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Old 03-23-2003, 12:59 PM   #1
suebo
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Is Early Entry worth it in Dec. vs HIFS

Hi, Has anyone stayed at HIFS in early Dec. before that could help me out?

I have 3 kids 8,6,4. We want to do Disney the 1st week in Dec. for about 3 days. My budget tells me that HIFS for $73(Ent. Rate, if I can get it) would be a great deal.

I've never stayed offsite before because we like EE and disney transportation. I've been 3 times in late Feb. and early entry was just the best!! Do you think if I stay offsite that the parks will be managable without EE in Dec. when the crowds are low? Our whole reason for taking the kids out of school for a week is to go at a slow time and see the Christmas decorations.

And how easy is the transportation from HIFS? Can we get right there when the park opens and stay until it closes? I've heard such awesome reviews that I really want to give HIFS a try.

Any info on the bingo and karaoke at night would be great also. I've read many threads but can anybody tell me what times these activities are? Are they every night?

Thanks, I know I've asked alot but any info would be great. We skipped Disney this Feb. We spent time with my inlaws (great pool) and visited Busch Gardens and went swimming with the manatees in Crystal River. Had a great time but I'm itching to get back to Disney.

Sue
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:29 PM   #2
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You will need a Rental car if you stay at HIFS as the shuttles have to be ordered the night before and they have poor hours for getting to and from the parks.

HIFS is on a very very unbusy road 1 mile from WDW's east entrance gates near Ebcot. The driving is easy and you can come and go on your own schedule.

We loved HIFS!! I would stay there again!!
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:54 PM   #3
suebo
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tink2dw,

thanks for responding. We will have our own car since we'll be driving down from NH so I guess we'll be all set. I was hoping not to have to pay for parking every day but I guess we'll survive. Thanks again.
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Old 03-24-2003, 06:14 AM   #4
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We were at HIFS Dec. 2-8, 2001. It was great! We did use fastpass for many of the attractions, but that was no problem. For the rides with fastpass we probably waited the longest for Testtrack (about 15 minutes), but usually about 5. Without Fastpass the longest wait was Dumbo (of course), about 20 minutes and most were about 10. I would avoid the early entry park, and if you get there at opening you will walk on most of the rides for the first 2 hours, anyway.
I agree that you should drive; I never used the shuttles because we didn't want to be tied down to a schedule. We hopped back and forth on a whim, and also stopped to eat on the way back from the park several times; no waiting for a bus and wasting time. It is super easy to drive, the hotel is closer than some onsite, and the parking doesn't add up to that much. Just make sure you save your parking ticket if you are going to another park on the same day.
Yes, they do have activities each night at the hotel. Some that I remember: Karaoke, face painting, bingo, a magic/comedy show. I can't say what time they are, but I know we missed most of them by the time we got back from the parks, so I'm guessing maybe 6:30 or 7:00? Next time we will try to schedule better.
Stay at HIFS, and you will have a great time!

Last edited by MrsMud; 03-24-2003 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 03-24-2003, 08:54 AM   #5
Robinrs
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The first week in December is usually not very busy so EE is not a big necessity. The access to the parks and the transportation make the onsite hotels a bit better but for the separate rooms and fun, especially with THREE kids, the HIFS is a great alternative.
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Old 03-24-2003, 12:52 PM   #6
suebo
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Thanks MrsMud and robinrs I think I'm definitely going to stay at HIFS. It sounds great. Maybe I'll call today. I was trying to do a package deal with flight included but it is so expensive. I guess we'll be driving for our 4th time. When we do fly, the kids will truly appreciate it. They won't believe that you can fly to FL from NH in less time than it takes to drive through 1 state. (From Spring Hill, FL to the Georgia border, it took us 4 1/2 hrs. with a few pit stops this past Feb. when we drove down) LOL

MrsMud,

We will definitely stay away from parks with EE and hit the other ones. I love when you can walk on the rides early in the morning. That's just the best and that's what I was hoping to hear, thanks.
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:48 PM   #7
suebo
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I reserved HIFS for $73/night (ent. rate) Kids king suite for Dec. 1-5. I'm so excited. Thank you everybody!

Sue
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Old 03-28-2003, 05:25 AM   #8
lejaf
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Suebo,
When I was planning our trip, I was looking for package deals, but I ended up doing much better by booking everything separately. With all that's going on in the world, you might be able to get some great rates on flights and the $73 rate that you have for HIFS is great. If you fly, you'd need to add the cost of a rental car. We used National with some discounts that we found on Mousesavers.com and got a great rate.

Just a thought.
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Old 03-28-2003, 12:16 PM   #9
suebo
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lejaf,

Yah, I always figured it was cheaper to book things separately too but I was hoping I could find a great package deal somewhere. I'm not ruling out flying. I've been looking for deals and I'm hoping when Southwest has flights for the end of Nov. posted that I can find a sweet deal leaving from Manchester, NH. I would love to fly. We'll see. What's the cheapest you can rent a minivan with codes and deals, do you think? I didn't think I could get one for much less than $200/wk.

Sue
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Old 03-29-2003, 08:17 AM   #10
lejaf
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We almost went out of Manchester, but the cheapest flights were sold out. I think the cheapest I saw for our time frame was $189 round trip. We ended up going out of Logan for $232. Not great, but driving with my three kids ages 9,7, and 2 wasn't even a consideration! Actually, the kids probably would have been fine, but my husband would have probably put me over the edge.

Anyway, your questions about vans....You are probably right about a mini van for around $200. We rented a full-sized car which worked out fine for the five of us with three suitcases and a stroller and a car seat and a backpack for each of me and two kids. (Yeah, I need lessons in packing light but that's another story) Our car was just over $200 but it was for more than a week. I don't remember who it was, but someone here posted about her renting a full-sized car and her brother renting a van and the van did not accomodate all their luggage and she ended up taking one suitcase for him. Just something else to ponder.
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