MIL gave us a trip...what do I do with it?
Just when I was thinking we'd never get to Disney as a family, my MIL sent a check for Christmas and told us we had to do something Disney with it! We've decided to take a trip to WDW :banana:
I have lurked these boards for years when I get the urge to fantasize, so I'll thank you all in advance for the tips!
We are a family of 4 with a 14yr old DD and 13yr old DS.
**What I'm looking for is a tool that will help me to schedule/plan our itinerary for our 4 day trip.**
I intend for us to stay at Wilderness Lodge the last week of July and imagine we will be parkhopping like crazy. I can only pull off 3-4 nights with our budget and can schedule our travel to maximize "play" time.
We will probably do a dining plan as well and I am beginning to get overwhelmed at the idea of trying to make reservations, hit must see spots, find time to rest, and get to the parks we'll enjoy most!.
Are there any tools available to help me create a schedule?
That's so awesome that you are able to get a Disney vacation as a "gift"!
I definitely like to use Touringplans.com (it does require a fee) to see what parks are recommended what day, crowd levels and touring plans for each park. I make a spreadsheet in excel with my options.
Since you seem to want to do a lot in a short period of time and there are budget constraints (like most of us!) have you considered staying at a Moderate hotel instead of a Deluxe and increasing your length of stay? We love Port Orleans Riverside.
Also, a lot of good information is available on wdwinfo.com. I prefer that to the Disney website for information.
I'll check out that link, thanks!
I should clarify - DH has champagne taste, so I am trying to stretch while making him happy! The hotel is the most important thing to him and this is the one all his friends are telling him we need to go to.
3-4 days isn't very long for your first time. If its a you have, ok. But if you could instead stay at a Moderate and get 5-6 days, I'd do that in a heartbeat! The moderates have some very nice hotels, like Port Orleans French Quarter, that are very nice and more wallet friendly. I personally just see the hotel as a place to sleep and shower, as we spend all the rest of our time at the parks, even with littles. I would like to stay at WL when the kids are older, but we will go for longer and take several days off from the parks to enjoy the resort.
That being said. :) Are you getting park hoppers? Planning on TS meals? What are your kids interested in doing?
Here's what I would do: get one or two Disney tourbooks, and get those kids working!!
Have everyone in the family come up with one or two things they REALLY want to see or do, and try to include those.
some things I think you'll enjoy:
- do at least one character meal. I would probably suggest Chef Mickey's. You're in Disney World; you've got to meet the mouse!
- We love early mornings! We get to the parks at rope drop, and spend the first few hours really getting a lot done... a good plan helps there. By lunchtime, we're on our way back to the pool until our dinner ADRs.
- We don't follow a strict touring plan, but we do enter each park with a plan. I tend to be our fastpass runner. So here's how we start each park:
MK: I run for a fastpass for Peter Pan, and meet the others at Big Thunder. We do Big Thunder, then Splash Mountain, then use those Peter Pan fastpasses. We've gotten 3 big rides done in the first hour or so.
DHS: I run for a fastpass for Toy Story Mania while my husband and daredevil child do Tower of Terror. Sometimes the other 2 and I get through TSM before the other 2 show up, then do it again.
EPCOT: I run for a fastpass for Soarin', then meet them at Soarin and we do the standby ride. You'll want to do this twice. You'll also want to do Test Track and Mission: Space.
AK: We do the Safari, then all do Kali River Rapids together.
- Invest in some Mistymate personal misters. They're a lifesaver in the summer heat!
- KNOW that you won't be able to see everything, and accept it. It's OK, just more incentive to try to get back sometime.
- Restaurants we've particularly enjoyed: Cape May Cafe seafood buffet. (It's in the Beach Club, but it's literally a 2 minute walk from Epcot.), Yak and Yetti (great lunch in AK-- the hottest place on the planet in summer. The AC was a total delight, and we always have a good meal!), LeCellier (I think lunch is sitll on the DDP). We love the Coral Reef as well.
We tend to "hop" to a different park at dinner time. Our strategy is sometimes to hit the EMH park in the morning, then go elsewhere in the evening when those parks are more crowded than the rest. We tend to avoid the EMH evening parks, just our personal preference there.
Hi and congratulations on planning your trip! Can I adopt your MIL? :rotfl2:
Is there a reason why you've chosen Wilderness Lodge? The reason I ask is that your budget will stretch much further if you stayed at a cheaper hotel and you could potentially stretch to a few more days to maximise your time at WDW. WL is lovely, no question, but my personal feeling would be stay at a Moderate hotel with lower room rates and get more time at the happiest place on earth!
Are you tied to July? Price up different times of year that you could go and see if you can find a cheaper time to go too.
Dining Plan.. with hungry teenagers, it's probably a good call. It can save you a lot of money.
In 4 or 5 days, you're not going to get to see and do everything. No matter how much "play" time you schedule in. Extending it a couple of days will slow your schedule and allow you to see much more. After all, you're paying a lot of money for this trip, you want to be able to enjoy it and not feel so overwhelmed.
Touringplans.com is a great resource and because crowd levels tend to be quite high in July, I'd definitely recommend you take a look over there. There are other places too which are all within the boards here.
Making reservations is very simple to do on the WDW website, it's a simple process!
Consider how to make your budget work best for you and good luck! :thumbsup2
Since you are thinking of getting the dining plan, anchor your days with dinner reservations. Since your days are limited, make sure your dinner reservation is near the park you want to go to that evening. July is a great time for the pool. Plan an afternoon poolside. It makes a trip much more enjoyable to have a little down time.
I would buy park hoppers, go to one park in the morning - probably MK since it is right there, and a different park in the evening. MK is least crowded in the morning. You can get a lot of the rides done very quickly. Then hit the other parks in the evening, except AK. That one is closed early.
You can have a great short stay as long as you don't feel that you have to do everything. We would always ask our kids to give us the one thing they absolutely had to do in each park and make sure that we did it. Plan the major attractions you want to see in each park, and then go with the flow. :)
Maybe you should check out getting a DVC rental for your dh's champagne tastes. :) You might get more nights at WL that way. Check out the DVC forum for more information on renting on someone else's DVC points.
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