OT- Disney World trip

Discussion in 'Off Topic Archive' started by GemParty, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. GemParty

    GemParty Premier Properties National Referral-All 50 states

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    Taking my 5 year old next Spring. Would like to stay at a Disney property. Any suggestions? What's the best way to enjoy the area. I haven't been in 20 years. I see you can buy some sort of Magic Bands? Thanks
     
  2. scotty0330

    scotty0330

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    If you can swing it financially staying on Disney property is nice. Buses are constantly coming to and from to take you to any and all the parks. Either suck it up and get a meal plan - 'might as well do a character meal if this is a special trip. Otherwise try and eat off property since it can get expensive. If you are a aaa member you might save buying bands in advance. Expensive trip but Disney folks treat you like kings...they got customer service down cold. Enjoy and seeing it through your kids eyes is worth it...
     
  3. KingOPancakes

    KingOPancakes

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    Went for the first time last year so by far not an expert. We stayed in Port Orleans Riverside and it was fantastic. It's one of their "moderate" hotels so it's in the middle price range. With a 5 year old there are more kid oriented hotels, but that's not to say a kid wouldn't enjoy Port Orleans. There was a pretty big arcade and really nice pool area.

    Magic bands are great and I'm pretty sure they're included in the price when you book a room. They're your lifeline. They let you into the park, they let you into your hotel room, they let you on rides, you use them to pay for food and souvenirs. Just link your credit card to it online or at the front desk and you never need your wallet. Buy something in the park and don't want to carry it around? Have the cashier send it back to your hotel and then pick it up at your hotel's store with your magic band.

    And what Scotty said... they do customer service better than anyone I've ever seen. For a place that sees tens of thousands of people every day, you really feel like they're catering specifically to you.
     
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  4. KingOPancakes

    KingOPancakes

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    Word of advice though: plan early. Dining reservations begin 6 months before your check-in date so if you're going in the Spring you're gonna want to pin it down soon. The good restaurants/good times go quick.
     
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  5. KingOPancakes

    KingOPancakes

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    Also, if you're going to Hollywood Studios, make sure you use one of your Fastpasses on Toy Story Midway Mania. Hands down the best ride in Hollywood Studios and one of the best experiences in all of WDW. Your 5 year old will want to ride it over and over and, honestly, you probably will too.

    Ok. I'll stop spamming the the thread now and start counting down the days until I go back: 79.
     
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  6. GemParty

    GemParty Premier Properties National Referral-All 50 states

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    With a 5 yr old, he's easy to please if they have nuggets or Mac n chz. It's all about him for the trip. What's a must dining experience for the family?
     
  7. KeepWinning

    KeepWinning

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    Just got back two weeks ago. It's tiring and crowded. But seeing my three year olds reaction was priceless!! Yes magic bands are great, and so is the meal plan. We stayed at Caribbean Beach. Resort was nice, room was okay. We did Epcot one day , magic kingdom two days. Then went to Clearwater Beach to recover. Character meals were fun, and the fast passes are great to have! It's tiring and expensive but worth it.
     
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  8. Balker

    Balker

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    Get a Disney specialized travel agent. It will make your life 1000x easier, and they will make sure you are getting the discounts that are available. A go to TA for Disney: Small World Vacations - Authorized Disney Vacation Planner - Walt Disney World, Disneyland Packages, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney!

    Magic Bands are basically just your ticket, room key, and reservations for stuff. You can reserve times for three rides/park/day ahead of time. It's all done through an app, and wifi is provided everywhere down there. But you really want to be booking that stuff 90 days out.

    There aren't really any dining "musts" for kids. But depending on the kids favorite characters, there are places where you can eat with those characters. They are almost all buffets. There are really good restaurants all over the place down there, like they literally hire world class, three star michelin chefs and open restaurants that have no business being in or near theme parks. But kids don't care. As you say, they want mac and cheese, and you want to take pictures of them smiling with Mickey. And that's going to cost $24.99 per person for breakfast, $29.99 for lunch, and $34.99 for dinner. Give or take... But it's generally worth it. That's the point.

    Also, here are some more random thoughts from someone who has been there too many times to admit...
    • Staying on property is much better with kids. Transportation is simpler. Theming is awesome. Service is great.
    • Swan and Dolphin resorts are mid-range prices (not owned by Disney but in the heart of the property), but have the perks and feel of Disney's most expensive hotels, and the location that comes with that (walking to two theme parks and the Boardwalk).
    • All Star Resorts are great, basic hotels if you're on a tight budget, but rent a car or take an Uber to parks if you don't want to slum it on the crowded buses from these "value" hotels. Uber is literally 25% the cost of the taxis in Orlando.
    • Timing is everything. Time of year can be the difference between misery and fun. Weather and crowds can vary wildly even day to day. See: Disney World Crowd Calendar
    • Get to the parks at least 20 minutes before they open. Not a minute later, and know what matters to you and your kids. If it opens at 9, you will get 50% of what you want to do done from 9-10, and can have a much less stressful rest of the day full of breaks, eating, and enjoying yourselves. If you get there at 10 with the rest of the tourists... sad day for you.
     
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  9. John

    John I am the Walrus

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    AAA no longer offers discounted Disney passes/bands. We went in winter of 2015 and they had stopped in late 2014. You can still buy your passes there, but there's no discount like there used to be. No diamond parking passes anymore either, Disney did away with those special lots.
     
  10. John

    John I am the Walrus

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    been several times with the kids, and here's my advice - you will create some wonderful memories. Plan ahead as much as possible (restaurants, fastpasses, etc) - remember, reservations can be changed, the important thing is to make them. Now here's the important thing: when you get there, DO NOT TRY TO DO EVERYTHING IN ONE VISIT. Don't be that parent running around, dragging an exhausted family behind you, trying to do every last thing that Disney offers. Take the vacation as it comes. Yes, you will miss doing this or that. Not a big deal. Enjoy the place, the attractions, the food and most of all, your kids having fun and making great memories.
     
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  11. RichZ

    RichZ Methuselah's older brother

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    Personally, I don't get the whole Disney experience. It was great to see it through the grandkids eyes the first couple times we went with them, when they were small (I think 5 or 6 is the perfect age). Going without the kids does nothing for me (other than make me substantially poorer.)
    My wife and my daughter on the other hand, are total Disney freaks. They go by themselves, without the kids (who are now both college students). But we've got a great granddaughter from my son's daughter, and she's going on six, so my wife is making noises about taking her in like January.
    My wife has gone probably 10 or 11 times. I've accompanied her 4 or 5 times.
    I personally enjoy renting a house off property more than staying on property, but my wife disagrees.
    Of the places on site that we've stayed, Port Orleans was the most pleasant for me.
    My favorite meal in Disney has been the Jambalaya at the House of Blues in Downtown (Now called Disney Springs). It's supper on the first night we are there, every time.
     
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  12. kris1

    kris1

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    We've gone every other year for the last 8-years. We're heading back down in November. My kids are now 14 and 12 respectively. They love Carribean Beach Resort, so we've always stayed there. Definitely plan ahead. My wife has planning the trip down to a science. She constantly checks for deals on flights, when the meal plans are free, new rides, rides closed for restoration, new restaurants, etc. We map everything out 6 months in advance. We decide everything from where we want to eat to what rides and shows are absolute musts on each trip. Others have given great advice, and you really can't go wrong with whatever you choose.

    My two cents.....we found that with young kids, splitting the day into morning and evening sessions works great. My kids were 4 and 6 years old on our first WDW trip. We would go to a park at open, head back to the hotel after lunch, relax at the pool or nap for 2 or 3-hours (believe me you'll all need the break), then head back to the park (or a different park with the optional Park Hopper) for dinner and stay for that evening's parade or fireworks show.

    There's a lot of walking and waiting so a midday break is a must with a 5-year old. You'll be as exhausted as they are. There's nothing better then a midday nap, in an air conditioned room.

    If your planning for an April or May trip, you should probably contact Disney now, to get things rolling. They will help you with everything and make the trip as stress-free as possible. We've never had a bad experience.

    Best of luck and enjoy.....
     
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  13. KingOPancakes

    KingOPancakes

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    Can only speak about the places I've actually tried, but some of the highlights from my trip:

    Animal Kingdom: Tusker House buffet was pretty good and characters walk around visiting tables (Donald, goofy, Mickey)

    Magic Kingdom: crystal palace is another buffet with Winnie the Pooh characters that put on a parade every half hour or so. They let all the kids join in too. That would be a great one for a 5 year old. Also at MK is a restaurant called Be Our Guest. 2 perks to this one. 1) it looks like a castle, inside and out, and 2) if you do buy the dining plan, Be Our Guest costs a quick service credit when it really feels like a table service type restaurant. (Quick service places are usually chicken tenders/burgers/pizza in a cafeteria setting, but be our guest has better food and feels more like a restaurant).

    Epcot: coral reef. The food wasn't great, but you're really going to the coral reef for the experience. One entire wall of the dining room is an aquarium. There's hundreds of different fish swimming by and sometimes divers are there. There's also not a bad seat in the house. We were almost as far away from the aquarium wall as you could possibly be and it was still a really cool experience.
     
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  14. MilliniumPrince

    MilliniumPrince Jonathan 3:16 means we just beat your ass!

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    Grand Floridian is great, but The Contemporary is my favorite. As for things you must do, Mickey's Backyard BBQ will have a 5 year old on Cloud 9 for days. All you can eat BBQ
    (wine, beer, and ice cream included).
     
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  15. huskymedic

    huskymedic

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    Disney fanatic... never a bad trip and we've done both Disneyland (twice) and Disney World (mid-teens) as well as multiple Disney Cruise Line itineraries. Used to be annual pilgrimages. My 20 y/o and 18 y/o sons are currently agitating for another trip. Watching your son enjoy the experiences when he is young will stay w/ you forever.

    Here's a great site to browse (one of the best out there). AllEarsĀ® - The Unofficial Walt Disney World Newsletter
     
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  16. TheRogers

    TheRogers

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    Convenience.....
    Boardwalk, yacht club, beach club - you have your own entry to Epcot and Disney Studios.
    Much to do along the boardwalk. ESPN, Arcade

    Contemporary, Polynesian, Bay Lake, Grand Floridian. Monorail ride to Magical Kingdom. If at Bay Lake, Magic Kingdom is walking distance

    Going in October with family as well
     
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  17. 8893

    8893 Curiouser

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    Lots of great advice here already. Will try to chime in with more later but wanted to add Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue as a great family experience that is a must do IMO. We are also big fans of staying at the Contemporary. Btw you can take a boat from there to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and it is pretty cool for the kids.
     
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  18. August_West

    August_West Shall we play a game?

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    I'm a 20 year DVC member . Boardwalk is my home resort. It is my favorite location by far ( and I've pretty much stayed at Most of them) ..... but with a 5 year old boy I would be looking at one of the Animal Kingdom resorts.
    I'm jealous, you are taking him at the perfect age . You are going to have just as good a time as he does simply viewing the wonderment he is going to experience.

    I go every year sometimes twice a year. It never gets old, never gets boring. My daughter is 15 now and the way we "do" Disney changes but she is still enthralled every time we go.
     
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  19. tjhusky

    tjhusky

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    Went to Epcot two weeks ago. Also first time in about 20 years for me. We tried to book fast pass rides the morning we were going to the park and times were almost non-existent.
    My nephew who was there with his son said he booked his fast pass times 3 months before the trip. I didn't realize you could do that.

    Also after you use all your fast pass times you can book additional slots. Since our last fast pass was at 9:30 pm we were not able to book any more since the park was closing after our last ride. So read up on fast pass, prioritize the rides you want and use them for the most popular rides (at Epcot they are Frozen, Soarin, and Test track).

    The other advantages of staying on property are you can get into the park early on some days. I think one park per day opens an hour early for guest staying in a Disney hotel. Also a good strategy is to get to the park early and go back to the hotel for a midday break (nap, pool,etc). When you are up to it head back to the parks until closing. Probably important with a 5 year old.
    You may want to consider renting a stroller. My Fitbit tracked about 9 miles the day we went to Epcot. That is a lot for kid legs to do.
     
  20. GemParty

    GemParty Premier Properties National Referral-All 50 states

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    Do you need a rental car?
     
  21. August_West

    August_West Shall we play a game?

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    Not if you stay on property. No car EVER needed.
     
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  22. 8893

    8893 Curiouser

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    If you stay at a Disney property, no.
     
  23. Excalibur

    Excalibur

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    Favorite meal was at Boma in the Animal Kingdom lodge. The fast service places in the parks are all pretty good considering the volume of food that they are producing.

    Definitely recommend the use of a Disney-specialized travel agent. We used Small World Vacations and they were very good in helping us plan the trip and keep costs down.

    Plan out your fast passes. There are sites that can put together itineraries for you based on data on lines and crowds. You may be able to hit certain high-demand rides without getting the fast passes if you time it correctly. Keep checking back if you can't get fast passes right away for a ride that you want. People change their itineraries all the time so spots open up.

    Rent the stroller with a 5 year-old. I cannot stress this enough.

    Planning a Disney trip is roughly the equivalent (in terms of complexity) of planning a wedding. Don't try to do it yourself.
     
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  24. GemParty

    GemParty Premier Properties National Referral-All 50 states

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    Airport to Disney hotels no car seat. Shuttle?
     
  25. John

    John I am the Walrus

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    Double thumbs up on a stroller, you will definitely need it - good for carrying around gear too. One other thing, bring canteens/water bottles to fill with water - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Also, we last went in winter of 2015 so I don't know if the policy has changed, but bring snacks for everyone - the parks allow things like granola bars, goldfish, etc. It'll save money, and you can snack while standing in lines for rides and not waste time going to a snack bar.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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