Thank you to this board, but our upcoming group trip will be one and done!

JakeAZ

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
I just wanted to thank everyone on this board! I am in charge of a 6 day, 12 person trip in April 2020 (the week before Easter...) and these boards have been immensely helpful.

I haven't been in almost 10 years, so I have put in the time, I have learned what to do and more importantly, what not to do.

I woke up a 3am PST last week to secure all of our dining reservations. I will wake up early in February to secure what I can for our fastpasses.

However, after this trip, I CANNOT see us doing this again. Disneyworld's system of "our way or the highway" sucks! It's not just the money. It's the time. The time to plan. Then the time to make sure we follow the plan. It's ridiculous.

Please understand these are MY opinions. Those of you that go multiple times per year (where you can afford to miss a ride or two) or during the off-season most likely feel differently.

Here's why I won't be doing this again.

1. Dining reservations 180 days out (before park hours are finalized. You don't know which parks will be opening early / staying late longer. You have an idea, but Disney can change however they want).

2. Having to choose FPs 60 days out. I've been following the dibb and I've basically come to terms that during our week, we won't be able to get any of the headliners for the first 3/4 days. No SDMT, no FOP, no SDD.
a. I moved our HS / AK days to the end of our trip to help account for this.

3. Not being able to book multiple parks for the first 3 in advance, if you have park hoppers. Why is this even a thing?! I paid more to be able to "hop". I should be able to schedule FP at whatever park I want, as long as my ticket will get me in. I do understand tiers would still apply. But tiers are also another reason the system isn't friendly.

4. If all you can get are later in the day FPs, you'll spend the first part of the day in standby lines.

5. We have 2 kids, one of which won't be able to ride anything over 42 inches. No problem, we'll just use rider swap. But now I'm seeing everyone has to have a FP, even group 2. What's the point of this? If me, my wife and taller kid have to have a FP for FOP, what do we get my smaller son during that time? A FP he can't use?

6. We looked into VIP, but we have 12, so we'd need two guides. Our week will be approx. $600 plus per hour x 2. $1200 per hour and you still have to use the FP line! So a 30 minute wait in a FP line will cost $600...

7. We looked into getting club level rooms. We are staying at CTR for the location (My family rented DVC points for BLT 1 BR based on advice from here). But the club rooms were almost DOUBLE the price for that week. So, for a 6 day stay, it would have been an extra $3600 for each family PLUS the $50 per person, per day for 3 extra FP. Club rooms are a waste if you are trying to maximize park time, so our extra 3 FPs (plus 90 day window) for a family of 4 over 6 days would have been an extra $4800. If you are keeping score at home, that's $67 per FP!

8. All of this leads to an incredibly rigid "vacation" schedule. What if your kids want to go back to a certain park? Too bad, unless you want to abandon all the pre-scheduled FPs and wait in line all day. What if you don't feel like a certain meal that day? Too bad, unless you want to roll the dice on what is left.

I know the rebuttals, but I'm not looking for an argument. To each their own.

1. "You should go at a different, less busy time." I could, but coordinating 3 families with kid's school schedules doesn't allow for that.
2. "You could use "refresh" to help with FP." I will do that, but staring at my phone all day is not my idea of a good time. I want to spend time with my family.

I will play by the rules, because I know if we don't, it will be a nightmare. I have spent the first part of planning trying to convince the other people in my group that "yes, all this planning is necessary". I believe they are on board, but I have a feeling if they knew all of this before plans were made, Disneyworld would have lost the vote.

We also scheduled one day over at Universal Florida. I used advice here to book a "throwaway room" (was able to use Chase UR points at 1.5 cent value) at one of the properties that includes Express Pass. And that's it, planning done! We'll be able to hit both parks and do pretty much all the rides we want in that one day (and in any order we want!). I am so looking forward to that day!

This is not the typical rant that is after the fact, where the person didn't plan and is mad at all the people who did. I WILL plan. I'm just saying the planning is the reason we will vacation elsewhere next time.

Thanks for letting me vent and again thank you to everyone who posts here.
 
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LSUmiss

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Agree with all of this. I used to not mind it all when it was just DH & I, but with groups and/or young kids it’s ridiculous. And there is no flexibility once you get there or you will miss out. It leads to disappointment when you spend mos researching & making the perfect plan & then you need to change something.
 
  • Spunky946

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Wow going into the trip with that negative attitude will surely have an affect on your trip.

    You don’t need to make Adrs for everyday. We don’t always have one every day, or we picked up quite a few our last trip, which was the end of July/beginning of August. We got crystal palace for lunch, cape May for dinner and coral reef and could have had others last minute.

    You can always modify a fast pass or not use it and pick others up later. You can stop and smell the roses and not wait in long lines. Use the early hours or met yet, late hours. We love the parks late at night. The crowds drop off, plus it’s cooler and it doesn’t feel like the surface of the sun.

    You can have fun and a great trip without any or that much planning. We’d sleep in late, go into the park use our fast passes leave and go back or to another park. Enjoy your trip
     

    Spunky946

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Agree with all of this. I used to not mind it all when it was just DH & I, but with groups and/or young kids it’s ridiculous. And there is no flexibility once you get there or you will miss out. It leads to disappointment when you spend mos researching & making the perfect plan & then you need to change something.
    That’s not true. We were very flexible on our last trip and saw and rode what we wanted to see, you just need to relax,
     

    JakeAZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2018
    Wow going into the trip with that negative attitude will surely have an affect on your trip.
    It absolutely has had an affect on our trip. The rest of the group is overwhelmed and I'm trying to make sure we are well positioned to enjoy ourselves.

    Like I said in my post, "to each their own". These are my feelings at the 180 day mark of my trip.

    My guess is you go more often and with a smaller group. That's great. The system probably works better for you. You can miss things and not be disappointed.

    But I'm sorry, DW is not flexible. If I have 3 FP at say MK and my kids would rather go to AK, I'm going to do my best to convince them that is a terrible idea. Remember, we are going the week before Easter.

    We set up one ADR per day as that is how all three families will meet up each day. We don't want to have to tour together, but we feel it would be nice to share some time together each day. They are all now joking I'm going to ask them to email me their dinner choices at the 100 day mark...
     
  • Brett Wyman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2018
    Wow going into the trip with that negative attitude will surely have an affect on your trip.

    You don’t need to make Adrs for everyday. We don’t always have one every day, or we picked up quite a few our last trip, which was the end of July/beginning of August. We got crystal palace for lunch, cape May for dinner and coral reef and could have had others last minute.

    You can always modify a fast pass or not use it and pick others up later. You can stop and smell the roses and not wait in long lines. Use the early hours or met yet, late hours. We love the parks late at night. The crowds drop off, plus it’s cooler and it doesn’t feel like the surface of the sun.

    You can have fun and a great trip without any or that much planning. We’d sleep in late, go into the park use our fast passes leave and go back or to another park. Enjoy your trip
    But like OP said the current Disney process made them feel this way. I’m sure they'd rather be all rainbows and pixie dust, but they’re frustrated by all that’s required to plan a visit. And I completely agree with all their points. I feel like it’s really something to think about. This is how your average guest feels Disney. Are you paying attention?

    That being said for those of us that do visit frequently and have mastered the system, we’re basically just scared of change because of how well it works for us right now. But it’s virtually impossible for a 1st time or infrequent guest to function at that same level.
     
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    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    It absolutely has had an affect on our trip. The rest of the group is overwhelmed and I'm trying to make sure we are well positioned to enjoy ourselves.

    Like I said in my post, "to each their own". These are my feelings at the 180 day mark of my trip.

    My guess is you go more often and with a smaller group. That's great. The system probably works better for you. You can miss things and not be disappointed.

    But I'm sorry, DW is not flexible. If I have 3 FP at say MK and my kids would rather go to AK, I'm going to do my best to convince them that is a terrible idea. Remember, we are going the week before Easter.

    We set up one ADR per day as that is how all three families will meet up each day. We don't want to have to tour together, but we feel it would be nice to share some time together each day. They are all now joking I'm going to ask them to email me their dinner choices at the 100 day mark...
    We had this exact thing happen just this week. DS only 17 mos & didn’t tolerate things well at Epcot one day. So we tried to make plans to go back but had to decide if we wanted to give up slinky dog FPs to do it. There was no changing. And with a 17 mos old there is no waiting in 1-2 hour lines. It was 3 adults & him. So if we wait 1-2 hours for SD & then rider swap that is 2-4 hours to entertain him while we wait. DH, DS & I go all the time so we wouldnt care. But the trip was for my sister who hasn’t been in years & she had to choose what she would rather do b/c of the lack of flexibility to change plans on the fly. With the old FP system we could have changed plans & gone to the park early enough to grab SD FP. I admit I use to like the planning, but with a toddler I really resent that I have to know my plans should be 60 days ahead of time.
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    It sounds like you're creating a trip you know in advance you won't enjoy. :( I sure hope it doesn't turn out that way for you, because I'm not sure what the point of going would be if that is the case. We don't go often at all, but we always go knowing we're going to miss some rides. They go through refurbishment or they go down unexpectedly, or they are always super busy, etc., but that's an expectation we have and we are willing to have fun despite that. I really think stressing over not missing rides makes a trip less enjoyable--at least for us. So I hope you'll all bear in mind that even if you get fastpasses, you're still not guaranteed to get on the ride if it's down for any reason or if something pops up to change your plans.

    Best of luck. I hope things go well for all of you.
     
  • LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    But like OP said the current Disney process made them feel this way. I’m sure they'd rather be all rainbows and pixie dust, but they’re frustrated but all that’s required to plan a visit. And I completely agree with all their points. I feel like it’s really something to think about. This is how your average guest feels Disney. Are you paying attention?

    That being said for those of us that do visit frequently and have mastered the system, we’re basically just scared of change because of how well it works for us right now. But it’s virtually impossible for a 1st time or infrequent guest to function at that same level.
    And when ppl like my sister who don’t go often come with us, they are very frustrated & think we are crazy for putting up with it. My sister said WDW is just not for her anymore & won’t return anytime soon.
     

    crazylady

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2012
    I agree with you. The level of planning we *think* we have to do is crazy to go to a theme park. It's not like we're touring Europe or something. That said if you didn't do the intensive planning or the park hours change or the kids want to stay at the pool and you miss a fast pass or a ride, you'll still have fun. Do all the planning, but try to convince yourself that if something doesn't work out, that's ok too because in the grand scheme of things, in the end people aren't going to care if they miss a ride.

    For what it is worth, we've gone the week of Easter before and I think you'll be able to get some good fast passes at good times. Just don't forget to do them at your 60 day mark like I did last year. (!!!!, I did get what I wanted though). Last year we went for Thanksgiving. My son stayed off site so he couldn't get his fast passes until the 30 day mark and I had trouble getting him fast passes for the thrill rides at the 30 day mark. I tried moving my fast passes around and things weren't available until late in the day or they weren't available at all. This all made me really, really, really neevous about crowds. But that week, I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to get extra fast passes throughout the day.

    I think your plan of meeting up for dinner with your family is a great one. It will make getting extra fast passes a little easier if your group is smaller. We loved BLT and I hope you do too.
     

    Spunky946

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    It absolutely has had an affect on our trip. The rest of the group is overwhelmed and I'm trying to make sure we are well positioned to enjoy ourselves.

    Like I said in my post, "to each their own". These are my feelings at the 180 day mark of my trip.

    My guess is you go more often and with a smaller group. That's great. The system probably works better for you. You can miss things and not be disappointed.

    But I'm sorry, DW is not flexible. If I have 3 FP at say MK and my kids would rather go to AK, I'm going to do my best to convince them that is a terrible idea. Remember, we are going the week before Easter.

    We set up one ADR per day as that is how all three families will meet up each day. We don't want to have to tour together, but we feel it would be nice to share some time together each day. They are all now joking I'm going to ask them to email me their dinner choices at the 100 day mark...
    We go around every 3 years or so, so no not that often. We went more often when the kids were younger. We had one trip where we had been at mk and it was nutty busy. We used our three fast passes and left and went back to th resort. I hopped on the ap and went to get another fast pass, but the wait times at mk where still high. I looked at Hollywood and it was quiet. At 5 pm I was able to get a 6:30 or so toy story mania. We were supposed to go the next day, and we wanted to go back to mk. I was able to switch our fast passes and get three decent fast passes for mk. It absolutely can be done, just because you precook fast passes doesn’t mean you have to use them or can’t try to modify them. As a general rule we don’t wait in line for more then 30 minutes and have ridden plenty of rides each trip.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    Yikes. I go fairly often but my approach for our groups is always the same. We do what we do, we see what we see, and we cancel plans that do not fit in. From the first trip we planned 14 years ago we have kept a laissez faire attitude because there is no way I want my vacation to be an exercise in work.

    There is a happy middle ground if you wanted to use it. We book meals at 180 days out, and move things, if we choose to. WE book FP at 60 days out, but continue to view our plans as an outline and not a tablet chiseled in stone. We typacally have a crew with us.
     

    scionchigirl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2019
    I wouldnt go on a group vacation if someone paid me a million dollars! Did it TWICE, once with my husbands side to Disneyland, once with my side to Cedar Point, both in 1995...never did it again. But have fun on your trip. I agree, its a lot of work to plan a wdw trip. Im a huge planner by nature, but knowing where you want to eat or be ahead of time, MONTHS ahead, gwaaaa...
     

    jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    Yes, I so feel for you. We are doing a trip with 12. One under 3. Two too short for about 4 or 5 rides , most willing to ride anything and then us..... grandma and grandpa. Usually we split the family and let the kids use our FP to add to the kid's ride quota. But with all the grandkids, it won't spread very far.

    Disney wants you to plan months in advance and but then disney lets you know a few weeks in advance a change in park hours or ride rehabs.

    The thing about FP needed for everybody scares me. My DD made FP for most for FOP and a few for the river ride. There is no way to wait with a 2,3 and 4 year old for at least 30 -45 without having something else to do. If I don't get to ride, I'll be sad but won't be the end of the world.

    I'm worry just getting us all to the park at the same time.
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    Yes, as you said OP, each to their own. Sure sounds to me like with that attitude your trip is going to be miserable, and that's a shame. However, it's your choice how to vacation, what attitude to have, etc... From reading, sounds like you don't have a good handle on how things work at WDW, especially FP+. You absolutely don't need to wait in lines all day, or most of the things you ranted about. But if you're one and done, great. Hope you at least enjoy the one, before you're done. I find WDW system to be easy, user friendly and very productive, but each to their own.
     


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