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Old 11-16-2014, 07:44 PM   #1
mymadori1
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First time to Disney- family of 7- advice needed

So I don't even know whether this is the right area to post this in, but I came upon this forum while researching various Disney World stuff. I am 36, and have never been to Disney World. Myself and my husband (age 42) are taking our five children as a surprise (we're telling them on Christmas) to Disney World January 8-12th. I am desperate for advice.

We have already paid for the flights and hotel, so what I really need advice on is what we need to do/not do with kids of this age and what our food options should be.

Here's the toughest part. My kids are from youngest to oldest 1 year old boy, 5 yo girl, 11 yo girl, 16 yo girl and 19 yo boy! I am trying to decide how best to fill our days while there, while being cost effective.

I believe the Harry Potter ride at Universal may be something we can't skip (my 16 year old daughter is a HUGE Harry Potter fan)...and WDW as well...

I am concerned about the best way to make sure all of the kids have fun.

Advice? I will happily take any and all advice you have. :-)
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:21 PM   #2
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Where are you staying?
What do they like to do? Water parks? Adventurous rides? Shows?
There's a lot to learn but it's all good!
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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You have a little time between telling them and the trip so this might work for you. For our trips we have each person pick the one attraction they can't miss, the one restaurant they want to eat at and the one character they want to see. You could adjust it to be just one or two of those or pick different ones but this way everyone is guaranteed of something they want to do. Course we enjoy everyone's choices too
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:55 PM   #4
mymadori1
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We are staying at the World Quest Resort in a 3 bedroom condo/apartment.

They do love water parks, but I didn't know if January would work for a Water Park in Florida. I live in Colorado and it certainly doesn't work here. ha!

I don't really know whether they like shows or not, because I can't think of one they've ever been to.

Having a large family, vacations have always been cost prohibitive, so most of our vacations have been camping, here local in Colorado, and once to Cancun. The beach is the only thing I've ever found that kids of all ages enjoyed.

I guess my biggest concern is how do you handle it there with little ones and older ones? Do you just let the older ones run off and meet them somewhere? Do the parents trade off hanging out with the older kids and the younger ones? Are the adult rides really far away from the kid ones? Sigh. I booked the vacation when I got a killer deal on the flights and the hotel, but now I am thinking I should have booked 4 more days than I did!
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metz72 View Post
You have a little time between telling them and the trip so this might work for you. For our trips we have each person pick the one attraction they can't miss, the one restaurant they want to eat at and the one character they want to see. You could adjust it to be just one or two of those or pick different ones but this way everyone is guaranteed of something they want to do. Course we enjoy everyone's choices too
I like that idea- should work for at least the older ones. :-)
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymadori1 View Post
.

I believe the Harry Potter ride at Universal may be something we can't skip (my 16 year old daughter is a HUGE Harry Potter fan)...and WDW as well...



Advice? I will happily take any and all advice you have. :-)
hi & welcome! Just making sure you know that Universal Studios is actually 2 separate theme parks & the Harry Potter Attractions are located in both parks. If you want to do both, you will need a park to park ticket. If you stay just in universal, you will be able to visit the newest attraction (diagon alley) You are not able to ride the hogwarts express train without a park to park ticket. (just an FYI) Hope this helps your planning!!

ETA: are you open to the idea of one parent taking the 2 younger kids for the day while the older 3 & a parent goes to universal? Universal is more of a thrill ride park & depending on your 5 year old- you might find it a waste of a ticket.the two littles could have a very nice relaxing day at the resort etc. great way to prevent burnout
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:49 AM   #7
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Are the 8th and 12th travel days? If so having 3 full days and 2 half days really limits some things. I know it is tempting to do both Universal and WDW but with a short trip I would stick with just 1. It is also more expensive to have to buy tickets to separate places. - I am assuming you know that Universal (harry potter) is a completely separate place from WDW. I think you need to decide one or the other- Disney World, or Universal. If you are set on doing both I would do 2 days at each (2 universal, and your 2 Disney days at Magic Kingdom) there is just too much to do in 5 days to fit in both. Fitting the 4 Disney parks into 5 days is tough enough. If you just do Disney- for your first day if it is a travel day go to Animal Kingdom or Studios, for you full days go to Magic kingdom and EPCOT, and if your last day (12th) finish with which ever park you have not done (HS, or AK) before going home.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #8
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I agree with ChiTownFamily, it might be a good idea for one parent to go with the older ones to Universal and the other parent do a more kid-friendly park with the little ones. You could make it a rest/resort day with the little ones but with only 4 days I'd be more likely to do a park day myself. I know our next Disney trip will likely include my husband taking my older daughter, and possibly older son (depending on his height and interest at the time ) to Universal while my and the other kids do a day at a Disney park (I'm not that interested in Universal myself, second daughter has no interest in thrill rides).
I'd say most of Disney you can enjoy as a whole family and personally I'd try to do just that. Obviously there will be rides the little ones can't get on but you can do child swap.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:31 PM   #9
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BTW- if you have one interested in Harry Potter she might also love the Sorcerer's game in Magic Kingdom. You get cards in a shop on Main Street and get to play the game throughout the park.
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:08 PM   #10
mymadori1
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Thanks everyone, for the replies!

We get there Thursday really late evening, so Thursday is a waste. We have all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then monday we leave at 8:30 pm...so we have most of the day Monday too.

I am really wishing I would have made the trip longer in retrospect, but alas, I called the stupid airline and they want to charge a $75 change fee for every single ticket- and with six of us that's REALLY cost prohibitive.

My 5 year old is actually quite brave, and very tall for her age so maaaybe Universal wouldn't be a waste.

So can I really fit WDW and Epcot into one day?

Or should we do a two day WDW/Epcot/Animal Kingdom and a two day Universal with park hopper?

How long of a day do most of you spend at WDW? 8-10 hours?
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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I assume that by WDW you mean Magic Kingdom. While you can certainly go to both Epcot and Magic Kingdom in one day you won't be able to experience but a fraction of either in a 8 to 10 hour day. We have been at MK probably 8 full days over our trips and there are still things we haven't seen.

What other theme parks have you done before? We can maybe help give you some perspective on what the Disney/universal parks are like.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:46 PM   #12
mymadori1
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The only other amusement parks we've been to is Six Flags Elitch Gardens here in Denver and Knotts Berry Farm in California.

Are the Universal Parks each deserving of a whole day? Or would it be better to do two days at Magic Kingdom (Friday & Sunday), 1 at Epcot (Monday) and 1 at Universal with a park hopper to get to both (Saturday).

I double checked my reservations and our flight leaves at 9:30.

I don't know how early we need to get back to the airport for our flight (advice there would be appreciated too, because here in Denver, the airport is CRAZY and so we get there like 2 and a half hours early)...or how long it takes to get back to the airport.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:57 PM   #13
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This is what I would do:

MK - One full day plus the Monday partial day
EP- One full day
Universal - One full Day

I don't think I would even try for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

This is a very busy schedule. Don't forget to breathe, look around and enjoy the magic. I would let the two older kids have some free time on their own, but enjoy shows, parades and meals together as well as some attractions.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:01 PM   #14
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I haven't been to Universal but the Six Flags by is like a county fair compared to the Magic Kingdom. Two days is good for the Magic Kingdom in my opinion and Epcot one. I cant weigh in on how many you need for Universal but if you need two for that I personally would give up the Epcot day for two at Universal.

That being said the first time we went to Magic Kingdom it was an unexpected surprise. We found out when we were down their that one of our friends daughters was working at Disney for the summer. She took us on her passes for just one day. We didn't see probably but 1/3 of the attractions and did the electric parade and Wishes and it was a truly magical day for us. Whatever you decide to do it will be good so don't stress too much about it.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymadori1 View Post
The only other amusement parks we've been to is Six Flags Elitch Gardens here in Denver and Knotts Berry Farm in California.

Are the Universal Parks each deserving of a whole day? Or would it be better to do two days at Magic Kingdom (Friday & Sunday), 1 at Epcot (Monday) and 1 at Universal with a park hopper to get to both (Saturday).

I double checked my reservations and our flight leaves at 9:30.

I don't know how early we need to get back to the airport for our flight (advice there would be appreciated too, because here in Denver, the airport is CRAZY and so we get there like 2 and a half hours early)...or how long it takes to get back to the airport.
You will just need to start planning another trip now!! There is 'no' way to fit everything you want to do in that short of a stay. It would be better to choose either WDW 'or' Universal - not both. You will just come away very frustrated and running yourself to death if you try to do both. Even 3 1/2 days at Disney is not near enough time, and if the weather is uncooperative it will be worse.

Guess you don't realize how large the parks are - the parks you mentioned are not anywhere as large as Disney parks.

Hope y'all do enjoy yourselves though, and see enough to be satisfied with your trip.

Not sure how far the airport is from where your are staying - assume you would be going straight to the airport from your designated park, but I would allow at least 2 hours (or more) to be safe - never know about traffic.
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