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Old 01-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #1
WDWNext
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Split stay on the First Visit. Good or bad ?

Planning the first Disney Trip for April end 2013. I am looking for suggestions from WDW Experts !!
We are family of 4 (2 Adults, 6 yr old daughter and a 2 yr old son)

Here is a snapshot from inside our brains...
We will do a split stay, 4 nights @ Pop, and 3 @ AKL in that order.
First 4 days we plan to hit the theme parks will full energy.
4th night hopefully our luggage will end up at AKL. We will unwind the entire 5th day @ AKL.
Hit a theme park on 6th day (whatever the daughter wants, it will be the 2nd day in her preferred park)
Unwind/checkout on the 7th day @ AKL and transfer to hotel near Seaworld.
8th day and 9th day @ Seaworld and return to home on 10th day.

We plan to purchase the 5 day Theme park tickets (no Hopper) and do a Character breakfast.
We do not plan to rent a car initially, but will rent one on the 6th or 7th day of the trip.

Please let us know if we could plan around a little better. All suggestions welcome !! Thanks in Advance !!
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #2
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I love split stays and do them every trip. However, we have been over 40 times and know the parks and resorts very well. I would advise a first timer to stick to one resort (especially since you are already moving once to Seaworld) HOWEVER, I can see the appeal of AKL for your family. If you decide to do the split stay, be aware that you will not get your luggage at AKL until very late in the afternoon. We usually pack the night before the move, hand our luggage off to bell services (we bring it down ourselves because we have found very long waits for them to come get them in the morning) then head to a park for the day. We then head to the new resort in the afternoon and get settled in there. You plan on relaxing at AKV on your first full day there correct? Not on your moving day? You may also want to consider adding park days to your tickets since after 4 days the price is very cheap! Nice to head to a park for a few hours and not feel like you have to stay most of the day to get your moneys worth.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
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Also, get your dining reservations made ASAP. I know it is a pain to decide which park you will be in on what day, but the dining reservations open up 6 months before, so your week has already been open for bookings since October. May I suggest Crystal Palace inside MK, or Akershus at Epcot for your character meal? It is easiest to not have to leave the park to eat, no matter what others may tell you
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWNext View Post
Planning the first Disney Trip for April end 2013. I am looking for suggestions from WDW Experts !!
We are family of 4 (2 Adults, 6 yr old daughter and a 2 yr old son)

Here is a snapshot from inside our brains...
We will do a split stay, 4 nights @ Pop, and 3 @ AKL in that order.
First 4 days we plan to hit the theme parks will full energy.
4th night hopefully our luggage will end up at AKL. We will unwind the entire 5th day @ AKL.
Hit a theme park on 6th day (whatever the daughter wants, it will be the 2nd day in her preferred park)
Unwind/checkout on the 7th day @ AKL and transfer to hotel near Seaworld.
8th day and 9th day @ Seaworld and return to home on 10th day.

We plan to purchase the 5 day Theme park tickets (no Hopper) and do a Character breakfast.
We do not plan to rent a car initially, but will rent one on the 6th or 7th day of the trip.

Please let us know if we could plan around a little better. All suggestions welcome !! Thanks in Advance !!
I would not do a split stay like you are planning with little ones your childrens ages on my first trip. Packing and moving is way too much work on my vacation. You will also be virtually "homeless" on your moving day. You must check out by 11 AM and will not have a room until after 3 PM. That is prime nap/rest time. Also you are already doing a split stay by moving to Seaworld area at the end of your trip.
I would pick one onsite hotel for your Disney days. I think you are trying to do too much in your first visit. Disney World is huge and full of fun, exciting things. I would even consider more than a 5 day ticket. What worked like a charm when I went with my grandchildren when they were the ages of your little ones was to be up bright and early (they always were) and at the park at rope drop. We had an early CS lunch in the park and then went back to the hotel for a nap and a swim. My 5 yo granddaughter was no longer napping at home, but she did at WDW. Then after a nap we went for a swim for about an hour. They loved swimming in the pool. Then back to the park for dinner and some evening entertainment. Napping allowed them to rejuvenate and we were able to do some things a bit later. If you add days to your ticket, you will not feel so pressured into long days.
Good Luck
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyoresmom View Post
If you decide to do the split stay, be aware that you will not get your luggage at AKL until very late in the afternoon. We usually pack the night before the move, hand our luggage off to bell services You plan on relaxing at AKV on your first full day there correct? Not on your moving day?
Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyoresmom View Post
Also, get your dining reservations made ASAP. May I suggest Crystal Palace inside MK, or Akershus at Epcot for your character meal? It is easiest to not have to leave the park to eat, no matter what others may tell you
Hi there, Yes we do not plan the rest day on the day of the move, but it probably will be a full park day (ok maybe not full but upto 4 pm maybe) and will return late evening to check in. Well its the plan so far, I know things are unpredictable with young kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopefully View Post
That is prime nap/rest time. I would even consider more than a 5 day ticket. We had an early CS lunch in the park and then went back to the hotel for a nap and a swim. Napping allowed them to rejuvenate and we were able to do some things a bit later. If you add days to your ticket, you will not feel so pressured into long days.
Good Luck
Thats an excellent insight, thanks a bunch for that. I'll keep that in mind. I think I will most probably return for a mid-day breather, right after lunch.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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I don't think split stays are a problem.
If I were you, I would do your split stay as planned. Except, on your move day, use that as your "rest" day. It could look something like this:

1. By now, your family should be pretty tired from 3 days at the parks. Wake up later than usual, have a relaxed morning and leave POP at 11am.
Keep a bag with your swim suits and a change of clothes for everyone. Head over to AKV and try to check in. If your room isn't ready, which it wouldn't be at 11:30, go to the pool or go to lunch, depending on your family's eating schedule. You should be able to keep occupied until at least 1:30pm between pool time and lunch. If you ask for your room ready for early arrival during the online check-in, I would think something would be available by 1:30.
Now you have the rest of the day to see the animals, play at the pool, explore the resort, etc...

2. You could also go to Downtown Disney once you leave POP, or even go to Animal Kingdom park until afternoon.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:55 PM   #7
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Having moved from Pop to AKV once during a trip I would splurge for a taxi and just take my luggage to the resort myself. We waited in the room for a couple of hours while they looked for DH 's expensive camera equipment, which was transferred by Pop. So you my want to have that piece of mind in leaving your luggage yourself with AKV's bell services. We will not do a Disney transfer like that again.

I think you have a great plan and will thoroughly enjoy the park. Head over to Kidani and see what the activities are for the day. They do an awesome Drum Cafe some nights for kids and tell stories around the campfire in back of the lobby. Jambo House also has activities for kids on your down days. Many of the CMs, especially those out on savanna are from Africa and have a wealth of info for guests. There is a lot to do at the resort.

Mara, the counter service restaurant is outside by the Jambo House pool. You need to find Boma, exit through the door to the pool and follow the walkway around....we spent about 20 minutes looking for it on our first trip there and we were traveling with a rocket scientist.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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I agree with the previous poster, make your move day a rest day. Nothing will prepare you for how tired you will be on this vacation. We are a family of 5 on our 2nd trip to Disney in May 2012 we did a split stay GF/BC with a cruise at the end. My kids were barely 2, 3, & 5. It was super easy took a cab loaded with our luggage to BC from GF luckily room was ready, hit the pool and enjoyed the day, had dinner at BC and came back to the room to unpack after we watched a movie on the beach. It is definitely do-able. The only thing I would caution is remember at AKL you will have to bus everywhere, to me buses are awful, they pack them to the gills and stroller must be folded before boarding. I'd choose a monorail or Epcot area resort over AKL for a first trip with little kids.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:38 PM   #9
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I have a question.
The day we check out from the resort (say 11 am), can we still use the resort facilities for that day before we leave WDW ?
If not we could just go to the park and spend the previous day at the resort, but I just wanted to know for information.
If this is specific to a resort, then I would be most likely looking at AKL check out info.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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You can use the resort for the remainder of that day. You just don't have a ROOM to go back to.

Split stays are great -- until you realize that you don't have a place to call "home"
between 11 AM & 3 or 4 PM. It can get annoying.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWNext View Post
I have a question.
The day we check out from the resort (say 11 am), can we still use the resort facilities for that day before we leave WDW ?
If not we could just go to the park and spend the previous day at the resort, but I just wanted to know for information.
If this is specific to a resort, then I would be most likely looking at AKL check out info.
Yes, you can use the resort facilities for the rest of the day.

I've never done a split stay, but I doubt I would have enjoyed it on my first trip. I thought about it a lot as we were doing 9 nights, but ultimately decided against it.
Disney does seem to make it easy, but it would be a pain for me to pack everything so many times.

Also, your rental car logistics seem problematic. I'm assume that you plan to take Magical Express to Pop on your first day?
This means that you will very likely need to pick up your rental car on Disney property, then return it at the airport. It would probably be less expensive to rent a car for the whole trip.

One suggestion I have is to put SeaWorld in the middle of your trip, instead of the end.

Day 1: Arrive at Pop
Day 2: Pop
Day 3: Pop
Day 4: Pop
Day 5: Check out of Pop - SeaWorld
Day 6: Sea World - Check into AKL
Day 7: AKL
Day 8: AKL
Day 9: AKL
Day 10: Check out of AKL

You could then do a round trip rental on the Disney property, and use Magical Express to get from and return to the airport.

Personally, I would probably skip the SeaWorld hotel altogether and just stay in Pop an extra night in the middle of my trip. I have a similar scenario planned for a trip, except with Universal instead of SeaWorld.

I guess considering the question I answered above, you're probably trying to figure out a way to maximize your time at AKL. Maybe your departure flight is early?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWNext View Post
I have a question.
The day we check out from the resort (say 11 am), can we still use the resort facilities for that day before we leave WDW ?
If not we could just go to the park and spend the previous day at the resort, but I just wanted to know for information.
If this is specific to a resort, then I would be most likely looking at AKL check out info.
Yes, you still can use the facilities on check out day. You won't have access to your room though, of course. Bell services will store your luggage for you.

As for your plan, I think it sounds like a good one but I agree with a few of the PPs that I wouldn't do a split stay for your first stay. We didn't. We were rarely at the resort - always felt like we should be at a park since there was so much we wanted to see and do. There were so many things we wanted to do twice - and we are two adults and were there for 8 days! We liked unpacking at the start and not worrying about anything until we left. If we had to pack, transfer resorts and then unpack again, we would have felt like it was a giant waste of time.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:12 PM   #13
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I would not recommend a split stay for your first visit. Walt Disney World is special enough that you don't need to switch resorts to make it more special. I would simply stay at POP the whole time and enjoy the experience.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:48 PM   #14
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Will Magic Express drop you at the airport after check out even if you are not taking a flight out that day ?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:59 PM   #15
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as most people on these boards know, I am a huge advocate of split stays. but I have to agree with other posters. maybe not so wise on a first trip, esp. with little ones. esp. 3 dif. resorts.

I also wonder, with a sea world hotel being last, I don't think you can use magical Express to the airport.

what if you stayed at pop the days you went to sea world , eliminate the sea world hotel add one day to the pop stay, one day to the AK stay. then you would get ME at both ends.

we , too like to make transfer daya relax by the pool/ check out the new resort day.

however!!! since you will be "homeless" anyway, you could check out of pop, have luggage transferred, take go to sea world for the day, and that night check into ak. your luggage will already be there. (I really think one day at sea world is plenty with little kids, JMHO). then realx the next day and enjoy the reosrt. (take a taxi back and forth to sea world ..

guess you would need online check in. at ak for this scenario..... anyway, just some thoughts.
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