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Amyshubby
08-23-2007, 04:37 PM
OK. I’ve looked at Guidebooks, read a bunch of websites and forums (seriously lurked here for weeks) and am STILL confused about a bunch of things. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Here is where we stand now:

We (spouse and 2 kids ages 4 and 7) want to go for our first Disney trip next year. We are going to take the kids out of school for the week.

1) We were going to go in March, but decided the better time would be April 5-13. This seems to be after all the March spring breaks are over. A few schools have off in April, but not until the end, so we are hoping for shorter lines and nice weather. Does this sound right?

2) Our first thought was to stay at an All Star resort because the kids would love the theming (and they would). Of course the rooms are not the biggest. We are not considering a moderate, because most seemed too spread out and the rooms are not much nicer then at the Values. We semi-considered the Swan/Dolphin, but that would be more for us then for the kids as the beds are supposed to be really comfortable. Ultimately, our game plan now is to hold a Value, and then try to get a room at WL when the discounts become available (if the prices don’t drop to within 100/night of the Value we might just stay in the Value range).

3) The biggest issue now is the way to book everything. We E-mailed dreams unlimited and they are in the process of getting us quotes. FROM WHAT I’VE READ, IT LOOKS LIKE THE BEST DISCOUNTS ARE GIVEN TO ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS??? We do have AAA, the Disney Visa card, the entertainment book, etc but it seems the best options are as follows [btw- we figure 1) we will hit the parks about 6 days, do a water park one day, then do DisneyQuest for a day, and 2) We are going back in 2009}-

-Everyone gets an annual pass (with water parks) and we go to whatever parks we want in 2008 and 2009.

-I get an annual Pass (and hopefully get the room discount) and we buy a 10-day hopper/water park/ no expiration pass for everyone else and use the rest of the day in 2009.

-We forego the Annual pass and look for a package deal either just for this year, or with the 10 day no expiration for all of us.

I’m not sure if the package deals will save us more money then waiting until the discounts come out (apparently about 2-3 months before we go). Adding the Magic Your way stuff makes things more confusing, especially when trying to figure in the new dining plan cost vs regular dining. Again, I’m going to lock up a Value resort so we know we have a place to stay, but I’m hoping for some big discounts if attendance is low.

Also, how low can I reasonably expect the WL to go? We have no problem with a standard room. I saw the Swan/Dolphin seems to go down to about $169 at times. Is that likely for the WL or am I looking at closer to $200 at best? Do the better deals work out to be when you book everything separately, or book a package?

Any advice you can give (and from the previous posts I’ve read most of you give great advice) would be appreciated. Thanks!

BTW- This is my first post! When I get a chance I’ll scan a picture of my son’s arm. He has a birthmark that I swear is shaped like a hidden Mickey!

spiceycat
08-23-2007, 04:54 PM
there are not alot of discounts during Spring break

the middle of Feb until the middle of April. If disney does annouce a discount - it will be more likely for the end of april and may.

you have to consider schools in all 50 states plus other countries that like to spend spring break at WDW. as well as the colleges.

So you might find more people at WDW than what you want.

for resorts hey I love Pop Century.

the all stars can do share a bus - especially during slow times.

Pop doesn't.

like the food court at Pop better. It has a lake, all star don't. also I love the Icons at Pop.

with the increase in prices for the annual pass - I would reconsider.

first discounts are never guaranteed with the annual pass.

second - the breakout period is alot more than 7 days - with the increase in prices.

would you be able to guaranteed your return to Disney within a year? if you can't then go with 10 day passes no expiry.

DisneyBride'03
08-23-2007, 05:01 PM
Welcome to Dis Boards:)

I love Pop Century as well.....:) I received a code in the mail, and sometimes there are general public codes (discounts) as well....thee are many online newsletters to join that will email you ..esp mousesavers...with these...Make sure to sign up at Disney sites....order your Parks planning DVD etc...get your name and address in their system.....and read these boards!!!

Depending on any codes/discounts....book what you will be comfortable with financially....and then see what becomes available:)

kirbsam
08-23-2007, 05:25 PM
annual pass is the way to go. i have never failed to get a discount with my annual pass. the discount at wl will pay for the annual pass.

cheerforchelsea
08-23-2007, 05:26 PM
I somehow managed to be in WDW when it was Spring Break somewhere - and was VERY SORRY that I chose a Value Resort - we were at the All Star Music. My only advice would be upgrade to a Moderate if at all possible - I saw every drunk teenager in WDW during that trip-- the Moderate resorts were full of them!! As for discounts - I have been a passholder for years and usually manage to get a discount for Spring Break but be sure to keep an eye on this board for the first day they discounts are released because the rooms go fast!!

Kae
08-23-2007, 05:32 PM
I would pick May over anytime in April Our Spring break is during that time & Easter. First set a budget. That will help you pick a resort & type of ticket. We have Stayed at Values, Mods & Deluxes Our favs WL, AKL followed by POFQ. We had alot of fun at POP enjoyed over the Allstars. The Values are more spread out the POFQ which is the smallest of the Mods.

Kae

Lucy Ariel Fan
08-23-2007, 05:56 PM
We took our kids at the same ages and smaller to WDW and the first trip my DD was almost 3 and DS was six. We stayed at POR, the kids loved it. Ole man Island pool was alot of fun. They loved all the flowers and the river.

Our second trip DD was 4 and DS was 7 and we stayed at CBR. They loved that as well. Especially the kids meals at the food court(they come in a sand bucket w/ a shovel.) Both were great.

Sunday we arrive at ASSp. I have never stayed at a value before so I'll let you know how I liked it. We also before the kids have stayed at OKW(loved it) POFQ(Loved it) and the Dolphin(more for adults than kids)

I like the mods because the main pools are in separate areas from the rooms and the food courts are really nice. The rooms are very comfy.

:cool2:

Gretchen
08-23-2007, 06:09 PM
Howdy and welcome!
1) Budget-how much do you want to spend? Then, figure ok, how much is it going to cost?
2)Time to go? Well, I've been in February and roasted-we live in CT it was winter! It was really hot there in FL. My MIL says May is beautiful. You do have to watch for the break crowd it can go in to April. We went in early december, it was great but kinda chilly for FL. It was Value season at the WL we paid 150.00 with a public code. I'm paying 159.00 for October at POR with AAA. I've also paid 200.00 for the Contemporary, but those days are long gone.
3)Where to stay? See above about budget. As far as being spread out, all the disney resorts are spread out. You can request a room closer to whatever it is you want to be closer too, but it is just a request. I've been lucky and always gotten my requests. We stayed at the Poly once, close to the TT monorail, but it was a hike from the restaurants, etc. I think a good compromise is a Mod. But then again, they only have double beds. But that's why they call it a compromise!
4)How to book it-I've always done better booking a la carte myself. I called CRO (Disney) and used my AAA card for the discount on the room for my next trip. I've called CRO in the past and used the pin code, public discount etc. I always do better than with a package, usually because we don't use all the stuff in the package.
5)Passes-Annual is the way to go if you are going to go more than once in a 12 mo. period or can get a really discounted room. Again, I've never done this as we go ever 2-3 years. We've only gotten base park hoppers as we don't do the water parks or DQ. My kids are 5 and 10 now and we still just get the base hoppers. Oh, and only for the amount of days we will be going in to the parks. If I'm going for 6 days I'll get a 4, etc. Just look at the pricing on the passes, some for add'l days are only a couple of bucks more.
6)Package/a la carte-We do better no package. My trip is about 2300, total incl. air and car for 4 no dinning 6 nights.
7)Bring your own stroller!:thumbsup2
Hope I've helped, sorry so long!!
Gretchen

Taja
08-23-2007, 07:27 PM
Unless you know you're going to visit WDW at least twice in the 12-month period, the pricing for an AP doesn't make much sense these days. The discounts are lower than they used to be, and sometimes are not available where you want to stay. Depending on the discounts available, break-even is going to be something around 15 to 16 days, possibly more if staying at a value resort.

You do have a Disney Visa, and they have been offering discounts or discount packages to Disney Visa holders. I don't have one, so I haven't paid much attention.

I would do as others have suggested: Book based on your budget and where you want to stay, then be prepared to change if a better offer becomes available.

If you are a member of AAA, inquire about an AAA discount when you book your resort. They aren't always available, but if I can save 10% to 15%, I'll do it! :)

I visited WDW the first week of March this year and the weather was mostly gorgeous. Quite nippy one night, a bit nippy another, and the rest were shirt-sleeve weather. And I consider much below 70 to be cold! :)

cindy17
08-23-2007, 09:33 PM
You'll go out of your mind if you spend an entire day at Disney Quest! :scared1:

Amyshubby
08-24-2007, 11:22 AM
Thanks for all the detailed responses! This board is amazing (and addictive)!

As far as the AP goes, I can pretty much guarantee we will go back in 2009. We go on a week long vacation every year and were going to the Carribean, but are going to make the switch to Disney now that my youngest is 4. In fact, we live 10 mins away from a Southwest terminal, so we might even do a long weekend in early Thanksgiving!

As far as the room goes, I figure my kids would LOVE the theme of the Values (you’re a kid in Disney, what’s not to love?), but we figure the nicer resort has also has a value. If 8 days at the WL cost an extra $1000, its not worth it, but if it’s an extra $650…. :cool1:

Like I said, we are probably going to book a lower price room just to be sure we have a place, then see what discounts open up early next year.


I would pick May over anytime in April Our Spring break is during that time & Easter.
Kae

Is your Spring break actually during the week of April 6th?
The reason we picked this week is because it looked like almost all Schools would be in session. From what I've seen, most schools are off in March (or the first week of April), then again at the end of April. We usually go away in March, so I really didn't want to puch it off to May. The Disney website lists the week we are looking at as a “Wonderful Week of Disney” which tends to mean smaller crowds and bigger discounts on the rooms. If I'm wrong about this, please let me know. In fact, if I'm wrong about any of this, please let me know! :confused3

Thanks again!

thymed
08-24-2007, 11:38 AM
We have annual passes and we did go during spring break this year. We were cruising on the Magic so we wanted to hit the resort two days before the cruise. We did not get an AP discount on the room because it is their busy time Beginning of April. The parks were extremely crowded.

Mickiethepooh
08-24-2007, 11:45 AM
You cannot count on a AP rate at that time, you MAY be able to book a AAA package, which is a good rate, and has AAA extras and then IF a code comes out for AP or as currently the General public code, which is better in fact, Or a Disney Visa code or whatever you just call AAA and have them call Disney and apply it, as long as you qualify for it.

jcpuppy.com
08-24-2007, 11:47 AM
look at your dates for 2009 as well as 2008 and make sure they are within a year of each other, if so then the PAP make most sense for the family. You can park hop and use DQ and water as you want. For your first trip there with just 6 days I would not worry about DQ ..save that for 09

Your best bet is to avoid the crowds as much as possible..well worth pulling kids from school etc.. I was surprised how much crowds can affect the enjoyment and what you can get done.

I have not stayed at Values, but WL 1 bedroom is my suggestion...privacy for husband and wife...it is a vacation after all. Kids will enjoy the resort and the pool and you will enjoy avoiding the mob

spiceycat
08-24-2007, 11:48 AM
I think you picked a busy week.

1 not busy, 10 busiest - your week has a bunch of 8's in it.

when is your son's spring break? the first week of March is slightly better - has 5, 6, only one 8.

that say you can do it - just go early when the crowds get too much go back to your resort - relax, nap, swim, - then go back to the park and stay until closing. during busy times sometimes the MK is open until midnight - so EMH makes the closing 3 am. not expecting that late for your April time - but I would say 11pm so 2am closing.

spiceycat
08-24-2007, 12:02 PM
here is the florida school calendar
http://www.fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/pdf/calendar.pdf

there are several counties that have off that week that is only Florida.

also here is the colleges

http://www.tripsmarter.com/panamacity/springbreak/sbcalendar.htm

LilGMom
08-24-2007, 01:26 PM
We (spouse and 2 kids ages 4 and 7) want to go for our first Disney trip next year. We are going to take the kids out of school for the week.

1) We were going to go in March, but decided the better time would be April 5-13. This seems to be after all the March spring breaks are over. A few schools have off in April, but not until the end, so we are hoping for shorter lines and nice weather. Does this sound right?
I am in FL and my son's spring break is the week immediately before your vacation. So there are definately Spring Breaks still going on, the "Spring Break" season seems to run from March through end of April.


2) Our first thought was to stay at an All Star resort because the kids would love the theming (and they would). Of course the rooms are not the biggest. We are not considering a moderate, because most seemed too spread out and the rooms are not much nicer then at the Values. We semi-considered the Swan/Dolphin, but that would be more for us then for the kids as the beds are supposed to be really comfortable. Ultimately, our game plan now is to hold a Value, and then try to get a room at WL when the discounts become available (if the prices don’t drop to within 100/night of the Value we might just stay in the Value range).
If you get and book with and AP you can expect (going on the rates from the past) about a 40% discount. The problem is that not all resorts have rooms for AP rates at all times and the number of rooms at an AP rate are limited. POFQ is a really nice moderate and not too spread out. Plus it has a really great pool and you can take a nice boat ride to DTD, our kids have always enjoyed that. If you go during a "Spring Break" season you can expect the values to be more crowded and that will make the buses that much more crowded.

3) The biggest issue now is the way to book everything. We E-mailed dreams unlimited and they are in the process of getting us quotes. FROM WHAT I’VE READ, IT LOOKS LIKE THE BEST DISCOUNTS ARE GIVEN TO ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS??? We do have AAA, the Disney Visa card, the entertainment book, etc but it seems the best options are as follows [btw- we figure 1) we will hit the parks about 6 days, do a water park one day, then do DisneyQuest for a day, and 2) We are going back in 2009}-
I can't help much with discounts since we are FL residents and have always either gotten FL resident rates or gotten an AP rate but I believe AAA usually has a pretty good rate.

I’m not sure if the package deals will save us more money then waiting until the discounts come out (apparently about 2-3 months before we go). Adding the Magic Your way stuff makes things more confusing, especially when trying to figure in the new dining plan cost vs regular dining. Again, I’m going to lock up a Value resort so we know we have a place to stay, but I’m hoping for some big discounts if attendance is low.
If you are looking at adding the DDP you, and everyone in your party, has to buy the same package and that would mean paying rack rate for your rooms. My suggestion would be to sit down figure up about how much you'd spend for food, figure in either at least one AP or all MYW tickets, figure a 40% discount for rooms to get a ballpark figure for what it would cost that way. Then do the same thing but use rack room rates, MYW tickets only, and the DDP. See which one will make more sense dollars wise and go from there. With the DDP you need to think about if you want to be tied to so many dining ressies. We did the DDP for the first time this past May and our 6yr. old didn't like having to stop what we were doing in order to make sure that we were at a particular restaurant at a certain time. Prior to the May trip we made a few ADRs for places that are normally very busy/popular but we would eat at 'off' times (not peak dining time) for our non-ADR meals and at the resort restaurants which tend to be less packed (minus those with character meals) than the restaurants in the parks.

BTW- This is my first post! When I get a chance I’ll scan a picture of my son’s arm. He has a birthmark that I swear is shaped like a hidden Mickey!
I'll be subscring now so I can see that. ;)

Wanted to add that if you can go during Jan. or Feb. (minus the holidays in those months) I'd personally go at that time. We have gone numerous times in Feb. and have enjoyed the lower crowds and we went when it was "Value Season" as opposed to "Regular Season" which makes a huge difference on resort rates.

Amyshubby
08-24-2007, 08:28 PM
I think you picked a busy week.

1 not busy, 10 busiest - your week has a bunch of 8's in it.

when is your son's spring break? the first week of March is slightly better - has 5, 6, only one 8.

that say you can do it - just go early when the crowds get too much go back to your resort - relax, nap, swim, - then go back to the park and stay until closing. during busy times sometimes the MK is open until midnight - so EMH makes the closing 3 am. not expecting that late for your April time - but I would say 11pm so 2am closing.

Wow. I'm more confused now then when I started. Where are you getting the 1-10 numbers from? I never saw that before. If its really going to be that crowded, we might re-think what we are going to do. From your follow-up post (with the schools and colleges) it doesn't look that bad. How confusing. :confused3

My son's spring breaks are March 20-25 (Thurs through Tues) for Easter, then April 21-25. We don't mind pulling him out for a week, but are trying not to do the week before or after he is off (don't want him out for two weeks straight). We could have opted for early February, but my wife and I did Universal aobut 7 years ago in February and it was surprisingly cold (I know it varies, but that's her recollection and she wants to avoid it if possible). Also, since we are considering an annual pass, going late in 2008 gives us more flexibility in 2009 (since you have a year from purchase).

BTW- 2AM CLOSING!!! :rotfl2: I have a 7 and 4 year old. Even with naps, if they stayed up that late, within 2 days they would be the Animal Kingdom's newest show- "Come watch the mother of all meltdowns!" :rotfl:

kileybeth
08-25-2007, 01:30 AM
Welcome to the Disboards! Listen to these folks, they know their stuff!

I've not been around nearly as faithfully or as long but I do know I wouldn't touch a Disney park from March-April, no way. About the only busier time I can think of is Christmas and July 4th! Definitely take the kids out of school (summer is no fun either!) Sept is still hot, Oct. is gorgeous usually but still warmer but can get a bit crowded with F&W Festival, November early is nice and not so busy until you head into Thanksgiving. Our absolute favorite times to be in Disney are 1st and 2nd week of Dec. and again after first of year, beginning of Jan. We always swim, always wear shorts and have a jacket or long sleeve shirt sometimes for evenings. Feb. is my opinion is a total gamble weather/crowd wise! I hear May is nice but lots of locals think so too. . .bummping up the crowds again. no June. no July. no August. . . :sad2:

simply put, this is only one families perspective from a dozen or so trips over the years and relatives who live in Orlando:confused3

Listen to at least another 30-40 families on the Dis and you will find the niche that is perfect for your family! Enjoy your planning and come back often to let us know how it is going!!

Kathi OD
08-25-2007, 08:08 AM
You'll go out of your mind if you spend an entire day at Disney Quest! :scared1:

I was thinking the same thing. You won't need anywhere near a full day to do DisneyQuest. Maybe 3 or 4 hours at most, a fun place, but not a full day's worth.

Kathi OD
08-25-2007, 08:11 AM
I personally vote for the beginning of December. You get that Christmas feel without all the holiday crowds. :cheer2:

zaxmom
08-25-2007, 08:15 AM
That first full week of April is almost always Spring Break here in the Atlanta area.

momimouse27
08-25-2007, 08:35 AM
We have been to Disney many times, and had been at almost every time of the year except Jan,Feb,Mar,or April. Then in March my husband had a business trip to Miami and I needed a break and decided to meet him at Disney for a couple of days-I thought, how bad could it be anyway?
BIG mistake!! MK in the middle of the week was unmanageable, rowdy teens all over the pool area at Pop, busy restaurants...If April is anything near like March I would avoid it like the plague.

BTW, we have been several times in early May, and it is a little hotter than Spring or Winter, but the crowds are very manageable, especially the first and second weeks.

shellbelle
08-25-2007, 08:38 AM
The first week in March is great!:cool1:

Our spring break used to be the first week of March. Disney crowds are so low then. It is a really good time to go.:cloud9:

Now our spring break is mid March.:confused3

domestic goddess
08-25-2007, 10:05 AM
Several areas in Michigan also have Spring Break the first full week of April (4-13). We were there that same week this last year and it was crazy busy!! We had a great time but it was very crowded and we didn't get to do all that we wanted. This was also not our first trip so we had done everything before and were just trying to do our favorites. I would suggest early March or late April or May at that time of year. Our favorite time of year is the first part of December. We love the Christmas feeling and the lower crowds, even though it is more crowded now than it use to be (the secret got out).

Whenever you go be realistic and have a great time! There is nothing like the look on your childrens' faces the first time they walk down Main Street in the MK. I still get goosebumps when I remember!!

Amyshubby
08-25-2007, 08:36 PM
This just keeps getting more confusing. We could have gone the middle of March when my son is off from school, but were certain the crowds would be much lower April 5-12. After reading everyone's responses, I'm not sure why we are pulling him out instead of going during his break.

We are now considering the first full week of February (even though it will be colder). However, we keep going back to the Disney site and the Wonderful Weeks of Disney dates. Are those dates accurate at all? I don't understand why they designate the week we wanted to go as a low attendence week, but not the first week of February. How does Dsiney figure out the Wonderful Weeks? Have they historically been lower attendence?

Thanks again for your advice.