Hi all! First, thanks in advance for your feedback!
I relied on this board last year a couple times for my first trip ever
to Disney! (Where I subsequently got engaged!
We would like to go back for a honeymoon trip in the fall time-frame this year.
we had a trip including 5 nights, 4 1/2 days. We had the free dining deal and stayed at a value resort All Star Sports. We had a blast! All inclusive, airfare, it was around $1400. I don't know if that is a good deal or not--what I do know is that it was affordable for us.
This year, paying for a wedding, budget is tight. We would really like to experience a longer trip (7 days-ish) without breaking the bank. I wonder if we can do it for $2500? Along with this comes a series of questions I am hoping you can help me with! One of mine and DH's fav times to go is in late Sept., when crowds are not so bad-airfare can usually be had pretty cheap on Orbitz and such-or even by calling the reservations of the airline and telling them you saw a special on Orbitz-they will sometimes beat the price (I work in travel so I know how much money airlines lose by offering these deals in fees and hidden discounts!) which will really make you and the airlines happy!
[LIST=1][*] Last year we arrived mid-week and left mid-week. Thus, we avoided crowds for airport travel and hotel check-in. VERY appealing. But if we plan to go longer, should we consider weekend travel? This allows for a longer vacation time since because I don't have to take as many vacation days from work! (Could potentially be there for TWO weekends!
Although this costs more....) Many times, the CM's can help you with these reservations that allow for consistent pricing throughout the stay with specials that you have to really dig to find!
Where does one sign-up to receive PIN #s? I read a little about these and am wondering if I threw some away with the junk mail since they did mail me a vacation planning DVD last year. Can I call to get one? I recommend the Disney Visa-when you order one, they offer a lot of codes then give you 0 % on your room or package for up to 6 months. Plus, it will really add up in additional points for you. Just finally got one myself and I use it and pay it off immediately. Already have 20+ points and have had it 2 months. Plus, you get 20% off on a lot of park tours, free photo opportunities, and deals on merchandise. Then, more points there!
[*] I've read all the hooplah on the free-dining promos. I don't want to get into that discussion. I think we are in the boat of going, regardless of promo. What I would like to know is if I book everything now (room, flight, dining plan), and the promo comes later for free dining or free nights, will I be eligible to switch? Or do I need to wait to book stuff? Putting a deposit on a room-only plan is easy to upgrade from my experience. If you book a total package, then you are kinda stuck.
[*] Some attractive dates to me were at the end of September. That's within 180 days. Are we hosed on dinner reservations?? Should I push it out to Oct? I am leaving in 11 days-my DH and I are going during Spring Break season and I just called yesterday and got a ressie for Jiko. It's later- 9:30- but it is only us, we have lots of spare time to really enjoy the park so I don't mind eating later in the day. We have even gotten lucky doing walkups in late Sept.
[*] It's a Honeymoon! We will have fun no matter what, but any suggestions on honeymoon-ish stuff to do, other than wear the appropriate Mickey ears?
I heard there are ways to take special pictures in the Magic Kingdomon the castle! How do you do that? We would LOVE to see the inside of that place too! Is that allowed?Any secret tricks to getting a CM to do anything special for us? I make sure to let them know when I make any reservations about my special events. They have the cute "Just Married" buttons but there is a special page on the Disney site that has cake or flower options-many times when people have cakes delivered, they get cards with the characters pictures and signatures on them, just for you. So many people at the parks will wave, say Congrats, and offer to take your picture-that right there is wonderful memories. And you usually get a discount on a Photopass!
[*] During our trip there, we'd like to branch out and see some more of Orlando. We'd like to spend some time at Downtown Disney, and maybe even go to Universal Studios for a day. How in the world do we pull that off? Last time we didn't even rent a car. [Can you rent a car right from the resort for just 1 day? Any tips? Used to work car rental-there are MANY rental places that will deliver a car to you and drive you back to the resort, but honestly, a cab or the MEARS service will be cheaper in the long run. And there are so many friendly DISer's that will probably be going-maybe you could ride-share with them. You'll meet new friends and save every one some gas money all around!
[*] She likes Harry Potter. Is that part of the Universal place? Worth seeing?
[*] Are the water parks worth getting tickets to? Last time we did 1 park per day. Do the water parks take a full day each? We went a half-day to each of them-IMHO, it isn't really worth the money for a Park Hopper option. But, that's me!
[*] Are other Orlando hotels/resorts worth looking into, then driving into the parks? I feel like that's only like a half-experience? Are they cheaper? Especially since you need to rent a car the whole time and pay for parking?
[*] What's to be said about using a travel agency, a website like expedia/travelocity, or using the disney site/phone # itself?
Oh my gosh, this is a large post--larger than anticipated! But I thank you experts so much in advance for your thoughts!!
One of these days, I'll be an expert too, and can return the favor!