View Full Version : Need advice on a few choices, pls help!
06-11-2004, 09:19 PM
Hello there! Have a couple questions I hope you all can help me with. I am planning our family's first trip (me, DH, two boys ages 4,8) (and my very first trip!) (we are in Ohio) to WDW.
First, we can't go in 2004 so I was planning on us going during spring break (early April) 2005. However I've had quite a few people recommend going in late Jan-Feb instead for less crowds, better warm-weather appreciation. any opinions on this appreciated!
Second, the resort issue, and the main reason for my posting here... We have one-time access to a floating timeshare week (2 bedr) through Interval Intl that has to be used by end of April 2004. I've never done anything via timeshare before. In looking at there website, they have listed about 50 places. 5 of these I believe to be on-site resorts:
Disney Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney's Beach Club Villas
Disney's BoardWalk Villas
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Polynesian Isles Resort
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
(if they arent, pls tell me!) so, since price is not an issue, I would love feedback, info, opinions on the pros and cons of these and which is a favorite... things like convenience to parks, transportation system, quality of room sizes and conditions, other amenities, etc... Interval has about 45 other resorts listed but I think they are off-site. I am assuming that if price is not an issue that I should take advantage of the onsite locations but if I should reconsider, please tell me!
Thirdly, as we not be purchasing lodging the old fashion way, I don't think I can take advantage of the package deals for park passes, etc. I've been reading about APs, park hoppers, and other stuff I don't fully understand. if anybody has any tips or can direct me as to how to most economically get this stuff (is Ebay a good option?) or direct me to that information, I would greatly appreciate it!
thanks so much for any help! this is the biggest vacation I've ever planned for us, and I want to make the most out of every aspect!
06-11-2004, 10:58 PM
Hey!:wave: Welcome to the Dis!!
I will try to help you where I can, and maybe someone else will come along!
First, let me suggest that you avoid Spring Break at all costs, especially the weeks surrounding Easter! That is the second most crowded time at the World, and not for first-timers!:earseek: We've been to WDW 8 times, and went right before Easter this year and it was a madhouse!!:eek: Jan-Feb would be far lighter, crowd-wise, although much cooler - you might even need a jacket! But the trade-off is, you can usually walk right on the rides, vs. hour-long waits in the busy season.
Second, avoid purchasing tickets on E-bay, quite often these are used tickets, and not a good idea. There are some legitimate ticket-brokers, but you can also purchase tickets from your AAA agent or direct from Disney, with a discount for purchasing in advance.
I've never heard of Interval, and can't really comment on that aspect - but, one of our favorite resorts is the Polynesian, and that is a very good choice for first-timers. It's a lovely, laid-back resort with a great island ambiance, right on the monorail for great access to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
I would suggest that you check out the planning pages on this website, and also mousesavers.com and allearsnet.com for great info on ticket media, resorts, and money-saving ideas. Research, research, research- that's the key to a great WDW vacation!
06-11-2004, 11:05 PM
First of all, welcome to the DIS.
Some of your questions may be better answered at the DVC Board, but I'l help out with what I do know.
First of all, avoid spring break like the plague! I'd definitely go in late January (avoid MLK weekend). February starts to get pretty busy around President's Day, but January is a wonderful time at the parks. The weather can do anything on you in January; I've been so cold I couldn't swim and so hot I didn't need a jacket, so be prepared for both extremes. The pools and water parks are heated, so you can swim even when it's cool outside.
As for your second question, the resorts you listed, with the exception of the Polynesian Isle resort, are on Disney property. They are extremely difficult to trade into, even though you already have the points awarded to you. The problem you will face is 1, even though January is off season for the DVC, owners like to vacation during off season to maximize their point value. So it may be hard to get into any resort you have listed. Secondly, if you try to go during Spring Break, busy season will offer similar problems for room availability. Just be flexible with your dates and your resort choice, or you may not get in at all. As for preference amongst the listed properties, I'd list them in the following order:
1.) Beach Club Villas - They have a tremendous pool, excellent proximity to Epcot and MGM. Good night life at the Boardwalk (a nice thing to have during value season when the parks close earlier) and access to more restaurants than most other resorts. The downside to the BCV is that the pool, while great, is overcrowded. This shouldn't be a problem in January; however, if you are there for Spring Break, look out!
2.) Boardwalk Villas - There are only two things that make this resort second to the Beach Club Villas: 1.) The hotel is huge, and your room can be quite a hike from the lobby; 2.) The BCV pools are much better. Other than that, this resort is fantastic.
3.) Wilderness Lodge Villas - This resort is beautiful. It has great recreation options. The boating here is much better than the BWV or BCV. The access to the MK (via 20 minute boat ride) is the best for your listed resort options. WLV is very close to Fort Wilderness, which is Disney's campground. FW has a variety of daily and nightly activities from a petting zoo, trail rides, bike rentals, canoe rentals, hay rides, nightly sing-a-long campfire and nightly outdoor movies (free). WLV's biggest problems are the lack of convenient restaurants (the resort has two sit-down and one counter service) and somewhat spotty transportation to all Disney destination with the exception of the Magic Kingdom.
4.) Old Key West - OKW has the biggest rooms of all of the Home Away From Home resorts. Also, you can park right outside your room. There is only 1 restaurant, and no real themed pool. While it has convenient transportation to Downtown Disney (via boat), everywhere also on Disney property requires a long bus ride. The resort is pretty big, so you have several stops internally before heading out to your destination. It seems to take a long time to get anywhere. This is a real problem when it comes to meals and returning to your resort for a mid-day break.
5.) Saratoga Springs Resort - I have not yet stayed at this resort, though I did stay at the previous incarnation, the Disney Institute. My DW loved the DI. It was very close to Downtown Disney Shopping and Dining (a short walk). It also boasted a great Spa. Saratoga Springs now has a new themed pool, new rooms and buildings, and the same great access to DTD. It also has the same problems as OKW--the transportation to the theme parks takes a long time. Most people would probably rate this resort above OKW, but the size of OKW's rooms and the ability to park outside your room outweigh the proximity to DTD and "newness" of the resort for me.
As for passes, you can still purchase the Unlimited Magic Pass at guest relations when you check into your resort. I'd go for that. It will give you access to all 4 theme parks, the two water parks, Pleasure Island, Disney Quest and Disney's Wide World of Sports. If you plan on speding more than ten days at Disney, or if you plan on returning within a year, a better value would be a premium annual pass. If you aren't big on the water parks, Pleasure Island or Disney Quest, you may consider a standard annual pass. With only 7 days addmission to the parks, it pays for itself, and there are several discounts on dining and recreation that come with the pass.
I hope this helps.
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