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Old 06-09-2013, 09:20 PM   #1
muirhejs
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Question Points trip w/ small kids & pregnant wife

Looking for some help deciding on a trip I'm planning for Sept 12-16. Any advise strongly appreciated!

There will be 4 of us going- myself, my pregnant wife (mid-term at time of the trip), my 3 year old daughter, and my 5 year old son. We want to take the kiddos before we are on travel lockdown for a while after the baby is born. Given our kids' ages & my wife being pregnant, I expect we won't last the full day and will probably be relying on the pool in the afternoon quite a bit... trying to manage expectations about how much ground everyone can cover.

I have a decent number of points in the Hilton, Marriott, & Starwood systems.

Here's some of the options I'm considering; WDW Tickets look to be about $1200 purchased by themselves for the 4 of us for 5 days:
Hilton Downtown Disney
  • Cost: 30k pts/night + WDW Tickets
  • Room Size: Average
  • Transportation: Provided
  • Extended Magic Hours: Yes
  • Themed: No
  • Pool: Average

Starwood Swan/Dolphin
  • Cost: 10k pts/night + WDW Tickets (We would probably want to extend by 1 day for their '5th night free' promotion)
  • Room Size: Average
  • Transportation: Provided
  • Extended Magic Hours: Yes
  • Themed: Some
  • Pool: Good

Springhill/Fairfield Suites in Marriott Village
  • Cost: 20-25k pts/night + WDW Tickets + Car Rental
  • Room Size: Large
  • Transportation: Limited
  • Extended Magic Hours: No
  • Themed: No
  • Pool: Average

Art of Animation Resort (Little Mermaid Room)
  • Cost: ~$1700
  • Room Size: Small
  • Transportation: Provided
  • Extended Magic Hours: Yes
  • Themed: Yes
  • Pool: Excellent

Any recommendations/thoughts/feedback strongly appreciated!
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:21 AM   #2
Carrie in AZ
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Well, I'm a "points gal", too, but for me, when staying at Disney World, it's all about staying on-site. So, for me, based on the choices you outlined, it would be Swan/Dolphin or AoA. We LOVE being immersed in the magic and would never consider staying off-site (Springhill) or even slightly off-site (Hilton DTD).

But, many folks are all about the size of the accommodations. If having a large space is important to your family, then maybe you do want to stay off-site.

What other types of amenities are important to you and to your wife? Do you want room service? I don't think it is avail at AoA.

Your kids would probably love AofA, but I suspect your wife would like Swan/Dolphin better. They have great beds, and I don't know for sure, but with the indoor hallways and such, I wonder if it would be a quieter stay than the gazillions of kids running past the doors at AofA. Overall, I think your wife would feel a bit more pampered staying there, so that would get my vote!

Good luck with your decision. I know it is not easy. BTW, I LOVE the way you outlined your question, great job!
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:41 AM   #3
MMS1125
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I'd do the Swan/Dolphin. Deluxe feel for a moderate price IMO

Don't forget there's a parking fee there everyday not sure if it's covered in your points rental or not
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:49 AM   #4
muirhejs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie in AZ View Post
What other types of amenities are important to you and to your wife? Do you want room service? I don't think it is avail at AoA.

Your kids would probably love AofA, but I suspect your wife would like Swan/Dolphin better. They have great beds, and I don't know for sure, but with the indoor hallways and such, I wonder if it would be a quieter stay than the gazillions of kids running past the doors at AofA. Overall, I think your wife would feel a bit more pampered staying there, so that would get my vote!
Wife & I are going to probably do a trip for just the 2 of us before the baby comes as well (non-Disney), so this one is definitely focused on the kids. Having a good pool is probably the most important amenity. Large room size is great but probably something we're willing to compromise for this trip. The other idea I've been thinking about is doing another Value Resort non-AofA to take advantage of the September Free Quick Service Dining Plan, which would save another $500+ it seems (Little Mermaid room at AofA doesn't qualify). AofA looks the best by far of the values given our kids' interests, but staying at the All Star Movies would be also really cool for the kids and open up this option.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:08 AM   #5
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I would pick the Hilton at DTD from your choices. Good location and good transportation. If you want a really nice Hilton with fantastic pool and slide check out The Hilton bonnet creek. If you are a gold or diamond member you get free breakfast for 2 every day and kids eat free. It is a very upscale breakfast with steel cut oatmeal grits nice fresh fruit , meat and cheeses Greek yogurt cereal any bread you can imagine. Homemade pop tarts and other pastries. I've stayed there several times and it is a good choice for extra time at the resort. It is so beautiful we often opt for a day at the resort.

I would not choose the art of animation. I visited and the resort was hot and spread out. No slide for the kids.

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Old 06-10-2013, 08:22 AM   #6
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Think I would go for the Swan/Dolphin since you have the points and it is therefore essentially paid for which in my mind offsets the "free dining". The pool there seems great and you really are close enough to take midday breaks if you find that works for you plus you would get the extra night. Whatever you decide the key is to just take it easy and let the kids set the pace - hopefully that will keep everyone from getting over tired and cranky. It can be very hot that time of year so when we go then we just take it a little slower and make frequent stops for snack and hydration breaks throughout the day.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muirhejs

Wife & I are going to probably do a trip for just the 2 of us before the baby comes as well (non-Disney), so this one is definitely focused on the kids. Having a good pool is probably the most important amenity. Large room size is great but probably something we're willing to compromise for this trip. The other idea I've been thinking about is doing another Value Resort non-AofA to take advantage of the September Free Quick Service Dining Plan, which would save another $500+ it seems (Little Mermaid room at AofA doesn't qualify). AofA looks the best by far of the values given our kids' interests, but staying at the All Star Movies would be also really cool for the kids and open up this option.
I stayed at the movies on my honeymoon and it was excellent as well the pool and foodcourt are right there, room was cozy. When you say free Dining Plan that put the nail on the head seeing how expensive food is and the Free Dining saves you so much and you really eat like a KING! Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:23 AM   #8
roryc
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I vote the Swan/Dolphin although admittedly I am a Starwood fan and I've only stayed at those hotels from the ones you listed. The extra night free has to be a deciding factor too. The transportation to/from Epcot and DHS is great with the boat. Enjoy whatever you choose!
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #9
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I would vote for the Swan / Dolphin. We stayed at the Dolphin twice with 2 little kids and they loved it. You can't beat the location and the pools are really great. A deluxe hotel right on the boardwalk...you can't beat that...
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:42 PM   #10
muirhejs
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions; We're likely going to take your advice and book the Swan/Dolphin! So excited for the trip!
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