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Old 04-07-2009, 07:45 AM   #1
punjabi
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Going to Disney World Orlando first time, please advice

Hi WDW fans:

We (family of three, daughter is 11) shall be visiting WDW, Orlando (first trip) for a week from April 20. Flight (used miles), and stay (renting a home) are all set. I have also rented a car (Alamo) from Orlando airport using code posted on mousesavers. So, looks like this part is all taken care.

Now, I came to this wonderful board two days ago and have been reading as much as I can, and surprised that people start planning months in advance. I was thinking that I am going to be good since I am learning about 2 weeks in advance, but that doesn't seem to be enough now. What with all the strategies seasoned people here have or make. I hope you can advice me and help make our first trip to magical world of disney truly memorable and one that we will cherish for a long time.

Specifically, for now, I need advice on where to buy tickets from? I am planning to buy 7-day ticket, we will definitely go to water parks for two days. My wife is not a big fan of big rides, but both my daughter and I are huge fans and time permitting will love to do all the rides. We also love to go in water park (wife also loves that) and wave pools are enjoyed by all of us. All right now to the tickets, mousesavers mention about undercover tourist for discounted tickets, but I see that undercover prices are little higher than AAA prices. I can get 7-day MYW tickets with water park and more option for 278 (per person) from AAA and this will also include AAA Diamond parking pass. Is it the best I can do or there is another place to get tickets cheaper?
Also, we might visit WDW again (reading people's responses who have been there numerous times, I hope we will also love WDW), so in that case does it make sense to buy 10-day MYW tickets with no-expiration option? How does it work, will these tickets be still valid, say in 3-4 years?

Any way to save on parking, though I highly doubt that, but still thought of getting feedback from experienced people.

I have been reading here about rope-drop? What does that mean? Is it related to park-opening time? Is it better to be at the parks at opening time (Lines are shorter, may be...). Where to find information about park opening and closing times? Can I print maps about theme parks that will show all the rides and activities, so that we can plan ahead?

How does fast-pass system work?

What are the rides that one should definitely do to get a hang of WDW? Looks like Soaring is one of them. Is there a list somewhere here about the must-do rides at each park? If no list, can someone please let us know. Any advice to have the most fun is deeply appreciated.

Is Seaworld worth it?

What stuff we should take with us to help us save money? We are planning to take cereal bars, single-serve kool-aid packets. We will also have water bottles that we will fill from the water-fountains. I am also planning to buy Autograph book, mist-fans, and also disney themed t-shirts if I can find to get autographs on, and also some permanent markers. What else should we pack? We are in Boston, so if there is someone from Boston who can tell us where to buy stuff from, that will be great.

I know these are lots of questions, but you can imagine that a first-timer will have such questions, and especially if you come to a board like this that is filled with information, it is easier to get overwhelmed.

I am sure there are threads on most of these questions, and I am trying to read through as much as I can. But I will appreciate if someone can help first-timers.

Thanks in advance.

Punjabi.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:52 AM   #2
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I suggest get a book - Undercover Tourist, Passporter - and READ! It is very beneficial to get to the parks at opening, especially during such a crowded time. You mike also want to subscribe to tourguidemike.com, to figure out what parks on what days. If you want to eat in a table service restaurant, you need to call and see if any ADR's are available. The books will have maps. Some of the major attractions have fastpasses - get your first one when you enter a park, and it will tell you when you are eligible to get another one. There is an expiration time, but it's not enforced 99.9% of the time. You can't use it until the time stated, however. There is a separate line for those with fastpasses (there are machines at the rides - you insert your park ticket to get them), and it's MUCH shorter than the regular line.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:04 AM   #3
Darcy03231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punjabi View Post
Specifically, for now, I need advice on where to buy tickets from?

I have been reading here about rope-drop? What does that mean? Is it related to park-opening time? Is it better to be at the parks at opening time (Lines are shorter, may be...). Where to find information about park opening and closing times? Can I print maps about theme parks that will show all the rides and activities, so that we can plan ahead?

How does fast-pass system work?

What are the rides that one should definitely do to get a hang of WDW?

Is Seaworld worth it?

What stuff we should take with us to help us save money?
1. I like to buy my tickets from my local AAA office. So far I haven't found anyone to beat there price.

2. To be at a park for rope drop you really need to be there before the posted park opening. By getting to the parks early you can get a lot done before the lines start to form. You can also get fastpasses for the really popular rides like Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios and Soarin' in Epcot. These two rides, in particular, tend to run out of fastpasses early in the day. If you go to the Walt Disney World website there are park maps.

3. Fastpass is a system that allows you to get a ticket to return the ride at a later time and have a shorter wait time. You put your park ticket in the fast pass machine and it will spit out a ticket giving you a return time for the ride. Once you're in that time frame you return the ride and generally have a short (less than 15 min) wait time. Once you get a fast pass you cannot get another one until your fast pass time has expired or two hours, whichever comes first.

4. Rides are subjective. Some families love the faster thrill type rides and others like the classics. Since you'll be there for a week you should be able to ride everything at least once. My kids love the Tower of Terror and my favorite is Pirates of the Carribean.

5. We really like Seaworld, but in all honesty, I think you might be trying to cram too much into one trip. We did several trips to WDW before we started branching out to other parks. Since you already have two water park days planned I would stick to WDW for this trip, unless you're going for longer than a week.

6. I bought the mister fan at Walmart for about $5 (its $15 in the parks). We also carry our own water bottles and snacks. Counter service meals are pretty big and I find we can split them in a lot of cases.

If you plan to return to WDW I would buy the 10 day no-expiration tickets. They're good until you use them again (even 10 years from now).

Hope this helps and have a great trip!
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
Aliceacc
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YOu've already been given a lot of good advice.

I would skip SeaWorld this trip; there's plenty to see in Disney without spending more money for another park.

But I would invest in Parkhopper passes. These allow you to go from one park to another in one day. So you could spend the morning in the Magic Kingdom, then "hop" via monorail or car to Epcot to have dinner there.

As far as food goes: consider doing at least one or 2 restaurant meals while you're there. Yes, it can get expensive. But it's part of the experience. My kids loved the Coral Reef in Epcot; one entire wall is an aquarium. They also loved the buffet at 1900 Park Fare (in the Grand Floridian; easily reachable by monorail from the Magic Kingdom.) Cinderella and her stepsisters visit fron one table to the next for pictures and autographs, and were simply hysterical!! Still another option is Chef Mickeys in the Contemporary (again, on the monorail line, so easy to reach from the Magic Kingdom)-- Mickey, Minnie and the crew visit table to table.

Some "don't miss" rides for my family include: (the kids aren't roller coaster people)

Magic Kindgom: Mickey's Philharmagic, Pirates of the Carribean, the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear

Epcot: Spaceship Earth, Soarin', Test Track, Mission: space, and the Maelstrom in Norway.

AK: The Safari, Kali River Rapids

DHS: Toy Story Mania

Let me reiterate: Fastpass is a FREE service. You don't pay for it; you just have to be smart enough to take advantage of it.

Have a wonderful trip!!
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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The absolute best way to learn the ends and outs of wdw ıs to get a book. each of us have a fav. mıne ıs the unoffıcal guıde to wdw thıs book has a complete lıst of resturants ın and out of the world, a complete lıst of travel tımes from just about every hotle area to each destınatıon, park tourıng guıdes when to go and on and on and on and on. There are so many lıttle thıngs. The other thıng ıs you need to do ıs decıde ıf you are goıng to eat any sıt down meals ın dısney and ıf so get crackıng on advanced res. they go fast and are a must do to walk up servıce ıs hıt and mıss at best. The books wıll help on pıckıng a resturant. The mouse savers ıs the best for prıces on just about any servıce from rental car to tıckets. If you are goıng to return to wdw ın a year or less buy the year pass ıt ıs good for a 1year rollıng calender. Ie ıf your trıp ıs mıddle of May you can come back as much as you want untıl mıddle of may next year. IE you can go ın July of one year and June the next year. Also sınce stayıng off sıte thee are some other water parks ın orlando area that are a lıttle cheaper tha the wdw ones. ( the books cover thıs aswell). My best advıce ıs to slow down and enjoy the world there are so many thıngs to do and see ıt ıs ımposıble to do them all unless you were to stay months. The books wıll help ın narrowıng down what you want to see and help you set up a plan.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:54 AM   #6
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Try the book the Unofficial Guide to WDW. It explains everything and has touring guides in the back - it helps to have a plan! Since you already know when you are going and where you are staying, you can skip a few of the chapters and find the info that you want.

Rope drop literally means when they drop the ropes to allow guests to move towards attractions. So, being there before the rope drop means being there before the park opens.

If this is the first time that your daughter is experiencing rides, I would start out easy (e.g., not on the roller coasters).

Have a great trip!
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:03 PM   #7
punjabi
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I will definitely buy the book, soon, hopefully in a day or two.

Thanks for the AAA ticket prices, will buy the tickets from AAA.

My daughter has already experiences rides..sort of like at Six Flags..so I am sure she will be ok.

We are early risers, so I guess rope-drop should work out fine for us. So, at rope-drop you are basically standing outside disney gate or next to the rides you want to do?

All right then, this trip is only WDW, no seaworld..that will be for next time.

Do you really think I should go with Park-hopper option? Will we be able to cover two parks in a day? If no, then why buy it?

Thanks for the must-do rides. So, even for ride-crazy people (I definitely want to do faster thrill type rides, and I am sure my daughter does too, my wife wouldn't do those), they are must do. Any others besides what are mentioned here already?
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punjabi View Post
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I will definitely buy the book, soon, hopefully in a day or two.

Thanks for the AAA ticket prices, will buy the tickets from AAA.

My daughter has already experiences rides..sort of like at Six Flags..so I am sure she will be ok.

We are early risers, so I guess rope-drop should work out fine for us. So, at rope-drop you are basically standing outside disney gate or next to the rides you want to do?

All right then, this trip is only WDW, no seaworld..that will be for next time.

Do you really think I should go with Park-hopper option? Will we be able to cover two parks in a day? If no, then why buy it?

Thanks for the must-do rides. So, even for ride-crazy people (I definitely want to do faster thrill type rides, and I am sure my daughter does too, my wife wouldn't do those), they are must do. Any others besides what are mentioned here already?
Pick which rides in each park you HAVE to ride then get to those first, try to get a Fast Pass. Also don't miss FANTASMIC in DHS it is a fire & Water show...AWESOME!

We get our books from the library so I can see which book is more beneficial, and I give my DD the assignment of deciding which book out of the four or five we should actually go buy! Then we get to take notes out of the books and still have one to take with us. Also, you can get Customized maps from WDW website for FREE! They are really neat and we actually saved ours for our scrapbook rather thatn take them with us, because we get the ones at the gate to use or lose!
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:10 PM   #9
Aliceacc
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I love the flexibility of having a fast pass.

If it rains you out of Animal Kingdom (with us last August, it was more of a monsoon than a "rain") you can change and hit the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

If the Magic Kingdom is too crowded, hop on a bus or monorail.

If you want to eat your way around the world at Epcot, you can-- after starting each day in a different park.

I LOVE the flexibility!!!
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:06 PM   #10
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I say yes to park hopper wıth you goıng for 7 days. Thıs way you can do a park ın the am then take a nap ın the afternoon( belıve me a must no matter what ages ın your party) then come back and do a evenıng at another park IE a parade mk fantasmıc dhs or just nıce meal at epcot, We love to do a park ın the day and spend the nıght at epcot and eat a nıce meal ın the world show case.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:11 PM   #11
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I say no hopper because you can add it at any time for $50 per person (this is not per day - it's for the entire length of your ticket). And you may not need it. We've always used hoppers but this last trip we never hopped. Could have saved $100. If you decide one night that you'd like to hop, just go to a ticket window and tell them you want to add the hopper feature. You can even do this on the last day of your trip if you felt it was worth it.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:29 PM   #12
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Yes! You MUST rest!

Ok, you will read it, and you will probably say "HECK NO!" but trust us when we say you need to REST!

See, I read it and said we are not going to waste time at the hotel when we paid X $s to take this trip. See thing is, it was not until the third trip, that I slowed down and REALIZED that we could NEVER see it all in one trip anyway... so we finally relaxed and went back to the room, or another resort to eat etc. Just realize that you can not do it all in a week, so save some things for next time.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:41 PM   #13
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Hi! We are also from MA, flying out of Providence 4/19 and staying until the 29th, and we are also staying off property.

I highly recommend the Unofficial Guide to WDW as well. We each are drawn to a particular guidebook, and use it as a "Disney Bible" so to speak.

The touring plans in the back of the book are great - helps to see more and do more.

One thing: If you have a multi day pass with the water park add-on feature, the water park does NOT count as a day, so you could have a 4-day ticket, do MK, AK, EP, DS, and also a water park.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:57 PM   #14
punjabi
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Wait, I am little confused. So you are saying that if I have 7-day ticket with water-park add-on feature, and I go to 4 theme parks in 4-days and go to two water parks on 2-days, I have only used 4 days out of my 7-day ticket? I thought that this way I will use 6-days, but may be I was wrong.

Also, lets say I go to Epcot in the morning, can I go to water park in the afternoon and still have used only one-day out of my tickets?

Hey KteaRN, may I know where are you buying your tickets from?

Thanks.


Quote:
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One thing: If you have a multi day pass with the water park add-on feature, the water park does NOT count as a day, so you could have a 4-day ticket, do MK, AK, EP, DS, and also a water park.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:11 PM   #15
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Here's another vote no for the hopper. For a first time visitor I think a park a day is fine.
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