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View Full Version : Early stages of planning...so many things to think about!!!


HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 12:30 AM
I am SOOOO excited! At the same time I'm kinda lost.

I have been to DW and DL twice each. DW in like...1989 when I was 10 and again in 1994 when I was 15. Of course my parents planned both of those with a TA since we didn't have the great Internet resource. :rotfl2:

Both trips to DL were one day trips so not alot of planning involved.

Fast foward....I am a single mom of three awesome kids. DS 13, DS 8 and DD 5. We have never been on a family vacation. So this is taking ALOT of sacrifice and savings. I know it will be worth it!

I am thinking we'll probably be at a value or if price works out moderate (POR) resort. I am really confused as to whether we need the DDP or not. I see the prices of meals look really expensive...but then how hungry are the kids really gonna be? I could imagine paying all the extra for MYW plus dining just for them to say "im not that hungry" or just want a quick snack.

Any advice from experienced DisneyWorld peeps would be appreciated!

Help!

~Heather~

deakam
08-25-2011, 01:02 AM
With you and 3 kids staying at a Value I would go with the Counter Service plan. That way you are not locked into a specific dining time and you can eat when you are hungry. And if you are lucky you will hit the free dining.

We always go with a dining plan because I like the fact that it is already paid for when you get there. Less cash to have to carry around. And if you book it early enough you can make payments on it and then it doesn't feel like so much of a sacrifice. I think you can pay as little as $20.00 at a time.

If you book it now with dining--there is no charge to change things up should the free dining pop up or a better rate comes along. You can change things or cancel altogether up to 45 days before arrival without a penalty.

fan1080
08-25-2011, 05:48 AM
The dining plan is a lot of food. If you and your kids are big eaters, it'll be a good deal.

For us, family of 5, mom, dad and 3 daughters, we never get the dining plan because we are all mostly light eaters. Myself (dad) I'm a light to moderate eater, so I'll get a meal to myself, but my wife and daughters will split a meal between 2. So we always save money by paying out of pocket.

However, as was already posted, the meal plan does offer the advantage of knowing your food is payed for. That's nice for some, not such a big deal to me.

As for the inconvenience of having to take money, that isn't necessary if you are staying at a Disney resort, you can charge it all to your room and pay it at the end of your vacation, or anytime prior to departure. Values used to have a lower charge limit than the moderate and Deluxe. If that's still the case, and you are staying at a value resort, you may have to pay towards your charges as you reach your limit.

Have fun planning.

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 11:38 AM
I don't think that with the heat and being on the go all day that any of my kids will be wanting big meals. And yeah I guess if we decided to do one sit down meal it wouldn't be so bad. I don't plan to schedule the trip strictly so doing quick service is probably our best bet. I just want to go whereever they want. Long lines never bothered me since every trip I've made friends in line and had a lot of fun. I want my kids to lead the way. (I will steer them to certain rides at rope drop though so they do get a chance to ride those specific ones.

Now to decide on the resort. Have any thoughts on Port Orleans?

fan1080
08-25-2011, 11:55 AM
POR is our family's favorite resort. It's beautiful, and provides some separation from the immersive Disney experience of some of the other resorts.

Don't get me wrong, we also enjoyed being fully immersed in Disney themeing. We've stayed at Pop and All Star Movies. But it's nice to get away from it all once in a while too.

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 12:03 PM
POR definately looks like a beautiful resort. I'm also looking at family suites since I have 2 boys and a girl. Then the boys could have their own area. Is it worth the money or or we better off in a regular room? I can afford a bit more if we skip the "plus dining" and just accept the free quick service plan included in our dates. I think I'm more excited than the kids are! Lol! I am Disney 24/7 ....its going to be a looooong year but a fun wait!

fan1080
08-25-2011, 06:11 PM
The only suites I know the layout of, are the family suites at the value resort.

And, unless they've changed them, the only privacy would be in the bedroom that has a door. I think the rest of the sleeping area is pull-outs and fold-outs. Therefore, for the boys to get privacy, mom will have to sleep on a pull-out or fold-out. :)

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 06:26 PM
The only suites I know the layout of, are the family suites at the value resort.

And, unless they've changed them, the only privacy would be in the bedroom that has a door. I think the rest of the sleeping area is pull-outs and fold-outs. Therefore, for the boys to get privacy, mom will have to sleep on a pull-out or fold-out. :)

Well the new Art of Animation says this of their family suites:

Spacious family suites are designed to comfortably accommodate up to 6 Guests and include:
•2 separate bathrooms
•A master bedroom
•3 separate sleeping areas within the living space, which includes an Inovabed—a generously sized dining or work table that easily transforms into a comfortable bed.

That sounds interesting.

And here is a link I found with pictures and concept art: http://******************/disney-world-travel-tips-in-national/room-pics-and-concept-art-for-disney-s-art-of-animation-resort-picture#slide=36768401

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 06:53 PM
Here is another question....

If I skip using a travel agent and book through the Disney website myself...how do I make the payments? I've never booked a trip like this before so I have no idea. Do I have to use a credit card each time or is there something I'm missing?

deakam
08-25-2011, 08:15 PM
Booking through the Disney Website is really easy and payments can be made on-line with a credit or debit card or you can mail checks to them.

I am staying at the POFQ in 28 days. My first stay at this resort and at a moderate. I have a friend that swears it is the only place to stay at Disney. I however do not have young children. We have also stayed at the POP and my current favorite is the Wilderness Lodge. The POP is the smallest of the Values and the newest but all of them have been updated recently. We like the POP because it does not share buses with any other resorts. However, with the Art of animation opening up across the lake I can not say that this will remain true.

I have been looking at photos of the Art of animation and I am seriously thinking about booking a suite for my next trip--even though there is only 4 of us.

Just so you know---when you have the Quick Service dining plan you do not have to order a meal for each person everytime. Last May I went with just my daughter and we had the CS plan so we were not tied down with ADR.We split the bounty platter for breakfast every morning and we split entrees at the Sunshine Seasons and the CS Yak and Yeti,s. We simply paid oop for an extra drink. The portions are large at most CS places and can easily be split that way even though you are only getting 2 meals per person per day-you could easily get three small ones by splitting them up.

At the end of the trip if you have any left most resort CS places allow you to turn your left over meals into snacks for the trip home. With the average burger meal at Disney costing 8-10 bucks and an average drink costing 3 bucks--I think the Counter Service dining plan is good deal. I have never been one to haul food and drinks--even snacks---allover the parks. I don't like the baggage. My sister on the other hand takes an umbrella stroller even without kids just to haul her stuff.

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 08:21 PM
Booking through the Disney Website is really easy and payments can be made on-line with a credit or debit card or you can mail checks to them.

Debit card like a bank card? Hmmm I am with credit union and they seem to be excluded out of all this kind of stuff.

This is why I thought about going with a TA. Because then I just go to the agency (i drive by it every day) and I can pay however.

Do I still get the luggage tags and the packet in the mail if I go through a TA?

Also that is very good to know about the QS meals. My daughter is only going to be 6 when we go on the trip and she never really eats big meals. So it is good to know she can share with me.

Thanks for your reply! :)

RadioMom
08-25-2011, 11:01 PM
Hi Heather
Enjoy the planning! That's half the fun!
We've stayed at POR twice, it is a wonderful, beautiful, serene resort. The boat ride to Downtown Disney is so relaxing!
This time, we are staying at POP, with the counter service dining plan (free dining!) because it meant the difference between staying for 7 days or 10 days.
We've always gone during free dining because a) it's FREE and b) the parks are a bit quieter then (which is why they offer the free dining). lol
This is the first time we've done the counter service plan and I'm looking forward to it because the kids are a little older and aren't as interested in dining with the characters (a definite plus if this is your first trip and want great pictures and interactions with the characters). We can kind of fly by the seat of our pants this way too, which is nice.
I've ALWAYS used a TA (Fairytale Dreams and Destinations). I like knowing that every detail is taken care of, by someone who knows what Disney is all about. And they're TICO protected which is also important. I'm not spending my time on the phone or online making reservations or trying to arrange this or that. That's their area of expertise. Plus they keep me appraised of any deals coming up (like free dining!)
That being said, there is NOTHING wrong with doing it yourself if you are so inclined. I'm just nervous I will miss something!
As for payments, because I've always gone through this company, it was a $200 deposit, with the balance being due 45 days before your trip date. It's easy to budget that way too.
For a first trip, you will love POR. From the old time charm, the pools, the boat ride, the landscaping, it's a beautiful resort. The pictures never do it justice.
We've also been to Caribbean Beach which is also a gorgeous resort. It was just a little too large for our tastes (we were in the very back buildings and took a long time to get anywhere). The size was the only thing that we weren't thrilled about (my husband has a handicap so walking can be difficult), everything else was A1!
As for dining, it can be a lot of food. Before you make your decision, check out the menus and see what works best for your family. If you book during free dining then you really don't need to worry! There's nothing more luxurious than sitting down in a restaurant on your vacation and not worrying a whit about how much anything costs. Now THAT'S what I call relaxing! lol
I'm happy to answer any other questions, just send me a message!

iluvtheworld
08-25-2011, 11:13 PM
When you book yourself you pay a deposit and then can make payments with a credit card whenever you would like. It has to be paid in full 45 days prior to your check-in date. We have stayed at POP Century Resort twice and have loved it both times. They have 2 double beds and only 1 bathroom, so it will work if you guys don't mind sharing beds. We have used the deluxe dining plan both times because we like to have character meals (and some signature meals) while the kids are still young. Dining with the characters leaves us more time to wait in line for rides instead of waiting in line for photos!

You are going to have such a GREAT time! We LOVE WDW! If you have any questions just ask here...everyone is great! I am in Manitoba too, so if you want me to get you anything before your trip like park maps or anything, I can pick some up when I am there in January and get them to you.

Happy Planning! :flower3:

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 11:22 PM
You are going to have such a GREAT time! We LOVE WDW! If you have any questions just ask here...everyone is great! I am in Manitoba too, so if you want me to get you anything before your trip like park maps or anything, I can pick some up when I am there in January and get them to you.

Happy Planning! :flower3:

Awww that would be so awesome!! :)

Anything you wanna grab would be so cool for the kids to look at. It's always nicer in hand than on the internet. So anything you can grab us park maps and the like would be appreciated! :) I'm only a 40 minute drive to Winnipeg. How about you?

HeatherLassell
08-25-2011, 11:27 PM
As for dining, it can be a lot of food. Before you make your decision, check out the menus and see what works best for your family. If you book during free dining then you really don't need to worry! There's nothing more luxurious than sitting down in a restaurant on your vacation and not worrying a whit about how much anything costs. Now THAT'S what I call relaxing! lol
I'm happy to answer any other questions, just send me a message!

Hi! :) Thanks! I am having fun planning so far and SOOOO happy to have found this website! My kids think i'm addicted because I don't do anything but Disney trip planning. lol

I do think that if free dining is included I wil go for it. lol Guess we have to wait and see if it is on during our trip.

Right now I'm looking at Sept 30-Oct 10th Only roadblock is my company says "no vacations from sept 30-jan" because it's our *busy* season. I called employee relations and they say as long as my regional director gives the OK then I am allowed to take it. Ofcourse I can't get a hold of the RD. Grr. I e-mailed Monday and again yesterday. Guess we'll see what happens. I've been at this job for 10+ years so I would hope some appreciation for all my hard work (and the fast that I've only ever taken 2 vacations in all that time) but go into the decision and allow me to take it!

lol So I'm just pretty much on hold with my planning till I get the YAY or NAY on my dates!

fan1080
08-26-2011, 06:32 AM
Well the new Art of Animation says this of their family suites:

Spacious family suites are designed to comfortably accommodate up to 6 Guests and include:
•2 separate bathrooms
•A master bedroom
•3 separate sleeping areas within the living space, which includes an Inovabed—a generously sized dining or work table that easily transforms into a comfortable bed.

That sounds interesting.

And here is a link I found with pictures and concept art: http://******************/disney-world-travel-tips-in-national/room-pics-and-concept-art-for-disney-s-art-of-animation-resort-picture#slide=36768401

Yeah the new AoA suites look nice. I knew they were finally working on the POP "expansion", it was in limbo for quite a number of years. Nice to see it will be ready for your trip if you choose to go there.

I've always wanted to book one of the family suites at ASMu, but they are a little pricey and POR is such a good deal. POR is a little tight for a family of 5, but we managed.

Have fun planning. I love researching trips.

tgropp
08-26-2011, 11:12 AM
Did you ever think of renting points. There are plenty of good people out there renting points for $11/point. You could get a room at OKW which is a lot larger than POR and then you can buy the meal plan for a few days just to try it.

HeatherLassell
08-26-2011, 10:10 PM
Did you ever think of renting points. There are plenty of good people out there renting points for $11/point. You could get a room at OKW which is a lot larger than POR and then you can buy the meal plan for a few days just to try it.

I haven't.....because I don't know what you're talking about. (other than it has something to do with DVC)

fan1080
08-27-2011, 10:47 AM
I haven't.....because I don't know what you're talking about. (other than it has something to do with DVC)

Check the DVC renting board here on the DIS.

DVC members are permitted to rent out there time share to others. What you essentially do is sign an agreement with the DVC member at an agreed price per point, and you can use the DVC resort for the dates you've rented. The points needed are based on a number of factors, there are tables you can ref to find out how many points you need.

It can be a great way to visit a deluxe resort for a good price. I've often wanted to do it, but if I'm remembering correct, it works out to be a better deal if you have a larger family, or two families sharing the larger suites.
Can't say for sure, but I think smaller families, 5 or less, don't get as good a deal when you calculate the per person cost, or compare it to what it would cost to just go to a value or moderate resort.

I could be off on those numbers, my memory is terrible lately. Check out the DVC board and you'll find all the info you need. It can be confusing, so be sure to ask all the questions you have over there.

HeatherLassell
08-27-2011, 04:19 PM
Check the DVC renting board here on the DIS.

DVC members are permitted to rent out there time share to others. What you essentially do is sign an agreement with the DVC member at an agreed price per point, and you can use the DVC resort for the dates you've rented. The points needed are based on a number of factors, there are tables you can ref to find out how many points you need.


That just sounds way too complicated. :confused3 It's just me and the three kids. So I'm sure we'll just book the regular way. :rotfl2:

iluvtheworld
08-28-2011, 12:16 PM
I'm only a 40 minute drive to Winnipeg. How about you?

We are in Winnipeg. :)

HeatherLassell
08-28-2011, 01:47 PM
We are in Winnipeg. :)

That's awesome. I go to Winnipeg like every other weekend! :). I'm in Portage!

tgropp
08-28-2011, 07:44 PM
I haven't.....because I don't know what you're talking about. (other than it has something to do with DVC)

Takes a bit of due diligence but you would be able to get a larger room at a deluxe resort for approx $125-$150/night, taxes included. I understand that it may sound overwhelming but beware. I rented points in 2005 and it ended up costing me over $20,000 because I ended up purchasing DVC. It is saving me lots of money on past and future WDW vacations. Wherever you go, have a great time. Nothing beats a family WDW vacation!

HeatherLassell
08-28-2011, 08:44 PM
Takes a bit of due diligence but you would be able to get a larger room at a deluxe resort for approx $125-$150/night, taxes included. I understand that it may sound overwhelming but beware. I rented points in 2005 and it ended up costing me over $20,000 because I ended up purchasing DVC. It is saving me lots of money on past and future WDW vacations. Wherever you go, have a great time. Nothing beats a family WDW vacation!

lol Well no worries about that happening with me becuase I don't have $20'000. Single mom of 3 here. I'll just stick with the value resort. :) But thanks for your post!

HeatherLassell
08-29-2011, 03:45 PM
YAY! My dates for next years vacation were approved with work!!! :)

So we're going September 30-October 10th!

I think I've decided on POP CENTURY for the resort!

:cheer2:

I'm so excited!!!!!!

iluvtheworld
08-29-2011, 06:10 PM
That is so exciting! We LOVE pop century and are sure you will too! :)

HeatherLassell
08-29-2011, 11:25 PM
That is so exciting! We LOVE pop century and are sure you will too! :)

:cheer2: <----that is totally my favorite smilie! lol

Thanks! It looks like a fun resort especially with the ages of my kids! :dance3:

bonjoe07
08-31-2011, 01:37 AM
I am in Winnipeg! Have you considered the Free Dining option that Disney is offering! We are going next year as well and with the free dining promo going on right now we are saving just over $1500
good luck on your trip planning

bonjoe07
08-31-2011, 01:40 AM
Some other things that we do to save some money for WDW trip are travel to Minneapolis and fly out of there. In Minneapolis we rent a hotel that has park and fly

Dan1
08-31-2011, 10:54 AM
Just so you know---when you have the Quick Service dining plan you do not have to order a meal for each person everytime. Last May I went with just my daughter and we had the CS plan so we were not tied down with ADR.We split the bounty platter for breakfast every morning and we split entrees at the Sunshine Seasons and the CS Yak and Yeti,s. We simply paid oop for an extra drink. The portions are large at most CS places and can easily be split that way even though you are only getting 2 meals per person per day-you could easily get three small ones by splitting them up.

At the end of the trip if you have any left most resort CS places allow you to turn your left over meals into snacks for the trip home. With the average burger meal at Disney costing 8-10 bucks and an average drink costing 3 bucks--I think the Counter Service dining plan is good deal.

Deakam,
This is an excellent idea; it never would have occurred to me.

DD and I are going next spring and I have been waffling (yes, notice the pun when talking about food :lmao:) back and forth, back and forth on the CS DP. Usually we would have a light breakfast in our room yet with her being on the small side and as you said the meal portions being quite large (at least for us), I can easily see splitting a breakfast and a lunch and then each have our own dinner.

Lastly, having breakfast at our home resort, with the refillable mugs would also negate any need to pay for the extra beverage.

More to think about.....thank you for that great idea! :worship:
Dan

HeatherLassell
08-31-2011, 03:25 PM
I am in Winnipeg! Have you considered the Free Dining option that Disney is offering! We are going next year as well and with the free dining promo going on right now we are saving just over $1500
good luck on your trip planning

The free dining promo (as far as I can tell) as of right now isn't available next October. There is a Quick Service but it ends right before we arrive. So as of right now I'm just gonna book for Sept30-Oct10 and if a free dining plan comes up then by all means I'll take it! lol

And yeah we've already looked at Minneapolis. Doesn't look like anyone flies direct out of Winnipeg (except like in November/December with WestJet) and the flights are like double the price of driving down to Minneapolis and paying for a night in hotel! That just seems crazy to me. WHY are the taxes on flights so high in Canada? Grr!

HeatherLassell
09-01-2011, 12:55 PM
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

We just officially booked and paid the deposit!!!

395 days till our trip! :) :) :) :)

:cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:

fan1080
09-01-2011, 01:04 PM
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

We just officially booked and paid the deposit!!!

395 days till our trip! :) :) :) :)

:cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:

:banana::banana::banana:

Congrats!

HeatherLassell
09-01-2011, 03:02 PM
:banana::banana::banana:

Congrats!

Thanks!!!!!!!! It's so exciting!!

iluvtheworld
09-01-2011, 03:23 PM
So exciting! :dance3::cheer2:

Have you told the kids?

HeatherLassell
09-01-2011, 06:49 PM
So exciting! :dance3::cheer2:

Have you told the kids?

Yes! They laughed at me cause I made them all stand around the computer as I clicked "BOOK NOW" and once I got my confirmation I started cheering and chair dancing. I think they think I am crazy! :banana:

I would have loved to keep it a *secret* because the surprise videos make me tear up but I am NOT good at secrets! So they know about the trip. We watch YouTube videos of Disney and look at the Disney website. I am prepping my little girl by explaining the rides and we've watched a few ride videos. Hopeing she won't be too scared.

My parents are going down the same time as us so they will come with us a few days to MK. :)

RadioMom
09-01-2011, 10:58 PM
Congratulations!!! We've gone at that time of year and the Magic Kingdom is so beautiful all decorated for fall. If you can swing it, try to go to the Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowe'en Party. It's a separate ticket and it's at the MK, but it is sooo worth it!
We're staying at the Pop for the first time too in August. If you want me to pick you up anything (maps, etc) just let me know. I'm happy to send them your way.:thumbsup2


YAY! My dates for next years vacation were approved with work!!! :)

So we're going September 30-October 10th!

I think I've decided on POP CENTURY for the resort!

:cheer2:

I'm so excited!!!!!!

HeatherLassell
09-02-2011, 01:49 PM
Congratulations!!! We've gone at that time of year and the Magic Kingdom is so beautiful all decorated for fall. If you can swing it, try to go to the Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowe'en Party. It's a separate ticket and it's at the MK, but it is sooo worth it!
We're staying at the Pop for the first time too in August. If you want me to pick you up anything (maps, etc) just let me know. I'm happy to send them your way.:thumbsup2

Thanks!! I am still trying to figure out if we are going to do the MNSSHP. Is it really worth it? My oldest will be almost 15 and I am not sure if he'd like this or not. Is it just trick or treating or can he go on rides too? I really don't know much about it.

RadioMom
09-03-2011, 09:03 AM
Thanks!! I am still trying to figure out if we are going to do the MNSSHP. Is it really worth it? My oldest will be almost 15 and I am not sure if he'd like this or not. Is it just trick or treating or can he go on rides too? I really don't know much about it.

It is more than trick or treating (and we were eating candy for weeks let me tell you). They have special fireworks shows, a special parade lead by the headless horsemen, all the characters are out (including ones you don't see often like the 7 dwarfs, Alice and all of the Wonderland gang), the cast members are dressed up for Hallowe'en too. AND even better, the park is closed to everyone but MNSSHP ticket holders, so there is hardly a wait at all to get on the rides. And everyone can dress up if they like, or not, it's up to you.
We really did find it was worth the extra expense. It was our last night at Disney and a great way to cap off an amazing trip.
However, if you don't do it, you won't miss a thing because you'll be having fun doing other stuff!

HeatherLassell
09-05-2011, 02:35 PM
It is more than trick or treating (and we were eating candy for weeks let me tell you). They have special fireworks shows, a special parade lead by the headless horsemen, all the characters are out (including ones you don't see often like the 7 dwarfs, Alice and all of the Wonderland gang), the cast members are dressed up for Hallowe'en too. AND even better, the park is closed to everyone but MNSSHP ticket holders, so there is hardly a wait at all to get on the rides. And everyone can dress up if they like, or not, it's up to you.
We really did find it was worth the extra expense. It was our last night at Disney and a great way to cap off an amazing trip.
However, if you don't do it, you won't miss a thing because you'll be having fun doing other stuff!

It does sound like a good time! And it is a seperate ticket it doesn't count as a day on your park tickets right?