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Old 04-11-2013, 11:49 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bedfordshire, England
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Planning our first trip to WDW!

So forgive me for all of my questions, but I literally have no idea where to even start!

1)How long do you think you need to stay for to see everything and have the best experience? It's not likely we'll be returning any time soon after. So we were thinking perhaps 10-14 days?

2) Based on this number (or whatever number you suggest!) how much spending money do you think we would need? How much do you usually spend on average per day? As we won't be going back for a while, we'd like to try to go for the best experience (but within reason, so maybe a character dining once or twice, not eaching fast food 24/7 but not the most expensive either!)

3) When is the least busiest time to go? We were thinking perhaps the first 2 weeks in September, but if there is a time during say Christmas season that is usually quieter?

4) Just any other tips you think are important? Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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1) A week to 10 days would be enough to go to every park at least twice, with plenty of time otherwise to swim in the resort pool, go to Downtown Disney, etc. Personally, I'd be "Disneyed out" after 9 days, but to each his or her own.

2) How much spending money you'd need is an extremely subjective topic, based on how many kids you have, how many souvenirs you want, etc. For dining, you might want to research the Disney Dining Plan (one of the variations of it) to see if that would be beneficial to you. I personally don't think it's a great value for my family because we don't typically dine the way WDW expects us to (table service meal every day, etc.), but it can be a nice thing for those who like to pay up front and then not have to worry about it. Keep in mind, though, DDP no longer includes tips, so make sure to keep that in mind when budgeting for meals. Also pricing out the DDP for a stay can at least give you a rough idea of how much you might need to budget for food, whether you end up using DDP or not.

3) The first 2 weeks of September just about perfect as far as crowds. It'll surely be busy around Labor Day weekend, but after that it should be great. Kids are back in school. It's still hot then, but not quite as bad as, say, July. Other than that, late April and early May is a good time, as is late October to early November. Both of these are times without major holidays and times when kids are mostly in school.

4) Do plenty of research on here. I'd also recommend looking at mousesavers.com for a comprehensive look at discounts offered.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #3
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I fly in from the west coast of the USA (5 hrs. direct, but w/ connections can be as many as 8 hrs.) I typically stay 10-11 days, there is so much to see and do and I just love being on vacation, in one place, away from the grind of responsibility of daily life that long. Be aware that for stateside visitors the maximum number of entry days on park tickets is 10 - not sure if it's different for UK visitors, since UK visitors seem to stay longer.
I like the dinning plan and would suggest the regular dinning plan which is one sit down restaurant, one counter service and one snack per day. Not sure that I save any money, but I like already having my food paid for and only having to pay the tips while I am there. I don't spend a lot of money on t-shirts and the like, maybe $100 total, but it's just 2 of us.
I have been in Sept. it was a bit humid and a bit rainy for me. Plus, a hurricane shut down our connecting flight airport (Huston) heading home and getting from Orlando back to California was a 20 hour nightmare.
I far prefer early December, as I'd rather deal w/ the occassional cold snap than Sept.'s rain and humidity. Plus I love the Christmas decorations @ WDW. The early weeks of Dec. are still relatively uncrowded, just avoid the 4 day weekend of Thanksgiving @ the end of November (11/28-12/1 this year) and the 2 weeks around Christmas/New Years when WDW is very packed. The downside to early December is that the MK closes pretty early on many nights due to their MVMCP nights, so you have to plan your MK days/meals around those 'special events.'
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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How exciting to be planning your 1st WDW trip! Tons of fun to plan, but can be a bit overwhelming. To answer your first question on how long to stay. I say stay as long as you can afford to stay! The longer the better, especially since you don't plan on returning anytime soon. My first ever on-site stay was for 2 weeks in September. I LOVED IT!!!! If I could stay that long every time, I would. Gives you time to relax, take in the sights, enjoy the little things and not feel so rushed. We typically go for 8 days now (kids can't take off more school than that) and I always feel rushed and more stressed than the longer trips. No matter how long you stay, you'll still never see everything in one trip. I enjoyed going in September and would highly recommend it. Low crowds, value pricing, decent weather. It rained almost everyday, but it was a warm rain, that was over within an hour, 70's-80-'s the rest of the time. Truly never slowed us down. I can't comment on Dec. as I haven't been that time or year. As PP suggested, look into the dining plan. I think for your situation it would be great! You can do more themed dining and take advantage of some of the dining shows. This will give you as a 1st timer the best experience for dining. Have a wonderful time planning!
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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Sept. is a great time to go, very low crowds, the weather is still warm, and free dining is often offered at that time.Keep an eye out for discounts if your interested in that. We love free dining. I would say 10-14 days is plenty of time to see everything and have days to hang out at the pool for some down time.
Spending money is a hard one. Do you plan on paying out of pocket for food or are you going to be on a dining plan? do you plan on shopping or doing things outside of Disney? If you are on a dining plan alcoholic drinks, appetizers, and tips are not included.
Its a lot to plan! But its so much fun! good luck!
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
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I think 10 days to 2 weeks is great if you have the time. When my DD was really little we would stay for 2 weeks -- it makes for a much more relaxing trip since we weren't in a rush to see everything in one week. Now we are lucky to be able to find a week in our schedule...

As for September, yes it should be lower crowds since school is back in session. However, I'm from the West Coast and not use to the FL weather. Just realize that it can still be very hot and humid (with afternoon downpours) at that time of year. It all depends on what you are comfortable with, of course. I find late spring weather to be ideal, but I prefer less rain and humidity than the summer and early fall has.

Happy planning!

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Old 04-11-2013, 09:34 PM   #7
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10 days is good. I would choose the first 2 weeks of Dec over Sept. Oct is also a great month because of the food and wine festival. Dec has low crowds and lots of decorations. Sept is probably my least favorite time of the year, but it is the cheapest.
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