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Old 06-30-2012, 12:08 AM   #1
Saskiwi
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Help! WDW 'first timers'- where to start??

We are in the early stages of planning a trip to WDW next May-June and the more I read the more overwhelmed I feel!!

We have been to WDWw but never stayed on-site before. In fact the last time DH and I visited WDW was for 1 day in the early '90s, so we might as well be total newbies really! This time we will have DS's 13 and 10 in tow.

We know DL and DCA like the back of our hands but WDW is such a different scenario...

For starters - how to decide where to stay? Price is an issue (unfortunately), so currently tossing up between Pop, AoA and the cabins at Wilderness Lodge - but then is it worth paying more for a kitchen when we will probably be eating out so much??

Then I looked at Port Orleans and it looks so cute (love NOS at DL, so the theme had us at 'Orleans') - are there any other WDW resorts that you regulars think are absolutely fabulous when it comes to 'theming' - worth paying extra for in fact? Who has a great pool - would be worth paying more for that too!

And here's a total newbie question that I'm too scared to ask over on the WDW Boards (they seem a bit scary compared to the DL board which is so friendly) .... Are ANY resorts within walking distance of ANY of the parks?

After the convenience of DL, I hate the idea of wasting holiday time waiting for buses..or boats..

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:13 AM   #2
BecBennett
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I think the Boardwalk is walking distance to Epcot, but it might be on the opposite side of the water, so I don't know if it's actually doable...

I felt the same about wasting time on transport, so next time DH and I will rent a car.

I think pop has the best themed pools out of the budget hotels.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:48 AM   #3
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Oh Saskiwi, how exciting for you! I too knew the Disneyland Resort Anaheim like the back of my hand but was a total newbie planning our WDW trip. I loooooved the planning part of my WDW trip as there is so much more to consider than planning a DL trip and I really enjoy researching/planning.

Other than first starting to research intensively on the Disboards, I ordered the Unofficial Guide to WDW which I read from cover to cover. I will always remember the day it arrived in the mail (I had been so looking forward to it arriving) as I was on the way out to take DD7 to swimming lessons so I got to sit and start reading it while she swam. I've now sold it on Trade Me so sorry I can't lend it to you.

I also joined Tour Guide Mikes website and found the people on the forums there extremely helpful. Later on during my planning, EasyWDW was launched so I ended up spending more time on the forums there than on TGM. I was a sponge and happily absorbed it all (just ask my family because I had very detailed touring plans for us to follow!! )

I had never felt any need to stay onsite at DL but knew it was a priority for me to do so at WDW. We were on a tight budget though and the least expensive place for us to stay was POR as we are a family of five. I knew however that, if staying onsite, we had to have a dining plan because you are locked into Disney food prices and I didn't want to have heart failure every time we went to order. So I budgeted for and booked the Quick Service Dining Plan but happily later free dining was announced and we were able to swap onto that deal which gave us a free Regular Dining Plan.

I believe it is only the Deluxe Resorts that are within walking distance to a park (Contemporary to MK, Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk Inn to EPCOT and DHS) but whatever way, you are going to have to travel by bus/car to the other parks. WDW is absolutely massive!! We thought the Disney transportation system was fantastic and I'm so pleased I did not waste money and rent a car for the 9 days we were onsite. We did hire one for our second week offsite while we were doing the non-Disney parks though.

All pools at the Disney hotels are great but don't get worried about that because the Disney water parks are awesome and going May/June will be a great time to visit them!!

Hope that helps
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:53 AM   #4
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Some are but as mentioned , deluxe ones. We thought for about 2sec to walk from MK to grand Floridian but after a long day we actually found it relaxing to grab a boat, a/c bus or a/c monorail where ever we were in WDW and ready for funbwhen we got to next spot.....I think the Disney transportation system was top notch, particularly with 5 of us....and goes from all onsite hotels.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:05 AM   #5
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I always jump on these questions and answer that we loved Pop Century - I think you really cant go wrong with any of them, so dont think you will be disappointed staying at a value.

Although we are family of five - so had two connecting rooms - only DH and I shared a bed. The children (teens) each had their own bed and we had two bathrooms.

However the beds are only doubles and the rooms are pretty small so if you are all sharing one room - going with a moderate where the beds are Queen and the rooms a bit bigger might be more comfortable.

Still my choice would be to have the two rooms at a value (Pop is a great fun resort) than pay triple the price at a deluxe. (Although if it were just DH and I, my pick would be the Grand Floridian or Beachclub)
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:16 AM   #6
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The Disney transportation at WDW is generally very efficient. If you drive you'll probably have to wait for the shuttle that takes you from the carpark to the parks anyway! There are exceptions eg getting from one resort to another

I can't remember where it is exactly but there is a table which outlines the average times to get from one resort/park to another resort/park with Disney transport as well as by car. I'll see if I can find it.

If you are planning to stay at the Boardwalk, it is an easy and pleasant walk to Epcot. The entrance takes you to the world showcase area.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #7
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Wow - thanks for the tips everyone - I had forgotten about the big plus of a/c transport in the Florida humidity - that is a good point, as coming from a chilly Christchurch we won't be coping all that well with it.
I will look for that table of transport times too - sounds like an essential planning guide - as is the Unofficial guide too!
Caroline we will definitely get an Unofficial Guide to WDW - we bought the Unofficial Guide to DL we we first started planning a trip there in 2008 - and now four years later, DS 9 has it by his bed and still reads it occassionally! I think he finds it a great way to relive DL trips- and compare their ratings of rides with his own!
Nothing tops the DISBoards for tips though...I love this place!
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:12 PM   #8
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Ok I found it! Its from the unofficial guide. Hope this link works...see page 388 and 391

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=...%20car&f=false
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:17 PM   #9
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Just a thought - sometimes the buses can get tricky as Shushh mentions - like when you want to get from resort to resort for an ADR - but there are always plenty of taxis always waiting around the front of the hotels - take those on the couple of occassions you might need them - still cheaper than hiring a car!
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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Ahhhh Battymum, you are a lady after my own heart .

Saskiwi - I will second POP Century if you are trying to stick to a budget. We found the rooms very nice and the pool was heaps of fun. I also agree that riding on the lovely air conditioned buses was a nice respite from the heat which at times we found wore us out. We quite enjoyed the bus rides to be honest and found the bus system to be extremely efficient. We only had a glitch twice in our whole 11 days and we caught the bus lots. I agree with Battymum also that catching the odd cab to a resort for an ADR is cheaper than hiring a car.

Enjoy your planning, it's very exciting. WDW is such an amazing experience.
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:16 AM   #11
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Hey there - I'm an American but big-time Disney vet. We've stayed at Pop Century (3X), Port Orleans French Quarter (3X), Carribean Beach, and Animal Kingdom Lodge (via DVC points).

So, I am not sure of your overall trip itinerary (how many days at Disney versus other tourist sites) but I agree that a car hire at Disney is not necessary. Though some hotels are within walking Distance of the parks, these are typically the most expensive Deluxe hotels. None of the values or mods are within walking distance to any parks, but I always consider the transport system as part of the fun of the whole thing. You have to just embrace it! As others point out, the biggest negative to it is if you want to visit other resorts...Battymum's recommendation of the occasional taxi is a good one. While the resort is very spread out, you typically only have about a 20 minute ride at most to most places. The variable is bus wait times. I always call it "bus karma". You very rarely will get through a trip without one time getting bad "bus karma" and waiting 30 minutes for a bus to show up. This invariably happens when you are on your way to an ADR somewhere and are already running late. We've learned that if you give yourself 45 minutes, the bus usally shows up right away and you are early for everything. You just have to plan accordingly.

You mention coming in May-June. I would recommend coming, if you can, as early in May if possible. The crowds don't get really bad until mid-June, but the last weekend of May in the US is a holiday (memorial day) and most Florida schools get out in early June. Early May also usually has super-duper weather, while once you get into June the humdity can start setting in.

To the more important question, where to stay. We have enjoyed every single resort we've stayed at. I do not think that the values are really an issue, and if that is what is within your budget then you will still have a great time. Certain things that many worry about with values (size of resort, bussing, food courts) we found to be no issue at all. I personally would suggest the new AoA resort. They only have a limited # of value rooms, but being the newest resort and being a value+ resort I think it will be the nicest. If not, I have no problem recommending Pop.

However, if you can go to Mod, they do have their advantages. For one, the rooms are bigger, as are the beds. It's not a HUGE difference, but for a family of 4 it might be a tight squeeze in the Values. Second, the pools are MUCH nicer at the mods. In particular, they have some shade available, and have water slides that the values do NOT have. French Quarter has a very New Orleans feel, Riverside more feels like the rural southern US. French Quarter has less amenities than Riverside, but when you stay at one you can use both. CBR and Riverside are both VERY spread out and require a lot of walking around unless you get the right room/pay preferred. POFQ is very compact and even the furthest out room is < 3 minutes from the bus. You can fairly easily walk between Riverside and FQ - it's probably < 10 minutes. I would say French Quarter is my favorite resort as an adult, but Carribean Beach was really better with kids. (Lots of activities at the resort.)

Oh - and if you do consider deluxe, consider renting DVC points - you can rent a DVC studio for only a little more $$ than staying at a Mod.

Gotta get ready for work, hope this helps.

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Old 07-11-2012, 01:37 AM   #12
Tara2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskiwi View Post
We are in the early stages of planning a trip to WDW next May-June and the more I read the more overwhelmed I feel!!

We have been to WDWw but never stayed on-site before. In fact the last time DH and I visited WDW was for 1 day in the early '90s, so we might as well be total newbies really! This time we will have DS's 13 and 10 in tow.

We know DL and DCA like the back of our hands but WDW is such a different scenario...

For starters - how to decide where to stay? Price is an issue (unfortunately), so currently tossing up between Pop, AoA and the cabins at Wilderness Lodge - but then is it worth paying more for a kitchen when we will probably be eating out so much??

Then I looked at Port Orleans and it looks so cute (love NOS at DL, so the theme had us at 'Orleans') - are there any other WDW resorts that you regulars think are absolutely fabulous when it comes to 'theming' - worth paying extra for in fact? Who has a great pool - would be worth paying more for that too!

And here's a total newbie question that I'm too scared to ask over on the WDW Boards (they seem a bit scary compared to the DL board which is so friendly) .... Are ANY resorts within walking distance of ANY of the parks?

After the convenience of DL, I hate the idea of wasting holiday time waiting for buses..or boats..

Thanks for any advice!

I have friends in Orlando and they say in June its dreadfully hot. We went in early November when they have free dining. ( Now I have no problem with free food. Saved us carrying cash around the whole time.) It was a great temp and its in a low season as well. Plus there are no school holidays around then, and the christmas decos are up. We stayed at POP for 6 nights and I was feeling very cramped with 2 kids and hubby by night 6. We never went back to our room at POP other than at the end of the day. Mr 3.5 and miss 7 where fine staying at the park all day. I think if it was hot & humid it may be a different situation. Is there any reason you picked May / June? You will bake in that temp. Its was around 42 deg in california the whole 3 weeks our friends where there this June, and thats california, not humid hot Orlando. They said they would never go back to California that time of the year again. It was just tooo hot.
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Last edited by Tara2004; 07-11-2012 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:39 AM   #13
skier_pete
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara2004 View Post
I have friends in Orlando and they say in June its dreadfully hot. We went in early November when they have free dining. ( Now I have no problem with free food. Saved us carrying cash around the whole time.) It was a great temp and its in a low season as well. Plus there are no school holidays around then, and the christmas decos are up. We stayed at POP for 6 nights and I was feeling very cramped with 2 kids and hubby by night 6. We never went back to our room at POP other than at the end of the day. Mr 3.5 and miss 7 where fine staying at the park all day. I think if it was hot & humid it may be a different situation. Is there any reason you picked May / June? You will bake in that temp. Its was around 42 deg in california the whole 3 weeks our friends where there this June, and thats california, not humid hot Orlando. They said they would never go back to California that time of the year again. It was just tooo hot.
42 degrees in California in June? They must have been away from the coast. Palm Springs? Death Valley? June in California is typically more like high 20s.

But you are right, June can get warm in Florida, though again typically high 20s. However, as we say here in the states "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." In Florida, the humidity switches on around the beginning to middle of June, and its very unpleasant. As i said, early May is actually pretty wonderful, not unlike early-November, which as this poster put is nearly perfect.. If I had to pick, April/early-May and late-October/November are the best times of year wheather wise. April and late-November get into our holidays though.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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