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Old 02-11-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
Mama Mouse
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We're going and I need help!

:D

So we did some talking and we'd been putting it off and I just had that epiphany moment like, we're doing it. This year. We are tentatively planning for May 21stish-May 29th. Yes, I know this isn't far off. Yes I know we won't get reservations but, honestly, I've been that route and felt more tied down by them than anything. I just want a laid back trip.

The last time I went was 2010 and that was a big group trip where we rented a fairly large house. THis trip will be just my husband, son and I and I've gotten REALLY out of the loop as far as great deals and smart budgeting.

I know I should probably check undercover tourist for tickets. With regards to lodging, I've priced out a couple of the property resorts and I thought about pricing some of the closer hotels near downtown disney and maybe even a condo.

We've still got to decide flying vs. driving, as well.

Where do I start? This is my first time planning for us and JUST us and I don't want to make a stupid misstep.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:18 AM   #2
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from where? flying getting so $$. Then again, so is gas.

Planning is half the fun. Enjoy. Budget? people?
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:00 AM   #3
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Hmmm. . .it sounds like it's just you two.

I like DVC studios, so I would see if I could get OKW or AKV Savannah view at the last minute, either through some long term poster on the boards, The Timeshare Store or Dave's. OKW is cheaper, AKV is breathtaking. They're both not as hard to get at last minute, AKV especially. (It's my current fallback - well, we can always get AKV and watch the giraffe .) Then too. . .WL and SSR aren't impossible to get into at short notice, either.


Of course, if you get OKW, there are a LOT of options at DTD close by for food without reservations, plus it's easy on the points and if you don't want to eat QS breakfast every morning, you don't have to.

I think you know most of it yourself already.

(I'm thinking that when I have my big family trip in a year or two, we're staying OKW, both for the cheapness and because it will be sooooo much easier at dinner every night to tell the teenagers "we will be at DTD at X spot at 6:30pm. If you show up, we will all decide where to eat, and we will pay to feed you. If not, you're own your own." So my mind jumped there immediately when you said you were tired of the ADR game.)
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #4
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Mouse View Post
:D

So we did some talking and we'd been putting it off and I just had that epiphany moment like, we're doing it. This year. We are tentatively planning for May 21stish-May 29th. Yes, I know this isn't far off. Yes I know we won't get reservations but, honestly, I've been that route and felt more tied down by them than anything. I just want a laid back trip.

The last time I went was 2010 and that was a big group trip where we rented a fairly large house. THis trip will be just my husband, son and I and I've gotten REALLY out of the loop as far as great deals and smart budgeting.

I know I should probably check undercover tourist for tickets. With regards to lodging, I've priced out a couple of the property resorts and I thought about pricing some of the closer hotels near downtown disney and maybe even a condo.

We've still got to decide flying vs. driving, as well.

Where do I start? This is my first time planning for us and JUST us and I don't want to make a stupid misstep.
Picking your dates was a big step in getting started. The next would be to decide where to stay. For 3 people, you might want to stay in a condo at Bonnet Creek. The area gets great reviews on the Orlando Resorts and Attractions forum. Or maybe this is your year to stay onsite. The current discount runs through mid-June. Check Disney's website under the "special offers" link at the bottom of the homepage. There are cases that can be made for both onsite and offsite accommodations.

Driving has its advantages, especially if you're staying offsite. The cost of renting a car and paying for parking can pretty much wipe out the savings you get from staying offsite. OTOH, airfare prices have gone through the roof and you have to pack carefully to avoid paying too much for checked luggage. There's a AAA gas price calculator that will give you an idea of what it would cost to drive your vehicle to Orlando and back, using today's gas prices. http://fuelcostcalculator.aaa.com/ . And you can check airfare prices at kayak.com to compare your costs.

Ticket prices will be going up. There's a rumor that it will be happening in April. If you're positive that you will be going in May, you might want to invest in tickets now. Undercovertourist.com is a reputable website with decent discounts. I would consider the 7-day base tickets. The 8-day tickets are more than $15 per person more and if you plan a "down day" in the middle of your trip, that's all you really need.

Food can be a wild card. You can do picnics in the parks or you can do table service meals three times a day. It all depends on your budget and appetites. You can check the menus here to decide where you might want to eat when you're onsite and how much it will cost.

Everything else is just extra when it comes to planning. You can be very attentive to details and plan your days down to the minute or you can be a go-with-the-flow type who decides what they want to do when they wake up in the morning.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:20 AM   #5
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My tried and true planning order: 1)get the resort 2) all ADRs at 180 days coordinated with the park we will be in for the day. Park is based on evening or morning EMH (available to disney resort guests only) 3) get the flight 4) reserve the vehicle to/from Sanford (we use only disney transportation) 5) put park tickets on the resort room card at check in --much handier than having a separate paper ticket to keep track of. I also coordinate buying an AP and a TIW dining discount card that will cover two trips in 12 months.Your week covers Memorial Day so it will be busy. A laid-back trip may contain a the resort for you instead of hitting the parks every day. And don't forget to dine at resorts for a chance to explore them--maybe you'll find your next trip's resortGet started soon! I'm just about to begin the process for a December trip
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:24 AM   #6
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WaHooo! Congrats on the trip!

For just the 3 of you, it should be easy since you won't need to ask anyone else's opinion or worry about another families schedule.

I'd say you could spend this week as research. Compare everything and collect prices. Then next week you can make final decisions on the where, when, and how you'll get there. After that all the planning will be for fun stuff! Is your son old enough to help with some decisions in the planning? Does DH want input?

Sign up for the Mousesavers newsletter quick if you haven't already. it might save you $ on tickets with UT.

I just think that once you get the big things out of the way you'll be less anxious. Happy Planning
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Mouse View Post
:D

So we did some talking and we'd been putting it off and I just had that epiphany moment like, we're doing it. This year. We are tentatively planning for May 21stish-May 29th. Yes, I know this isn't far off. Yes I know we won't get reservations but, honestly, I've been that route and felt more tied down by them than anything. I just want a laid back trip.

The last time I went was 2010 and that was a big group trip where we rented a fairly large house. THis trip will be just my husband, son and I and I've gotten REALLY out of the loop as far as great deals and smart budgeting.

I know I should probably check undercover tourist for tickets. With regards to lodging, I've priced out a couple of the property resorts and I thought about pricing some of the closer hotels near downtown disney and maybe even a condo.

We've still got to decide flying vs. driving, as well.

Where do I start? This is my first time planning for us and JUST us and I don't want to make a stupid misstep.
I think your dates fall in the Spring discount dates, check the website for details. That could save you some money on disney resorts if you decide to go that route.

Sorry for this, I just checked and your dates fall out of the promo I think. My mistake.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:27 AM   #8
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you'll have a great time,it's hard to do it 'wrong'.... you will find less discounts as you get closer to your date,that's all. I would recommend a room at Pop for the 3 of you(my boys love this place/pool/etc)
It's usually a good price,check around for discounts, then if you fly in you can take ME bus for free from airport,and buses etc around Disney,which is way fun for kids.( my boys love the buses)
YOu can eat at counter service to save money also, there are so many great choices on property, and check undercover tourist for ticket prices- better yet sign up for mousesavers newsletter tight now,and then use the code with next months issue for another small ticket discount-
since this is essentially your first time here as a family,buy base tickets only, you can add hopping later when you get there if you want to.
as far as flying vs. driving, how far away are you? if within 10 ours or so,I wouldn't hesistate to drive, if farther,start checking booking sites for last minute flight deals,and check multiple times a day!
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyjinx3 View Post
I think your dates fall in the Spring discount dates, check the website for details. That could save you some money on disney resorts if you decide to go that route.

Sorry for this, I just checked and your dates fall out of the promo I think. My mistake.
No, her dates are fine. The promotion runs thru June 14 with a blackout period during Easter week and the weekend prior to Easter.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #10
donkeyandshrek
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I always snag airline tix first - getting the best possible deal for dates that work ($97 roundtrip from Birmingham to Orlando just last week - $97 that's NOT a typo! CCheapest EVER!)

THEN - I work on room reservations - which is where I am now. I have a ressie at Pop right now on "hold". That gives you a week to look and be sure of exactly what options you have and what you want to do.

Next I will decide what tickets we need and search for the best prices.

Once that's done - the "work" part - the rest is fun....where are we going and what are we eating?????

One thing I have learned - once you decide and book it -STOP lurking around to see if you COULD have gotten something better. You will drive yourself nuts doing that. Do it for a week or so - decide on something and go with it - don't look back

Above all else - HAVE A BLAST!
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #11
Mama Mouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiki02 View Post
from where? flying getting so $$. Then again, so is gas.

Planning is half the fun. Enjoy. Budget? people?
From Missouri. So we're looking at four travel days (Two there and two back) if we drive.

It's three of us going-my husband, son and I. Budget is Flexible but I'd like to keep lodging and tickets at around or under $2000. After that we have transportation, food, souveniers and incidentals.
And I'm looking at budgeting about $2000 for that as well.

So I guess $4000 total but spending less would be lovely. Yeah, wishful thinking but a girl can dream!
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:10 PM   #12
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Oh, what I could do with $4000, and I have a family of six. I say fly and add those "would be driving days" to your trip. Stay on property with the spring discount.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:11 PM   #13
Mama Mouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marionnette View Post
Picking your dates was a big step in getting started. The next would be to decide where to stay. For 3 people, you might want to stay in a condo at Bonnet Creek. The area gets great reviews on the Orlando Resorts and Attractions forum. Or maybe this is your year to stay onsite. The current discount runs through mid-June. Check Disney's website under the "special offers" link at the bottom of the homepage. There are cases that can be made for both onsite and offsite accommodations.

Driving has its advantages, especially if you're staying offsite. The cost of renting a car and paying for parking can pretty much wipe out the savings you get from staying offsite. OTOH, airfare prices have gone through the roof and you have to pack carefully to avoid paying too much for checked luggage. There's a AAA gas price calculator that will give you an idea of what it would cost to drive your vehicle to Orlando and back, using today's gas prices. http://fuelcostcalculator.aaa.com/ . And you can check airfare prices at kayak.com to compare your costs.

Ticket prices will be going up. There's a rumor that it will be happening in April. If you're positive that you will be going in May, you might want to invest in tickets now. Undercovertourist.com is a reputable website with decent discounts. I would consider the 7-day base tickets. The 8-day tickets are more than $15 per person more and if you plan a "down day" in the middle of your trip, that's all you really need.

Food can be a wild card. You can do picnics in the parks or you can do table service meals three times a day. It all depends on your budget and appetites. You can check the menus here to decide where you might want to eat when you're onsite and how much it will cost.

Everything else is just extra when it comes to planning. You can be very attentive to details and plan your days down to the minute or you can be a go-with-the-flow type who decides what they want to do when they wake up in the morning.
This is all really good advice.

I think we're looking at 6 park days and a down day. There's talk of renting a car on that day and driving to the beach. (My husband's idea.)

As far as the dining plan, I'm torn. The last time we went we didn't spend nearly what I thought we would for food and drinks so the dining plan would have been a waste. HOwever, that was in July, so basically like walking on the surface of the sun, so no one was very hungry. We did carry our own water bottles (bobble) and then fill them with ice water at every opportunity which kept us hydrated at little cost.

I think my biggest decision is on site versus off. My son has never stayed onsite but I have. I feel like it would be great for him but he had a blast when we stayed off site so I dunno if I'm just overthinking this or what. If we stay onsite, we will be doing a value resort.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Mouse View Post
From Missouri. So we're looking at four travel days (Two there and two back) if we drive.

It's three of us going-my husband, son and I. Budget is Flexible but I'd like to keep lodging and tickets at around or under $2000. After that we have transportation, food, souveniers and incidentals.
And I'm looking at budgeting about $2000 for that as well.

So I guess $4000 total but spending less would be lovely. Yeah, wishful thinking but a girl can dream!
Personally I would fly since it is the three of you, you save more by driving when there is a big group. Asssuming you'll need a hotel (or be exhausted when you get there) on the way I doubt driving is going to save you too much- plus it costs you in time!
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:17 PM   #15
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There are 15%-30% off room only discounts for your dates!

For us, driving has become much cheaper than flying. So that helps us save a lot of money!

I always pick my dates first, then the resort, how many park days, then where we want to eat.

We never do the dining plan. Not worth it for our eating habits.

If you are planning a beach day, then I would drive to WDW. You would have your own car and not have to pay for a rental + airfare.

I would choose staying onsite, but I'm a DVC'er so my opinion is totally bias!
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