Anyone got a Disney/Florida Holiday Planned Part 2(202 Posts)
We're off in August 2014 for our third trip.
Yes! April 2014 for us
Only have flights and villa booked so far... Eek
We have a week at Disney and 10 days in villa booked, but are holding out for better flight prices. It's nerve wracking!
Oh great to have a new thread, Groovee.
Just over a year for us now - 379 days to go! Will be mine and DH's 5th time, and DD's 4th.
Think we are going to book a character meal for the first time this year. I'm torn between breakfast at the Crystal Palace or dinner at the castle. Anyone got an opinion either way? DD will be 5.6 when we go next time.
Meant to say we are staying at Caribbean Beach this time. It is our first time there but we always stay on site.
We are off in 2 weeks - very excited! Think we have everything sorted now, so just got to count down the days.
I'd love to go back next summer. Can't see it happening. Really enjoyed this year.
Me!! Fly out Friday 13th June!...not sure if I should be worried about the date .
Me! We go Monday morning I'm so excited!
<waves to Lauren> how are you?
NickNacks - we're there april as well - you're doing better than me - I have only flights booked.
Joining new thread! We're planning a Florida trip next May - DH is out there for a conference and DD, who will be 16 months, and I are going to fly over to meet him afterwards. We weren't planning to do Disney because DD won't remember, we both went as kids, but now we think that we have to go . So, the plan is just to do Magic Kingdom for a day, then off to Naples to the beach and sun!
Has anyone been / is going with a young baby / toddler? Any tips? For the long flight / jet lag as well as Disney
Hi surgical. We first took DD when she was 22 months. She loved it, and we have so many lovely memories of seeing her enjoying herself there.
As for the flight - take snacks and lots of toys and hand them out at frequent intervals. We also took DD for walks around the plane regularly.
Oh and jet lag was only an issue on the return home. When we get there we go to bed very early and get up early the next day and then we're sorted.
Me! We are off to Disney in Feb- 2 weeks at Old Key West with free dining. We did Caribbean Beach last Feb.
I have already booked our restaurants, having been scared by stories of no tables. We are having lunch in Cinderellas castle one day- hoping DS will enjoy this...
Feeling excited about the dinner shows- we did quick service dining last year and didn't do any of this stuff- T-Rex, Hoop de Doo Revue etc. Most saddened that Blizzard Beach is closed again, I was looking forward to that. May do Aquatica instead- anyone been? Is it good for non swimmers (DS is 6)?
Anyone got any good links to sites I can go on and get excited about Disney stuff- tips etc?
Glitter - how was Caribbean Beach? I'm still nervous about it, as we usually always stay at French Quarter.
I will be interested to hear what you think of lunch at Cinderella's castle - thinking of doing this next October with DD.
For the best tips and advice, go to the Dibb. There's never a question they can't answer! As far as books go, I don't think the Unofficial Guide can be beaten.
Is anyone planning on going to Lego Land? I would like to hear you're thoughts on it, when I go the DC's ages will be 7months, 2, 10 and 15 I know it'll prob be rubbish for the older ones but I think my 2 year old would really enjoy it.
Not planning of going to Legoland while there, but did you know you can get Legoland Florida tickets with your Tesco clubcard points?
Ooo Anne, that legoland tickets tip is brilliant, thank you! We were thinking of going there, it looks great for younger kids. And you can build a raft of Lego bricks in the lazy river .
We really liked Caribbean beach, I was thinking of doing port Orleans originally but for £150 extra we could stay at old key west and get upgraded dining and a deluxe studio, plus walkable into downtown Disney, so we went with that! Still want to try port Orleans one year though.
If I had the money I would be staying at either fort wilderness (loved the lobby, the ambiance, rocking chairs and the gorgeous bar) or more likely the beach club for closeness to epcot, boardwalk and stormaway bay!
If you want to know anything specific about Caribbean beach do ask. I thought it was great but nothing to compare it to as it was our first time. I particularly liked the movies under the stars being next to the pool bar, many nights we watched the films while having a couple of beers! Will be interesting to see how OKW compares.
Not booked yet but definite plans for 2014
We are booked for April 14 - so getting VERY close to the magical 180 day point at which we can start booking Character dining etc.
Anne upthread asked re: Crystal Palace or Cinderella's table. The latter is considered the best, very good ratio of characters to guests - but v hard to get into. A tip is to try for lunch or dinner - as breakfasts seem to be more popular. We are planning on quick breakfasts - and getting to the parks early.
We have 9 full days at WDW (Grand floridian villas) - then 4 days on Disney Magic to Bahamas - then 3 days at Universal before home. Have been saving for many years - and as I have just had a major hip op this is something to look forward to for us and the 3 kids after a tough year.
Just got the Unofficial Guide for 2014 and have to say its so useful. But dauntingly large. I thought we had tonnes of time at WDW - but it seems we could do with 2 weeks at least....
Anyone whose been - which is better Typhoon Beach or Blizzard Beach? We can probably only do one. Kids are 5,8 & 10 and quite good swimmers.
Hope anyone who is there now is having a lovely time. Would loved to have gone in Sept/Oct but we are restricted to school holidays.
Just looking at the old thread - and saw that Groovee felt Blizzard Beach better than TL.
One other query - given kids aged 5,8,10 is two days at Epcot too much? Porbably wouldn't be two full days... but trying to work off the touring plans/Official Guide stuff...
We loved epcot and did that the most fall the parks last time. I wasn't expecting to but DS 6 really enjoyed it there. However yours are older and prob want to do rides more, so maybe a day would be enough. It's a big park though so would be a lot of walking.
We have done typhoons lagoon but not blizzard beach so can't help with your other question
Hi. We go on May 13th for 17 days.. Sooo exciting. am looking forward to telling our ds (8) & dd(6) most of all, they have never even been on a plane so will b vvvv excited. Still working out how to do the reveal and debating christmas day but unsure...
We are staying at orange lake in kissimmee. Has anyone stayed there?
Tips galore needed as very much first timers..
I've not stayed at Orange lake but did a timeshare tour there....it is very nice , great if you are into golf too lol
Hi all! We're off next Sunday, squeal! Haven't booked any dining, do we really need to? DS is 11 so no character dining needed, but won't we be able to just walk in and get a table? Thanks.
The sit-down restaurants? Probably not. People book them 180 days in advance (in fact some a little earlier than that if they are staying on site). However the quick-service restaurants where you queue and pay for your food at the counter will be there for you.
We are booked for March 2014. Can not WAIT!
Really Anne? That's mad! Don't mind quick service but thought we might get a nice sit down meal. Are the Downtown Disney restaurants the same?
I'm not sure about the ones at Downtown Disney, thelady, we have never actually had a table-service meal at Disney despite going 4 times!
To be honest I can't see the point in sitting down for a lengthy meal - there is so much to see and do. Plus, I don't like deciding 6 months in advance which park I will be in, let alone where I want to eat and at what time!
The quick service restaurants are very good - it isn't all burgers. Plus you get to eat when you are hungry, rather than when you could book a table 6 months ago!
You may be lucky and get a cancellation. Some people do manage to get a table at short notice.
You can always check at guest services as you arrive at the parks in the morning and see what's available in the table service places. It's not very high season so you may get lucky.
Still no flights here but the prices are coming down slowly.
Count me in, I have just waded through the original thread and have been to the travel agents this morning to get a quote
We are looking at Port Orleans Resort to totally immerse ourselves in the Disney bubble, we wanted a different hotel but you can't downgrade the dining plan, we want quick counter service meals. I like to plan stuff but the idea of deciding on a park and restaurant months in advance is not for me.
I went to Disney as a child but DH and the boys have never been. We are going in May 2014 and my ds2 will turn 8 whilst we are out there.
Any recommendations on what to celebrate with? ie somewhere special to eat? I have in the past had the Unofficial Guide to Disney but have ordered the latest one from Amazon so I am eagerly awaiting its arrival.
We're going with ds (3) for one single day and night. I've been advised that the Magic Kingdom and the Art of Animation hotel would be suitable. We want it to be a day of lots of fun even though we know he won't remember it. Any advice appreciated!
We are going on Thursday! Staying in a villa. In a bit worried about trying to do all that parks as we only have 13 days. Which parks need 2 days do you think? Which is te "worse" that we could drop?
We are going next Feb; staying in a villa. flatmum, I've only been to Florida once but I've decided not to bother with Animal Kingdom this time around. I also won't do Busch Gardens (but if you love thrill rides/coasters etc. then Busch is suposed to be great). I keep reading that Hollywood Studios is the one to drop if you're short on time but that was one of our favourite parks!
Do you all have rest days whilst you're there? It is hard going (and too much for our DCs) and the rest days are useful but I keep stressing about what we're missing!
I'm going in December, for Christmas , staying at Kidani Village. My children don't know yet. We're going to tell them just before we leave for the train to Gatwick.
I'm going in December, for Christmas , staying at Kidani Village. My children don't know yet. We're going to tell them just before we leave for the train to Gatwick.
I'm back and lurking again in case we get to go...
<waves to NickNacks and Laurenamium>
Realistically how tired will the children be? They will be almost 11 and ds2 turns 8 whilst we are there, see above ^^
We are center parcs people so the children are used to activities but we are looking to book our one and only sit down meal at dinner time for ds2's birthday (5pm onwards)
Will we need to get them back to the hotel for a rest/sleep in the afternoon?
It IS a very tiring holiday, no two ways about it. Jetlag shouldn't be too bad on the way there though - it's just all the walking. Even though you're mainly strolling, you are pretty much walking all day. We don't do the 'get there as soon as it opens thing' and we usually leave around 6ish and my DCs are fine to go all that time without a rest (though the 6yo does need to go in a buggy sometimes). So I'd say as long as you aren't hitting the parks from 9am-9pm then your DCs should be fine. My DD is having a birthday whilst we're there too! We've booked a character breakfast - that might be an idea for you? You can order cakes to be brought to your table too. And make sure you ask for a (free) birthday badge at City Hall if you're in MK!
Thanks Double we think we are leaning toward chef mickey's for breakfast so have to factor in getting from Port Orleans resort to MK then to Contemporary. I am packing a massive birthday badge but will also grab one from City Hall as a souvenir.
My Unofficial Guide to Disney with Kids arrived yesterday and I have hardly put it down It suggests starting walking 6 weeks before you go to build up stamina!
We are all early risers so we are planning to hit the parks early, back to hotel for rest then back in for the evening.
Joining! Just booked last night ( last day of dining plan offer!) We have decided we all literally not tell the kids until we get to the airport - we are going in July
We went in November 8 years ago, DD was 4.5, DS1 was just 16 weeks! and stayed on I Drive. The time , she will be 13 ( eek ) DS1, almost 9 and DS2, 7.5 years, so looking forward to watching them enjoy it!
Staying at Port Orleans, best value package for us with one room - would have loved OKW in a two bed 'villa' but really not in budget . Can't wait!
escape we are staying at Port Orleans because of that pull down bed, ds1 sleeps like a starfish so ds2 who is still little is having that bed.
Can anyone advise me re luggage? ie how many cases did you take, did you take enough clothes for 2 weeks or did you re-wear or wash stuff.
Having never been on a plane with children I am trying to work out what to pack. I have just been and bought suitcases today, 2 large and 2 medium although I am planning on taking 3 cases not 4.
Help me please oh wise ones.
Luggage- we took enough for 1 week- there are washer/dryers next to the pools at Port Orleans. Much cheaper and easier than packing loads!
Don't take towels.
What time of year are you going Potterer?
Hello all, we are going at the end of January. We are old timers though, this will be our 6th trip together. Our first time with a 2 year old though and also the first time we are going in 'winter', normally we go in June or October.
Any advice on appropriate clothing for that time of year?
Just booked for saratoga springs in october 2014 (a third off plus free dining). Very excited. The new Diagon alley section will be open at Universal too. This will be our third time. We love it.
Potterer the kids wont be tired at that age, it will be fine.
Thank you all, we are going end of May 2014. I had seen the laundry room but just wondered what people usually do.
Ds2 is the messiest eater so clothing wise he will never be able to wear something twice <takes after his very clumsy Mother> unless it is washed.
Littlered we go to Center Parcs every year and ds2 sometimes falls asleep at 5pm at the dinner table he just doesn't seem to be able to endure lots of physical activity. He tends to sleep in the car if we have been out walking for the day too.
I have a medical condition that means I get fatigued so am really hoping we schedule in some down time in the afternoons, purely because if I push myself too hard I will collapse with it
tory I started watching YouTube videos to see what people were wearing, are they wearing cardigans, do people look like they are melting?
Hello you lot! Myself and the tribe are going in July 2014 for a fair few days and we are staying in a villa but we've also booked a couple of nights at the Hard Rock Hotel to take advantage of the FOLP!
Currently in fantasyland queuing for dumbo ride!!! Do investigate the magic bands before you go...room key, park tix and access to book able fast passes (fast pass plus). Get the mydisney app on your phones (wifi throughout park). If you are staying onsite you can customise your bands (colour) in advance!!!
Then book fast passes up to 60 days in advance..use the app to get an idea of wait times for your favourite rides at different times of day!!
We got free quick service dining with our room - great to have if you can get it...not sure I would pay for it!
Disney is a bit different though Potterer since its not really physical. I suppose it all depends on how you do it. We go for a fortnight and don't spend all day every day at the parks because the pools are fab too. We generally do the parks in the morning, come back after lunch for an afternoon around the pool and then head over to wherever we are eating in the evening, often that will be a park restaurant and so you can grab a few more rides then if you want to.
We are looking forward to four nights at Universal this time around just to change things up a bit although not looking forward to the fact that we will have to pay for food. We've been spoiled by the disney dining plan and some of the restaurants included in the plan have fantastic food. The first time we went we spent only $200 for the whole holiday since the dining plan was so good.
I love Ohana at the Polynesian and the restaurant at Kidani (animal kingdom lodge villas) the name of whihc escapes me.
Me, DH and DS are going this coming Sunday.
High point is a day at Discovery Cove SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
What's this about Blizzard thingy being closed?????
We are staying at the Wyndham Hotel: any tips?
How do you get these sodding character reservations of which you speak?
We're going to get creamed arnt we
Disney is a bit different though Potterer since its not really physical.
As you say, it depends on how you do it - I'm honestly never so exhausted as after a disney holiday! We do the parks all day every day though, unlike you (with perhaps 2 rest days in between) and it's really tiring. People apparently walk an average of around 10 miles a day at Disney!
TSS, you can make restaurant reservations (whether character ones or not) online but I'm afraid that at this late stage it will be next to impossible You can book up to 180 days before and some reservations are gone within seconds of the 180-day window being open!
Re. Discovery Cove - is it really good? We are going and I'm just not that excited about it. I'm trying to decide whethe to swim with a dolphin or not - DD is doing it for her birthday treat and I wasn't going to but I'm wondering if I'll regret it. Thing is, I think I'll be terrified of them!
though not as terrified as having to wear a wetsuit
Typhoon Lagoon closes on Sunday for refurbishment. The other Disney water park is still open - Blizzard Beach. As well as the non-disney ones Aquatica and wet n wild.
We're just back from a fortnight in Orlando! There's lots of changes with the new magic bands and FP+ system which is currently in test. At the moment it's just for on site guests but rumour has it that it will eventually be rolled put to offsite guests as well. I'd strongly recommend that anyone staying on site in the near future start looking into FP+ (get the My Disney Experience app!) and everyone else keep an eye on it too.
Offsite guests can still use the regular FP though, yes? <worries>
I have the "Unofficial guide to Walt Disney WOrld with kids 2014" and have been watching stuff on YouTube about the new RFID wristbands and FastPass+ (I will now call it FP+)
According to my book, FP+ will eventually replace FastPass but that seems a long way off. There are lots of rumours about what will happen but my book says FP+ will enable you to book rides/attractions 60 days in advance so you have to have either a Disney resort reservation number or an actual Disney Park ticket to do this.
Also in plans "we re told is a hard limit on the number of daily FP+ reservations you can have" the rumour is that each guest will be limited to between 2-4 passes per day depending on park and crowd conditions.
The reasoning is when 7 dwarves mine train ride opens Magic Kingdom will have 13 fastpass enabled attractions giving rides to 19,000 people per hour.
Assume 2/3 of that capacity is FP and the other 1/3 standby riders, over the course of a 12 hour day that's 152,000 FP spots.
About 49,000 people visit Magic Kingdom on an average day so each person can have 3 FP before all the spots are taken (are you still with me?) BUT if 75,000 people visit they would need to keep the park open for 18 hours to give everyone 3 FPs. Not possible.
Disney plans to up the number of rides that have FP from 30 to around 50. hey will also allow FP for character greetings and reserving best views for spots for fireworks etc.
Speculation is Disney will limit you to one FP+ per attraction per day ie if you want to ride Space Mountain twice, once will be FP+ the other stand in line.
Also, rumour is that depending on whether you stay in value/moderate/deluxe resort or off site may influence how many FP you can have for particular head liner attractions.
This is all from the book. So for a while it seems FP will run alongside FP+ but if you have FP+ you can't have FP. Phew, that was looooong.
we are there now and are just using the regular FP - one per 2 hours, but they run out in the afternoon.
DoubleDpubleTwigletTouble, yes right now off site guests can use the normal FP machines. They will go away eventually and be replaced with FP+ for everyone but to be honest, the system is still so glitchy I can't see that happening for quite a long time!
As part of the "test" we were limited to 3 FP+s a day but still had KTTW cards to pull normal paper FPs. The three rides which seemed to be most impacted by FP+ were Soaring, Test Track and Toy Story Mania. If you want to get a paper FP for any of these rides you REALLY need to be there before rope drop. Toy Story was out of paper FPs by 9:30-9:45 each day we were there and Soaring/Test Track were out by 10ish. The day we picked up paper FPs for oarng and Test Track I was at the Soaring machine at 9:05 and got tickets for 1:30. DH was over at TT and at 9:05 got three tickets, one for 1:55, one for 2:00 and the last for 2:05 (I.e. it was jumping by 5 minutes with each insertion!)
For all the other rides, particularly at the Mgic Kingdom, there was no problem getting paper FPs within a reasonable time- Magic Kingdom tended to stay within an hour of the current time and one day I got to Hollywood Studios at 2:30 and got paper FPs for Tower of Terror for 5:30 so not too bad.
If you want to keep an eye on trends, log onto My Disney Experience and click on "wait times". The will show you current wait times for each ride as well as the current FP return times. I found it pretty accurate compared to what was actually happening in the park and it let us plan our days a lot better- after watching Epcot for a couple of days it was clear we needed to get there by rope drop!
Wow, thanks for all that info! Taz, were you there at a particularly busy time? That's terrifying about Soarin' & Toy Story Mania being out of FPs by 9.30am!! We went at a reasonably quiet time and they were usually gone out by midday... we are going with family who like to be slo-o-o-o-o-ow in the mornings and rope drop is never going to happen for us! (though we charge there like demons when we go to Paris by ourselves )
We're off to Bonnet Creek at the end of June. Can't wait! Was on the last thread
DoubleDouble- we just got back yesterday (boo hiss!). October isn't usually too busy but this year it was busier than expected. Re the FPs, I have a sneaking suspicion Disney might be manipulating the system a bit during test. After I got the Soaring FPs, I went to wait for DH and the kids to get off Test Track. This was around 9:15-9:30. The FP machines were actually really quiet by this point- the initial rope drop crowd were gone. I was watching the times go up and they appeared to go up 5 minutes by every 3-4 FPs given out. It MAY be that Disney had already allocated so many FP+s that there truly were only a handful left for paper FPs, or they might be playing about with numbers in the background. I had a look today and at 10:30 EST, TT was still giving out paper FPs (return window 6:25), so it's all a bit up in the air right now.
If you're going in Feb I'd start keeping an eye on My Disney Experience a couple of weeks before. The third week of Feb tends to get busy with school holidays but the rest of the month shouldn't be too bad.
I am at Epcot now and got to the fast pass paper machines at 10:07, our times were 3.15-4.15 which worked out well as we went and did test track (half hour queue) and space (15 mins - bleurgh, the only ride so far we didn't like much!) without fast passes and then went round some o the world exhibits.
We are just coming up to the end of a 2 week stay and haven't found the queues too bad really. magic kingdom was the busiest park but got paper fast passes for space mountain everything else not too bad. Universal and Sea World were pretty chilled in comparison to the Disney parks and the water parks prctically horizontal!
We have found October pretty good I have to say tho Disney parks still busy (only have Hollywood studios to do). Looking at the roped of queuing areas though I can't imagine what seventh circle of hell August must be. we queued half an hour for Harry Potter at Island of adventure no fast passes, my colleague in August queued 2 and a half hours!
That was for Soarin by the way!
Were going back not to 2015 but discussed with Dc and planning 3 weeks
Have to say was fantastic time and so much to see and do
Dc will definte do again but not worried on swim this time .dd abd ds loved the reef seim
Oh a Disney thread
We are going back next October can't wait, will be staying at Old Key West and get to enjoy the food and wine festival again.
AnneEyhtMeyer - we have stayed at both Caribbean and French Quarter, whilst I enjoyed the smaller and quieter feeling of FQ I really enjoyed the Caribbean, the main pool and the kids water play area were great, and the girls loved playing on the little beach next to our building and sitting on the hammocks. Would happily have gone back there but didn't want to pay to upgrade the dining plan this time.
Cinderellas castle is nice but for a meal with the princesses would recommend Akershush in Epcot, doesn't have the same demand and really enjoyable.
Like GlitterKitty we end up spending more time at Epcot than the other parks, some good rides there followed by a meal and a drink in the world showcase and watch the fireworks, it has ended up being our favourite park.
I was also really impressed with Epcot, thought it would be my least favourite but we ended up staying for 13 hours! The illuminations are amazing. We went to fantasmic at Hollywood studios yesterday, no where near as good. Ride queues were the worst there too. Got paper fast pass for toy story at 9.30 times 6.45-7.45! We didn't use them in the end as clashed with Jedi training, got there at 9.30 and only time left was 7.15! Then had to leg it to fantasmic,
The queues for Toy Story Mania were 80-90 minutes all morning - worse I've seen whole time we've been here. I'm not sure why as it's a good ride but not one of the amazing ones. I really wouldn't bother queuing that long. I kept an eye on wait times on the Disney app (highly recomend downloading this) and it inexplicably dropped to 35 minutes at about 5 to 12 so we zoomed over to check (along with a hoard of other people who obviously were using the app too) thinking it was a glitch but it had gone to 35mins at the ride so we did it then. There was a technical issue so it ended up being about 45 minutes.
Hardly any queue for the rock and roller coaster which was great (took my 8y old on as unusually has a lower height restriction that the other "big ones" - he loved it and is a good "intermediate" one between the kids roller coasters and the big ones like Hulk, kraken etc) or the Tower of Terror.
So Hollywood studios was probably the least relaxing park, maybe leave towards the end of a trip once you're acclimatised, was great for character spotting though which my kids have loved - they managed to get all the outstanding character signatures that were after on the last day!
Pool day today, leave tomorow, am already jealous of anyone still with a trip to go, it's great fun, 3 weeks would be perfect if you can manage it as there is so much to do and the weather is so nice it would be nice to have more sunbathing days!
Hollywood Studios is my least favourite as well , whenever we go we manage to avoid queues until we go to this park, the lay out doesn't seem as flowing as the other parks. Toy Storia Mania is over hyped imo, we only go on it if we get FP for a reasonable time, I am really nice when we go we get FP for early morning ride it get some more FP which is usually for late afternoon/early evening and then give the FP to a family entering as we are leaving, is my good holiday deed
Your Ds is braver than me, I refuse to do the rock and roller as does dd1, we are both wimpy though dd2 is more into rides, she went onto Tower of Terror last year just managing to meet the height restriction at 5 so DH has high hopes she will be into coasters like him so he can have company on the big rides.
Funny, HS is DH's favourite park but I just about tolerate it. I think it's really gone downhill since they removed the animation production department to CA. I think Toy Tory Mania is completely overhyped. It's a cute ride and all but that's it, IMO. I do like the Tower of Terror but am not so keen on the Rock n Roller Coaster- it jiggles my head too much!
I agree about toy story, don't get why anyone would queue or 80 mins there are much better rides.
Haha that's funny, DP took 8y old and just 6y old (!) on tower of terror against my better judgement, I refused to go as I don't like lift drop rides. I likes the rock and et coaster though, I found it pretty tame compared to the universal and seaworld ones.
I love HS too! Toy Story Mania was one of my favourite rides in teh whole of Orlando! Star Tours is fantastic and love the Great Movie Ride too...
I love toy story mania, we went the year it opened (2008) and queued for about 75m if I recall. BUT even though we have been 3 times since we have not been back on it as the queues have never got any shorter! It's ridiculous. I did really enjoy it but there are far better rides that have far shorter queues.
Hi all. We are going very soon but I was wondering what kind of weather to expect?
We left this morning and it was lovely. hot and sunny but not too humid. We had one overcast day in the 2 weeks wee were there. AC was on in the villa while time and in car most days. I got the impression from the news weather tht they would expect it to get a bit cooler shortly but didn't see any evidence of it yesterday. I'd take summer clothes and hoodies. We took pack a macks but didn't use them but think I would still take them.
Hi we go 3 times a year on average, particularly now that we've bought a villa! If anyone would like any help or advice, please ask and I'll help if I can :-)
Before you bought your villa did you always stay in a villa or did you stay in a Disney hotel before then? <nosey and wondering if you can answer my questions> I am further up the thread under a different name.
Almost at 180 days so getting ready to book ADRs!
I assume as you go so much it hasn't lost its magic. How old are your DCs and what do they like best?
Just customised our magic bands yesterday, and worked out when we can book our fastpasses. It's nearly pay the balance time! Also trying to plan our days in the parks a bit better so less walking, DS is 6 now so no buggy for him this year. Wish someone would invent tiny foldy wheeled seat for older kids though!
My DS is 6 and he will definitely be using a buggy at times! He's very fit and active but no way could he cope with walking round the parks all day. He was out of a buggy at 3yo here but I reckon you need to double the Out of a buggy in the UK age to find your Out of a buggy at Disney age
We went on October, my ds had turned 6 in September, he was fine without a buggy tbh. They spend a lot of time queuing and he also had to sit and wait a bit for elder brother on rides he wasn't tall enough for and he didn't complain once about walking in 2 weeks (not normally reticent about moaning!). He did crash out most evenings and slept like a log but was fine during the day. If you time it well with rest days and water park days I think it will be ok. Plan lunch and snack breaks in the parks as well.
I am joining this thread and am already confused about FP and FP + magic bands and apps We are going July just me and my three kids and are staying at the carribean with the quick dining plan. Booked it and like the other poster I am not telling the kids til we get to the airport. Only me the travel agent my sister and a best friend know and now you lot too Need to vent and get excited and plan too its all confusing and want to be prepared.
planneditbookedit Get yourself onto the DIS boards to follow the FP+ chat. They are very negative right now but don't let that put you off!! Everything is still in test so it's a bit difficult to predict what the rules will be in July- every week they seem to be changing the conditions ( for example, tiered FP+s have just been introduced for DHS and Epcot).
At the moment you can book 3 FP+s per day, one park only. They were allowing on site guests to pull FP as well, but one hotel has just had this privilege removed and speculation is that it will be gradually be taken away from the other Disney hotels as well. However, as everything is changing pretty much by the week it's too soon to say what it will look like in July- keep an eye on the DIS!
For buggies, we dropped the buggy for each of our children when they were 5. They were fine without it, but we don't tend to spend all day in the parks. We take lots of breaks/ time at the pool.
planneditbookit we debated the whole when to tell the children bit and decided to tell them from the second we were booking it.
The reason being I have watched a lot of YouTube videos where it doesn't go to plan ie the reaction you want and what you actually get. And when I say a lot of videos I mean a hell of a lot (far too much time on my hands) Plus people I know have done it too and again not the falling over themselves grateful or even excited reaction you would think you would get.
Also imagine if someone announced today that it was Christmas, today. Surely part of the fun of Christmas or a birthday for that matter is the build up, I mean that is why we have advent calendars isn't it? And we talk to our children about how long it is till their birthday etc.
Re planning, DIS boards, Moms Panel (don't let the name put you off) The Dibb (British board) should be enough to start you off.
Hi, May I join? JUst thinking about planning a trip to FLorida/Disney but I'm clueless about where to go, where to stay, what to do.
My DCs are 2 and 4, are they too young?
Is there a travel company you would recommend?
Any hints or tips would be great.
We booked today,going on 22nd May,Me DH,DD1,DD2 and my sister.Haven't been to Disney since 1990 so it will all have changed!
Hello Augusta- We are going Feb, its our 2nd time at that time of year because its quite quiet, and weather is more bearable! Also its cheap!
Went last year with Kenwood, going this year with Disney direct. Virgin always seem to work out more expensive.
Are you planning on staying onsite? I would recommend it if you can afford it, makes it very easy with kids.
A common deal is 2 weeks 'unlimited' tickets (so you can visit any Disney park/waterpark at any time) for price of one week, including the dining plan (i.e. free food), if you stay in a Disney moderate or deluxe resort. This will include transfer on the magic express, and free shuttle buses between parks/resorts during the holiday.
For comparison we paid just over 4k for 2 weeks in late Feb flying Virgin, staying at Old Key West villas, with unlimited 2 week tickets & dining. Which I think is not bad!
Caribbean beach is a good moderate resort with young kids because they have nice beaches and a good pool. I know lots of people love Port Orleans -but we haven't stayed there yet!
Most resorts show an outdoor movie around 7pm - you can sit and eat/ have a few drinks while the kids watch, if you have had a long day at the parks. All resorts are VERY family friendly.
You will definitely need a double, or two buggies! This will be essential- they are free to bring on Virgin flights.
2 and 4 is maybe a little young but I bet they will love it- just buy the Unofficial Guide to Disney it explains everything!
If you stay on site how easy/far are Universal and Legoland?
Ooooh, can I join in?! We've just been handed some money from DHs granny with strict instructions to go on holiday with it and for once we're planning on listening to her!
We want to go at Easter next year (the summer holidays are out for various reasons and term time is definitely out with DD in Y10 and me on a term time only contract) We've not left it far too late to get booked and organised have we?!
We want a villa not a hotel and we can only go for a week, just can't stretch it any further.
Accommodation is not necessarily a problem but the flights now may well be.
Its worth looking all the same but it may well be that all the direct flights to Orlando itself for the Easter period are now fully booked and have been for some time. Many people tend to book for the following Easter around a year or eleven months in advance. Orlando as well is extremely popy
I would have a look at someone like Thomas Cook or Virgin to see what availability there is left. TC currently fly into Sanford but if I recall correctly they will start flights to Orlando some time next year.
Another alternative is to fly indirect to say somewhere like Newark or Charlotte (to name but two examples) but you will need to allow around 3 hours minimum to give yourselves an opportunity to catch the flight down to Orlando. This is also because you would all have to clear US Immigration and customs. It can be a right chore all told to do this and can add hours to the overall journey time.
We're already resigned to indirect flights on price alone but thanks for the info about immigration. I've been looking at layovers in the US and didn't know how long would be long enough! Now I know that I'm looking at going through Frankfurt to Orlando.
I would think long and hard about doing that routing (if you are flying from the UK) simply because it will add hours to your overall travel time both ways.
Skelacia are you wanting Disney or Universal or a bit of both?
The reason I ask is because staying on site offers more benefits ie Disney with magic hours so on site guests get in 1 hour before everyone else, they alternate early openings per park ie Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom. Or they do later opening, meaning that on-site guests can go on the rides but off site guests can't (but they'll still take your money in their shops)
Also Universal offers early entry to on-site guests making Wizarding World of Harry Potter easier at Islands of Adventure etc
Just a thought. We are booked into Disney but will get a taxi to Universal. My children are much younger, 10 and 7 so Disney has more for us than Universal although we will be doing Harry Potter. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside because it isn't as themed as the other resort hotels, looks like an oasis of calm because of the river and nice grounds.
Augusta have a look at Moms Panel - don't let the name put you off and the Dibb and Dis boards for Disneyworld.
Getting to Universal or anywhere else is not made easy because they are a rival company to Disney. Easiest way to do Universal is a taxi, either one you just arrange or Mears where you can ring in advance and book but you have to ring them again to arrange collection, hence why we are paying for a normal cab, pricey but convenient. The bus takes 1 1/2 hours to get you there, not great with young kids.
I haven't been to Disney, we are booked to go in May but my mate goes every year as does her sister so I have got a lot of info from them.
Have booked for late sept/October 2015
15 days staying at Rosen Inn on I Drive.
Planning to stay 1 night at RPR at universal for FOTL passes.
Hoping to do 2 days at discovery cove minus the dolphin swim this time.
I am sooooo excited already!!
Just in the process of booking 2 weeks Orlando and 1 week relaxing on a beach for August 2015.
Very very very very very excited
Will have lots of questions for all you Disney experts out there.
Just saw this pop up on active convos - 2 weeks til we go! Yippee!
Looking to book 2 weeks at the end of August 2015. Cant wait. We have been once before but this will be DS2 and DD's first time!
Have you been before?
Are you planning on or off site gossamer?
<waves to bacon> I was on your thread
chesty yes, we are lucky enough to go most years. We got married out there as well. Love it!
2nd visit for us.
Don't think it will be the last
Were booked for a month but not to October next year
think It was day 3 on my once in lifetime holiday and knew were be back .
Did you enjoy it human?
I'm late sept next year, I can't wait!
chesty loved it and I was firmly in the only dojng once and was for the Dc as was not on my to do list of places I like to visit
I was wrong so much more to it than rides/Disney.For different book to read the hidden secrets of wdw makes good reading
but for me it was the helpfjl
We were going on a once in a lifetime Holiday too
Discovery cove was amazing!
Was going say its the helpfulness and attitudes of people that helped .When mentioned in a wheelchair I did not get reams of h&s it was a can do attitude
Our trip is our third once in a lifetime trip too .
Booked our ADRs this week, got everything we wanted within 30 mins of the times I was hoping for, so we're eating at Crystal Palace, TRex, Coral Reef, Narcoosees, Flying Fish Cafe and Ohana. Can't wait.
Now I need to sort out our accomodation for Anna Maria Island for the last part of the trip, and book into a hotel at Universal for one night.
Oooh can I join in? We are booked to go on 14th August...flying indirect as direct prices just ridiculous. Having 13 nights in a villa then 4 nights at Anna maria Island at the end arriving back home the day before the DCs go back to school!! I need to think about ADRs like TODAY! Although I don't want to do too many as I think as it's our first time I don't want to feel I am having to be places all the time so am thinking (having read the Dibb) that I fancy the Akershus princess brekkie at Epcot and maybe Boma at AK for lunch one day? Would also like to go somewhere with a good view of the fireworks one night so recommeendations would be great!!
Also - what tickets have everyone bought, it's a minefield and I can't decide!!
We fly on Monday! Just arranging currency and having last minute shorts crisis! Got a lovely pair of crocs sandals to wear in parks, as I lived in my crocs flipflops last year!
Harrogatemum- we finish off on Anna Maria and fly back then too, we booked our condo last night
oooh couch what dates are you there? We are there from 27th to 31st Aug. (anna maria). I'm so excited but still got to buy tickets and understand they are going to be nearly £2k!!
Stars - we fly on Wednesday - having a shorts crisis too now that the weather is looking up! Nevertheless v excited.
Couch/Harrogate, we're off to Anna Maria Island too and v much looking forward to the eco/dolphin spotting trip we've booked. Have a map to pass on when we get back if you fancy.
27-30th for us, we're in disney for a week them have ten days in a villa. We got our disney tix as part of our package that goodness so just need universal now.
Sounds great Eric!! Let us know any good spots for food/ trips / beaches etc when you return!! Couch will look out for you as we're there at same time! How many kids?
Harrogate, just the one, dd (11)
Hope you have a great trip Eric! Just packing last bits and checked in online, I have had massively overexcited 6year old for three days now, will be glad to get going! I recommend don't tell till the last minute to spare yourself!
stars - have a great time - afraid the 9yr old dd knows all about it already and has spent the last fews days printing park maps, writing a schedule, listing rides she's the right size for etc - add to that the fact we are seeing close relatives that we have not seen since July and we have a super excited child.
Harrogate - will post a report when we get back!
stairs we fly on Monday too! Flying from Gatwick at 11:40....
I went to Disney three times in my teens and now DH and I are taking DS for his first trip on a plane! We fly on 1st May 2014 as a last hurrah before we are tied to school holidays! so not long now. DS is 4 so I figure we can miss out quite a lot of the parks as he will be too small and focus on the stuff he will love.
We are staying at Westhaven in a villa and have 2 weeks. We are not going on anywhere else as we want to try to do as much as we can without doing it all under pressure.
Discovery Cove - should we bother given the age of DS. BA are offering a package with SeaWorld which works out at quite a good price.
LEGOLAND - DS is obsessed with Lego but I have heard very mixed things about it. We haven't been to Windsor yet. Should we bother pre-booking tickets or see if we have time to fit it in while we are there?
Universal - I was going to give this a miss as all a bit old for DS although he would love the Marvel/Spiderman stuff.....
Any advice on 'doing disney' with a 4 year old gratefully received.
We have just decided to go Easter 2015 - is that a good time to go?. Haven't booked anything yet. Don't know where to start and hope we are not too late! Definitely want to do Discovery Cove. DC will be 8 and 10 what else is a must do?
Can I rejoin the thread. We go 3rd April. Yikes. Waiting for two DCs updated passports to come back.
43 days I think. We are doing 10 days staying on site at WDW - 4 night cruise on Disney Dream and 3 nights at Universal.
Part of me thinks we are mad not to do something non-Disney /Universal, but this way I am hoping we can retreat to pool for various mornings etc.
Never been before. Kids are 5,8 & 10. Can't wait.
I would say give legoland and universal a miss with a four year old. You simply won't have time. Generally I'd plan for two days in each of the four disney parks and then the disney waterparks and then some down time. If you're staying on site its lovely to do a morning at a park, go back for a laze around the pool and then pop back to the parks at night for fireworks food etc.
We did discovery cove when DS2 was four. He loved playing on the sand making sandcastles and feeding the rays. He was too small to swim with the dolphins but they let him come into the water to have his photo taken.
We had a nice day but it is very expensive for what it is particularly given he can't do the dolphin swim.
Personally I wasn't impressed with Sea World for that age group. You get to see the sea creatures at Epcot anyway so the novelty factor isn't there and the rides aren't aimed at little ones. Ours had the most fun playing in their shorts in a little area of water spurters.
Easter is busy at Disney but probably a better option than the summer just because of the heat/queue combination. October is the best time IMO.
Hanginggarden my top advice is take a buggy. Best decision we ever made (we had a four year old and a six year old) It made our lives far easier even though they wouldn't have dreamt of going in a buggy at home. When you are trying to get back from a restaurant with a sleeping child it makes a massive difference.
Harrogatemum Akershus is great with all the princesses (although the food isn't the best to be had at Disney - its perfectly fine though). You also get a free disney princess photo (or at least you did the past few times we've eaten there). Boma is not one of my favourites but food is quite nice. I prefer both the atmosphere and the food at Sanaa which is the restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village. Its also better for viewing the animals. They have a great outdoor waiting area with a fire pit.
Best restaurant IMO is O'hana. Amazing food, amazing quantities of food and great fun with the coconut races.
The whispering canyon cafe is also great. Just remember to ask for ketchup and watch the kids faces!
Shallweshop - plenty of time to book for Easter 15. We are going at Easter because the weather is generally considered to be best then ie not too hot / thundery. BUT it is the busiest time of all at WDW which is kind of filling me with dread! If you font have to stick to school hold going before Easter is great.
Good tip re the buggy. We will be using for our five year old even though she hasn't used one in 2 years I'd say.
Thanks turnip. We are limited to school hols unfortunately and I am a bit worried about how busy it will be at Easter!
Just joining thread as have just (this minute) booked for Easter-this year!!!!!
Aaaargh! Help! What do I need to do in a very short space of time? Really want to maximise holiday. Have 3 DC's-9,7 &5. Staying a fort wilderness in a cabin.
Wheremymilk - we will be there at the same time! Wilderness Lodge looks fab - all those camp fires and so on. If you want to do any character dining go onto the Disney website and try to see if there are slots left. Also if you want to see a show like Illuminations you need to book that.
Have you bought a dining plan? If you are doing self-catering you can order groceries to be delivered from a company called GardenGrocer.com. We are going to order basics stuff from them to have in the fridge.
I have also signed up for an app called Touring Plans which can give you a half day or full day route round the various parks based on age of kids etc. They have shown that if you use one if these things you see WAAAY more than you would looking at a map yourself bad wandering about. Particularly at busy times. HTH.
I still have to do my ETSAs as two of my kids passports are in the embassy for renewal. Wish they would hurry up.
We went last month for the 4th time and would recommend the following -
Chef Mickey dinner at the Contemporary (walking distance from magic kingdom and dont need park tickets) Mickey,pluto,donald,daisy,goofy all there and spend lots of time at the table.
Also, Playndine lunch at Hollywood studios. Jake, Sofia, Handy Manny and Doc Mcstuffins all there,
Akershus Banquet at Epcot a MUST for those with little girls. Belle, Ariel, Snowwhite, Jasmine and Cinderella were all there. You get a free photo package there too. Much better than dining with Cinderella in her castle IMO.
All of the above can be "paid" with by Disney dining package and make it great value.
If you do have that package then cant recommend "be our guest" restaurant enough. Set in the beasts castle in the magic kingdom the food is fantastic but easily $130 for a family of 4 without the package. Also, it is so good you have to book 180 days in advance to get a table.
If you have a large party 8+ you can book a boat to take you on the lake at Epcot and watch illuminations. Best view, no crowds or waiting and cheaper than Epcot tickets.
Would also recommend magibands as can book fast pass rides 60 days in advance.
Thanks squirrel! I booked the akershus breakfast and one at Tuskegee house in ak. Managed to book an ADR at narcoosees on my birthday for dinner at half seven which I think means should get good fireworks views?
Onto more practical matters, we are only doing Disney and universal no sea world or wet n wild or discovery cove etc...so any ideas what ticket package to get???!!!!
Hey, we are looking to book for Oct mid term, would love a villa but needs to be close. Can anyone recommend a good site?
We are being quite last minute and thinking of booking this for 5 weeks time (late March/early April). I am v impressed with those with plans more than a year in advance!
I hope you don't mind me asking two cheeky Qs.
1. We are probably only going to be able to manage 11 nights maximum so 10 days in the parks - is this too short a time to go? DCs are 4 and 6 and have been long haul several times before and jet lag hasn't been too bad.
2. We are looking at whether to stay in the resort or drive in. We're mainly interested in the magic kingdom and most of the resort hotels with availability are actually quite far out - e.g. Animal Kingdom Lodge (which the kids would LOVE!) is there any transport advantage to staying in these further out resorts to staying in Lake Buena Vista/International Drive and driving in?
Thanks for any advice from any more experienced people!
We are looking to book for our honey moon with 2 young DDs.
Please can Anyone recommend cheapest time to go and cheapest way to book?
Harrogatemum I'd get the 14 day for the price of seven disney package and get universal tickets separately. Just bear in mind that universal without express passes can be hell. You can spend ages queuing. The express passes are a must IMO. (This is why in October we are doing 10 nights at Disney and four nights at Universal, simply for the free express passes and the early hours)
Gini we have stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is a fantastic hotel and its not far out at all. Just remember that although the area is massive its only disney traffic on the roads. AKL to Magic kingdom will only take you about 15 minutes. The MASSIVE advantage to staying on site is the free transport and the free disney dining. If you stay on site and you go at a time when there is no free disney dining (which for a family of four is worth over a thousand dollars) then you have more money than I do!!
Baileys - cheapest time to go is best found by looking on the website but it will be outside of UK and US school holidays. Between Easter and Summer holidays is usually a good bet. Personally though we ALWAYS book around the free disney dining.
Wheremymilk are you on the dining plan? If so do Mickeys backyard BBQ. Its a double credit meal but its a fantastic night for the kids (and the food is pretty good). Also chip and dales campfire singalong is at fort wilderness.
That's handy to know re universal, is it really that bad on ride times? Is there a pass for just say two days at each universal as would like to do both and then revisit if kids like it!!
Joining this thread again as we go in April - haven't planned anything as yet! Eeeek...
Last time we went to universal for two (very long) days. We found it cheaper to buy the seven day ticket. The express passes are expensive. The first day we didn't do the express pass and we didn't get around everything even though the DCs were five and seven and so couldn't go on most things anyway. We felt like we were queuing a lot even in october when its quiet. Second day we bought the express passes (It was over $150 though for all of us!). It was a completely different experience.
We were used to Disney though where we never queued for anything for longer than ten minutes.
This time we are there for four days and are also doing the Universal waterpark.
We're going on 29 March, staying in a resort condo 15 mins from MK. Our kids are 13 and 21 so we like to be a bit away from the Mouse Weve booked a swim with manatees and tickets for a basketball game too. I am so looking forward to all the
handsoff have a look at loyalty homes, they are owned and managed by an English lady who now lives out in kissimmee. All their homes are less than 4 miles from Disney and most have private pools and some games rooms. Www.loyaltyusa.com
We took our nearly 6 year for for just the February half term week, so 6 days in the park. We had pretty full days but managed to cram the basics in so for 10 days you will be fine.
We spend two days in MK, one day in Epcot (but I think it needs two to do it justice) one day in HS, one in AK, and a VIP tour of sea world for our "rest day". Didn't get to stay in the evening for the fireworks, go shopping (but did DTD) or do the water parks, but we were happy with what we squeezed in.
We are looking at booking another one in two years.
Thank you red squirrel for the hotel advice and Peppermint for the timing, that's really helpful.
How important is it to stay in the resort? It would be much cheaper if we stayed out of the resort esp if there was a little kitchen so we had more options on food. I was wondering about somewhere like buena vista area but I'm a bit worried I'll spend my whole time wondering round car parks! Also I imagine it is much easier to do a morning in a park, hotel for a splash in the pool and afternoon back in park if you have a resort hotel
Gini, lots of people will give you different reasons for staying on/off the resort and ATEOTD I think it depends on your circumstances and what you planned to do. With small children and mainly doing disney I would stay on site. There are many options for different budgets, but we felt the extra money was well spent, esp as we didn't hire a car. If you stay off site it will be hard work getting there by shuttle or public transport, and if you drive you'll have to find a parking space, pay for it, then get the tram or monorail from the car park to the park entrance. The resort buses are every 20 mins (mostly less) and it will take up to 20 mins to get to the park depending on your resort and where you want to go. But you'll get dropped off at the front entrance. We took a cab to sea world, and would have taken a cab to the shops if we'd had time.
Take a look at the villas and suites if you are after a kitchen area. The suites have kitchenettes which is a fridge, food sink, counter, and I think coffee machine and toaster. So good if you want the option of cereal and toast for breakfast. Or to store your doggy bags for later.
We stayed in a "villa" in the saratoga springs resort, which is a deluxe DVC resort, but quite far out so cheaper because of it. It's a short ferry ride from DTD which was a bonus. Having a separate bedroom and kitchen area was more important to us than staying closer to the parks. DVC owners get first dibs on bookings so it might not appear says an option for you yet.
We didn't think the DDP was good value for us. We used all our table service credits, and snack credits, but we only used about half of the counter service credits. The portions were big so DP and I ended up sharing meals, and we took the desserts back to the resort for breakfast. We had a lot of character meals which is why we went for it, but I think next time we'll put the money on the dollar card towards the room bill. I think WDW Prep school has a good section on it. A snack has to be over $5, counter service $15 and table service $30 for it to be good value. (I think, check the figures) They also have a chart of the best value places which are above these figures. Apparently Disney put the prices of the rooms up when they do the free dining offer, and the percentage off offer is better value.
Currently staying in a condo offsite off highway 27 with dh, dd9yrs & grandparents nr Davenport which is too far out for us as we've been mainly going to universal (I think disney would be similar). I would def stay closer if we ever come again. Universal queues have surprised us as we've waited 30mins max even in Harry Potter. Def get there as early as can. Family in front of us were first to the gate (offsite queue) & got fast passes for free for being first there! Weather has been changeable. Full trip report inc gulf coast to follow on return.
This is the post on DDP which lists all you could possible want to know about it. She wrote the post after I bought the DDP. Never mind! The bold restaurants are a good use of credits.
WDW prep school was what I looked at when planning what order to do stuff in. I even bought her ebook, and that's something I never do!
allears.net/index.html was good for looking at details for individual rides.
It is possible to stay in a non-Disney hotel in Disneyworld though - we are staying at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, which is located between the two water parks, and includes half hourly transfers to all the parks.
I couldn't face a 24/7 disney theme for ten days.
trazzle lucky you...best get your planning and booking hat on!
Have you booked your ADRs?
Only 567 sleeps til my visit <sigh>
I'm itching to start buying tickets etc but guess its a bit early?
Harrogate, I'm back - had a fab time and have some maps for you of Anna Maria and Orlando if you fancy them. Put a tip report up too in case anything there helps.
Chesty <ahem> what's an ADR? Newbie here!
I'm still trying to get my head round the logistics of 2 pre-schoolers, 1 in a buggy, 1 in a wheelchair and staying off-site. I don't understand the explanations I read for getting in to the Magic Kingdom from the car park - lakes ? Buses? Boats? What? We get a Mears shuttle in so I assume we get dropped off in the car park but have no idea. I don't really even know what a Mears shuttle is - a minibus, I guess?
DH expects me to be the Queen of planning and tbh it's well stressing me out at the moment!
I think the shuttles and buses take you to The Ticket and Transportation Centre at Disney. You the get a coach, monorail or boat to the park you want.
The boat across to Magic Kingdom is fab!
ADRs are Advance Dining Reservations. You can book them 180 days prior to holiday IIRC as popular places like the character meals get booked up quickly in busy seasons.
Have you been on the Dibb, it's great for everything you need to know.
We are going on 29th March 2014 and have just started organising-and I am too late. Everything is all booked up already curse you organised people lol.
Turnip head-is the app worth the money? Sounds fab but don't want to waste $12.95 on it
trazzle so pleased you are all going, you deserve it!
I second looking at the Dibb, and especially use the busy day guide on there, basically you can see what parks they recommend each date you are there, and it see,s to be accurate.
We went in oct 2012, and I was sort of dreading it, but we all had amazing time and are going back in August! But I really think you need to have done some research and have some loose plans or I think it could be a bit more stressful.
I also bought the unofficial guide to wdw , about 10 quid from amazon. Invaluable.
I would recommend booking a couple of character meals with the age of your children, we loved crystal palace in magic kingdom which has wine the pooh, tigger, piglet etc.
Also tusker house with mickey, Donald etc in safari get up.
I would really also recommend not over doing it, so we did mornings in parks, then pool time in afternoon, then out for meal at night.
Hope you have great time
We go in 106 days and I am SO excited! Don't know how to keep a lid on it at all!
Staying at Hilton Bonnet Creek and then Royal Pacific Resort at Universal for one night. This is our delayed honeymoon (we got married in August) with 10 year old DS. We got engaged last time we went to Florida in 2012
Thanks Dinky we are very excited! Just bought the sunscreen yesterday
It would be good to do a character meal but at the same time DS still doesn't really eat and is quite vocal about his boredom at meal times . We are fortunate in that we have a lot of opportunity to meet the characters anyway so we will see... With DS tiring so easily I am also wary of booking something only to find out that, 2 hours beforehand he's hysterical with exhaustion and we have to leave!
I also now have the unofficial guide - thanks so much for the tip! It's hugely helpful. I think we are going to put a few loose plans together - based around the quiet days in each place (amazing!) and see where we go from there. Don't worry , we won't be turning up and then working out where to start .
It all looks amazing!
Five weeks to go!!!
My latest quandary!
DS is 4 and hasn't sat in a buggy for 2 years. Hiring a stroller over taking our own knackered umbrella buggy? Thoughts? cost isn't the issue its what is going to be most practical? is he going to need a buggy in the car parks/on transportation etc?
Think you may be better with your own. After a long day the walk out of the park can feel a looooong way!
We were having the same buggy dilemma and decided to take our own, partly to use at Disney but also for the airport in case it's a long way from gate to getting out!
I doubt that he would need them in car parks but he will definitely benefit from having on ein the daytime! My DS is 6 and is still going to use one when we go - quite frankly, my 11yo also would if she could physically into one
I would definately still take your own, even if he doesn't use it, it's invaluable for putting all your crap on! We went for the 3rd time last May & it was the first year we didn't have a buggy as our daughter had turned 5 in the January, but we ended up hiring one pretty much in every park as it stopped the moaning & my arms weren't aching!
We go next May for 18 days!!!! Already dreaming of it all ) We have the villa booked, just waiting for flights to come out at the end of June & will get them booked to.
We've often thought of going into a disney hotel but the cost is astronomical compared to having your own nice big house & private pool etc. Plus we love cruising up & down the highways calling off for all you can eat brekkies & then dinner on the way home
Ok I think we will take our battered umbrella buggy and hire one/buy a cheap one whilst there if it breaks.
Glad you haven't found being off site a problem Emma, have bee a bit worried we are too far out and the drive will send us potty!
emma how have you found the crowds in May?
Walmart sell them so if you were unsure about lugging yours there & back you could always pick one up from there. I'm guessing your staying in a villa? If so have you asked them if they already have a buggy? Just i know some places do already supply them so worth asking if not sure.
We've always stayed in a villa, i've been tempted with the Disney hotels & not having to drive etc, but if we did do that i think it would just reaffirm that a villa is best..for us anyway.
You can come & go as you want, lovely big bedrooms, own pool, washer & dryer to do all the clothes before you come home & tbh we find it just gives you that bit of peace & quiet away from the Disney parks if you want a bit of a lazy day.
We've always gone in May & crowds have never been an issue really, considering where we've gone! It's always quieter in the morning into parks as people tend to start filing in around maybe 10.30-11am as being your holiday, no-one wants to set their alarm lol.
Water parks i would def make the effort to get there early on as people are queueing for it to open & then when you get in you can get pretty much get any spot you want for the day. I've seen people arrive at 11am-12noon & they walk around for ages or end up getting some loungers somewhere off the beaten track (
P.S where about's are you staying Hanginggardenofboobylon
we go on the 28th may. it is our first time. our dds ages 4 and 6 are fit to burst they are so excited.
i have a few concerns regarding out flight and accommodation. i booked them based on price but am having a few doubts now
we are flying monarch - concerned about the lack of in flight entertainment. i am hoping that we will get through it with the ipad and kindle fire. also the seat pitch is a bit of a worry as oh is 6 foot 3. tbh the idea of flying with a budget airline longhaul is not my idea of bliss but it was so much cheaper
all starts music - again the price was good. i didn't know about the free dining with moderate hotels at the time i booked.
cost of food. - we havent gone for the dining pan so i am a bit unsure about how much we will need.
i have just booked the BB boutique and the Cinderella royal table. i am not too sure about the bb boutique as they hairstyles look a bit severe but my dds will love it.
i have just bough a Cinderella and Belle dress from asda for £10 each. they are on offer at the moment. i am planing to take these to save money on dresses while we are there
There's not much you can do about the flights or accomodation now but everyone's opinions are different. Personally i'll fly in the cargo with the chickens if it means a cheap flight as i see it as getting from 'A' to 'B'...my hubby on the other hand prefers a little more comfort.
That said we've only flown economy so far but it's always been Virgin or Thomson.
We go armed as if the inflight entertainment isn't working because unfortunately it can happen on a whole flight duration & there's nothing you can do. Plus i found when my daughter was smaller it was difficult for her to screen as they are pretty much at adult height & you don't get much movement in the screens.
So last time i took my laptop as it's a big full screen & i had disney films in a case so little one could watch them with headphones. Some parents looked at me like i was mad but i tell you what, i had several saying they were going to do the same next time!
Hubby & son both have tablets so they were downloaded with telly series stuff, films, games etc.
But i also took sticker books, colouring pencils, paper etc. And for me, well good old books as my laptop is the only tech thing i have tbh!
I've never stayed in a Disney hotel so can't tell you much about that im afraid. My friend has always got the dining plan but i think she get's the top one & she's always said they get more than enough food for all of them.
Could it be something you 'buy' when your there perhaps?
I don't think the cost of food is as bad as people make out in the parks, but that said if i was having to eat there all the time & get full meals as such it might be different.
With staying in a villa we always call at Walmart & pick up some cereals, milk, loads of cans of soft drinks & bottles of water etc.
Some mornings we'll call for an 'all you can eat brekkie', about $25 for the 4 of us. That way we eat as much as we can stuff in, i take things like muffins/fruit etc to put in my bag for snacks when in the park, and then we call at a restaurant for our dinner on the way home.
I also pick up some tubes of pringles etc from Walmart as these can go in my bag for in the park & kids can have a handful at times to keep them going, or quiet when queueing!!! bad mum ;)
Fluid is expensive in the park, bottles of water, coke etc. We buy loads of these from Walmart, put some water in the freezer, some in the fridge & then take maybe 3 water bottles & 2 cans of pop with us in the morning as that way it just delays the time in having to fork out for drinks in the park!!! Most Disney parks have water fountains so i top the water bottles up with this when we've drunk them.
I booked BB Boutique for last time we went but tbh we ended up not going.
I'd noticed alot of girls who'd clearly been, being dragged around by a harassed angry mum whilst they would be looking grumpy or crying behind them. I soon cottoned on that basically the kids were swealtering in the dresses & their hair was killing them. They scrape it within an inch of it's life on top of their head & then secure it really tightly so it basically cannot move! I spoke to one mum who said she'd asked one of the godmothers to not do her girls hair tight & she'd apparently been quite rude & unwilling to not stick to the normal routine etc, and she'd ended up having to take her girls hair out herself when they were outside. It scared me a little so tbh we just didn't turn up for our slot. I knew you got charged £10 or $10 for non arrival but i wasn't really bothered considering i could waste $80 or so.
I'd just go with the flow & if your not sure then just leave it.
Good idea about the dresses to take with you!!
Hanginggardenofboobylon a good tip is to pick some coupon booklets up in various shops/restaurants when you call in. I always get some & then look through & find places where we eat at & take all the discount coupons out, makes eating out that little bit cheaper
Thanks for the tips emma
We are staying in a villa in west haven, so technically quite far out but very close to the I4 so I am hoping it will be relatively straightforward in and out. We go on 1st may and the crowd calendar thingies say it shouldn't be too busy.
I remember going to Disney as a kid and my DM would fill the bottom of my brothers pushchair with a 12 pack of doughnuts to keep us going throughout the day
Fast pass plus for non disney hotel guests has launched - you can book up to 30days in advance
re your comment:-
"we are flying monarch - concerned about the lack of in flight entertainment. i am hoping that we will get through it with the ipad and kindle fire. also the seat pitch is a bit of a worry as oh is 6 foot 3. tbh the idea of flying with a budget airline longhaul is not my idea of bliss but it was so much cheaper"
You're right; flights into Orlando itself can be hideously expensive as only BA and Virgin have the route into there currently. If you are on the A330 type plane they have overhead tvs in the main cabin.
Monarch fly into Sanford so what sort of onward transport have you got from there?.
I would take both the Ipad and kindle fire and make sure that both are fully charged prior to departure (there is no power sockets in the seats). Same with regards to the food; take what the kids and you like and plenty of it; do not rely on them at all to fully provide.
Ooh I'm joining, I'm going 13th June
Anyone else here now ? We just had our first full day today. Kids are 5, 8 & 10. Arrived last night with BA. Never been here before & Orlando Airport had this dreadful thing where you claimed your luggage - wheeled it a bit - then they take it back off you (and in our flights case it then disappeared for an hour whilst we took a shirt tram ride to arrivals terminal). It was not good but we got to hotel, kids ti bed and hit up v early (er 5am kids were up).
We did Hollywood Studios which I loved. Nice size, prettier than Id imagined. Anyone with a Star Wars fan, if you arrive for rope drop run to the Jedi experience sign up place beside the Star Wars ride. You get given a time slot for the kids to come back and do a show with other kids where they are trainee jedis and fight (very cool & realistic) Darths Vader & Maul. Great!
We did the Hollywood & Vine character dining which is great if you have 3-5 year olds as it's all the Disney Jr characters - Sofia, Jake etc. our 5 year old loved it!
The Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground is great as there are some water sprays and it's quite shaded.
Other highlights - Tower of Terror (really did terrify the five year old ) Rock n Roller Coaster and the Little Mermaid show. Anyone. With 10+ kids the Pop Idol show was much better than I expected. Real judges and genuinely talented contestants.
We were back to our hotel for a rest, pool time etc by 4.
Yes we're here right now, also did Hollywood studios yesterday! Going back next Thursday fir our character dining! :-)
Oh my god yes, that luggage thing at Orlando is awful! If you can carry it all without a trolley then NEVER let them take it back off you! The Jedi training is great, isn't it?! Can't believe your 5yo did Tower of Terror I wouldn't get on that if you paid me!
Tell me more about the airport.....I'm going with 4 DC's (7 months, 2,11 & 15) and I've only flown into Sanford before.
Is Orlando International going be a total pain? Do the security check lines go down quick?
I think Sanford immigration is generally quicker but it's further away so it's probably much of a muchness, time-wise. The luggage thing is a total pain if you can't manage it all yourself without a trolley, including pushing buggies. If you can then it's easy - but if you can't then it's a total pain, I'm afraid. Immigration lines are really just the luck of the draw, I think - we got through in about half an hour when we went but my parents took over 2 hours another time.
Nicknacks - think I saw you at Hollywood studios ;-). Are you staying on or off-site?
We had too much luggage to be able to take it beyond that pt. immigration was a breeze .... 15 minutes I think. Swings & roundabouts.
Did (small part of) MK this am. DD2 had a massive nosebleed all over her new dress. Staff came and gave us two vouchers for $25 each to buy her new clothes. I was . It's stuff like that than can change ones view of the Disney behemoth.
Back having a break then back to do Be Our Guest character dining etc. this evening.
I'm getting so excited for our trip. I've booked all our ADRs and customised our magic bands . We've got a week onsite which will be full-on, then ten days in a villa when we'll take things a little slower. Then three days on Anna Maria Island to rest. Can't wait!!
We're off site in a large villa.
Went to blizzard beach today and doing Animal Kingdom tomorrow. Kids currently having an evening splash in the pool and I'm having a sunbath! :-) you?
Couch25 - that sounds like bliss! A real balance.
Nicknacks - you picked a great day to do Blizzard Beach. It was roasting today. Was it very busy?
We did MK today - We had a break in the middle where we went back to the hotel (we are at the Grand Floridian villas so handy for MK) - then we went back over for our ADR dinner at Be Our Guest (Beast's Castle thingy) and then did some more rides. We left about 9pm. It was nice being there at night - it really is rather beautiful seeing the Castle in the dark etc.
We are doing Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow I think.
Sorry I've just realised I've repeated myself a lot....
The management keep changing their minds at Orlando with regards to pax and their luggage. At one time no-one was allowed to take their cases onto the train (which goes to the main terminal) now they allow pax to take bags on again. If you choose not to put bags onto the transfer carousel (and they do seem to take a long time to arrive at the other end) you then have to negotiate either the not very wide escalator or a tiny lift with said bags before you board the train.
Immigration lines at Orlando can be very long indeed; its usually taken us 40 minutes plus to get to the head of the stop/start moving line. Wear comfortable shoes!!. Having only 4-6 desks open out of a possible 40 (that's how many were opened the last time we went there) does not help matters either. They never have enough staff available and do not seem aware or are disinterested in the fact that two/three flights from the UK arrive at around the same time.
Do ensure that your customs form is completed correctly; I have seen them send people to the back if paperwork is not accurate.
(At least all pax have now been thankfully spared the rigmarole of having all their hand luggage searched whilst still airside on arrival after getting off the train!. Even they eventually saw how pointless that measure was).
We didn't find the escalators a problem with luggage, as we all stayed at the bottom whilst DH and DF took them up one at a time and came down for more, then took the kids & buggies up one at a time. It was the train that was the problem because once you get on it you can't come back, so you HAVE to take everything with you!
Hmm after reading about the airport I've decided I'm not taking the double buggy....I'll take a single buggy for my 2 yr old and a sling for the baby then after we've unpacked I'll buy a cheap one at Walmart
Thanks for the info
I really don't think a double buggy would present any more problem than a single at the airport...
Parking for cars at the parks is so far as follows (assuming you don't have it prepaid/included)
Hollywood studios $17
Blizzard Beach $0
Animal Kingdom $17
We are just back from an outstandingly amazing week.
If anyone wants a free copy of the Unofficial Disney Guide 2014, barely used (I bought the kids one as well and mostly used that!) PM me and I'll post it to you.
Re: double buggy it probably depends how wide it is - we saw someone coming back who queued to get through security at Orlando with a wide double and she was told to come through the wheelchair line instead. Which was massively long and moves at half the speed of any other queue. Luckily for her she didn't have to go to the back.
Also we were not allowed to take our hold luggage on the train and forced to recheck it in for that stupid extra bit. Of course the Virgin re- re-claim carousel is also completely separate from all the other ones <sigh>
Thanks it's pretty wide and a pain in the butt to open and fold so even going to the theme parks and squeezing on the wee trains that take you to the front will annoy me, I think 2 singles is a better idea.
I also don't want it flung about by the baggage handlers
We're going in October for 31 nights! The first 5 nights we're at the Saratoga Springs resort (me, DH, Dd and DS) then we move to a villa off the 192 for 3 weeks where we'll meet up with family, then down towards the keys for 3 nights before spending the last 2 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. This will be our 5th trip to the Mouse, I absolutely love it. We've got just under a fortnight before I can book our ADR's and we've chosen to book CRT for breakfast on the first full day. Whether we'll get it or not could be a different matter. If we hadn't got the dining package as part of the accommodation deal then we wouldn't be bothering with CRT as it's expensive for what it is. DD will absolutely love it though.
We are currently in Orlando staying in a villa on The Manor complex near Championsgate. Distance from the parks is perfect. I can really recommend the easy WDW blog/website for tips and crowd calendars we have done really well so far using that and the unofficial guide.
Having an amazing time
We are currently in Orlando staying in a villa on The Manor complex near Championsgate. Distance from the parks is perfect. I can really recommend the easy WDW blog/website for tips and crowd calendars we have done really well so far using that and the unofficial guide.
Having an amazing time
We are currently in Orlando staying in a villa on The Manor complex near Championsgate. Distance from the parks is perfect. I can really recommend the easy WDW blog/website for tips and crowd calendars we have done really well so far using that and the unofficial guide.
Having an amazing time
Having an amazing time
Tazzletoes. I can't work out how to PM you. I love to get that book off you if it's still going? Can u PM me at all?
Thanks. This thread has such great tips. .
Joining in as I am booking our holiday tomorrow! Very excited. Am going with DH, our 2 DC and my parents.
We are taking the kids out of school for one week (naughty I know!) and the other week will be in the summer half term next year.
Trip is as follows:-
Fly from Gatwick (use of V Room for free) on 18th May
Pick up hire car in Orlando then we have 11 days there in a villa (Tuscan Hills) - we have 14 day WDW passes and 14 day Universal passes which I think is enough to keep us busy
On Friday 29th we drive to Port Canaveral, drop off the car and board the Disney Dream for a 3 day Bahamas cruise! Stops are Nassau and Castaway Quay
On the final day we get back to the port at 7.30 and need to be at the airport at 3pm so might do a final trip to a Disney Park before we fly home.
I am ridiculously excited about this! I went to Disney in 1994 when I was 16 so I guess a lot has changed. We have never been on a proper holiday as a family (too broke for a while and now doing up our new house so camping in the UK is the best the DC have had). They will be 10 and 8 and have never been on a plane before so hopefully they won't be nervous. Very happy we are doing the cruise too - looks amazing and always wanted to go to the Bahamas
Any tips on good guidebooks for Disney/Orlando?
I'm off to Florida 2morrow , cases are sorted, dogs in kennels.....just wish bedtime would hurry up!
I've just sorted all our fastpasses for our on-site week . Got everything we wanted, so just have to wait for a slot for lunch at Be Our Guest to open and we're all set.
We're going next Easter. Just starting research etc. excited!
Wish you luck with the Be Our Guest - currently it's the most sought after dining in Disney. I got mine booked 180 days out by constantly pinging and refreshing the website, and eventually got a reservation for our final day.
Keep hitting the website, they do get cancellations. And if you don't get lucky for dinner reservations, remember they do walk-ins for lunches.
We go on the 8th August.
Most of the FP tickets now booked and a restaurant for most Disney days. Just need to do the final day's FP tomorrow when it opens up to us.
We are not staying on site so only have the 30 day FP option, so haven't managed to get a Mine Train FP so will have to use standby for that.
DD is so keen to go to the new HP park bit so no doubt our first day will be spent queueing!
Do I need to be booking meals for every day??
I've booked 3 we wanted to do but was just hoping we'd either eat where we want or eat off park before heading back in the evening
There are plenty of quick and/or counter service type places in the parks, and obviously lots of places outside of the parks too.
You can also go direct to restaurants for the standby queue. However, sometimes it can be a long queue/wait. Last time we went we found it harder to get a seat in the "reservable" restaurants than before.
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