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Old 07-15-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3

Disneyworld hotel recommendations

Hi all,

This is my first post! It looks like we're going to bite the bullet and book our trip to the states for October.

We're planning to spend about 6 nights at Disneworld, and I have a tentative booking with the travel agent for the Grand Floridian. But now I'm starting to doubt whether it's actually worth the extra $$$.

The only reason we chose it (we were tossing up between that and the Boardwalk Villas) is because I'm a bit of a two-bob-snob! Not really, but I don't like staying at hotels at the best of times, but I figure the more expensive, the better, cleaner, nicer it will be. And, I was taken in by the foyer and the orchestra! But after doing bit of research, I haven't found anyone exactly rave about the GF, and most people tend to prefer the less expensive options such as POR - FQ, beach club etc.

So, I'm just after your opinions... we have two boys - 8 and 2.5. 2.5 year old can be a bit of a sook, so we want to make sure we're in a really convenient place that's easy to get around to things, including at night.

Where is the best location, eg. MK, downtown, etc. and which resort is the nicest in that location?

Also, are the dining plans good value? We were looking at the deluxe dining plan, but having never been there before, it's hard to tell if it's worth doing the dining plan, or if we're just better to pay as we go.

It's only 79 days until we leave OZ,so we'd better get ourselves organised!
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:34 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 324

Six days is a little tight for a first visit, however with early and late entry along with park hoppers you should be able to cover alot of WDW.
As a DVC member I prefer DVC villas using points (you could rent points from a DVC member) but for cash POFQ gets good reviews on this board. As for the best location it is hard to nominate as it depends which parks you will spend more time at and if you have a car or rely on Disney transportation
In relation to dining, whilst the DxDDP is great value TS restaurants take significant time per meal and taking it for the full six nights would cramp your park time significantly. Further you will be making ADRs over 100 days after they became available so you will find it harder to get convenient times. For a first visit I would highly recommend character meals, particularly breakfasts, as they save time on character interations and are relatively cheap when paid for separately. The following are the best options: -
Crystal Palace, MK & Tusker House, AK (both as close to 8am as possible on a non-early entry day);
Cape May Cafe, Beach Club at about 10:45am after Epcot early entry (7:30am is also possible if staying at Boardwalk or Beach Club);
1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian at about 10:30am after Magic Kingdom early entry.
Have a great trip.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:57 AM   #3
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3

Thanks for your tips!

I was just thinking that maybe we should add a couple of days, so maybe we can do POFQ for 5 nights, then switch to GF for another 2. Then we can experience the quaintness of GF and still save a bit of money by staying at POFQ.

The thing that kind of bothers me about the dining plan is that my youngest boy doesn't actually get any meals or snacks, so we'll have to pay for him anyway.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:55 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 942

I'm not up to date with WDW and the under 3s, but if he's getting a ticket in your package, I'm sure you could include a kids DP and tell them that you'll pay for a 3 yo? I'm sure somebody else will know the answer to that.

As for resorts, with an 8yo and your 2.5yo I'd imagine you'd be spending the majority of your time at the Magic Kingdom (Disneyland-like) park. Therefore you'd want to stay at one of the MK resorts - one of which is the Grand Floridian, but you also have the Polynesian and the Contemporary. I think they also class the Wilderness Lodge as an MK Resort, but it's not on the monorail line - you need to catch a boat or bus to get to the MK as opposed to the other three which are on the monorail line. I LOVED, loved, loved the WL, which is the only one of the four that I've stayed at, although I've visited/toured/dined at the other three as well. The Polynesian is nice, I found the GF a bit too grand for my liking (might be just up your alley ) and the Contemporary a little bland, but that was before the upgrades a few years back - don't know what I'd think now.

I think my vote would be for the WL, but with your little one, the monorail would probably be a big bonus, so maybe not. We took our (then) 3yo and 16 month old to Tokyo Disneyland and we stayed at the Hilton which was on the monorail line and was a life saver for mid-day naps. The WL isn't far away, but that little bit extra might make a difference. On the pro side for the WL, you can get rooms with bunk beds which your boys might get a kick out of, and the theming really is beautiful.

As for the moderates (ie Port Orleans, Caribbean), they are a bus ride away from the MK and since your trip is kinda short and you have your little one, I'd recommend staying closer to the MK.

BUT, having said all that, you really can't go wrong with any of the Disney resorts. They are all excellently themed and a lot of fun
Me and He , DS1 , DS2 and DS3 makes our family complete

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Old 07-15-2011, 04:23 AM   #5
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 942

Just found this about Dining Plans and the under 3s:

The Disney Dining Plan is unavailable
for Guests under the age of 3, but
they may share from an adult plate
at no charge, or a meal may be
purchased from the menu. The price
of the meal will be added to your bill.
Guests ages 3-9 must order from a
children’s menu where available.
Me and He , DS1 , DS2 and DS3 makes our family complete

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Old 07-15-2011, 05:23 AM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 246


We stayed at the beach club which we loved, however the pool is large and probably not perfect for little ones. I personally would opt for a monorail resort easy access to MK and Epcot will prove invaluable.

I would not resort change as it wastes time, and I'm pretty sure they need to reissue tickets, change dining play etc.

We had a free dining play child, we found that there was plenty of food for her sharing off our plates, they never charged for her drinks and usually offered desert.

Don't forget to get a child swap fast pass, so you can both ride with your 8yo. My older kids loved being able to ride each ride twice.

We avoided the magic hours parks, thus tended to avoid crowds too.

Happy planning.
DL 2009 - HoJo's
DW 2010 - Beach Club
Next up D? - 2012
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:14 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 1,060

There are a couple of main differences between GF and POR. firstly - location - if you are on the monorail then you have very easy access to MK and Epcot and a lot of the restaurants.
If you are at POR you have to travel everywhere. You can go on the bus or drive yourself - but you are now adding time and co-ordination.
The other difference is room size - the rooms at GF and other deluxe hotels are bigger than POR. The older monorail resorts (like Contemporary and Poly) have larger rooms than WL and Beach Club had the smallest room I've ever stayed in.
Boardwalk is very plush and close to Epcot and DHS and thus also a bunch of restaurants.
For only 6 nights and with little kids perhaps easiest to not change resorts.
I've done the different dining plans and you have to eat a lot of food to match the price. So you may be better off without a plan and paying out of pocket. Then you can eat where and what you like
1993 WDW offsite; 2006 DLR offsite; 2008 TDL MiraCosta; 2009 WDW BWI & WL; 2010 WDW CR & BC-CL; 2010 DLR GCH; 2011 WDW PR, OKW & CR; 2012 WDW SSR & AKV; 2014 WDW BWV & GF!!
Check out my blog about Disney, Orlando and Zonta International: Mrs Banks goes to Convention
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