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Old 02-14-2013, 05:42 PM   #1
A Belle Among Beasts
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Simply overwhelmed...where to start?

I'm currently (belatedly apparently!) planning an early May trip...our first ever! DH and I don't have little ones, so this is just a pair of supposedly grown up kids going out to play. With work obligations, 2 pups to board and a limited budget, we're thinking a 4 night stay. It looks like our dates have lucked into at least discounted rooms if we stay on site. I will say that Disney's reservation system online is seriously confusing...but maybe that's just me.

Is staying on site the best option for first timers? There are some really cheap rates out for off site hotels, but by the time resort fees and parking fees are tacked on, the rate isn't *that* much cheaper. Are the value resorts with their perks worth ~$25/day?

With 4 days worth of tickets, which park would be the best to get the short shift or left out entirely? I've read that both AK and HS are "half day parks." Would it be crazy to skip one totally in favor of hitting MK on arrival day plus another day?

Ok, that is enough pestering of y'all for now...but I will be back with more LOL!
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:53 PM   #2
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Value Resorts

The All Stars (Movies, Music & Sports); Pop Century; Art of Animation are the 5 Value Resorts & they will be the cheapest Dollar wise. If all you need for you hotel is a bed, shower & quick Breakfast eats, then the Values are your ticket to onsite fun!

Try to find out which parks are have Extra Magic Hours for the days your there. * The extra hour or 3 for Disney Resort guest is one of those perks! * Also DAK Closes before all 3 of the other Parks.

If possible do Disney's Hollywood Studios on your arrival day, the reason some people say it is a 1/2 day park is because Size wise it is the Smallest.

2nd Day hit Magic Kingdom, 3rd Day Hit Epcot, Day 4 hit Animal Kingdom & use you evening of that day to return to either MK or EPCOT.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
DisneyDad222
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For the hotel, I'd always recommend staying atbthe resort, the buses to the parks make life much easier than driving, parking and so on. If you're planning on hitting the parks for the bulk of your time, then value resorts as a great place to stay, rooms are nice...they have a bed...what else do you really need? Id recommend pop century because it doesnt share a bus stop with two other resorts. If you are planning to do a resort style vaca with plenty of pool time then it might be better to go with a moderate resort like POR or CBR.

As far as parks, of it's just the two of you and you like rides, you may want to spend time re-riding EE in AK or ToT and RNR in HS. These are half day parks, but you could actually hit them both in a day if you get the park hopper and leave an extra day to revisit MK. If I were to ski one, it would be AK.

Hope this helps, good luck.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #4
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We have stayed both onsite (hotel) and offsite (condo). Both were fine. We liked the space and the price of the condo. We liked the extra magic hours and Disney theme of the hotel. I don't like riding the busses. They just take too dang long to get anywhere and sometimes you don't get a seat. After a long day I want a seat. We have never spent a lot of time at our resort on our trips. It was just a place to rest. We were in the parks, DTD, or the waterparks the whole time. You may have different priorities.

For first timers I always suggest getting the "Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World" book and subscribing to the companion website touringplans.com. The website has a crowd calendar telling you which is the least crowded park on each day of your visit. The book and website have touring plans which tell you the most efficient way to see/ride everthing and avoid waiting in line. WDW is expensive, you want to get the most for your money, not waste time and money trying to decide what to do next or waiting 1.5 hours to ride Toy Story Mania!

After you decide which park/s you are going to which days, then you can make your ADRs. You should make your ADRs soon if you haven't already because your 180 day window has come and gone. Some super popular places are already booked up.

Last, have a great time planning your trip!
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WizardLarz View Post
The All Stars (Movies, Music & Sports); Pop Century; Art of Animation are the 5 Value Resorts & they will be the cheapest Dollar wise. If all you need for you hotel is a bed, shower & quick Breakfast eats, then the Values are your ticket to onsite fun!

Try to find out which parks are have Extra Magic Hours for the days your there. * The extra hour or 3 for Disney Resort guest is one of those perks! * Also DAK Closes before all 3 of the other Parks.

If possible do Disney's Hollywood Studios on your arrival day, the reason some people say it is a 1/2 day park is because Size wise it is the Smallest.

2nd Day hit Magic Kingdom, 3rd Day Hit Epcot, Day 4 hit Animal Kingdom & use you evening of that day to return to either MK or EPCOT.
That is a good plan if you have a the Park Hopper option to go back to MK or Epcot check prices. It might be cheaper to add a 5th day instead of ph.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
A Belle Among Beasts
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We will be opting out of park hopper passes. It adds a layer of costs and potential wasted time. I also know that while I'd love chunks of resort time, DH would want to be on the move in the parks and not wasting potential fun time on "just a hotel" LOL! He's all about squeezing every penny's worth of fun out of a vacation.

I appreciate all of the hints and suggestions. Digesting all of this is work!
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:06 PM   #7
ddean1968
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If budgeting, my suggestion is off site. Not sure how much you have budgeted for food? However one of the reasons the Value Resorts was a turn off for our past trips was the lack of a microwave ( heard fridges are in now ). So for us, one of the planning phases was how much food was going to be factoring in. For us, offsite, with a car rental was actually less in the long run. Even factoring in gas and parking fees at the parks. If you plan to eat in the parks each day be sure to add in that cost, unless you get a meal plan for the resort package.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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My dh and I go by ourselves too. We don't spend much time in the hotel room, except to sleep and bathe. We do like to sit outside by the pool in morning before we head for the parks. I'd vote for staying at a value just for the convenience of being on site.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:17 PM   #9
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i would suggest the grand Floridian or bay lake tower to stay


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Old 02-17-2013, 09:54 AM   #10
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Are you driving

or flying? If you are flying you get free Magical Express to your on site hotel. You will have full use of the Disney transportation system (buses, boats, monorails) while there. If you are driving you will still have full use of the Disney transportation system as well so you will not have to pay for parking.

If you are driving you can pack in food. Take a cooler with you to the parks and bring beverages and snacks/sandwiches. You can bring breakfast snacks as well like toaster pastries, microwave sandwiches etc. You can use the toasters and microwaves at the resort food courts to heat them up. Most room have coffee makers so you can bring your own coffee and filters. The provide one set u
If you are flying and plan to check bags you can put food beverages in your checked luggage. My wife and I pack our adult beverages and mixers in our checked bags and it saves us a bunch of money not buying them at Disney. We love to relax by the pool after a day at the parks.

As far as the resorts go, we love Pop and Art of Animation but any of the All Star's will do. Staying off site you would have to have a car or use the once daily bus service they provide. This can be stressful. We love waking up at a Disney resort, walking to the food court for a fresh hot breakfast and then heading to the park of the day. If you stay off site and drive you have to pay the daily parking fee of $25. This can negate the cost savings of staying off site.

Just our 2 cents!
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #11
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My advice to a first timer is to remember that you will not be able to do it all but you will be able to do everything you want (worse case you can do most of what you want).

I would also suggest staying on site if you can afford it. Some people love it, some people think its not worth it. You'll never know what you think until you try it.

Don't worry if you feel like you've missed something. You'll be back eventually!
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