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Old 10-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
Meghatron
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We will be boarding the Magic in January 6th and are driving from TN. It's a 10-12hr drive plus bathroom and food stops, with a 4 year old and a 1 year old. I am trying to plan when we leave to head south and where to stay the night before. There are two options in my head right now:

1. Leave Jan 5, drive all day, get cheapest motel with port parking discount possible, don't make extra plans.

2. Leave early enough to make it to Orlando to spend either a half or full day at a WDW resort and Downtown Disney. We will NOT have the money for park passes, so we can't do anything that requires admission. I already have a dinner reservation for Raglan Road just in case; it's the only available sit-down restaurant that's not an insane amount of money per person. I just don't know enough about Downtown Disney in FL to know if this idea is worth the time and money involved; the CA version is basically just shops and would not be a thing I would make an effort to do on its own, especially with such young kids in tow. January means we might not have the weather to spend the day at the resort pool. I also know there's a Boardwalk but I know nothing about it.

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Old 10-19-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
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If money is the issue, then driving to the port and spending the night there is probably your best option. The port is only an hour further than WDW/Orlando; you can still plan a day in that area. The beach is also a great option!

What I do like about option two is the excitement that builds. Since we are in Florida, we often go to Disney for a weekend but do not make a park visit. Instead we hang around the resort. Are you two little ones boys or girls (or one of each). I guess at their ages it doesn't really matter, but I think the Little Mermaid section at AoA is just adorable...pool or no pool time. And if staying at AoA, taking a gander at the Cars section would be a cool way to kill some time as well (it is so cute over there!).

Downtown Disney at WDW is pretty much shops as well, but I always have fun browsing through them. You can also take the boat launch from DTD to Port Orleans and have a look around there as well (we love the grounds at PO...both sides).
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Old 10-19-2013, 02:16 PM   #3
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If money is the issue, then driving to the port and spending the night there is probably your best option.
We have the money for one night at a resort plus food and drink in addition to parking at port. We don't want to spend the $400+ on top of that to get park tickets plus food and drink for the day. Plus if we're paying admission I would want to be able to do things like BOG or CRT, and we are WAY in the 180 window so everything's gone. I have already budgeted for our onboard expenses, so this is in addition to that.

Option one was basically spending as little as money possible because we would only be there for sleeping, not because of a money crunch. If things were that tight I wouldn't be considering the Orlando stop at all.

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Old 10-19-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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Gotcha! Then I would go for option 2 and add to the excitement! Like I said, we often go for a weekend and just relax at the resort and do a little browsing around at places with no park visit. It's a really nice way to spend a day.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:00 PM   #5
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Stay at one of the hotels offering 40% off discount for parking at the port. In cocoa beach it's the best western, la Quinta (not oceanfront) and I think days inn. Best one should be the Fairfield inn in Titusville near cape canaveral.

They are your I-95 exit type motels with free breakfast. I prefer this to doing the park and cruise lots or worse, those hotels offering park and cruise rates. You need to deal with shuttles and less secure lots.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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Stay at a WDw resort--go to pool and DTD. For dinner, I suggest Wolfgang Pucks Express over on the Market side. The food is reasonably priced, really good, and you don't need reservations--and they have a nice covered outdoor seating area, if the weather is nice.
Even if weather is cold, at DTD, you can walk over to the Lego store--free hands-on stuff--then let you 4 yr old buy a little set for $20 or so--take germex for after hands on. There are huge lego statues to look at. Also, you can get on a boat and ride area from DTD. We also really like the Ft. Wilderness campfire in the evening and there is a chip and dale sing a long every night. You can roast Marshmellows. There are also 2 putt putt courses that are reasonable. My kids also like sitting in front of the little TVs at check in and watching WDW cartoons for a bit.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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Stay at a WDw resort--go to pool and DTD. For dinner, I suggest Wolfgang Pucks Express over on the Market side. The food is reasonably priced, really good, and you don't need reservations--and they have a nice covered outdoor seating area, if the weather is nice.
Even if weather is cold, at DTD, you can walk over to the Lego store--free hands-on stuff--then let you 4 yr old buy a little set for $20 or so--take germex for after hands on. There are huge lego statues to look at. Also, you can get on a boat and ride area from DTD. We also really like the Ft. Wilderness campfire in the evening and there is a chip and dale sing a long every night. You can roast Marshmellows. There are also 2 putt putt courses that are reasonable. My kids also like sitting in front of the little TVs at check in and watching WDW cartoons for a bit.
I second this. Stay at POR or POFQ and ride the boat to DTD. Wolfgang Puck Express is a must do for us, at least once. If you really want to save some $$, check out Earl of Sandwich next door. It's also delish.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by su_A_ve View Post
Stay at one of the hotels offering 40% off discount for parking at the port. In cocoa beach it's the best western, la Quinta (not oceanfront) and I think days inn. Best one should be the Fairfield inn in Titusville near cape canaveral. They are your I-95 exit type motels with free breakfast. I prefer this to doing the park and cruise lots or worse, those hotels offering park and cruise rates. You need to deal with shuttles and less secure lots.
I'm not asking where to stay in Cocoa Beach, I already have a room booked at a motel with a port parking discount coupon thanks to doing my homework here on past threads. :D

I'm trying to choose between that or staying in Orlando for an extra day of fun.

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Old 10-19-2013, 03:39 PM   #9
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So perhaps I should have made clear that we are DL APs and spend plenty of time at that Downtown Disney, so we're familiar with Earl of Sandwich, the huge Lego store, etc. There's even a Wolfgang Puck Express at my grocery store. So I'm wondering if there's enough different stuff at WDW that doesn't require park admission for us to make the extra trip.

The Ft. Wilderness campfire thing sounds awesome, where are the details about that? I feel like I scout every inch of the WDW website and the interesting stuff is not there.

I also hear stories about resort Movies at Night, or watching Wishes from the beach at Poly? How do those things work?

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Old 10-19-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Meghatron View Post
So perhaps I should have made clear that we are DL APs and spend plenty of time at that Downtown Disney, so we're familiar with Earl of Sandwich, the huge Lego store, etc. There's even a Wolfgang Puck Express at my grocery store. So I'm wondering if there's enough different stuff at WDW that doesn't require park admission for us to make the extra trip.

The Ft. Wilderness campfire thing sounds awesome, where are the details about that? I feel like I scout every inch of the WDW website and the interesting stuff is not there.

I also hear stories about resort Movies at Night, or watching Wishes from the beach at Poly? How do those things work?

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Got it. I think you could still find enough to do w/out tix. Fort Wilderness campfire is fun. Chip and Dale pay a visit. You can BYO supplies for smores or they will be available to buy there. It starts around 7:00, but changes seasonally. You can visit the stables and see Cinderellas horses or ride ponies. They do archery lessons, too but I think it's age 8 and up.
Several other resorts also do a campfire along side their movie. They have a giant inflatable screen and people just sit on the grass.
If you stay at YC/BC you could easily spend the whole day at the pool (weather permitting). Then you could walk around the Boardwalk and see some of Illuminations from the back gate of EPCOT.
The Poly beach is a great place to see Wishes. Another good spot is the TTC.
I could give you more suggestions if you are interested.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #11
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Last year my family spent a week at fort wilderness and only went to the parks 2 times . There is a lot to do at the campground .... Rent boats, nice pool and hot tub, take resort boat to visit poly , grand Floridian , wilderness lodge . Campfire and song along with chip n dale and movie outside at night. Can see fireworks from the beach or goto the poly or gf to watch. I know I'm missing stuff.... I know there were horseback riding too.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Piggyback Q -
If you stay at one resort, you have access to all resorts/pools?
Sort of like Universal?
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:49 PM   #13
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Not anymore for the pools, unless you are a DVC member staying on points.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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Ah but you can stay at POR abd go to Poly beach for Wishes, etc?
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:40 PM   #15
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Ah but you can stay at POR abd go to Poly beach for Wishes, etc?
Resort hopping = Yes
Pool hopping = No
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