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To ask where the heck you begin planning a disneyworld trip?

(54 Posts)
kewtogetin Thu 25-Jun-15 14:03:05

Yes, massive first world problem. We are looking at a trip to Disneyland next year, thought I'd have a quick browse on the Internet, choose a hotel, book some flight etc etc.......
But no, seems it's not the done thing, there are literally 100's of hotels, in 100's of different areas, each with its own theme.
I thought there was just one theme park?! Disneyland?! But no, there are sodding hundreds of them.
How can you even begin to decide where to stay? I need help oh wise mumsnetters. Wisdom, experience and advice will all be humbly received.

NextMrsTatum Thu 25-Jun-15 14:11:36

Are you going to Orlando, Los Angeles or Paris?

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:13:45

Don't plan to do anything or see anyone for the next six months! Seriously, we spent way more time planning our Florida trip than we actually spent there.

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:14:54 covers pretty much everything.

slippermaiden Thu 25-Jun-15 14:15:19

Go on trip advisor to get you started. Themed hotel is good but don't forget the normal ones. We stayed at Marriott hotel near seaworld. It was easy to use the buses or drive to more or less anywhere. Depending on how long you go for depends how much you will fit in. 5 days needed for Disney shock! Need a few chill out days too, aquatica was good for that and we got free entry to there unlimited with our hotel.

kewtogetin Thu 25-Jun-15 14:15:20

Orlando Mrs T. I disn't even know there was one in LA?! Yet another decision......

squishyeyeballs Thu 25-Jun-15 14:16:39

I would normally be one for booking flights and hotels etc separate but when we went to disneyland florida we just said sod it and booked a package through an agent instead. One thing I would say is decide how you're going to get your theme park tickets before you go and don't believe anyone who offers you a discountbob them because it usually involves a fairly intense timeshare sales pitch.

HermioneWeasley Thu 25-Jun-15 14:18:12

The planning is half the fun! I found the dibb a bit overwhelming

The book "the Brit guide to Orlando" is really good and walks you through everything

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:20:09

We had a villa in Kissimmee. Massive 4 bedroom/3 bathroom place on a complex with pool, gym, playgrounds. £450 per week! Really lovely to go back to after a knackering wonderful day on the theme parks smile

juneau Thu 25-Jun-15 14:20:51

Well DisneyWorld is in Florida. Disneyland is in California. Disneyland Paris is in ... Paris! And there is also one in Tokyo, I believe.

We started with dates (most people recommend you spend two weeks, to really 'do' all the various parks of DisneyWorld - but two weeks would finish DH and me off!). So we settled on six days, then decided which parks we want to visit (this will depend on the ages of your DC - ours are still quite little so we're sticking with the Disney parks and not bothering with Universal, Johnson Space Center, etc). Then you need to choose whether you want to hotel or SC and where you want to be based (which parks you'll be visiting will help you narrow this down, as will budget).

There is a DK Florida with Kids guide which I've found really helpful. It has all the info you'll need on parks, age appropriateness, etc. MN is a wealth of info too, once you've got specific questions to ask (or do an advanced search - most of them have been asked before).

juneau Thu 25-Jun-15 14:23:13

Oh yes and do look at packages for flights and hotels. The flight prices we saw with BA or Virgin or whatever were horrendous, so buying a BA holiday or Virgin holiday package might work out cheaper. But you have to do your homework a bit to work that out.

DoJo Thu 25-Jun-15 14:24:48

Watch this:

Apologies, not helpful in any way, but hopefully will bring a smile to your face...

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:27:25

If you can spare a day to get down to the everglades to do an airboat ride - do! Even with all the Disney fun our kids said the airboat ride was the best thing we did on holiday.

juneau Thu 25-Jun-15 14:32:06

How far are the Everglades from Orlando?

richforpm Thu 25-Jun-15 14:33:21

We went for 10 days and visited 5 of the parks with a day off in between. The parks can be hard work and long days if you want to see everything. We stayed on Universal Drive which is a good base to getting to all parks. I'm not good at driving on the wrong side of the road so did not hire a car but the hotel had a minibus service that you booked the day before which was excellent.

We went room only as food is so cheap over there we ate out all the time. Buy the tickets for the parks before you go as they were a lot cheaper.

Hope this helps.

kewtogetin Thu 25-Jun-15 14:34:27

That did make me laugh dojo and kind of how I'm viewing the whole experience......
To answer some questions, 2 boys who will be 8 and almost 4, going for 2 weeks but I don't think I'm going to be able to handle the full on Disney hotel for 14 nights. I was borderline crazy after 2 nights at the Alton towers hotel.....think we are aiming for late May. My complexion couldn't cope with July/August.

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:39:42

Juneau The airboats we did were at Wild Florida Airboats and Wildlife Park, Cypress Lake. I think it was 30/40 minutes drive from where we were staying in Kissimmee.

Groovee Thu 25-Jun-15 14:40:19

We stayed in Disney the first 3 times we went. Their hotels are all so different and theming is brilliant. They have free transport to the parks, so you can go early to the park then back to the hotel for snooze, pool time etc.

The last time we went, we went for a Villa off the Highway 27 at Westridge.

Our kids are teens now so a villa was perfect for us. But when they were younger we loved Port Orleans Riverside. A car is a must for us. So we could go off site to shop and eat.

juneau Thu 25-Jun-15 14:40:37

Okay, your kids are similar to mine (DS1 will be almost 8 and DS2 will be 4.5). I asked for recommendations on here of which parks to visit and everyone said: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and possibly one of the Disney water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), plus Epcot and Gatorland. The view on Universal parks was that they are better for older kids.

We are SC in an 2-bed apartment we found on AirBnB. We didn't want to be crammed in a hotel room with the kids for a week and we prefer to make our own food rather than eat huge American portions at every meal.

Shakey1500 Thu 25-Jun-15 14:41:18

Following with interest.

OP- We went to Disney California in Feb and are looking to go to Florida next year. I totally agree, it's bonkers to try and sort the wheat from the chaff.

From what I gather Orlando has way more parks and attractions than California. I can't make head nor tail of where the parks are, the sheer variety of ticket combos not to mention meal deals etc. confused

Disney California has 3 areas. Disneyland, Cars Land and Downtown Disney. All great, especially Cars Land if you have a fan, magical in the evening.

We had a 3 day pass and it was ample as it's relatively small compared to Florida I think.

InYearAdmissions Thu 25-Jun-15 14:44:58

We went at Easter this year.

We went for 12 nights.

We stayed in a villa in Kissimee, 15 min drive from Disneyworld. I wanted to be able to get away from Disney and I LOVE DISNEY but even I couldn't cope with 12 nights in a Disney Hotel.

We did 3 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 2 days at Universal. We did 2 days at parks then had a day off in between when we would go to a water park or something like that.

On park days we arrived when it opened and would stay till lunchtime/ 2ish then go back to the villa and chill by the pool.

Personally I think we could have saved Universal for another trip, but we went with family who wanted to do it. It was really good but my DDs were a bit young for the Harry Potter (8 and 5).

Do make a plan of what parks you want to visit on what days and book your fast passes up in advance (you can book them 30 days ahead, 60 if you are in a disney hotel). My advice on fast passes is to book them for say 11:30 onwards when the park starts to get pretty busy as you can get on a lot of rides first thing without queueing too much.

The food in the parks is expensive and dreadful. We took a lot of snacks with us for the girls so they could graze and then would buy some stuff at lunchtime to share. We would BBQ at villa in the evening which was v easy, gas BBQ, supermarket across the road selling everything you could ever want.

The Disney Water parks are amazing, I would definitely say get tickets with the water park options, we went there on days off the main theme parks and it was such fun but they weren't over crowded and the food there is actually really good.

You will have a fab time, my girls said it was the best holiday of their lives, I cried when we left!

Welshmaenad Thu 25-Jun-15 14:46:22

With kids that small, I think a villa would be a better bet. So much nicer to have your own space to spread out and relax, you can pace yourselves with the theme park madness and have days at home/pootling round outlet malls to relax. We always stayed in one in Davenport which is really lovely.

I like thedibb and there's a wealth of info on there and links to places to buy your theme park tickets online before you go. You can get all sorts of combinations of tickets covering the Disney parks as well as a Universal etc. they often offer a 'kids eat free' card as a bonus which you can use in lots of Orlando restaurants to get free kids meals, but eating out over there is pretty cheap anyway and there are hundreds of restaurants along the main drags.

19lottie82 Thu 25-Jun-15 14:47:41

OP, if you can drive, hire a car. If you can't get a hotel on international drive. As the I-trolley (tram/bus thing) will take you where you want to go and most hotels will offer a shuttle to the main parks. (I stayed in the Hilton double tree and it was really good)

if you can drive, have a look for villa, it may not be more expensive than a hotel and you don't have to eat out every night, which will save a lot of cash. I didn't find eating out particularly cheap, especially when you factor in taxes and tips.

Check Skyscanner for flights and look online for villa rental sites.

haveabreakhaveakitkat Thu 25-Jun-15 14:48:08

Character breakfast at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom is good value, it's an all you can eat buffet, think it was about £80 for 4 of us and we weren't rushed at all. The children got to meet Pooh and friends and it meant we got a lot of 'meet and greets' done and dusted in one go so didn't have to stand in looooooong queues.

When we went, Anna and Elsa had a three hour long queue - I kid you not!

Welshmaenad Thu 25-Jun-15 14:48:18

Our way of dealing with the expensive food in the parks was to go for a buffet breakfast at somewhere like Sizzler, fill up on that and just take a few snacks for the day, then have s meal/bbq back at the villa.

Do not try the turkey legs. Ever.

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