Anyone else got a Disney Florida trip planned? Want to get excited together and share plans?

(999 Posts)
PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:03:03

We are off to DisneyWorld next year and I am already really excited about it. Anyone else? I'd love to compare notes on what you are doing to prepare. I'm starting to think about how to do a big surprise for the DC when we tell them we are going.

roughtyping Sun 30-Sep-12 19:07:17

V jealous. We're not going but I LOVE Florida. We went this summer. Trying to figure out how we could go back next year... (We def can't, saving for our wedding!)

However I'd be sooo pleased to give any advice and generally be v v jealous grin

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 19:07:24

I can sit in the corner and be jealous if you like, we went this year and it was amazing. grin

roughtyping Sun 30-Sep-12 19:08:06

Where are you staying btw?

We booked just before Christmas last year, gave DS a Christmas card on the day with it written inside. He was underwhelmed!!!

roughtyping Sun 30-Sep-12 19:08:39

smoulder snap grin

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 19:11:28

Aww we didn't do it as we had one of those free calendars up on the wall with Disney/universal theming so the dc could cross off a day at a time. I think it was 80 days out when it started shock but I had been planning for a lot longer than that because of the 180 days out restaurant booking.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:17:42

We're doing 10 nights at the Port Orleans Riverside in January, our 3rd time at that hotel blush so at least we know exactly what to expect from the hotel.

Last time we saved a fortune by buying little Disney gifts here and taking them with us so we didn't need to spend much in the gift shops and the DC still got lots of little treats through the holiday. I've just started doing the same again this week, picked up some Rapunzel brushes in Claire's accessories in the sale so my stash has begun!

I want to think of a way to surprise the girls with the holiday, they loved it last time and regularly ask to see the photos so I think they will be pretty excited when we tell them.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:18:49

Love the nickname btw youbroke!!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 19:25:01

I'm not sure with the surprise, will have a think about it. But we did get lots of trading pins and 2 lanyards delivered to the hotel and each morning the dc saved the pins they wanted to keep into their luggage and chose 5 swappers to go out with that day. They loved it.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 19:26:56

Will Storybook Circus be open? I can't remember the soft opening date.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:33:16

This is our plan to tell them at the moment, see what you think, its a work in progress.

We fly on a Monday, so the Monday before a letter arrives for each of them in a posh envelope with a mysterious note inside that says 'We miss you, we hope you will come and visit again soon' but nothing more.

On the Wednesday a box arrives in the post with a small Disney something inside for each of them, but no message, lots of confetti in there too to make it more exciting.

On the Friday a letter comes to say make sure you are in tomorrow, you will get an important delivery. The next day, Saturday, my lovely neighbour plants their trunki's on our doorstep, with a balloon and pretend plane tickets attached, rings the door bell and legs it. We let them find them and hope they figure it out from there, they are only preschoolers so hope they will. Then it would only be '2 sleeps' until we fly and we can all get very excited.

What do you think? Too much?

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 19:37:06

Me!!!!!!

This time next year, I'll be on day 2 of my 21 day Orlando odyssey!!!

Got countdowns for everything: online check in, booking Disney dining/events, booking, travelling to Manchester and flying out!!

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 19:39:12

Painting - that is a really lovely reveal!

I'm sure they'll get it and be super excited for the 2 day countdown!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:40:19

21 days?! Wow, that is amazing. We've only ever done 7 nights before, so can't wait for this time to be 10 nights but 21 nights is a.m.a.z.i.n.g!

scrappydappydoo Sun 30-Sep-12 19:43:03

Ahem - my name is Scrappy and I have a problem. I am addicted to planning my Disney holiday.
We have flights and hotels booked and will be buying tickets tomorrow. I have planned each day and am itching for Wednesday when my adr window opens. V excited about seeing the new fantasyland
The dibb have a free planning tool which is very helpful as are the busy day guides and the forums are a great source of info and full of like minded people.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:46:51

Scrappy Maybe we need to start a support group? We could have our very own Disney addicts 12 step program. As long as one of the steps is 'eat as many Mickey shaped food items as you can manage' I'd love it!

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 19:47:07

We've been a few times pre kids, and took the kids for 14 days in 2010, which was brilliant - our first time at a villa rather than a hotel.

But, as we're at a villa again, we've worked out that it's not much more expensive, as we've learned from last time that the kids wanted to spend more time at their 'own' pool rather that at the parks, so we'll not buy as many park days this time round - and not eat out as much, just shop at Publix and eat at the villa.

SERIOUSLY can't wait, and no holiday this year to help us save for it!

ByTheWay1 Sun 30-Sep-12 19:47:36

We went for 14 days in 2010 - October break - it was FAB - did the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - had a brilliant time... I'm also sitting enviously in the corner....... envy

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:48:03

Where are you staying Scrappy? Been before?

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 19:51:50

Bytheway - that's when I went last!

Loved MNSSHP! Such a lovely night / with such a lot of free candy grin

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:55:17

Tobago We looked into a villa for this time, because 4 of us in a hotel room isn't ideal and with some dietary needs self catering would be easier but I am a really nervous driver and really, really don't want to drive over there so we decided to stay on-site. We love the PO Riverside though so its no problem.

If we had more $$$ we would have gone for a 1 bed villa in Saratoga Springs, but we'll save that for next time when the girls are bigger.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 19:55:55

Me!!! We're all booked up for Summer 2013- we're doing a 4 week road trip starting in Washington DC, then Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and finally a fortnight in Orlando....Can't wait!! We were last in Disneyworld in 2009 so I'm really excited to see what has changed and think it'll be an entirely different experience with the DC's being 4 years older.

I second the DIBB forum planner- has spaces to fill in everything- hotel details, flight details, restaurant reservations and other planned activities.

Ooooooohhhh, have butterflies just thinking about it!!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 19:57:39

Bytheway We were originally planning for October 2013 but we couldn't get the time off so we hastily booked for January. It means we have a lot less time to save up though sad and a lot less Jack and Sally stuff, DH loves Jack Skellington.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Sep-12 19:59:17

Us! Next April grin.

BiscuitNibbler Sun 30-Sep-12 20:00:20

We're off in November - can't wait! 37 days to go!

Staying at Port Orleans too, also our third time there. Love it there, so relaxed and great after a day at the parks.

We don't plan, we just see how we feel each day and take advantage of the extra magic hours, and also sometimes just see which bus turns up first! I know this will sound horrifying to some Disney fans but it is the way we like it. Only thing we have planned this time is tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

January is a great time to go - so quiet and generally good weather. You will have a great time!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:00:57

That sounds fab Lumpy, 4 weeks - wow!

akaemmafrost What are your plans? Where are you staying etc?

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:03:25

37 days?! That is so exciting and another Port Orleans regular. 37 days is soon enough to be getting stupidly excited.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:05:12

Storybook circus is open, DH just found this picture i.minus.com/jxXvng3uegB3P.JPG

BiscuitNibbler Sun 30-Sep-12 20:05:39

I am very excited! Got loads to do before we go, though, so it is all creeping up on me a bit too quickly! I am currently planning my packing, though!

Happypiglet Sun 30-Sep-12 20:06:00

Oooo we are going for the first time in half term, in 4 weeks time we will be there!
We are staying at the beach club hotel and I have booked all the dining up front including Cinderella's breakfast on the last morning.
My DC (DS1 is 8, DS2 is 7 and DD is 5) have no idea we are even going away. I am not sure how we will reveal it. Maybe a present each on the Friday when we arrive at Gatwick to stay overnight.
Quick question my DS2 has seen all the ads and really wants to get some autographs. I can't find a disney themed autograph book (except Paris 20th anniversary ones) in the Disney store any ideas?

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:06:22

Have any of you heard of RideMax? I've never tried it, but apparently it's amazing for cutting down wait times drastically. It's a computer programme based on years of data about busy days/ peak times/ popular rides etc. As far as I'm aware, you purchase this programme ( roughly £10 I think) and enter the rides that you want to go on, and the programme plans an itinerary for you. Supposedly it saves you lots of times. We're going to give it a go I think.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:13:07

Happy We found some roughly A5, hardback Tinkerbelle notebooks in poundland that we used as autograph books last time. They have plenty in the gift shops there and they will have them in your hotel gift shop too if you want to get them there. Think they were something like $8 or $12 each.

ByTheWay1 Sun 30-Sep-12 20:14:43

Are you going to Universal as well?

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:17:02

Lumpy No, I haven't heard of that but DH has already downloaded an app for his phone called mydisneyexperience which gives real time wait times for you whilst you are in the parks so we will use that here

Have you seen the touring plans in this book? They were really helpful the first time we went (the second time we had 2 toddlers so just took each day as it came!), maybe worth a look.

ByTheWay1 Sun 30-Sep-12 20:18:09

We used Tour Guide Mike - his busy day guide was spot on..

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:20:13

Forgot to say Happy, we did Cinderella's breakfast too. It was fabulous. Both girls loved it and we got some brilliant photos with the princesses. We had Belle (blue dress), Ariel, Snow White and Princess Aurora in the restaurant and the greet with Cinderella as we went in. They still play with the magic wands they were given each day, it was $$$ but really worth it.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:21:29

Sorry am being a dimwit. Not storybook circus as such with the dumbo rides etc but Peres silly sideshow with the new character meet and greets. Is anyone booking the new Be Our Guest restaurant. I tho k the menu looks great.

We love going for any of the Mardi Gras dates as Universal but would love to try Halloween as well.

I can recommend the OKW one beds, well worth the extra couple of hundred if there's an OkW/SSR 40% off deal with the free DDP.

And no planning? No planning [combusts]

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:54

Lumpy you can get that data free from easywdw or you can pay about a tender a day to have personalised plans from Helpaboutthemouse.com either itinerary or touring plans as well and they book your adds on the 180 day.[lazy emoticon]

suebfg Sun 30-Sep-12 20:24:48

You'll all have an amazing time - it was the best holiday we've ever had and we travel a lot.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:24:53

Will definitely lookmat The Unofficial Guide and Tour Guide Mike....I love planning!! Makes the holiday fun start sooner!!

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Sep-12 20:25:44

9 nights, Bahama Bay Resort. We prefer a resort as just find it easier. Like activities on hand and a clubhouse etc. We got a good deal actually, a three bedroom apartment. Anyone else know of it?

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:26:12

Brilliant smoulder, I'll have a look at those websites. Thanks!

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Sep-12 20:26:15

Personally I can't wait for Harry Potter World grin.

Jaffacakeeater Sun 30-Sep-12 20:26:16

We are!!!! Next Easter. One week at Wilderness Lodge, week on Disney Cruise and a last week at the Grand Floridian. It really is going to be our family holiday of a lifetime....I'm welling up thinking about it! Hope everyone has the best time.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:27:13

I am hoping to eat at Be Our Guest, but just in the day when its counter service rather than at night when its table service. I was looking here and it looks good.

We aren't doing Universal, we think we are going to wait until the girls are older to do that. I think a lot of it will be lost on them, they won't know many of the characters and are still too little to many rides. Though I am desperate to see Harry Potter World.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:27:35

Apologies for the numerous and ridiculous typos. My iPad is driving me to distraction.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:28:27

Lumpy I have the Unofficial guide 2013 and 2012, I just love reading and planning! They are well worth a read.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:30:11

"One week at Wilderness Lodge, week on Disney Cruise and a last week at the Grand Floridian"

So, so jealous Jaffa envy

scrappydappydoo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:31:51

We're going Easter - we go every three years as my family own dvc and it rotates round us - we're doing 1 week in a marriott time share then 1 week at the boardwalk.

Don't use tourguide mike - his standard has really dropped in the past few years - use www.easywdw.com much better and free as well.

We did cinderellas breakfast last time - booked an early time so got to walk up main street without the crowds - was fab and got great photos.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:31:54

Bloody hell Jaffa envy grin

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:34:03

I'm so excited about Harry Potter World too. We're contemplating booking one night in one of the Universal Resorts because you get early entry to Harry Potter World and front of line passes for the day you check-in and the day you check-out. Think it could be well worth it.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:34:14

We are actually having low level talks about buying a villa. That's how much I love it, I can tell you that as you aren't going to go all snobby on me. In RL people would really raise an eyebrow. It will take us years to do it mind but then when we are older we could spend a whole month in the middle of a miserable UK winter in the sun.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:35:21

Lumpy we stayed at the Hard Rock, it was well worth it, we did two nights in the end but it was great. Early entry to HP and then in the evening wandering over to Citywalk for dinner at Bubba Gumps.

Happypiglet Sun 30-Sep-12 20:35:41

Thanks for the autograph book tips! May wait until we get there... I have the unofficial guide and have each day planned based on extra hours and avoiding busy days etc etc...it made my mind boggle actually but I needed to book all our dining so needed to decide which parks on which day up front!
We only have seven nights and want to make the most of it!
DH has just downloaded that app painting which looks really useful.
I had to do the Cinderella breakfast. We will probably never go back and as DD is 5 it is just a must. DSs will probably love it too!! I am going to buy her a new princess dress up outfit for the occasion before we go!
For her birthday in July I bought her loads of Disney princess stuff so she is all clued up about each one. I am trying to subtly indoctrinate them without letting the secret out! I bought the encyclopaedia of Disney princesses which both boys have poured over!
I am so excited too!!

ihatethecold Sun 30-Sep-12 20:35:42

Wahoo. We are going in 28 days. gringrin
I can't wait. We have a couple of days in Clearwater first then Orlando. For 9 days then back to the seaside as we fly to and from tampa cos it was loads cheaper than Orlando airport.
It gonna be a complete surprise for the kids 12 & 9. They think we are going to Italy on a camp site like canvas!
We did Disney parks last time so this time it's the water parks gringrin and universal.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:39:10

Youbroke That is our dream, our absolute dream. You are right though, some people are a little snobby about Disney. I don't know why though.

We had a few hmm looks when we told family we had booked to go back, they think we are crazy. Its not like we haven't travelled lots, DH and I have both lived in different countries, travelled plenty but we just have so much fun at Disney that we like to go back. I can't see what there is to be snobby about.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 20:39:44

smoulder I really like the look of the Hard Rock Hotel.... You have convinced me!! Off to price it now, lol!!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:41:48

You can often get deals for more than one night cheaper than one night on its own so bear that in mind. We got our deal through flight centre or some such. You can get it cheaper if you are AA as well.

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 20:42:52

Painting - had a thought about your reveal - do you know anyone who is going to the land of the mouse before you?

Reason I ask, is that we got our boys a Disney Dollar each for their reveal. Got a friend to pick them up in guest services (at any Disney park). It's a flat exchange rate 1 dollar = 1 Disney Dollar, but they are beautiful, with Minnie, Mickey and Donald on them.

If you can get them, you could include with the fake tickets?

Tobagostreet Sun 30-Sep-12 20:44:52

Loads of people recommend booking into the Hard Rock Hotel (or any of the Universal ones) for 1 night, as this gets you front of the line passes for 2 days, which for a family of 4 don't cost much less than the hotel room!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:47:25

Happy At the Cinderella breakfast the boys will get a sword and the girls get a wand. When we went the next table had 2 boys on and they got lots of extra attention from the princesses, I think they were the only boys in there but they looked like they were having a blast.

Lots of girls were in princess dresses, many had just come from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique so had the dress, their hair up in a bun with a tiara and spray glitter in and some make up on. They really look great, its really cute when a mini Belle meets the real Belle!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:49:10

Yep and unlike the bought express passes they are unlimited so you can go on a ride again and again, as my dc did on Woody Woodpeckers roller coaster. I got myself a frozen margarita in the end and sat and watched them. Marvellous.

In fact universal is a lot more chilled like that generally. There's a great splash play area where you can chill out while they get completely soaked, we took towels and cossies with us.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:50:00

Tobago Sadly no, we don't know anyone going between then and now. We have some D.dollars but they are Pirates of the Caribbean though so nut sure the DDs will like them! Wonder if there are any on ebay?

Happypiglet Sun 30-Sep-12 20:53:34

Ahh.... We won't be boutiquing it as we have a really early slot... But she will def dress up. belle is her current favourite so will probably go for her or poss Cinderella herself!
When we were camping on a Yelloh site in the summer in France there was a man dressed up as a giant red and yellow chipmunk and the most mouth eaten bedraggled costume you have ever seen. DD still believed 'Yellihto' was real and spent every evening at the mini disco queuing up for a cuddle....
This is why I think Disney will blow her mind!!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 20:57:12

We've got so much MN Florida knowledge we should have a special section in holidays!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 20:57:58

Happy I'd steer her to dress as Belle because you will probably get more attention from Belle once you are all sat and eating if she has the Belle dress on. Your time with Cinderella is much more limited so unlikely to get any extra 'special' time with her.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Sep-12 21:02:02

Just did a quick search on prices for Universal hotels- can get Loew's Royal Pacific for £187 for my dates or Hard Rock/ Portofino Bay for £226.... The fast passes for 2 days for 4 of us come to £346 so it's a no-brainer!! Going to book one of them for sure!!

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 21:03:00

Ihatethecold When will the kids find out that its Florida and not Italy? They will be so excited!

Happypiglet Sun 30-Sep-12 21:03:07

Thanks for the tip! As it will be a surprise it's totally up to me so will go for Belle... This thread is really useful for me, a Disney first timer.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 21:10:07

My daughters favourite bit of the whole holiday Happy was being very first in the queue to meet the princesses at the meet and greet in the town hall in Magic Kingdom. My DH legged it through the entrance when the rope was dropped and got there first. When they opened, Princess Aurora came to open the doors and escorted my DD (2yrs 11mths) inside, whilst the other cast members ushered in the others to form a queue, Aurora sat with my DD and chatted with her and then showed my DD her dress and taught her to swish her dress like a princess.
DD beamed for the rest of the day, it was really magical.
So my top tip is to get to the front of the queue one morning if you can, your DD would love it!

WannaSplitAPineapple Sun 30-Sep-12 21:26:51

Oh you are getting me all excited! We're off there at Easter for a week on a Disney Cruise then a week at Saratoga springs. Last time we were there we did a night at Royal Pacific to allow us early entry into universal and it was well worth it. We looked at the hard rock but we spent so little time in the hotel it wouldn't have been worth it. We're not doing Universal this time as we've now got DS and I don't think it's as baby friendly as Disney, plus we only have a week for the parks.
Wow love the idea of the big reveal! I bet your little ones will be ecstatic, I know I would wink

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 21:33:01

Wanna I hope they will be really excited, I think they will be. We looked at loads of YouTube videos to get ideas of how to do the reveal but most rely on the kids reading something and ours are too young to read so thats why we came up with the suitcases. I'm hoping that the first few letters, which we'll read to them, will give enough of a hint that the penny will drop when they see the suitcases. Will try to video it, but I might be too excited to hold the camera!

RedBlanket Sun 30-Sep-12 21:39:11

I'm so envy, we went last year an the DCs loved it. It's was fab

We stayed at the Royal Pacific for 3 nights and it was worth every penny for the fast pass and early acces to Wizarding World You can walk on to pretty much all of the rides, although not Ollivanders so get there early.
I read on a HP site that they are building a new section for Harry potter which will be Kings Cross. I want to go again just for that!

We stayed in a villa this year but found it a bit stressful having to travel to the parks etc.

Next year we're staying at the Polynesian. Anyone stayed there before?

Going on a food plan so get to start booking restaurants etc in December. Definitely going to do Beast's Castle Banquet.

Too excited!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 21:44:07

Ooh haven't stayed there mrsc but had a good look about after an Ohana dinner. Looks lovely. What restaurants are you thinking about?

I've walked past it when the monorails were off to get a coach to downtown Disney but didn't have a proper snoop about. Kicking myself now!

We're going on the deluxe meal plan which is totally ridiculous, good thing is that you can double up your tokens for certain experiences so will definitely do Cinderella and the Beast's Castle restaurant. Probably Ohana as it'll be convenient, what did you think of it?

Otherwise I haven't a clue. I've eaten in a few restaurants in Epcot but only snacks in MK etc so not sure where to start!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 22:00:16

Ohana was great, far too much food but a good meal. And the dc loved the games. None of our other meals was upto much apart from the buffet character breakfast at Tusker House and Teppan Edo.

Crystal Palace was ok but a bit meh. It was all a bit busy and a bit of a mess tbh.

Crystal palace is in a really convenient spot though and has bloody Winnie the Pooh. I think we'll probably go there but I'm not expecting much from it.

Didn't realise, but should've guessed, that Teppan Edo would be Teppanyaki. I am SO there. Really hungry now sad

WannaSplitAPineapple Sun 30-Sep-12 22:05:33

smoulder you sound like me, we have eaten at a few of the hotels and I always have a good nose about. We can't decide where to eat this year although Be Our Guest is defiantly on our list and I wouldn't mind doing a character breakfast again. Does anyone have any recommendations?
painting you should ask a friend/family member to come and record it. It would be a lovely start to a holiday video.

WannaSplitAPineapple Sun 30-Sep-12 22:09:18

Crossed posts so just wanted to say that Ohanas do a really good character breakfast mrs

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 22:13:17

We're doing breakfast at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios, the reviews of the food is a bit meh but they have Jake and Agent Oso so the girls won't care less about the food!

CockBollocks Sun 30-Sep-12 22:13:37

Next April <does a little dance>

I am so excited, we last went before children in 2005 we are staying in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

<squeeeeeeeeeeeeee>

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 22:14:40

Mrsc Teppan Edo is great, a real highlight for the dc too as they loved all the little tricks and jokes the chef did. I had the scallops I think, the dc a mix of steak and shrimp. It's one of the few places where the dc don't have to eat nuggets as well.

We did whispering canyon too and it was fun though the food was a bit rubbish. We wish we had done the Cape May clambake. That looked fab.

Eggrules Sun 30-Sep-12 22:19:31

I am logging in and then will go back to read the thread.

We want to go for around 21 days. Ideally it would look like this:

Stay in Disney hotel by the park for 2 nights
Rent a villa for other Florida sights
Have a final beach type for 5 nights

Any ideas/ tips?

Eggrules. We've done a week at the parks and then a week down in St Petersburg for some sun, sea and sand.

What other Florida sights did you have in mind? What age are your children?

IMHO, 2 nights at the parks won't be enough. Unless you want to hop from Disney to Universal? I'd do 2-3 days in each.

Definitely doing Teppan Edo then smile

What about shows? What are 'must sees'?

I've seen Dreams the firework show about 10 times lol, Finding Nemo was good, Little Mermaid short but sweet. Going to do Lion King next year. Anything else?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 30-Sep-12 22:47:04

I think 5 days Disney, that's one for each park and a day for downtown Disney or a waterpark, plus you'd get free dining if you were within the right period.

Best shows? Lion King definitely, Fantasmic a must see, you can do a dining package for that as you've got credits to burn! Indiana jones stunt show good, and dd loved beauty and the beast at HS. Wishes was great but we didn't do illuminations, just couldn't make it work with the rope drops the next morning. The only parade we did was MK which was fab.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Sun 30-Sep-12 23:06:40

Anyone leave mousekeeping envelopes with a tip in? We never have before but I'm thinking it would be a nice craft activity for the kids before we go.

We have left a tip in our room before, but always just left the cash on the bed nearest the door. Looks liek lots of people put some serious effort into how they leave the tips, here

Crashes into thread yelling me me me

Ok I may be a tad excited but am taking dd and ( ds1 and ds2 not wanting to go ) next September for 14 nights staying at POFQ
They have no clue they been wanting go a long time but told them need save 2/3 years and then were go to Euro Disney

I'm planning tell them around May time with treasure hunt . Not leaving to last minute as want them to have the excitement of it

Am nervours as I'm a full time wheelchair user and ds3 part time . Disney have been great it's just the airline /airport bit am nervours about any tips

Oh and plan is just Disney and seaworld not the other parks . I may consider DC but will talk to them later next year about access etc

Groovee Mon 01-Oct-12 06:45:53

We fly out next June. Haven't told the kids. Going for a villa this time though x

ihatethecold Mon 01-Oct-12 10:26:56

paintingtheflowersred
we are planning on getting to gatwick and then giving them our universal tickets and watching their faces..
they are 12 and 9 and we talk about our previous holiday to florida all the time. my and my DH are soo excited.

ByTheWay1 Mon 01-Oct-12 10:59:23

We have been 3 times and ALWAYS book one night in the Royal Pacific for the middle of our break - a weeknight is best.... the Royal Pacific is the cheapest, and the theming is FAB - and I love getting to and from the parks by free water taxi - it is the way to travel!!

Being able to spend the evening out on Citywalk with a drink is great too, and swimming in the hot outdoor heated pool under the stars was stunning...

You also get 2 whole days parking for the price of 1 night's parking... (you still have to pay)

But of course the best perk is the "fast pass" equivalent - you can book in at 6.30am, be at the parks for early opening and get to fastpass rides all day, and the next day - all for 1 night's room!! 5 times on the Simpsons ride in an hour is best done BEFORE lunch though!!!!! And the time saving on M-I-B is worth the room rate alone!

Be aware that if you stay at any of the hotels, they do allow pets in one wing - so if you have any allergies, ask for a pet free wing. They also do "feather free" rooms on request. Mine are allergic to cats and feathers! You email them and they RING YOU BACK!! - nothing is too much trouble!

suebfg Mon 01-Oct-12 13:16:21

If you are going to Disney, note that you could fill nearly the whole 2 weeks with the Disney parks alone. Highly recommend the 14 day Disney explorer ticket - you will get good use out of it.

When do people tell their dc ? Part me wants to tell them Xmas but thinking 9 months may take edge of the excitement and drive me nuts to

Happypiglet Mon 01-Oct-12 16:58:12

Thanks to whoever suggested the DIBB planner. I have spent a happy time today starting to fill in the planner... It really helps to have all the info in one place. Will explore the site some more too at some point!
TheHumanCatapult we are telling DC on the Friday before we fly in the Gatwick hotel... We booked a year ago and it has been the hardest secret to keep ever!
They have never been before.... Hoping they are chuffed!!!

Hulababy Mon 01-Oct-12 17:02:45

We are going in Febuary half term, just for a week.

We have been before - this will be out fifth trip - but we normally go in the summer. DH was desperate for some winter sun though so booked a couple of weeks ago.

We are flying with Virgin and we are then staying in a villa in the area which is owned by one of DH's colleagues. Will book tickets from someone like Undercover Tourist a bit nearer the time.

DD is 10y (nearly 11 at the time) for this trip - she;s been at 2y, 4y, 7y and 9y. She knows we are going again as she was there when we made the decision. Never done the big surprise thing.

PaintingTheFlowersRed Mon 01-Oct-12 17:41:47

There are quite a few of us busy planning! I'm just so excited, it just can't come soon enough for me!

I'm planning for 2018 smile the children will be 7 & 9.
I am saving £100 per month (currently have saved one months worth) smile

Terra

Took me long time and paying it still it's painfull but be worth it when they find out
At the moment we have qsdp not sure whether to go Dp as not sure how we cope being tied to a particular time or park . We tend to be off the cuff kind of people

So dithering . Do you get long with characters at your table ?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 01-Oct-12 20:50:02

Thc I think it's so worth it but we've had this out before on another thread haven't we about recommended parks. I hate to queue! And because I know what park I'm going to be in then I can book the ADRs.

You can always make rope drop at a recommended park, do your top few things and then off the cuff it?

Jagsy Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:44

Hi all, we are off soon, 3 weeks tomorrow! V v excited. Staying at animal kingdom lodge, my DH & I both celebrated our 40th birthdays this year and ths is our gift to each other. Booked 18 months ago, been a long wait.

MrsC, on the dibb website there is a lot of trip reports, have a look through, there are some where others have the deluxe dining plan, lots of pics so helps with the selection process.

Jagsy Mon 01-Oct-12 21:39:36

Painting, do you know anyone who lives in the states? US residents can get customise Disney park maps for free! Our friend gave us her US address to use and we ordered those, the are sent to the US address who then posted to us. It's a disney envelope and we surprised the kids with it!

Broken shoulder not with me I'm still dithering got few months to decide yet before hot 6 month window

Don't know if there's a busy guide out yet for next September

For me I'm looking forward to being able to ride with them as struggle in uk with H&S where Wdw said long as have good upper body and can self transfer there's no problem riding )

ByTheWay1 Tue 02-Oct-12 08:18:56

we went 3 times and it just cost more and more each time - flights mainly, so won't be able to go back for a lonnnnnng while- it does bug me bit that we have "spent" a car, AND a new kitchen on 3 holidays..... we have the memories, but now it is time to do up the house sad

PaintingTheFlowersRed Tue 02-Oct-12 18:11:05

Jagsy No, I don't know anyone who could order those maps for us over there. Its such a shame that things like that aren't available over here, especially when you think of how many Brits go over there. When we were looking there are websites that you can book a phone call from Mickey on, then you let your child pick up the phone at the pre-booked time and Mickey will tell them the good news in a pre-recorded message. Its only about $3 but its not available in the UK sad

ByTheWay I feel a little guilty about how much we will have spent on holidays in the last few years, but I tell myself that they will cherish the memories and the photos but they won't care that we didn't have a conservatory! I really want to build lots of lovely family memories together as our own little family unit, because neither DH or I have that from our childhoods. I do feel bad that we are seriously delaying when we could extend our house or move to something a bit bigger to give us the space we really need. But you can't have it all can you?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 02-Oct-12 19:01:24

Thc they come out just before the 180 day mark don't they.

It's not the same at all but Disney were amazing with dd who has hearing loss. They really go the extra mile. It made me tear up actually, sad I know.

You broke

I can fully understand its ok

But have to say so far they have been amazing smile I'm just got to wait to end of month roughly to find out who were be flying with Virgin or BA

But sent my passport of yesterday so that's another tick in box ( children already have theirs >

KTK9 Wed 03-Oct-12 13:55:21

Hi

Glad I found this, we are going in exactly 19 days!!! Only told dd last week for her birthday, by sending her a letter from Mickey, inviting her to his MNSSHP. She didn't 'get it' at first, but since we are now planning our costumes, she is so excited.

We are staying at the Beach Club, which we stayed at before, but have three days where we haven't got acommodation yet. Not sure if to do Universal - Hard Rock/Royal Pacific, or go further afield - any thoughts?

I have also thought about Discovery Cove, but it is just sooooooo expensive and I must admit, although I would just love to have a dolphin experience, something just doesn't sit right about the dolphins being in man made lagoons and I am struggling with that!!!

Have only booked one restaurant on the party night, unfortunately not many have spaces left, just hope that people don't turn up and we can get in!

Anyone else there at the same time? (2st - 31st).

KTK9 Wed 03-Oct-12 14:03:48

Should read 21st !!!! I wish it was 2nd!!!

morleylass Wed 03-Oct-12 14:13:55

Hi,
Can I join in? We are booked for next Easter staying at the new Disney Art of Animation resort, I'm hoping it will be ok as a new hotel, the reviews are good so far but I don't think they're up to full capacity yet.

It is our first trip and our dc will be 10 and 12 and we will be celebrating my 40th! We want to do all of Disney and Discovery Cove and the SeabWorld/Aquatica but I am totally bewildered by all the planning of meals, trips, when to do which parks etc. I think because it is costing so much money I am scared of getting it wrong, so far I have done nothing except book the holiday!!! Aargh.

I hope reading all the tips on here I will come up with a plan

ML x

YouBrokeMySmoulder Wed 03-Oct-12 14:50:32

KT if you have the money for the hotel and tickets then yes I would stay at Universal - if you're not interested in anything over there and have a hire car then I would investigate a hotel on the West coast. I bet lots of people on here have good recommendations - I would be interested too.

WicketWoo Wed 03-Oct-12 22:43:12

We go a week on Saturday - yay!! grinWe're staying at animal kingdom (we're part of Disney vacation club). Very, very excited. Though if anyone has tips for amusing our 1 year old on the 10 hour flight I'd be very grateful! (reading and sticker books for the 7 & 5 year olds work well)

KTK9 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:15:43

YBMS - We do want to go to Universal, but whether we could do that as part of the first 7 days or not, I am not sure, but of course being able to go in early and queue jump, is a bit bonus. I don't really want to be rushing around. We booked the Beach Club because of the pool, so I really want to take time to use it!!!

We will be hiring a car, probably a few days into the trip, as won't need it immediately. Tempted with the coast too.

ML - I will let you know the 'must dos'.

We took dd when she was 2 and basically I had colourings and sticker books, mayb 1 years old is a bit too young for those. I am sure toddling up and down the aisles will be amusing enough. I always like chatting to the little ones on a flight. We did find that on our return journey, we put our dd's PJs on not long after getting on the flight and then settled her down, as if it was night time. She took a while, but did go to sleep, almost until we got back.

Best of luck - I am worrying about a just 8 year old, can't imagine taking thee!!

WicketWoo Thu 04-Oct-12 18:49:27

Thanks for the tips KT. He's not that interested in books yet though. I'm thinking lots of boxes with Cheerios in that he can play with or eat. 10 mins down, 9hours 50 mins to go!!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Thu 04-Oct-12 18:53:49

Us!! 24th July next year!!

So excited!!!

Jagsy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:05:29

Hi KTK9! We are there 23 oct - 7 nov, staying onsite too at AKL. Our first time onsite and dd first trip. V v excited smile

CleanHankie Wed 17-Oct-12 20:34:21

Can I get excited with you all? (Will make a change to obsessing over Dibb threads every night smile)
We're off next May for 2 weeks. That's me, DH, DD1 (6yr), DD2 (3yr) and PIL. We're not staying onsite but in a villa owned by a company that PIL have used every since DH was little. Not got exact plans but we have booked 14 days Disney tickets as they were 14 days for the price of 7 and convinced PIL that it would make sense as we could then do just a morning or afternoon in a park if DD's get ratty/tired. It includes waterparks too which we weren't going to do so added bonus! And DH wants to go to Disney Quest as he's never been. My only requirements are Disney Minigolf and Sea World. I've been to Florida twice before and not got to Seaworld so insisting on it. MIl said they might stay at the villa that day as they'd done it years ago but FIL contradicted her and told her he was going as he'd love to go back grin
Not sure what DD's are going to make of the characters. DD1 was 3 when we took her last and she was wary of Mickey and co when we met them. DD2 however keeps seeing one of the Disney adverts on TV when a little girl runs to Cinderella and tells me she's going to do that. Isn't Cinders THE character everyone wants to met and therefore hardest to? She might have to be happy with Jake and Oso at HS!
Am addicted to the Disney Food threads on The Dibb. And yes, whoever suggested it "Most Mickey shaped foods eaten on holiday" challenge sounds fab!!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 17-Oct-12 20:45:54

Clean take them for a meal in the castle with all of the princesses, my dds were 7 and 4 the last time we took them and they LOVED it!

You can book online before you go.

You have to do Seaworld too, it is fabulous.

Breakfast at Chez Mickey has Mickey shaped waflles, they are lovely!!

We don't go until July, i took my nephew into the Disney Store today and i was almost overcome with excitement!

CleanHankie Wed 17-Oct-12 21:53:34

Have considered the Royal Table, however both DD1 and DH are V fussy eaters. Maybe I can convince them to do something equally exciting and MIL and I will take DD2. Although MIL may enjoy it more than DD2!!

Mickey shaped waffles are pencilled in for MK - Sleepy Hollow - The Dibb has it as a good place to watch the parade too wink

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Thu 18-Oct-12 07:00:12

They do hot dog and chips if dd1 would eat that.

I think dh and i enjoyed it just as much as our dd's. No one has ever called me your highness before!!!

uoYekorByMredluomS Thu 18-Oct-12 13:16:51

It is really easy to meet Cinders, she is at the princesses meet and greet and you can Fastpass it. By then they might be meeting in Fantasyland but any of the meet and greets are easy to do as long as you have the info - go to kennythepirate.com for character times and information, or easywdw.com

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Thu 18-Oct-12 14:16:47

It is uo but i preferred the castle, they all come to your table have a chat, kids can ask questions and they pose for photos and sign autographs without having to wait in a queue and with other people behind you.

ihatethecold Fri 19-Oct-12 11:48:40

im going in 9 days im sooooo excited. my kids have no idea, they think we are off to Italy
we are going to surprise them at the airport.

we have a couple of days in clearwater first as we are flying into tampa cos the flights were loads cheaper.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Fri 19-Oct-12 14:01:50

ihate have a wonderful time!!

I wish i could see your dcs faces when you tell them!!

ihatethecold Fri 19-Oct-12 18:51:10

Thanks hokey. grin

Happypiglet Fri 19-Oct-12 19:55:19

Well as I mentioned earlier we are off next Saturday for 7nights.
We have booked it all through Disney travel co and I had been eagerly awaiting my tickets. As we have booked two interconnecting rooms we have two separate booking references one for me and my two DS and one for DH and DD.
Two weeks ago I got DH's tickets but not mine. I have chased and chased and yesterday was told there was a printer error and that they would print them today and send them special delivery for receipt on Monday.
Then tonight just before 5pm an executive at Disney travel called to tell me the real reason my tickets haven't arrived. Virgin have bumped us to fly back a day later than we booked on Sunday 4 Nov not Sat 3 Nov.....But only me and DSs not DH and DD who are still on the flight a day earlier.....the flight we booked in JAN this year is overbooked and we are the ones being bumped....
Nightmare..... I had reservations all along about waiting until two weeks Before our leave date to get any airline tickets and this has just reinforced my worries.
So this weekend they are trying to sort it out but the likelihood is we will have to come back a day late which would not be the end of the world except for my DHs work....he will have to literally step of the flight at 8.50am and go to work leaving me with three jet lagged kids to sort for school the next day....
We were also going to do a big reveal to the kids tomorrow morning and it has spoilt it for me.... Also I have stopped looking forward to it as I still HAVE NO TICKETS!!
Anyway rant over I will never choose Virgin again...

BiscuitNibbler Fri 19-Oct-12 20:48:23

Oh Happy, that is grim.

We're off in 19 days and the tickets arrived a few days ago. Our flight times have changed, but only by an hour or so on each flight. I was a bit fed up about that, but your story has made me realise how lucky we are!

ChestyNutterStaringInTheWindow Sun 21-Oct-12 23:00:28

Me me me grin

Next march, am soooooo excited! First timer and cannot wait

<<squeeeeeeeee>>

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Tue 23-Oct-12 18:34:44

Who are you going with Chesty?

Happypiglet Wed 24-Oct-12 12:01:38

Well we finally got our tickets today. Hooray. In the end we are having to travel back a day late but at least we are all together. And Disney Travel company have been great sorting it out and helping make the holiday even more special...so we are back to looking forward to it with avengeance....
We now have tickets to the Not So Scarey Halloween Party which is very exciting.
3 days to go...eeeeeeekkkkk......

BiscuitNibbler Wed 24-Oct-12 12:21:47

Brilliant news - and the Halloween party is absolutely great! Dress up if you can!

Not sure how old your DC are but if they like Toy Story make sure you go to the Diamond Horseshoe as they have Woody, Jessie and Bullseye dancing with the kids.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 24-Oct-12 14:57:18

I am so envy happy have a wonderful time!!!

KinkyDorito Sat 03-Nov-12 06:18:41

Going to stay in Animal Kingdom Lodge for 2 weeks in August. DD(14) finishes chemotherapy in April and we told her we'd take her wherever she wanted to go (she's had 2.4 years of treatment, so a long, hard slog).

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 03-Nov-12 08:29:48

Kinky sounds like you all must need a holiday. Sounds like a lovely way to recharge and have some fun, hope your dd is ok.

I'm super excited we got our flight details for next September , now just to finish paying for it

I'm planning tell kids in May half term so they have excitement to look forward to And enjoy build up

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 03-Nov-12 12:20:16

I think most of us are probably still paying for it!!

KinkyDorito Sat 03-Nov-12 12:59:31

I will need to sell a kidney to pay for ours...

She's okay - very up and down, thanks Hokey. It's been a pretty rubbish couple of years.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 03-Nov-12 23:54:30

I might have to join you, do you think we'd get much wink

Have you been before?

Same here I'm considering selling a leg or two since they decorative only . Part of me thinks what on earth am I doing thinking can afford this . Don't think will be taking much spending money but fortunate have got dining plan so least we will eat am about half way on paying and win e as never spent even that amount on a holiday ( most had been £300 on winter breaks centre park

Not sure whether to tell around dd birthday in March ( when she was younger was told she never make it to 10 due to the illness she has .( firm of emphysema and immune system failure ) then almost 2 years ago she was in picu and suffered 3 heart attacks and was told enough and we had discussion about not intervening if had another we agred turn ventilator of and if she could not mange without it to let her go sad

But well she's here and nearly [10] and Wdw here we come grin

KinkyDorito Sun 04-Nov-12 09:26:54

You have a lot to celebrate too TheHuman. I keep trying to justify it in my head - the cost!! It will be amazing though.

Hokey yes, I took DD a few years ago - she had her 7th birthday there. We stayed in a villa though, so a bit cheaper than what we are doing this time. It was fantastic. The one place we all really enjoyed was Discovery Cove, although, of course, the rest was amazing too. DH has never been, or DS who will turn 4 in December. Exciting!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 04-Nov-12 10:51:48

Sounds like both your dds and your families need a break.

We went every year before the dcs. Now we go as often as we can afford, last time was 2010.

We have never stayed on Disney before though, i would love to but dh thinks prices are such a rip off he refuses, but we have a lovely villa instead and tbh i do like having my own pool.

We go at the end of July, i can't wait!

SixtyFootDoll Mon 05-Nov-12 15:44:34

I just got back from a fortnight staying in a villa, did all the parks including Discovery Cove. Was amazing.
Would go very year if I could afford it!

Happypiglet Mon 05-Nov-12 20:33:14

Well we just got back and had an amazing (if exhausting) 8 nights at the Beach Club. It was our first time but we are already planning a re run! It was brilliant being able to walk to Epcot which we did a lot and we loved all the parks. Just not enough time to do it all and the kids were really tired. Would try to go for longer next time and build some lazy days in!
My DD and younger DS loved all the characters and we did a fair bit of character dining which was my favourite bit! Even my 8 year old DS warmed to the idea!

Happypiglet Mon 05-Nov-12 21:06:28

Kinky we went to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner one night at Boma which had delicious food and a fab atmosphere. The lodge itself was amazing with views over the animals. We saw humming birds. We would consider it next time.....once we have saved up. Hope you have an awesome time...

KTK9 Wed 07-Nov-12 17:36:50

We are just back too. It was a really lovely holiday, the Beach Club was fantastic and we got upgraded, so breakfast all drinks- including beers and wine - included.

Spent 3 days at royal Pacific in Universal. HP world is amazing! Although the rides were mostly walk on, if it was busy then I think the Express pass and early access would be essential.

If anyone has any questions do ask. Of Dining Plan is an option in Disney, take it, but you won't need the Deluxe Plan, we didn't use 6 of our quick service meals as it was!

Happypiglet Wed 07-Nov-12 21:31:17

KT I know what you mean about Deluxe Dining plan. We used all our meals but no where near all the snacks. The portions are huge. I am not sure we did it justice really.... All you can eat buffets... We did not make the most of them for sure!!!! But it does save money having the plan. We got our basic one free when we booked and it saved us hundreds of dollars.
We walked miles though and I have actually lost three pounds!! unbelievable.

morleylass Sat 10-Nov-12 14:51:09

Hi there, glad everyone who has just come back had a lovely time. I've just booked our tickets for Discovery Cove next April, wish I'd done it earlier as the dates I wanted were sold out.
How far in advance should I get the WDW tickets?
MLx

Groovee Thu 27-Dec-12 17:04:21

We're going in just over 6 months time, my excitement is kicking in!

plipplops Sat 29-Dec-12 20:25:11

Hello, we got back about 3 weeks ago from 2 weeks at the Grand Floridian it was amazing!! Only down side was DDs are such fussy eaters that we struggled to find stuff they liked and didn't have a car to get out of WDW (apart from a taxi to Universal for the day - went for total Disney immersion!!). Just brilliant though - DDs are 4 and 5 and I'd love to go back in maybe 5 years when they can do more rides.

Oh one thought though, DD1 is 5, just tall enough to go on some of the scarier rides. Took her on DINOSAUR! which scared the living crap out of her, then for the rest of the holiday she started shaking every time she went on something new. She barely managed the Little Mermaid show as she was terrified at the thought of the octopus woman, and refused point blank to go on the Finding Nemo ride as she was too worried about the shark!

Groovee Sun 30-Dec-12 09:55:01

Plipplops we had the same problem with Ds not eating last time we went. Then we went to golden coral and he stuffed himself. He ate much better off site than at Disney. We're in a villa this time round but have always had a car as we like to shop and explore. Will be odd not staying at Disney x

plipplops Fri 04-Jan-13 14:51:16

Think the only two proper meals she ate were at Tony's (from Lady & the Tramp), and at Universal we went to a normal italian and bless her she stuffed herself! We found there was so little choice at WDW if you stick to the quick service places (which we did as the table service places were soooo expensive) that they both really struggled...

Groovee Sun 20-Jan-13 18:45:27

Have ordered our tickets from Attraction Tickets Direct. £10 pp deposit and can pay up as I am £200 short on paying right out for them. We got the 14 days disney ticket and 14 day universal 2 park one.

NoillyPrat Wed 23-Jan-13 19:45:17

Me! grin We're going to Port Orleans French Quarter in 39 days! smile I've been once before in 2011, stayed in Animal Kingdom Lodge for our honeymoon. Dh went when he was a child. I'm SO excited grin

NoillyPrat Wed 23-Jan-13 20:00:23

Just read the rest of the thread. I'm even more excited now grin We did our ESTAs today, was panicking a bit but was all okay. Not long to go smile

Groovee Sat 26-Jan-13 12:21:51

oooh not long at all xx

loopyluna Sat 26-Jan-13 14:35:01

Phew, we've booked at last! Staying at the Hawthorn universal for 11 days in April. Had a bit of a panic about the hotel being under renovations but Expedia have checked and say all is ok but we can switch to Enclave Suites if we have any further doubts...
The "biggie" for my 13 and 11 year olds is Harry Potter, closely followed by Kennedy Space center and my 7 year old will love Sea World as she's a big fan of dolphins and penguins.
I'm going to get orlando flex tickets for both Universals, Sea World, Aquatica and Busch gardens. Hoping to get a day at Clearwater beach and a day at Cocoa beach (DH, DS and DD1 will do space centre and I will collapse onto the beach with DD2 and hopefully meet up with friends from Miami...)
Only thing is, all of this in 11 days will make it tricky to get to Disney. I don't think that's a big deal as we live near Disneyland Paris and go there regularly. Do you think a wander around Downtown Disney and maybe an afternoon at Typhoon Lagoon would do the "Disney magic" fix? Or will they hate me forever for not doing a Disney park?!
Vvvvvv excited now grin

triplets Wed 30-Jan-13 14:24:04

Can I join in? Just nervously put 5 seats on hold for 2nd Aug. Dh just got an all clear ct scan for cancer, so now we can get travel insurance, exhorbitant cost though.Cannot afford to stay in Disney property, would love to, there are 5 of us. Need to find accomodation in a really nice resort, within walking distance to shops restaurants etc, or with on site facilities. Any recommendations please?

sleepdeprivedby2 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:11:07

Hi, we have just booked our flights for April. Now they are booked it is like it is really happening and I can begin to get excited [Grin]

Has anyone else stayed at the Bahama Bay Resort before as the place we stayed in last time have now said that we can't use the resort pool (World Quest Resort), I don't fancy trying to explain that to my 6 and 4 year old when the pool is right in front of them so looking for suitable alternatives and this place looks quite good.

Also does anyone know if the character dining experiences at the resort are just open to the resort guests or can anyone book. It is my DS's 4th birthday whilst we are at Disney so was looking for something special to do on that day.

Thanks

I'm so jealous of everyone on here - we've been to Disney for our last 2 holidays but won't be back for a while - getting married next year so need to save some money!!!
Triplets we stayed on International Drive last year at the Rosen Inn - really nice restaurants in walking distance & shuttle buses to the parks available as well.
Hope everyone enjoys their holidays

angelfire Sat 09-Feb-13 15:31:20

Another family going at Easter.
Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have already booked villa - friend of dad's
Can anyone help with the following

1. Best place to get park tickets. Need 5 days Disney + 3 days Universal
2. Have 5 days at end of Disney to go to beach. Heard St Petes and Clearwater are v busy. Saw Anna Maria Island but someone in my office says it's boring and we should try Sarasota instead. Are the beaches there any good?

KinkyDorito Sun 10-Feb-13 17:12:53

Hello again Disney gang!

For months I didn't think we'd manage to do it this year. DD has still be very poorly. She is due to finish chemo in April, so she will have 4 months off treatment before we go. She will still be considered disabled then, so need to get in touch with Disney and see what we need to do about passes and things. She gets fatigued really easily and will probably need a wheelchair. Plus, we are going in the worst of the heat which won't help.

I'm having to wait to book travel insurance until she finished as it is really, really expensive whilst she is still a cancer patient. It will still be a bomb, but not over £1000, which is what it would be to take it out now.

I've spent several hours today booking meals and creating a spreadsheet. I feel like such a nerd!! I want to do this properly.

We won't mention the fact we are supposed to be flying on a Dreamliner. They are the ones that keep being grounded. confused

So, two weeks at Animal Kingdom Lodge in August. Bring it on!!!!!!! grin

KinkyDorito Sun 10-Feb-13 17:14:16

Triplets You are going on the same day as us smile.

CockBollocks Mon 11-Feb-13 18:57:29

Ten weeks till we go smile

The balance was a bit painful though!!

NoraSpect Wed 13-Feb-13 14:56:07

17 days 'till we go eeeeeeek! So excited grin

Groovee Fri 15-Feb-13 07:48:30

Sleepdeprived you can book any disney dining from 180 days before you go and I recommend that you do book.

132 days and we'll be at the airport. 32 days we're telling the children that we are going.

roughtyping Fri 15-Feb-13 07:59:33

Oooh I posted back in September saying we couldn't go.. Booked up this week for next July grin soooo excited!

Groovee Fri 15-Feb-13 10:57:51

yay!

KinkyDorito Sat 16-Feb-13 08:48:06

grin

Expecting some lovely trip reports soon then! Exciting!!

Hulababy Sat 16-Feb-13 08:53:47

On my way right now!!!!

On the drive to the airport, leave at lunch time.
Only going for a week his time and never been at this time before. Normally go for a fortnight in August.

We will have 6 full days and have 6 park tickets - 4 Disney and 2 Universal.

Can't wait!

NoraSpect Sat 16-Feb-13 19:43:18

Have a great time, Hula smile

Hulababy Sun 17-Feb-13 02:50:47

I'm sure we will.
Great flight over. Was v impressed by the newer VA planes. Dd loved the entertainment.

Now at the villa. Cooler day tomorrow so doing Hollywood Studios. Supposed to warm up after that.

KinkyDorito Sun 17-Feb-13 08:48:16

Enjoy Hula. Pleased your flight over was good. smile

roughtyping Sun 17-Feb-13 08:54:01

Have a fantastic time! Glad to hear about VA - that's who we'll be flying with. Very envy about Hollywood Studios - my absolute favourite! Enjoy!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 17-Feb-13 08:58:24

Hope you are having a wonderful time.

We are going at the end of July, can't wait!!

Hulababy Sun 17-Feb-13 10:46:58

Well half 5 here and typically awake - first days always an early start after the travelling day before.
Rock n Roller, Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror today amongst many. Oh and dinner at Prime Time Diner - dd's favourite place to eat there, made better every time someone gets told off!!!!

roughtyping Sun 17-Feb-13 14:25:00

Hula just nearly had a wee cry because I wish I was there! Sounds fantastic, hope you're having a fab day smile

Groovee Sun 17-Feb-13 15:52:20

ooooh have fun, can't wait to hear more x

Hulababy Mon 18-Feb-13 01:43:58

Was great! A bit chilly today but temp supposed to rise from tomorrow. Still far warmer than Sheffield and no costs needed!
Universal Studios tomorrow

NoraSpect Mon 18-Feb-13 08:23:54

Hope it warms up a lot soon, I'll be there 2 weeks today grin

Hulababy Mon 18-Feb-13 11:20:51

Have fun Nora.
Was only about 14 yesterday but it did feel warmer as the sun shone all day. Increases to 19/20 today then 25-30 rest of week.

NoraSpect Mon 18-Feb-13 14:47:54

Thanks smile You too.

I've only got shorts, skirts and dresses that I'm taking so hoping it'll be nice.

Maemae06 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:04:39

We went last oct did 12 nights in Orlando staying in Wyndham lake buena vista then 4 night Disney cruise. It was absolutely amazing!!! The most amazing experience I've ever had, really expensive but completely worth it! I've just rang virgin to price it for next year so I'm going to book it tomorra for oct 2014 doing 14 night stay then 4 night cruise. The Disney cruise was the perfect ending to the perfect holiday....Disney just get it right!

WannaSplitAPineapple Mon 18-Feb-13 22:06:08

I am so jealous of those there now. Not long for us now as we go at Easter but still wish we were there now.
Maemae do you know if you book your next cruise whilst on board you get a better deal. It doesn't even have to be the cruise you want as you can change the booking when you get home. Great excuse to start planning your next trip before you even leave the ship.

triplets Tue 19-Feb-13 00:45:16

Kinky we didn`t book those seats, just can`t make up our minds, really I am scared at spending so much money on one holiday. We really really want to go, but it would be stretching us beyond our means. Two weeks, 5 of us, flights, tickets, accom, car hire is coming out at least £8,500. Can`t help but think we could do something as nice for much less than that in Europe............but it won`t be Disneysad

triplets Tue 19-Feb-13 00:50:25

Kinky do you mind if I ask who you book your dds ins with, how is she? We have been given a horrendous quote for dh.

Hulababy Tue 19-Feb-13 02:38:32

Told by a cast member today about the hidden tracks for Rockit. We didnt do it as discovered too late but google and you can choose from extra songs.

Groovee Tue 19-Feb-13 12:30:35

oooh will try to google that Hula xx

NoraSpect Tue 19-Feb-13 17:18:41

I came across this video on YouTube the other day and keep watching it! I love it and it gets me even more excited about our trip! They have more videos too including another Disney one.

NoraSpect Tue 19-Feb-13 17:19:18

Here's the other Disney video.

sleepdeprivedby2 Wed 20-Feb-13 08:57:05

Hi all, we are off to Disney in 7 weeks (eek!) and I can't wait!

I was hoping some of you may be able to help please. My DS is 4 while we are at Disney and I have been trying to find something special to do on his birthday (as if going to Disneyworld wasn't special enough grin).

So does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations? So far I have looked into Character dining and the Fantasmic show. Is there anything else I should consider?

TIA

NoraSpect Wed 20-Feb-13 09:52:31

Get a birthday badge from city hall/guest services. Have a look here for some ideas smile

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:26:34

Oh Nora, this is going to get expensive! smile

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:27:22

DD will turn 15 on the last day that we are there, and the whole reason we are going is because she has beaten cancer. I am now going to go through the special treatment things!

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:55:05

triplets I rung up a broker who operate from Rugby. I would need to google them to remind me of the name! They said you can always get insured, it's just for how much confused. I will have a look and let you know.

As for cost, ours is hideous. It is costing more than my wedding did. But, I am telling myself this is an occasion and not 'just' a holiday - it is our thank God we got through it. I've had moments where I cannot believe that I am spending so much, but putting it into perspective, we would have had a holiday every year costing about 3k, and we haven't been on one for 5 years. We have had the worst 2.5yrs as a family and this holiday is marking us putting it behind us. It's where DD wanted to go, and she has more than earned it.

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:55:44

I rang Macmillan originally as they have loads of insurers listed. Have a look at their site too.

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:59:02

Think it was these:

http://www.insurancechoice.co.uk/travelinsurance/pre-existing-medical-conditions?ad_id=web284

KinkyDorito Wed 20-Feb-13 16:59:23

We've booked two weeks staying at Renaissance Orlando on I Drive. We have all the tickets and a dolphin swim at discovery cove. DD is 7 and DS 3. Any hints and tips?

Groovee Wed 20-Feb-13 20:54:40

Sleepy, I'd recommend the family magic tour in the Magic Kingdom, we had loads of fun.

Pickled, plan rest breaks and realise tired children make for grumpy children. We also hired double buggies which were a godsend.

triplets Wed 20-Feb-13 23:09:32

Thanks KINKY we tried all of those listed on Cancer research, we rang several listed in the onco unit. Dh spent two half days on the phone and just got more and more depressed. The comp who have offered this quote only did so after I emailed them and said how mislead we were by their website, giving people like my dh hope and then refusing them. They phoned us, took alot more details then said yes.

sleepdeprivedby2 Thu 21-Feb-13 14:55:21

Thanks for your suggestions Nora and Groove. Now off to look at Nora's link whilst pretending to do work wink

Hulababy Fri 22-Feb-13 12:46:30

Nora - temps well and truly up now, been in strappy dresses, tops and shorts since that first day. Supposed to be at least 31/32 today.

NoraSpect Sat 23-Feb-13 10:42:12

Yay! Thanks for letting me know. I'm so excited. A week tomorrow and we'll be off to The Radisson Blu at Manchester airport grin

Are you having a good time Hula?

roughtyping Sat 23-Feb-13 10:45:06

Ee Nora how exciting smile you'll need to let me know how the Radisson is, thinking of booking there when we go smile

NoraSpect Sat 23-Feb-13 11:16:30

I will do smile

I'm actually a bit nervous now confused and I'm sad about leaving my cat for 2 weeks (he'll be fine at my mums but still...he's my baby! blush)

Groovee Sat 23-Feb-13 11:57:07

awww Nora xx

Hulababy Sat 23-Feb-13 12:40:13

Fab time. Sadly home time today sad All main parks visited this week. Today's relaxing round the pool, a trip to Mall at Millenia and then home

NoraSpect Sat 23-Feb-13 13:42:13

Groovee smile

Glad you had a good time but it sure sucks when you have to come home Hula sad Where did you stay?

Have a safe journey home.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 23-Feb-13 13:46:19

Goes too quickly doesn't it sad.

Enjoy your last day, I love that mall!

sideburnsalawiggins Sat 23-Feb-13 14:44:28

Haven't read the whole thread yet but has anyone used the WDW Lines or Disney mobile apps? I've got them on my phone and they seem really good. You can check wait times and make ADRs etc.

We're not even going to the world until 2015 and I'm already planning! grin

Groovee Sun 24-Feb-13 11:21:17

sideburns I'll come back to you in July grin

Balance of the holiday paid... Now trying to find my reference for the park tickets to pay that off.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 13:43:57

We stayed in a villa owned by Dh's colleague, nr lake davenport.

Now home and had a couple of hours sleep. Not sure I feel better for it tbh.

And it's blooming cold!!! Was trying to snow in Manchester. Brrrr

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 13:46:23

Yes we used the official Disney apps in the parks. Wifi was pretty good most of the time, some areas a bit weak. Used it to reserve two dining whilst we were there, plus wait times which tallied with the ones at the rides. They also show you FP times

mamageekchic Sun 24-Feb-13 14:04:46

Hello!! We're flying out to Orlando wid-April for 2 weeks. Flights and hotel booked (on international drive not disney), what else do I need to do before we go? Would appreciate any help/advice...

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 15:00:56

Park tickets? We used undercover tourist this time.
Car hire? We booked with budget, was very reasonable.
Car parking at airport in uk?

There are apps for the parks.

The undercover tourist and wide agin sites have crowd calendar so you can plan the best days for each park.

You can book meals from about 180 days In advance. Definitely worth doing ESP for a character meal. The restaurants where you can reserve were far busier this year than ever before.

Look at some road maps online to get your bearings as to location and where each park is.

If your children are likely to want Light up or glow in dark stuff for night time warded - buy and take with you, much cheaper!

Groovee Sun 24-Feb-13 15:21:03

Have you done your Esta's?

Groovee Sun 24-Feb-13 15:22:08

What apps do you use? Me and dh want to get them downloaded

sideburnsalawiggins Sun 24-Feb-13 16:29:25

Groovee I am so jealous! smile

We're waiting for DS2 to get a bit older so he and we can enjoy the holiday. We're thinking about going the last 2 weeks in October. Has anyone else been then?

roughtyping Sun 24-Feb-13 16:44:47

sideburns we went middle of October around 17 (eek!) years ago (October week in Scotland + 1 extra week), the weather was beautiful and it was a lot quiter in the parks. I think I was 9 - 18 years ago then. Oh my god, that's an actual whole lifetime! Feel old now!

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 17:03:46

The official one is MyDisneyExperience.
I also have Disney Prks Mobile Magi, the two Undercover Tourist ones (for Universal and Disney - though no wifi in Universal parks) and the WDW forum one too.

How do I book a character meal?

Is anybody doing the princess or pirate experience?

roughtyping Sun 24-Feb-13 17:13:46

Oh, I just thought of something I want to ask!

My DS will be 10 when we go - we're staying at Hilton Bonnet Creek so 'inside' Disney World but not a WDW hotel.

1) anyone have any experience of this hotel?

2) what meals etc are more 'grown up' - we went last year when DS was 8 and I think he felt some of the Disney stuff was a bit 'little' for him IYSWIM?

3) it's our honeymoon so ill get to wear a badge (got a 'just engaged' one last time as OH proposed while we were there grin) (not a question just a boast grin wink)

I've downloaded the tourist app and I've seen you can book restaurants through that.
Which are the good ones? Where is the character meal?

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 17:26:18

You can reserve all restaurants direct with Disney: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/reservations/dining/

roughtyping - DD is 10y. In Disney terms that means she is an adult and pays adult prices, well at ones you reserve anyway - as they know their age - and especially for all you can eat buffet style.

For character dining DD still enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.

Non character:

Hollywood Studios - Prime Time - 50s style restaurant where they are all in character; you get "told off" (adults especially for not eating veg, elbows on tables, etc. Good fun; DD loves it.

Hollywood Studios - Sci Fi Dine-in Diner - if you reserve you get to sit as if you are in a car at a drive in. We didn't reserve so sat on one of the "space" tables round the edges. DD enjoyed the idea of the cars; and we enjoyed the food and it was novel.

Epcot - we ate at Chef de France; you get to meet Remy who comes out on a trolley hidden beneath a serving dish.
TBH there are lots of nice places to eat in Epcot at the World Showcase; you can check prices and menus on the apps.

Animal Kingdom - wee breakfast plus DD likes Rainforest Cafe too.

We also ate at T Rex this time at Downtown Disney - very similar to Rainforest Cafe but dinosaurs. very noisy!

At Universal we ate at the Three Broomsticks in Wizarding World of Harry Potter as DD is a huge fan and likes the butterbeer. In City Walk we ate at Hard Rock Cafe and Bubba Gump.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 17:27:32

disneyworld.disney.go.com/reservations/dining/

Lots of different character ones - some at the parks, some in different hotels. Even if you are not staying at one of the Hotels you can eat at their restaurants.

roughtyping Sun 24-Feb-13 17:31:17

Love the idea of the Sci Fi one! We went to Prime Time last one (I'm sure it was - dessert menu on viewfinders???) and loved it. Hollywood Studios is def our favourite park smile

My sister went to Rainforest Cafe and really liked it - will go there one day next time.

Can you reserve Universal restaurants? Harry Potter stuff was amazing! Couldn't believe how good it all was. Three Broomsticks was too busy but we did go to the sweet shop and I got a chocolate frog smile

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 17:39:39

They've changed the queuing system for Three Broomsticks this year and it is very organised and no saving of tables etc allowed. Instead once you have ordered and got your food, someone shows you to a table of the right size. Was no wait at all and no overcrowding as a result. Was very impressed.

roughtyping Sun 24-Feb-13 17:48:36

Ah Hula cheers! All excited now! only 16 months to go...

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 18:02:01

Think of all the planning you can do beforehand though!

roughtyping Sun 24-Feb-13 18:10:49

I know! 5 months til our wedding too - I'll be exhausted from all the planning!

Thank you! I've ordered the Brits Guide and am aiming to book dining by the end of the week. 6 months to go!

Groovee Mon 25-Feb-13 07:44:01

Park tickets paid for and will arrive by this time next week.

Thanks for the apps. Will put them in to my spreadsheet. Have marked down all the extra magic hours to ensure we don't have to be at the parks on the busy mornings.

Telling the kids in 22 days!!!

sideburnsalawiggins Mon 25-Feb-13 08:26:52

pickled I prefer the Unofficial Guide by Len Testa/Bob somone. It seems to give more unbiased reviews.

Groovee Mon 25-Feb-13 11:45:48

We got the unofficial guide too as a wedding present. It was very helpful.

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 17:19:20

Just sorted all my holiday pics out and uploaded onto Flickr to show PILs; making me miss it already!

Damn. Have I bought the wrong book? Should I order the other one too? I've seen some people talking about an app that tells you how many people are in each park on different days. What is that app?

Groovee Mon 25-Feb-13 20:35:12

The more books the better IMO

Groovee Mon 25-Feb-13 20:36:06

*The official one is MyDisneyExperience.
I also have Disney Parks Mobile Magi, the two Undercover Tourist ones (for Universal and Disney - though no wifi in Universal parks) and the WDW forum one too.*

I also have disboards

I've just found the crowd control on the tourist app but mine doesn't seem to indicate numbers... I've downloaded the other apps too.

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 22:03:34

I didn't find numbers - just red/amber/green

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 22:10:01

I didn't find numbers - just red/amber/green

I've just noticed the dots, thanks. Would you guys say the red dot parks are an absolute no go? Or will they just be very busy?

sideburnsalawiggins Tue 26-Feb-13 08:25:00

WDW Lines app tells you which is the best/worst park on any given day. It's linked to the Unofficial Guide and has their touring plans on it too, as well as menus for all the restaurants and wait times for the rides.

I've got Disney Parks mobile too, which has park maps and entertainment schedules.

Hulababy Tue 26-Feb-13 18:26:44

We did some red days; tbh they still weren't that bad in our experience. But I suppose most school holiday days are busy regardless - but they didn't really seem much busier than the amber days to us.

Another thing to do is to check if there are key events occurring at the time.

On our first weekend this time it was president's Day and it meant everywhere was busier than normal.

Also the day we went to Magic Kingdom the morning was busier than normal due to a live TV link with some breakfast show there.

The weekend we left (so didn't affect us) was a Disney princess half marathon - this would have meant Epcot and MK were busier than normal.

mamageekchic Tue 26-Feb-13 20:05:07

Where is best to book park tickets? We're going for 2weeks with 2yo DD and unsure what to book in advance. thanks!

Groovee Tue 26-Feb-13 21:26:34

I got the 14 day ultimate disney ticket and the 2 park universal one valid for 14 days too. Got them through attraction tickets direct for £355 for each of us (my kids are both over 10 so full price tickets). Paid for them on Sunday and got an email to say the courier has them and will deliver tomorrow or Thursday.

I booked mine through Virgin. Probably not the cheapest way to book but I am a complete novice and wanted Discovery Cove dolphin swim tickets.
Has anybody done it? Was it worth the money?
So glad I found this thread.

woodchuck Tue 26-Feb-13 22:07:45

We are also going in August, our family of 4 plus my PILs. We went last June and stayed on-site and had a fabulous time. We swore it was a one-off 'once in a lifetime' but then ILs asked if we wanted to go away with them. We started looking at Greece and ended up booking Orlando!

Although our flights are a lot mor expensive (virgin) than last time, we are doing two weeks in a villa this time, so saving massively on accomodation costs. This is PILs first trip, and is a special year for them as they both turn 60. We have planned a few Disney meals but plan to eat off site a lot, or in the villa as we are without the luxury of the dining plan.

I am really excited all over again, as we know what we enjoyed at Disney last time, but also have planned lots more time at Universal (DS HP mad) and also Kennedy space centre and a beach day.

I am also having a little think about doing a night onsite at Universal to get fast pass and early entry. Wondering whether I might get a deal if I leave it to the last minute.

We have done much of the planning early...its the only thing that gets nme through a British winter!

Hulababy Tue 26-Feb-13 22:16:40

Booked ours this year through Undercover Tourist.
Came through quickly, and were actual tickets - rather than a piece of paper thtat you have to swap for tickets once in Florida.

NoraSpect Wed 27-Feb-13 06:44:17

I think I need help! I'm going mad blush One minute I'm as excited as I was when I was a child on Christmas Eve, the next I think I'm going to be sick with nerves. I had another nightmare about it last night, where there were loads of tornadoes. I keep waking up dead early and can't get back to sleep. Y

ou'd think I was going somewhere really bad not Disneyworld! Right now I feel like I might actually vom! I wish I could forget about it for a couple of days and then be all excited on the day hmm

CockBollocks Wed 27-Feb-13 10:16:18

Anyone here got any advice on restaurant booking? DP is upset as he has discovered some of the restaurants are full booked when we go in 2 months.

Groovee Wed 27-Feb-13 12:18:05

Keep trying but most people book them at 180 days when they are released.

Groovee Wed 27-Feb-13 16:45:59

Park tickets arrived today whoop whoop.

Hulababy Wed 27-Feb-13 18:19:26

CB - just keep trying; they may get cancellations. Though they do charge for people who don't turn up, so last minute ones on the day are less likely we found. Also try for odd timings, away frok nrmal meal times, where you can as less busy.

Hulababy Wed 27-Feb-13 18:24:20

Nora - we had lovely weather, just a week ago. We had no rain whatsoever, and defintely no storm of any kind. The only Tornado we saw was the ride "Twister" :D

However the first time we went was in the summer (July) we did have a hurricane on our first full day. We got caught int he first bit of it heading over on our way home from the parks - the parks closed at 2pm because it was approaching. It was very very wet and very very rainy. But DH managed to drive home in it and once in the house it was fine. The houses and hotels are very protected. By the morning it was over. The parks opened just an hour later than normal and not a thing was out of place, not even any scattered leaves! On the route there though we did see telegraph poles, sign posts, trees, etc that had come down - but noone was hurt.

The weather is very well forecast and you know if anything is coming, and where - so you can get out of the way in most cases.

I'm still waiting for my book to arrive. I'm desperate to start booking meals.
In terms of planning, would you plan one day in each park? All the Disney parks together then universal etc?
What about collecting pins? Should I buy some on eBay?

Groovee Thu 28-Feb-13 21:39:41

Pickled where are you staying?

When we stayed on site(disney) we made use of the extra magic hours which gave us more time in the parks. I've made a spreadsheet on what park opens early or late, and we plan to avoid that park.

We normally plan to do most of a day and either take a break or go later in the day.

We're staying on international drive. I looked at lots of hotels but I wanted somewhere with good transport links to other parks. The hotel is called Renaissance and is close to Sea World. Booked a 5* because we'll want a day or two at the hotel to relax.
I hadn't thought about the park opening hours. Thanks for the tip

sideburnsalawiggins Fri 01-Mar-13 14:50:18

Pickled if you want to get the most out of the parks you need to be there before opening time!

I've always found the best thing to do is get to the park early, then leave at 1pm ish for a break/swim/sleep at your hotel (like groovee said) and go back to the parks at 6pm ish until close. That way you avoid the worst crowds and the hottest party of the day.

If you've never been before I would seriously recommend the Unofficial Guide so you can get more of an idea about how much you will be able to do each day. They have touring plans for each park which are very good.

Hulababy Fri 01-Mar-13 14:56:30

We have never done the pins. Nor the autograph books.

We do a mix. If going for 14 nights we will have tickets that cover the whole duration for all parks. So we might do MK one day, IofA the next....etc. If the two weeks we will do each park more than once. For a fortnight we also like a day at the Space Centre or a day at the beach. We never bother with SeaWorld these days. Next time we might do a day at Busch Gardens. We usually do a half day at Typhoon Lagoon (sometimes Blizzard Beach) getting there early and leaving at lunch time - after that often go back to a park or some shopping and then out for dinner.

This time we only had a week, so 6 full days, So we did the 4 Disney and the 2 Universal parks. Mixed up though - think order in end was Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios, Magic Kingdom, Islands of Adventure, Animal Kingdom and then Epcot.

That's really helpful. Thanks.

Virgin are having some difficulty finding us a slot at Discovery Cove. They keep making provisional bookings that are then rejected. Hope they can get us a slot soon.

We don't have the extra magic hours because we're not staying on site. Know we're at a disadvantage here.

Hulababy Fri 01-Mar-13 23:26:27

We've only had magic hours once. And didnt have them this time either. Tbh made very little difference to us

Groovee Sat 02-Mar-13 13:26:52

This is the first time we've stayed off site. It's going to make a difference to us as we're used to that extra time. Last time we stayed til 3am and got to ride lots of rides then had a rest day with a late breakfast and swim the next day.

Hulababy Sat 02-Mar-13 15:08:50

Ah we never really have rest days. We tend to be in park early but not really staying til overly late - 10/11pm at most.

Groovee Sat 02-Mar-13 19:14:53

We've cracked... and told the kids about the holiday. Dd cried with happiness and Ds was his usual "ok" and went back to the ipad.

We're definitely having rest days or else I will burn out and be ill for weeks. We've always had rest days and it's been fine.

TheaBeaver Sun 03-Mar-13 06:20:49

Eeek, we're off to the hotel today!! (T'is I, Nora wink)

sideburnsalawiggins Sun 03-Mar-13 08:46:20

Have the most amazing time Thea. envy

sideburnsalawiggins Sun 03-Mar-13 08:49:17

Ooops, that envy face make me look really angry!

What I meant was, I hop you have a really fabulous holiday, and I am very jealous! thanks

TheaBeaver Sun 03-Mar-13 09:22:02

Hehe thank you. I'm so giddy grin

Groovee Sun 03-Mar-13 09:26:52

Hope you have a fab time Thea xx

TheaBeaver Sun 03-Mar-13 10:16:35

Thank you smile see you in 2 weeks grin x

roughtyping Sun 03-Mar-13 10:40:22

Have a fab time Thea!

FCEK Sun 03-Mar-13 10:47:39

we've been before pre child and now we are taking her later this year. I'm not going to bother with busch gardens which was sh*t last time we went. But I hope to get in sea world, universal and disney land. If going to the animal kingdom, head straight for the safari ride and arrive early, cos queues get very long! Tower of terror is good too and of course the parade! Lots of things on International Drive so we always stay there. Ponderosa I think its called does a great breakfast buffet and there's a pirates mini golf on I Drive too.

FCEK Sun 03-Mar-13 10:48:08

ps the jurassic park right is rubbish!!!

FCEK Sun 03-Mar-13 10:48:21

ride

blush

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 03-Mar-13 10:55:02

We did the pins and autographs last year. Pins are a great addition, would really recommend it, we got some from a reputable source on ebay (most are fake be warned) and then a few extra when there that the dc couldnt swap then each day they would put their swappers on their lanyards and head out. You can swap with CMs or in shops for free.

The autographs we knew we could do as we were there at a quiet time and had the characters planned in to our itinerary, otherwise theynwould be a massive time suck.

Do NOT under any circumstances go to a park that has EMH that day. Use the recommended days on easywdw.com religiously and get there for rope drop and use fastpasses and do the headliners first.

The only table meals that are effective if you are not on the dining plan are the character meals if it means you dont have to waste time seeing the characters in park. Our best one was probably Tusker House breakfast buffet but the food, although good, doesnt reflect the price at any of the restaurants at Disney.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 03-Mar-13 12:57:46

My dd's do the autographs, we do character dining a couple of times so they can see a variety of characters.

They enjoy getting them and like to look back on them.

Hulababy Sun 03-Mar-13 13:29:43

Have a great time Thea/Nora!!!

Does anybody know if the crowd control predictions change? I've been looking at the August ones and was going to base my planning on them. Would this be a stupid thing to do?

I cannot wait to tell DD and DS.

Has anybody had the Mickey phone call?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 03-Mar-13 14:31:12

Go to easywdw.com and it will tell you the recommended parks for each specific day and what parades are on etc so you can plan your week and book you radrs if needed according to which park you are going to be in etc.

Discovery Coves has been confirmed grin
Time to start planning the other days

Groovee Thu 07-Mar-13 14:06:07

I need to print out my spread sheet of extra magic hours.

We've booked Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom for 3rd of July at 5pm. Idea is that we will go to the water park for a couple of hours in the morning, then head over to MK for early afternoon and stay for 4th July fireworks. Is this a good idea or have we been stupid. Never been over 4th of july before.

Any suggestions for 4th July?

PickledMoomin,

Do not forget your photo ID the day you visit Discovery Cove. It is one of their terms and conditions that photo id for all people aged 18 and over is shown upon arrival into Discovery Cove!.

If MK is filled to capacity on 4th July(which it likely will be given how big the 4th July holiday is) I would arrive at the MK park as soon as possible to opening time.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Thu 07-Mar-13 18:13:17

Yes it closes in stages when it is really busy. So first it will close to people staying offsite, then those with annual passes, then people staying onsite etc. if you go that weekend you probably need to get in early and not leave if you want to stay for fireworks.

You can join the forum at easywdw and ask what time closure might set in that weekend, other people will know.

Groovee Thu 07-Mar-13 18:26:20

We're going on the 3rd to MK. Looking for something to do on the 4th as not sure how busy Kissimee and the surrounding area's will be.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Thu 07-Mar-13 20:06:55

Here is the info about the 3rd in the parks here

What about a waterpark on the 4th? If you need to go to MK early to make sure you get in. Note that just having an ADR for a restaurant will not get you in if its in full closure mode.

Groovee Fri 08-Mar-13 09:02:26

I'm wondering about heading to celebration or something. Not planning on doing a park if we can help it. Maybe the Orlando Science Centre if it's open.

MOSagain Fri 08-Mar-13 18:16:46

ref character meals, in my experience you can nearly always get booked into the Crystal Palace at MK at short notice. The last two occasions we went we booked on the day whereas with the more popular ones like Cinderella's castle you do have to book months in advance.

CP has Winnie the Pooh and friends and does a really nice buffet.

Celebration is nice for a change. There is a small cinema and several nice restaurants including a fabulous japanese. Last year we escaped for a few child free evenings and after dinner had a nice wander around the lake and coffee at Starbucks.

TheaBeaver Sat 09-Mar-13 00:48:41

Hi all. Got here ok and been having a great time except that I've come down with a really bad cold and have had to come back to the hotel by 5ish most days as I can't stand it any longer sad really gutted. Managed to get some cold and flu tablets in the hotel shop today but its not doing anything. Really hoping I'll be better ASAP! I'm desperate to go out and enjoy it whilst we're here. I feel guilty as well for ruining the holiday sad

Dh got us tickets for Cirque du soleil today for next Friday, so looking forward to that. We've only been to MK and AK so far. The rest of the time we've just been going slowly. Today we went to Disney quest which was good. The weather's been lovely. Was windy the day before yesterday but apart from that it's been glorious weather.

Hulababy Sat 09-Mar-13 08:24:32

You poor thing sad get well soon

MO - normally I'd agree with you but this year we really struggled to get anywhere

TheaBeaver Sat 09-Mar-13 13:59:13

Thanks Hula

Hope you feel better soon. Being on a germy plane never helps...

I don't know which character meal to book. DD and DS will want to see Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy etc. which would you recommend?

Which restaurant does the Harry Potter meal? Is it the Three Broomsticks?

Thanks Attila. I didn't know they were required. Please tell me it's worth the money?

Groovee Sat 09-Mar-13 17:49:15

I checked availability for the 2nd and got Crystal Palace for then so cancelled my ADR for the 3rd and we've changed things about.

I always got a cold with travelling on the plane too :-(

I'd recommend the Garden Grill at Epcot or Chef Mickey's for the main characters. We loved them both. Allears have the menu's so best to check them out to see what your children may eat. If you don't book in advance then don't count on just walking up. A lot of availability for June/July is low when we've been searching with the online facility. Another recommendation we've been given is the Hoop De Doo at Fort Wilderness.

Thanks Groove. DS has a dairy allergy so it should be interesting feeding him there.

Where is Chef Mickey?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sat 09-Mar-13 19:21:22

Pickled, they are well used to allergies, its so normal there. The server will let you know what you can or cant eat and they have all the ingredients listed and if that fails then the chef will come out and talk to you.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 09-Mar-13 19:38:14

Chef Mickey's is in Disney's Contemporary resort. It's an all you can eat buffet.

The characters come to the table, pose for pictures and sign autographs.

DD's saw, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy.

They loved it and want to go back again this year - we booked in advance online.

I've booked Chef Mickey and it gave me the option of a dairy free meal. Phew!

I'm trying to book the dinosaur cafe in downtown but three doesn't seem to be availability. Was I just lucky with the date I selected for the character meal? Seems silly that I can get this and not the dinosaur cafe.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 09-Mar-13 20:42:21

Hope you like in Pickled i can't wait to go back!

Booking things makes me EVEN MORE EXCITED!

DD will be nearly 8. Too old for a princess meal? DS is 3 and not interested in princesses.

Groovee Sat 09-Mar-13 21:24:02

Never too old for princesses. Ds who was 4 hated the characters at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridan but liked the food. It was more for dd to compensate how long she had to wait for ds to see pluto.

Groovee Sat 09-Mar-13 21:24:59

When are you going Pickled?

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 09-Mar-13 21:49:22

DD1 was 7 when we went first had a princess lunch and she had gone off them by then but she still loved it and so did dd2 who was 4 and she has never really liked them!

Going in August for the first time. My brain feels overloaded and I'm finding it impossible to take everything in. Is this normal?

Groovee Sun 10-Mar-13 15:48:19

LOL yes Pickled. That's where I find flitting between the Dibb, here and the dis helpful.

Play around with your dates and times for the T Rex Cafe in DD as you never know what you may manage to get.

I have a book but no other sites. It all sends me into panic mode.

I've managed to get a Trex booking! Phew! Which part is closet to DD?

I'm still deciding on the pirate/mermaid experience.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 10-Mar-13 17:19:23

I have said this before but in the end I paid a US company to book my adrs, do my itineraries and day plans! It was about 20 dollars per day well spent! I just couldnt work out how to fit in the meals and the shows and the rides we wanted in the 5 park days we had before Universal.

Hulababy Sun 10-Mar-13 18:03:52

PickledMoomin - we went to T Rex this time but without a booking. It was very busy and we had to wait 90 minutes, but we booked and then went for a walk around Downtown Disney for an hour or so, then came back to wait. So wasn't an issue in that sense.

Hulababy Sun 10-Mar-13 18:05:14

No characters at Three Broomsticks; just a meal and some butterbeer!

That's a genius idea. Did you always stick to the itinerary?

I think we'll be a bit freer that others in the parks. DS is only 3 so we'll be restricted by what we can all go on together.

Does anyone know if you can book at broomsticks?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 10-Mar-13 18:55:58

Pickled just be aware that some of the 3 year old rides have the longest waits so you want to get to the park on opening and head for them first.

We stuck to it mostly but went offplan once we had done the major rides. They even worked in character meets for us so we got literally everything done.

For instance in DHS I couldnt fit in the beauty and the beast show and the indiana jones show, now my youngest would want to see the Disney Jr stuff as well and its all hard to fit in without a plan.

Hi Pickled Moomin,

Glad to inform you re the ID requirements. It has caught people out and they do ask for it, I remember seeing another couple actually get a real once from the Discovery Cove over because they had no picture ID on them!. Americans generally love picture ID also because chip and pin is not widely used in the US. I think they ask for ID for adults as this place serves alcohol but it was never really explained as to why it was needed specifically to enter.

I thought the whole place was well run but also quite regimented. American society is really quite Germanic and has lots and lots of rules!.

I visited Discovery Cove soon after it initially opened so its probably changed quite a bit since then. I did the swim with the dolphin (you do not get much time in the water at all). They at that time pushed the sale of the photos and DVD quite hard. You did at that time wear one of their wetsuits for the duration of the visit. We enjoyed our day but I have not beeen back there since.

Its certainly worth reading both their homepage and terms and conditions before you visit.

DS is an early riser so I'm sure we'll be at the parks long before anyone else.

That's for the overview, Attila. Very helpful. Discovery Coves is the part of the holiday I'm most looking forward to. If its rubbish, at least there's free booze!
Do you know if DS will be able to watch the swim from the side? He's too young to swim.

Would have thought so re DS but see if anything is mentioned on DCs homepage.

Hulababy Sun 10-Mar-13 21:50:30

Don't think you can book 3 broomsticks but tbh we didn't need too. Had no problem getting a seat there.

Yes, you can watch the dolphin swim even if you're not swimming yourself. That's what I'm planning to do next year!

Have you all seen the talking fountain in Islands of Adventure? I think that was my fave thing in the whole of Florida smile

Groovee Mon 11-Mar-13 11:45:42

Anyone seen the Blue Man Group at Universal? Am considering it for us but dh thinks it's a tad expensive.

Thanks.

I haven't seen any of those things.

I haven't even thought about shows yet. Don't think my brain can take it.

Groovee Tue 12-Mar-13 09:01:40

You'll be fine. The blue man group is an extra show. Where as at Disney, all the shows are free.

Groovee Tue 12-Mar-13 11:03:57

Have been hearing that Expedia have cancelled tickets for guests who purchased park tickets through them because the dollar rate is so low. But can't find any concrete proof.

I've bought my tickets through virgin. Any further news on Expedia?

Told DD yesterday. She's having a hard time at school at the moment and seemed very sad so I told her. She said 'thank you' so many times.

5 months today grin

Groovee Thu 14-Mar-13 07:37:27

Well lots of people on the dibb seem to have had their tickets cancelled but expedia's FB page is saying they need to investigate it. Very odd.

But lots of people have demanded a refund and gone elsewhere where you get actual tickets and not paper vouchers.

Awww bless your dd. I hope things ease for her at school.

That's bad of Expedia. Glad they are investigating. How soon should I do visas?

Groovee Thu 14-Mar-13 16:44:17

I've done mine. I'd do it soon to ensure there are no issues with anyone. It can take over 6 months to get a visa if you are refused an ESTA. Do any passports first as the ESTA has to match the passport.

All passports are in date. I'll do them this weekend. How many weeks for you?

Groovee Thu 14-Mar-13 20:24:47

15 weeks tomorrow yay!

So jealous!!

salcz Thu 14-Mar-13 21:44:37

Hi,

I last went in June 2010sad. I'm so jealous of you all! We're planning on going back in 2020 (I'm not sure how I'll wait that long!) as DS will be 8 then and any future kiddies wont be too small (hopefully!)

Groovee Blue Man Group is AMAZING!! Best thing we pre-booked! I'm on a constant look out for them to come to London so I can go again!

Also, FWIW, I had the Brit guide and thought it was v good.

Groovee Fri 15-Mar-13 07:47:12

Thanks Salcz. Still trying to talk dh into it x

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 16-Mar-13 14:26:41

18 weeks!!!

Groovee Sat 16-Mar-13 17:32:24

We'll be in Animal Kingdom 15 weeks today x

150 days. Too long to wait.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 16-Mar-13 21:26:36

OMG i have been google'ing all day.

Booking 50's prime time diner, Chef Mickey's, the firework dessert party at MK, a Universal Character breakfast and a cabana at Aquatica....so excited!!!

Groovee Sun 17-Mar-13 09:01:06

Sounds fab Hokey

Pickled it will be there soon for you xx

WannaSplitAPineapple Sun 17-Mar-13 11:50:41

12 days!!! I can't wait although I still think I have loads to do. It's the first time travelling with DS so it's a lot more planning than usual. Ive never has to consider nappies taking up half my case before smile

Groovee Sun 17-Mar-13 13:03:22

More room for coming home grin

DD has decided to save her pocket money now she knows. I'm going to need lots of space for plastic crap.
Are the malls much cheaper these days?

Groovee Sun 17-Mar-13 17:16:25

Haha Pickled. This time we'll have hollister!!! Dd loves it!!! Ds remembers going to the virgin megastore last time and is disgruntled it's now a bowling alley!!!

Hulababy Sun 17-Mar-13 18:00:08

We ended up with almost a case full of stuff brought back - lots of Harry Potter stuff, plus Hollister and Abercrombie too. TBF the prices were good = about same in dollars as it is in £s here.

She doesn't know Hollister yet. Hopefully be a discovery saved for when we get back.
Was just about to do ESTAs but have one more passport to locate...!

WannaSplitAPineapple Sun 17-Mar-13 19:36:04

I do like Abercrombie, I also love to hit Macy's or the outlets for bags. You can't go to Disney without getting some pointless tat although your DD mite want a bit more than I'd get pickled , could you introduce her to pin trading? At least then they are only small grin

Pins are a really good idea. I've been watching some on eBay!

maxbradbury Sun 17-Mar-13 21:44:38

Hello! We leave for Disney world this sunday. Very excited now however we are going on one of the busiest weeks of the year.
I have mades plans ( ak on monday, hk on tuesday mk on wed and thurs) with the help of easywdw and undercover tourist but does anyone else have any tips to combat the busy Easter crowds?? Thanks smile

MOSagain Mon 18-Mar-13 14:18:02

Am hoping to be able to go in August but can't find any affordable flights, not really prepared to pay almost 1k each sad

YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 18-Mar-13 14:23:46

Max just be there half an hour before opening, know which rides to do first and use fast passes properly. Then take a break and go back in the evening for shows.

Groovee Mon 18-Mar-13 17:33:34

MOS someone said they leave it as late as possible as the flights come down in price and can be so much cheaper.

maxbradbury Mon 18-Mar-13 19:51:03

So fastpass. Is that what u use to pre book rides when You enter the parks?? Thanks

Groovee Mon 18-Mar-13 22:00:54

You can only use fastpass at one ride at a time. You can only get another fast pass once you use the one you have. You pop your park tickets in the machine at the attraction you want to fast pass and it will spit out a time for you to return and ride the ride.

roughtyping Mon 18-Mar-13 22:04:27

Ah getting so excited again! Definitely going to book some restaurants this time.
Managed to get a walk in at 50s prime time and it was amazing!

MOSagain Tue 19-Mar-13 09:23:22

Thanks Groove. Problem is we've found its normally the opposite. We used to always book 11 months in advance, as soon as flights released. We've just got a quote for BA flights in August and its over £500 more than we were quoted 4 weeks ago!

I would agree with MOSagain. Longhaul to Orlando (which is a very profitable route for both BA and VA) do tend to become more expensive the closer you book to departure day. These flights also fill quickly particularly around the more popular times to visit.

WannaSplitAPineapple Tue 19-Mar-13 15:45:30

We find it is much better to book in advance as we are limited to school holidays. My friend can go anytime and gets some brilliant late deals.

We've booked prime time, DH has said he's asking for no greens with his meal so they can't make him eat them. I've got baby brain badly today and can't remember what else we've booked. I know there is a character lunch in Animal kingdom and we are hoping to go to Be Our Guest but it will be for lunch not a sit down. We're there for the garden festival at Epcot and it sounds fab. I can't wait!

Groovee Wed 20-Mar-13 07:23:13

I wish I could go at short notice. Stuck with school holidays too because of my term time only contract. There are some great deals for April at the moment.

My friend flies indirect to Tampa and home from Miami and it can be much cheaper with out BA or Virgin.

I'm stuck to the school hols, too. It's costing us £8500 for two weeks in August. Could get it for half that any other time of the year!

Groovee Thu 21-Mar-13 07:39:29

99 days to go!

SweetSplendidSimnel Thu 21-Mar-13 14:18:51

Flying out next week, but havent made any reservations for the dining experience, coz frankly DD is at the age where someone dressed as Cinderella is a bit meh. So thinking of going somewhere like Rainforest cafe. Any good? Other recommendations will be gratefully received.

Oh and we are all veggies, if that will help grin

Posted on some other obscure bit of the Travel topic until I found you guys and THIS thread.

145 here.

How old is your DD Sweet?

MOSagain Thu 21-Mar-13 15:31:46

£8,500 shock for how many of you? Are you staying in Disney park?

SweetSplendidSimnel Thu 21-Mar-13 16:00:34

Pickled. She is 7...

4. Staying on international drive with Virgin flights. Have we been ripped off?

Sweet- same as my DD. I haven't booked princesses but I've booked a character meal and plan to take her to three broomsticks. Does your DD like Harry Potter? How about the 1950s meal? DD would love it but DS is only 3 and wouldn't be as keen

SweetSplendidSimnel Thu 21-Mar-13 20:02:53

Nope, no Harry Potter, I'm afraid. She's still sweet on Horrid Henry, not discovered the wizard boy yet grin

Thanks anyway....

Someone else will come along soon and have better suggestions. I'm still a novice.

mummytime Thu 21-Mar-13 20:21:16

For Disney fast passes you don't have to use them before you can get another. You just have to wait a certain amount of time from getting one until you can get the next. This is crucial for some rides, eg. The toy story one at Hollywood Studios. The first hing you do is get a fast pass if available, even thoughit may not be valid for 4 or more hours, however after 2 hours you can then get another one for he adults to go on the Rock and Roller Coaster.

Groovee Thu 21-Mar-13 20:52:35

We paid £3900 for a villa in June/July with flights and car hire for 3 adults (dd being 13 gets classed as an adult) and 1 child!

Was that with passes Groove? That's not school hold, is it?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Fri 22-Mar-13 07:19:50

We paid 5.5k for ten nights for 4 in feb half term, that was a 1 bed at okw with feee dining, disney passes, 2 nights at the hard rock, universal tickets and then 3 nights back at riverside at disney.

It was much cheaper to book it all seperately than with virgin.we biooked flights with dialaflight and the hrh hotel with them for a good discount and then disney direct.

Disney are iffering as low as 499 each atm if you can go in term time. Grr.

Groovee Fri 22-Mar-13 07:49:31

It is Scottish school holidays so we pay the premium for flying direct from Scotland. If we'd gone from Newcastle or Manchester on those dates it would have been cheaper. (saw it to only be about £2500 on one holiday but dh couldn't get the extra day off) Cost £1400 for the park passes.

I've seen some deals from a north east airport (not Newcastle) for the end of april for £2000 for a family of 4.

My friend from Leicester, often goes away the last 2 weeks of August flying from Scotland as she'd found it to be much cheaper than an English airport.

roughtyping Fri 22-Mar-13 07:52:12

Yes, we're Scottish and fly late June from Manchester as it's so much cheaper than Glasgow. For the holiday we have booked it worked out about £1.5k cheaper.

Groovee Fri 22-Mar-13 08:06:54

14 weeks today/98 days we'll be checked in! With the weather today, it's needed to think about warm, heat and no bloody wind or snow!

HuevosRancheros Fri 22-Mar-13 18:11:38

Really sorry for seeming lazy, I know the info will be somewhere in this thread, but it's such a massive thread!! grin

Anyway, can you wonderful people please recommend a book to help plan a Disney trip? I'm sure I read about one or two on here at some point

Thanks smile

maxbradbury Fri 22-Mar-13 18:46:20

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1118277562/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1363977871&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

We are using this. It got recommend to me. Also see easywdw.com and under tourist for crowd calendars

Groovee Fri 22-Mar-13 19:12:50

I have the Brits Guide to Orlando but also like the Unofficial guide to WDW.

We also have a frommer book about doing WDW with kids.

This is a good link about Fast Pass. disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/fast-pass/

HuevosRancheros Fri 22-Mar-13 19:32:44

Brilliant, thank you smile

Groovee Sun 24-Mar-13 12:21:08

Disney Photopass.... can you order it here first or can we not do that in the UK?

roughtyping Sun 24-Mar-13 12:37:46

Groovee I'm not sure, they have signs for it all over the place though so think it's quite easy to get it there.

I am so excited, had a dream about Florida last night! 15 months to go... I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for an upgrade as it'll be our (family of 3) honeymoon smile

mummytime Sun 24-Mar-13 12:43:12

I think you just pick it up the first time your photo is taken, in the water parks they come with a wrist band. Then you present it each time a photo is taken, so the photos are stored under the same code.
Then if you want some printed before you leave you can present it for printing, or you can bring it home and order over the Internet.

Groovee Mon 25-Mar-13 09:47:16
mummytime Mon 25-Mar-13 09:56:43

It does look like a good offer if you are actually want to purchase the photos.

Groovee Tue 26-Mar-13 08:31:25

We did the last time which was 6 years ago. So we like the memories.

Hulababy Tue 26-Mar-13 08:36:06

We never bother with photo pass. I am ever without a camera so usually come back with 100s anyway. Besides this year my camera was far better than the ones they were using anyway, lol! I found the photo pass pictures very expensive for what they were.

Groovee Wed 27-Mar-13 11:26:49

Still going to get it I think. Dh is saying yes.

The only problem with school holidays and snow is Spending time on You Tube watching the ride video's. I want to go now, not in 93 days.

Guess what we did today? We only went and booked a pre-Florida holiday to Paris. August feels so far away so we're off to disneyland on Wednesday. Haven't told the kids yet.

The photo passes sound great but are very pricey.

Groovee Thu 28-Mar-13 22:12:17

Lovely, the kids will be excited.

Going to tell them this evening. I haven't planned anything which is odd given my Florida obsession and stress!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Fri 29-Mar-13 21:04:25

Oh pickled that will be fab, have a great time.

I have booked a cabana in Aquatica today, was not cheap so i hope it's worth it - very excited!

Filmed telling them. They were thrilled!

Tell me about the cabanas...!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Fri 29-Mar-13 22:42:13

Oh that will be so lovely to watch in years to come!

How lovely to have two disney trips to look forward to!

Cabana's are essentially gazebos/tenty type things.

They have chairs/sunbeds and ceiling fans and fridges with cold bottled water and you get lockers as well i believe.

There is six of us going and it's such a pita to try and get six sunbeds all together and if it gets too hot - we're there in July/August - there's not much shade for the kids so it seemed like a good idea.

We booked it online, was expensive as peak time but worth it i think.

Sounds like a really sensible idea. We have aquatica tickets so I may look into that but I don't know which day we'll be there yet. We'll be there at similar times.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 30-Mar-13 08:01:35

We go on 24th July, 122 days i think!!

Aquatica is my favourite water park by far, i think it's the best one for kids.

You can book online, they start at about $79 but it was $244 (£162 pound) for one when we are there.

Split between two families though so it's not so bad.

Groovee Sat 30-Mar-13 10:56:16

90 days to go!!! We'll be waking up for Animal Kingdom.

We're thinking about a Cabana for Typhoon Lagoon. But the cost of $300 is a bit much so we have to see what money is like at the time.

Zipitzippy Sat 30-Mar-13 18:15:53

We go in 6 days and I've not done a thing. No planning no packing bought a book but not had time to read it yet do you think I should start panicking. We are going with family 10 of us altogether and our son has just turned 2. We are staying at the yacht club. I've never been before but husband and family have been numerous times but not in the last 10 years or so. We have ordered the photo pass + but that's not arrived yet.

Groovee Sat 30-Mar-13 18:23:56

If you plan to eat on site you will need to book. Because of the dining plan it's very hard to get walk ups these days.

Dd asked to go to the t-rex restaurant at Downtown Disney. I can't get any availability for our whole 2 weeks!

Hopefully your PP+ will arrive shortly.

As you are staying onsite, I'd advise you to make use of the extra magic hours which will let you into the parks early or stay later when off site guests have to leave. You could get in and do the busy rides early doors then head back to the hotel for a rest.

If you have an iphone I'd recommend downloaded the apps for waits in the rides. WDW waits and WDW maps have been good on my phone and they were free.

NotMoreFootball Sun 31-Mar-13 23:04:05

We just got back from our first trip to Orlando yesterday and the parks were not nearly as busy as I had feared, we've been to Disneyland Paris several times but found Disney World to be MUCH less busy and better organized than France.
My DH (who was famously anti-Disney!) enjoyed it so much he's already planning a return trip for next year but staying in a Disney hotel this time. Does anyone have any recommendations on which hotel has the best transport links within the resorts?, we'd also like a nice pool area so we can have at least one day of rest!

Groovee Mon 01-Apr-13 10:10:06

We've stayed at All Stars Sports and Port Orleans Riverside. POR is lovely and we've stayed there twice. Plenty small pools round the resort as well as beautiful themeing. If I was to stay onsite again, I quite fancy the Art of Animation or Old Key West.

Zipitzippy Mon 01-Apr-13 19:32:53

Thanks for that Groovee. Got the apps and will make the most of the magical extra hours. In laws are sorting all the restaurants out so that takes a lot of stress of us. Not yet booked a character meal but hopefully that should be sorted tomorrow at the Floridian.

Looking forward to doing some shopping while over there as lost weight and not got much that fits anymore. It's hard buying summer clothes when the weather is so cold here.

Going to make a start on the packing tonight just as soon as I get my little one to bed.

Groovee Wed 03-Apr-13 13:22:08

Hope you have fun.

Groovee Sun 07-Apr-13 12:40:10

I keep dreaming about finding the villa. It's like we've arrived in willy wonka land fun fair and everyone is laughing at us being lost. When we arrive where we should be, it's a camper van!

loopyluna Sun 07-Apr-13 15:15:38

We're going a week tomorrow gringringrin
We're staying at the Hawthorn just off International drive and plan on doing Sea World, IOA (just for Harry Potter!) and 2 days of Disney (MK, AK.) Also driving to Kennedy Space Centre and hope to fit in a water park... Have a hire car for the 2 weeks.

DS is driving me mad cause he seems to think we're going to Miami confused

Shopping is a must too. Hoping for some bargains at Abercrombie, Gap, Vans and RL smile

Just need to drag out some summer clothes and get packing now...

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 07-Apr-13 17:24:57

Enjoy loopy!

Just booked the car - too excited!!!

Groovee Sun 07-Apr-13 19:02:55

Enjoy loopy, but why does ds think you are off to Miami?

Hokey you sound like dh, he was bouncing this afternoon.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 07-Apr-13 19:20:43

I am vair excited today although looking at the prices of the park tickets always brings me back down to earth with a bump!!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 07-Apr-13 19:26:39

107 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

were going but not to September but can npt wait staying POFQ have booked resturants as on DP .

dd knows told her on her birthday .ds3 does not have a clue will tell on his birthday end of July

feels very unreal yet .Seems long time one way but when i think of things to pay yet then not seem long enough

mamageekchic Mon 08-Apr-13 10:42:02

We're flying out on Saturday- so excited! We've got 14day disney passes so planning on just making the most of those as DD is only a toddler. I'd really like to do the Harry Potter thing though- what's the most cost effective way to do that?

Also, do you think $150 spending money a day will be enough for 2 adults and a toddler?

Thanks!

Groovee Mon 08-Apr-13 14:42:51

Ooh lots of excitement lol.

$150 should be fine Mama. What we do is budget and then pop the leftovers into a pot for the final few days.

We have Universal 2 park tickets which we bought here as they are valid for 14 days. Think they were about £100 each. Or you can pay at the gate which will cost you more.

Being bored this morning, was supposed to be at work but it was cancelled as I walked out the door... our disney tickets work out at about £18 a day with around £9 parking. Not bad considering what you'd pay at Alton Towers. Our Universal tickets are about £7 a day with £10 parking.

81 days to go. 11 weeks 4 days whoop whoop.

You'll all have to come back and give tips.

127 days here. Paris was great. Really tiring. Orlando is going to be the same x100, isn't it?

themonsteratemyspacebar Mon 08-Apr-13 17:47:29

I was just wondering if i can join in?....
Im sorry i havent read the whole thread but just saw the title and it made me excited!
Going on the 1st May! Woop woop!

7 of us going and im the youngest (25) and none of us have any kids grin

I already plan to push kids out of the way and say 'ive been waiting alot longer than you for this' hehe

Cant wait, im really not going to sleep for a few nights before due to over excitement!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 08-Apr-13 18:08:53

Groovee which tickets did you get - that sounds cheap?

Themonster of course you can!

You'll have a fab time, we used to go every year before we had dc, i think i was 26 when i went for the first time.

It's all so familiar, it's like being in the tv, even though you have never been because you have seen it on the tv so many times.

Enjoy!

Groovee Mon 08-Apr-13 19:08:21

Welcome Themonster. Where are you staying?

Hokey, I got my tickets from ATD They had a variety of tickets and we got the 2 park Universal ones. They will help you through your choices.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 08-Apr-13 19:40:35

I'm still looking at between £1600-£1800 for Disney all parks and Universal 5 park flex...fgs!!!

Groovee Mon 08-Apr-13 20:14:21

I paid £1420 as both kids are full price. But we're not interested in Aquatica/Seaworld/Wet'n'Wild, hence why it's a bit cheaper. When we went in 2007 we were half the price of these tickets. Disney tickets were £167/£145 and £67 for Universal and kids went free.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 08-Apr-13 20:18:34

We love Seaworld and Aquatica is so good for the kids we couldn't not do it.

I wish we didn't like it all so much!

Groovee Tue 09-Apr-13 11:06:28

It's just a nightmare isn't it. I think we see it as one lump sum but when I was checking out Alton Towers yesterday I couldn't get over the price for 1 day.

I keep seeing it as one enormous lump sum too. I know we're not doing it cheaply- it's our first time and I didn't know where to start without a package - but it's a lot of money and it had better be worth it grin

10ptstoGRYFFINDOOR Wed 10-Apr-13 22:51:14

We're staying for two weeks. 2 parents & a 14 year old & an 18 year old! We're staying in the Rosen Inn and the Royal Pacific Resort.
You should stay at a Universal Studios Hotel to get into the parks an hour early! We're doing this so we can get into Harry Potter world early.
Use international drive as it is good for getting around and don't bother paying for a deluxe hotel, you'll only be there to wake up, change & go to sleep! Try going to a water park every 3 days because its hot and the water parks are supposed to be amazing! I'm a first timer so hope everything works out smile

Groovee Wed 10-Apr-13 23:34:35

I'm trying hard to get a Universal hotel for one night but $300 could be spent better elsewhere, what with the $18 plus tax a day parking there too.

We're going for a villa this time. We were watching the video of last time and remember how small it was in the room. I'm looking forward to chill out time at the villa as well as doing the parks.

ChestysLonelyYoni Thu 11-Apr-13 23:30:27

So jealous that your all still planning, I came back on Monday.

It was fabulous and magical and I must go again grin

Must admit we're not doing universal or IOA when looked at heights and restrictions those parks gave for Qherlchair users not worth it for me and ds3

But do want to go yo seaworld

Have tickets as part of package and dining to but no clue how much spending money take way things going wont be a lot

Groovee Fri 12-Apr-13 07:10:39

I'm aiming for £2000. Getting there slowly. That gives us roughly $100 a day for food and stuff and $100 safety net per day too.

Groovee Fri 12-Apr-13 07:13:10

11 weeks to go.

Ah ok we have food included in ours and not a shoppers )

Is me , dd be 10 ds3 8,food/tickets included

Plus have gift card of $200,so if I said take $800 be enough ?

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Fri 12-Apr-13 13:38:16

We normally have about $1000 a week for food and general every day spending.

We then have extra for shopping - that's just enough for 4 of us, me dh and dds 7 and 10.

Who else has a plan to cover each month

I don't think ill really believe it to we're through immigration

149 days to go here gulp

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sun 14-Apr-13 08:26:58

101 days!!

dancemom Sun 14-Apr-13 08:34:14

Only 78 days to go for us!

Groovee Sun 14-Apr-13 09:40:55

75 days for us yipeeee.... 11 weeks today we'll be asleep but getting up for IOA.

Who else is punching themselves as does not feel real . I have no clue what to really expect as never been before

What are everyone's must do in

Magic kingdom
Epicot,
Animal kingdom
Hollywood studios

And seaworld ( will one day be enough ?)

They are the only parks we are doing so tips please from those that befn before

Groovee Sun 14-Apr-13 11:36:24

Magic Kingdom our must do's Crystal Palace for a meal as I adore Pooh Bear. We love Big Thunder Mountain. The parade about 3pm is fab to watch from upstairs at the train station. We love to hit fantasyland and it's been expanded so looking forward to seeing it. Just wandering around listening to the music changing. If you have kids, then I'd recommend the family magic tour but it must be booked in advance.

Epcot I love Spaceship Earth and Soaring. The Land water ride and figment are nice for getting out of the heat and chilling for a while. We have to eat at the Garden Grill here. World Show case do a kidcot where kids make masks in all the different countries. Take time to speak with the Cast Members at these stops as they come from the country they are representing.

Animal Kingdom Festival of the Lion King is a must do. Fabulous show. I'd head right up to Kilamanjaro Safari's and do that first.

Hollywood Studios Fantasmic is a wonderful show at night. It's my least Favourite Park here, but Star Tours and The Great Movie ride are good rides. Haven't tried Toystory Mania but it took my friend 2 hours in the queue last week.

Seaworld cover up well as shade is poor. It's not my favourite park and to be honest before we only ever went for the shamu show.

nametakenagain Sun 14-Apr-13 12:05:52

It's been mentioned before, but you can download an app from touringplans.com. You pick the attractions and rides you want to see and do, and whether you want to minimise walking or waiting, and press 'optimise'. It then tells you the most efficient order to do things in, including when to get and use fastpases.

In disney, you have free wifi so can reoptimise during the day if you decide to modify your plans.

Broadly, speaking though, if you get there before opening, stay til lunch, go back to hotel/villa/condo for a sleep and chill out, and go back at six, you'll be able to do most things with much reduced waits compared to the beginning of the day.

NotSoNervous Sun 14-Apr-13 12:06:49

I'm not going but went last year and it was amazing! I'm very jealous you'll all have a great time

roughtyping Sun 14-Apr-13 12:32:45

$150 a day should be plenty. We went last summer, stayed on international drive (me, OH and 8yo DS). We didn't hire a car. Got 'group' taxis to Disney, free shuttle or a taxi to Universal, and taxis back. Had big buffet breakfasts each morning, tended to have a late lunch, would share 2 meals between the three of us as portions were huge. Some days went out for dinner, went to a couple of 'proper' restaurants at Disney for sinner etc. A couple of days just stayed at hotel and slobbed about at pool, reading etc.

We came back with about $600!

Still over a year for us, sob! About 14.5 months...

ChestyNut Sun 14-Apr-13 16:56:39

catapult my absolute favourite at animal kingdom was "it's tough to be a bug" kind of 4d show. It's really clever grin

We loved sea world! One ocean, the shamu show is fab
As was blue horizons- dolphins, performers and birds.

We also saw Clyde and seamore- walrus and seals, was very funny for kids.
Pets ahoy was inside and not my favourite but very cleverly done.

Agree about the heat, unbelievable if your not in the shade.
Watch out for the splash zones if your sat at the front grin

Fantasmic at Hollywood studios was amazing!
The great movie ride was great too smile

ChestyNut Sun 14-Apr-13 16:58:15

Ps they advise you arrive 45 mins before any show times. They get soooooo full!

NotMoreFootball Sun 14-Apr-13 17:16:36

We went to Orlando over Easter and found one day at Seaworld to be enough, we arrived at opening and stayed till quite late to watch Shamu Rocks! What we found was that the shows were quieter in the morning as most people tried to do all the rides before they did the shows and we were able to turn up 10 mins before the start and still get decent seats.
The queue for the rides seemed to stay pretty constant all day but some of the afternoon shows were closing 30 mins before the start as they had already filled and the queue for the dolphin feeding was insane later on but the 9am feed was empty!

Groovee Mon 15-Apr-13 11:03:21

74 days down another wee bit.

thank you

dd be 10 when we go and ds3 be 8 but more 4/5 in himself and in his height to

yes looking at seaworld it is the shows and animals more tha n rides so Notmorefootball will keep your advice in mind and do in the morning

groove
you must be more excited than ever now

I am hoping going September be a bit quieter as uk and us schools just gone back

Groovee Wed 17-Apr-13 15:55:21

I'm really excited after being at work with someone who gets so excited about everything.

Ds made me count how many school days are left so it's 47!

Groovee Fri 19-Apr-13 07:38:29

70 days to go... that's 10 weeks just now we should be at check in, with me bouncing about like Tigger!! The sun is shining and I want to go NOW.