First trip - Value or Deluxe?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by DisneyATlast, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    975
    You will love any resort there. We have stayed at all levels and most resorts. One thing that may or may not make a difference to your kids is a slide at the pool. We spend some time at the pool every day and my kids like slides. If that is important, scratch all of the values off your list because those pools don't have slides. The only Disney hotel we have stayed at, that no one particularly cared for (parents and kids) is Pop. I know that there are a ton of people that love it there though and that is what is so great about Disney, something for everyone. I think if I were in your shoes. I would go with Wilderness Lodge. A little easier on the budget ( maybe allow for extras like Bibbidi-Bibbidi boutique?) beautiful theming for both parents and kids, and a great size pool. Of all the deluxes, I would say Poly is at the bottom of our list. ( don't get me wrong, it was a great trip, we were theme park view, club level) but the pool was a definite con for us. It seemed so tiny and crowded that it won't as relaxing. We were there in an off peak time, so I can't imagine how crowded it gets when Disney is busy.
     
  2. Avatar

    DIS Sponsor The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Reosrt.

    to hide this advert.
  3. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    975
    Split stays are great. We have done them a bunch of times. I would not do them unless you are staying at least a week though. I think you need at least three nights before moving. Disney moves your luggage for you, so it is super easy and you get the best if two different worlds! I set a goal for myself to stay at every resort, so doing split tags has gotten me closer to that goal.
     
  4. Anonomom

    Anonomom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    541
    To answer one of your questions, the Dining Plan does include character meals, though a few (Cinderella's Royal Table, for example) take two credits.

    As for resort choice, I have to say AoA looks pretty great. We tend to stay deluxe because we like being on the monorail but if you don't mind the buses, AoA is a cool option, especially with a discount. I'd start there and maybe stay at a mod or deluxe on a later trip.
     
  5. TJA

    TJA DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,872
    It seems as though you have pretty much decided on AoA, but since all of this is pretty new to you, I just wanted to point out a few things.

    I also have 2 kids and we've been taking them to disney since they were babies. They are now around the same age as yours. Some things of major importance to our family include:

    We are a family of 4, so 2 double or queen beds just doesn't work for us. The deluxes have sofa beds in the room too so we can easily spread out to sleep. At WL, we had a bunk bed room (kids LOVED this!) and that was a great room for us.

    Another thing to consider is the ease of getting back and forth from parks. Our family likes to go to a park in the morning, then back to our resort during mid-day, then most likely to another park at night. At an MK resort (Poly, GF, CR, WL), it's easy to get to MK and Epcot, really, just take the monorail or boat (WL is just boat). Buses and cars are not our favorite form of transportation in disney, so we opt for resorts with walking paths, monorail, boat.

    One last thing: you mentioned going in Nov/Dec and that will mean Cmas decorations will be up, so a good resort suggestion is WL. It's decorated so nicely for the holiday and has the ultimate cozy feeling. My kids love this resort -- it feels like it's secluded in the woods but yet it's a short boat ride away from CR, like minutes! And a little longer to the MK, but still a nice ride. Of course, if budget allows, your resort of choice -- Poly -- is a great place to stay. The surroundings alone are wonderful -- my kids love this as well. You can watch Wishes right from the pool! There is a sandy beach to play on with a view of the Castle. CR is also a family favorite of ours. It's very magical being right next to MK!
     
  6. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 1999
    Messages:
    31,507
    Well, that stinks. AoA is $133 per night for the first week of December, so you're looking at $150 per night before you add on park passes or the Disney Dining Plan. Historically, special discounts (including "free dining" have been offered for that first week of December: http://www.mousesavers.com/historical-information-on-walt-disney-world-resort-discounts/#codetrends ) but you will need to be patient for those discounts to come out.
     
  7. DisneyATlast

    DisneyATlast Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    :confused3

    That's good to know! Thanks!

    I'm really flexible on when I can go since November/December is so far away! I just figured that time of the year would be the most affordable AND the most bearable in regards to heat. I'm a wimp when it comes to being hot. I don't have any fun AT ALL when it's middle of the summer type heat!

    If the first week of December are when the best deals are offered then the first of December is when we will go! :rotfl:

    I am eager to go ahead and book something because I'm afraid of waiting too long and the rooms getting full. Is it very likely for value resorts to get booked up that far away?

    At the same time, I don't want to book something and then find out the most awesome deal ever came out right after I booked! :rotfl:

    I DID have my mind made up on AoA when I thought I had that awesome $2100 deal!! I probably will still go with AoA, but nothing is set in stone until it's set in stone!
     
  8. Angeejoe

    Angeejoe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,108
    I agree that going value would be great idea as many people have said, once you go deluxe it's hard to go back ( as my spoiled DH would tell you). I also think as a 1st trip this will give u a way to figure out where things are & the things you like to do so your next trip you have a good idea of what works for you. I'd encourage you to check out some of the other hotels you are interested in while there, maybe go for a meal. Hop on monorail & check out hotels ( my husband & i did this) or go out back door at world show case & you can visit BC, YC, BWI, Swan or Dolphin. Save the money for your next trip! :teacher:
     
  9. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,960
    I haven't read though teh pages of the thread, so you probably have already moved past the original question. But here's my personal experience, FWIW.

    My kids (and my husband and myself) love the theming at the values. To us they just feel more like Disney. But we're also very causal people. You never see us out of our jeans and t-shirts. So the more informal atmosphere at the values suits us very well too.
     
  10. pooh101

    pooh101 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    258
    Best to book as soon as possible. If a special rate or free dining becomes available, just call and have it applied to your reservation.You have up to 45 days (pretty sure) to change your res. without paying the $50 fee. Keep an eye out for free dining. They usually offer it for certain dates Nov./Dec. Our family of four saved over a thousand dollars.
    If you plan on doing any table service meals, you really should call and make ADRs at 180 days out.
    We went the week after Thanksgiving and the weather was perfect--capris and tees for day then add a light jacket for night.
    We stayed in a Beach Club villa our first trip and it was beautiful. The next trip we did a Value resort (ASSports). The themeing was great, but it was just way too cramped for us--we're not huge people but the double beds were horrendous. This past time we stayed in a moderate (POFQ-queen beds) and loved it! If I were you I would choose Art of Animation. We've never stayed there but it seems like you're very interested in the themeing and this resort seems to fit the bill.
    Happy planning and have a magical trip!
     
  11. bethclayton

    bethclayton DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    764
    i agree with a pp on page 1 who said that at your kids' ages, they might feel a bit "old" for AoA by the time the trip gets here and may even prefer the poly. at least the 9 year old. we go every year and almost 4 years ago we went for my dd's 9th birthday, so my kids were 7 and 9. we stayed at akl that trip and loved it. but for some reason one very prominent memory of that trip was when we visited the polynesian for breakfast. my kids never wanted to leave, particularly my 9 year old. we spent a long time just sitting on the beach, playing in the sand, and looking at the beautiful scenery. we really had to drag them out of there at the end. the lush, tropical landscape there is just amazing and so relaxing.

    fast forward two years later we stayed at the poly finally when my kids were 9 and 11 and it is hands down their favorite resort. it is where we hope to stay during our next trip. you have great transportation options but a very secluded feel. it is extremely family friendly and very geared towards kids.

    you can book now and when you find a great deal, you can often have your reservation changed to reflect it- as long as they still have rooms available that were allotted for the discount. we have called just two days after a promotion was announced and could not get the discount because all the rooms they allowed for it were booked (there were rooms available, just not at the discounted rate; when they're gone, they're gone). you may need to really watch like a hawk once it gets closer. discounts for your dates will not be released for some time now. a great place to find out about discounts is right here on the resorts board. you can also use the disney website to price out trips (make sure you click through "special offers" if applicable).

    i also agree with those who have said that three table service meals per day would be too much. it will take a lot of time out of your days.

    good luck and congratulations! pixiedust:
     
  12. DisneyATlast

    DisneyATlast Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    Thanks to EVERYONE for all the replies! You've given me a lot to think about!!

    I'm going to call and make my reservation a week from today at AoA so it will be official!!

    We are very casual people. It doesn't take much to please any of us. A bed to sleep on...a towel..a television...we're good. Well, I could even dry off with a variety of items if no towels were available :lmao: Really, it would take A LOT for me to complain or not be happy (Think Joe's Apartment!)

    I'm also pretty sure since it's our first trip that we will not be spending much time at all in the room. I'm going to get the deluxe dining plan too. I've heard people say that you spend too much time in the restaurants, etc. but I think that might be a good alternative to having to go back to the room to relax in between parks!

    I figure we'll probably head out early in the morning for a table breakfast....go to a park from there...and then when we get tired and ready for a break, we will go sit down again somewhere for lunch! My kids are very active so they won't be wanting to go back to the room to lay down or anything like that! I figure we'll probably leave the room in the morning and not go back until late in the evening!

    I could see needing more space also if I weren't doing the deluxe dining. I'm not going to be cooking or preparing any food AT ALL though...so I can't justify the extra money in my frugal head. As far as the beds being doubles...my son, my husband, and I all sleep in our QUEEN size bed right now!! Every blue moon our daughter will join us too! :grouphug: That's not because he's afraid to sleep by himself or anything like that. It's because my husband begs our son to sleep with him so he can hold him! :rotfl:

    So, I'll probably sleep in a double with my daughter and my husband sleep in the other double with my son. That'll be plenty of room. We'll probably all be too exhausted by bedtime to care anyway!

    I am going into this thinking it will be a "once in a lifetime" kind of trip. I think my kids will outgrow the Disney themes (my daughter already thinks Mickey "is for babies"). Btw, the kids will be 7 and 9 at the time of our trip. They are 6 and 8 right now. BUT...if we happen to fall in love with it then I can use this trip as a learning experience for future trips! After seeing how it is to travel back and forth between the different resorts, which parks we like most, etc. it will be easier to decide.

    Thanks again for all the responses!! :wave2:
     
  13. bethclayton

    bethclayton DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    764
    sounds like a great vacation!

    if you haven't already done so, you might want to consider asking about your choice of dining plan somewhere on the restaurant board. i saw that you don't want to have to go back to the room mid-day or prepare any food. but with the basic dining plan (as opposed to deluxe), you also would never have to prepare food or go back to the room to eat. you said your kids are very active and the table service meals can be really long. your kids might get tired of three long meals every single day for the whole trip. of course you can "exchange" some of those table service meals and use them to get counter service, but you did emphasize not wanting to pay for anything unnecessary.

    with the basic dining plan you will get one table service meal each day (you can use it for most character meals as well). you will also get one counter service meal per day (this basically means fast food but most places do have healthy and creative options as well, it's definitely not all hamburgers and hot dogs). then everyone gets one "snack" each day. disney's "snack" options have many items that would be suitable for breakfast (huge cinnamon bun), or even a lunch (large order or "loaded" fries) if you had a full breakfast. i believe this year you also get a resort refillable mug, as well. we no longer do the dining plan due to my kids ages- it is not as good of a value for us anymore. but every time that we did do the dining plan, the basic one was more than ample. disney gives you a LOT of food, and usually in the end we would have a lot of food wasted and 10+ snack credits to use up on the last day of our trip. my kids love to eat in restaurants but three long meals every day would have been a bit much for them.
     
  14. DisneyATlast

    DisneyATlast Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    Yeah, I have considered the different dining options because I do hate to waste money, but at the same time, I don't want to spend my time worrying over the meal budget and/or planning meals (tallying credits). I've ready so many different opinions...some people say deluxe is way too much food while other people say the plan just below that wasn't enough. I'd rather have too much than not enough. If I didn't do the deluxe dining then I'd still have to "budget" the meal credits when doing signature meals or ordering pizza...and I don't want to do that. If the kids want a popsicle or a drink (as much as I'll try to avoid buying drinks) then I just want to be able to say "YES!" without even thinking about it. I've had to say NO for a long time! :)

    I think with deluxe dining we will try restaurants that I would never consider otherwise, and I can also say YES to appetizers and even DESSERTS! In "real life" I never, ever buy dessert when we go out to eat and we don't even go out to eat often! They're just way too expensive. I'm like, "I'm not paying $5 for an ice cream when we can buy a half gallon for that price at the store!"
    I think it'll just add one more special touch to the trip when I can let them pick ANYWHERE they want to go and get EVERYTHING they want! I assume we will have some extra credits, but will figure out a way to put them to use either by ordering pizza or doing signature meals....and we can always bring snacks home.

    I've even had to talk myself into the plan! I hesitated about even staying at a hotel on site because I like to save money so much, but then I had to tell myself, "This is the special trip we've been waiting for. Don't nickel and dime for once!" I'm the kind of person who buys glow sticks at the dollar tree before we go to fireworks to save money, I shop at thrift stores, and clip coupons...so it's hard to just hand over the cash for a "Magic your way" package knowing I could save money staying off site, buying only the tickets we'll use, and packing food from home....but I'm forcing myself to splurge just this once. I have plenty of time to budget for the trip and I've already started tracking my spending so I'll have a surplus large enough not to fret over "losing" a few hundred dollars that could've been saved.

    Thanks for the adive all the same! It is a good idea to plan wisely and save, but I spend so much of my time doing that...I'm ready for a vacation from MYSELF...for everyone's sanity.
     
  15. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 1999
    Messages:
    31,507
    I wouldn't recommend saddling yourself with the Deluxe DDP on your first trip. You will spend your days running from one meal to another instead of enjoying the Disney parks and attractions. I WOULD recommend the regular DDP for you. With 2 kids (children become "Disney Adults" at 10) you are in what I consider the DDP "sweet spot" where the value of the dining plan for kids is more than you will pay for it, especially if you go to Character meals.
     
  16. AliceIn

    AliceIn DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,511
    If you do the DDxP right, it can work for you. We did early breakfasts in the park before opening each day, then did a nice dinner either in or at a resort close to the park we were visiting each evening. We didn't do sit down meals for all three meals, and there were days where we just did two. We did several signature meals. We ended up using most of our snack credits at Goofy's candy shop and brought back loads of treats. We did end up using all of our credits.

    You don't want to make 3 reservations a day, though. I'd stick to 2 as long as the first one is pre-park opening. Otherwise you'll spend most of the day inside a restaurant.
     
  17. tink1953

    tink1953 Tink rocks!!!!!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    605
    For kids first trip I would say for sure Art of Animation suites...get the best room there and use your money for doing other things the kids will love...like castle breakfast, pirates and princess things...so much to do...
    If your looking for Disney feeling you can't beat the values...its Disney all the way...

    We stay there as adults because we want that Disney feeling around us...

    we will be going the same time as you it will be our 4th trip at this time...Christmas is magical in Disney..

    as for dining the plan is nice but I would not try to do a lot of table service meals because you will lose a lot of park time...just do 2 or 3 character meals.....the quick service plan might work for you....
     
  18. Angeejoe

    Angeejoe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,108
    I say do the deluxe dining plan! We thought it was awesome & it allowed us to try new things we wouldn't normally order like appetizers & desserts like u said. We didn't eat 3 meals every day as we did some signature dining for 2 credits. For signatures we loved yachtsman steakhouse & le celliar in Canada & fultons at DTD. We'd get up early & go to breakfast buffet at Captains Grille @ YC, then maybe a midday lunch & really late dinner on days we had 3 meals. On days with no breakfast we ate snack credit for breakfast at place like quick service next to Soarin. The DDP IS AWESOME! I really enjoyed planning all the meals ahead of time & I honestly didn't feeling like all we were doing was eating like others are saying! It was fun knowing everything was paid for. Our issue (which wasn't a bad thing) was we had so many snack credits!! Our last day we ended up using like 10 of them in gift shop on candy that we ended giving as gifts. I say DDP is totally worth it.popcorn::
     
  19. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    975
    We have done deluxe a couple of times. We made all our dinner ressies at 2 point restaurants. We would use our other credit for the day at either a breakfast or a lunch and then use or snack credits to fill in for the other meal. It was still a lot of food, but definitely manageable. dde0a
     
  20. ChristineOH

    ChristineOH Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    284
    I have been following your thread, and it sounds like you will have a wonderful trip! We did the regular dining plan, and we loved ordering what we wanted, getting dessert, having snacks covered, etc. You will have even more flexibility. I think your kids are still young enough to enjoy AoA and all the magic Disney has to offer. Enjoy!
     
  21. Angeejoe

    Angeejoe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,108
    I forgot to say that for signature dining we really liked Brown Derby @ Hollywood Studios too.
    1. Yachtsman Steak House
    2. Le Celliar
    3. Brown Derby
    4. Fultons Crab House

    Which signature dining are you considering? Next time I'd love to try Ohana (couldn't get reservation! This is not a signature, but looks cool), Artist Point or California Grille. Then we will have bonus to check out the hotels a little more!:offtopic:
     

Share This Page