Help a total n00b?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by LorelaiGilmore, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. LorelaiGilmore

    LorelaiGilmore Earning My Ears

    Feb 20, 2013
    :wave: Hi - I have never been here before but I'm planning our first trip to Disneyworld and I had heard that this forum is where to get all the inside info.

    Basically I would just like to hear what people here have done. We're thinking of going the first week in May. We will drive and probably stay 4 nights (3 park days?). I'm totally confused about where to stay. In the Park? Out of the park?

    If I could get a good deal, I'd love to stay somewhere very fun for our daughter (who is almost 8) inside the park. We aren't on a shoestring budget...not really sure what our budget is...but not unlimited, lol. The real problem is I don't know what's considered a good deal on hotels, I don't know which are the "best" or most fun hotels, I don't know where to find the best deals, I don't know anything!! :help: I am just clueless and would appreciate ideas and advice.

    I know that I can do a search, but I was hoping people might like to offer tips and advice or BTDT just to help me get my bearings a bit without having to wade through a lot of threads.

    Thank you so much!! :flower3:
  2. Dis703

    Dis703 DIS Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    For a short trip if you can afford it personally I'd stay on Disney property. You make the most of your time and get the most Disney feel out of your vacation IMO. You can go to Disney's site and check out the Spring special offers right now and see what is in your budget. They have 3 levels of hotels. Value is the most affordable, but also the smallest rooms and furthest distance from the parks, while Moderates are in the middle and Deluxe is the most expensive with of course the largest rooms and more amenities.

    The specials are a little different even within the category so I'd play around and see what they have that may fit your budget. And if there is more than one option that works pick the one with the theme that you think you and your DD would like the best.
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  4. LorelaiGilmore

    LorelaiGilmore Earning My Ears

    Feb 20, 2013
    Thanks! I'm so excited even to start thinking about it!!
  5. tinkbyday

    tinkbyday DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2008
    First of all, welcome to the Disboards!!! There is SO much information to be found here and can even be a bit overwhelming.

    My first piece of advice would be if you have the flexibility and budget, you may want to add a couple of extra days for a first trip. There is so much to see and do and if you can't stay longer, just realize that you won't be able to see and do all of it, so just pick the things that will make your vacation the best. I would definitely stay onsite.

    The next thing I would recommend is to take it all in stride and take time to enjoy yourself - following up on the above advice, our first trip was not very pleasant because we tried to do too much and we overbooked and just made my daughter miserable running her all over the place. After that trip, we slowed down ALOT and that is when I truly fell in love with WDW.

    So, as the previous poster recommended, you may want to check out the offers out there on the Disney website - make sure you sign up on the Disney website - this may place you on a mailing list that will send a pin code your way (discounts offered to only some folks - nobody has quite figured out how it is decided who gets them) - there is alot of great information about resorts also found on with pictures and reviews as well.

    Once you make your resort reservations, you should start thinking about where you would like to make dining reservations (referred to as ADRs on here) - there are a ton of places to eat with different themes and foods - that can become overwhelming as well. but you definitely will want to book some places if you like to have sit down meals because it can become difficult to get in as a walk-in.

    Feel free to ask more questions and we can help answer as much as possible. Mostly, enjoy the planning! That is my favorite part!!
  6. sndral

    sndral DIS Veteran

    Feb 3, 2008
    One thing I'd add as advice about playing around with the Disney site - it is very hard to compare apples to apples - for example they'll automatically add a certain number of days admission or water parks or park hoppers or whatever when you are pricing things out and you may think one option costs less when really you just have fewer extras added on. So when you are comparing different resorts price wise make sure all options are the same to get a sense of how the room rates differ (or choose room only rather than a package when you are researching room costs.)
  7. Pseudacris

    Pseudacris Mouseketeer

    Feb 11, 2013
    Hi! I'm new to the boards, too!

    I love staying on site, personally, mainly for the ease of transportation and flexibility. We have always done 5 days/4 nights. It can make for a busy trip or not depending on how much you want to see. If you won't be going back to Disney, adding a day or two might make it a bit more relaxing to see everything, but isn't necessary.

    As for resorts, if your daughter likes the little mermaid, one of the standard rooms at the new Art of Animation resort is affordable, while still having good transportation since the buses there and at Pop Century aren't shared like at the other values. If you want more of a splurge, the moderates and deluxes are ~30% off for the week you plan. The moderate of choice here seems to be Port Orleans Riverside, but I've never stayed there. Otherwise, depending on the interests of your family, there are lots of amazing options. (Animal Kingdom Lodge if you would like to see animals, Beach and Yacht or even Caribbean if you want a more summer feel).

    May is a nice time to visit, I think. Warm enough for swimming, but not too unbearable like some of the summer can be.
  8. bennifer

    bennifer Mouseketeer

    Jan 20, 2013
    Hi! I'm pretty new, too! May is my favorite time to go - good weather and not horribly crowded. My advice is to really use these boards, lurk only if you want, but remember to take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. WDW offers a wide variety of resorts for every price range and interests and everyone is not going to like the exact thing (how boring would that be!). Good luck and have fun planning!!!
  9. LorelaiGilmore

    LorelaiGilmore Earning My Ears

    Feb 20, 2013

    Yes. I have been playing around with their site now and find it very confusing.

  10. LorelaiGilmore

    LorelaiGilmore Earning My Ears

    Feb 20, 2013
    Thank you!

    My daughter's school has a long weekend that week, so we are going to make a week of it. We thought it would be less crowded and more affordable to go in May rather than August.

    My husband is not a planner so this is all on me. I think we need to set a firm budget though so I can decide, because there are TOO many options and although we have a little bit of money we've been saving for a trip like this, I see that it quickly adds up, and I haven't been thinking about food costs and things like that.

    Usually when we have a vacation we go see family in Europe, which sounds very fancy but is NOT FANCY AT ALL. :lol: And there is nothing to "plan" except for booking the $$$ tickets. So I'm a complete zero for vacation planning.
  11. vicb

    vicb DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2001
    In addition to this board I would suggest reading a guide book cover to cover to get your bearings then I think this board will be less over whelming. I found the "unofficial guide" to be helpful when I first started out.

    Good luck and stay on site!
  12. sharadoc

    sharadoc Visit WDW since '86, driving since '94.

    May 6, 2008
    Welcome to the DISboards. Try this website:

    It gives you a whole lot of information. You need background and information to get the lay of the land. A guidebook and websites really help. There's,, and

    The DISboards can't help you actually plan but we can answer a lot of specific questions. You should take the time to read through the threads, you'd be surprised how much information is already there. Sometimes it's harder to get answers when you ask the questions that have been asked before. Also, I'd suggest that you make your thread title specific so you'll get more views and hopefully more information from the people who know the topic.

    When people are cranky, the worst thing you can say is that you don't feel like searching or reading. They won't answer you, or if they do, they won't be as friendly as if you had asked a question that shows you tried :flower3:

    As far as budget goes, you should plan on anywhere from $2,000 a week up to $10,000 or more for room, park tickets and food.

    Good luck and have fun planning. If you're planning to go in May 2013 you're really much later than most DISboarders. So you may not find everything you want at this late date.
  13. LynnTH

    LynnTH DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2003
    If you can swing it - I would try and add on a few nights. If you could do 6 nights, then you could hit each park at least once plus have a day or two to go back to your favorite park or hang out at the hotel and go swimming. It does not cost much more to add on days on your park tickets once you are past 3-4 days.

    We have gone every other year since my son was 1. He just turned 14 yesterday. The first 4 times we stayed at the Value Resorts and had a great time. Kids loved them. Now that I found THE DIS - I researched and we rent DVC points to stay at the deluxes. But, with the age of your daughter I think All Star Movies, POP Century or Art of Animation (the newest one) would be great.

    Once you get hotel and tickets needed figured out - then you can start looking at dining and your itinerary. We did not do any table service places the first couple of times we were there, only counter service (to be truthfull, I didn't know most of them existed).

    But, take it one step at a time otherwise you will be so overwhelmed. I have never been the beginning of May but have heard it is a great time to go. Crowds are not so bad and weather is great.
  14. tazmanrmv

    tazmanrmv Earning My Ears

    Jan 8, 2012
    Noob here as well. We visited Disney for the first time last year, but our first stay at a resort will be in December at CBR. Can't wait to enjoy the Christmas season and decorations. We are staying for 6 nights, planning 3 parks (no AK this time), DTD and Boardwalk for one day, resort hopping to check out the different decorations another day, then one day if we want to revisit a park.
  15. Sue M

    Sue M DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    I agree with reading WDW-The Unofficial Guide, lots of useful info, including touring plans which realiy help with your first visit.

    I would also consider using a WDW specialized TA to help you book. There are many online, I have personally used Ears to You, and Magical Vacations.

    For a first trip optimally I'd stay 6 nights. Ideally tour:
    2 days MK
    2 days Epcot
    1 day DHS
    1 day AK

    WDW is huge and you won't do it all even with 6 nights stay. A touring plan is essential. Prioritize your must dos. Use a touring plan from Unofficial Guide to help you stay out of long lines and do more.

    I use the web sites sharadoc mentioned, and also Love the crowd calendar on Easy Disney. It tells you which the best part to visit is each day, and which to avoid.

    Resorts- I always stay on site. Its a totally different experience then off site.

    Moderate resorts we've stayed at are Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter, and Caribbean Beach. Like them all, prob. Riverside is my fav, in the mansion section.

    Deluxe Resorts we've enjoyed are Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Poly, and Beach Club.

    We like something about each one, they are all unique.

    Have fun planning!
  16. Micca

    Micca SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather

    Dec 5, 2000
    Welcome Loralai and other new Dis-ers:) The advice from Sharadoc is spot on: Get the book, and spend some time studying here, and searching the web for possible discount packages. I think most of us deal directly with Disney as third party packages are an unknown entitity. The WDW website does kinda suck, it always has. Why a global organization with technology as a major arm of their company can't get a user-friendly website together is...the subject for another thread.;) In any case, you should poke around on the WDW site because that's probably the best place to learn about package deals.

    I'm afraid time is not on your side for an early May trip. Not that you can't do it, but getting a discount on a room is going to be the luck of the draw at this point. You'll see others here planning as much as a year or two ahead for their WDW trips. Of course there are people that stumble onto the property with no planning whatsoever and have a great time.

    This is something you need to do asap, like tomorrow.:) Have fun, and as questions occur to you be sure to post here to ask them.

    Hope you can do it, your family will love it:earsboy:
  17. ExpatDisneyLover

    ExpatDisneyLover DIS Veteran

    Jan 1, 2009
    Welcome! WDW has so much to offer - hope you have a great first trip! The DIS is a great place to get started.:)

    As far as hotels go there are many to choose from - with different themes, locations, amenities and of course cost. I like to think WDW has a hotel for just about anyone. The fun part is deciding which kind of atmosphere you want for your first trip! At least the hotel is where I usually start when planning a trip and then I go from there. is a good resource - there are videos of all the WDW hotels so you can get an idea of what they are like.

    You may be able to get a special offer for your stay - I almost never book rack rate - always try to get a discount - 30% off or even free dining. I am an AP holder so get good room discounts but I have noticed the AP discount is about the same as the special offer that is on the WDW website right now. If you can get a discount - the package is a good option IMO - room and tickets and if you choose - dining plan. One of the things WDW does well is take care of everything for you from getting your luggage from the airport to your room, to making sure you get back to the airport right on time.

    You will want to book your dining reservations as soon as possible and plan for those just like everything else.

    Have a great time planning - ENJOY!:) I have booked trips even just one week before and had a great trip - even though I had to shlep my own bags because I didn't have time to get the "Mickey Mail". :rolleyes1 WDW is a fun vacation to plan and a fun vacation to experience and I hope you find lots of helpful information here on the DIS!:woohoo:


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