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Old 08-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #16
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We are big fans on driving. We like the ability to store things in our car and to leave from a park to wherever we want to go (and not worry about where we have to transfer if there is not a direct bus). We have done buses (either when we know we will have a few cocktails or if we are in a group and are arriving different times at a park), and we will continue to occasionally, but prefer most other times to drive. It doesn't take too many times of waiting for a bus and seeing buses to other resorts come and go before we tire of the bus system (and it hasn't happened a lot - but it does happen). Since you are bringing your car, you can try the bus on the first day and decide then. As others have posted, parking is free so you have that option at any point in your trip - it's not like you have to commit one way or another, or prepay for anything related to transportation (except maybe gas).
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:23 AM   #17
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Hello!

I am planning our family's 1st trip to WDW and am looking at late Feb or 1st week of March 2014. Our daughter is 5 and son will be 4. This will probably be our only Disney trip when they are this young and still believe all the characters are real and are their friends so I want it to be as magical as possible. We will be driving so we will have our car. That being said, would it be better to stay at a value resort like Art of Animation and drive ourselves to the park each day? Is there a charge for parking? Or would you suggest we take the bus even if we have our car? How long is the bus ride vs driving ourselves to the park and how far would we have to walk from our parking spot to get into MK, for example?

I am worried about convenience for the kids. They may still need to take a break some afternoons back at the hotel for naps if they get worn out. I don't want it to be a major hassle to get back and forth to the park or to take too much time away from being at the parks due to driving, bus rides, etc. But at the same time it would be nice to spend less money on the hotel in order to have it to spend in the parks at BB Boutique, etc.

With kids this age is it worth it to spend a lot more money to stay at Contemporary or Polynesian for the convenience of being on the monorail, particularly if we do have our car?

TIA!
Shannon
We stayed at AOA in May and the bus service was absolutely perfect for us! Maybe we just had good timing, but it seemed busses were constantly arriving at the resort and even wait times to leave the parks were minimal. We had four kids in tow and took afternoon breaks some days, yet we never found the busses to be a hassle. The great thing is that AOA has dedicated bus service, meaning busses don't make any other stops, unlike some other resorts. So, you get on the bus at AOA and your next stop is the park! Driving time from AOA to MK was 10-13 minutes.

That said, if you are spending a lot of time at MK, then the Poly or CR may be faster for getting back and forth. However, if you are looking to stay at AOA, I would not worry about the bus transportation at all.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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No idea what your budget is, are you talking about family suites at AoA or Mermaid value room? There's a big price jump.
Regardless of where you stay, I would use WDW transportation to MK. If you drive you have to park at TTC ( ticket & transportation Center) then take tram from parking lot to monorail or boat to MK.

If its in the budget for a deluxe MK resort, both CR and Poly have the largest rooms.
Poly has the advantage of also being walking distance to TTC for Epcot monorail. So you only need busses to 2 parks, DHS & AK.
CR has the advantage of being able to walk to MK. And take monorail to TTC to transfer to Epcot monorail.

If its going to break the bank, stick with a value or moderate resort.

A less expensive option is WL. It is in the MK resort area, just not on monorail. It's across the lake from CR. they have a boat to MK which we love.

Since you'll have a car, you can try driving to parks, and taking wdw transportation to see which you prefer.
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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I would stay at the Poly for sure if you can swing it. It is our favorite and I grew up going there. We just stayed at CR and liked it a lot, but Poly is my favorite. I have also stayed at GF and loved it. We do stay at CSR now that the kids are older and we always drive to the parks (it is free to park for resort guests ). It is easy and very convenient if you go early to all parks except MK. You can't really drive there, but to the Transportation and ticket center and you still have to take the monorail or boat.
I would stay at Poly for the convenience, but drive to AK or HS. Have a great trip!!
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:49 PM   #20
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We drive down so we have our car with us the whole time. I don't think we had to pay to park because it was free if you're staying on property. We've never taken the bus but we've still had the opportunity to ride the monorail.

I don't have kids but if I did I think I'd save the money and stay at a value resort instead of a deluxe. The kids will like all of the huge character decorations that are around at Art of Animation and you can save money for more like BB Boutique.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:01 PM   #21
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Hi, Shannon!

You are going to get a lot of different opinions on what to do, but I wanted to chime in about AoA and the busses.

We were there in January this year. The busses were running pretty constantly. The only time we had much of a wait was first thing in the morning for the very first bus of the day, and I think even then the longest we waited was 10 minutes. The bus rides aren't that long, 10-15 minutes. Our kids (8,5, and 4 at the time) loved riding the busses!

I think your kids would love the theming of AoA. If you are looking at the standard rooms, that would be Little Mermaid. My daughter (5) would have been over the moon to stay there! But we are a family of 5, so we were limited to the suites. We did LK, but are doing Cars next. It's really a great resort!!
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:59 PM   #22
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I thought there was a good chance that there would be construction going on at the Poly in 2014. I'd not want to pay $400-500 per night and deal w/ construction. The Poly is convenient to MK and Epcot as you can monorail or boat to the MK and walk over to the TTC and monorail to Epcot.
The CR is the only resort where you can walk to and from MK - so if convenience is important then it is the most convenient to the MK. You might explore renting points at CR's sister resort - BLT if the location appeals to you.
It's really all about budget, a stay at a deluxe will cost triple in terms of room cost compared to a stay at a value. As others have mentioned WL is a great less expensive deluxe option.
Personally w/ children that young I'd stay in a value and save the money on the room maybe even using that $1000-2000 towards a return trip in 2 years - if you're like many of us on DIS you'll decide you want to return to WDW sooner than you planned.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #23
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You are going to have a great time no matter where you stay! We stayed at the WL in a bunkbed room when our boys were 3 & 5 (because we had an amazing discount), and they loved the bunk beds. We've stayed at the Pop every time since then (though we LOVE the WL and stayed there on our Honeymoon....it's just not in our budget these days), and the boys loved all the great theme items all around! We visited AoA last year, and it is VERY fun with all the decorations. I think from an impact on the kids side of things, that's your way to go. So cute! But if you stay closer to the MK with a monorail or boat ride to MK that will be a different kind of fun. You really can't lose!

Have a great time!!!
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:58 PM   #24
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Has anyone stayed in a Finding Nemo suite at AoA? I was initially thinking of going that route so my parents can stay in the room with us if they come. But after talking to a Disney consultant I am thinking that may be a little too cramped. DH is 6'1" and my dad is 6'3" and a big guy. A standard room at WL is only $100 more than a suite at AoA. Are there any non-suite standard rooms in the Finding Nemo area at AoA or are they only in Little Mermaid area?
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #25
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We drive down to disney every year and we prefer to drive to the parks . Just better for us and we find it faster. I like knowing I can leave when I want.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:45 PM   #26
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Has anyone stayed in a Finding Nemo suite at AoA? I was initially thinking of going that route so my parents can stay in the room with us if they come. But after talking to a Disney consultant I am thinking that may be a little too cramped. DH is 6'1" and my dad is 6'3" and a big guy. A standard room at WL is only $100 more than a suite at AoA. Are there any non-suite standard rooms in the Finding Nemo area at AoA or are they only in Little Mermaid area?
No, unfortunately the only standard rooms are in the Little Mermaid section.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:04 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smelton521
Has anyone stayed in a Finding Nemo suite at AoA? I was initially thinking of going that route so my parents can stay in the room with us if they come. But after talking to a Disney consultant I am thinking that may be a little too cramped. DH is 6'1" and my dad is 6'3" and a big guy. A standard room at WL is only $100 more than a suite at AoA. Are there any non-suite standard rooms in the Finding Nemo area at AoA or are they only in Little Mermaid area?
We have stayed in a nemo suite, though all suites are the same size. My DH is 6' 2" And survived. I would think two taller adults would make it, but it would be cramped. It would be cheaper and more room for everyone to get two LM rooms. You don't have a suite, but more bed space and privacy. Otherwise the cabins at FW maybe a good option??
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:06 AM   #28
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we have done magic kingdom resorts and okw, akl which are farther away. never done a value although we did rely heavily on buses at non-magic kingdom resorts.

i think it is very much worth it to stay on the monorail with little kids. when we go these days we are almost exclusively at the magic kingdom. especially if this is going to be the one visit while they are little i would stay at the Polynesian if its in the budget.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:19 AM   #29
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If you have access to a car I would use it and forget about the buses. Why stand holding small children on crowded buses when you can drive quicker and straight there. It also makes the nap trips easier and means you can have lunch at other resorts.

Personally we find the values a bit chaotic and crowded and would prefer to stay at least at a moderate. A monorail resort would be the ultimate if you can swing it. With little children i would stay at the contemporary if I could.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #30
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If you can, stay on the monorail loop with kids!! It is worth the $$$$ if you can afford it. The CR wing rooms are great because they are a little less expensive but get you on that monorail line or even walking distance to the MK!!!

If the prices in the monorail hotels is prohibitive (and it looks like they will be for us if they keep going up!), then the WL is another close by option.

As many otheres have stated, being near the MK is important and using a car to go to the MK not as good as using Disney transportation. Indeed one of the big advantages of staying inside Disney is the use of Disney trsnsportation to the MK, IMHO.

Staying in AoA is great and the theming is exciting for kids, but it is a bus ride with children and strollers so not quite as easy or convenient as the monorail or boats, IMHO, and NOT inexpensive for those suites!

In the end, though, all these are Disney resorts, so you will have a great stay in any of them. WDW is wonderful! Enjoy your trip!
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