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Old 05-20-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
Nadmars
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Advice from seasoned disney travellers!

Our dates are chosen and we're dying to reveal the big surprise to our kids...February 2014! Now the big question remaining is whether we are smarter to book our entire package with disney, meaning flight as well or if we should book our flights separately once we come across a great price ( we're flying from Canada) To those seasoned disney travellers, what advice do you have ? We're checking airline prices daily , it is still early but there hasn't been any amazing prices yet.

Also, we are going to book Caribbean beach as soon as the 2014 prices are released. As we are going before Presidents' Day weekend, before Mardi gras, during a relatively less busy time, are there chances of us being upgraded to a pirate room? I am tempted to reserve it to be sure to have it ( for my sons 5 th bday) but don't want to spend the extra cash if there are good chances of being upgraded! Thanks for any advice!
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nadmars View Post
Our dates are chosen and we're dying to reveal the big surprise to our kids...February 2014! Now the big question remaining is whether we are smarter to book our entire package with disney, meaning flight as well or if we should book our flights separately once we come across a great price ( we're flying from Canada) To those seasoned disney travellers, what advice do you have ? We're checking airline prices daily , it is still early but there hasn't been any amazing prices yet.

Also, we are going to book Caribbean beach as soon as the 2014 prices are released. As we are going before Presidents' Day weekend, before Mardi gras, during a relatively less busy time, are there chances of us being upgraded to a pirate room? I am tempted to reserve it to be sure to have it ( for my sons 5 th bday) but don't want to spend the extra cash if there are good chances of being upgraded! Thanks for any advice!
We have booked air travel both ways, but now prefer to book it separately from our package. It's for the same reason I like not using a TA for Disney. I like to look for deals, compare prices, and choose (or not choose) seats myself.
The room upgrade, I'm going to say slim to none. If you want a pirate room you should book it.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nadmars View Post
Our dates are chosen and we're dying to reveal the big surprise to our kids...February 2014! Now the big question remaining is whether we are smarter to book our entire package with disney, meaning flight as well or if we should book our flights separately once we come across a great price ( we're flying from Canada) To those seasoned disney travellers, what advice do you have ? We're checking airline prices daily , it is still early but there hasn't been any amazing prices yet.

Also, we are going to book Caribbean beach as soon as the 2014 prices are released. As we are going before Presidents' Day weekend, before Mardi gras, during a relatively less busy time, are there chances of us being upgraded to a pirate room? I am tempted to reserve it to be sure to have it ( for my sons 5 th bday) but don't want to spend the extra cash if there are good chances of being upgraded! Thanks for any advice!

I always book my room and my flights separate - I seem to get a better price (but I am also just flying from Alabama).

As for the Caribbean Beach resort - it is my favorite moderate and will be there in 2 weeks. I have never stayed in a Pirate Room but have stayed in South Trinidad where all the pirate rooms are located. It is a LONG way from the food court and the main pool area. Check out a resort map and be sure that is what you want before you request it. The pictures I have seen are so cute - but I am not up for that long of a walk especially when the rooms cost more........
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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Thanks so much, any advice is super helpful!
I'm a huge researcher as well so I'm glad booking separately can work out well!
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:42 AM   #5
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Definitely separately. That way you have more control over your arrival and departure days.

Say, if you are lucky enough to snag a flight that is much cheaper the day before, you can stay at the Hyatt overnight and arrive first thing in the morning.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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We book our flights ourselves and leave the rest up to disney. I think the sooner the better when it comes to flights . I have never seen prices go down always up. I'm sure it happens but I have never been so lucky. Can complain our flights are all under $200 round trip per ppl
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cheerforchelsea View Post

I always book my room and my flights separate - I seem to get a better price (but I am also just flying from Alabama).

As for the Caribbean Beach resort - it is my favorite moderate and will be there in 2 weeks. I have never stayed in a Pirate Room but have stayed in South Trinidad where all the pirate rooms are located. It is a LONG way from the food court and the main pool area. Check out a resort map and be sure that is what you want before you request it. The pictures I have seen are so cute - but I am not up for that long of a walk especially when the rooms cost more........


What do you think of magical express? Are they quite quick with luggage? I've read many conflicting reviews on this. Would we be better off bringing our luggage right onto the bus ourselves ...we have two kids under 5
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:50 AM   #8
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I'm not sure about flying from Canada but we always book airfare separate through either Southwest or Air Tran (we live in Indiana).
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:55 AM   #9
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Welcome to DIS boards!!!

As a fellow Canadian who as been to WDW 4 times in the last 5 years I will try to help!

I don't think Canadians can book flights through the WDW website. We always book are entire package online through Disney and our flights separately. The cheapest flights always seem to be through Travelocity or Expedia. I check their website every day or two after we decide to go, the best deal always seems to come 4-5 months prior to dates. We fly from western Canada and changes planes in Minneopolis. The flights typically start at about $800 per person fom here and we can usually get them around $450-$550 per person all fees and taxes paid.

CBR was also our first resort at WDW! We loved it! Personally I would pay for a preferred room to be close to the food court and pool. They typically don't give free upgrades to the Pirate rooms, however make sure to mention your sons birthday, sometimes if your get the right CM they may spread a little pixie dust!

Ask away if you have more questions!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
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We always end up finding better deals on the airlines' sites directly or through expedia than Disney offers, but it could be because we're flying from Houston and that's Southwest's hub. I would price both and go with whichever one gets you the best flights for less!

As for the upgrade, definitely not likely even in an off-peak season. Disney rarely gives free upgrades. While it can occasionally happen, you're better off booking the type of room you want and requesting things like building/floor location, etc.

As for DME, I've never had any trouble with it. We always pack our toiletries, swimsuits, and one change of clothes in our carry-ons so even if the luggage is delayed 24-hours, we won't be totally out-of-luck. The luggage usually arrives about 4-5 hours after we do, sometimes faster. We did have it arrive around 9pm once which sucked because my DD was only 1 at the time and they woke her up, but otherwise it's been ok. I personally think it's much easier to just go down and catch a bus rather than deal with luggage + kids + finding transportation, etc. They also play cartoon clips and WDW info on the tv's in the buses and that made the 45-minute drive go by much faster for my girls.

Good luck with your planning!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:05 PM   #11
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What do you think of magical express? Are they quite quick with luggage? I've read many conflicting reviews on this. Would we be better off bringing our luggage right onto the bus ourselves ...we have two kids under 5
Magical Express is wonderful. We let them handle our bags the first time and they showed up at our room about 3 hours after we did, no hassle, no problem. However the last 3 times we have grabbed are own luggage and brought to the bus ourselves. We like the feeling of having all our stuff when we checkin. My teenage son and I are strong athletic type so no problem for us to carry bags. If its a struggle to carry bags and keep track of little ones don't hesitate to let hem handle the luggage.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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Traveling & Booking

For years, I was a do-it-yourself'er when it came to Disney trips. However, I was much younger, usually with my bff, and our schedules and accommodations were either dictated by our available finances and/or last-minute decisions.

In 2005, when I was in charge of getting a family of four (grandmother and five year-old included), I looked around and ended up on the Disney website. After comparing prices AND the options we wanted, I went with a package through Disney. It was just what we wanted and needed.

So, when we started kicking around the idea of returning to Disney World, I did the same thing. This time, we are a family of three with a thirteen year-old, and again, I have been able to put together a package-including a dining plan this time around.

I know that some folks like to get the price as low as possible. We've tried booking separately for trips in the past, and for us, it was a bit of hassle for various reasons. We are the type of family who likes to just show up and have everything in place, and a Disney vacation package is perfect for us for that reason.

Everything is booked, and I'll be making dining reservations in a few months. As I tell folks, it looks like a huge pricetag when you first look at it, but if you break it down and average up what each part of the package costs, you soon realize that it's reasonable. And...we are on a budget like most families are these days. The deposit is made, and we simply need to make regular payments to get it paid down by November. For us/me, this is do-able-much better than paying with credit cards and incurring all sorts of added charges, etc.

It's a personal choice, but I would encourage you to try booking a whole package trip at least once for the experience.

Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #13
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What do you think of magical express? Are they quite quick with luggage? I've read many conflicting reviews on this. Would we be better off bringing our luggage right onto the bus ourselves ...we have two kids under 5
I have used the magical express and had no problems. This time our flight arrives about 9PM so we will be handling our own luggage. Check it in at the Bham airport - pick it up in Orlando airport and take it to Magical Express Bus - get it when we get off of bus and take it with us to room. We are traveling with a 2 year old and don't want a possibly long wait for our luggage to arrive that night. I did pay extra for a preferred room since the check in area at CBR is located in a separate area from where the rooms are located - we will just walk to the room and not have to load and unload stroller/luggage/toddler.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:55 PM   #14
Nadmars
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Thanks so much to everyone! You have no idea how helpful all this info is!! The books and sites are great but it is much better to hear from first hand experiences !
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:49 PM   #15
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We always book everything but our flights with Disney. Normally fly direct to Orlando with Air Canada...so much easier than connecting in Toronto or Montreal and risk missing a connection due to weather. It may be a bit more costly but totally worth it. Leave Halifax bright and early on Saturday morning and we are at the resort around 1pm and then have a swim in the pool and head to downtown Disney for the night. Coming back we leave the resort around 4pm and we are back in Halifax shortly after midnight. Magical Express is awesome, have used it our last 6 trips with no issues at all.
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