Disney on the cheap with 3 5 and under with a resort?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by bbinnsGA, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    What are some special things we can do in conjuction that free?
    What was your favorite resort (we want to rent DCV points) and why?
    what did you or didnt you find useful?
    Our son is autistic where are some places for him to get down time besides the resort?


    Anything else you want to add?

    We are doing it as a BIG family birthday present since 4 of us are in a 3 week span.

    The kids will be:
    5
    2 (turns 3 a month after our trip)
    11 mths (turns 1 2 days after the 2 year old)
     
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  3. MSSANDRA

    MSSANDRA DIS Veteran

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    While renting DVC points is GREAT and gives you so much room, if this trip really needs to be a budget trip, this would be the time to try a cheaper choice on site. You guys would fit into a value resort room since only one of your under three kids will count. Pop is our favorite value.

    Plan for a off season time. With young kids, you don't have to worry about school. Choose a value season time and try for free dining. Your youngest two eat free off buffet and family style places and there is plenty of food to share with the little ones at other places.

    The disability board has a lot of parents who have children on the spectrum and will have tons of good advice about over stimulation in the parks.

    Happy Planning!
     
  4. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    We are trying to keep it under 3K all together and plan on drive so no plane tickets or anything and we are bringing our own food for some of it, sharing a photopass.

    I know to rent (@ 13 a point) value at AKL with our base tickets for 7 days without a meal plan is 2k.
    If we stay at music with park hopper and a dining plan is 2400. We arent sure about the dining plan since we live 5 hrs away I plan to precook casseroles and reheatables for some dinners and do lunch in the park with bringing our own snacks and what not.

    I am working with a Dis travel agent (themagicforless) and they said they might be able to get us free dining which will sway us honestly. If we can get free dining but cant stay in AKL NBD. We would still be at DISNEY!!!

    The time frame is pretty firm (mid may) because we have a friend coming from Canada that we want to go with.
     
  5. laceemouse

    laceemouse DIS Veteran

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    While the DVC resorts are all really nice, the reality of going back to the room for meals just really doesn't work out that well for most people. To get back to the front of the park you are in, wait for the bus, get back to your room, cook and eat and go back into the park will take LOTS of time. Even if you drive you own car to and from the parks you will spend a lot of time transporting if you don't eat in the parks.

    No travel agent can GET free food for you. I know, I am a travel agent. You can only get free food IF they offer it for your time frame, and then anyone can get it, not just your travel agent. You can go back and see what types of deals were offered for May in the past at www.mousesavers.com

    Free food would really be your best deal and save you the most money. Or, there may be a room discount for your dates. Then you would have to crunch the numbers to see which deal is the best for you. The dining plan is awesome, kids love the character meals;)

    As for as free things to do, yes, you can swim, go to Downtown Disney to shop, ect. However, you need to realize that after you buy a 3 or 4 day ticket the addition price to add another day or two is very, very small. It is more than worth it to go ahead and buy enough tickets for every day of your trip and then just do partial days if you do decide to eat and relax in your room.

    Animal Kingdom Lodge is gorgeous, but many people feel that a value room is a better deal for families with young kids. They LOVE the colorful/fun value resorts and honestly all most people do in the room is bathe and sleep anyway.
     
  6. laceemouse

    laceemouse DIS Veteran

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    What size DVC unit are you looking at? Does it even have a full kitchen and a real stove for cooking casseroles??
     
  7. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    We are getting 7 day tickets either way because I WILL be spending all 7 days in some fashion at a park :rotfl:.

    I plan to precook them and reheat in the microwave we are a fmaily who loves leftovers so i know the ones that cook good then reheat good that fill us up.

    We were looking at the value size room.

    By free I meant they might be able to snag the free dining meal plan for us when it comes out :)

    Thats what I keep thinking about the AKL but i know my older two would LOVE the safari animals outside of our room sometimes.
     
  8. laceemouse

    laceemouse DIS Veteran

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    Just keep in mind that you CANNOT get free dining or even buy the dining plan if you rent DVC points. Free dining is only avaiable when you pay the regular room rate at any of the resorts (DVC or otherwise)

    Sorry, I have to force my kids to eat leftovers. They are pretty good eaters and we rarely eat out at home. But at Disney dining in the restaurants for character meals or the countries in Epcot or whatever is a big part of the FUN for us. And no cleaning up afterwards.

    It is great to sit and enjoy an awesome meal and then get right back out into the park!!

    I agree the animals are great, but you could always go eat a meal there even if you don't stay at AKL. We just never spend that much time in the room when we go!!
     
  9. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    I think we will just stay at the music resort then. Good point of going there to eat! Can you go there and just walk around?

    WHen we went as kids (hubby has only been ONCE and a one day quick MK trip that him and I took with my ss and my odd) but always ate out of park so Ive never been to charecter dining either. I think Im just going to have to tell hubby how it is LOL.
     
  10. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    even if you cant get free dining is the dining plan worth it? Ive heard both yes and no.
     
  11. cvjw

    cvjw DIS Veteran

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    You need to double check the occupancy levels for the room types that you are considering. If all of the people in your ticker are going on your trip, you have too many people for one room. You can have 4 people plus one child under the age of 3 in a DVC studio or a value resort room. You may have to get a larger size room if your whole family is going on the vacation.
     
  12. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    My stepson wont be going with us. Just our 3 that are going to be 5 and under.
     
  13. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    We rented DVC points and had the dining plan - the person we rented from had to put it on our reservation (not free). It was worth it to us, because at the time, 4 of our kids were under 10. OP, if I were you, I'd get it, and make a buffet ADR every day, and all 5 of you can eat what you want, with 2 adults and 1 child on it.
     
  14. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    I think we are going to go with the dining it makes things easier I think then tracking down cheap places when you are hungry.
     
  15. Marionnette

    Marionnette <font color=deeppink>Wishing On A Star<br><font co

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    There are not very many value rooms at AKV. There are 10 2-bedroom lockoffs and 8 dedicated studios. They are all located in Jambo House (not Kidani) and you pretty much have to make your arrangements by renting your points from a DVC member, who owns at AKV, on or before 11 months prior to the first day of your vacation. The book up quickly because many DVC owners prefer to stay in the villas that require the fewest number of points. It stretches their points out and makes it possible to visit Disney more often! :)

    If you think that renting points is the way you want to go, make sure that you familiarize yourself with all of the negatives that go along with renting points. For instance, you don't get daily housekeeping without paying an additional fee. You will have to pay the DVC member in full when they make the reservation. You will most likely not be able to get a refund if you have to cancel, especially if that cancellation occurs with 60 days or less to go before your stay begins.

    But on the positive side, you CAN rent points and buy the dining plan. It just involves paying the member for the plan before they add it on to the reservation. Members are required to pay for the dining plan at the time that they book it. The dining plan can be added to the reservation as late as 72 hours prior to check in. But not every owner is willing to do it under such short notice. If you want to rent points and get the dining plan, make sure that you know what the owner can do or is willing to do for you.
     
  16. bbinnsGA

    bbinnsGA Earning My Ears

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    what are the other negatives to renting?

    Weve never done it and have never stayed on property.

    Thats good to know about AKL. I think thats the only reason my husband wanted to rent but not sure LOL.
     
  17. Marionnette

    Marionnette <font color=deeppink>Wishing On A Star<br><font co

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    • Renting points is not always cheaper than staying in a regular resort room. It is certainly cheaper than booking a Disney villa with Disney. And sometimes it can cost around the amount of a moderate resort room. But it is never as inexpensive as staying in a value resort room (suites excluded).
    • Renting requires a level of trust that some people are not comfortable with. You will be sending a large sum of money to someone you don't know and must rely on their honesty. While the majority of transactions are fine, there are always people who will find a way to rip off others. You can minimize your risk by going through a middleman like Dave's Disney Vacation Club. You'll end up paying more per point but he can do a lot to ensure that you don't show up at Disney only to learn that your reservation was canceled and your money is gone.
    • The DVC owner controls the reservation up to the point that you check in. If you want to make any changes or additions to your reservation, it DVC member. They are not professional travel agents and catering to your requests is not their top priority in life. It can take a couple of days to get confirmation that you added Grandma to the room or that he was able to switch you from a standard view to a savannah view.
    • There are a limited number of DVC villas. When the DVC members book up all of the villas at a resort, Disney does not open up more to them.
    • Booking with DVC requires advance planning. We're talking far in advance. Members can book at their home resort 11 months prior to the first day of their stay and can only book for 7 nights beyond that 11-month date. IOW, if you want to stay for 10 nights beginning Sept. 8, 2013, you can book the first 7 nights today (if member service were open, but that's another story). But you cannot book the entire 10 nights at that time. Your member would have to be able to book those last 3 nights later.
    • You must pay in full, well ahead of the day of your trip. If you book a room-only reservation with Disney, they ask for one night's fees as a deposit with the balance due at check in. If you rent DVC points, they want their money upfront, usually half the amount when they confirm the reservation and the remainder within a certain number of days after that.
    • Refund policies are not as lenient as Disney's When you agree to rent points from a DVC member, the member can no longer use their points. If you back out, they may no longer be able to bank those points for the next year. They might not be able to rent that reservation out to someone else. And they may not be able to use the reservation themselves. So, the rental contract will probably have a cancellation clause that means you forfeit your money after a certain date. Disney will refund your money completely if you cancel a room-only reservation with at least 5 days left before you arrive. At the very worst, you only lose the cost of one night instead of the price of your entire stay.
    • No daily housekeeping. Not a big deal for some people but others find this to be a huge negative. No one comes in to make your beds, take out your trash, wipe down your counters or hang fresh towels. If your stay is 8 days or less, you will receive "trash & towel" service on day #4. If your stay is 8 nights or longer, you will get full housekeeping service on day #4 and "trash & towel" service on day #8. You can pay for extra housekeeping services, but if you're staying DVC with the idea that you're going to save money, you might want to know that full housekeeping for a studio costs $30 per service and goes up to $75 for a Grand Villa.
    • Someone almost always has to sleep on a pullout sofa. Most of the DVC studios have one queen size bed and a pullout sofa. If you're just a couple visiting Disney, this isn't a problem. If you're a family of 4, someone is sleeping on the pullout. One bedroom units have a king bed in the bedroom and a pullout sofa in the living room. Again, someone ends up on a pullout if there are more than 2 of you.
    • You need to be extremely flexible when renting points. You might budget for staying in a value room at AKV during Value Season, but if there aren't any available, you're going to spend more money to pay for the points needed to book a standard view studio instead. Or you may want a BWV studio only to learn that the only studios available for your vacation are at SSR.
    I don't want to discourage you from renting DVC points. You asked for the negatives, so I've presented them as I see them. There are a lot of pluses as well. Many people rent points and have wonderful vacations. For them, the negatives do not out weigh the positives that they get.
     
  18. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    • When we rented a 2 bedroom BCV, I priced it out, and it was very close pricewise to 2 rooms at a moderate. It worked for us, since we would've needed 2 rooms, and were planning on booking a moderate anyway. Having a full kitchen, laundry, and being able to walk to 2 parks made it way worth it. There is the trust thing, and I had a few nightmares about having a stranger walk away with our money (2 strangers actually - needed 2 DVC members for the amount of points we needed).

      But it all worked out great, and I'd do it again.
     
  19. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    With those prices, it appears that you are pricing an AKV Value Studio. The refrigerator in studios are only slightly bigger than a dorm refrigerator. Honestly, I don't think your casserole idea will work. Not when it will take you 2 days to drive down and then you will have to keep them refrigerated somehow for more time after that. I hate to say it, but your family will probably be more comfortable in a standard condo off of Disney property where you can cook more easily. There are many 2-3 bedroom condos where are MUCH cheaper than renting DVC points even after having to pay for parking.
     
  20. Jenny3

    Jenny3 DIS Veteran

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    We rented DVC last year and got a great rate which made it entirely doable for us. Having a kitchen was invaluable to me, as was the washer/dryer and all the extra space since there was 5 of us. We did not have any full meals in our villa - just quickie items like waffles, cereal, etc in the morning and our dining leftovers for a late night snack at night. I had food delivered and we filled our fridge and pantry with snacks, water, juice, a case of beer, etc. We used the fridge/freezer, sink, toaster and microwave more than the stove.

    We stayed at Boardwalk Villas and it was wonderful! Beautiful resort! We also purchasing the dining plan, which IMO was worth every dime - especially for the character meals. :thumbsup2

    The Boardwalk area is very nice, even just to walk around and see all the attractions, jugglers, magicians, etc. We did that often after coming home from the parks. We also loved being able to walk to Epcot.

    For your little ones, I highly recommend taking a break in the parks by letting them run off some steam in the playgrounds Disney offers. My kids loved the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground at DHS and the Dinosaur Boneyard at AK. We also made sure to include specific shows that my toddler would enjoy - Playhouse Disney at DHS and Finding Nemo at AK.

    Everyone has pros and cons to both DVC and the dining plan, but for us, it was worth it. Last year was our first family vacation in years (and spent years saving for it) and we truly wanted to enjoy ourselves, not be squished in a standard room and on a super strict budget. Everyone vacations differently though, you have to think about what will make your vacation truly enjoyable for each member of your family. Good luck!
     
  21. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    The OP wants to rent a studio and not a 1 BR. She would have to pay another $1200 for a 1 bedroom.
     

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