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Old 02-09-2008, 06:57 AM   #1
Aliceacc
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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First timers list of stuff

While I've been to WDW 4 or 5 times, I haven't been there since 1990, or with kids. So, for all intents and purposes, this is my first trip.

I am a psychotic planner-- this trip has been my big project for about 8 months now. Here are some of the things I've done that might be of interest to other first timers.

1) Resort choice. There's tons of info here, so I won't say much. (yet I keep adding here!!)

From www.mousesavers.com on the advantages on staying on-site:
"The following privileges apply when staying at any of the Disney resorts (Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Disney Vacation Club and Ft. Wilderness cabins & campsites):

Access to Extra Magic Hours

Ability to use Disney's Magical Express (free transportation and luggage transfers to and from the airport)

Ability to make up to ten days of Advance Dining Reservations starting 180 days prior to check-in.

Unlimited free use of the excellent Disney transportation system (buses, boats and monorails) which connects all of the Disney resorts to the theme parks and Downtown Disney, and connects the Disney resorts to each other.

FREE parking at all of the Disney theme parks (you'll be given a parking permit at check-in).

Charging privileges - you can charge most purchases in the Disney resorts and theme parks to your room key.

Package delivery - have theme park purchases delivered to your Disney resort."

Before we were incredibly lucky enough to receive a PIN code in the mail, we had booked with the AAA discount and saved 15% I think. AAA is absolutely worth the registration fee. I'm learning a lot here about which buildings to request. Requests aren't automatically granted, but they're worth a shot. You can take a look at the fact sheets at www.allears.net for info and pictures on each of the resorts.

** Edited to add: Which hotels have rooms that will accommodate more than four people?
All rooms will fit four people plus a child under 3 in a crib. The following will accommodate more. Be sure to indicate when making your reservation how many persons plan to stay in a standard room room.
Animal Kingdom Lodge (4-5)
Animal Kingdom Villas (2-12)
eta: Art of Animation (6)
Beach Club (5)
Beach Club Villas (4-8)
Boardwalk Inn (4-5)
Boardwalk Villas (4-12)
Contemporary (5)
Port Orleans Riverside 4 (5 in some rooms in the Alligator Bayou section)
Fort Wilderness Cabins and Homes (6)
Fort Wilderness Campsites (10)
Grand Floridian (some rooms 5)
Old Key West (4-12)
Polynesian (5)
Saratoga Springs (4-12)
Wilderness Lodge (4-5) and Villas (4-8)
Yacht Club (4-5)
Lots of people here have written about being lucky enough to get a room upgrade. The best advice I've read is that you really can't assume that you'll be that lucky-- book the room you want.

If you're staying on site, be sure you know the EMH schedule (Extra Magic Hours-- hours when only the on-site people have access to the park.)

2) ADRs. Dis-speak for advance dining reservations. If you're staying on site, you can make 10 days worth 180 days before you arrive.(For us, that's this Friday.) From what I understand, if you plan to eat at a Table Service restaurant, they're either a good idea or an absolute necessity.

3) DDP. Disney offers a dining plan (several actually) for people booking a package and staying on site. There's a lot to it, naturally, but here are the basics: it costs about $40 per adult (ages 10 and over) per day; $10 per child (ages 3-9) per day. Kids under 3 aren't included. For that price you get 1 table service credit, 1 counter service credit and 1 snack per day. Gratuities are not included. It's not right for everyone; you need to do your homework here. edited to add: Also, for 2009, there's another dining plan: I think it's 2 counter services and possibly 2 snacks per day.


4) Plane fares: I like www.bookingbuddy.com for airfare comparisons. Also consider signing up for Southwest's Dings if they sound like the right carrier for you.

5) Tickets. Take a look at the options. Once you're there for more than a few days, adding on additional days becomes incredibly cheap. So we got tickets for both our arrival day and departure day. Then, as luck would have it, we got an early flight in and a late flight out. So we'll be able to hit the Magic Kingdom on both days if we choose.

We chose to get Park Hopper tickets. That way we can hit, for example, the Magick Kingdom in the morning and Epcot for dinner. We're also planning to get back to the resort each afternoon for a swim-- relatively easy for us since we're on the monorail.

Take a look at your group and think about Park Hoppers, Water Parks and the other options. Don't pay for an option you don't want.

6) DME (Disney Magical Express) If you stay on site, you can get a free bus to and from the airport. They'll drop your bags in your room, but expect it to take several hours from the time you arrive. Make sure your carry on has bathing suits, sneakers, whatever you'll need upon your arrival. Even if your rooms aren't ready, you can have access to your resort pool and transportation to the parks.


Smaller stuff:
- I've gotten disposable ponchos at the dollar store. From what I remember, it rains most afternoons in August for half an hour or so.

- Bags: I just got myself the Baggalini messenger bag that everyone here has been raving about. (There's a link here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1709843&page=3 with a discount code.) For Christmas, we got everyone a fanny pack from www.beltoutlet.com The kids ones were $4.95 and I got my son a slightly bigger one for $5.95. There's a huge selection of adult ones. Everyone will have a pack of his or her own for sunglasses and other stuff, so mommy isn't the pack mule.

- Pin trading. I went to www.mousepinsonline.com They're running a sale during Feb: pins are $1.75 each. I got a 25 pin grab bag with shipping for under $50.

- I found autograph books for under $6 at www.laughingplace.com I'll pick up sharpies for the kids before we go.

- Hit the Tips forum here. Highlight the ones you want and cut and paste them onto a word document.

- My Disney info is in a binder. I've accumlated so much information that I needed one central place for it. Sometime before my trip I'll go through it and weed some out.
I'll be putting the info I need (dining reservations and similar stuff) onto index cards to bring with me.

- Check the Year of a Million Dreams forum to see about entering that. http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=147

- I found a great list of the minimum height requirements for the rides and attractions: http://www.allears.net/tp/rr.htm

- Some people decorate the window of their resort. It sounds like fun and I bet the kids will love it. I'll be on the lookout for things at the dollar store between now and the time we leave.

Other people: add on basic tips for those of us who don't know the ins and outs, please!
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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.)

Last edited by Aliceacc; 05-04-2013 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:41 AM   #2
collcass
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great list

love it.

I am the psychotic planner in my house! we are so looking forward to our first trip this summer!
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
Aliceacc
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
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To quote one of my favorite lines:

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 09:08 AM   #4
sherry1709
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I loved reading your post! I think I fall into the psychotic planner category as well. Only 120 days til our first trip with the kids! wahooey!!!
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Christmas 1984 WDW
September 1995 Port Orleans honeymoon
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July 2010 Disneyland HOJO
September 2010 15th anniversary trip, POP (kids think we are going to Vegas) shhhhhhhhhh
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
Aliceacc
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
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So you guys, what have you learned that I either haven't seen yet or have forgotten to add?
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 11:24 AM   #6
WEDWDW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc View Post
While I've been to WDW 4 or 5 times, I haven't been there since 1990, or with kids. So, for all intents and purposes, this is my first trip.

I am a psychotic planner-- this trip has been my big project for about 8 months now. Here are some of the things I've done that might be of interest to other first timers.

1) Resort choice. There's tons of info here, so I won't say much. Before we were incredibly lucky enough to receive a PIN code in the mail, we had booked with the AAA discount and saved 15% I think. AAA is absolutely worth the registration fee. I'm learning a lot here about which buildings to request. Requests aren't automatically granted, but they're worth a shot. You can take a look at the fact sheets at www.allears.net for info and pictures on each of the resorts.

Lots of people here have written about being lucky enough to get a room upgrade. The best advice I've read is that you really can't assume that you'll be that lucky-- book the room you want.

If you're staying on site, be sure you know the EMH schedule (Extra Magic Hours-- hours when only the on-site people have access to the park.)

2) ADRs. Dis-speak for advance dining reservations. If you're staying on site, you can make 10 days worth 180 days before you arrive.(For us, that's this Friday.) From what I understand, if you plan to eat at a Table Service restaurant, they're either a good idea or an absolute necessity.


3) DDP. Disney offers a dining plan (several actually) for people booking a package and staying on site. There's a lot to it, naturally, but here are the basics: it costs about $40 per adult (ages 10 and over) per day; $10 per child (ages 3-9) per day. Kids under 3 aren't included. For that price you get 1 table service credit, 1 counter service credit and 1 snack per day. Gratuities are not included. It's not right for everyone; you need to do your homework here.

4) Plane fares: I like www.bookingbuddy.com for airfare comparisons. Also consider signing up for Southwest's Dings if they sound like the right carrier for you.

5) Tickets. Take a look at the options. Once you're there for more than a few days, adding on additional days becomes incredibly cheap. So we got tickets for both our arrival day and departure day. Then, as luck would have it, we got an early flight in and a late flight out. So we'll be able to hit the Magic Kingdom on both days if we choose.

We chose to get Park Hopper tickets. That way we can hit, for example, the Magick Kingdom in the morning and Epcot for dinner. We're also planning to get back to the resort each afternoon for a swim-- relatively easy for us since we're on the monorail.

Take a look at your group and think about Park Hoppers, Water Parks and the other options. Don't pay for an option you don't want.

6) DME (Disney Magical Express) If you stay on site, you can get a free bus to and from the airport. They'll drop your bags in your room, but expect it to take several hours from the time you arrive. Make sure your carry on has bathing suits, sneakers, whatever you'll need upon your arrival. Even if your rooms aren't ready, you can have access to your resort pool and transportation to the parks.


Smaller stuff:
- I've gotten disposable ponchos at the dollar store. From what I remember, it rains most afternoons in August for half an hour or so.

- Bags: I just got myself the Baggalini messenger bag that everyone here has been raving about. (There's a link here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1709843&page=3 with a discount code.) For Christmas, we got everyone a fanny pack from www.beltoutlet.com The kids ones were $4.95 and I got my son a slightly bigger one for $5.95. There's a huge selection of adult ones. Everyone will have a pack of his or her own for sunglasses and other stuff, so mommy isn't the pack mule.

- Pin trading. I went to www.mousepinsonline.com They're running a sale during Feb: pins are $1.75 each. I got a 25 pin grab bag with shipping for under $50.

- I found autograph books for under $6 at www.laughingplace.com I'll pick up sharpies for the kids before we go.

- Hit the Tips forum here. Highlight the ones you want and cut and paste them onto a word document.

- My Disney info is in a binder. I've accumlated so much information that I needed one central place for it. Sometime before my trip I'll go through it and weed some out.
I'll be putting the info I need (dining reservations and similar stuff) onto index cards to bring with me.

- Disney is running a sweepstake during Feb. Here's the info: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1711212 You can enter daily. Also, check the Year of a Million Dreams forum to see about entering that. http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=147

- Some people decorate the window of their resort. It sounds like fun and I bet the kids will love it. I'll be on the lookout for things at the dollar store between now and the time we leave.

Other people: add on basic tips for those of us who don't know the ins and outs, please!
Are you SURE you haven't been since 1990?LOL I have spent 88 days in the parks since 2003 and I can't think of anything to add to your post other than that the Dollar Store ponchos will also come in very handy on Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.If you have any specific questions I will be glad to try and help.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:02 PM   #7
Aliceacc
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
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WEDWDW View Post
Are you SURE you haven't been since 1990?LOL I have spent 88 days in the parks since 2003 and I can't think of anything to add to your post other than that the Dollar Store ponchos will also come in very handy on Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.If you have any specific questions I will be glad to try and help.
We're both teachers; a normal vacation for us is a week at a cabin on a lake upstate.

If I'm going to break the bank on a vacation, you had better believe I'm doing my homework before I go!!!

(Of course, my sister who is a better financial position, called last week and said: "I'm going in July. What do I need to know?" )
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 12:35 PM   #8
collcass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc View Post
To quote one of my favorite lines:

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"
LOL. Do you have a pre trip report. I'd love to read it!

ETA: I just read your last post: when I told my DH that I really wanted to take the kids to WDW this year, his reply was "I guess that means we aren't going to the lake this year"

Last edited by collcass; 02-09-2008 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:59 PM   #9
Aliceacc
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
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We're not going for 6 months yet.

Besides, what would I write that anyone but me would care about? What do they include?
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DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
JoanieS
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Quote:
While I've been to WDW 4 or 5 times, I haven't been there since 1990, or with kids. So, for all intents and purposes, this is my first trip.

I am a psychotic planner-- this trip has been my big project for about 8 months now. Here are some of the things I've done that might be of interest to other first timers.
Are we twins???? I could have written this word for word (except I have only been 3 times to Disney).

Last time was 1990 on our Disneymoom. We have been planning since last Oct for our trip this Oct!

I already have a 15 page word doc with "tips and tricks"! Can you say OCD?
And, my Baggalinni was delivered last week
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(DH) (Me) (DS 9) (DS 7) and (DBIL) who is crazy enough to join us for this trip!
I've been "BOO-ED" by Parrotheadlois!
The "You're not going until WHEN? Pre-Trip Report-UPDATE 10/2 - WE TOLD THE KIDS-Video
My Crazy World-My Blog
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:04 PM   #11
tnmomof4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc View Post
- Pin trading. I went to www.mousepinsonline.com They're running a sale during Feb: pins are $1.75 each. I got a 25 pin grab bag with shipping for under $50.

I was just wondering if you were happy with the pins you received?
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:14 PM   #12
Aliceacc
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
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnmomof4 View Post
I was just wondering if you were happy with the pins you received?
I know nothing about pin trading, but they look great to me. There was a nice variety-- some Mickeys, some princesses, some others. Each has the Disney stamp on the back.

My sister got hers today and is happy with them as well.
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 07:16 PM   #13
Aliceacc
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: 11,347

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoanieS View Post
Are we twins???? I could have written this word for word (except I have only been 3 times to Disney).

Last time was 1990 on our Disneymoom. We have been planning since last Oct for our trip this Oct!

I already have a 15 page word doc with "tips and tricks"! Can you say OCD?
And, my Baggalinni was delivered last week
Long Island & South Jersey... could we be twins, separated at birth?

do you have any tips to add? Like you, I have a Word document full of assorted tips, but nothing jumps to mind.
__________________
DH: me: DS (16) , DD (14): DD (11):


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 02-09-2008, 07:21 PM   #14
JoanieS
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My only tip would be to make lists, lists of lists and lists of the list lists!

I have a list for EVERYTHING at this point, so I don't forget anything!

And, read and re-read the tip board.

I am driving my DH and my BIL nutso with the planning.

I can't even share with the kids, since we are hoping to surprise them - our hope is to wake them the morning we are leaving and tell them then!
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(DH) (Me) (DS 9) (DS 7) and (DBIL) who is crazy enough to join us for this trip!
I've been "BOO-ED" by Parrotheadlois!
The "You're not going until WHEN? Pre-Trip Report-UPDATE 10/2 - WE TOLD THE KIDS-Video
My Crazy World-My Blog
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:31 PM   #15
PiratesRock
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I put my kids in brightly colored matching outfits each day so if we get separated even a little bit they're easy to spot and easy to remember what they were wearing. I plan out each days outfits (including undies) and pack them in individual packs so on Tuesday I pull out Tuesdays bag and hand it to the kids to put on. No thinking required before my coffee.
Also, I do a trip to the dollar store for $1 ponchos (which can be passed on or chucked in the garbage after used) and bunches of really cheap light up bracletts and necklaces (sp?). An over-the-door shoe holder helps control clutter in the bathroom. Photocopies of tickets and all reservation numbers can be invaluable. Good Luck I'll check back for more tips!!
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