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Old 03-05-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
California Disney Girl
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Experienced First Timer?

Hi All! I'm in the "gathering information" stage of planning a trip to WDW next year for my family of 4 (me, DH, DS 10, DD 8). This will be our first time as a family although my DH & I went there for our honeymoon in 1993. We live in So Cal and have had DL annual passes for 10 years...so we know our way around DL & DCA with our eyes closed!
So here's my question: I was wondering if there are any tips out there for people like me who are planning a first time trip but don't have some of the same must-haves as other first timers (i.e. my kids love character interactions but we can see everyone here and probably won't spend time doing that kind of thing if there is other stuff that we can't do at DL)? I guess I'm looking for feedback from people who have been to both and can steer me toward some of the gems that we definitely won't find in CA. TIA!!
June 1993 - WDW Honeymoon - Beach Club
Disneyland Resort - too many times to count!
April 2010 Wonder - Mexican Riviera
September 2012 Wonder - West Coast/Pixar

Next up: October 2014 Dream - Bahamas B2B

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Old 03-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #2
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More Parks

Well to start off don't forget there are more Parks.

You CAN NOT walk from one Park to another.

Although DisneyLand & the Magic Kingdom are simular in design and some of the rides, MK is not a duplicate of DL.

Make a list of the rides that that are duplicated from DL & CA, and ride them Last at the Park in WDW.

Make sure to see the Opening show at the Magic Kingdom.

Try to visit at least one of the Resorts other than the one you were you are rooming. The easiest way to do this is to schedule a meal at a Resort. For example; the day you visit Animal Kingdom have dinner at one of the fantasic restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Resort.

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Old 03-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #3
Shelly F - Ohio
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All 4 of the parks at WDW are much bigger than DL so plan to spend a full day at each park.

Order the planning video to give you a better idea of what WDW is like.

Don't over do it. Most families need an afternoon break to go back and take a nap or swim.

At 3 p.m each day there is a parade at MK, AK and I am not sure about DHS. There are fireworks every night at the MK. There is a 11:00 a.m show at the MK infront of the castle.

As PP said visit the AKL and feel free to go out and view the animals on the savanna - its free!!!

At AK go on Kilimanjaro Safaris, visit Rafiki's Planet watch

Walk thru the Fort Wildreness Camp grounds and see the horses used in the parade and take a carriage ride. I think the carriage ride is $40 not sure.

Wear some good walking shoes because you have a lot of ground to cover!
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:35 PM   #4
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They do have several characters at WdW that you do not see at DL! Also check out the water parks and downtown Disney! Look online and see what they have vs. DL !
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:51 PM   #5
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We were also DL passholders for a number of years before we finally made it to WDW. You may want to advise your kids as to what they won't see at WDW:
- Indiana Jones ride...our DDs were disappointed it wasn't there
- Toontown
- Mickey and Minnie together in Magic Kingdom

They did like:
Dinosaur in AK, same track system as Indiana Jones
Mickey's Philharmagic; younger DD is now a WDW CM and she makes sure to take her San Diego friends to see it
Aerosmith Rock n Rollercoaster though similar to CA Screamin'
Tower of Terror to note the differences

DD also takes her Cali friends to Epcot, AK, and DTD; dining at Primetime Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine in Theater; and Goofy's Candy Co. to have custom made treats as that is something very unique to WDW.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:56 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone for the input so far!!
June 1993 - WDW Honeymoon - Beach Club
Disneyland Resort - too many times to count!
April 2010 Wonder - Mexican Riviera
September 2012 Wonder - West Coast/Pixar

Next up: October 2014 Dream - Bahamas B2B

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Old 03-08-2013, 11:21 PM   #7
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I used to live outside of Orlando and now live in Las Vegas (about 3 hours from DL), so I have been to both many times. I would agree that Disney World has many characters that you do not get to see in DL. I also agree that you should make a list of all attractions not found at DL and do those first. Oh, and i would NOT waste too much time waiting for TSMM in HS. The line for it at DCA is so much shorter!
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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DH and I were DL APs for 5 years before we made our first trip to the World. As much research as we had done ahead of time, we were not ready for just how huge WDW is!

What we did in preparation for our first trip was decided on which park we would visit first (MK of course), then we placed names of all of the rides from MK in a bowl and decided our first ride that way.

It's still fun to check out the attractions that are on both coasts because the Florida attractions do vary a little bit from their California counterparts.

Pirates and IASW are much shorter in WDW than DL. With IASW, I was actually looking for a building like at DL, I was quite shocked to see that it was a very simple, fair type theme on the outside of the building. Space Mountain is more elaborate at DL.

Splash Mountain is better in WDW. I enjoy HS's version of Fantasmic better (probably because of the stadium seating vs scrunching together in front of Tom Sawyer Island).

Our biggest issue was we were so used to the layout in DL/DCA that we would get lost in the MK because we were looking for it in the wrong location. For example, to go ride Winnie the Pooh, we headed toward Splash Mountain because that's where it is in DL, when we should have headed to Fantasyland.
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