Bringing first timers in December, what are must do's? Help me plan the magic!

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by michelleiada, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. michelleiada

    michelleiada DIS Veteran

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    We have invited my aunt and uncle who are in their early 70s, my cousin and his wife, and their two boys, 5 and 7, to come stay with us in our Beach Club Villa in December for 5 nights...maybe 6. I wish it was more time! None of them have ever been to Disney before. I'm overwhelmed with all that I want to show them! My husband and I have never been during the holiday season either and I know there will be even more things for us to do and see. So....do we do Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party? Do we go to one park per day? What character meals are a must? I want to show them EVERYTHING but with limited time I know I will need a good plan. We plan to check in on Sunday, December 8 and out on either Friday or Saturday. Some of our favorite experiences have been The Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Crystal Palace breakfast, O'Hana for dinner, Fantasmic, illuminations, and of course Wishes.

    So...any tips on making this a magical time for them?
     
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  3. JennyDrake

    JennyDrake Darkwing Duck's Biggest Fan

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    I have taken several first timers and here are my suggestions:

    If they "do" Internet send them to allearsnet.com
    Buy them Passporter and/or The Unoffical Guide

    Plan only a FEW highlights for each day; otherwise, let them lead!! Especially since you will have both young ones and seniors, you may need to go at a MUCH slower pace. Allow for a midday break. _I_ would plan few sit down meals--but seek THEIR input.

    Yes, I would do CP, but not MVMCP as it goes so late and can be very crowded--you never know.

    Take it from the mistakes I have made, don't let your passion and enthusiasm for The Mouse turn you into Tour Guide Commando and wear everyone out.
     
  4. Stinky_Pete

    Stinky_Pete DIS Veteran

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    I recommend doing the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. I usually get the dinner package so I don't have to wait in line for hours.

    Also the Osborne lights are amazing.
     
  5. lokin4deer

    lokin4deer Mouseketeer

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    Osbourne lights!!! In 7 trips to WDW it is the coolest thing I have seen!!
     
  6. mamabug70

    mamabug70 Amy L

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    We always do the MVMCP. We have done it probably 10 times. We
    pick a night that will be less crowded (maybe a Tuesday) and schedule dinner at MK at Liberty Tree around 6pm. This gives the park time to clear out for the party. We then go ride a few rides in Fantasyland and wait for the fireworks. I have seen every fireworks show at WDW and I LOVE the fireworks at the VMCP and MNSSHP. To
    me, the fabulous fireworks and special Christmas parade are worth the extra price of admission to the party. We ride rides during the first parade then watch the second. Then, as you are leaving, it "snows" on main street. I will never forget the first time I saw that.. Magical!

    Also as others have said, Osborne lights.
    If you have time, the kids won't enjoy this, but each WDW resort has it's own decorations and we love to go around and look at them. The Boardwalk usually has a display in it's lobby that's supposed to be either completely edible or completely made of chocolate.. Can't remember, but it was pretty amazing. Just a few things off the top of my head.. Hope you have a great trip!
     
  7. SamSam

    SamSam http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Since this is your relatives first time, just relax and realize that everything will be special to them. There is no way to do everything in your time frame, so don't try to. Other than hitting the highlights of each parks, I would recommend Osborne Lights and the Candlelight Processional for the Christmas aspect.

    If you have time to tour resorts (especially the premier resorts) the Christmas decor is really fun to look at, but with first timers I wouldn't make that a high priority. Hit each park and do the highlights in each one, don't worry if you miss something, it will still be a great experience.
     
  8. matheke

    matheke DIS Veteran

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    What time are you planning to check in???

    Traditionally Sunday is a MVMCP day and we try to go on arrival day if possible. If you are arriving at a decent hour to check-in, relax a little then head over to the MK that is what I would do. Tickets for the party will allow you admission at 4PM inspite of what any telephone CM tells you.

    Are you DVC members?

    DVC holds a party called the Merry Member Mixer. They have some refreshments, Characters, prize drawings and event merchandise for sale. You also get a DVC ornament at the end. This has been in EPCOT the past two years.

    Since you are at the BC, see the decorations at the BC, YC and BW. The GF and CR also have gingerbread houses. Others will tell you about other resorts that are worth seeing.

    Just remember that your group will only be as strong as the weakest link. There is a lot to do, but don't burn everybody out in the first two days!!!

    As far as 1 park a day, we always Park hop and take advantage of EMH. Crowds are very tolerable and you should be able to get a lot done.
     
  9. michelleiada

    michelleiada DIS Veteran

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    Our flights are not available but I plan to get the earliest flight possible to check in be noon. My aunt, uncle, and cousins will be driving from Fort Myers, FL. They can be there by noon for sure. I was thinking on the check in day either MVMCP or Hoop Dee Doo Revue. I don't want to burn them out, especially my aunt and uncle who are in their 70s.
     
  10. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    I love taking first timers, although it does make me crazy trying to plan everything!!! I take it personally and really want them to have fun, so I tend to drive myself nutty.
    You aren't going to be able to 'show them everything'...that would be impossible. So, give them a Passporter and have them read up on WDW. Let them tell you some things they would really like to do. BUT..you will probably get the response I always get...'Oh, whatever you want to do will be fine with us. We have no idea what to do at WDW so lets just do what you normally do.'', but that isn't going to work since I do things very differently after so many trips!!

    I would book one table service meal a day. I like either a late breakfast or an earlyish dinner. That gives you a chance to sit and relax and chat. Especially if it's dinner!! Try to get some shows in each day...another opportunity to sit and relax for a bit. Have each person give you the one thing they really, really want to do in each park. Don't wander aimlessly....too much time is wasted.

    Book a CP pkg. If everyone wants to do MVMCP, then fine. But don't do it unless everyone wants to go...way too expensive to force anyone. Osborne LIghts are a must do. Same with Fantasmic, especially the holiday ending!!!
     
  11. ashg8r

    ashg8r Mouseketeer

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    We've gone a similar time the last 2 years- in '11 we did a Sunday MVMCP, and last year did Tues. while neither party was crowded, the Tues party was REALLY low crowds. Everything we rode was a walk on, and character lines weren't bad at all.
    We also love Osborne Lights, we usually go back there just before park closing for low crowds (plus, you can use more park hours for touring/rides).
    Haven't done CP yet (2 under 3 years) but hoping to see it in a few years!
    Storytellers in EPCOT are great for a Christmasy activity.
    If characters will be interesting for the boys, definitely think about photopass. I really debated it for a 5 day trip we took, but ended up with 300 pics!!
     
  12. JessM

    JessM We all have a dream

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    I would book the Candlelight Processional Package for sure! The older adults in the group will definitely enjoy this!

    I would also make sure to see the Osborne lights, this should be relatively easy staying at the Beach Club because you can just take the boat or walk over. Its definitely worth it!

    I think doing the Hoop-de-do-review (sorry I'm a terrible speller) is a great idea. The decorations people put out at their camp sites at Fort Wilderness are incredible. I would either set up a "sleigh" ride or just ride in the inter-resort busses around to see them.

    The resort decorations are very cool but honestly there's so much more to see and I'm not sure how much the kids are going to want to walk around when there's rides they could be doing. I would definitely take the time to walk the Epcot resorts since you are staying right there but I personally would skip the rest.

    I would do MVMCP if you have the extra money but if not go over and check out the Castle lights one night that they have Wishes and the MSEP running. Party days are great days to do the MK because its not as crowded.

    I'd get park hoppers if you can swing it, it will allow you to jump around to favorite nightly entertainment.

    Have a great trip!
     
  13. d1gitman

    d1gitman Mad About The Mouse!

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    I agree with other posters. Don't let your passion for the mouse go commando. There is always too much to see and do so dont try to go over the top and cram too much in.

    I suggest going with the flow and rhythm of the group. Even splitting up at times
     
  14. lhermiston

    lhermiston Scare Floor Supervisor

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    I would plan on a couple of slower paced days with the grown ups. Maybe a character breakfast at MK one morning before park opens so they can appreciate the beauty of it before its overrun with people? Then I'd do some of the slower paced things - Philharmagic, the Laugh Factory, Riverboat, Haunted Masion - if it's not too scary, and It's a Small World. EPCOT is great to just stroll around, too. Maybe end the day with Illuminations?

    I'm guessing at some point, the adults are going to want an afternoon or even a full day to just sit back and relax. That's when I'd take the younger kids to test track, splash, space, thunder, all the "thrill" rides.

    You know your family best. If at 70 your aunt and uncle can still go at a faster pace and you think they'd enjoy it, then go for it! Same with the kids - if they would get more joy out of meeting characters than doing rides, plan for that.
     
  15. hollygolitely93

    hollygolitely93 DIS Veteran

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    We just took my parents (68-70) and my SIL with her three kids this past December (week one). It was a bLAST. See our family video in my soggy to get you in the mood!

    A few tips.

    1. Our group wanted to stay together. Find out if that is true of yours? A lot of my advice is based in that.

    2. Ask each member how much they want to be involved in the planning. I gave the choice...you want to plan each detail with me? You want a vote on the rides, restaurants, and characters we meet? You want me to do it all, run by you for vetos? No one wanted to plan with me...some wanted say in dinners and characters, most just wanted to have me be their private tour guide. Ha!

    3. I also asked each member if they could handle rope drop if I got the, back to their room by 9pm most nights. They all agreed,

    4. I planned park days first and meals second...for character meals with two boys I suggest dojng either tusker house of chef mickeys for the fab 5 and perhaps Hollywood and vine breakfast for disney jr...my six year old still likes jake and the Netherlands pirates and it gets you in HS early so you can sign up for Jedi training...that age won't be as into the characters....

    5. I sent out a list of the characters and asked everyone to send back top five they want to meet. The boys picked Wreck it Ralph, Mickey and friends, Phineas and Ferb, Jack Sparrow...

    6. Find out how tall the boys are and if they like coasters, thrills. The five year old should be tall enough for everything but rock n roll coaster...but you never know...

    7. The boys loved the Captain Jack Sparrow pirate tutorial and the Jedi training. So look those events up and plan into the day.

    8. We did the pirates and pals cruise and while it was nice it was too long of a day for everyone so I should have cut it.

    9. The older couple may need rests in afternoon or option to leave after dinner. My dad is in great shape but it is a lot of walking...he tired out a bit...his hips started to ache. We ended up renting a scooter for my mo. With her arthritis...it made a world of difference.

    10. Suggest a stroller for at least the five year old...
     
  16. hollygolitely93

    hollygolitely93 DIS Veteran

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    Oh for nighttime activities do mvmcp and osbourne. Skip CP...or do the early show. The boys were all bored. Osbourne was a hit with everyone...and it is hard that time of year to see MK fireworks unless you do a mvmcp...
     
  17. hollygolitely93

    hollygolitely93 DIS Veteran

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    Just read other responses...I would not do resort decorations....you are doing 5/6 days...your time is better spent elsewhere...if you happen to have a meal at one of the resorts...great but don't go out of your way.

    Careful with all the nighttime activities. If you do rope drop with the younger and older ones they need rest and naps won't work well for the younger ones at that age,..so ensure you can really get them back after dinner most nights. Be sure and find out what time dinner is for all back home...i found it was the grandparents that needed to stay on schedule the most! ha! dinner was between 5-6pm for our group ages 2-70...Our plan was

    Arrival MVMCP
    Day one MK rope drop, dinner at ohana's 5pm, home.
    Day two Epcot rope drop, dinner 5:30 San angel ( option to stay for illuminations but all voted to go home)
    Day three AK, rope drop lunch tusker house, home by 3pm. Dinner at DTD t-Rex...kids stayed out and grandparents went back.
    Day four HS, rope drop, 5:30 pm dinner prime time cafe, osbourne lights, home
    Day five MK, 8am CRT, 5:30 pm BOG, Pirates and Pals that night (and it was too much...I would do hoop de Revue if I dd it again.)

    Hope that helps.
     
  18. Stinky_Pete

    Stinky_Pete DIS Veteran

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    Bolding mine. This is what has happened to me every time I have brought first-timers LOL. It is so frustrating because there is so much to do and if they would even skim some of the resources I provide they would have a much better idea of what is available but they never will!

    Wait, is there a holiday ending on Fantasmic now? I know about Illuminations, but not about Fantasmic. Or did you mean Illuminations?
     
  19. dlove28

    dlove28 Missin' WDW

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    I second the not going commando sentiment. Which is why I recommend not doing park hoppers. Travelling between parks can be overwhelming for newbies, especially with the wide age range.

    Have a solid plan with lots of options so you can be flexible, hit the highlights everyone wants to see, don't be afraid to split up.
     
  20. michelleiada

    michelleiada DIS Veteran

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    Just watched your video. Looks like you had a fabulous time! You have a beautiful family! Thanks so much for sharing.
     
  21. hollygolitely93

    hollygolitely93 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! Everyone had such a wonderful time! Travelling with ten was easier than I thought!
     

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