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Thread: "Family style" dining and a party of 1. Anyone done this?

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    "Family style" dining and a party of 1. Anyone done this?

    I'm planning a solo trip and would really, really REALLY like to dine at Ohana for dinner, but have never dined somewhere "family style" when it's just me. Has anyone "flown solo" at Ohana? Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member keristars's Avatar
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    That sounds terrifying to me!

    I've never done it - I go solo pretty much exclusively these days and tend to stick to the restaurants where I know I'll be okay if I'm by myself. I went to 'Ohana with my family a few times as a kid, before it became a character meal, and it was way too overwhelming back then. I can't imagine it as an adult with executive dysfunction that worsens when there's a lot of stimulation. I'd like to hear about how family style works, though - it seems like it'd be an awful lot of food that might go to waste, and there are a few restaurants that do it that I would like to try.

    Depending on how the family style works, it might actually be nice to eat alone and observe, but I always hate doing that in places with tons of families and kids when I'm alone. It feels a little bit like I'm taking up space and not really using some of the elements of the meal/experience, you know? So I've avoided Akershus and CRT, as much as I'd love to eat at those places, and even though I've played with the reservation system before my trips several times and would have been able to book a table for 1 or 2... (I will often book for 2 in hopes of my baby brother being able to eat with me before he clocks in, since he can get me the CM food discount :P) If you don't feel bothered by that, it's a totally different matter.
    ~Keri~
    Next trip: June 2 for my 28th birthday! Staying the night at the Boardwalk Villas - dinner at Les Chefs, yum!
    I practically grew up at Ft Wilderness, too many visits to count until I was 16.
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    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    'Ohana dinner isn't truly "family style." They bring a bowl of salad, pot stickers and noodles to share, but the meats are carried around on the big BBQ skewers and you simply ask for as many pieces as you'd like (and then they usually give you more). Dining along there certainly shouldn't be strange or awkward.
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    I agree. I went with my family but would go alone too! I am that kind of ladie who can go alone anywhere! with kids I would just dream of a few days (and meals) alone somewhere!!!
    1) Pop Century - December 3-10, 2011 - first trip with my in-laws
    2) Art of Animation - February 28 - March 7, 2013 - first family only trip
    3) Windor Hills 5bdr villa - February 27, 2014 to March 6, 2014 - Universal, Sea World and Disney Trip - trip with my brother and his family

  5. #5
    wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tagline George's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like OP has "issues" which would prevent her from enjoying the meal; the main concern seemed to be how the family style dining would be presented for one. The answer: smaller initial servings. I agree with DoctorK in that it's only an issue for the salad/appetizer part. I think you'll have fun, solo or as part of a group. Enjoy!
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  6. #6
    Thanks for the input, everyone!

  7. #7
    expert on dietary needs and disney dining clanmcculloch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keristars View Post
    That sounds terrifying to me!

    I've never done it - I go solo pretty much exclusively these days and tend to stick to the restaurants where I know I'll be okay if I'm by myself. I went to 'Ohana with my family a few times as a kid, before it became a character meal, and it was way too overwhelming back then. I can't imagine it as an adult with executive dysfunction that worsens when there's a lot of stimulation. I'd like to hear about how family style works, though - it seems like it'd be an awful lot of food that might go to waste, and there are a few restaurants that do it that I would like to try.

    Depending on how the family style works, it might actually be nice to eat alone and observe, but I always hate doing that in places with tons of families and kids when I'm alone. It feels a little bit like I'm taking up space and not really using some of the elements of the meal/experience, you know? So I've avoided Akershus and CRT, as much as I'd love to eat at those places, and even though I've played with the reservation system before my trips several times and would have been able to book a table for 1 or 2... (I will often book for 2 in hopes of my baby brother being able to eat with me before he clocks in, since he can get me the CM food discount :P) If you don't feel bothered by that, it's a totally different matter.
    If you were to have somebody walk you through the details of how the meals work step by step, would that be sufficient for you to be able to partake of the meals? I have a general understanding of executive functioning issues due to my 14yo (her dx is actually Asperger Syndrome but that entails certain EF issues which the school is working on with her as part of her goals at school) but I only know what I think would work for her and I know EF is a broad range of issues. For her, knowing step by step what she is expected to do makes a big difference. For day to day tasks she does VERY well with a checklist but for one time things, generally just going over expectations step by step is sufficient. When she was younger I would include even the one-off things in her super detailed checklists but she's needing much less of that kind of thing these days.

    I will say that CRT really isn't family style dining. A server will take your order off a menu and bring you your food. Akershus is a mixture of buffet, plated and family style where the appetizers are on a cold buffet, the entree is ordered off a menu and your server brings you your food and desserts are served family style. I can see how the logistics of the multiple styles of dining could be overwhelming. A typical family style restaurant such as Garde Grill though requires no figuring out of anything as your server will just bring food to you without you having to do anything at all. In fact, I would think restaurants like GG would be super easy for you. Family style restaurants do bring out the amount of food that is appropriate to your party size so they'd bring you smaller portions in order to avoid too much waste. You're always free to ask for more of anything you like so they do tend to try to start with smaller portions.

    While we're a family of 4, only one person in our family doesn't have allergies (DH) so he is basically served the same as a solo diner would be (the rest of us need our food to be separate from his because his contains allergens while ours is specially prepared). They definitely bring him smaller portions than the 3 of us with allergies are served. There's a lot more waste from the 3 of us with allergies than there is from his dishes. 'Ohana is one that we really enjoy and there's typically not much left in his dishes when the server goes to clear them.

    If you're a paying guest then you are NOT taking space from somebody who deserves it more than you. ANY paying guest is just as deserving. Push that idea aside right now. You are just as worthy of great experiences as the next person.

  8. #8
    Just made my first ADRs for this trip! Lunch at Liberty Tree and dinner at 'Ohana! I was just going to do Liberty Tree and got that ressie and then thought, for kicks and giggles, I'd see if there was any availability for 'Ohana (I didn't make my ressie until 8:25AM, Calif. time, so I wasn't sure there would be any availability since it's such a hard one to get). SCORE! 7:35PM! PERFECT! I'm still not 100% sure I'll go, so I now have time to think about it and cancel if I want to. If I decide to keep it, I'll cancel Liberty Tree that day and do that on my other MK day, but I now have the great gift of time. LOL

    Tomorrow's ressies are Epcot. Still not sure what I'm shooting for there. LOL

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kimann's Avatar
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    I just got back from my first solo trip and I enjoyed dining alone more than I thought I would! I think you should definitely keep 'Ohana, and I might recommend Hoop Dee Doo also. I was aprehensive when I booked it for one (my 1st time seeing it), and I booked the balcony as I thought I would be more comfortable observing instead of participating. It was great. I had the show to keep me busy and the food and server were wonderful. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all!
    Kim

  10. #10
    wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tagline George's Avatar
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    Another thing to consider when solo dining is to sit at the bar. All bars offer the full menu, and you don't need an ADR. Most people there are friendly and talkative; the bartenders at The Wave and Flying Fish are especially nice. Also, there are chef's counters at CA Grill, Jiko, and Flying Fish; these are more full-meal spots, but all have kitchen views and the chefs will talk to you and sometimes even send over some extra dishes.

    It's too bad none of the Epcot restaurants have bars with stools; they seem to want to dissuade loitering at the bar. But Via Napoli has that huge communal table which isn't too hard to finagle a seat at. And Tutto Gusto has tables very close to each other which promotes conversation between tables.

    The Tune-In Lounge at DHS is a great place to sit at the bar and have a meal, lots of fun too. Dawa at AK also has bar seating, not sure about food.

    Solo trips are fun!
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    Quiet, both of ya! You're gonna ruin Maw's birthday!

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    But Sandy Plankton said...

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    Senior Member keristars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaCat View Post
    Tomorrow's ressies are Epcot. Still not sure what I'm shooting for there. LOL
    I had a wonderful experience at Chefs de France last December when eating on my own. They sat me next to the window overlooking the promenade, possibly because it's harder for Remy to get over there (I couldn't figure out how they'd bring the cart next to my table, at least), so a less popular table for families with children, and I didn't mind not interacting with him. It was a gorgeous view right at sunset and the food was good. It was really fun to have fairly fancy French food by myself.

    If that's something that interests you, I recommend it! I enjoyed it so much that I decided as soon as I paid that I'd be going back to treat myself for my birthday, but with a larger party this time. There aren't many restaurants at WDW that I have such a love for (the Plaza is another, but mostly because the strawberry chicken salad is a perfect filling but not heavy lunch).

    Also, @Trudy:
    I think you pegged me with the step-by-step expectations and checklists. I also have to know menus in advance. I'm not officially dxed, but we suspect that I've asperger's, but with girl expressions of the symptoms and 28 years of learning to adapt. Thanks very much for your comments about the serving styles. I found them very helpful!

    If you're a paying guest then you are NOT taking space from somebody who deserves it more than you. ANY paying guest is just as deserving. Push that idea aside right now. You are just as worthy of great experiences as the next person.
    You're right, of course! But it's more like I'm paying an upcharge for the characters and not even using it, and someone else would be super happy to! I do enjoy watching the kids interact with the characters, though. :P I'm looking forward to being able to afford to take my nephew down sometimes - he's 6 now, but will probably be 8 before I can take him, and that's the perfect age for day-trips with auntie keri, and then I'll not feel so bad about the cost of character meals!
    ~Keri~
    Next trip: June 2 for my 28th birthday! Staying the night at the Boardwalk Villas - dinner at Les Chefs, yum!
    I practically grew up at Ft Wilderness, too many visits to count until I was 16.
    I love asparagus and Minnie Mouse the most.
    See me on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photostream/keristars
    Pin Trading Hunt: Minnie Mouse hat from character hat blind bag set.

  12. #12
    expert on dietary needs and disney dining clanmcculloch's Avatar
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    Keri, let me know if you want to chat any time. I'm a self-diagnosed Aspie as well with 40 years of learning to adapt as well as learning lots about it in order to help my 14yo DD who's an Aspie with a mixed presentation; she's got some of the typical boy presentation mixed with the not so typical girl presentation. It's actually really amazing how much I've learned about myself while learning how to help my DD. Really eye opening. I had no idea that my hyper-organization and attention to detail was a coping mechanism though a very beneficial one and I've really learned to accept so many of my quirks as I've learned to understand AS. I too have that not so often recognized girl presentation of Asperger Syndrome.

    Everbody else, now back to your regularly scheduled program.

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    Trudy, I'd never heard of girl presentation in Aspergers, you made me go do some reading. The definitions and descriptions describe me perfectly. Hmmmm.

    I definitely have a "boy brain". I thought everyone put on different personas dependent on who or what they are dealing with? I always thought my DH was the weird one, being the same person in every situation.

    Do you know of any good books so I can do a bit more reading on this?

    (I apologize also for the hijack - back to food talk!)

  14. #14
    expert on dietary needs and disney dining clanmcculloch's Avatar
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    I really don't have any good books on the girl presentation. I've just picked up bits and pieces over time. I think Rhonda may have found a few at one point. Maybe PM her to ask if she doesn't happen upon this thread?

    Your different persona comment I found confusing. This isn't something either my DD or I do. We are who we are and don't understand when people don't "get" us as we are. Have you ever seen the show Big Bang Theory? I hate to admit this, but there are many times where through the laughter I can totally appreciate Sheldon's stance on things. I can make myself be flexible unlike him and I can empathize unlike him (I'm probably more like Leonard). I do many times have to force myself to not be rigid like him, though at least I recognize when I'm being like that so I can force myself to behave in a more "typical" and socially acceptable manner. DD14 fully associates with Amy Farrah Fowler. DD14 and I also LOVE the show Bones and she's I think the TV character that is most like us. DH can't handle watching it with us because so often he'll get upset with something she does and I just won't get what the problem is and he ends up walking out of the room muttering something to the effect of "that's so you".

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    I'm a mimic. I will "put on" a personality that fits the situation.

    Here's what I was reading: http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/index....917&Itemid=720

    I'll PM Rhonda. You've really got me thinking.

  16. #16
    expert on dietary needs and disney dining clanmcculloch's Avatar
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    OK, I get what you're saying. I have learned over the years to somewhat mimic behaviours and personality traits to fit various situations. I wasn't thinking of that as taking on different personas as it's very artificial and I can almost feel a mask physically going over my face when I'm doing it if that makes any sense.

    Great link! Tony Attwood is brilliant.

    I'm sitting here laughing, imagining somebody opening this thread expecting to read about solo dining and coming across this discussion about girls with Asperger Syndrome.

    I should add that at this point in your life, I don't know that there's any point in formal diagnosis since you're an extremely well functioning adult (I can't imagine what it could do to benefit me which is why I'm only self-diagnosed) but having an understanding of the dx within myself has been hugely liberating for me as I can now understand and deal with anxieties, difficulties and even understand my strengths better.

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    I can almost feel a mask physically going over my face when I'm doing it if that makes any sense.
    Yea, that's it!!

    I'm sitting here laughing, imagining somebody opening this thread expecting to read about solo dining and coming across this discussion about girls with Asperger Syndrome.
    If they're expecting an single-track on-topic discussion, I think they're on the wrong forum completely!

    Back to solo dining question - I love eating alone at restaurants my DH won't enjoy (darned picky vegetarian), and I'd love to try it at DW sometime, because I know of any restaurant anywhere in the universe, Disney will always be the most effortlessly accommodating to anyone. I've seen what they can do with food allergies, so I'm sure they'd handle a single diner even at "family style" restaurants with aplomb as long as they know you're dining alone.

  18. #18
    Senior Member keristars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clanmcculloch View Post
    OK, I get what you're saying. I have learned over the years to somewhat mimic behaviours and personality traits to fit various situations. I wasn't thinking of that as taking on different personas as it's very artificial and I can almost feel a mask physically going over my face when I'm doing it if that makes any sense.

    Great link! Tony Attwood is brilliant.

    ...

    I should add that at this point in your life, I don't know that there's any point in formal diagnosis since you're an extremely well functioning adult (I can't imagine what it could do to benefit me which is why I'm only self-diagnosed) but having an understanding of the dx within myself has been hugely liberating for me as I can now understand and deal with anxieties, difficulties and even understand my strengths better.
    Another chiming in about the mask thing being such an apt description!

    And also about the formal diagnosis - you've described why I haven't pushed to get one. It just seems like a waste of money when there's not much that benefit once you're out of school (would've been nice while I was going to university, though!), and a lot of the help is just awareness of what is going on in order to arrange thing to make life easier.

    It was super great when I found the PDF from an Australian agency about the presentation of Asperger's in girls, since it's not been studied as long as the more 'typical' presentations, and a lot of people ignore that it's even possible - a lot of it is socialisation and what's acceptable/expected in children. Unfortunately, I'm at work and have it bookmarked at home.

    I'm sitting here laughing, imagining somebody opening this thread expecting to read about solo dining and coming across this discussion about girls with Asperger Syndrome.
    Yes, but I've found that it's a fairly common question from other AS women on another forum I'm on! We like to be alone and observe lots of times.

    because I know of any restaurant anywhere in the universe, Disney will always be the most effortlessly accommodating to anyone.
    Yes - I mentioned it above, but when I dined alone at Les Chefs, they put me next to the window for a really fantastic seat that was super ideal for just one person. And both there and at Artist Point - the two fancier restaurants where I ate alone - the servers reset the table for one and moved the chairs a bit so that it was more like it was meant for just one, which was really nice. I've also had a lot of help at some of the CS to get to a table with my food, since the trays could be heavy, whenever a CM saw that I was alone and was available to help. Not often, but enough that it sticks positively in my memory for those places (Min & Bill's, ABC Commissary, the one with the bays in Tomorrowland, and the CMs at Sleepy Hollow arranged the waffle to be easier to carry with a coke and shopping bag).

    I've never had a bad experience eating alone unless it was my own issues. I did feel a bit like I stuck out a bit at Artist Point, but I wasn't originally supposed to be alone, and I was a little too tipsy to fully appreciate it anyway (loved the restaurant, but I was drinking Tennesee Honeys at the bar before, and it's kinda hard to pace yourself when you're alone, and those things are like candy they're so good). There were also a lot of really big parties that night and it was freezing out, so there weren't many options for me.
    ~Keri~
    Next trip: June 2 for my 28th birthday! Staying the night at the Boardwalk Villas - dinner at Les Chefs, yum!
    I practically grew up at Ft Wilderness, too many visits to count until I was 16.
    I love asparagus and Minnie Mouse the most.
    See me on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photostream/keristars
    Pin Trading Hunt: Minnie Mouse hat from character hat blind bag set.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimann View Post
    I just got back from my first solo trip and I enjoyed dining alone more than I thought I would! I think you should definitely keep 'Ohana, and I might recommend Hoop Dee Doo also. I was aprehensive when I booked it for one (my 1st time seeing it), and I booked the balcony as I thought I would be more comfortable observing instead of participating. It was great. I had the show to keep me busy and the food and server were wonderful. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all!
    I was actually considering Camp Minnie Mickey, but getting out there (I'm staying offsite and won't have a car) is more work than I want to go thru. There's always next time, right?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by keristars View Post
    I had a wonderful experience at Chefs de France last December when eating on my own. They sat me next to the window overlooking the promenade, possibly because it's harder for Remy to get over there (I couldn't figure out how they'd bring the cart next to my table, at least), so a less popular table for families with children, and I didn't mind not interacting with him. It was a gorgeous view right at sunset and the food was good. It was really fun to have fairly fancy French food by myself.

    If that's something that interests you, I recommend it! I enjoyed it so much that I decided as soon as I paid that I'd be going back to treat myself for my birthday, but with a larger party this time. There aren't many restaurants at WDW that I have such a love for (the Plaza is another, but mostly because the strawberry chicken salad is a perfect filling but not heavy lunch).
    Unfortunately, they seem to be holding the restaurants that will be part of the Candlelight Processional dining package from the ADR system. *sigh* I did get a dinner booked at Cape May though. I'll continue to watch the lunch offerings for Epcot. Would like to get LeCellier this time, since I couldn't get in there on my last trip AT. ALL. But that's what happens when you go during Food & Wine. LOL Chefs is one I am considering for my CP package.

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