Totally Overwhelmed!

Discussion in 'Welcome to the DIS' started by ABMickey, May 13, 2018.

  1. ABMickey

    ABMickey Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    As an AP holder at Disneyland I thought I'd be sailing with planning our first ever trip to WDW - boy was I wrong! The Fastpass system, ADRs, where to stay and transportation between parks has me flooded with confusion.

    We finally decided on a hotel (Port Orleans Riverside) and have decided to rent a car as the bus transportation system around WDW gets lots of complaints about wait time for buses. The hardest thing so far is figuring out dining. We're staying Oct 28-Nov 3 and have purchased Halloween party tickets for the 31st. We booked the stay on April 17 and was told at that time our dining window would open May 1st - I didn't realize the importance of this date. Only when I started researching the dizzying choices of table service restaurants and looking at availability (none) did I realize I should have hit that reservation line first thing May 1st. It seems now that BOG dinner or CRT Breakfast/lunch/dinner is out of the question unless a time opens up during our Halloween party. I'm reading the wealth of information on the boards here which I truly appreciate. You almost need a "Disney degree" to make sense of it all :) DL is very different probably due to the size - reservations are a breeze even 60 days out :) It'x exciting though to be planning this trip - I just want to make sure I can give my 3 boys some magical dining experiences in the short time we'll be there.

    AbMickey
     
  2. Miffy

    Miffy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2002
    Messages:
    1,662
    For your dining reservations, consider using the Touring Plans Reservation Finder: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/reservation-finder
    You do have to register with their site in order to use this tool, however, you do not need to pay for this service, as you do for other services Touring Plans offers. I used the reservation finder for my trip last December and had 100% success with it. You just have to be ready to make the reservation when they email you with the availability.

    Re the buses: People complain about the buses. As someone who uses public transit all the time at home, I find the WDW buses to be just fine. Occasionally the wait is a bit too long, but more often the buses arrive quickly. There are now screens at all the resort bus stops showing when the next bus will arrive. Is the system perfect? Far from it. But it works well enough that we never consider renting a car. And of course there're always cabs and uber and Minnie vans.

    You may already realize this, but the WDW resorts now charge for parking. I believe the cutoff date is 3/21/18--any reservation made after that is subject to the parking fees. $19/day at POR.

    Make sure you're on MDE (My Disney Experience, aka MDX) at 7 am Eastern Time on your day 60. Book the hard-to-get FP+s first--the Pandora rides (Avatar Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey) are at the top of that list, followed by the new Toy Story Land rides. It will probably be easier to get FP+s for the Pandora rides--and, btw, they are both Tier 1, so you can't book both for the same day--on day 62 or 63 of your trip. Be flexible with the times and if you get a time for Flight of Passage, take it. The ride blows away every other ride at Disney--and maybe anywhere.

    If you don't get the FP+s you want when you book at the 60-day mark, keep trying. I just went to WDW with my sister, who'd booked all her FP+s at the 60-day mark, but I didn't decide to join her until maybe the 45-day mark. Yet I was able to either join her on all her FP+s or have overlapping times. The only FP+ I couldn't get ahead of time was FoP on Day 1 (i.e., Day 60 for reservation purposes), however, I was able to snag a day-of FP+ for FoP on the evening of Day 1.

    Do not give up hope! Keep trying for the reservations and FP+s you want. And I really suggest Touring Plans for your dining reservations.

    Have a great trip!
     
    bridgetbriarrose, Mel730 and cassie58 like this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. disneyseniors

    disneyseniors DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,213
    We have stayed at POR many times and love it:) Good choice!
    As for the buses, we have never had a problem with them. So, just take all the comments with a grain of salt! As someone who has experienced the buses at POR, CSR, and POFQ, there is no difference. ALL categories of resorts have good days and bad days, bus wise. So, I wouldn't let that worry me at all. I think you will love that resort, and it has the best food court, the Mill, in all of WDW, IMO.
    Have a great stay.
    Just try to check on ADR's frequently, and something will probably open up for you. have a great time.
     
    DisLiss likes this.
  5. mrsclark

    mrsclark DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Messages:
    592
    Part of us being on vacation at WDW is trying to drive as little as possible - we have almost always had good luck with the buses and all Disney transportation (boats and monorails, too). Yes, there has been the occasional delay or hiccup but for the most part it has been great - the buses are clean well air-conditioned and run frequently. Just as example, we decided to take a boat to HS, but it had to be docked due to lightning in the area. We walked to the front desk of the YC and the assured us that a bus would start running right away from the bus stop to HS. We kind of thought that would take awhile, but didn't want to walk in the storm to HS so we went to the bus stop and just as we were walking up a bus to HS pulled in! By far we have had great experiences with the transportation much more often than anything negative.

    As for ADRs, keep checking on the restaurants you want - people's plans do change and as they make new plans, you can snatch up the ones they canceled!

    One more tip about MNSSHP - I feel like a veteran since I have been nine times, I think. I would NOT eat at TS (table service) restaurant during the party. There is so much to do - trick or treating, character meets, the parade and fireworks plus very short lines for rides all in just a five hour party window that I would suggest not spending that time eating.
     
    Mel730 likes this.
  6. ABMickey

    ABMickey Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Thank you very much for the feedback! I’ve now gone and entered my adr requests at touring plans :) fingers crossed. Now I’m trying to understand this FastPass system. Tier 1/2 how many per day/ same day different parks (we’re mostly using park hoppers other than my pass which i’ve Upgraded to a premier pass valid at DL and WDW). I’m going to seriously reconsider using Disney transportation as I don’t really want to spend 700+ on a minivan for a week. I see lots of people talking about breakfast in one park, then hopping over to another park in the afternoon for a lunch etc. Is it really that convenient to jump around like that? I got the impression that with Disney transportation you’re looking at about an hour from one park to the next.

    We are really looking forward to POR - it was that or Caribbean beach but after reading all the negatives due to construction I thought we better play it safe.

    Now if only I could get my head around FastPass
     
  7. Miffy

    Miffy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2002
    Messages:
    1,662
    Good morning, ABMickey. Please read the sticky thread on the Theme Parks board about FastPass+ https://www.disboards.com/threads/fastpass-frequently-asked-questions.3491680/
    Yes, it's a long thread, but just read the first page or so, where all the info is. Then if you still have a specific question, post there.

    WDW is big. Going from park to park isn't like hopping from DL to DCA. And being inside a park at WDW isn't like being at DL. The parks themselves are large and require a lot of walking. I'm sure there are people who have breakfast in one park and lunch in another, but I think breakfast in one park and dinner in another may be more doable.

    And, yes, I'd schedule at least an hour between parks, and depending on where you're going from one park to another, it could be more like 1.5 hours. For example, if you're having breakfast in MK and lunch at Biergarten in Epcot, just walking from the Epcot entrance to Biergarten could take you 20 minutes.

    I just got back from 9 days at WDW and parked hopped a bit here and there, but I'm not a commando park tourer. Even so, I averaged 7 miles of walking a day. Keep that in mind when you make your plans.

    Touring Plans has always come through for me--you just have to respond immediately when you get the notice. Also, as another poster said, having a dinner reservation during the party isn't a good use of your time. And I hope you saw the new menu at BOG for dinner--just to make sure it's something your entire family would enjoy.

    From my experience, the FP+s are more important than the ADRs. You can always find something to eat. Even I, a vegan, can always find something to eat, even if it's not exactly what I'd like to have at the moment. I make a few ADRs after I've booked my FP+s. That way I know where I'm going to be on what day. And I often rearrange or cancel those ADRs while I'm there.

    Stay flexible. Make a list of your must-dos. For me, that's Avatar Flight of Passage (as many times during the trip as possible!), Kilimanjaro Safaris, Toy Story Mania, Peter Pan, and Soarin'. I love Haunted Mansion as well--and it's different from HM at DL--but if it's planned right, that can be a standby attraction, especially since the queue is so much fun.

    Build some downtime into your trip. It's necessary. If your family gets up early, I highly recommend rope-dropping as many of your days as possible. It's a great way to get to must-see attractions without having to use a FP+. Then you can schedule (at the 60-day mark) your FP+s for later in the morning. I'm not going to go into an in-depth discussion of FP+ here--please see the sticky I mention above--but just know that you can schedule in advance only 1 park per day even if you have park hoppers. After you're on site, that's another story. Then, after you've used your 1 (or 2 or 3) FP+s for one park, you can schedule the second park. You cannot schedule your 4th FP+ for your 3-scheduled-in-advance FP+ park until after you've tapped in at your 3rd FP+.

    While you're there and you've got the ability to make your 4th FP+ (or you're hopping and you've used up your one FP+ in park 1), keep refreshing the My Disney Experience app. If you're on your phone, just keep either alternating between times (I believe the iPhone works this way) or pressing the same time (my Android phone works this way) until you see the attraction you want. Note that even though you can book basically unlimited FP+s after you've used your first 3, you can book only one at a time and can't book the next one until you've tapped in at the one you've got booked.

    Yeah, it can be daunting. But it's doable. And you need those FP+s unless you want to be standing in looooooong lines. Since the advent of FP+, there are long lines at rides that previously were walk-ons.

    Gotta get to work now. Hope I was somewhat helpful. Ask loads of questions here--there are super knowledgeable WDW goers on this board. And have fun planning your trip!
     
  8. LiveToTravelNicely

    LiveToTravelNicely You said it Doc. Imagination is a blast!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    511
    AbMickey, just in case you don't get the ressie for CRT, I'd recommend making a back-up reservation at Epcot/Norway Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Disney Princess Storybook Dining. It's not in the castle, but it'll feel like a castle inside, and you'll still get the princess dining treatment. :) Or....if you're needing something closer to MK (since this is a back up for CRT), I'd opt for 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian. Remember that there are lots of awesome places to dine at WDW, so don't fret too much if you don't get the BOG or CRT reservations. Good luck to you planning your trip!


    EDIT: Just noticed that you're going with three boys. In that case, I'd probably opt for a different meal than CRT, unless one of them has specifically requested it. My favorite character meal is Tusker House Donald's Safari Breakfast (or Dinner) at Animal Kingdom (includes safari Donald, Daisy, Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy), but there are many many options that are not princess-themed character meals. As an alternative option for a Magic Kingdom day, Ohana (breakfast only) @ Polynesian (MK Monorail Hotel) has Stitch and friends.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  9. jillt2ph

    jillt2ph DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Messages:
    557
    I would definitely stick with Disney transportation, at least to and from the airport. Since it is your first visit, let Disney handle the luggage and getting you to your resort :) Part of the magic for me is checking my bags at the departure airport and then not worrying about them until they show up in my room. If you have a late arrival time at MCO, grab your bags from baggage claim and take them to the Magical Express check-in. You can rent a car at Disney from National/Alamo, so you can hedge your bets by making a reservation to pick up a car at the car care center on day 2 or 3 of your trip, and then cancel it if you feel like Disney buses are working out for you. They will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the car care center :) And you won't need a minivan maybe if you are just using it to get around Disney property. But between rental cost and parking, you could probably use Minnie Vans twice a day and still break even.

    You said you have 3 boys, so maybe check out Sci-Fi or 50s Prime Time Cafe for a meal. And Beaches and Cream if you like ice cream. Or maybe T-Rex at Disney Springs since you can take the boat from POR.

    Using the boat from the International Gateway at Epcot is a relaxing way to get from Epcot to Hollywood Studios.

    Have a great time!!
     
    LiveToTravelNicely likes this.
  10. ENJDisneyFan

    ENJDisneyFan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    1,750
    Others have already given you some great advice but I'll chime in with a few thoughts. First, I'm a big fan of Disney transportation, so IMO renting a car is totally unnecessary. They also charge for parking now, so that's an added expense that comes with renting a car.

    Dining... my recommendations for 3 boys would be Sci Fi, Garden Grill, Tusker House, T-Rex, and BOG. If you can't find availability, set up an ADR finder with Touring Plans (it's free!) and keep checking. People constantly cancel reservations, so it's likely something will open up....up to and including the night before.

    Fast passes.... you didn't mention the age/height of your boys, so I'll just give you general advice. Rope drop is your friend. You can do SO much in the first 1-2 hours of park opening. Take advantage of that and visit any popular attractions that you can't get FP for. Start your FPs around 11-12, use them, and then get more.

    Halloween party... you can get into the park at 4pm with your party ticket. If you plan to stay until midnight, I highly suggest resting at your resort in the morning, having a late lunch before entering the park and then snacking or QS later. It takes too much party time to have a TS meal during the party.
     
  11. Sandiz08

    Sandiz08 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    Messages:
    76
    Fast passes-select your top three rides, everything else is just a bonus. As far as dining reservations, if you don't have any luck with touring plans, you might have better luck the days leading up to your trip or even the day of. MDE app will become your best friend. You can check for new fast passes while waiting in line after you have used your first three. Take it easy, you won't be able to do everything you want to do. You will be back! Enjoy the experience, it is different than Disneyland. This is coming from someone who took their kids on their first trip to Disneyland. We came to Disneyworld and now, my family doesn't want to go back to Disneyland because there is so much more to do at Disneyworld.
     
  12. ABMickey

    ABMickey Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    You guys are amazing! My wife is reading the thread with me and she’s so impressed with how friendly and helpful everyone is. Thanks to all of you so much. I (we) are learning lots and the comprehension factor has increased dramatically with all of your explanations and advice.

    I did read the first 25 pages of the FastPass+ thread last night and fell asleep with the iPad on my chest :) I think I’m getting a handle on fast passes now and understand booking the most important ones and filling in later with tier 2s as well as 4th pass and so on. We are all extremely early risers so we will definitely take advantage of rope drop!

    We have decided to forego a rental car and use Disney transportation. That will save about 900 all together with rental and parking. While we have never tried it we’re going to give Uber a go ( we are going to take the boys to universal one of the days).

    The boys are 6 (44”), 8 (54”) and 14(61”) (15 on oct31 our MNSSHP night which was why I was trying to get a birthday supper setup.) Based on the advice here we’re not going to do a TS meal that night - it’s special enough that his birthday is in MK on a Halloween party right?? ;)

    So I’ve added in Sci-Fi, Tusker house and T-Rex. Though at this point there’s nothing available for Sci-Fi but I will add that to touring plans.

    We’ve said this will be their once in a lifetime trip. But the more we read and plan it becomes obvious we can’t get everything done in one trip. I just hope they still enjoy DL after this :)
     
  13. ENJDisneyFan

    ENJDisneyFan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    1,750
    Now that I know they are all above 44", these are my suggestions for FP at each park:

    MK - Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, SDMT
    AK - FOP, Expedition Everest, Safari
    DHS - SDD, ToT, RnRC - this one has a 48" height limit, so your youngest won't be able to ride :(
    Epcot - TT, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space
     
  14. wishicouldgomoreofte

    wishicouldgomoreofte Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2,185
    I was going to tell you to pick a different MNSSHP date, as Oct 31 is always sold-out, packed, wall-to-wall busy, crazy. But you already bought tickets, and with it being your oldest son's birthday, what a great way to spend it!!
    Now be mentally prepared for the crowds. The party also takes planning and a plan of attack. You can and should enter at 4P. There is so much to do, the time will fly by, and you will be sad you didn't get done all you had planned.
    While trick-or-treating in MK is fun and special, with how much it costs to be there, it is much cheaper to buy your candy at Target and spend your MNSSHP time doing party things.
    http://www.disneytouristblog.com/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-review-tips/2/
    This will help with planning your time. The parade and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular are really special. Go in costume---it makes it so much more fun.

    You are right, you can't begin to get it all done in one trip, or 20, but enjoy, and don't stress. Many people plan and pack their days too full, then are so tired and snap at their family, and worn out by the heat & humidity and crowds, and daily rain. So enjoy, and stop to appreciate each other and what your are all doing together. Making memories.
     
  15. Hisgirl

    Hisgirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,605
    Don't fret too much over the dinner ressies. Those change constantly so just keep checking. And the day before, you'll see them change again as folks make last minute switches to avoid the $10 charge.
    There IS a ton of pre-planning, and it's the one thing that makes the trip a little (a lot actually) less fun and spontaneous...but, it is what it is.

    Regarding the Halloween party, plan on rain and bring covering ponchos. We did it twice, the first time we were walking in 2 inches of standing water. The second time it was perfect.

    Have fun and enjoy this wonderful time with your family! (oh! We always do rent a car just because we end up needing to run to a drug store, a grocery store, Panera Bread, a shoe store...something...but now with uber/lyft you can still do that.)
     
  16. DisArmyWife215

    DisArmyWife215 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    MNSSHP is the best and has IMO the BEST parade and fireworks! Be sure to check the weather the day of your party for rain. If there's some in the forecast think of going to the earlier parade. No rain, I'd do the later parade as it will be less crowded.

    And don't give up on your ADR's. On our last trip I checked every day, a bit crazy I know, but we were able to snag a CRT reservation for breakfast! One tip I was given from a cast member is check 45 days out from your arrival. Day 45 is the final day to cancel or change a package without losing any money so often times things open up.

    Have a blast!!
     
  17. MrInfinity

    MrInfinity DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    2,537
    Hi! I wouldn't rely too heavily on internet reviews pointing to "lots of complaints". The web is a haven for complaints and tends to get people speaking loudly about their negative experience while millions of people use these systems happily. EMH gets bad press, as does the transportation! If you skip these you'll miss out on some of the neatest aspects of WDW, how it's all-encompassing.

    Transportation... It is so nice to fly in and leave the car behind. Disney picks you up from the airport. All you do is walk to their desk in the airport, swipe your band, and get in line. Your vacation begins! From that point the tour bus delivers you to the hotel while you watch Disney clips on TV. Your bags magically show up in your room later. Compare to renting... shuttle to the rentals, wait in the first line, wait for the car, check it out, get car seats, learn your way there, pay tolls, schlepp your bags and then pay to park.

    Then... Get up each morning and walk to the bus stop! Done. Ok so if the bus is late and takes 20 min -- is that a problem? Compare to... walk to your car, drive to a park, deal with parking... and then... at the Magic Kingdom, public transportation anyways to get to the park (you don't park at the MK you park at the TTC) and at other parks you could wait for a parking lot tram. When you leave you deal with all the traffic leaving at the same time. The experience is different from the Disneyland day-park view of driving to a theme park. It's one thing that makes Disney World a vacation. How much does the car + parking + gas cost? Compare to $0. :) Spend that money on something cool instead!

    You may have a hard time getting CRT or BOG now... But these are like getting into the Blue Bayou day-of. Not gonna happen. You had to know to book it. But every other restaurant will have availability, and if you check daily, I give it high likelihood you'll find a BOG or CRT between now and October. Other than reservations (you've already identified the two hard-to-get ones) and Fast Passes, planning Disney World isn't that complex. You can read for hours out here about maximizing this or that but much of that isn't necessary. Use the FastPasses, you pick them like you would in Disneyland, but you pick them in advance. Think about which rides you'd run to or MaxPass at DL and do the same here -- but -- you get to pick them in advance and not worry about what return time you'll get that day. In that regard, I like the Disney World system better than Disneyland. (we've been to both lots).

    WDW isn't like Disneyland. You're not driving to the parks and then going back to your hotel. You're ~in~ Disney World the entire time. It's a different experience that is geared toward the week-vacation and not the 2-day visit.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  18. ABMickey

    ABMickey Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    We were going to try and be in MK the whole day of our MNSSHP to avoid the crowds at the lineup to get it. But reading the responses here it seems like a better idea to enter the park at 4pm and have a relaxing day beforehand - maybe go to Disney Springs for lunch and back to the hotel for some R&R before hitting the party. That way we *may* make it to midnight with the little ones.


    I’m still checking for ADRs daily but also have the reservation finder working for me :) I keep anticipating getting a text and rushing to the booking site!


    I wish we could do the bus from the airport and save any hassle but we actually arrive on the 24th for a conference and are staying close to the convention Centre (The Rosen). So we will have to Uber it from their back to Disney on the 28th. At least we can use the bus when returning to the airport at the end of our trip!

    Thanks everyone!

    ABMickey
     
  19. epcotobsessed

    epcotobsessed Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2018
    Messages:
    383
    You've gotten a lot of good advice here and I won't restate it, but I will emphasize - cancel your car rental!!! You don't need it. The buses are just fine and if you are ever in a rush/don't feel like waiting, you can get an Uber or a Lyft. I plan all of our Disney vacations like crazy but I don't let it make me crazy. There is a difference! When you're there, you'll feel a lot more confident and can use your MDE app to adjust FPs and ADRs as needed. Have a great time!
     
    wisteria1019 and MrInfinity like this.
  20. unwritten01

    unwritten01 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    238
    and if you get in trouble while there (as in risk being late to a reservation, tired of waiting, etc) you can always take a Minnie Van.
     
    wisteria1019 likes this.
  21. IluvMGM

    IluvMGM Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Messages:
    113
    Just wanted to say I know the overwhelming feeling. I haven't been to Disney since 2009. I had to make dining reservations for that trip and the 2 previous trips, but the new fastpass system is new to me. It will be my boyfriend's first trip to Disney and he knows absolutely nothing about it. So, he is no help in picking restaurants, giving advice on which parks for which day, etc.. I don't think I have ever felt such stress in Disney planning as I do now. I wish you could be more spontaneous and just hop on whatever bus comes first, with no plan in mind. I always used to like doing the extra magic hour mornings and then hop to a different park when it gets too crowded. Now I feel like doing the opposite and just avoiding the emh and go right to the park I would later hop to. I don't know. LOL So much to consider.
     

Share This Page