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Q&A with Virgin Holidays - Ask your questions & share your tips on going to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida - 3x £100 vouchers to be won

(241 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Jun-19 10:14:21

We're going to have the Virgin Holidays experts online on Monday 17th June from 1:30pm - 3:00pm to answer your questions on how to get the most out of a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, from the great value Disney Dining Plans to what to take with you into the Disney Parks, best attractions for different ages or how the Disney FastPass+ service works. This Q&A will work a little like our Live Webchats if any of you have taken part in one before - just ask a question below for the experts at Virgin Holidays to answer!

Not only would we love you to ask your questions below for Virgin Holidays to answer but we’d also like you to share any top tips or helpful advice you may have for other MNers thinking of going to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Here’s what Virgin Holidays have to say: “Planning a dream family holiday to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida can seem a little daunting. What was once ‘just’ the amazing Magic Kingdom Park, is now four entertainment-filled theme parks, plus two water parks, covering a total area the size of San Francisco. And that’s before you add in Disney Springs — packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions in its own right.

Don’t leave the holiday of a lifetime to chance. Here at Virgin Holiday’s we’ve got a whole team of Disney experts to help you with the planning now so you can enjoy the Disney magic even more.”

Post your question for Virgin Holidays and they will be online to answer them on Monday 17th June . Everyone who posts a question or shares a tip will be entered into a prize draw where 3 MNers will win a £100 voucher each of their choice (from a list).*

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply
Webchat guidelines - one question each (follow-ups allowed if there’s time)

*The Walt Disney Company Limited has no responsibility whatsoever with the running of this Prize Draw and shall not be liable for any losses, damages, or costs should a reader make any claim against the promoter as a result of the running of this Prize Draw.

PennyStocks Wed 05-Jun-19 12:41:50

I haven't been to WDW in over 25 years (1992, if I recall correctly!) but my top tip for anyone visiting would be to allow plenty of time to see and do everything because it's huge! My question for the team would be to ask how much it's changed in the time since I was there and what you would say the highlights were of any new developments? Thanks.

monsieurmarius Thu 06-Jun-19 14:19:27

We went three years ago and my biggest piece of advice would be to hire a house and self cater as much as you can to keep costs down.

One thing id love to know is what are the catering provisions for children with dietary restrictions? I understand you can't bring food in but for my 2 year old with coeliacs disease I would prefer to provide my own- will this be allowed?

Ofalltheginjoints Thu 06-Jun-19 14:27:05

I got back from Disney World on Tuesday.

I’d recommend anyone going to take full advantage of the fast pass system, if your staying off Disney property you can book 3 fast passes per day 30 days in advance if your trip but if your staying at a Disney hotel you can book 3 fast passes 60 days in advance.

Don’t try and do everything in one day, previously when Disney tickets were 5-7 days you had to but now with Disney tickets being 24 days for the price of 7 days you have so much more time.

Find out which rides/shows you want to do as a priority and try and book the fast passes for those and, if possible, try and book fast passes in the same area of the park or with time in between to get to rides so you aren’t rushing everywhere, Magic Kingdom is huge so you can be all over the place however Hollywood Studios is much smaller, Toy Story Land is a must.

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are both great in their own ways, Blizzard Beach is the newer park (opened 1995) and does have much better disability access including park wheelchairs that can be borrowed and taken up Mount Gushmore and be sent down the ride before you so that it’s waiting at the bottom, I was amazed the first time I experienced that.

It is not a relaxing holiday but it is absolutely magical, I first went when I was 3yrs old and now I’m 32 with 12 trips, taking my DN with me just made it so special to see his reaction and his dreams coming true

Eisley Thu 06-Jun-19 14:30:25

When do prices for summer 2021 get released?

We'll be travelling with my 12 yr old niece who has severe special needs, what provisions can we expect/ask for from the virgin cabin crew?

Unihorn Thu 06-Jun-19 14:36:14

I've been ten times in various groups, including alone with my husband for my honeymoon and with 4yo DSD, always staying in a Disney hotel. I would 100% always recommend staying in a Disney hotel to take advantage of the benefits, and definitely trying for free dining if it fits in with your planned dates. Being able to book 14 nice meals really adds to our enjoyment! Teppan Edo, California Grill and Crystal Palace would be my recommendations for a varied experience of all types of dining.

Book your 3 Fastpasses for between around 10.30am and 1pm then immediately book any extras you can get. If you're a militant planner, check out the busy days guides available on several websites (Touring Plans, TheDibb etc.) and try to go with their suggestions.

Use the Disney Food Blog to research the best use of snack credits. My favourites are anything from Karamell Kuche in the German pavillion in Epcot.

Byrdie Thu 06-Jun-19 14:54:04

We've just been for the first time but to Disneyland (California). In terms of tips that translate (to probably any Disney park!) I'd say try and get there at the earliest time possible. That should be pretty easy given that most people coming from the UK will be on the right time zone to be there bright and early. We got there after the park is open to hotel guests for an hour but it was still early and had only just opened so we had to park pretty much to ourselves for the first hour and a half - no queues to be seen anywhere - ot was amazing!! Anoher tip is to start at the back of the park and work your way back to the exit! I would also definitely print a map and plan your day. I planned it like a military operation and knew exactly where we were going! A lot of people just mill around not knowing where to go so it's really helpful having a destination. Have a list of must dos too. For my little daughter it was seeing the princesses. My other two had other ideas like star wars things and rollercoasters but we managed to take off everything by lunchtime! That meant we spent the afternoon just browsing around whatever we wanted to go on. Also, if you can, give your kids a lanyard and a phone. My kids had their phones round their necks on lanyards all day and with the free Wi-Fi it meant that we could keep in contact if we went to the loo separately. Plus they then had the dosney app too. They take photos for you happily on your phones so don't feel bad handing one over at meet and greets. We made so many amazing memories and although it cost us a small fortune we really didn't regret it. We actually never expected it to be that fun! It was such a great holiday!!

Daydreamer34 Thu 06-Jun-19 14:56:21

We visited WDW last october for the first time from the UK. We have booked to go back next may. We had a wonderful time.
My advice would be to stay in a Disney hotel to take advantage of the free dining, free transportation, earlier fast pass booking. Also staying in the hotels keeps you in the disney bubble.
If your with young kids factor in lots of rest time too. It's very tiring, hot and long days.

Bec1710 Thu 06-Jun-19 15:00:54

We visited WDW last year for our honeymoon and loved it so we will be returning next year with our 21 month old. Is there any tips you would recommend when taking a toddler to Disneyworld to make our holiday as stress free as possible?

hollyjollychristmas Thu 06-Jun-19 15:03:39

My tip would be to stay onsite at a Disney hotel if you have little ones and Disney is your main focus as Orlando is huge, so having a day in the park, staying into the evening to see the fireworks and then having an hour journey to get out of the park and back to your villa or hotel is probably not ideal with little ones. Also worth noting the Disney transport system is very good, plenty of buses to all resorts as well as a monorail, ferry and soon sky gondolas.

My question would be is it worth only staying in a Disney hotel for a few nights? We are travelling to Orlando in May 2020 for our honeymoon and plan on having two weeks in a villa and a week in hotels. However just staying in a Disney hotel for one or two nights seems quite expensive.

FraggleRocker1 Thu 06-Jun-19 15:18:08

I love Disney and make the planning part of the holiday build up.

Definitely research the quieter days for each park; it really does make a difference.

If you plan to make meal reservations then plan a few earlier breakfast character meals in the parks. You will be able to get in earlier and be at the front of the queue, ready for rope drop.

If you haven’t managed to get a character meal reservation then always try to ask directly at the restaurant, as we found they often accommodate walk ups.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion then wear your celebration badge and, if you’re staying at a resort hotel, let them know ahead of time. They will try to do everything possible to make your stay extra special.

If your child is fond of dress up try the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique in Magic Kingdom. It is really special and they make the children feel like princes and princesses.

Plan a few visits to the water parks in the afternoons to unwind a little, alternatively the resort pools are often quieter and well themed.

Everything in Disney is expensive so be prepared!

We found the Photopass to be a good investment and takes the pressure off parents trying to capture all the magic moments.

Consider a buggy, even if your child has been walking for some time. The parks are huge and make Alton Towers seem tiny. We found it cheaper to buy a buggy in the supermarket in Orlando rather than hire one from the park. Also we sold them for a similar price when we put them on eBay.

If your child is a Star Wars fan then they can battle the bad guys on stage with light sabres. You will need to queue first thing to guarantee a spot

iknowenoughthankyouygritte Thu 06-Jun-19 15:34:26

Disney is a holiday you have to plan.
Fist look up opening times and early park/ late park, special events planned for you holiday dates.

Then look at what rides you really want to do for each park.

Fast pass your must do rides.

Character meals are a great way to meet lots of characters without the queues.

Get to each park for rope drop.

Hopeygoflightly Thu 06-Jun-19 15:36:45

We just went on a family trip, grandparents, BIL & his 13 and 11 year old, we had 6 & 8 year old.
Stay nearby! You can rent huge houses down the road with pools and drive in each morning first thing( hire a car/van) That way you get some none Disney down time and save a fortune in money as you're self catering. Car hire is cheap and it's easy to drive in to Disney.
Make your own packed lunches and pack LOTS of water - tons of it. Food in Disney is both expensive and pretty junky ( burgers, pizza fries)
Wear comfy shoes! All of you.
Hire a buggy! Yes even for big kids - there are loads of companies that deliver a proper buggy/double buggy to your hotel or house and it's not expensive. Even if you think your kids are too big - they aren't. Our 6&8 year old had somewhere to sit and rest in the shade with the buggy and got pushed a bit. PLUS you can leave your water bottles, bags etc in the buggy. the Disney strollers to hire in the park are rubbish, plastic, not comfy.
Plan and use Fast passes. Get in early to the park and go to the more popular rides first thing that you don't want to wast fast passes on ( like Dumbo)
Tell the kids they can have a souvenir the LAST day of the holiday! Everything in the parks is expensive although they do sell stuff that you can only get in the park.
Don't plan every second of every day. Plan your fast passes but give yourself time to look around and soak up the atmosphere and sit.
Finally - don;t spend the whole time at Disney! Go for a couple of weeks so you get a day at the beach. AND go to the Kennedy Space Centre - it's fantastic.

Giraffe31 Thu 06-Jun-19 15:54:16

Monsieur you are definitely allowed to take your own food in! I went with my sister last year who is coeliac and you just ask for an allergy menu at every dining location, they took it very seriously

crosser62 Thu 06-Jun-19 16:08:47

We LOVE WDW and are planning on going next year.
My questions are around prices.
It is overwhelming the volume of information and selling sites on the internet so it would be lovely to have specific advice from virgin who are the absolute masters of WDW from our experience grin
So, where is the best place for park tickets?
How much extra should we expect to pay for fast passes if we are not staying at a WDW resort place?
Is it true that you can’t take your own packed lunches into the parks?
We don’t really want to eat any of the junk food in the parks.
How much should we expect to pay for car parking at each of the parks as we need to factor this in to our budget.
We heard that you have to pay extra, up to £700 for 2 weeks to heat the pool if you are staying in a villa, is this correct?!!
How can we find out when the rest of the worlds kids are on school holidays? We got stuck behind HUGE groups of kids in queues all wearing the same t shirt or hoodies assumably from the same schools. I’m talking a hundred kids or more in the same group in front of us. The queues were 2-3 hours at a time. This really put us off. We would like to find out do we can time it better.

Our top tip is if you are staying in a villa, visit Walmart and buy loads of bottles of water (so so cheep) bung them in the freezer overnight and then pop them into your back pack for your days out. It’s so hot and the melting ice water is Devine!

Also, Walmart can actually be a day out, they are enormous and sell the most bizarre stuff (guns!!!, truck tyres!!) only kidding but yes, a total eye opener!
Another tip is to itinerary the ass out of your holiday, plan plan plan. Forget the plan if you want but a bit of a plan is good!
It truly is magical!

iknowenoughthankyouygritte Thu 06-Jun-19 16:25:48

You can get free ice water at all of the Disney parks.

Fast passes are included for no extra cost at WDW

WDW do allergies very well - a snack breakfast can be tough with a dairy allergy but WDW take allergies seriously, you get personal service at all their food stops. Harder to find safe food outside the parks we found.

There is much more to WDW than the rides.

sharond101 Thu 06-Jun-19 16:28:48

We fly on 22nd June and want to ask why Virgin don't cater for allergies on such a long flight? Also if we book again f0r next year can we find a small villa for 4 rather than pay for one to sleep 8? When is rge best time to book flights to get a good price?

user1496959500 Thu 06-Jun-19 16:31:02

When is the best time to visit outside of school holidays with young families? (Climate, busyness, price etc).

Kia123456 Thu 06-Jun-19 16:33:06

Check the park maps before booking your fast passes to ensure you’re not running from one end of the park and back again. Also, try and book your fast passes for fairly early in the morning. Once you have used your first 3, you can book more one at a time for the rest of day.

user1496959500 Thu 06-Jun-19 16:37:54

My tip from many years ago is to stock up on hotel breakfast and take a snack for lunch as you don’t want to waste time and money eating during valuable rides and experience time!

Unihorn Thu 06-Jun-19 17:17:08

@crosser62 Fastpasses are included with park tickets at Disney. Staying on site means you can book them 60 days in advance whereas you can only do so 30 days in advance if you stay off site.

Also the food in the parks is not junk food. This was perhaps true about 20 years ago but certainly hasn't in the past 15 years at least. Every park has 2 or 3 locations which serve something other than burgers and chips, particularly Epcot and Animal Kingdom.

FinnBalorsAbs Thu 06-Jun-19 18:04:43

If you’re a foodie and like to plan, book a year in advance and get the free dining plan. Disney food (not just in the parks but also resort restaurants and Disney Springs restaurants) are some of the best in the world and if you’re staying in one of the resorts with table service restaurants you can enjoy some fine dining in amazing places - although watch out, you’ll still have to pay the cost of tips so it’s all very well having a $400 meal for free (including an alcoholic drink each if that’s your thing) but you’ll still be paying $80 in tips.

The food is epic though. Our favourites are Frontera Cocina (best Mexican I’ve ever eaten), Art Smiths for Southern Cuisine (fried chicken!), Narcoosees for lobster and the Yachtsman Steakhouse (for the obvious but also the dessert our kids loved the best - a Mickey Mouse White chocolate jigsaw they had to put together and then paint with a range of coulis and a paint brush. Messy but something they still talk about two years on, along with their first experience watching Teppanyaki in Epcot).

EggysMom Thu 06-Jun-19 18:28:43

Can you please get rid of Trump before we visit? grin

I'm interested in the support available for special needs when travelling too, in our case our son will need either distraction or sedation. He's not one to watch an iPad for hours, he'll want to climb over the seats etc.

I'm worried about driving when we get there. We want to stay in a villa (freedom/space/pool) but I really don't fancy driving immediately after the flight. All the fly/drive options seem to presume you're happy to do collect a hire car immediately. Is there any kind of option to get a taxi to a villa and have a hire car delivered there?

Hollowvictory Thu 06-Jun-19 18:31:05

Hi when do flights for 220 for July and August for Mexico, Singapore and Mauritius become available please? Is it 11 months before?
And where could we combine with Singapore for a great family holiday, would Langkawi be a good option?

glenthebattleostrich Thu 06-Jun-19 18:36:35

We love Disney and actually own one of their timeshares!

We are going back next may (booking tomorrow 😁) and can't wait.

We love staying on property as it's so immersive. Transport between resorts and parks is really good, Ubers to other places are cheap and the earlier fast passes are great.

I'd ask what they would recommend outside of theme works for rest days.

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