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View Full Version : New...trying to plan first Disney vacation....hoping to go next month.


bcbmommy
02-05-2009, 05:07 PM
My husband and I are wanting to take our 3 children to Disney next month...if that is possible. We've never been, though, and it seems so overwhelming. Our children are 12, 9 and 5. I was wanting to call Small World Vacations, but can't seem to locate a number for them. Before I do that, I'd like to have an idea of which resort to stay at. From what I've read, it seems that the Grand Floridian and Contemporary have fairly large standard rooms, so that definitely appeals to me. Can anyone advise me on which resort would better suit our family, with the ages of our children? Also, I'm confused about the cost of the dining plan. I've heard that this can be a very convenient way to go, but I haven't seen any prices for it yet.

Btw, we were thinking March may be a crowded time to go due to spring break, so we're thinking of going the first week. Is this a crowded time as well? Or more expensive?

Thanks for any and all help.

Heather

michelleiada
02-05-2009, 05:33 PM
Hi Heather,

You and your family are in for a magical treat! How exciting a first trip to WDW is! Every trip is exciting for me! Anyway...all of the WDW Deluxe accomodations will sleep a family of five comfortably, and all are beautiful. I guess it all depends on which park you want to be closest to. The Poly and GF are both on the monorail which is a huge plus with small children. The Yacht and Beach Club as well as the Boardwalk Inn are both a short walk to EPCOT and a 10 minute walk, or a boat ride to HS. You can also walk through EPCOT and get on the monorail to MK. If you go to the offical WDW website, you can look at pictures of the resorts and rooms. I personally, love the Beach Club. The pool (Stormalong Bay) is fabulous for both small children, and adults. This area has many places to dine also.

The Disney Dining Plan offers several choices. The basic Dining Plan is $39.99per person, per nights stayed. The children less than age 9 are substantially less, I'm just not sure of the price. The basic dining plan includes one counter service meal with drink and dessert, one sit down/table service meal with drink and dessert , and one snack, per day. It no longer includes appetizers or gratuities at the table service meal. It can be a good value, depending on how you and your family like to eat when you are on vacation. Almost all restaurants at WDW are included, both parks and resorts. There is also a "counter service only" dining plan which is less money, and a Deluxe Dining Plan which includes 3 sit down meals per day. I think this is way too much food! I enjoy a good meal on my vacation, but I'm not going to WDW just to eat. Just my opinion. All of this info is on the "official" WDW web site and on WDWinfo.com.

Here are a few recommendations;

Make a reservation for your family to do the "Hoop Dee Doo Musical Reveu" a dinner show at Fort Wilderness. The food is all you can eat chicken, ribs, beans, corn on the cob, salad, and drinks, including beer and wine. Strawberry Shortcake is served for dessert. You have to prepay when you reserve. We have done several times, both when my children were very young, and recently as young teens. We love it everytime. It is a really fun time!

Also, book a character meal, either breakfast or dinner. Our favorites are either Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy), or Crystal Palace at MK (Pooh and friends).

I would also recommend trying to do Wishes at MK, and Fantasmic, at Hollywood Studios. Both are a must, IMHO! Try to do the parades at all parks. They are really fun!

I hope you find this info helpful! Have a great time! pixiedust:

Metro West
02-05-2009, 06:59 PM
http://bestsmileys.com/welcome/17.gif

bcbmommy
02-07-2009, 11:16 AM
Thank you Michelle, for your very helpful response. I think we will do the dinner show at Ft. Wilderness. Looks like a lot of fun! One question, though...do we pay for that on top of the dinner plan, or can that be part of it?

Also...about going in March.... Is this the most expensive time to go? Should we wait a month or so?

saratogadreamin09
02-07-2009, 12:14 PM
I think the Contempoary would be a great choic for your family. There's a lot to do there and MK is a walk, boatride, or monorail ride away!!!!!!!

Congrats on planning the trip!!!!!!!

ckdsnynt
02-07-2009, 01:16 PM
The Contemporary is terrific if you stay in the tower! I took my DH there for a birthday trip several years ago (surprised him when we got on that ME bus instead of the POR ME bus that he expected. I thought he was going to cry and he's 55 years old!) We had always wanted to stay there since our first trip to the World in 1976 (?). It was truly magical going to sleep every night watching the castle at MK changing colors and watching Wishes from our balcony. Our room was just one flight above the monorail stop and very close to where it stops (Room 4248) but we never heard any of the noise. It was perfect! We got great photos of the monorail coming in and leaving the building. We loved walking to MK also. :cheer2:
Wherever you choose, it will be awesome and you and your family will have a great time. Hey - it's Disney!pixiedust:

michelleiada
02-07-2009, 10:50 PM
Thank you Michelle, for your very helpful response. I think we will do the dinner show at Ft. Wilderness. Looks like a lot of fun! One question, though...do we pay for that on top of the dinner plan, or can that be part of it?

Also...about going in March.... Is this the most expensive time to go? Should we wait a month or so?

If you do the dining plan, you can use two table service credits for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, however, it is not for preferred seating. I believe you have to sit in the balcony area. The better seating would be up front on the floor becase the actors often pick these people to participate on stage. It is very funny and the kids (and the adults) really enjoy it! If you would prefer the better seating, you could just pay out of pocket and use your dining credits some place else.

As far as going in March, I have never been in March but I believe it would be a good time to go. The most crowded times would be during any school vacations, summer vacations, and Christmas/New Years. These are also peak/most expensive. I believe March is considered a regular season, not peak, but not a value season for Disney. You would typically see moderate crowds, but managable. Do you know about the promotion Disney is running for this time frame? Buy 4 nights and get 3 free. This is a fabulous deal. You will save a lot of money by booking with this promotion.

If I may make another suggestioin to you, plan, plan, plan! Buy yourself a good Disney guide, like the official Birnbaum's Guide to WDW. You can buy this book at Amazon for much cheaper than in a book store. I believe around $12. Read about all there is to see and do. Your first trip can be a bit overwhelming because there is so much. Don't be disappointed if you don't see it all the first time.

Hope this information was helpful.:)

Aliceacc
02-08-2009, 05:23 AM
Hi and welcome! WE're also a family of 5, and last August was our first trip together (though my husband and I had been there before kids.)

In the list of possible choices, you'll want to look at:

Port Orleans Riverside. Probably your cheapest option. It's a Moderate, with some rooms that have a trundle bed.

All Star Music has some Family Suites-- 2 singles rooms converted into a suite. The plus here is the kitchenette and the 2 bathrooms.

Many of the Deluxes accomodate 5. We chose the Polynesian and LOVED it. It's on the monorail, like the Contemporary, the rooms are large, and it's a tropical paradise! The volcano pool is wonderful!!

We loved the meal plan. At $40 per night for everyone 10 and over, and $10 for kids ages 3-9, we most definitely got out money's worth. We had a character meal at Chef Mickey's, ate next to a huge aquarium at The Coral Reef, and had the most wonderful steaks at Le Cellier!!! We also enjoyed a hilarious dinner with Cinderella and the stepsisters at 1900 Park Fare! One suggestion: since you're within the 90 day bracket for making reservations: try getting the reservations you want FIRST, then decide whether or not you want the meal plan. (You don't need room reservations to make dining reservations.) If it turns out that you can't get the ones you want, it may be cheaper to pay for meals out of pocket. The 90 day window is new this year, so I have no idea how fast the best places book up.

I second the recommendation for the Unofficial Guide!

DWFan4Life
02-08-2009, 06:43 PM
Welcome to DISboards. Lots of informations are coming here, you will enjoy reading reviews, experiences and at the same time, great tips for your own trip.:thumbsup2

Have a fun planning your trip. :)

cyndylou
02-09-2009, 10:54 AM
We used Dreams Unlimited Travel for our trip next week, and I was very pleased with their service. Allison is our agent, and she was booked hotel and meal reservations for us. I think I came across this agency on the WDW website.

bcbmommy
02-09-2009, 12:51 PM
Been looking on this site and wdw site constantly, and it seems the more I read, the more confused I get. lol. However, this morning I was messing around with different dates and resorts, and I came up with this. Let me know what you all think. Decent deal?

March 18-25
2 adults, 3 children
Beach Club
Standard view
Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining
7 day magic your way base ticket
round-trip flight for 5

Total: 5,085.64

This seems like a decent deal to me. Do I need to add a hopper pass to our tickets, though? What about the insurance? I think it's like an extra $133.

Btw, thank you all for posting and helping me out with this. I really appreciate all the help! :)

princess&her4princes
02-09-2009, 01:06 PM
Been looking on this site and wdw site constantly, and it seems the more I read, the more confused I get. lol. However, this morning I was messing around with different dates and resorts, and I came up with this. Let me know what you all think. Decent deal?

March 18-25
2 adults, 3 children
Beach Club
Standard view
Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining
7 day magic your way base ticket
round-trip flight for 5

Total: 5,085.64

This seems like a decent deal to me. Do I need to add a hopper pass to our tickets, though? What about the insurance? I think it's like an extra $133.

Btw, thank you all for posting and helping me out with this. I really appreciate all the help! :)


Hi! Seems like a pretty good deal to me! Did you have any luck with the buy 4get 3 free deal? For all 5 of you to go with air & dining, seems pretty good. There are cheaper places to stay, like previously posted but for that high end of a place, seems like a great deal. Not sure if you want/ need hoppers or not? With little ones, it's too much to hop, we made that mistake once, but your kids are older and it gives you flexibility to do one park during the day and have dinner at another at night and see the fireworks. It just depends on how you want to tour. Insurance, with little ones, we always get it, in my mind, it's the way to insure we're going!!!:laughing: Because with kids, they are sure to get sick the day before your trip!! As you well know with kids! My recommendation, buy the Passporters book for your plans, it's a great way to plan your trip and gives lots of great tips for the parks/dining, etal!! Have fun!!!!!:cool1:

princess&her4princes
02-09-2009, 01:08 PM
ps-- we usually book through Disney direct however, my next trip, I booked with AAA and saved a couple hundred dollars and also booked my air seperately and found a better deal than Disney or AAA could give me! Check them out!!:goodvibes

lsutigerprincess
02-09-2009, 09:53 PM
Since it is your first time I would probably look at staying at a value. I will be honest, I have stayed at the All Star Sports and also at Port Orleans. We are staying at the Contemporary Christmas of 2009 and my Fiance just booked a week long trip just the two of us at Pop Century the last week in May, 2009. But with three kids, all you are pretty much going to do in the room is sleep. I would recommend one of the All Star resorts, either the suite or connecting rooms so that you can separate if necessary (The only concern is that you may or may not get a connecting room which leaves you and hubby separated with some of the children--for some reason they don't guarantee connecting rooms when you make the reservation and won't do anything until you check in--it's really weird). Anyway, this gives you the initial experience, which for a first timer is ALWAYS overwhelming. You also can tour the other properties if you wish and there is always DVC booths on every corner in which to check out the new up and coming properties. Bottom line is that you won't be in your room much so don't pay the extra money unless you just want to be up in the middle of things. Also, all the pools on Disney Property are heated and when we were there Thanksgiving and it was 40 degrees, there were crazy people up in that thing just a swimming.

The Hoop Dee Do Review is great, but I will tell you sitting on the balcony is some of the best seats in the house. You are above everything and can see everything. We just did the Luau and the food was really good, but I didn't think it warranted 2 table service credits on the dining plan. The palace is amazing and the dinner was great. There are mixed reviews out there, but I had the prime rib and for dessert, the Pumpkin Creme Brulee and it was absolutely to die for. . . .

Character Breakfast--definitely Ohana's with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Pluto. Breakfast is family style and wonderful.

THE ONE PIECE OF ADVISE IS DO NOT OVER PLAN YOUR TIME. DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO RUSH TO DO EVERYTHING. BY THE THIRD OR FOURTH DAY YOU WILL CRASH AND BURN.

Hope yall have a great time. You will be back!!!

bcbmommy
02-16-2009, 10:51 AM
I think I'm going to book our vacation today......I think! lol. I'm nervous! Just a quick question about the day we arrive. Looks like we won't get to the Orlando airport until 2:00 p.m. Does it take a long time to get to the resort? Thanks! Oh...also...how much are the fast passes?

MarkinNM
02-16-2009, 10:57 AM
:welcome:

to the DIS!!!!

I guess your plans depends on your budget for the trip, log on WDW and this way you can have an idea of the costs, then ask a TA and see who is cheaper, I agree also in booking your own flights as it is cheaper then using Disney and this way YOU can choose when you leave.....


Most of all HAVE FUN!!! :)