for a dinner once or twice during your trip is a nice thought. But my idea of cooking would be to chop salad while waiting for the pizza delivery.
Since you asked for opinions I think you should get the DDP for your family and have fun. It's obvious, while you respect your SIL and her values, cooking family dinners isn't your idea of a vacation. And it is your vacation. My friends are horrified that I'm going to do laundry on our upcoming trip. But I get anxious if I see a large laundry pile, they have every intention of bringing their dirty laundry home.
We make sure we have a lot of fixings for sandwiches, soups, and canned pastas along with fruit and cut veggies and various chips for lunches. We then either plan a lunchtime and set stuff out for each person to make their own, or we just let people makes their lunches as they come in a various times.
For dinners, we plan easy to make and clean things. Not too many pots. We like to grill out (hamburgers, steaks, shrimp (on tinfoil), or chicken. Then we add frozen veggies or a salad and bread or pasta to round out the meal.
It's also easy to have frozen meatballs, spaghetti and sauce, garlic bread and salad for a lot of people.
Tacos or taco salads are also very easy for a large group.
It sounds to me like your family travels a little differently than the rest of the family. My unrequested ten cents is that you should do the DDP for your family, since it sounds like that's what you'd prefer, and then do a couple of eat-in meals with the family on special nights.
My cousins are DVC members and they always cook meals in the villas. They love the family time it gives them, and I think it's awesome, but for me, I'd be absolutely miserable if I had to blow all that time preparing, cooking, eating and cleaning. Vacation for me is being served, lol.
I know my cousins make stuff like lasagna, spaghetti, baked ziti - Italian dishes that are easy to make with few ingredients. There's also the frozen crock pot or skillet meals that you can make.
Then, as mentioned, there's dishwashers. But you still have to prewash the dishes, and stack them in the dishwasher, and then unload the dishwasher later. Too time consuming for my taste, at WDW.
We're not commando tourers, but I couldn't imagine eating 3 meals a day in a room at WDW. Just going back and forth to the villa from the park daily that many times can be time consuming and a hassle.
Good luck deciding the best course of action! I look forward to hearing what ends up working best for you!
When we went to Hawaii with my parents, each family chose a meal to make at the condo. So for you guys, with 3 families (I wouldn't count Dad), that would be 3 nights for dinner, with each family being in charge of entire execution (so no one person bears the burden of cooking, cleaning or what have you), in the villa. If you also split up a night or 2 and then have the Grand Gatherings Dinner, that almost covers an entire week!