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View Full Version : Where to start for our USA trip?


Nicsjtp
07-12-2010, 06:01 AM
DH, myself, our kids (2 boys aged 8 and 6 and one girl aged amost 3 at time of travel) as well as my mum are starting to plan a trip to the States in May 2011. We have locked in our Disney cruise (on the new cruise ship the Dream departing May 13th)... )

So we want to go to Las Vegas, Orlando (WDW), Cruise to Bahamas, New York, San Fran and home! Not sure which order to do it in but I think what I have above is the most logical... however we havent fully decided on Las Vegas - but I think it will be a good way to break up the long plane ride (Sydney to LA then to have to get to ORlando :scared:

So has anyone got any advice for any of the cities above? I only just discovered this part of dis and can see some of you travelled with 3 kids so may have some great advice!

Re WDW - yes there is a lot to plan/organise here. But firstly - considering we are a party of 6 (even though the 3 year old doesnt get counted in the room occupancy) we are thinking the best option is POR 2 rooms cheapest and roomiest option... BUT I have stumbled on a post briefly explaining DVC and wondering whether I should look into this for us? If so how do you know if someone is reuptable or not?

Ok well hope some of you can give me some advice.. its all so overwhelming... but such an expensive trip that I want to make sure I am armed and ready wherever we go!

Toy Story
07-12-2010, 06:50 AM
So we want to go to Las Vegas, Orlando (WDW), Cruise to Bahamas, New York, San Fran and home! Not sure which order to do it in but I think what I have above is the most logical... however we havent fully decided on Las Vegas - but I think it will be a good way to break up the long plane ride (Sydney to LA then to have to get to ORlando :scared:

So has anyone got any advice for any of the cities above? I only just discovered this part of dis and can see some of you travelled with 3 kids so may have some great advice!


Hi enjoy your planning. I cannot help you with the west coast side of things, but will let you know that we did 10 days in NY then 10 days in Orlando - the last 7 at WDW (6 days in the park) and we were exhausted at the end of the WDW component. I was glad we were getting on the plane to sleep the whole way home.

Our family of 4 stayed at the POR and while the resort was lovely - it was 'tight', with 5 suitcases. It was the smallest accommodation we had on our whole trip. There is family suites at one of the value resorts and on one of the recent podcasts there was an announcement of the new value resort having family rooms - not sure when the resort is expected to be finished though.

Kalice
07-12-2010, 07:15 AM
Sounds like DVC will be the go, will give you some room to spread out. We travelled with 7 (3 adults and 4 kids (one two year old). For San Francisco, highly recommend Suites at fishermans wharf. Definately not fancy, but clean and awesome location, a couple of blocks from Fishermans Wharf. There is a cable car stop at the door, but this is often full. The 'f' line is close though. We didn't really use the kitchen but it was handy for breakfast, coffee etc.

In New York we stayed at Eastgate tower, once again not fancy. It was a couple of blocks from Grand Central station.

In WDW we stayed at the Beach club, we stayed in the rooms, but the DVC was located in a wing to one side. Our kids loved Stormalong bay and did not bother with the water parks.

In Vegas we stayed at the Mirage, like Vegas, but seen it now, will probably not bother going back. We're not really gamblers and don't drink much now we've got kids. We were looking at the Signature, and would probably stay there if we did get a free trip or something!

I found trip advisor a fab tool for finding hotels. Enjoy the planning. I loved it and really miss it.

Ms. Shuttergirl
07-12-2010, 08:00 AM
How exciting for you. Use Trip Advisor as much as possible. Read tons of reviews before making any decisions.

With regard to New York, a few aussies have recommended Radio City Apartments. They are right near Times Square and have larger rooms, I think it would be worth looking into. Nothing too fancy but the price is good and so are the reviews.

At San Fran we stayed at the Grand Hyatt which is right in the shopping district which was a fabulous location.

Vegas we stayed at The Venetian, very plus. I agree with Kalice though, doing Vegas with kids lacks a little something something. It certainly wasn't like that movie "the hangover" :rotfl2:. Glad I saw it but don't need to go again.

At WDW I'd check out the value resorts and look into pricing for 2 connecting rooms as another option although DVC sounds like it could be the go.

There are lots of threads in the Aussie section about New York and San Fran, etc.

My advice is read read read

cola
07-12-2010, 08:28 AM
I'd also suggest maybe don't worry about Vegas. The thing with Vegas is a lot of walking and even though there are some things the kids might be interested in (lions in MGM etc) really there's not much for kids that young.

Don't worry about the flight - going to Vegas could mean you have an even longer flight to Orlando if the flight is 2 flights. It's much easier to get a direct flight from LA or San Fran to Orlando than Vegas.

DizOz
07-12-2010, 05:17 PM
The best recommendation would be to fly into SF and stay a few days to get your feet on the ground. The last thing your children will want to do after a 15 hour flight is wait around an airport waiting for the next flight and then sitting on another plane.

We also fly into the west coast and park for a few days. On the first day we keep on the go before heading to our rooms late afternoon for a shower and an early dinner. We are in bed early and have a good nights sleep and wake up the next morning ready to go again. Works like a charm and we are into the time zone from day one.

:thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Nicsjtp
07-12-2010, 05:43 PM
hmmm so most of you are suggesting we ditch the Las Vegas part??? I have been to Las Vegas before but DH hasnt which is why I was thinking we should just do it.... but in all honesty the kids would much prefer a few extra days in Orlando!

So you dont think flying to Orlando will be too much??? Should we aim to do Syd to San Fran then San Fran to Orlando ???? But then again we will still have a mammoth flight on our way back home (New York to Syd) or do we have a couple of nights stopover in LA?? So confused as to how to do it all!

The more I research WDW and Orlando - the more I just want to go there (although I cant give up going to New York - I have ALWAYS wanted to go :) )

queenie82
07-12-2010, 06:43 PM
I always recommend starting on the east coast. UNLESS you want a stopover in LA and SFO...so one in each direction.
If you get off at SFO and stay there you essentially lose a complete day as you will be exhausted with or without the extra 5 hour flight.
You typically get into SFO early in the morning so then can get the connection to the east cost, get there at night, and go straight to bed. You MUCH more easily get into the change in time zone then.

Ms. Shuttergirl
07-12-2010, 06:48 PM
I always recommend starting on the east coast. UNLESS you want a stopover in LA and SFO...so one in each direction.
If you get off at SFO and stay there you essentially lose a complete day as you will be exhausted with or without the extra 5 hour flight.
You typically get into SFO early in the morning so then can get the connection to the east cost, get there at night, and go straight to bed. You MUCH more easily get into the change in time zone then.

You make a great point here Queenie. There probably really isn't much difference to adding another 5 hours on, everyone will still be exhausted. I'm doing it this way by sheer luck but I like your explanation LOL :rotfl:

Travel Mum
07-12-2010, 08:38 PM
You make a great point here Queenie. There probably really isn't much difference to adding another 5 hours on, everyone will still be exhausted. I'm doing it this way by sheer luck but I like your explanation LOL :rotfl:

Yes, we plan to fly from Wellington, via Auckland, to L.A and then straight onto Orlando as that will get us into Orlando at about 7 pm local time. We can then all crash into bed and sleep. I know we will be exhausted but I'd rather be in Orlando getting over the jetlag than on the West Coast. Plus I won't plan to do any parks the next day as I want us to be able to sleep in as long as we want but will hopefully explore the resort and visit Downtown Disney to start soaking up the atmosphere. I suspect it will then be a relatively early night so that we can be up and ready to hit our first park for rope drop the next morning. :banana:

I know the outbound travel to get all the way to Orlando in one go will be pretty hideous but, with a limited time we can be away, any stops on the way cuts down our time in Orlando and I don't want to do that. I think the adrenalin from the excitement of beginning our trip will keep us going on the way over but I do worry about the way home and, if I was to stop in L.A. for a night in either direction, it would be then. However, again it would cut a day off Orlando :confused3

aussietravellers
07-12-2010, 08:45 PM
I would keep everything together. Eg, fly Sydney to NY, then Orlando (or Orlando or NY, depending on where your cruise leaves from) and then your cruise, then over to San Fran and Vegas on your way home. I don't think there is any reason to not go to Vegas, if that is where you want to go, it's your holiday. But I wouldn't do Vegas at the start, then San Fran at the end, I'd get each side done together. The flying isn't really that bad. I unfortunately do not sleep on the plane at all, so doing 24 hours of travelling is exhausting, but I prefer to just get there (like travelling to Europe, we have never stopped in say Singapore to just break up the long journey, we just like to get there as you will be tired regardless, flying is tiring wether you do a 12 hour flight or a 12 hour and a 5 hour).

You often arrive in NY from Aust in late afternoon, early evening. So you would get off the long flights, have dinner and have an early night. It's the easiest way to go. If you arrived in LA for example, then flew on to Vegas, you are only cutting off a few extra hours of travel (like maybe 3 hours), even thought the flight to NY is longer, you may have to hang around the airport longer to connect etc. So you will still be tired when you get to Vegas and you shouldn't sleep until the night time anyway even if you are so tired, it's best to stay up until it's nighttime. So either way you will be tired.

Oh and I almost forgot :welcome: to the boards! The Aussie board is great. The other specific boards are good too, but the Aussie board is good because we usually need to talk about other places than just DL or WDW as travelling so far we usually go somewhere else. Enjoy your planning, it's half the fun:goodvibes

Jade+3
07-12-2010, 08:50 PM
My kids are younger than yours(4, 3 and a baby). We stopped in LA both directions. On the forward journey, we arrived in LA Friday morning then got the red eye to Orlando on Saturday night. We arrived around 6am on Sunday morning. Silly me booked the flight without checking that we could arrive at our condo early. Of course we couldn't, so had to hang around to 4pm. That day was pure hell!

On the way home we had 10 nights in Anaheim so flying time was not an issue.

If it was me, I would do Sydney - San Francisco (direct Qantas flight), stay a few nights, then head to the east coast. I would then go home via Vegas. When my eldest were 1 & 2, we flew home from San Francisco via LA. Our bags were checked through so in LA it was only a matter of changing terminals.

aussietravellers
07-12-2010, 08:56 PM
Re WDW - yes there is a lot to plan/organise here. But firstly - considering we are a party of 6 (even though the 3 year old doesnt get counted in the room occupancy) we are thinking the best option is POR 2 rooms cheapest and roomiest option... BUT I have stumbled on a post briefly explaining DVC and wondering whether I should look into this for us? If so how do you know if someone is reuptable or not?


You don't have to be part of DVC to rent the villas that they have a WDW (you can rent points or you can just book one through Disney like booking a Mod). One that I would love to try is the Treehouse villas which are part of Saratoga Springs resort. When WDW has a special, like 40% off you can get that for the Villas and it makes them a really good deal. They have 2 bedroom Villas that would be large enough for 6 of you. But 2 rooms at a Mod may also be ok but you may find if you can get a 40% off deal on a Villa it may work out cheaper than getting two mods (which sometimes have a 30% discount) or they may have a stay 4 get 3 free deal. The advantage of having a villa is that you have the kitchen, so you can order groceries (or go to a supermarket) and do some cooking in the room.

I recommend finding a good US travel agent and they will help you find the best deal to suit your family, they don't charge commission, their pricing is the same as booking direct with Disney. My one piece of advise is do not book your Disney accommodation through an Australian travel agent. They are very very expensive :thumbsup2

Kalice
07-12-2010, 11:30 PM
Forgot to mention, one of the All stars has a family suite, which would give you a bit more space. We didn't stay at a value resort, but they did look 'kid friendly', so in essence adult friendly. I always say happy kids, happy mum; happy mum, happy everyone!

shan08
07-13-2010, 02:43 AM
Hi Everyone

Totally random question, not sure where to ask it! Im just about to pay my deposit for my WDW stay! Got a really good price (i think so) with Dreams Unlimited.:yay: How do they issue the relevant tickets/documents? Anyone ever had any hassles?

Thanks

PrincessInOz
07-13-2010, 04:15 AM
:welcome: to the DisBoard! And have fun planning! We're all mad planners here so you'll fit right in.

I'm really biased and much prefer flying into San Francisco cf Los Angeles. BUT one thing to consider is that there seems to be more flights to Orlando from LAX than out of SFO. Before you decide which port to fly into, I would recommend that you check out the flights from either LAX or SFO into MCO, the times and if they are direct or not. With small children, it may be worth looking for a direct flight; rather than one with (multi) stops.

I also fall into the camp of ditching Las Vegas with the young kids. If you don't want to extend time in Orlando, then use the time in either LA or SF depending on where you fly into and where you fly out of.

If connections from SFO to MCO were good, I would fly into San Fran, stay a few days, then head to Orlando. Flights out of New York are generally good and plentiful to either Los Angeles or San Francisco. If you fly into SF, then stay a couple of extra days in Los Angeles before flying home.

Have fun!

PrincessInOz
07-13-2010, 04:23 AM
Hi Everyone

Totally random question, not sure where to ask it! Im just about to pay my deposit for my WDW stay! Got a really good price (i think so) with Dreams Unlimited.:yay: How do they issue the relevant tickets/documents? Anyone ever had any hassles?

Thanks

Hi shan08. Congratulations on being so close to paying your deposit! I didn't use DU (I went with SmallWorld Vacations) but I expect that they work the same as everyone else.

Assuming that you booked a package and not just room only, you should expect to get confirmation documentation from the company. The time of receiving the documents will depend on what DU policy is. By way of comparison, SWV send out the documents about 4 weeks before arrival date at WDW.

Your documents will confirm the package plus any extras that Disney offer including ME and bag tags. I would advise that you check it all to make sure it matches your plans. I expect that your TA at DU (and mine did at SWV) did all the checks before sending it out to me; but it never hurts to look at it before you go.

Take all the documents with you. When you get to Disney, it is usually enough just to provide your surname; but I'm always overly cautious with taking paperwork. Disney will issue you with a Key To the World per person, which will be your room key with your food package allowance on it plus your park entry card. They will also *kindly* put a credit allowance on the KTTW; so you can spend some more, and then have to pay with your bill!! If you have kids, Disney make it a non-charge card; but they will also get the KTTW for the room, food and park ticket.

For EMH, everyone will need to show the KTTW to get entry into the park and also to get on the rides.

aussietravellers
07-13-2010, 04:39 AM
Hi Everyone

Totally random question, not sure where to ask it! Im just about to pay my deposit for my WDW stay! Got a really good price (i think so) with Dreams Unlimited.:yay: How do they issue the relevant tickets/documents? Anyone ever had any hassles?

Thanks

We have used Magical Journeys travel and they are sending all of our travel documents to us at our hotel in New York. I didn't want to risk cutting it fine and them not arriving as Disney can send them from a month to two weeks before arrival, so two weeks to the TA then to get here can be cutting it fine. So I have said if it's possible to send them to us at our NY hotel and she was fine with that, she also said that she often does that for overseas clients if they are going to another address in the US before Disney.

So I would ask DU what they usually do, they may send them to you at home. They will tell you what they usually do.

DizOz
07-13-2010, 04:34 PM
Hi Everyone

Totally random question, not sure where to ask it! Im just about to pay my deposit for my WDW stay! Got a really good price (i think so) with Dreams Unlimited.:yay: How do they issue the relevant tickets/documents? Anyone ever had any hassles?

Thanks

Shan08,

We paid the full payments on our DL, WDW and DCL reservations a few weeks back so when I saw your question I rang DU and asked.

For DL and WDW all documents go to the resort and you just turn up with your photo ID and check in. You will then be given all your tickets, dining etc which in WDW will be on your room keycard or "Keys to the World".

On the DU site you can print off your booking details and itinerary etc.

For DCL documents are sent 10-14 days prior to the cruise so if you are already on your trip like we will be you need to make special arrangements to be sent early or to the resort.

:rolleyes1 :rolleyes1 :rolleyes1

shan08
07-14-2010, 08:05 AM
Thanks for the replies. I actually emailed DU, and yes they send all documents straight to the resort! I forgot to ask about the ME bag tags though! Im sure it will all get sorted!:yay: