Feeling completely overwhelemed

Discussion in 'Welcome to the DIS' started by RobertParr, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. RobertParr

    RobertParr Earning My Ears

    Jun 17, 2013
    Where to begin?!?
    Family of 5 (10,11,12yo) heading down for their first time. We want to do +/-7days at WDW and +/-2 at Universal. We want to stay onsite to take advantage of the extra hours - but where onsite? The number of variables is staggering. So much so, I don't know where to start. Do I get one non-residential annual pass (heard you got free parking and discounts on food and lodging)?

    Meal Plans?! Do I go with the meal plan instead? If so which? Having not had one before, I don't know how much we would need as there may be a chance we skip a meal do to the excitement of the day and opportunity to ride more rides.. (who knows?!?) Do I bundle everything? air/lodging/food/both park tickets?

    Fast Passes?! which when and where? No clue which ride they will really want and which we 'must' get fast passes for if we ever want a chance to ride that ride?

    Being a newbie, I am sure there are things I am overlooking.. but what?
  2. ThinkerWen

    ThinkerWen Earning My Ears

    Jul 11, 2018
    Hello Robert =)

    Planning can be half of the fun, at least it is for me. Gathering information is very important to enjoy more your trip. There are plenty of websites where you can find very valuable information. When I went for my first time, also family of 5 but with small children, I used Disney Tourist Blog as a guide. Your first visit.net was also useful. Your planning really depends on many factors as when you are going, what is your budget, what are your priorities, are you eaters, and many more. In that Blog I found specific guides for specific needs, pasrks etc.

    On YouTube you can find also some restaurant and rides reviews, best and worst, top 10, etc.

    And this site is amazing to find help on any subject and to read the latest news, some great articles and much more. I love the Disunplugged show.

    Don´t worry to much anyway you are going to have tons of fun, just enjoy! Happy trip!
    RobertParr likes this.
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  4. starry_solo

    starry_solo DIS Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    If you stay onsite, you have to pay for parking at the resorts but theme park parking is included as an "amenity" for staying onsite. Depending on the resort you stay at, it could be $13-24/night for parking. So that would be $91-168 in costs.

    It would be best not to be on a meal plan, unless you can find a "free" dining plan, which would require you to pay rack rate for your hotel room.

    When do you want to go?
    RobertParr likes this.
  5. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

    Sep 6, 2003
    Go to the RESORTS forum for help on Disney resorts and the ORLANDO forum for help on non-Disney resorts.


    If you stay in Disney hotel you get free park parking (or bus) so AP doesn't help with that and there are General Public discounts on rooms similar to AP discounts that you can get ... I have an AP and often use the General discount instead.

    Onsite depending on your budget your room options maybe more limited for 5. When you get on RESORTS forum let them know your nightly budget and they will direct you to the available options. Same on ORLANDO board.

    Dining Plan for your group = 5 adults will be pricey. I would look at restaurants and menus and price out what all would normally order (your kids can order off kids menus if paying cash) vs the Dining Plan. After years of Dining Plan we found it forced us to eat and order what we normally wouldn't and so we were spending more for plan than we would paying cash.

    FastPass+ will be the last thing to worry about .... but the ones to worry about are really only Slinky Dog, Flight of Passage and 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.
    RobertParr likes this.
  6. DarthRemy

    DarthRemy Earning My Ears

    Jul 14, 2018
    I know what you mean... so many options. My wife and I did the dining plan years ago; the amount of food it provides felt glutinous to me. Now with kids, it seems like we can get by without the plan and it will save a bunch of money.
  7. Dumbo7

    Dumbo7 Mouseketeer

    Dec 8, 2016
    What kind of budget are you looking at? We travel with 5 and are most comfortable at the grand Floridian. We also like port orleans riverside but we get two rooms. Not a fan of the dining plan but if your doing character meals sometimes it’s beneficial otherwise way too much food.
    RobertParr likes this.
  8. skylock

    skylock Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2010
    I suggest you talk to a travel agent that specializes in disney. They can help you sort it all out.
  9. DisneyFansInNYC

    DisneyFansInNYC DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    The first thing you have to do is think about your budget. You can get a room for $150 a night or $500 a night (or even more). We are a family of 6 so we tend to like the deluxe hotels. One reason we like the deluxe resorts is that they are not as spread out as the moderates or value resorts. If you stay at a moderate resort some of them have preferred rooms, this is usually closer to the check in area and buses. Not all the moderate or value resorts allow 5 in a room. You can check on the Disney site for that.

    You can also think about the theme of the resort. Some of the value resorts have fun themes. Art of animation has suites that you can all fit in and fun themes.

    We did the meal plan once and it was a mistake. Besides the fact that we were left with snack credits and quick service credits - it didn't save us money at all. I believe the meal plan is a way to pay in advance and not think about food - yet I believe most people are losing money. We figured it out after several trips when got back to see if the dining plan would have saved us money and we would have lost money if we purchased it. Depending on when you go - some days we just weren't that hungry and would eat light. Especially if you are going for 7 days.

    For the annual pass question. That is a tough one. If you are buying 7 day park hopper tickets (so you can go to several parks in one day - not necessary but we do it when we don't have annual passes) - it will run you $490 per person. If you buy one annual pass that will be $849. The difference is $359. So you would have to save that much money to make it worth it. I will say sometimes in the past the annual pass did save me that much on our rooms - this summer the annual pass is not saving me any money on the rooms - the room discounts are better or the same as the annual pass. You will also save money on merchandise and many restaurants - just remember the person with the annual pass has to be there to do all of the purchases. Here are links of annual pass discounts.

    The fastpasses are done at 60 days out if you are staying at Disney. This is the fun part. In the beginning we would sit with our kids, watch ride videos and discuss what rides they want to go on. Then I would check out this forum to see the hardest rides to get on and get those fastpasses. It is not hard booking these.

    Restaurant reservations called ADRs are done at 180 days out for the most sort after reservations. You can make some much closer - it just will be harder to get certain ones and certain times.

    The main issue with going to Disney is you need to plot out your days in advance and try to stick with it as you will be making reservations so far in advance. I agree with other posters - it is just as much fun planning the trip as it is going. We go every year and still get so excited planning it. We are in the watch everything Disney videos to get so excited for the trip.

    I hope that wasn't too much information and I hope it helps. Have fun planning!
    RobertParr likes this.
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc DIS Veteran

    Jul 2, 2007
    OK, the first obstacle is that family of 5... from the mom of a family of 5.

    As I recall these are your onsite options, more or less in order of cost:

    - 2 hopefully connecting (not just "adjoining") rooms at a value. Note-- Disney will NOT guarantee that they'll adjoin
    - A suite at ASMusic
    - A suite at Art of Animation
    - A Cabin at Fort Wilderness
    - A room at Caribbean Beach or Port Orleans Riverside. Both have either a Murphy Bed or Trundle for that 3rd child. Check the size with the size of the child who would be in it.
    - A room at any of the Deluxes that sleep 5. I think the order of pricing is roughly:
    * Contemporary Garden Wing
    * Beach Club/ Yacht Club/ Boardwalk
    * Poly
    * Grand Floridian

    First, decide on your resort, then come back with the other questions.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    Wild4Walt, HopperFan and RobertParr like this.
  11. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

    Jul 6, 2004
    This is where I think you should start too. It gives you a base to work from.

    If you already think you will be skipping meals and want to hit more rides, don't do the dining plan. Having meals set every day does make your schedule more ridged than it sounds like you want for a first trip. I would next decide how many days you want to spend in each park. Look at videos and check out the rides. That will help you to decide.
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