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View Full Version : HELP!! I don't know where to start!!


meldud
09-04-2009, 03:17 PM
Hi there,

My family and I are travelling to Disney from England in August 2010 for 14 nights. We have absolutely no idea where to start.

My son will be 10 and my daughter 9. We like our creature comforts. My husband and I like the look of the GF but are concerned about travel times to the other resorts. We also like the lok of the BC and would like some advice on how to decide.

We do not know if whether we should stay in a villa or a hotel or even what the difference is.

We are all very excited and are really looking forward to coming to Disney. Therefore we want to make this a trip of a lifetime.

We would like advice on what to do as well as what not to do.

Please help us decide!!
:confused:

kevin harrison
09-04-2009, 03:54 PM
If you want to save money, when you get to Orlando, get off the plane and throw your wallet on the tarmac and get back on the plane.

Seriously, read these boards and don't be afraid to ask questions, many of us have a lot of experience to share.

eeyorefanuk
09-04-2009, 04:09 PM
I am glad it is not just me :rotfl::rotfl:

We are still deciding where to fly from, how many days and where staying etc.

Everyone on here has been so kind to me though and I probably do ask some stupid questions, so you are in good hands !

karentan
09-04-2009, 04:20 PM
the beach club (BC) is within walking distance to epcot and hollywood studios (HS). this is also the same for the boardwalk and the yacht club
the grand floridian (GF) has boat launches and monorail access to magic kingdom (MK). you are also within monorail access - you have to change monorails - to epcot. this is also the same for the contemporary and the polynesian hotels. they're all on the same monorail loop.

if you want to get to Animal kingdom (AK) you need to get a bus from either resort.

i think you need to figure out which parks you'll probably spend more time in. if you're going to spend a lot of time at MK, pick the GF. if you're spending loads of time at epcot and HS, go for the BC.

BC also has what many people consider to be the best pool facilities on site. stormalong bay is like a mini water park, and is only open to people staying at BC and the yacht club.

allears has a great accomodation section, it might help you make the decision:
http://allears.net/acc/faq_hot.htm
the dis has a good section too:
http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/Resorts/resortmain1.htm

rpbert1
09-04-2009, 04:22 PM
We always stay in hotel, as our DD likes to have other children to associate with, whereas in a Villa she would be on her own with us.so you would need to decide wether a villa is for you and the kids or not.
I personally would go for 3 weeks as opposed to 2 weeks, as it would give you more time to have days to relax
As for the trip of a lifetime, i did this on our first trip and have been saying it every year since, so do not worry, you will be replanning again when you come home lol

zippy99
09-04-2009, 04:40 PM
We first went to WDW in Jan 07 and whilst I looked at these boards back then it was just too overwhelming to plan too much so we played it by ear.

This time, however (we fly tomorrow) we have planned a lot more in advance and are so excited.

To be honest, if you are there for 14 days I really would not get too hung up on transfer times from the resorts to the parks, we also like our creature comforts and whilst we would love to stay at the Poly, we figure the extra 2-3K it costs to stay there is better spent on dining etc.. On our first trip we stayed at PoP which is well known for massive bus queues due to its size but we really did not find this a problem - many of the bus drivers also entertain the guests and the journeys are fun - even if you are standing - after all 99% of the people we met on those buses were, like us, so happy to be there.

We have gone for POFQ this year - nice small resort (working our way up to the deluxe)

I love staying on site - it is simple enough to explore other parts of Orlando - but such a bonus to get the extra hours etc..

As people have said - check on here of reports and pictures and ask questions - it has really helped me this year.

wayneg
09-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Welcome to DISboards.
Its very difficult to advise as everyone likes different things, its all about finding whats right for you and your family, we have just had a great trip staying at Old Key West with free dining, although we enjoyed very much we missed being offsite and getting away from Disney, others prefer to do Disney 24/7.
Will you be driving? if not then for your 1st visit I would probably say onsite is the best option, leave offsite for another trip when driving.
We have had fantastic hols in 20/night hotels outside Disney also loved Animal Kingdom Lodge with a balcony overlooking the animals. There are rooms for every taste around Disney.
Ask as much as you want to know.

Pegasus928
09-04-2009, 11:39 PM
I would say that for everyone that answers you on this thread you will get a different response about what will make a great holiday. Only you know your own family and what they like to do, and where they might like to stay.
Speaking personally our family prefers villa living. We have done hotels (not in Florida but in Europe) and hated every second of it. Too cramped, too noisy, fighting for sunbeds at 6am - the list goes on). In the villa however we feel it is just like a home. All mod cons (which I am sure the hotels have as well), private pool right outside the door, plenty of space and peace and quiet. We always get a car and drive as we like the independence that goes with it. We go to Disney and Universal as there are things in both parks that appeal equally to all the family.
You'll probably find that you get more valuable responses if you ask specific questions. For example - Would you stay in AKL or Pop. People that have stayed in either (or both) will then come and give their advice, whilst others that haven't (like me) will stay out of it.
We go again in October and if you are interested in the sort of standard you get with villas that are available then there are a few pics in my Pre-trip report Here (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2249130][URL="http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2249130[/URL)

As has already been said feel free to come on and ask any question. Someone will always have an answer or opinion for you :thumbsup2

wayneg
09-05-2009, 04:17 AM
Speaking personally our family prefers villa living. We have done hotels (not in Florida but in Europe) and hated every second of it. Too cramped, too noisy, fighting for sunbeds at 6am - the list goes on). In the villa however we feel it is just like a home.

Many things that are for and against hotels but sunbeds have never been an issue, especially offsite. Disney resorts sometimes get busy around the pools but offsite we often have the pool to ourselves or just 1 or 2 families, even the smallest pool at Country Inn & suites LBV which only has about 25 sunbeds never seen more than about 8 used at any one time.
You can discuss for and against hotels all day though:goodvibes

EvertonCJ
09-05-2009, 09:42 AM
I would definitely recommend staying in a Disney hotel if you want a holiday of a lifetime. The Disney hotels tend to fall into 2 main categories. Some are like the traditional image of a hotel where the rooms are reasonably close together and you are within a very short walk of all the facilities. Other hotels are very spread out and wherever you are it never feels as if it is busy. The disadvantage of these type of hotels is that you may have a 5 to 10 minute walk to get to the food court / reception area. We personally prefer the second type of hotel. Normally there are at least 3 or 4 swimming pools at these hotels and you can always find a quiet pool somewhere whatever the time of day. If you stay at a Disney hotel next August you will also get the free dining plan which reduces spending money considerably. We saved at least 2000 dollars by using it this year.

meldud
09-05-2009, 10:33 AM
Thanks for all the advice everyone!! I am getting excited just thinking about it all!!!:yay:

I will probably have hundreds of questions to ask ...... so here goes with the first one!!

What are the sleeping arrangements in the BC and GF hotels?
I am still very torn between the two and the moment and am struggling to make a decision.

Having never been it WDW before I have no idea what each of the parks offers for children of 9 and 10. Can anyone enlighten me please? (My kids are not big rollercoaster riders yet!!) This will help me to decide on a resort at least!!

Thanks in anticipation!!
Mel

juliebro
09-05-2009, 10:48 AM
Welcome to the boards!

My advice would be to start with a good guide book.

'The Brit's Guide to Orlando and Walt Disney World' is updated every year and is a brilliant way to find out what Orlando has to offer. It's by Simon and Susan Venness who also pop up on these boards to answer questions sometimes.

Like others on here, we too thought that our first trip would be a 'once in a lifetime' holiday.

As you can see from my signature - it soon became an annual event! :)

originalkk
09-05-2009, 11:07 AM
Regarding the Beach Club we stayed there last August. We booked a standard view room, but were lucky enough to be upgraded to a water view with a great view over the lake to the Boardwalk. Most rooms have 2 queen beds and a daybed. However, these are prioritised for parties of 5 (we were only 4), so I requested this on our reservation. (Check out the Yacht & Beach thread under Resorts).

Stormalong bay pool (best of all the hotels) was great fun. We ate at Cape May Cafe on the dining plan (evening buffet and character breakfast), and got lunch from the salad bar if not at the parks. Good food at all.

It was great being able to walk or take the boats to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. We got a good price, including free dining, otherwise we would have stayed at Swan/Dolphin as we have before. They are nearby and almost as good for (normally) less money.

We stayed in a villa once, but you don't get the extra magic hours benefit you do staying on-site. This was a big issue for us, and we have always stayed on-site since. During busy (and hot) times like August, we found it best to get to the park early for the extra magic hour, do the popular rides as soon as possible, and leave for a rest or some shopping by early afternoon. From late morning you can stand for a long time in queues for rides (eg by 1:30 Splash Mountain was 110 minutes standby) - and in the August humidity that isn't fun.

wayneg
09-05-2009, 11:16 AM
During busy (and hot) times like August, we found it best to get to the park early for the extra magic hour, do the popular rides as soon as possible, and leave for a rest or some shopping by early afternoon. From late morning you can stand for a long time in queues for rides (eg by 1:30 Splash Mountain was 110 minutes standby) - and in the August humidity that isn't fun.

We found totally the opposite this August, tried extra magic morings which were crazy, went in at opening on non EMH mornings and it was OK for first couple of hours. We avoided EMH whenever possible.

Cinderella
09-05-2009, 01:09 PM
Hi - I haven't stayed in the GF before but I've eaten there many times and it's nice. But i have stayed in the Polynesian, next door and also the BC. The BC is nice and I liked the walk to Epcot and the pool.

But we preferred the location of the Poly because we could get the monorail to Epcot and the MK. When we were staying at the BC, if we wound up in Future World part of Epcot at closing, it was a long walk back to our rooms and they don't have a bus service from Epcot. But you'll have a really nice stay at either.

Have you checked out the disney uk website yet? They have OKW and Saratoga Springs villas at a huge discount for next year (think it's about 40%). You could get a two bedroom villa at either resort for much less than a room at the GF.

Both resorts are great and I would always choose a two bed villa over a room at a deluxe, for four people. If it was me, I'd probably choose a two bed at Saratoga because of the walk to Downtown Disney and also the Spa, which is better than the one at the GF IMHO.

scoobydooby
09-05-2009, 01:37 PM
Hi - given your 2 hotel preferences are the most expensive and one of the other most expensive Disney resorts I strongly advise that you review ALL of the deluxe accommodations to make sure you get the right one for you. The differences between them are the theming, the restaurant choices and the transportation methods to the parks. You should be mindful of these differences to help ypu make a choice.

The Yacht and Beach Clubs share the very best pool on Disney property. The pool will be important to you in August so if your children are fish, this may be a big pull.

Equally, the Grand Floridian is on the monorail loop so has excellent access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

I have a 10 year old son and his favourite parks are Magic Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios.

We have travelled in August. Remember it will be hot, it will rain and if you are unlucky (we were - got a tropical storm) it may rain A LOT. Taking breaks and drinking lots of water is really important. Getting yourselves walking fit is also essential. Last August we averaged 7.5 miles a day.

A villa will give you more 'at home' type facilities. The more bedrooms, the more tha facilites you get. Personally I'm not interested in them as I don;t want a kitchen as I do not want to cook at all on holiday!! Some have washer/dryers too. However, all the hotels have launderettes.

Finally, I advise reading the Unofficial Guide to WDW and jopining the associated website, TouringPlans.com

My final and most important bit of advise.... Getting to the oarks for rope drop is the single most important thing for avoiding lines and having a fabulous trip.

Enjoy your planning.:goodvibes

originalkk
09-05-2009, 01:54 PM
We found totally the opposite this August, tried extra magic morings which were crazy, went in at opening on non EMH mornings and it was OK for first couple of hours. We avoided EMH whenever possible.

We hopped from EMH at DHS to MK at about 12pm on the day after MK EMH (mid Aug). Got to Splash at about 1:30 and the posted wait time was just going up from 70 to 110 minutes (FP return was about 4pm). Queue was all around the outside queuing area. Of course it could have broken down earlier or it could have been the effect of no Space Mountain. Standby wait for BTMR was also about an hour at that time (fortunately we got a FP for BTMR with return in an hour and went on POTC with 20 min wait).

I guess all parks are OK for the first couple of hours after initial opening, but by lunchtime the waits are getting pretty long (and the heat a bit too much). We just feel that the extra hour gives you a sightly longer "window" in which the wait times are manageable.

Obi Wan Kenobi
09-05-2009, 02:18 PM
I would suggest you hunt around for some pictures of the two resports rooms.
The theming of all disney resorts in the public areas is fantastic, BUT the rooms themselves are quite basic, with bed, shower and TV

You will be tired due to jet lag, the amount of walking you will be doing etc and you might just want to relax in your room after a hard day, but they are quite basic.

I would reccommed a villa, this gives you the space and ameinities you want, plus your own pool.

If you are just looking to stay at disney and only go to Disney parks, or not have a car, then the Disney resorts may very well suit.

However, Florida is more than just disney, with so many other things to do.
A villa off site will give you that more flexibility plus access to more choices of restaraunts and cheaper prices and choice.

meldud
09-05-2009, 03:36 PM
So where can I can find out about travel facilities from park to park?
I know there are buses and monorails but I don't know where they travel to and from.

Is it worth hiring a car?


We have already decided that we will try to get tickets for Cirque du Soleil and we definitely would like to go to Seaworld while we are there (childhood dream!!), so at least we have made a start. Next job.... to find one of the unofficial guide books!!

Thanks,
Mel

meldud
09-05-2009, 03:39 PM
I am glad it is not just me :rotfl::rotfl:

We are still deciding where to fly from, how many days and where staying etc.

Everyone on here has been so kind to me though and I probably do ask some stupid questions, so you are in good hands !
I am glad I am not the only one!!

Feel kind of daft asking people questions that seem really simple. But it is great to get personal feedback and take advice from people who have been on site already!!

Mel

WiganTony
09-07-2009, 07:55 AM
Have you checked out the disney uk website yet? They have OKW and Saratoga Springs villas at a huge discount for next year (think it's about 40%). You could get a two bedroom villa at either resort for much less than a room at the GF.

We've booked 5 nights for August 2010 with free Quick Service Dining Plan - even though we have upgraded to the Disney Dining Plan, when you take the cost of the plan into account, our studio at OKW is effectively costing us 35/night for the room. However, note that you have to buy tickets and room as a package with Disney to get the free dining.

It may be worth pricing up a package with a couple of the tour operators (Virgin Hols, TCD, Thomas Cook, Cosmos etc) to get an idea of package prices, then when flights are released (usually 330 days before date of travel) have a look at flight costs plus cost of booking accommodation separately.

Just had a quick check on the Disney website, and for 14 nights accommodation per room (no flights!!):

GF - approx 3,600 including free Disney Dining Plan
Wilderness Lodge - 2,200 including free Disney Dining Plan
Port Orleans/OKW - 1,400 including free Quick Service Dining Plan