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Old 07-15-2014, 12:02 PM   #1
momjo
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So new, so uninformed re: resorts

Hi everyone and thanks for clicking on my post - extra thanks if you reply!

My family of 4 is planning a trip the third week of August (no wiggle room on this week due to our teaching schedules). Kids 7 & 10 and a husband who is breaking his vow to never visit Disney. I talked him into it - score one for me! Since this is our first and likely last trip, I want to make sure it a) is awesome for my kids, b) potentially converts my spouse into a Disney-lover or at least makes him say "that was worth it" and c) is not a budget breaker.

We're going for the free dining plan (to top it off my husband is celiac) and have narrowed it down (I use the term 'narrowed' very loosely) to the following options, from least expensive to most:

Caribbean Beach
Coronado Springs (by a few bucks)
Art of Animation themed family suite)
Fort Wilderness Cabin
Boardwalk Villas (about $1,200 more than CBR - is this worth it?)
Saratoga Springs - yep now we're getting up there
Beach Club Villas

As you can see, I am very indecisive. I was all set for CBR, but if it's our only trip, should I go big? Or will we barely be in our rooms since we want to squeeze it all in? A bit of background - we usually camp so are used to 'roughing it', as well as quiet vacations (which I know isn't realistic at DW!), and we like hanging by a pool (who doesn't? haha).

Thanks again for reading this whole post and for any help you can provide!

Jo
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:13 PM   #2
mevelandry
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If you are going to spend most of your time at the parks, I would pick between Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs or Art of Animation.

I just don't think Deluxe is a good choice if you are going to spend less than 2 whole days at the resort...
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:20 PM   #3
figment_jii
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I'll preface this by saying only you can really decide what is "worth it" to you. With that being said, my family almost always opts to stay at one of the Deluxe resorts. We spend most of the day in the parks (so not a lot of time is spent in the hotel room), but we love the look and feel of the Deluxe resorts, plus (in most cases) the location cannot be beat. I usually stay at either the Beach Club Villas (BCV) or the Boardwalk Villas (BWV) because they are within walking distance of Epcot (our favorite park). It's great being able to easily walk to Epcot or boat to DHS.

In terms of pools, Stormalong Bay (Beach Club) is one of the most popular pools at WDW. It's pretty extensively themed, with a Pirate Ship water slide. So if you like spending time at the pool, that's something to consider.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:20 PM   #4
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We had a choice between CBR and CSR...at the time, Coronado was the only moderate with Queen beds. So we chose Coronado standard. Our room was in 7A area and faced the parking lot. We had a ground floor room. Some folks would be upset about all those factors since we were a 8 minute walk to the large swimming pool (4 to a quiet pool). The shuttle stop was across the parking lot and we were stop number 2 getting to the parks.


Don't break the bank for the one trip!
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:24 PM   #5
ptlohmysoul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momjo View Post
Hi everyone and thanks for clicking on my post - extra thanks if you reply!

My family of 4 is planning a trip the third week of August (no wiggle room on this week due to our teaching schedules). Kids 7 & 10 and a husband who is breaking his vow to never visit Disney. I talked him into it - score one for me! Since this is our first and likely last trip, I want to make sure it a) is awesome for my kids, b) potentially converts my spouse into a Disney-lover or at least makes him say "that was worth it" and c) is not a budget breaker.

We're going for the free dining plan (to top it off my husband is celiac) and have narrowed it down (I use the term 'narrowed' very loosely) to the following options, from least expensive to most:

Caribbean Beach
Coronado Springs (by a few bucks)
Art of Animation themed family suite)
Fort Wilderness Cabin
Boardwalk Villas (about $1,200 more than CBR - is this worth it?)
Saratoga Springs - yep now we're getting up there
Beach Club Villas

As you can see, I am very indecisive. I was all set for CBR, but if it's our only trip, should I go big? Or will we barely be in our rooms since we want to squeeze it all in? A bit of background - we usually camp so are used to 'roughing it', as well as quiet vacations (which I know isn't realistic at DW!), and we like hanging by a pool (who doesn't? haha).

Thanks again for reading this whole post and for any help you can provide!

Jo
I don't think you can get the villas and free dining. The villas 1 bedroom and larger have a kitchen. With the DDP, that's probably not important to you?

If your dh is a celiac, the table service restaurant will accommodate him. This is one of the very impressive things about Disney. For the quick service places, you will have to do your own homework to find out what he can eat.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
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Our most recent trips have all been to BCV

And I have to say without a doubt it is the best pool on property, IMHO! There are advantages to being able to walk to Epcot and take water taxi to HS and/or Epcot. I can't speak to celiac but I can to food allergies and we have had extensive experience with Disney dining and our food allergies, we have had a lot of great chefs make sure that food allergies were not something we had to worry about on vacation!
If you think you many be more "park commando" style you may want to consider one of the more budget friendly options, but there is a lot to be said for Deluxe resort restaurant choices and amenities. Being campers you might enjoy Fort Wilderness. It is all good, no matter what choice you make I am sure you will enjoy your trip!!
Who knows you may all like it so much you will go back again!!!
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #7
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CBR is currently going through a room refurbishment, so you could request a building that's been completed. There is a really great themed pool with waterslides, and the resort itself has a laid-back feel, so you can escape from the park "feel" while at the resort. Plus, it's less costly than the other options you're considering.

Did you receive a pin offer for free dining? Otherwise, I believe the general public free dining offer is only available select dates beginning August 31.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
figment_jii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptlohmysoul View Post
I don't think you can get the villas and free dining. The villas 1 bedroom and larger have a kitchen. With the DDP, that's probably not important to you?
As long as they have rooms available as part of the promotion and you reserve the room as a hotel guest, you can get free dining with the Villas. I've done this in the past at the Beach Club Villas and the Boardwalk Villas. Yes, the 1 bedroom and larger villas have a full kitchen, but I still did the dining plan because I wasn't going to spend my vacation time cooking. The fridge was great for storing left overs (which became breakfast the next morning) and it was nice having a washer/dryer in the room.

To the OP, as dreamit said, it looks like the current free dining offer is only valid starting on August 31 (unless you're talking about going in 2015, in which case the offers are not yet known).
http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disn...ts/#freedining

Last edited by figment_jii; 07-15-2014 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptlohmysoul View Post
I don't think you can get the villas and free dining. The villas 1 bedroom and larger have a kitchen. With the DDP, that's probably not important to you?

If your dh is a celiac, the table service restaurant will accommodate him. This is one of the very impressive things about Disney. For the quick service places, you will have to do your own homework to find out what he can eat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by figment_jii View Post
As long as they have rooms available as part of the promotion and you reserve the room as a hotel guest, you can get free dining with the Villas. I've done this in the past at the Beach Club Villas and the Boardwalk Villas. Yes, the 1 bedroom and larger villas have a full kitchen, but I still did the dining plan because I wasn't going to spend my vacation time cooking. The fridge was great for storing left overs (which became breakfast the next morning) and it was nice having a washer/dryer in the room.
Yes you can, we have it for Thanksgiving at BWV, a 1 BR. We will use the kitchen for occasional meals - breakfast will usually be in the room, or snacks. We like the space even if we don't cook.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:43 PM   #10
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I don't think there are even PIN codes that cover the 3rd week in August. Unless there have been some new ones....but the ones that have gone out that I know of have dates starting 8/25
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:59 PM   #11
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The nicer the accommodations, the better your chances of your DH liking the vacation. Which can mean spending gobs of money. I would say to go with the nicest accommodation you can afford, and try to spread the cost of the vacation out a little bit. Pay more than the minimum upon booking. Make another payment between the booking and the due dates. That way your final payment doesn't seem as large.

I would not recommend the dining plan, instead pay out of pocket for the meals and then those are paid for after the vacation, further spreading the costs out. Also, that will give your DH the flexibility to not have to "use up" all the credits if he would rather eat a la carte, or a soup and salad for lunch or an appetizer for his main.

What is it, specifically, about Disney that he doesn't like? Try to avoid that at all costs. For me it was endless lines of buses, which is why I chose to stay at deluxe resorts that were close to the things I wanted to do most.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:19 PM   #12
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Resorts is the one way you can save money and use it for other things to make it a great trip. Sometimes if you bust the budget on just your rooms, you may go home feeling you spent way too much. Personally I would not bother with the deluxe resorts - you are all going to be so excited about the parks and if it may be your only trip, you will be there so much - there would be no time to truly get your money worth there. My opinion:

Caribbean Beach - Undergoing a rehab that just started and odds are you will get an old room. They are in need of renovation, so I don't think you'd come away with a wow feeling. Plus the old rooms are double beds.

Coronado Springs (by a few bucks) - This is considered the deluxe of the moderates, queen beds, doors between bath and room, many food options, food at the pool, one of the best pool areas, one of the longest pool slides, great bus service (very central located), beautiful resort - stunning day or night.

Art of Animation themed family suite) - Great resort with top notch theming, pools are all creative and main pool minus slide is probably on par with moderates, good food court. Down side is you get the QSDP and would have to pay extra for the DDP.

Fort Wilderness Cabin - You get a little more space but I think you lose on the Disney theme (it is a very nice campground), basic pools and to get anywhere you have to take multiple types of transportation because you can't drive in the campground. With DDP the kitchen is a waste. We came away feeling like we had a convenient place to stay but didn't feel like we were in Disney.

I just would not do deluxe for your trip, not worth it, spend on other things OR save it for a future trip !
Boardwalk Villas (about $1,200 more than CBR - is this worth it?)
Saratoga Springs - yep now we're getting up there
Beach Club Villas


For us it would be hands down Coronado Springs. Have done free dining there many trips and heading back in August for a few days. AoA would be a second choice but because you have to pay full price for those suites with free dining plus upgrade .... I wouldn't want to spend that much .... but if in your budget, then it's a cool place. 24/7 Disney there. Either way Queen Bed for DH - the deal breaker for my DH. He won't stay where there is double beds.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:58 PM   #13
momjo
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thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mevelandry View Post
If you are going to spend most of your time at the parks, I would pick between Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs or Art of Animation.

I just don't think Deluxe is a good choice if you are going to spend less than 2 whole days at the resort...
I never thought of that perspective - we really won't be spending a whole day at the resort so it does make sense to just go with what works as far as sleeping, eating and the occasional swim.

My only worry about Coronado Springs is there is a dental conference on at the same time - which might be good if I forget my toothbrush but wonder about the 'busy-ness' of it?
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:02 PM   #14
momjo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figment_jii View Post
I'll preface this by saying only you can really decide what is "worth it" to you. With that being said, my family almost always opts to stay at one of the Deluxe resorts. We spend most of the day in the parks (so not a lot of time is spent in the hotel room), but we love the look and feel of the Deluxe resorts, plus (in most cases) the location cannot be beat. I usually stay at either the Beach Club Villas (BCV) or the Boardwalk Villas (BWV) because they are within walking distance of Epcot (our favorite park). It's great being able to easily walk to Epcot or boat to DHS.

In terms of pools, Stormalong Bay (Beach Club) is one of the most popular pools at WDW. It's pretty extensively themed, with a Pirate Ship water slide. So if you like spending time at the pool, that's something to consider.
Thank you for your help! I know the odd time when we do get an upgrade or go 'deluxe' with other vacays, we are always glad we did - but then regret it after when the bank balance is looking grim.

From what I've read, I think Epcot might end up being our favorite too so that's something to consider for the BWV. I like the look of that resort the most - seems like a mini town! Decisions...decisions...
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:04 PM   #15
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Hi

I wouldn't worry about CSR for that convention. We have stayed there twice during regular conventions and have had no problems. The pool and buses are quieter during the day since most of them our in meetings.

If I were you I would pick CSR. It is a moderate deluxe with nice amenities.

My DD and DH follow a gluten-free diet. We found that the Pepper Market was very accommodating for our dietary needs.

Good luck.
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