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Old 02-15-2013, 02:49 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 15

Planning first trip to WDW

HI All,

I just joined as we are planning our first trip to WDW. We are a family of 4. Me, DH, DD(8) and DS(6). We are hoping for sometime in 2014. Still debating on June (when kids get out of school), August (before kids start school), or May (risking taking kids out of school, but maybe worth it?).
I am in the super beginning planning stages and am a little overwhelmed with all the decisions. Hoping reading and posting here will help. I will take ALL advice from anyone willing to help out.
Major things I'm thinking about:
1. Where to stay. Definitely Disney resort, currently looking at Art of animation family suites, Port Orleans (relatives advice) and the Wilderness Lodge.
2. Dining plan...oh my gosh. Can't even begin to wrap my head around this one. My kids are SUPER picky eaters. I'm thinking maybe a buffet or 2 might be nice so they can pick whatever they want. But I imagine we don't wnat to be stuck sitting in restaurants very much.
3. Rides...son LOVES roler coasters, daughter won't go hardly any rides. Have a feeling we'll be splitting up for some of this trip.

ANyway that's a start....if you're reading this and have any advice...send my way! Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Location: 10 hours from the Mouse
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My advice is to read as much as you can on this board. There is a wealth of information on all topics.

Dates: June is not a bad month to go. We are going for our fourth June trip this year. We are able to go in earlier June and the crowds are not as bad as Christmas which is the other time we've gone. Yes, it's hot, but August will be too.

Resort: Which Port Orleans are you thinking of? We are going back to Riverside this year. It's a beautiful resort. I've always wanted to stay at Wilderness Lodge, but haven't made it there yet. One nice thing about WDW is that you can visit the other resorts and eat in their restaurants even if you aren't staying there. (But you can't swim in their pools.) One of our favorite things to do is take some down time and visit other resorts.
When choosing a resort you want to take a few things into consideration:
1. How much time do you plan to spend at your resort?
2. Which park(s) do you plan to spend the most time at?
3. Do you want a table service restaurant or is counter service enough?
4. Will your kids want a themed pool with a slide?
On our first family trip my kids were ages 5 and 7. We stayed at Contemporary mainly because we knew we'd spend most of our time at MK and there it was a short walk or monorail ride over there.

Dining Plan: You may want to consider the Quick Service plan and pay out of pocket for a buffet or two. We have always done the Regular dining plan and had one sit down meal a day. It is nice to have a break during the day, but there isn't much variety on the kids menus. This summer we are doing the QS plan and paying OOP for 'Ohana and Sci-Fi. There are so many different QS places to eat that we'll get plenty of variety.

Rides: Unfortuantely, WDW does not have many thrilling roller coasters. It's not like Six Flags in that respect. But don't get me wrong. I think there are plenty of thrilling rides. I love Rock 'N Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Expedition: Everest, Space Mountain and many more. The good news is there are plenty of attractions (rides) for those who don't like roller coasters. There is something for everyone.

Have fun planning and read as much as you can.

Disneymoon @ Dixie Landings - 1993 Family Trip @ CR - 2004 Family Trip @ CSR - 2006 Family Christmas Trip @ All Star Sports - 2006 New Year Grand Gathering @ Pop - 2007/2008 Family Christmas Trip @ CBR - 2010 Family Trip @ POR - 2013
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:08 PM   #3
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Its HOT Its gonna be humid.

I LOVE the 3rd or 4th week in August.

Less crowds, more discounts have been offered for that time period.

but its the less crowds that is why we go.

(we have been that time twice-- it was pure magic as long as we had a plan.

up early get to the park when they opened. Head back to the resort for swimming and resting-- and back to the park when the sun goes down

We were booked in Cornada Springs but had to downgrade to pop Century- that was a huge savings at 4200 for 6 rooms is what we saved.

Being first timers-- will you get to stay at your resort to enjoy it.. or will it be a place to sleep, shower and change
Epcot passports -ebay- Joephila1
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
Missing my day trips to Disneyland :(
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Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,196

I would choose early May, myself.

Beginning of June is Gay Days for the first Saturday weekend of the month. MK is VERY crowded. The rest of June is when schools have let out and it's VERY hot and can get crowded.

End of August is good as schools have started to go back in session, however July and August have been known to be full of South American tour groups. (I found them to be VERY obnoxious.. others don't have problems.)

The early part of May is Flower and Garden Expo in Epcot, which is really pretty and doesn't draw huge crowds because it lasts about 3 weeks. The latter part of May is Star Wars Weekends in DHS and that draws huge crowds, making DHS a nightmare to move around in.

If you want to do a dining plan (and I always do one because it means a lot of food is taken care of money wise already), I would do the second level which is one quick service meal and one table service meal per day, plus a snack. The table service meal can be used for most Character Meals (which are almost always a buffet) and those can be pretty pricey. The good thing about the Dining plan is while they say 1 qs and 1 ts per day, you can actually use them in any order you want. So you can do two table meals in one day and then two qs meals the next day.

All the meals are preloaded on your room key card, so if you're booked for 5 nights you'll have 20 ts meals, 20 qs meals, and 20 snacks for a family of 4 ready to be used at your discretion.

As for Rides, no reason to split up. Most, if not all, rides allow for a Rider Swap. You can all go through the line and then one waits with DD while the other rides with DS, then the non riding parent will get to ride after the swap. (I don't know if DS would be able to ride with the parent who didn't ride or not.. I don't have kids, so I don't know how it works, exactly). Or, where some rides have fun, interactive queues, you can call go through the line and then exit before riding if some don't wish to ride.

When it comes to the resort, there are a few things to think of:

Is your hotel room just a bed to sleep in or are you going to hang and have fun at the resort? If it's just a bed, the value resorts are fine. If you're going to hang out and have fun, do the kids want a Disney themed resort? Animation, All Star Movies are the best for Disney themes. POR Royal Rooms are Princess and the Frog themed.

Values are bare bones hotels when it comes to amenities. They have a pool, a game room, a souvenir shop, and a food court. If you want more, such as a slide, hot tub, and sit down restaurant, you want a moderate or better. I've stayed at All Star Music and it was a fine place for being a bed to sleep in. If you do choose a value, I would pay the extra $10 a night for the preferred room. They are much closer to the buses, main building, and main pool.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:51 PM   #5
we finally had a minute to breathe yesterday and sat down
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You have received a lot of good info already, so I'll just say to the DIS!

Loving all things Disney since 1976.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:39 AM   #6
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Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

I always encourage people with children to let the kids help plan. They get excited about the trip and they will have insights you haven't considered.

I would request the planning DVD from Disney and let the kids watch. You may be surprised at what they think is neat. Disney World was featured in numerous travel shows a few years ago and a couple of shows on Modern Marvels. You might be able to find those online.

If you want to try the dining plan, do it now before your oldest becomes a "Disney Adult" at age 10. Find the Disney Unplugged Podcast about the Dining Plan to help you. I think it was in January.

Remember that this forum is run by the owners of Dreams Unlimited Travel. They would be a great resource and there is no cost to you. There are several parents of younger kids to help you out!
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:54 PM   #7
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:37 PM   #8
We had a wonderful time, but did have our moments!

Pretty much down to my hips on one side, but nice and perky on the other
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 11,402

Hi and welcome!

We're both teachers, so we're August Disney people. I LOVE Disney in August!!! Sure, it's hot and steamy. But the days go on forever, and that afternoon pool break is just so nice!!! And August is Value 2 season, and is a bit cheaper.

I haven't stayed at any of the resorts you're considering, though a friend raved about POR and my assistant principal raves about the Wilderness Lodge. We're family of 5 (and my son is too big for POR's Murphy/ trundle beds) so they're simply not an option for us.

As to the meal plan-- we're big lovers of that as well. And the fact that both your kids are under 10 years old may make it a real bargain. The kids meals are pretty standard. But being on the meal plan means you can have your fill of character meals, as well as some pretty cool non-character meals. And, best of all, it's prepaid. Last year we tried not doing the meal plan, and it's not an idea we'll revisit.

Happy planning!
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):

I've been BOO'ed by pigletgirl!
numerous trips in college and one together in 1990 August 2008 and August 2009: Polynesian. August 2012: Beach Club Yacht Club in 2014!!
(Thanks, Disney Destinations, for your past generosity. And to the Beach Club staff for all their assistance in our 2012 medical crisis.)
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:08 PM   #9
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:54 PM   #10
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 158

So glad...

I subscribed to this. We are now trying to decide if we want a suite at AOA or POR. We are going Feb 2014 for the Princess 1/2.

Here is what I am kind of leaning towards:

Beds: heard that they are not hard
hot tub: Great for after running 13.1 miles a good soak and then shower and off to a park.
Transportation to DTD: Love the options of either bus or ferry.
atmosphere: seems to be on the quiet side. Bed time should be easy for my youngest. He needs it to be quiet, but me too. lol

Theming: very suttle

Theming: I really like it. It screams Disney
Room size
Has a freezer in the fridge
separate sleeping areas

maybe loud
no hot tub to soak achy muscles
beds may be hard
The Fantabulous momma
Crazy husband
Compassionate DS (9)
The comical DS (6)

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