View Full Version : New to board, 1st trip to WDW, and times??

07-01-2006, 07:37 PM
Hi, I've been reading your boards for a couple of months, but this is my first post. You are all an awesome resource and I've spent so much money buying your recommendations!! (hand mister fans, crocs, glow sticks, the list goes on) We leave on Thursday and we are so excited!!

I guess I should say who "we" are. First there is my we, which is myself, hubby, 7year old son, and almost 5 year old daughter (one month till her b-day). Then there is the extended we that we are traveling with, which is my parents, my sister, and her family which is her hubby and 7 year old daughter and 5 year old daughter. We are all traveling out there together, but will pretty much be going separate ways once we get there (I have some issues with that but that's neither here nor there I guess). This will be the first time to WDW for all of us, although hubby and I, my mom, and my sis and her family have been to Disneyland assorted times.

One thing I would like some help with. I've read the books, and the websites, and many of the posts on this and other boards, and I know it's recommended that you get there before the park opens so you can ride more with less lines. I also have read about the afternoon break to cool off, rest some, and avoid the crowds. So I have some questions about the times of coming and going and breaks. Oh, and I should add that my family is going to MK, MGM, AK, and Epcot, where as the other two families are going to other variations and only 2-3 of the parks.

My parents do NOT like the rope drop. They saw that on one of the videos we watched and the idea of being corralled like cattle and then pushed in a rushing stampede does not apeal to them at all. What time would you recommend we try to get there that we would still be early, but miss the rope drop? Should we just try to get to the parking lot by 9 and then by the time we get through the transportation to the gate and into the park the rope drop part will be over? Should we still try to get there about 10 minutes before 9 to allow for the time it takes to get to the gates, through the turnstiles (at least 1-3 of us will have backpacks and or bags, so we will have to do security check), or what would be your recomendation to get there early but miss the corralling?

We want to take the afternoon break to let the kids rest and cool off at the pool and rest those dogs. Assuming we get there at or shortly after opening (9am), when should we plan to take the break? And how long of a break should we plan to take (two hours, four)? Would it be a good idea to take a snack for midmorning, then eat lunch at the break? Also if you leave to take a break and more people come in the park, can you be denied re-entry because they are at capacity, or since your ticket has been read are you still counted as part of the capacity and allowed in? I mean we don't have park hopper tickets, so we were told when we use the ticket, it's "locked" to only allow entry to that park for that day. So would we be able to get back in, or not? And is this something I should worry about for this time of year?

Also, I wasn't going to do the autograph book thing, but I decided to break down and prepare for it because I'm afraid that my kids seeing other's do it would make them want to do it and we would end up buying a book there. I bought a book that is 6x6, is this an okay size for it? I don't want something too big because I have to lug two of them all over the place, but I want it to be big enough for the characters to be able to use. I also bought fat sharpies and the retractable sharpies. We are not doing any character meals, and I would like to avoid spending all day standing in line to meet characters other than a select few "must sees". Will we see several characters just out and about that the kids can meet, or do you really need to submit to the lines or the meals in order to see anyone? I know we will have to do Ariel, and probably Mickey or Donald, and if Buzz or Woody require lines we will have to do that too, but I would like the rest to be chance meetings if possible. And is the Toontown Fair the best place to meet Mickey, or are there good places to meet him at other parks? And what is the deal with the "busload of characters" at Epcot? Hiow do you know where/when they stop? And besides toontown fair and Ariel's grotto, is there any definate areas that characters will be? Or a website with the info? I found a spreadsheet from a link I think was listed here, but it was last updated in 2004 so I don't know how accurate it is. I also read you can get character listings and times from services, are these a printout you can carry, or they just tell you the time/place? I just mainly want to get an idea of if there is anywhere we need to make a point of going while we are there, as I know we won't see it all.

We've decided to let the kids lead the way and do what they want. I had all the touring plans and tips on avoiding crowds and everything, but I remember when I went to Disneyland with hubby and his family. It was a group of 12-16 people, and I was the only one who hadn't been to DL before. Everyone was rushing me from one place to another and telling me what to ride and where to eat and when I could shop and wouldn't let me look at anything I wanted to. It was so frustrating!! I don't want to do that to my kids, even if it means we miss half the park. As long as they are having fun, I'll be happy. I know we would miss a lot of line time if we did more planning, but I figure thinking about what we missed will help motivate us to go again. And this is our first real vacation since hubby and I went on our honeymoon, as he is military and all our vacations were always to go home and visit family.

We are looking forward to our trip and this board has been a blessing in helping me plan and prepare. Thank you for all of your tips!! Take care!!

Tina Rod.

07-01-2006, 11:42 PM
Okay, I'm researching the characters to get a better idea of where they are and all. I have another question though. I read you can get a passport for the people at World Showcase to stamp and write messages in. Can you have them stamp and sign your autograph book, or will they only do that to the passport?

Thanks again.

Tina Rod.

07-02-2006, 06:22 AM
Welcome! :wave2:

07-02-2006, 06:31 AM
You may get more reponses to your park questions on the Themepark board.

For us, when take afternoon breaks when we get tired or too hot, we don't have a set time that we plan to spend in the park.

I don't think the busload of characters exists in Epcot anymore but you can go to the Characater Connection across from Innoventions West and meet them during the day. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale there. It was very organized and we arrived around 3:30/4pmish and it wasn't crowded when we were there.

You should check out www.allearsnet.com for a lot of useful information.

As for the Epcot Passports, I don't see why they wouldn't stamp your autograph book if you asked but I'm not positive. Hopefully someone else will be able to answer that for you. Also in each of the Epcot Countries, you child can color a "mask" that is on a stick and they can add decorations in each country and the CM in the countries will stamp the stick with the name of the country. Here's some info on characters. Character info (http://www.allearsnet.com/tp/fur.htm)

Enjoy your vacation and happy planning!

07-02-2006, 08:19 AM
OK, going to do my best to help you on these ??'s... I too was sort of a newbie when I went last year... I had been once before but 1 day and we did 3 parks that day so I don't remember all that much... last year we did 7 and that helped alot.

1. If your going to try and miss rope drop I'd say get to parking right about 1/4 till 9 so you can get to gates just after 9 (I personally will be trying to get there at rope drop... may be a stampede, but not everyone will be headed the exact places we will be)

2. Regarding breaks and park re-entry, you may want to try an earlier break than originally planned on you MK day depending on how full park seems to you before you go, but I don't know how the no park hopper thing works, plus when I went the week of 4th of july last year I had no re-entry probs anywhere.

3. As far as autograph books go.. so long as it's a pen they can hold and a book they have room to sign it shouldn't be an issue. I have never heard of anyone having a problem. As far as seeing characters, Toon town fair is a good one at MK, Camp Minnie and Mickey at AK, Charachter Connection at Epcot and MGM I understand at the Hat is a good place, plus at Al's Toy barn for meeting Buzz, Woody, and Jesse. As someone said, allears.net is a good resource, plus I go to themouseforless.com and comintercot.com for help on some of the character stuff too.

Have Fun!!!

07-02-2006, 09:46 AM
Thank you all so much for the help!! And I appologize if my "stampede" comment offended anyone, I didn't mean it that way. I was actually quoting my mother, they just don't like the idea of being crowded into one section and then the rush when everyone tries to get to their favorite part first. They are older and just aren't comfortable with that part. I'm trying to find a medium ground of when to get there that will be early enough we can still all have time to do the things we want to, but avoid that part that they don't want to go. I'm afraid they will wait until 11am to go just to avoid the rope drop.

It's kind of frustrating because we have three different personality types between us, my sister is a "before they open until the close with no breaks, do as much as you can" type, my parents are a "get there when we feel like it, leave and fool around till we think everyone has gone home and then go back" type, and I'm a "get there early, take a break to give the kids a chance to rest, then head back for more fun but probably leave early so the kids aren't too tired" type. I think we are going to end up with three cars just so that everyone can come and go and be happy.

Thank you again, and I'll check out the two websites I haven't seen yet. Oh, and thanks for the info about the bus at Epcot. A lot of the websites I'm reading and the books I have still list it, so it's good to know that it's no longer coming around so I don't plan for it and end up disappointed. Thank you again!!

Tina Rod.

07-02-2006, 04:20 PM
to the boards! You will get a lot of useful info here!

I hope your trip turns out to be wonderful. Just don't get too caught up in the planning, cause sometimes things come up and the plans go out the window! Relax and enjoy! It will be great.

07-02-2006, 05:25 PM
Thank u raggedymomof2!! I needed the answer to the same questions. LOL. Like you, this will be our first "official" family vacation. Outside, of visiting family and that sort of thing. Alot of this info can get overwhelming. I decided to choose a list of things we were absolutely interested in and from there just go with the flow. Don't feel embarrassed by all of your questions, all of us newbies feel the same way. Now I have to make a list of where to see the characters. Thanks everyone!!

07-02-2006, 05:37 PM
I totally understand the stampede theory, but your 5yr old daughter and niece and probably the 2 boys would love to be in Magic Kingdom for the
rope drop when all the characters come on the train to open the kindgom and throw pixie dust on all who are waiting. It really is a fun time and if you arrive early enough and get up front it doesn't feel as crowded. Also if you get there early enough and take your daughter to the store behind the castle she may be able to wake tinkerbell up. I never go back and nap so I can't help with that. Have a magical time and maybe everyone doing there own thing will end up being better than someone feeling angry at having to be somewhere or do something they really didn't want to. We have gone with as many as 18 people at one time and usually try to meet up at somepoint but mostly do our own thing during the day.

07-02-2006, 06:33 PM
Welcome to the DIS!!! Start going at the time the park opens.

07-02-2006, 07:13 PM
Do you know if you can go to the scooter rental place before the rope drop, or do they only open after the park officially opens? My dad needs a scooter (he has diabetes and lots of foot/leg problems), so I thought they should try to get there early so they could get that part out of the way so that when the park does open we can go straight to having fun instead of having to wait in line for that before we can go anywhere. But I don't know if they are open or not. And what about the other shops on Main Street? I might be able to buy my mom off that she can look in the shops instead of being in the street. I don't know, I understand their gripes, but at the same time it's just going to be crowded, it's a fact we all have to deal with. I think we are probably just going to get our own car and just go when we want to and if they want to show up later, then they do that.

Thanks again for the help, and for mentioning the characters at the rope drop. How bad is it really when they do drop the rope, I mean is everyone running like a marathon? I can't even remember if we were at the rope drop at DL, it's been too long ago.

Tina Rod.

07-02-2006, 07:24 PM

07-03-2006, 01:59 AM
okay coz i'm lazy i'm just going to say welcome and hi :wave:

07-03-2006, 03:16 AM
:wave: Welcome to the Dis :goodvibes

07-03-2006, 08:28 AM
I don't know about he scooter but they don't even let you onto main street they hold you outside the railroad station. No I don't recall it being like a marathon, in fact, the characters come off the train and stay right on main street for autographs so alot of people don't even go further then that right away. Also, why rent your own car when you can use disney buses, so much more convenient especially for magic kingdom.

07-03-2006, 11:40 AM
Oh, I guess I thought they had you on main street for the rope drop, sorry about that. And we have rental cars because we are staying off site in a rental home. Since we are going to the Beach and some of us are going to Sea World in addition to WDW, we already have two vans lined up.

Thanks again for all the advice!! And thank you for all of the welcomes too!!

Tina Rod.

07-03-2006, 06:48 PM
Okay, I'm researching the characters to get a better idea of where they are and all. I have another question though. I read you can get a passport for the people at World Showcase to stamp and write messages in. Can you have them stamp and sign your autograph book, or will they only do that to the passport?

Thanks again.

Tina Rod.
We pick up the autograph books (small blue one, $6) at the first kiosk or gift shop we come to. There are one or two right at the gate of each park. We also let the kids pick out a pen that they like as well. Just make sure you get one that is kind of fat so that the characters can handle them. The autograph books fit perfectly in a fannie pack. Each year we get a new one and they try and see if they can get more autographs than the previous years and find a character that they haven't seen before. Our first trip we said that we wouldn't waste much time visiting characters but after a couple of hours the first day we really came to enjoy it, plus some of our favorite pictures are the ones with the characters.

In regards to the stamps at Epcot, there are passports($10-$15) that are sold at all of the gift shops and include each country. Believe me they are worth it. At each of the KidCot stations they can decorate a mask, have a symbol of that country attached to their mask and then the CM at the Kidcot station signs their passport with a phrase in their native language. It is really neat, and had made Epcot one of our kids favorite parks. Once you get to the last country, you get a certificate that says they went around the world.

Hope this helps answer some of your questions. Have a great time!