View Full Version : Anyone care to help a Newbie (to the board AND to Disney??)
04-02-2006, 05:48 PM
I am a Disney Newbie, started doing some reading and researching over the winter, booked a trip a while later, and now, that trip, a very first for my son and I (single mommy) is a mere 3 weeks away.
Anyone have suggestions for a rookie and a 5 yr old? What is a MUST DO, what can we save for next time? What restaurants should we go to (we have the Dining Plan, so anything works!), is there a better time of day to do certain things?
How does the shuttle work? How often does it run? We're staying at Pop Century, is the bus the easiest way to get back and forth, or is there a monorail stop anywhere nearby (take the bus to the mono instead of the whole way??)
A big one for us is whether we should do Animal Kingdom at all. We live near nice zoos, he's not a huge fan of animals, is it worth a whole day? We don't have park hoppers, so we're limited to one park a day, which is fine, we'll be beat after a whole day at any of them I'm sure!
You all know so much, I'm sure I'll get great advice!!
04-03-2006, 10:52 AM
I recentely returned with my 5 year old son from our first trip. I would definately go to Animal Kingdom, I had your same concern as we live next door to Jack Hanna's very nice zoo and we thought we would not be impressed but we were! My son LOVED the safari, Lion King Show, Tricera Top Spin, and Dinosaur. Some say Dinosaur is scary but my son LOVED it(his room is filled with dinosaurs so it was a no-brainer). We also eat dinner at the RainForest Cafe just outside our first night and that was a BIG hit but we are animal lovers.
Here are some of the other things he really enjoyed
1.) Buzz Lightyear Ride at Magic Kingdom
2.) Indy Speedway at Magic Kingdom (I think I have the name wrong but you get the drive the cars - very slow for us but great for 5)
3.) Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom
4.) Dinner with Chef Mickey at Contemporary
5.) Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot
6.) Dumbo at Magic Kingdom
I took an umbrella stroller just in case (he is a little bit over the 40 lbs weight limit but it was fine) and it worked out well to keep him next to me or give his feet a break especially from Park to Bus to Room route. Purchased the stroller for the cost of a one day rental, we would just park it and walk on foot until we got tired and then go back to pick it up from stroller parking lot (I used ribbions on handle to find it).
Have a great vacation... I think 5 years old is the perfect age.
04-03-2006, 11:18 AM
I have been to the parks many times, sometimes with kids and sometimes without. I think that there are things at the Animal Kingdom that your son would really like such as the dinosaur themed area and large playground. The Lion King show is one of the top shows at the park and loved by all ages. The safari ride. And the easy access to character encounters.
But, it is true that there are plenty of things to do at all the parks and it you are not getting a park hopper pass it may be more cost effecient to not tour a park that has fewer things that you are interested in.
The bus system is the best way to get around from pop century. There will be a bus stop by your resort and it will have an area for each park. You just wait until the bus comes along for the park that you are heading to. The buses supposedly come by every 15 minutes or so but it varies so patience is sometimes needed. There will be a bus stop at each park that will be for each resort so when you want to get back to the resort after a day at the park just look for your resort name by the bus stop. You will quickly get used to the trasportation system. For your resort the monorail isn't a convenient option. The only time I would suggest it for you is if you decide to go back and forth between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom (if you were park hopping). You could get on the monorail from Epcot or the Magic Kingdom and go visit one of the resorts that are on the monorail loop- such as the Contemporary, The Polynesian - just to look around or eat at one of their restaraunts.
For a 5 year old I suggest bringing an extra set of clothes to the parks and downtown Disney. There are fountains and water play areas that young children really enjoy but will need some dry things after the fun.
I went many times growing up and next year I'm bringing my 3 yo for the 1st time.
For a 5 year old, I would absolutely recommend that you go to Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary one morning for a character breakfast. The food is great there and a 5 yo will totally love it.
There are tons of other stuff you should do too and I'm sure you'll get many excellent suggestions. But you definately have to go to Chef Mickey's.
I would recommend making reservations for any restarant that you want to have a sit down meal at before you leave. They can book up very quickly. Call 407-WDW-DINE to make your reservations. (They call them ADR's - Advanced Dining Reservations)
We all liked the Fantasmic Show at MGM. You can make a reservation for one of the sit down restarants at MGM and get preferred seating for the show. It is called the Fantasmic Package. You can use the dining plan to pay for it. We ate at Hollywood and Vine last time and liked the food.
We all loved Chef Mickey's. We have eaten dinner there before heading to the MK to see Wishes at night. We like to have lunch or dinner character meals instead of breakfast unless we can get a reservation for 8 am. The best tip we ever got was to get to the park BEFORE it opens. You can get alot done in the first hour while everyone else is still having breakfast.
As far as rides go, my son is 6, he loves Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Soarin in EPCOT, the Indiana Jones show at MGM and the Primal Whirl in Animal Kingdom.
Have a great trip!!! :goodvibes
04-03-2006, 05:45 PM
You and your son will have a GREAT time! We just got back and stayed at Pop. It is a really cool resort. The food court has lots of choices, and there is even an arcade in the lobby. The buses were fine, I never waited more than 10 minutes, except when we left MK at closing and there were like 400 people in line for the bus.
Do you have a plan for each day? If you know what rides you want to go on, make an itinerary. It really helps me when I get in the gates and get brain freeze.
It will be best if you get to the parks a little before they open. This way, you can ride some of the hottest rides fairly quickly.
In MK, I would suggest going straight to Tomorrowland(turn right after main street, not through castle) and riding Astroorbiter, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Stitch right away. Then head for the Tomorrowland Speedway. All these lines can get really long after the first hour the park is open. the BArnstormer in Mickey's Toontown Fair is a good ride for younger kids and there is a train stop there, if you want to ride. Of course, Fantasyland is full of rides your son would probably enjoy and if he is adventurous, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain would be fun. We ate at Pecos Bills restaurant, it is counter service and good food.
In Epcot, we ran straight for Soarin' and then headed to the Living Seas for Turtle Talk with Crush. Spaceship Earth will be packed until about 11 or so, and then it is really quick to get on. We did the thing in Innoventions where you create a robot on a computer, race it, and then make a real robot to take home.In Future World, we bought a Passport in the store for $10 and had it stamped and signed in each country. They also had Kidcot stations where the kids got to make a mask. The boat rides in Mexico and Norway are tame and fun. You can take pictures of your son in hats from the different countries. It is a fun way to remember the different countries. In Japan, you can get a free animal lollipop from the "candy lady" Just check your guide, and get there about 15 minutes before the drum show that is right before the candy lady(called Miyuki) Have your son stand directly in front of one of the squares on her cart and he will probably get a candy.
In Animal Kingdom, we ran straight for the safari and got right on.Got a fast pass getting off so we could ride again. The Legend of the Lion King is good and there are some rides in Dinoland that your son might enjoy. There is also a big playground there that my son loved at that age. THere are areas to walk through and see animals.
MGM was my least favorite. My son wanted to see the stunt show, but it is only shown a few times a day. There are a lot of thrill rides, though. Fantasmic was great!
We ate at Chef Mickey's(GREAT!), and O'Hana's breakfast at the Polynesian with Lilo and Stitch was good too. Donald's Breakfastosaurus at AK was the BEST buffet breakfast IMO. We also ate at Hollywood and Vine in MGM and the Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada, both were good.
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