We won a trip to Disney World! Now what...?

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by UConnFan, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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  3. lovin'fl

    lovin'fl DIS Veteran

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    Wow!!! Congrats! How exciting! I think August is a good choice. We like low crowds and I think it starts to slow down a little in August as families are getting their kids back to school. We do the last week before school starts (so we booked Aug 17-22 at Hilton Head next summer). We did that week at Vero Beach and Universal in 2012 and it was very very uncrowded in Universal while we were there....but yes, it's HOT!!!

    Looking forward to more of your posts! I'd recommend POR as a resort...we stayed there in 2005 and really liked it. You should try out Boatwrights with your free DP...mmmmmm (we liked it).

    A side note...my DH's name is Kevin and he is an actuary. He became a FSA when he was 31...we got married and had kids right out of college and he took exams while we were raising our babies. Fun stuff!!! Anyway...enjoy your trip planning and then your trip...very exciting!
     
  4. spiritsim

    spiritsim DIS Veteran

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    I have always dreamed of winning a WDW trip always enter every contest I come across. Alas it didn't happen but I did retire for medical reasons and said hey you only live one go now. So am going to WDW 1-12 oct we were going to stay at POR RS but have changed it to CSR BC for several reasons. This will be our first trip to the world we have always done DL. Taking my DD and her DH, 2 DGDs can't wait. :yay::yay::yay:
     
  5. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    vs.

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    As I’m sure you’ve guessed from my previous comments, we’ve narrowed our options down to Port Orleans. Although the other moderate resorts sound lovely, I think Port Orleans makes the most sense for us. We just have to decide whether we want to stay French Quarter or Riverside.

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    I’ve heard from many sources, including you lovely people, that French Quarter has a much better bus system. We’ve also heard that the king rooms have two windows that overlook the water in the back, which sounds lovely. Another plus is the smaller size. After a long day, we don’t want to have to walk around even more or wait as the bus drives around to multiple stops.

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    I have to admit, I like the theming of Riverside better. The scenery and the pretty buildings have always enthralled me. Is it silly to make a resort decision based on the nice buildings and scenery?

    We aren’t really interested in the sit down meal options, so that doesn’t weigh in on our decision. There are too many other places we want to try first. We do eat in the food quarts occasionally, but not enough to make that a deciding factor.

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    I don’t know much about the pools at either resort. Kevin and I love to spend time in the pools, so this could be part of the decision. Does one have a better pool? I’m super excited that the moderates have slides and hot tubs. We love water.

    I think the bus situation is the biggest reason people choose POFQ over POR. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I’d rather not wait long for the bus and I’d like to get back to my room quickly at night. On the other hand, I’ve learned that it’s not always best to base a decision solely on other peoples’ experiences. It’s possible we could stay at POR and have a great experience with the busses. I’m also not sure I think staying on the bus for a few extra minutes would be the end of the world. Of course, that depends on whether I have a seat at night, or not ;-). We may even decide to rent a car on this trip, as we have a few plans off property.

    Honestly, if I went with my gut I would want to stay at Port Orleans Riverside. I think I’m going to need to think it over some more before I officially make my decision.
     
  6. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    Thank you! I honestly think we would love it, too. Although the negative comments make me a little nervous, I'm pretty sure we'll end up staying at POR. I looked at the thread some, but I need to go dive into it even deeper. The quick bus to MK is such a plus!

    Oh, thank you! We missed you at the meet. I hope you had a wonderful birthday and a great meal at Citricos. We can't wait to see you and Val at Disapalooza!

    I'm really hoping you're right about the lower crowds in August. Whatever happens, though, we'll make the best of it. Fortunately, my travel companion is easy going. :thumbsup2

    I'm glad that you're recommending POR too. It's nice to hear good things about it...

    That's so funny! We married a year after graduating from school (although, I did my master's degree, so we married less than a week after I graduated with my masters). He just took his third test. I'm hoping he'll have quite a few tests under his belt by the time we have kids. He's just having such a hard time finding a job, for some reason. It's really discouraging, considering he has worked so hard to pass the exams. Fortunately, it'll all pay off someday.

    Honestly, I feel like I'm living in a dream. I just can't believe we won it! I'm so grateful. We have the same attitude. In fact, we're going to Disney in less than a month for a party because we figure we're only young and childless once.

    That sounds like such a great time to go. I hope that you have an amazing time, especially since you have family going :)
     
  7. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along....
     
  8. ShesAPirate

    ShesAPirate DIS Veteran

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    We stayed at Riverside in February, and absolutely loved it. Great food court, great pool (huge, and good pool bar), quiet resort, boat to DTD, and the cool little bar inside the main building (the River Roost Lounge) was a nice place to relax at the end of the day. The buses were the same as every other resort I've stayed at on property, from Value to Deluxe -- hit or miss. Sometimes they came right away, sometimes not. I didn't find any significant difference between Riverside and Poly or Pop or Caribbean Beach when it came to waiting for buses.

    Our room was a corner room (two windows!) in the Alligator Bayou section, river view. Here's some pics -- hope this helps!

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    View from the our room:
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    Boats to DTD:
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    Open Murphy bed:
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    Pool:
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    I have lots of food pics from Riverside Mill, too. If you want to see them, just say the word :thumbsup2
     
  9. Imbri

    Imbri Mouseketeer

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    Haha, we stayed in the mansions, and they look so different! Mine are from 2010, I dunno how much it's changed.

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  10. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    Welcome! Thanks for joining!

    That's how I feel about the bus system. I think it will end up being fine. We're pretty easy going, so hopefully it won't bother us.

    Thank you so much for sharing your pictures! Your room was so nice! I love the double windows. It seems like the rooms are a lot bigger than Pop, which will be nice. The scenery is gorgeous!

    If I could pick a place to stay based on aesthetics, I would pick the mansion section. It looks gorgeous. Was it far away from the main building and pool?
     
  11. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    Im so grateful for all of the time Ive had in Disney World, but I have to be honest; my trips never feel long enough. I always feel rushed to fit everything in, and then I leave thinking about all of the things I wish I could have done. I also really enjoy at least one day off during the trip to recuperate and to enjoy things outside of the parks.

    Ive always wanted to stay for 10-14 days, but this has just never been a financial or logistical possibility. I think this trip might be the perfect opportunity to have a nice long trip.

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    There are lots of benefits to a longer trip, including:
    1) More time to do the things we love more than once
    2) More time to try new things we havent had time to do before
    3) Stopping to enjoy the small things, like sitting in Epcot while sipping a yummy drink, people watching on Main Street, and walking on the animal trail in Animal Kingdom
    4) Exploring things outside of Disney, especially a certain boy-wizard who stole my heart when I was 11 years old
    5) Sleeping in! With more time, we wont need to do rope drop every morning.
    6) More pool time!
    7) A water park! Kevin has wanted to go to a water park every trip weve been on, but weve never had the time. With the hot and humid August weather, this would be the perfect time to visit the water parks!

    I could go on and on justifying the added time, and Im sure Im just preaching to the choir. There just isnt such a thing as enough time in Disney.

    I'm pretty sure we can't add time on to this package. Rather, we'll need to book a separate trip. I have an email in clarifying this point, but in the meantime, I want to do some planning.

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    I'm thinking maybe we'll do a split stay? I don't necessarily love the idea of wasting vacation time moving, but I'm thinking about the two extremes of Disney:
    - If we're adding more time, we may want to make it cheaper so we can enjoy other things, in which case we may stay at Pop for the second part of our trip.
    - Maybe this would be a good time to go luxurious and stay Deluxe. I want to stay at Yacht & Beach club so badly, but we've just never been able to afford it. If we saved, we probably could swing it for this trip.
    - We also could request that we stay in the same room for our split stay to make things simpler.

    I have this same debate every trip. Kevin is so easy going, he'll stay anywhere. He would love to stay at the Beach Club, too, though.

    So, how long should we add on? Im thinking well probably shoot for 14 days. Somehow, when I sketch out my itinerary for 12 days, it still doesnt seem like enough. Im just being greedy! How long do you like to go for? What's your magic number of days?

    Speaking of itineraries, I think its time to start thinking about what we actually want to do on this trip :
     
  12. Imbri

    Imbri Mouseketeer

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    We were a short courtyard and bridge walk away from the main building (I'd say it took us less than 5 minutes every morning.) We went to the right from the main building, over the first covered bridge, and then we were the second building down. We were a fair distance from the big themed pool (Ol' Man's Island, I think it's called?) BUT we were right next to one of the several (5, I believe?) non-themed pools. The third picture I posted is a picture of the pool, from the path we took to the main building. You entered it from the side/behind (We walked from our second floor room around the side, then down the stairs on the side of the building to it), and you could see it from right after crossing the bridge (although as you can see, it's pretty private). We went to it every night after getting back from the park, and there was never more than 2 or 3 other couples there, and never any kids.

    I never feel like there's enough time either! Our next trip, I'm doing the Princess Half Marathon, and when we booked, we had it for 6 days, 5 nights. Yikes. Only 4 days in the park. :( Then the stay, play and dine discount came out,a nd for $50 more, we were able to add a whole day! Soooo happy!
    As far as thinking about the things you could have done, think of it this way (i read this in a trip report on another site, I'll have to find it again): the person didn't view it as a once in a lifetime trip, they fully planned to go back many MANY times, so you live in the moment and take in what you can, and have something to come back for, because with Disney, things are always changing and evolving and it's always a new experience, but then, still old and familiar.
    That's the ideal I'm going with this trip, as it'll be our first trip with a child, and I know we won't accomplish half of what we did on our honeymoon. :rotfl:

    Harry Potter is fantastic. That is all. <3

    If I could plan out a lengthy trip, I think I'd do 2 days per park, plus 1 day Universal (need a HP day, but I'd only need to go to US: Island of Adventure, not US itself), 1 day for a water park, and then 1 day on each end for travel time (which would also be my Downtown Disney days), so thaaat's 12 days, I think? If I did 14 days, 2 would probably be downtime, and I don't think I could justify spending the extra money on a hotel room and not do something. :rotfl:
     
  13. tankgirl427

    tankgirl427 DIS Veteran

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    Since they are both Port Orleans I *think* you can use the pools at either location, but maybe someone else would know better. Last fall our room was right around the corner from the food court and super quiet even though it was a corner room right by all the action. It was awesome!
     
  14. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    First of all, I want to thank those who have served our country. I'm so grateful for your sacrifice.

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    We’ve had a bit of a change in our initial planning. We went to see Kevin’s parents this weekend and they reminded us that his grandparents have a timeshare at Vistana that needs to be used. Although we love staying on site, we can’t pass up a very inexpensive week on top of a free week. The less we spend on the hotel, the more we have to spend on other fun things to do at Disney.

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    I’ve heard Vistana is beautiful. It will be nice to have access to a kitchen. Not that we’ll be cooking, but we can have breakfast in our room and keep water cold. Kevin’s mom told us the pools are really nice, as well. These rooms also have a washer and drier, which will be nice for a two week vacation. I was wondering what we would do about clothes while we are down there, especially in the heat.

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    If we are able to get the time we are looking for, we will stay at Vistana the first week we are there and then go to the moderate for the week we won. That means our dates will fall at the end of July into the beginning of August.

    I’m not sure how this decision will affect our itinerary, but I’m not going to worry about that until we are booked. This does mean we won’t be able to have the dinning plan for the first week we are there, but I’m not that heartbroken about that. I love the dining plan for its convenience, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best option for us. Kevin eats a lot, so it’s good for him, but I don’t eat as much as he does. I also mostly drink water, so the soda or other drink options is a bit of a waste for me. I also don’t think we would pay for the dessert at the counter service restaurants. We really don’t like to have a planned sit down meal every day. We prefer to have nicer meals a few times a trip. I don’t like stopping what we are doing to make a reservation.

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    With that said, we do love to have some sit down meals and we are super excited to start thinking about where we want to eat on this trip. I have some restaurants we would really like to go back to and some that we would like to try.

    Restauarants we would love to go back to:
    - Via Napoli
    - Yachtsmen Steakhouse

    Restauarnts we want to try:
    - California Grill
    - Artist Point or Citricos
    - Whistpering Canyon Cafe
    - House of Blues
    - Tusker House or Crystal Palace
    - Celebration Town Tavern

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    I really want to do breakfast someday because we love a nice sit down breakfast. The problem is, we also love sleeping in. It’s hard enough to wake up for rope drop, I’m not convinced we’ll make it for breakfast before that. I’ve always wanted to go to Crystal Palace before the park opens, though. On my first trip to Disney, we went to Cinderella’s Royal Table before the park opened and it was wonderful! I loved walking down Main Street with few people around. Maybe we need to just suck it up and do it….If we go early in our trip, we’ll likely be so excited to get to the parks, we won’t mind getting up early. Also, I can make sure my sleep schedule isn’t changed once school gets out so it’s easier to wake up earlier.

    I am interested in Artist’s Point because I’ve always wanted to see Wilderness Lodge and I have heard this restaurant is good. We could also go to Whispering Canyon Café. I’m not sure I want to go out of my way so far, though.

    We wanted to go to California Grill and watch Wishes on our honeymoon, but unfortunately it was closed for refurb. We definitely want to go this trip.

    Where do you like to eat when you go? Have I left off one of your favorite restaurants?
     
  15. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    I toally agree about your philosophy of going back many more times. We're pretty sure in the next year or so we're going to invest in DVC. We know we love going and we know we want to take our future kids as much as possible. I'm even tempted to get an annual pass.

    The mansions sound perfect! I'm not sure what our reservation will look like (if we'll be able to make requests like a normal reservation), but if I can, I'm going to try for the mansions. Thank you so much for sharing your photos and experience.

    Oh, I'm so excited you're doing the Princess Half. Someday I'll do a Disney Run...will you do a trip report?

    Now that you say that, I think I may have read that somewhere. I'll have to look into it. I'm guessing that we wouldn't want to walk far to get to the pool if there was a closer one, though.

    That room sounds perfect! I'm hoping we'll be pretty close to the main building.
     
  16. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Based on everything you say - it sounds like POR (mansions) would suit you best. I remember agonizing for weeks over a resort choice one trip....and finally realised that there are pros and cons at every single resort. Theming was really the biggest difference and one of the biggest aspect of the fun of staying on a Disney property (for me at least).

    Have a wonderful time - I love long vacations. Our last trip was 12 nights and it was just about enough (although we weren't quite ready to leave). We went in August and with WPF&M added to our tickets, we decided to make it a waterpark focused trip to minimize ticket costs. We did 6 park days, 4 days at the two waterparks, and 2 days at DQ. It was amazing! A little extreme - but I'm all about optimizing value and I figured we could do a more park-centric trip in the future (prob without the WPF&M add-on so I can save $50 x 4ppl).
     
  17. Imbri

    Imbri Mouseketeer

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    I couldn't decide between the two sides of Riverside, so we didn't put in any requests, and Mansions are where we ended up. From what I understand, families tend to be put into the Bayou section and couples get put into the Mansions.

    I want to get a DVC someday! I really hope we can afford one eventually. =D

    Hehe, yup, I'll do a trip report! I've got a pre-trip report going too (the link in my sig. :) ) I read a few running blogs, and they go to a bunch of the Disney runs in the same year. I eventually want to do all the runs they do at Disney (and Disneyland), but that'll be awhile.
     
  18. spiritsim

    spiritsim DIS Veteran

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    I have read everything I could find about POR because we were going to stay there but have changed to CSR. you know there is a thread with all the por info and FQ too.......anyways yes you can use either pool as they are sister resorts.
     
  19. UConnFan

    UConnFan Mouseketeer

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    I agree! It was a pretty easy decision for us, this time. We only agonize over the financial reality of value vs. moderate vs. deluxe and our desire to stay in luxury :rotfl2: . Every trip we debate about whether we should spend more on where we stay, but we always end up opting to stay cheaper and do more with our money in the parks.

    I can't wait to go on a longer trip. I think it's nice to change up the type of trip you take. It's nice to experience new things.

    I have to go check out your pre-trip report! I wish there as more time in the day! I hope we're put in the mansions. They look beautiful!

    I've spent some time on the POR thread. There is a lot of information! I can't wait to delve into it some more.
     
  20. LisaTC

    LisaTC DIS Veteran

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    Actually, many families stay in the mansions because that's where the royal rooms are. We always stay in the mansions. If you have 5, you need to stay in the Bayou section with the fold down mini bed for younger ones. If you select preferred...you will be in the Bayou section because that's where those rooms are. I've tried to stay other places, but always come back to POR. It is just so beautiful! Kudos to anybody who does pre & post trip reports. I should, but never do, but I love to read them!

    I have a hard time justifying the expense for the Deluxes because of how little we stay in the room. They are just SOOO much more expensive and aren't truly deluxe with regard to other hotel chains (think Peabody, Waldorf, etc) but they are magically located! POR just always fit the bill. The rooms are smaller than regular hotel rooms, but are nicely decorated. The grounds are the draw. The grounds at POR are stellar. The proximity to DTD is nice. You can take the boat. Handy. They have horse drawn carriage rides at POR if you are interested. The bus ride to MK is very fast. Andre Willey who runs the POR thread has the portorleans.org site as well. There are lots of supporters of Port Orleans and then there are some who just don't get it. My sister and family stayed at CSR and loved that as well. I think their pool may be bigger than POR/FQ.
     

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