Want to plan a family trip and overwhelmed!

Discussion in 'Welcome to the DIS' started by NewDisneyLove, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. NewDisneyLove

    NewDisneyLove Earning My Ears

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    Hi everyone!
    I LOVE Disney and would love to plan a trip with my family but all the information needed to make this trip successful seems overwhelming!

    We have been to Disneyworld before...it was fun but really think we didnt do the vacation right. for starters it was June. Hot and crowded. My family didnt enjoy that at all. lines were long and we didnt really have a plan.

    I would love to know some tips from you all.

    When is best time to go?
    How long of a stay is best?
    What are best places to eat...when do you make reservations?
    What are best times to go to certain parks?
    Best place to stay onsite?
    Tips for making this trip not too expensive?

    I have a family of four. 2 boys that are 13 and 8.

    Thank you so much for any info given that will make this vacation planning a little less stressful for me!
     
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  3. Metro West

    Metro West <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=blue> Moderator

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    Welcome!
     
  4. StaceyR

    StaceyR Earning My Ears

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    How exciting!!! There is so much information, it can seem overwhelming. If you take it slow and try to enjoy it, you will be fine. It is really a personal preference as far as best resort. You can start making ADR 180 days from check in if you are staying on property. The restaurant choices are overwhelming, are you interested in a specific type of food or characters? I will share what information I have, just ask away! Best time to go....well anytime, but as far as crowds, mid-Sept to mid-Oct and Jan 2 t0 mid march are less crowded. I have heard May is good too. You should download a park app to your phone, they show wait times at different attractions. Touringplans.com also has info on crowd levels, you may have to join for a fee to get all of that information but it is a nominal fee.

    Stacey
     
  5. NewDisneyLove

    NewDisneyLove Earning My Ears

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    Thanks!
    We do not have a preference on food...just not too exotic. American Family friendly :)

    I would love to know when is a good time to go. When is it less crowded but warm enough to go to water parks?
     
  6. WizardLarz

    WizardLarz DIS Veteran

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    You have come to the right place for suggestions!:thumbsup2
     
  7. homerjay316

    homerjay316 Unofficial OWACA Unpaid Intern

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    All of this is a matter of preference, but here is my two cents:

    Tips for making this trip not too expensive?
    I'm taking your last question first. WDW is expensive no matter how you slice and dice it. My #1 rule is to never pay full price. Disney always has specials on the website. Get free dining, or 20-35% off your room. Also consider travel. If you are flying watching airfare might be more important than watching Disney rates. If you travel on odd days, like Wednesday thru Tuesday, you might get better rates than say Sunday thru Saturday.

    When is best time to go?
    The best time to go is when the kids are in school. This is easy for a childless man-boy like myself, but much harder for you. WDW is less crowded and rates are generally lower during the school year. Weigh the pros and cons of taking the kids out of school. If you determine that's an option, I encourage you to do it.

    How long of a stay is best?
    I do 7 days/6 nights. Usually I get there real early on day 1 and spend the afternoon in a park, do days 2-6 in the parks, and day 7 is just a travel day.

    What are best places to eat...when do you make reservations?
    Make reservations as soon as you can. I skip the park hopper option on my tickets (saves me about $50/head), so I need to know what parks I am doing what days before making reservations. If you do the dining plan remember that you get 1 table credit per night you are staying, but you can use multiple credits in a single day. That means that if you want to visit to restaurants in Epcot, you can do one for an early lunch, one for a late dinner, and do 2 counter service meals on a different day to balance out your plan. Liberty Tree Tavern is great American food in MK, Garden Grill is a great Character meal in Epcot (Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale). Animal Kingdom restaurants are a little more exotic. If that is a strong 'no' for anybody in your party, consider counter service meals at AK. Sci Fi Diner at DHS is not the best eating environment for socializing (you will sit 2x2, but all facing the same way), but I think the unique experience combined with the abundance of togetherness over the course of the week already makes it worth doing.

    What are best times to go to certain parks?
    As I stated earlier, I skip the park hopper. As also stated I do a total of 5.5 days in the parks. I do one park on 2 full days, another park for 1.5, and 1 day each in the other 2 parks. I've always heard that you want to stay away from MK on Saturdays and Mondays. I've never had problems with those parks on those days (probably because I go during the school year). Check the park hours (including extra magic hours) and pick a schedule that works for you. I like evening EMH. I do not like morning EMH.

    Best place to stay onsite?
    In my opinion, this is the biggest question for a family on a budget. If all you need is a bed, shower, and toilet; you are OK at a value resort. You might be a little cramped with a family of 4, but its the cheapest option. If you are a close family and don't plan to be in the room much, I encourage this option. If you need more space look for a Cabin, or a value resort family suite. However, I think you might find 2 value rooms cost less than a suite. If you decide 4 in a standard room will be too crowded, compare 2 standard rooms to the suite before making up your mind.
     
  8. monica9

    monica9 DIS Veteran

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    Agree with all of this. Chef Mickey is another great place to eat simple food.
    I would look into October/early november if you want cooler weather than June but still warm enough to swim.
    We like staying at least 8 days. Gives us time to relax and do half days at parks if we want

    Have fun planning! It's part of the fun for me!!
     
  9. jesswindsor

    jesswindsor DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!!!
     
  10. NewDisneyLove

    NewDisneyLove Earning My Ears

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    Thanks everyone!
    Do you usually book on disneyworld.com and do one of the group packages? That has hotel/tickets/dining all together? Is that the best way?
     
  11. homerjay316

    homerjay316 Unofficial OWACA Unpaid Intern

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    I book the package on Disney's website; room, tickets, dining plan. I use the Magical Express to and from Orlando Airport. I do not get my air fare thru Disney. I book that separately usually with Southwest or United depending on cost and availability.
     
  12. jcof616

    jcof616 Earning My Ears

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    I agree with this post. Another great place to eat is the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. It is buffet style and you get to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. The character dining also kills two birds with one stone. You get to eat and you don't have to stand in line to get autographs and pictures with the characters. Also if you go during the offseason the prices will be less expensive and you will get more out of your trip.(less standing in lines)
     

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