In Which Jenn Has To Run For Oga’s Cantina

Okay, let’s pretend for a moment you’re me. (I’m sorry.) You are going to Walt Disney World, theoretically and vaccines willing, in April. Your travel buddy is on top of the vast majority of dining reservations, but just to be safe you have been given one, and only one job: secure the ADR for Oga’s Cantina. Mission date: February 16. You put a reminder in your phone and carry on your merry way.

Of course, February 16 arrives. You remember nothing of your assignment. You get up at 5:30am, cheerily slap together your morning’s outfit and provisions, and set out on an 11 mile run. Your bothersome heel is taped up, you’re wearing your newest Brooks Ravennas, and you’re feeling good. 

Until 7:30am,* when the reminder you set all those day ago pops up on your Garmin: Oga’s Cantina ADR. Thirty minutes. You have a little over 2.5 miles to go.

You can do this.

You – not really you; take a deep breath and remember that for you this is strictly a mental exercise – don’t want to blaze it because of that whole left heel thing and you don’t want to risk an injury. But you trudge out your last mileage under mild stress and come screeching into the alley next to your apartment building with scarcely any time to spare.

No problem! You have the My Disney Experience app in your phone and you know how to use it. OR DO YOU? Because you open it up with your thumbprint and tap furiously through to the Oga’s Cantina ADR screen only to discover that it’s not giving you the day you need. Why isn’t it giving you the day you need? Is the app angry?!

You race through the gate and into the elevator to hit up your computer, feverishly checking your email while you’re at it to make sure you’re trying for an ADR on the correct day. You confirm that you are as you slide in front of your laptop and whip through the MDE login screen. Ah, there’s Oga’s Cantina, and there’s the day you wanted!

But wait… the calendar on the website won’t load?!

You hit a hard refresh while you thumb through the MDE app on your phone and discover that while you were logged into the app, you were somehow not logged in ENOUGH, and the app didn’t register the hotel reservation that should open up the extra ten days of ADR openings. You fix this problem and now you can access the correct date. You select 1pm per the agreed upon early afternoon time slot preference. Hooray!

Hold on. It’s not loading? Switch back to the website. Ah, yes, there’s the calendar. Refresh. Okay, 1pm is gone, but there’s 1:20pm. GO THROUGH, DAMMIT!

Okay, back to the app. How about 1:40pm? No? 11:25am on the website? Fine. No, not that either? 2:30pm on the app? 3PM ON THE COMPUTER???

Ah, whew. That one finally went through. You did it! You did it! It’s a bit later than originally intended, but you did it! DJ Rex, save me a seat!!!!!!!

Oga ADR

Sit back. It’s over. You’re not me anymore. Sweet.

Hmmm. It’s hard to tell, given how far up Disney’s butt I have crawled over the last 15 years or so, but this might be one of the most inside-baseball blog posts I’ve ever written. But then I suppose you’d have to be pretty inside the baseball yourself to get to the end of such a melodramatic tale. The point is, I got my coveted ADR. Now who’s got a vaccine they’re not using?

*Yes, you’re right – the Disney reservation system opens at 7am. PR doesn’t do daylight savings and is therefore currently 1 hour ahead of… everybody else, basically.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has ALLLLLLLL AKL THE ADRs!!!!

I know Wine & Dine Half weekend is coming up first, but I can’t help but peek ahead just a bit to my next WDW trip – the one in January for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Despite not planning on any park time, I’m super excited to stay at Kidani Village. Only deluxe accommodations for me this time around!

Outside the race itself I plan to take time to relax – check out the savanna observation areas, hang by the pool, book a massage and chill in the spa area… and EAT ALL THE FOOD??????

It started with an innocent Sanaa advanced dining reservation. You can’t stay at Kidani and not eat a Sanaa, right? And what better way to carb up than with some Indian bread service.

So I had that. But then I thought, you’re there. You’re running a marathon. Why not treat yourself to a post-race early dinner at Jiko? So I booked that too.

And yet, later, I began to doubt myself. I’ve been to Jiko once before, admittedly a pretty long time ago. On the other hand, I’ve never done breakfast at Boma, and when will it ever be more convenient? Buffet breakfasts are time consuming, but when you’re already at the resort in question and don’t have any FastPass times to make, the situation is ideal. 

So I started leaning toward cancelling my Jiko ADR and picking up breakfast at Boma. Of course, if there were no Boma breakfast ADRs available, the point would be moot – so I checked. There was one at 10:50am for one person, and, because this isn’t my first rodeo, I grabbed it just in case.

But… I didn’t cancel my Jiko reservation.

Yes, as of this writing, I currently have an ADR for Sanaa, Jiko, AND Boma. Over the course of three days. Naan and African wines and French toast bread pudding can be mine!

NAAAAAAAAN

Will I cancel any? I dunno. If I do, it’ll probably be Sanaa – I’ve been there many times and the bread service is so big I’d probably never order anything else. Yeah, I should probably cancel my Sanaa ADR.

… But I haven’t. There’s something strangely satisfying about having all three. Now, somebody tell me if there’s anything worth eating at The Mara…

Am I crazy? What’s your favorite AKL restaurant?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Is Going to Walt Disney World RIGHT NOW

If you’re reading this… then I’m on my way!

Yes, I’m hitting the “publish” button on this post, grabbing my bags, and heading for the airport. IT’S WALT DISNEY WORLD TIME.

This is the fabled trip I’ve only being counting down to for like a billion years. And it really does feel like that, because my mom and I had this trip planned so far in advance that our Advanced Dining Reservation window hadn’t even opened yet. That’s right – I’ve been waiting over six months.

But the time has finally come. I’m packed. My Magic Bands have arrived. I’ve printed my boarding pass. My spreadsheet is finalized. It’s go time.

You make a spreadsheet too, right? … Right?

As I have mentioned, I’m super-excited for this trip because it’s the first time my mom (or anyone in the family besides me, for that matter) has been to WDW since 1998. I was surprised as all get-out when she volunteered to take this trip with me. But she did, and I’ve carefully constructed a vacation plan that with any luck will totally awaken the magic.

Some highlights:

  • Curated list of ADRs, including a California Grill reservation timed for dessert during Wishes; high tea in the Grand Floridian; lunch at Sanaa, where we’ll wait as long as necessary for a savannah window seat; an early breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends.
  • Speaking of ADRs, there’s one more I didn’t mention: a Candlelight Processional package that includes lunch at the Coral Reef. No, the food’s not particularly inspiring, but my mom LOVES the ocean, so the ambience is sure to score. Plus, our CP celebrity narrator? Why, it’s Guinan Whoopi Goldberg, a celebrity that even my pop culture ignoramus mother recognizes (for real, I once had to explain to her who Brad Pitt is. Also Fifty Shades of Grey. It was scarring). 
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – I’ve never done this before! And I don’t know if I would have any time soon given the added expense, but when describing it as an option my mom got way into the idea and we’re going. Now that we are, I’m way into it myself. The Christmas parade and snow and cocoa and cookies and special holiday Wishes and yes please sign me up!
  • Tailored attraction touring based on what I know she enjoys. This means skipping some of the thrill-ier thrill rides, but in a way this will be an advantage – less time spent in line means more time to explore the nooks and crannies that make WDW what it is. We’ll check out the special holiday displays and shows and decorations, meander through Animal Kingdom’s wildlife trails, poke our noses in Epcot shops, watch all the shows, and take photos with characters. Especially Jungle Book characters – those are her favorite!
  • Bonus! High temperatures are supposed to be in the low- to mid-80s the entire time we’re there. Thanks, Mother Nature!

So, that’s the plan. AND IT STARTS NOW. You best believe I’ll be tweeting!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

In Which Jenn is the Only Person On Earth with Candlelight Processional Reservations

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m taking my mom to Walt Disney World in December in our first trip together since 1998. Allow me to outline my plan:

  1. I organize a trip so amazing that my mom informs my dad that they have been making a mistake all these years, disbelieving my claims that WDW is awesome, and that more trips must be made with all haste.
  2. My dad agrees to go to Walt Disney World again in the next year or so.
  3. My WDW hotel bill for one trip is reduced to 1/3. Unless we want to get REALLY pie in the sky here and consider he might not make me go in on the room??? 😀

Clearly I am a MASTERMIND. There are many ways I plan to positively BLOW MY MOTHER’S MIND with the glory and greatness that is the WDW she has never truly seen before, but of course one vital element comes in the form of Advanced Dining Reservations. I’ve got it all lined up, guys: afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian; watching animals frolic out on the savanna at Sanaa; a fabulous tank view in the Coral Reef; breakfast with Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace.

But there was one thing missing. One thing that plagued me. One thing that I waited and waited and waited to grab, terrified that the day I didn’t check for reservations would be the day they opened up and I would miss it and everything would be RUINED. RUINED!

Luckily I caught wind of the day reservations would open several days in advance, and so yesterday morning I was awake and ready at 6AM and I HAVE A 7:30PM RESERVATION AT CALIFORNIA GRILL, MY FRIENDS. Tell me that is not a PRIME reservation time for coffee and dessert over Wishes.

LIKE THIS ONLY FARTHER AWAY

But actually, that’s not why I’m writing this post. Well, not precisely, anyway. I want to tell a small story about that Coral Reef reservation, for you see, it is not just any reservation. It is a Candlelight Processional Package reservation, another piece of the puzzle I obsessed over for longer than I care to admit. For awhile there I was getting up every morning at 6AM in case.

And then, one morning, by some great miracle, reservations were available! For some bizarre reason I could only seem to get them at Via Napoli. This was not what I wanted, as my mother is a great ocean enthusiast and would doubtless enjoy the ambiance if nothing else.  But if pizza was the thing, well, we’d survive.

Because I’m crazy To be sure, I called the dinner reservation phone line when it opened at 7AM, I had the following conversation, more or less:

ME: May I reserve a Candlelight Processional package for Coral Reef on December 7?

GUY: Oh, we haven’t started those yet. We just found out this morning that they’ll be available on July 9.

ME: … That’s funny, I made one for Via Napoli this morning. I was just calling to make sure that Coral Reef wasn’t available, since that’s the one I really wanted.

GUY: If you make a restaurant reservation, it’s not the same as getting the special Candlelight package.

ME: No, I made it through the Candlelight page. It says “CAN” at the beginning of the reservation and everything.

GUY: … Really? Can I have your reservation number? [I give it to him] Wow, you’re right. I see it. It’s a Candelight reservation. This is weird. They’re not supposed to be available until July 9. Let me see if I can bring it up… No, I can’t see it. Not even at 2PM [which is when our reservation is].

ME: I also saw availability at 4PM.

GUY: [tries that] Nope, it’s not available for me either. [He also tries other Candlelight package-offering restaurants, none of which come up] Let me call the help desk…

[Here I am treated to a hold music medley of Winnie the Pooh songs]

GUY: Okay, I talked to the help line, and they think it’s a mistake. The system took your credit card info [it does this just as a hold for more popular reservations; you aren’t charged unless you don’t show up] so you do have the reservation, but they’re not sure it’s going to stick. If it won’t, they’ll call you. If they don’t call you, it’s yours! But since you really wanted Coral Reef you can call back at on July 9…

ME: Yup, I’ll do that. No worries.

GUY: Just out of curiosity, let me see if anyone else made a reservation… Nope, you’re the only one.

I was able to make a new reservation at the Coral Reef on July 9 as instructed, and I cancelled the Via Napoli reservation accordingly. But for a brief moment there, I was the only person in the entire world with Candlelight Processional dinner reservations.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!