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Old 07-17-2010, 11:15 AM   #1
Andy48
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Presidents' Week 2011: What's My Next Move?

I'm taking the family to WDW for 5 days during Presidents' Week 2011, and I gotta say, since my wife and I were last there in 2000, this whole reservations/ticketing/dining thing has become an awful lot more complicated... it's like a chess match!

At the moment, I've booked room-only at CR Club Level. The CL is a nice-to-have not a need-to-have, and I'm more than happy to trade down to a standard room at CR. Regardless of whether or not there's FD during that week, I know we'll make the most of the plan, so we're definitely signing up for the DDP.

Here's the dilemma: 2011 rates and packages are announced sometime in early August 2010. I need to start booking ADRs in mid-August.
What's my next move? I don't want to back myself into a corner with cancellation fees or losing reservations, but also want to take advantage of any discounts that come out between now and Feb 2011.
  1. Should I convert to a package as soon as the rates are announced, in order to lock-in whatever room I get?
  2. If a discount code gets announced between now and Feb 2011, can I take advantage of it without losing my room selection and ADRs? In other words, is this considered a cancellation and a rebooking, or do they just apply any savings to the existing reservation?
  3. Any ideas what kind of discounts I might expect during that week? FD? Room discounts for CR? AAA?
Thanks... great to be here!
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
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It really is a chess match and, given that the week you've chosen is a very peak week at WDW, even more so! If you can go another week when it's less crowded, I'd highly recommend it!

However, if you are stuck, I'd suggest taking advantage of whatever the best deal you can get right now is (i.e.-AAA room discount if available) and lock it in. If a better deal comes up later, you can always revise your reservation then.

Take the time to plot your plan of attack during your visit using touringplans.com or similar service to determine which parks are best to visit on which days to maximize your fun and minimize wait times. You can buy a subscription to touringplans anytime, but I'd really recommend considering a purchase of the Unofficial Guide as well since you haven't been in 10 years, and this will provide you with a discount on the touringplans.com membership.

I'm not one for spreadsheeting every minute of every day and what ride I will go on when, but as part of planning my attack as recommended above, I plan a basic strategy of where we will be during the early a.m., midday, and evening hours and use that to make appropriate dining reservations. Get this done asap as you can book reservations 180 days out now and you don't get shut out of anything you want because you weren't prepared to book right when they became available.

It's a tough week to travel there so more than anything, you'll just need a lot of patience and ability to roll with the punches. Have a great trip!
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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Thats a tough week to get discounts. In the past when we went Presidents Week we would check-in Wednesday before the weekend to get the AP rate.

It changes from value to peak just before the weekend. Grab any discount you can get. I would make my ADR as soon as I can.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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You won't lose your ADRs if you change your reservation.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:22 PM   #5
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We've been several times during Presidents' Week, as it coincides with our school vacation every year. It's busy, but very doable...and usually the parks are open later than usual, so more time to have fun and do all you hope to do.

AAA rate is probably your best bet right now. Room discounts, if any, will certainly not be as good as slow season....and they never offer free dining during that week.

As far as trying to arrive earlier so you can get "value" season pricing...well, I don't believe it works like it used to. In years past, if you checked in during the last day of value season, your entire stay was at value season prices, even if most of your stay was actually in "peak" season. I don't think this is the case any longer. Each night has its own price now, like the rest of the hotel industry. That way they can charge more on the weekend nights than during the week and each night can be valued appropriately to the season in which it occurs. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I like to use Tour Guide Mike's website to help plan which days I want to be in specific parks, and can then line up my ADRs accordingly. While TGM doesn't have Feb. 2011 best parks for each day yet, you can look at 2010's Presidents' Week recommendations and get a good idea of how you should plan your days of the week.

Have fun planning!

PS: We've never done the dining plan (not an option at the Swan/Dolphin) even when we stayed at Disney resorts, as it never seemed to work out in our favor as far as $$$$$ was concerned...and we always eat a counter service and table service meal each day. Of course, we've never been able to go when FREE dining was offered!
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:17 AM   #6
Andy48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartDM View Post
It really is a chess match and, given that the week you've chosen is a very peak week at WDW, even more so! If you can go another week when it's less crowded, I'd highly recommend it!

However, if you are stuck, I'd suggest taking advantage of whatever the best deal you can get right now is (i.e.-AAA room discount if available) and lock it in. If a better deal comes up later, you can always revise your reservation then.

Take the time to plot your plan of attack during your visit using touringplans.com or similar service to determine which parks are best to visit on which days to maximize your fun and minimize wait times. You can buy a subscription to touringplans anytime, but I'd really recommend considering a purchase of the Unofficial Guide as well since you haven't been in 10 years, and this will provide you with a discount on the touringplans.com membership.

I'm not one for spreadsheeting every minute of every day and what ride I will go on when, but as part of planning my attack as recommended above, I plan a basic strategy of where we will be during the early a.m., midday, and evening hours and use that to make appropriate dining reservations. Get this done asap as you can book reservations 180 days out now and you don't get shut out of anything you want because you weren't prepared to book right when they became available.

It's a tough week to travel there so more than anything, you'll just need a lot of patience and ability to roll with the punches. Have a great trip!
MartDM,

It's pretty much school vacation week or nothing for us. But I'm going into this with eyes wide open... I've gone from zero to Disney-Travel-Planning-Obsessive-Geek in about 6 seconds flat.

I'm totally locked and loaded: got my copy of UG, my Touringplans subscription with Crowd Calendar (every vacation day is a 9, but I have no fear!), subscribed to WDW Today, DIS Unplugged, Betamouse, and Be Our Guest podcasts. I even find myself checking Lines on my Blackberry, and our vacation is still more than 6 months away.

Needless to say, I'm starting to scare my wife and kids.

Last edited by Andy48; 07-18-2010 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:17 PM   #7
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I've gone from zero to Disney-Travel-Planning-Obsessive-Geek in about 6 seconds flat.
Way to be! The family be looking at you cross-eyed now, but they'll be worshiping your savvy when you have them breezing around avoiding logjams all over the place when you get there! I'd recommend demanding they address you as the "All Knowing WDW GeekGuru" or some other fitting title every time you score another win for them during the trip!

Tough break about the limited vacation time; many in my family are teachers and have the same dilemma...like others said, it's busy but doable if you are prepared and, man, you are going to be beyond prepared with that reading list
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:45 PM   #8
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We were there for President's Week last year and didn't think it was too bad. Seriously. Just put a plan together. Two words: ROPE DROP! Makes all the difference! Good luck! We're doing it again this year!
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:29 PM   #9
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We'll be there too with our Grand Gathering of 22 plus helping to increase those crowd levels. Sorry to add to the caos, but our school district changed our vacation week and now we'll be joining our fellow new englanders in sunny Florida.
I'm also the super uber planner in the family and I do - at times - get stressed over the crowd predictors. But "a busy day in Disney is better than no day in Disney" is my current motto! If I sit and ride on the TTA in MK all week I'll be happy.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:55 AM   #10
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what is the date for MLK day 2011?
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine and the boys View Post

As far as trying to arrive earlier so you can get "value" season pricing...well, I don't believe it works like it used to. In years past, if you checked in during the last day of value season, your entire stay was at value season prices, even if most of your stay was actually in "peak" season. I don't think this is the case any longer. Each night has its own price now, like the rest of the hotel industry. That way they can charge more on the weekend nights than during the week and each night can be valued appropriately to the season in which it occurs. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)
I think you're right! My reservation for Feb 14-19 shows value pricing for the first part of the week and peak for the last.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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what is the date for MLK day 2011?
Jan. 17, 2011
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:37 PM   #13
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Jan. 17, 2011
We arrive Jan. 18th. Will we be affected by holiday resort room rates or crowds if we arrive the day after MLK day?
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