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View Full Version : 1st trip to Walt Disney World. I have many questions & would appreciate any thoughts


Mstarprincess
04-25-2010, 02:42 AM
Hello!!! My mom and I are planning a trip to Walt Disney World in September and this will be the first time for both of us. We have been to Disneyland every year since I was 5 so we thought it would be time to visit Walt Disney World. I have been doing a lot of research, and reading but there is just so much information and different options for everything, so where do I begin? We would like to travel on somewhat of a budget, we are thinking about STAYING at the value resorts or Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado springs, or Port Orleans riverside. Any thoughts or suggestions on any of these places??? What one or ones are closer to the Magic Kingdom, and the action? So TRANSPORTATION, do we rent a car, is parking free at the hotels and at the theme parks? OR do we use their transportation? DINING: Do you suggest the dining plan? If not where are some quick, good easy places to eat? Where are some places that have great sweets? ENTERTAINMENT: Out of all of the parks what are must see things??? I really appreciate this, and if anybody would like to give me any very appreciated suggestions, tips, thoughts, and ideas, I would greatly appreciate it!
Thank you!
:goodvibes

cnorth
04-25-2010, 05:53 AM
Hello!!! My mom and I are planning a trip to Walt Disney World in September and this will be the first time for both of us. We have been to Disneyland every year since I was 5 so we thought it would be time to visit Walt Disney World. I have been doing a lot of research, and reading but there is just so much information and different options for everything, so where do I begin? We would like to travel on somewhat of a budget, we are thinking about STAYING at the value resorts or Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado springs, or Port Orleans riverside. Any thoughts or suggestions on any of these places??? Haven't stayed at any of these, so I can't help you here. What one or ones are closer to the Magic Kingdom, and the action? Port Orleans is closest to the Magic Kingdom, of all of those resorts.So TRANSPORTATION, do we rent a car, is parking free at the hotels and at the theme parks? If you stay onsite, parking is free at the hotels and parks.OR do we use their transportation? I would. Then you wouldn't have to rent a car. We really like the buses, and the idea of not having to drive, park, remember where your parked, etc.
DINING: Do you suggest the dining plan? I think this is a really personal decision. There are a few factors to consider: 1)Would you save money? 2)Would you still get it for the convenience (prepayment) if you didn't end up saving money?
If not where are some quick, good easy places to eat? There are quickservice restaurants at most hotels, all of the parks, and DTD
Where are some places that have great sweets? Main Street Bakery, France, and Norway are some of my favoritesENTERTAINMENT: Out of all of the parks what are must see things??? Are you looking for rides or shows?Magic Kingdom- Space Mountain, Splash mountain, Thunder Mountain, Laugh Floor, Jungle Cruise
Epcot- Soarin, Test Track, Mission Space, Innoventions is really cool
DHS- Rockin Rollercoaster, Toy story mania(get there FIRST THING in the am), tower of terror
AK- Safari, Kali river rapids, Expedition Everest, Festival of a lion king, It's tough to be a bug
I really appreciate this, and if anybody would like to give me any very appreciated suggestions, tips, thoughts, and ideas, I would greatly appreciate it!

My best tip to give you- be there about 20 minutes before rope drop for all of the parks. You can get so much done, and go back to the hotel for a nap in the afternoon, if you want.Thank you!
:goodvibes

wolf29
04-25-2010, 10:04 AM
If you are on a budget then Pop Century (Value) is a great choice. Plenty of room for 2, centrally located to most everything. We've also stayed @ POFQ and liked it. We choose Pop to save $ for other things, as we really only use the resort for afternoon breaks & sleep. Check the threads here or go to mousesavers and watch for free dining offers. We always rent a car, but WDW Transportation is fine. We like to have the ability to go offsite (Seaworld, Universal, shopping etc). We use Priceline/Hotwire and are usually able to get a car for less than $20 a day, well worth it for us. Pick up one of the better guidebooks (Passporter, etc). They will give good descriptions of attractions that will help you decide what you want to do. Go to WDW's website & order a planning DVD (free). Have a plan for each day, take midday breaks (even without kids) and realize you're gonna have to come back because you won't have time for everything.

DisneyClown
04-25-2010, 11:32 AM
Haven't stayed at POP yet, going to this summer, but if you're budget concious, then the Value is going to be the cheapest. Also, using Disney's transportation is going to save you money over renting a car as well. As far as the Dining Plan- go to allearsnet.com and look at the menus and prices of the different restaurants you might want to visit, and then decide if you would save money getting either the Counter Service(Quick Service) Dining Plan or the Table Service Dining Plan, or whether it would be cheaper to pay Out-of-Pocket. Also, if you are going to do Table Service, you will want to make your Dining Reservations as soon as your 180 day window is open.
As far as attractions or shows-everyone has their favorites,(mine is Pirates of the Caribbean) but this site is a great place to start in reading about the different offerings. Just read about each park and check off the rides/shows that look interesting. You won't know until you try them personally.
One thing I have read on here alot is to plan on going to the park WITHOUT the Extra Magic Hours, as that park will be a little less crowded.
You have some time to utilize this site- most times doing a simple search of the threads with a few keywords will find the answer you're looking for on anything specific. Good luck and happy planning! The planning is almost as fun as the actual trip!:thumbsup2

beccasmom
04-25-2010, 01:58 PM
Hotels - Value is your best bet if you're on a budget. Pop Century seems to be a big favorite of lots of folks I know.

Transportation - If you stay on WDW property and are flying into Orlando, you can use Magical Express, which is a free service. Rental cars are great and convenient, but can be a pricey extra when trying to save money. WDW buses, monorails and watercraft are great and actually kind of fun and interesting to use when you are on your first WDW trip. And they are free. :)

Meals - Do your research here. We used the dining plan years ago, but it's changed a lot since then. Try to get an idea of how/where you want to eat and decide whether the dining plan will work in your budget. The moderate and value hotels have food courts. Decide which of the many restaurants you'll want to try (hard choices here!!;)) and plan accordingly. And WDW offers free dining during certain parts of the year --- a great benefit to look out for! :thumbsup2

Check out the Mousesavers website and sign up for their newsletter -- lots of great information plus discount codes for WDW & offsite hotels, meals, tickets, just about everything. This site is terrific and very helpful with regard to planning.

Also check out http://allears.net/index.html and sign up for Deb's newsletter -another wonderful source of WDW info! Read the many reviews here and check out the menus for all the eateries. Lots of photos too.

And the DIS boards are a fabulous source of information...post your questions here and you'll get lots of helpful answers!

Have a great time planning your trip....that's part of the fun! :yay:

Mstarprincess
04-26-2010, 01:52 AM
Thank you so much for responding. I think we will be using the transportation of the resort, and not renting a car. I have started to make lists, so here we go!
Thanks

Hootch
04-26-2010, 08:40 AM
resort is probably your best bet for savings some money. We usually stay at POFQ but we have different priorities. The value locations can be really large. You may want to consider in your budget whether you want a preferred room which is closer to the main buildings for food and transportation and will cost a bit more.

If you're going to focus on the MK, e.g. do two out of five days, then a rental car could be a waste for those two days. Driving to the MK entails parking, taking a tram to the Ticket & Transportation Center and then taking a boat or monorail to the park. It's faster to take the Disney buses almost every time.

The dining plan could be a value. It depends so much on how you plan to tour. We have young kids who are antsy to be in the park. So we are nearing the end of a period where we do more counter service meals than table service meals. The dining plans are definitely a good value for us right now.

One thing to consider is that your dining window is already open. You can book tables service (TS) restaurants 180 days out. Some places will be hard to get now but there will still be many good places available. WDW has an online system that is very useful when searching for available seats. The system will provide alternative locations around the time you requested if a table is not available for the restaurant you did request.

There are several good to very good counter service (CS) locations with Hollywood Studios having the weakest offerings. A lot of people eat only at or mainly at CS locations. Disney has recognized and offered their own QS dining plan as an alternative.

noahdove
04-26-2010, 06:57 PM
We love the Pop:) We only use Disney transportation now. Pop is the only stop on the schedule for the buses. I also LOVE the dining plan, and I pick my table service places right at the start just so when my time is available for me to make my ressies..I most usually get what I would like. I have done character dining with all of the kids I have taken and even if it were me and my friends, I would do the same...Plus, you pay for it in advance and I bring tip envelopes along with the tip already in them:)
Same for the mousekeepers...I leave an envelope a day and I leave a dollar per person per day:) My favorites must do: Safari ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle cruise, tea cups, both parades at MK, Wishes, Mickey's Philharmagic, Flights of Wonder, Beauty and the Beast, Turtle Talk with Crush, Little Mermaid, Muppets 3D, Nemo the Musical. I also make a few shirts for us to wear and the designers down these boards a ways, are great with their talent and they do it just for us and their love for Disney..no charge and wow!!! they are great..just to bring joy to others..

DenishaT
04-26-2010, 09:08 PM
If you're going late enough in September get tix to mickeys not so scary halloween party. The tix are roughly $55 a person but it's well worth it. The park is virtually empty, the parades and fireworks are amazing and it's so much fun to dress up.

JenSop
04-27-2010, 01:52 PM
Hello!!! My mom and I are planning a trip to Walt Disney World in September and this will be the first time for both of us. We have been to Disneyland every year since I was 5 so we thought it would be time to visit Walt Disney World. I have been doing a lot of research, and reading but there is just so much information and different options for everything, so where do I begin? We would like to travel on somewhat of a budget, we are thinking about STAYING at the value resorts or Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado springs, or Port Orleans riverside. Any thoughts or suggestions on any of these places??? What one or ones are closer to the Magic Kingdom, and the action? So TRANSPORTATION, do we rent a car, is parking free at the hotels and at the theme parks? OR do we use their transportation? DINING: Do you suggest the dining plan? If not where are some quick, good easy places to eat? Where are some places that have great sweets? ENTERTAINMENT: Out of all of the parks what are must see things??? I really appreciate this, and if anybody would like to give me any very appreciated suggestions, tips, thoughts, and ideas, I would greatly appreciate it!
Thank you!
:goodvibes

I can only imagine how much there is to do with a first trip! (I've been going since I was a kid, so I take so much of the "knowing" for granted.)

-As far as staying inexpensively, you can definitely do a value resort. Or you could always rent points from a DVC member and stay at a villa at a DVC (usually in the deluxe resorts.)

-We prefer Disney transportation. Even on last year's trip, when we drove, the car stayed in the parking lot the whole time. The last thing we want to do on vacation is drive around - it adds so much more time. Plus, when you stay at a Disney resort, Disney Magic Express takes you from the airport to your resort and back again. Why get a car? It's just another expense.

-As far as dining, we ALWAYS do the meal plan. For us, dining plays into our Disney experience. We like having that relaxing time at the really good table service restaurants. You can see if it will work for you by looking at the restaurant menus on allears.net. Then you can see which restaurants you'd want to eat at, what you would order, and how much it would cost. Then you can compare that number to the dining plan cost.

-Entertainment - also not sure if you mean rides or shows. We don't watch alot of the shows. I'm a professional singer, and I have a difficult time watching shows objectively - always analyzing each singer's technique, etc. So for us it's all about the rides! Make sure you figure out how to work fast pass for the busy rides.

Our TOP rides per park are:
**Magic Kingdom: Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
**Epcot: Soarin', Test Track. We also like to spend ALOT of time in World Showcase in each of the countries.
**Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Rockin' Rollercoaster, Star Tours (the last one is not the greatest of rides, but DH is a HUGE Star Wars fanatic.)
**Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Kilimanjaro Safari, and both walk-thru exploration trails.

There's just SO MUCH to do at WDW - you won't get to all of it. Pick your priorities and focus on them. I agree with the poster saying to arrive before rope drop, get in your top picks and then you can rest easy.

Our normal "Disney day" is to get to a park at rope drop, do our top rides, have lunch, then go back to our resort for relaxation and swimming. Then we get ready for dinner, eat, then head out to a park for the night.

We do build in "sleep in" mornings if we're doing a really late EMH that night before. For example, on our upcoming July trip, we're doing the Magic Kingdom EMH until 2am that night. We will not be going to rope drop at ANY park the next morning! :laughing:

Mstarprincess
04-27-2010, 06:51 PM
Thank you SO very much for all of the wonderful information, and tips! We greatly appreciate it!

ZoZo
04-27-2010, 07:08 PM
Welcome! A couple of things...

My best suggestion would be to buy a really good guidebook - I love the Unofficial Guide to WDW. It answers many of the basic questions for a first-timer (hotels, transportation, how to use fast pass, etc.). Once you know the basics, I'd recommend using this chat board to get answers to specific questions. Also, use this board to read through other people's posts - I love the Theme Parks forum, the Restaurants forum, and Tips forum the best. You can look for threads like "What's your favorite restaurant at Magic Kingdom?" or "What's are your top three 'don't miss" rides?", and see the answers of tons from other posters.

That said, here are a few specific answers to your questions.

I'd highly recommend Port Orleans Riverside - it's a nice, moderate priced resort, it has a great "dining hall" (great food), and nice rooms.

I never rent a car at WDW - I hate to hassle with getting a rental car, parking, driving (and trying to find my way around). I use Magical Express to get from the airport to the hotel, then use WDW transportation. They have a very extensive transportation system.

I have never used the dining plan - I don't do many table service restaurants, but eat mostly counter service ("fast food") type meals. If you do plan to do any table service restaurants, be sure to book your reservations way in advance. The most popular restaurants get booked up at least 90 days in advance.

Good luck with your planning, and have fun!

Sagginit
04-28-2010, 10:25 PM
i went last sept with my mum and it was our first disney trip together, you are going to have an amazing trip! take advantage of the fact that there are only two of you, less opinions, less things to do, more fun.

we stayed at POR in one of the mansion looking buildings, our room was girly and perfect for two women. we spent little time in the room so we could have stayed at a value resort, but we did request a closer building which put us right next to a bus stop and a quick walk to the main building. we enjoyed the scenic atmosphere of it and liked the convience of the food court for a quick breakfast.

we got a limo to and from the airport for a small price and then used disney transporation since we were not leaving the resort. as adults we had no problem standing on the crowded buses and since we did not have strollers kids etc we could squeeze on last minute so our wait was less than those with bigger families.

dining for us was part of the experience, we welcomed the break from the heat and as two adults enjoyed sampling all the food the "world" had to offer. we went during free dining and upgraded because we found we needed the three meals a day, it sounds like a lot but once you start planning you may find that two meals a day is not enough. we estimated we ate the amount of our entire vacation based on what the bills were so we definately saved witht the plan.

for sweets dont miss the dole whips in MK.

and use the forums, these people are amazing.