Book it. Buy it. BELIEVE it! - TR is started! link posted 8/11

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by eandesmom, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Mndisneygirl

    Mndisneygirl DIS Veteran

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    I hope you don't mind, but I felt the need to jump in! (we're all a little like that around here - always wanting to put in our 2 cents worth!) I say #1, go in February! Other than President's day, it is not very crowded. Spring break is awful for crowds.
    The parks are so much bigger than Disneyland, that you should spend more than one day at each park. Although I suggest that perhaps one each for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios might be okay, 2 each for MK and Epcot for sure. So if you have a week, that would still leave you a day to go to Universal (Harry Potter) or Kennedy. Kennedy is a pretty full day with the driving. I've not done Universal, so I can't really comment on that, but Cynthia has. We've done shorter trips and done one day at each park, and even though we've been there a bunch, it seems like we miss a lot. For your first trip, you'll want to give yourself enough time to do all the things you really want to do.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  3. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    it is just miserable here today isn't it!

    Hijack away!

    Here's my take/rambling thoughts in no particular order.

    When to go

    Really depends on when your spring break is. If you get a full week at Presidents, like we do, then your spring break might be ideal as it wouldn't be when most folks are (week before and after Easter). Weather wise, it's lovely. The E's spring break works well, though the rates are high they aren't easter rates. We haven't done it as the older kids school has a totally different break schedule so it hasn't worked but it's probable in the future we will use that time, if the schedule stays as is. There is some talk of getting rid of the Feb week off.

    Presidents week (really fri-tues/weds) crowds are brutal, we did that one year (for all the reasons you've described above). It is doable but if that's when your Feb break is, and you can time it to be the days after P day...and into that next weekend, it will be far better. It is also pricier on the weekend itself. It can be cold. Or hot, or all of the above!

    Avoid May, for the MSP. Which is kind of a bummer since that's when Star Wars weekends are but oh well. You won't know your weeks ahead of time enough to plan around it and not worth the stress. Memorial day weekend will have the same crowd issues, I'd avoid that.

    Best deal that works with the school calendar around here for us, is not the best weather choice but it does work. Which is late August. Great weather here (if you forget about last summer) and icky there. That's when free dining typically is and better room promos, the parks are far less crowded as much of the east cost starts up mid month. But the weather is a bit bleh (hot, humid, rain, thunderstorms lol). Late June might have less rain and thunderstorms but the rates will be higher and it will be very crowded. School and sport is what has left us with our late July/early Aug trip this summer.

    If you don't mind pulling them out of school though...Oct, Nov and March are great.

    How Long

    For me, to go all the way to FL, which takes a day each way(unless you do the red eye)...it isn't worth it for 4 park days. It is SO different than Disneyland...SO much bigger that one day per park, in my opinion isn't remotely enough. You've got 4 parks, downtown Disney plus the waterparks if that is of interest, plus all the other area attractions. For me, 7-12 days is what we look at (since you'll lose 2 to travel) and that allows for some down resort, pool and shopping time.

    We did 7 nights/6 days in 2009, on the Presidents day trip(nightmare flight times) , didn't go to Universal or anywhere else and ended up frustrated with not enough park time and big crowds.

    Our next trip will probably be an 7-8 night one. I'd like it to be longer but with the time of year we are planning on (new years), just not possible. It will probably be 2 Universal, 6 WDW.

    Our 2010 trip was 12 nights, a red eye there and late direct back. 8 at WDW and 4 at Universal. That felt perfect to me and we didn't remotely see everything but might be a bit much for others. 2 of those days were non park days. Universal/Harry Potter is at least one full day and can easily be 2-3 but not more than that. Kennedy is a day and a chunk of that will be driving. Depends on the kids and how interested they would be in it as to whether it is worth the haul.

    My personal advice is plan it around the Alaska direct flights. It makes SUCH a difference! It is the only non stop option.

    Right now your options are:

    outbound
    1 flight daily, 8:45 am, arrives 5:16
    Red eyes on Fri/Sat. (10:35pm-7;10 am or something like that) More expensive but to me, worth it as you make the time change and don't lose a day. It's not for everyone and didn't work for us this coming trip, we are on a connecting non stop instead (bleh).

    return
    2 daily I think. One super early in the morning. I don't know the time as I refuse to do it. LOL!
    6:25pm, arrives 9:35 pm

    I love this flight, it's the one I always try to book and the one we are doing in august. You get almost a full last day!

    I vote for 1.5 at DHS and AK but that's just me! Lots of folks think of AK as a 1 day or even a half day park but we love it.

    Typically we'll plan 1.5 at each park and then have "free" day where we just pick where we want to go based on what we didn't think we got enough of and then allow at least one resort day, or several half days. For me, the waterparks are only a half day.
     
  4. Misskitty3

    Misskitty3 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the info! I really appreciate it!

    Are park hoppers a must? Do you park hop? Does it take a long time to go from one park to another?

    Does the extra Mickey hours only apply to those that stay on property? Those hours can either be in the morning or evening, correct? And can occur at any of the parks, correct?
     
  5. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    My pleasure, hopefully it's not TMI :rotfl:

    A must? No. Pro's and cons to them.

    Pro
    • Ultimate in flexiblity. Great for mood changes, requests by kids and crowd avoidance. If it's a busier time of year I think they are more important than during a slow time so that you can adjust your day if needed.
    • Dining flexiblity. Can visit one park the bulk of the day but eat dinner in another, or hit another for EMH.
    Con
    • cost
    • limits you on dining
    • Also, if it's your first time, you may just want to really focus on that park for the whole day

    Generally yes. We have a one day base ticket this summer and it's going to drive me nuts? I haven't been limited like that um...maybe ever. We always get hoppers. LOL! With the exception of Universal in 2010. There we did 3 day non hopper tickets. It worked fine in that instance. However we do not always get water parks and more.

    This varies depending on what park you are trying to get to and method of transportation, as well as time of day. Lots of options

    Bus between any
    Drive between any
    Boat between DHS and Epcot
    Monorail between Epcot and MK

    20-40 minutes depending on all the variables might be a decent average but others can chime in. We have had it take longer but usually that's from resort to a park more than from park to park. Disney will tell you to allow 2 hours but that's nuts. An hour is almost always sufficient for worst case scenario in my experience. That said we try to plan our days to limit the travel time, we will often do park, resort (pool time), then the next park, dinner, park.

    Yes, only for guests staying on property. There is a schedule, all parks have them but it varies as to what (am or pm) is offered and at what park. Schedule doesn't stay the same but they do update it regularly online and you can look at historical hours to get an idea. We use EMH heavily but a lot of folks avoid parks during them, it really varies. For us, coming from West Coast time, the evening EMH's were a godsend with teenagers. That said we didn't spend the whole day in the park that had the EMH, we were just there for the EMH so it is a bit of a different approach. A lot of times folks with non hoppers will pick and EMH park and be there the whole day, which can make the regular park hour portion fairly crowded.
     
  6. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    No, I still don’t know about the tournament. The tournament facebook page says “any day now” and it’s silent on the coaches front.

    In the meantime I am trying to keep my brain occupied! I have

    1. Ordered our new FE!
    2. Ordered FE gift supplies. VERY excited about what we are doing. It’s a small FE so we can have a little more fun with it and make something.
    3. Ordered Jeff some trip related father’s day presents
    4. Finalized Evan’s birthday gift. Yes…he turns 13 in 2 days. Scary!!!

    With little else do to other than wait wait wait not so patiently, I thought I’d do my final dining and touring plan update.

    With the potential for the OKW day, I went back and reanalyzed TIW versus DDP. Because the first part of the trip is mostly quick serve and the end part so short, DDP sill wins. So the plan is to do DDP for the AKV days! And most of where we will be eating is new.

    Sunday 8/5.
    AM: Disembark. We will have breakfast on the ship
    Check in to AKV. It’s going to be funny; I honestly don’t think the kids will have a clue, at the rate this is going, until we get there. Right now they haven’t asked when we leave…and we haven’t told them. K’s mom knows the dates and flight info but it is probable that K isn’t tracking it at all either.
    Lunch: The Mara! I am SO excited to eat here!
    Afternoon: Pool time! Check out AKL/AVK, see the animals!!
    Evening: Head to DTD to return rental car. Shop either before or after dinner depending on when we get there and what we did or didn’t do on day 1 of the trip.
    Dinner: Planet Hollywood. I realize this is a bit of an odd choice but well, it’s the one request Evan made and I figured why not, the menu looks decent and it will be fun. It will be a surprise, they'll probably assume Raglan Road.

    [​IMG]

    Monday 8/6. AK Day!
    AM:We will all grab a snack credit either before getting to the park from the Mara (cathching bus from there) or grab something there. It is EMH morning hours and I’d like to hit it early. We will see how that works but given that it’s our only day…I sure hope so!
    Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ. That’s my hope anyway; picnic in the park is an option as well.
    1:00 Jeff and Kendall head to the Backstage Safari
    Dinner: Sanaa! One of our very favorites. We have an 8pm ressie so that hopefully we can close down the park and go straight to dinner.

    [​IMG]

    8/7 Departure day. WAH!
    AM. Pack up.
    Breakfast: Boma. I’ve made it for 10:50, the latest I could get. Hopefully that’s late enough so we are packed up and can drop bags with Bell services/DME. If we are on top of it, maybe even for a morning swim for the kids. I don’t know, with DVC, if there is any possibility of late checkout but oh I’d sure love that!

    My question is...do they really still have these? I am excited to try their famous juice...although it may well give me a sugar coma.

    [​IMG]

    Midday:We will have about 3.5 hours after Boma, before DME, to kill. Options will be resort time, pool hopping, DTD, maybe mini golf, shopping at AKL, community hall, maybe the Boardwalk. Really not sure. At this point am sort of planning on winging it but that never seems to go terribly well, I need a plan that we can fall back on. The challenge I think we will have with pool time is the inability to shower before such a long flight and leaving stuff out accordingly….We will possibly use up our last snack credit as a little lunch tide me over after the big breakfast but are going to have to figure out food before the plane as well…maybe something to go from Mara?

    I admit. I really really wish we had tickets for these days, both arrival and departure but…we have one day base and the cost to upgrade well…as you all know…you don’t save anything until you hit 4 or more and really save starting at 5 so it’s really impossible to justify for half days.

    Ideas?

    Afternoon: Our flight is at 6:25...which means the not so magical express around 3:30. Sigh.

     
  7. MAGICFOR2

    MAGICFOR2 DIS Veteran

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    Ummm, being shameless - I've done an update before catching up with everyone. Just wanted let you know ;)
     
  8. Misskitty3

    Misskitty3 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for answering my questions! I think I should start a notebook -- so much is involved with planning for WDW ....especially compared to DL!

    Keeping my fingers crossed that you hear back tonight about the tournament!
     
  9. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

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    Your AKV nights sound wonderful. I am at the moment thinking about my next WDW trip and while I will get a reservation at my home resort (BWV) at the 11 months mark, I am seriously considering changing it to AKV as I just love the place so much...

    About the swimming: The pools at AKL have changing rooms with showers. I checked them out in the past and they were more or less empty and very clean. They might be an option before your flight!
     
  10. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    :thumbsup2

    nothing wrong with being shameless!

    Many people do binders, that's for sure! I know I have information saved in a ton of different places. I hate paper so try to keep it all electronic but end up forgetting where I've saved stuff at times. :rotfl:

    Thanks!
     
  11. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I am really excited to stay there! I remember your wonderful Wild by Design tour and report, it definitely factored in to our decision to have Jeff and Kendall do the backstage safari!

    Hopefully it will be good pool weather that afternoon, I think it may be a bit of a challenge to decide what to do if it rains...the last thing I want to do on the last day is see a movie!
     
  12. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    You know, after breakfast, and getting all your packed stuff organized, I would think you would be fine to just kick it there at the resort... Well, we would be. What about checking out the OTHER pool, the one in Kidani village? It is fun, too... The AK is farther afield than the other resorts, I always feel like I am tight for time to get somewhere and back and spend more time on the bus as a result... DTD = walk around in the heat, and shop. Miniature golf, you are not far from Winterland (that is the one near Blizzard Beach, right?) That could be fun, and isn't too far from the AKL, right? Tickets are? But you may want to make sure you get to that first, then come back with the idea you could take a quick plunge (or the kids could) in the pool before getting on ME.... I wouldn't rush anywhere, though, but that is just me... with breakfast so late, it sounds like a great leisure day, since the previous day you will be busy!

    LOVE SANAA!!! One of our favorites too... :thumbsup2
     
  13. MAGICFOR2

    MAGICFOR2 DIS Veteran

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    Okay, so far I am at the world turning - My head looks like that globe - much like others here. I'm sure you'll have it figured out by now, but when the day comes that you don't have drama with your planning, you won't know what to do. You will think there is something terribly wrong and you won't enjoy your planning at all! :eek::hug:
     
  14. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    We are actually staying at kidani. Which pool we use on the 5th will probably depend on whether our room is ready or not. Or then again maybe not. We have a full free afternoon and I won't be surprised if we hit both of them unless weather or kids dying to shop (not likely at that point) are really pushing us to DTD. It may depend on whether we've told them that we are going to the park or not, I haven't made a decision on that either, they don't know about any of it lol!

    I also wouldn't be surprised if some pool time happens after Sanna dinner. Not sure how late it is open, I know the main one is open after 10 with no lifeguard but not sure about Kidani.

    I am hoping for some of the cool art and craft options at either location but I guess we won't really know till we check in.


    The mini golf is pretty cheap so it's definitely an option. It reminds me a little of our last day at Universal in 2010 and we did have a bit of a hard time filling the day as the weather really didn't cooperate for pool time like we wanted...and packing took longer. We did hit the pool and shopped but it felt a little forced. This time should be better though since I won't be solo.

    We are not early breakfast eaters, at home on the weekends I have to nag everyone to eat and often (myself included) it may not happen till lunch. LOL! Jeff will eat something right away but that's about it. I did have it at 10:30 and decided to push it. It is possible we end up blowing it off as we will have used our TS credits already but it does sound like a nice end to the trip to me.
     
  15. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Love Boma! Love Sanaa! Having my first Boma breakfast in less than 2 weeks! :cool1:

    I'm not much help with the "what to do on the last day" dilemma. You really won't have a lot of time after breakfast and it will be hot. I'm pretty sure I would go with the pool. You might have time to see a movie at DTD, but not much. Too bad you don't have the car another day. Than you could easily get where you needed to go and do a little resort hopping too.
     
  16. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    :rotfl:

    I admit to having a bit of a perverse enjoyment at times in figuring out how to respond to the drama but I don't like the drama dragging out. I want to know the problem, figure out the solution and ACT!

    Not wait wait wait
     
  17. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    This will be our first Boma breakfast too. I hope we keep it but we may end up fooded out by that point, who knows!

    3 hours is a lot with bored kids! It's hard to imagine them pooled out but after 10 days of beaches and pools...it is possible. And that assumes an hour and 40 minutes for a buffet breakfast...I can't see it really taking that long. Granted, if we tried to go anywhere we'd eat up probably half of it in transit! Trick is making sure that doesn't happen.

    Unfortunately it'd be keeping the car another 2 days...which would be another $180 or so and while that would gain us another hour of vacation time versus DME, I can't really justify it just for that. One day? Yeah, I probably could.

    I don't want to see a movie but do need a plan in case of rain.
     
  18. mrsksomeday

    mrsksomeday My Prince uses a power wheelchair!

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    Wow, so many "what ifs" and possible changes I don't know how you keep it all straight. I would be a mess. The trip does sound like it is going to be wonderful.

    I loved the installment where your husband went into Disney mode, with the favorite park, maybe moving to FL and OMG maybe being part time CM's. Is he a pod person? :rotfl:

    Can't wait to read more.
     
  19. englishrose47

    englishrose47 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Cynthia I am back from Lake George and fighting with photobucket , anyone else had problems ???
     
  20. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Hi Tracy! I need to get over and check out your new TR!

    I do have an answer on the what if....a number of calls and arrangements to make! Glad to know, will be happier once it's all cleaned up, far too many duplicates out there for me right now!

    I loved the installment where your husband went into Disney mode, with the favorite park, maybe moving to FL and OMG maybe being part time CM's. Is he a pod person? :rotfl:

    :lmao: Pod Person. I love it!

    Can't wait to read more. [/QUOTE]

    :goodvibes

    No, but I only uploaded one today so don't exactly have a good frame of reference. Welcome home Rosie! I hope Elvis was good to you this year.
     
  21. Charleston Princess

    Charleston Princess DIS Veteran

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    Yeay for your trip getting closer and closer! I do hope you hear something about the tournament soon. :goodvibes
     

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