First Time to Disney, Need Assistance.


Feb 22, 2004
I know I am a total newbie but I need some serious help.
We are planning to go to WDW from January 3rd to January 12, 2005, thats 9 nights. We are coming from Ontario, Canada. I need to know what is the most economical way to do this, should I go for a WDW package and stay on site? Should I rent a hotel off site? Should I rent a suite with kitchen utilities and make our own food or is it cheaper to eat out everyday? Where is the best place to buy 5 day park hopper plus passes?
What rental car company has the best rates? Any information you good people can provide to me would be amazing. I've found out about and am overwhelmed with all the information that is provided there. So please if anyone has some really great suggestions for me I would be extremely happy.

Staying 9 nights might warrant the purchase of an AP, giving you discounts on Disney hotel reservations. Since you are renting a car, there's nothing stopping you from eating offsite. We had a great breakfast buffet on International Drive at Ponderosa for $3.99. I've rented from Enterprise in the past, and they give good rates to Disney guests. There is also a Hertz in DD, at the Doubletree.

You have a lot of time to plan, so starting now is a good idea. Just keep reading and absorbing information.
:earsboy: :earsboy:
First- you have plenty of time to plan- so what I would suggest is to simply read. Go to the resort board and read- you'll find out about discounts, package specials etc. just through reading. Anything you think you might be able to untilize in your trip- read baout. Then start asking questions. I have just started planning a Dsiney Cruise- our first. WHile I am VERY familiar iwth the parks I am not with the Crusies! I know how over whelmed you feel. I just started hanging out on the baords that interested me and then read- if I didn't understand what I was reading, I would post a question to that thread. You'll be suprised how quickly you catch on. It only took me a day or two. I did lots of searches as well- that helped me become familiar QUICK!
For housing- look to the resort board.
For tickets- the budget board
For food- go to the Restaraunt board
For car rental and airline- Transportation board.

There are lots of great discount programs out there- once you state reading you will naturally come across them. You may want to take all the questions you asked above, seperate them and sne dthem to their porspective boards- you'll get more detailed taht way/
WELCOME to the DIS! You will be an old pro in no time.
Congratulations on your upcoming trip and welcome to the DISboards. Now the fun begins.

You don't say how many of you there are or what ages. Do you plan to visit "those other theme parks" or are you "just doing Disney"? Is staying onsite important to you or will a nice offsite hotel be better?

To answer your questions:
  • Packages are rarely more economical than doing it yourself. They often include extras that you may not want or use. The only exception might be if Disney is offering Canadians "at par rates" during your stay. That would certainly stretch your $CD a lot further than purchasing each part by itself.
  • Offsite hotels will offer you more room and ammenities for the same price or less than a Disney resort. The extra that you will pay at Disney is the cost of "magic".
  • A room with a kitchen or kitchenette is certainly worth the money spent. The convenience of breakfast in the room is nice and being able to prepare snacks and dinner when you return from the parks will save you money in the long run. It is never cheaper to eat out.
  • The cost of Park Hopper Passes will vary from one ticketbroker to another. Some will have a better price on 4-day PHPs and some will have better pricing on the 7-day PHPs. You will also need to consider the cost of shipping. I happen to like but there are good things to be said about Paramount Travel ( and Checkout all their websites for prices and go with the one that gives you the lowest overall cost.
  • Different car companies will offer different rates. It will depend on how long you want the vehicle and the type of vehicle you want to rent. Book the lowest price now and keep checking back for codes and coupons that will lower the price further. There is no penalty for cancelling or changing a car rental ressie.

Good luck with your planning and come back again with more questions if you have them.
I agree that you will make your best decision by simply reading, reading, reading. (Deb's All Ears is another great source of information.)

For a stay as long as yours, you might want to also consider renting a condo or a house. Deb's All Ears has a link to AllStars. We haven't stayed there, but we checked them out the last time we were at WDW and were impressed. They are surprisingly affordable and the houses are well decorated, clean, and have plenty of room - full size kitchens and each has a swimming pool, although in Jan I don't know how much use you would get out of that. We are planning on going this route when we have our extended family WDW trip.

The magic factor wouldn't be the same - you have to drive through FL strip mall-land to get back and forth to your house - but it might be worth it to spread out a little.

I second the annual pass idea if you decide to stay on property. It can really save you money. If you stay off property, one annual pass will at least get you free parking at all the parks - a big plus because the bus transportation from off-property locations can be very spotty. We've stayed off property and driven to the parks and been perfectly happy with this option.
just a few more suggestions:

~ consider renting DVC points if you want on-site and a kitchen (1 bedroom units have a full kitchen, washer/dryer, seperate L/R, etc) ~ check out DVC boards

~ ditto on the ponderosa b'fast, inexpensive & good

~ get a guidebook & a pack of different color highlighters and have each person in your party highlight their "must see/do"s

enjoy the planning, and remember to get in some "down time" to check out the small things that make disneyworld much more than just a "theme park".

have fun!
Wow thanks everyone for all your info, you guys are great. I'm going to take your advice and read like a madman for the next couple of months and see what deals I can get.

Thanks a bunch


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