WDW Thread - to discuss all things WDW

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Ms. Shuttergirl, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. Ms. Shuttergirl

    Ms. Shuttergirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,043
    Okay everyone, here is a WDW specific thread for us all to share tips and ideas and information.

    I can't wait to read all of the info.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    Thanks Ms.Shuttergirl for starting this thread. I will get it started with some tips for those newbies planning their WDW (Walt Disney World) trip.

    Some abbreviations for Disneyland
    WDW - Walt Disney World
    MK - Magic Kingdom
    HS - Hollywood Studios
    AK - Animal Kingdom
    GF - Grand Floridian Resort
    Poly - Polynesian Resort
    WL - Wilderness Lodge
    CR - Contempory Resort
    FW - Fort Wilderness
    BC - Beach Club Resort
    BCV - Beach Club Villas
    YC - Yacht Club Resort
    BWI - Broadwalk Inn
    BWV - Broadwalk Villas
    AKL - Animal Kingdom Lodge
    SSR - Saratoga Springs Resort
    OKW - Old Key West Resort
    CBR - Caribbean Beach Resort
    POFC - Port Orleans French Quarter Resort
    POR - Port Orleans Riverside Resort
    CSR - Coronado Springs Resort
    POP - Pop Century Resort
    IASW - It's a Small World
    POTC - Pirates of the Caribbean
    DTD - Downtown Disney
    TA - Travel Agent
    DME - Disney's Magical Express
    DVC - Disney Vacation Club
    MCO - Is Orlando's International Airport
    ADR - Advance Dining Reservation
    CS - Counter Service Restaurant
    TS - Table Service Restaurant
    DDP - Disney Dining Plan
    DxDDP - Deluxe Dining Plan

    (anybody else have others let me know and I'll add them to the list)
     
  4. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    First booking accommodation.... My advise (and just my opinion ) is to NOT book your WDW accommodation or WDW vacation package with an Australian TA (that is for Disney Hotels). The Australian companies who wholesale WDW are just so expensive it's ridiculous, often more than twice the price, sometimes more! So it's best to book direct with WDW or use a TA in the USA, there are many of them, Dreams Unlimited Travel sponsor Disboards and there are others. There are also online companies like getawaytoday.com (I haven't used either of these, I have used a TA in the USA though and had fantastic experiences).

    WDW resorts are....
    Deluxe -
    Magic Kingdom area - Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contempory, Wilderness Lodge
    Animal Kingdom area - Animal Kingdom Lodge
    Epcot Area - Beach Club, Yacht Club, Broadwalk Inn, Swan and Dolphin resorts (not Disney owned, they are Starwood resorts)

    Moderate - Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach Resort

    Value - All Star Resorts, Music, Sports and Movies , Pop Century

    Deluxe Villas - Saratoga Springs (including TreeHouse Villas), Old Key West, Animal Kingdom Villas, Beach Club Villas, Broadwalk Villas, Bay Lake Tower

    Fort Wilderness (cabins and campground)


    There are other great off site accommodation around WDW also.

    Tickets - They say anything over a 10 day pass then it's best to get an AP, that's what I have discovered in my planning. Unlike Disneyland where we can buy a 14 day pass, we can not do this in Australia. UK residents can buy a 21 day pass which is a great deal. I think this can be found sometimes at undercovertourist.com (I have never used them).

    Magical Express - If you are staying onsite at a WDW resort you get to use the services of Disney's Magical Express at no additional cost. It is a bus service at Orlando Airport (MCO) and will drop you off at your WDW resort and you have the choice of ME collecting your luggage for you and delivering it to your room later in the day or night or taking your luggage with you.
    ME will mail you a package that will include some yellow luggage tags. You place these on your luggage before checking your luggage for your Orlando flight and when the bags arrive at MCO, ME will collect them for you before they go to the luggage carousel and deliver them to your resort room. They will be left in your room wether you are there or not. You are not expected to tip for the delivery of the ME bags as you are not usually in the room.

    Because we are in Australia, often our yellow luggage tags (which are sent to you by DME) do not arrive in time. If this is the case you have two options. One is to collect the bags yourself from baggage claim as you normally would and go down to ME and your bags can travel with you to your resort. The other option is to head straight down to the DME check in desk and give them your luggage tags and they will go and claim the luggage for you and bring it along to the resort.

    DME is located on the lowest level at MCO airport, the level below baggage claim. So you head down there, it is right at the end of the building and is very easy to find. Once you check in there you will find specific lines for the different resorts. You find the line for your resort and before you know it you will be on the bus to your resort. If you take your luggage with you, then the ME driver will most likely help load and unload your luggage from the bus, so you should give him/her a tip for this. Otherwise I believe that DME is not a tippable position (I may be wrong, I will edit this if I am).

    If staying at Swan or Dolphin resorts, sadly you can not use Magical Express :sad1:

    Resort Airline Check In - On your check out day many of the resorts have a desk at bell services where you can go down to your resorts lobby and take your luggage and actually check in for your flight right there, yes just like the airport check in but you can do it at your resort. The ONLY problem for we Aussies is...... if you are flying home to Australia, so flying from MCO to LAX (change planes) LAX to Syd/Melb/Bris/Perth so at MCO you want to check your bags right the way through so you don't have to claim them and recheck in at LAX. You CAN NOT use the resort check in if you want to check your bags right the way through, you will need to take your bags to the airport and do regular check in at MCO. The resort airline checkin is not set up for International flights (and for all airlines). So you could check in if you were flying with say, Delta or AA but only as far as LA or NY, you would then need to claim your bags and go and check in again for the flight back to Australia. If you are not heading straight home from WDW and flying off to another US city and you are using a participating airline then you CAN use the resort airline check in. We were flying from MCO to LAX to Honolulu with American Airlines and we did use the resort airline check in, it was fantastic.
     
  5. Ms. Shuttergirl

    Ms. Shuttergirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,043
    I just wanted to add that if there are 4 or more of you travelling together, you should also price a town card or limo pick up against the cost of Magical Express. I think you would be surprised how close the pricing is and to be met by a driver straight off the flight, have them collect your luggage and relax in a private air conditioned environment while you are whisked along to WDW, now that would be a pretty nice way to start your holiday :lmao:.
     
  6. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    Ah, Shopping.... This is a really big problem for me! Yes I have a shopping addiction :lmao: So here are some of the malls around WDW and discount info.

    Malls

    Mall at Millenia - A really great Mall
    4200 Conroy Road
    Orlando, FL 32839

    The Florida Mall -
    8001 South Orange Blossom Trail
    Orlando, FL 32809

    Prime Outlets
    4951 International Drive
    Orlando, FL 32819
    http://www.primeoutlets.com/locations/orlando.aspx

    Premium Outlets
    8200 Vineland Avenue
    Orlando, FL 32821
    http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=17


    Discounts
    At Macy's stores there is a 10 or 11% (it keeps changing) card that you can get. You usually go up to the gift wrap counter which is usually on an upper floor where you get your international savings card (I've been to may Macy's with my shopping problem and they have always been at the gift wrap counter). In Honolulu the concierge desk also keeps some 5 day ones so you could also try your hotel concierge desk in many cities. The international ones usually last for 30 days and can be used at most Macy's stores in the USA. It can't be used on cosmetics and perfumes but you can use it on sale items. I bought a pair of jeans once that were 25% off, there was a 25% off off store wide sale and I used the 11% off card so I got a total of 61% off Bargain!!!! So you can even use the savings card on sale items!

    A lot of malls also have a special savings booklet. Many of the outlet malls you can register online before leaving home and print off a voucher to receive their discount book. Some malls with a Bloomingdales give some sort of free gift voucher, so it's worth visiting the concierge desk/information kiosk at the malls when you walk past to see if there is a discount book.

    Other Tips
    Another service that many malls offer is a free parcel check. We made good use of this service in December at South Coast Plaza in California, as we would get more parcels, we would just go back and add them to our growing pile. My son even had this really great (and huge) spider balloon that he got from Rainforest Cafe at SC Plaza and we left that there too as it was annoying to carry around. When we returned everything was there and had been looked after.

    I will keep adding tips as I think of them, LOL
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99,524
    I would expect that this one applies to anyone irrespective of whether they are travelling to Disney or not. I found out from my American TA.

    Disney will send your children autographed photos of their characters at no charge. Send the request for your favorite character to:

    The Walt Disney Company
    Attn: Fan Mail Department
    500 South Buena Vista Street
    Burbank, CA 91521

    Limit: one photo per request. Delivery: 4-6 weeks.

    I wrote a letter requesting a character photo (Mickey) for my son with name and address in the letter. I also popped my son's name, address and character request at the back of the envelop for RTS purposes.

    We got a response within 4 weeks (arrived on Friday). A Black and White 8" x 10" picture (thin'ish photographic paper) of Mickey in front of the Castle signed in texta "To My Pal (child's name) Mickey Mouse".
     
  8. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    If any of you have these memberships (not sure what they are in other states), then look on the back of your cards. You will see the AAA symbol and below that will be your club code.

    There are many places (tours, accommodation) that offer a AAA discount. Grayline tours is one, if you book at tour with them (not Disneyland Express) then you can get a AAA discount simply by mentioning it when you book and then presenting the card when you arrive there on the morning of the tour and they will apply the discount. Also when booking many hotels, they offer a AAA discount. For Example, when I was looking at Doubletree's website getting prices there was an area that asked for the AAA club code. I entered the code from the back of my RACV card and presto, it not only gave me all of the regular discount prices but also revealed the AAA discount prices which I was not able to see until I had entered the AAA code. So something to keep in mind and always travel with your card as you never know where you may get a AAA discount!
     
  9. ehsmum

    ehsmum Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    498
    I love this idea!

    I might write for a Mickey photo now and hopefully it will arrive before we leave (in 6.5 weeks)!
     
  10. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    That is SO great! Thank you for posting this info :wizard: Wow what a great service that is. I will be doing this for my son before we go :thumbsup2
     
  11. BecBennett

    BecBennett Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not happy.

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,822
    Magical Express is free at WDW if staying onsite :thumbsup2

    You know what I hate. Not being able to get proper prices until August! August!!! :rotfl:
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99,524
    :headache:

    August will be here before you know it. Hang in there.
    princess::upsidedow
     
  13. Ms. Shuttergirl

    Ms. Shuttergirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,043
    Oh I didn't realise that, well that is wonderful.
     
  14. queenie82

    queenie82 Queen of the 5 Castles

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,330
    We used this check in for our flight MCO-LAX and lets just say it didn't go all to plan!!!

    We were flying on an international ticket which included 2 checked bags for FREE but they didn't believe us. MANY calls to and fro and on and on they still didn't believe us.:headache:
    They said just pay us now and you can claim back........like that would go smoothly.
    FINALLY (after over and hour) we got all our bags checked in and on their way to the airport.

    It WAS worth doing and the bags got there fine and we met them in LAX fine. It meant we had the time between then and getting Magical Express to go shopping and looking around without having to worry about those bags.
    But expect to have issues if you are checking more than one bag. With all the airlines charging for even one checked bag now they just didn't want to believe we had 2 checked bags included in our ticket.
    I would try and get SOME kind of letter or something to prove it.:rolleyes:
     
  15. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99,524
    Thanks Queenie. I was wondering about this as I plan to catch ME from WDW to MCO. Looks like I'll take the bags on the bus myself and then check it in as normal...unless of course, you've educated them sufficiently for me.....:rotfl2:
     
  16. queenie82

    queenie82 Queen of the 5 Castles

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,330
    Shopping while at the parks
    Well we all go shopping in the parks don't we. The rides spit us out into shops constantly. And inevitably you WILL see something you want.
    Of course it will be 11am and you think....NOOOO I don't want to carry that all day!
    But there is a solution.
    You can have you package sent to the front of the park for collection later. This is free for ANYONE whether you are staying on property or not.
    If you are staying onsite you can also have your packages sent to your resort..but there is a hitch.
    It will not get there until the NEXT day...in the afternoon. So while it is popular, I don't like it one little bit.

    But having stuff sent to the front entrance does work well :)
     
  17. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    Yes if flying internationally it is just easier to take your bags with you on ME and check them in at the airport. As I said in my first post on Resort Airline Check in, the resort check in is not set up for international flights so they have no idea what the international airlines rules are. They only provide check in for certain domestic airlines, so they only know those specific airlines domestic rules. If you are connecting with international flights you can still use the airline resort check in. You just can not check the whole way through, just the domestic portion and you are bound by the domestic portion's rules. If you check in at the airport and you're on a partner airline and your domestic and international flights are linked then they will know to apply the international baggage rules and let you go, the resort check in will not and they don't have to, they are quite clear that they are only for domestic flights.

    For us we would prefer to take our luggage with us on ME (Bell services just get the bags from your room and will walk them over to the bus area) than have to get off the plane in LAX, head to baggage claim, head over to the check in counter at LAX, stand in line and wait and recheck in. You are checking in twice. If you take your bags with you on the ME and check in at MCO then you can get your boarding pass for the LAX-AUST flight and check your bags right the way through (provide you are flying on partner airlines), then all you have to do in LAX is look around, shop, go to Qantas Club (if you have it) and go through security. For us that is the easier option.
     
  18. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    OMG, what a nightmare! An hour checking in :eek:. It would have just been easier to take the bags to the airport, you wouldn't have spent an hour checking in there and then you wouldn't have had to collect the bags in LA and then line up again and wait for even longer to check in there for me. I have done that once and it was fine, not a hassle at all and saved rechecking in in LA, but have used the check in also and it was great too. So really its just whichever option works best for each different family.

    Hopefully one day partner airlines will be able to check in internationally at WDW. I must have been pretty lucky. When I did resort airline checked in at AKL we all had two bags and they were overweight :rotfl: and they let them through. When they weighed the first one I was saying in my head OMG, OMG please don't make me pay excess :rotfl: and they didn't, PHEW!
     
  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99,524
    Thanks AussieTravellers. I'll take my bags to ME and check in at the airport. We are flying partner airlines and hubby has special priviledges with Qantas re baggage allowances and priorities; so it will be better for us to deal with them directly rather than at the Disney resort. If they can't even deal with extra allowances for International travellers, there is no way they are going to understand enhanced Q Club priviledges.
    I'm going to have to claim my bags at LAX anyway because I'll still have another 3 days before the flight back to Oz. So there is no time or effort savings for me on this front.
     
  20. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,696
    Oh there is no way they would understand the Qantas Club priviledges :lmao: they are very limited in their knowledge at the check in at WDW resorts but if you are aware of this then you can avoid it. Poor Queenie, that would have been a nightmare trying to explain and for an hour, that would have been SO frustrating.
     
  21. queenie82

    queenie82 Queen of the 5 Castles

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,330
    We were only flying MCO -LAX that day. On United. In theory there were no issues.
    We weren't flying home until a week later.
    So there was no need to have them checked through to home.

    But we didn't anticipate them not believing us.
    If we still had paper tickets it would have been on there clear as day so it would have been fine.

    As I say it was still worth it for that particular day. It was an afternoon flight so we got a number of hours doing things knowing we didn't have to worry about them.
    Especially given it was NYE and the traffic was chaos around the mouse so we knew we didn't have to be worried about check in queues for when we got to the airport.

    But now we know what to expect.
    It was all a learning exercise. :thumbsup2
     

Share This Page