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DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

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  • #21
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Now that I got my first post out of the way, and have taken some time to see the rest of the posts, (good one by the way with the google map), let me get my piece in here.

    First off, I was born & raised in Southern California and I had previously lived minutes from Disneyland, not to mention also previously worked there for some time. So I know the Disneyland Resort by the back of my hand, both as an annual pass holder for multiple years, and as a former cast member. Now, I live in central Florida, and I am currently a premium pass holder for WDW. I will be renewing my pass for at least one more year to see the completion of the Fantasyland refurb, and then after that.....I dunno. I think I may be getting burn out. But that's for a different thread.

    Anyways, I've had the time to discern the similarities & differences between the Disneyland Resort & Disney World. As well as the advantages & disadvantages one has over the other. For example:

    For starters, Anaheim has the Matterhorn, Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Sailing Ship Columbia, Explorer Canoes, Storybrookland, Alice in Wonderland, Nemo Submarines (which I think are closing again), Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, Casey Jr Circus Train, & Toontown (with all of its attractions). Then there's all that is in DCA with the Monsters Inc attraction, California Screamin, and Cars Land and Bugs Land.

    As for Disney World, well....there are four parks with nearly 20 fabulous resorts. But they do not have what I have mentioned above. As much as we want one, Hollywood Studios is most likely never going to get a Cars Land. And we all know the Matterhorn is not going to happen either. The two coasts need something that are unique to each other. But what MK does have is the original Carousel of Progress AND Country Bear Jamboree. Both of which used to be at the Disneyland Resort. They also still have their own working People Mover system, known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority in Tomorrowland. Then there are unique attractions such as Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Stitch's Great Escape, Hall of Presidents, Mickey's Phiharmagic in Fantasyland, and eventually there will be the The Seven Dwarf's Mine Ride which should be open by the time you make your visit, along with the completely refurbished Fantasyland and their new attractions. And there are the other 3 theme parks here, such as Epcot. They wanted to make one similar over there on the west coast, but that eventually fell flat. You have Hollywood Studios, which in my opinion has a few elements of DCA, but only so few such as Animation, Disney Jr Stage, Toy Story Mania, and Tower of Terror. There's also Star Tours in Hollywood Studios, The Muppet 3D Show, & Fantasmic. But you also have other elements of DHS that is not in California. Such as the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, The Great Movie Ride, Beauty & The Beast Stage Show, The Studio Backlot Tour, The American Idol Experience, and of course, Rock N Roller Coaster with Aerosmith. And then there's Animal Kingdom, that of which you can easily do in a day. I will save my opinion of that place for another post.

    It would seem though, when it comes to the similarities or differences between the DLR and WDW, the "prototype" often gives the lesson on what to do, how to do it, and how to make it better, or how not to do it. One fine example, my wife had never gone to Disneyland until 2005. And had only been to WDW a few times before that, having lived here first before moving to California. When she first saw Sleeping Beauty's Castle having seen Cinderella's many times, her first impression and reaction was "That's it?!" Yes, Cinderella is that much larger, mainly because of building codes limitations in California, I guess. I like the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean here in WDW much better because they're more realistic. I like the tunnel in Jungle Cruise here for one. Splash Mountain here in Florida is also more animated and colorful. The same goes with Peter Pan's Flight. Star Tours here at DHS has 6 shuttles rather than the 4 that Anaheim MAY still have. (They have refurbished it since I've been there, but I am not aware if they upped it to 6 or not.) And there's Tom Sawyer's Island. The fort is still open here and very explorable, complete with toy guns for the kids, where the one in California is still closed last I heard. And the caves are also fun, but not interactive like the ones in California where they were rethemed for "Pirates Island." But the fort has the "secret exit" that goes out into a cave at the back of the fort. Haunted Mansion also looks pretty cool, but more on that below.

    However, there are some attractions here that are also in Disneyland that I prefer over the ones here. For starters, It's A Small World. You just can't beat the original. Especially around Christmas Time. You see, part of Fantasyland here still looks like the old fanfaire that the Disneyland Fantasyland used to have way back in the early 80s before their major refurb in 1983. Yes, they are re-doing a lot of it, but not for the older attractions such as Peter Pan and Small World across from it. So they can't take Small World and deck it out with a couple hundred different Christmas lights like Disneyland does. Four parks decorated for Christmas (even with the backlots at Hollywood Studios) simply cannot replace walking down Disneyland's parade route by the Matterhorn and seeing It's A Small World Holiday from down the road. Or even from Harbor Boulevard for that matter. And then there's Buzz Light Year. They're located in Tomorrowland, both in Florida and California. But I HIGHLY prefer the one in California than the one here. Because you can hold the blasters in your hand, shoot a lot faster, and get higher scores, where as to the one here its attached to the car, the scoring rate is EXTREMELY LOW, and you have very little movement with the blasters. So, unless you have Buzz fans in your party, I highly recommend skipping this one, especially if the wait time is high. Then there's Haunted Mansion. Both, though themed differently on the outside, are pretty much the same on the inside, with a few minor differences. But the MAJOR disappointment here is, that Florida's Haunted Mansion DOES NOT do the Christmas overlay with Nightmare Before Christmas. Having finally able to do the parks here during the holidays, I was very disappointed to find out that Haunted Mansion Holiday does not make an east coast appearance. Also, speaking of prototypes, there's Fantasmic. Though I haven't seen it here yet, in my mind, still far better at Disneyland. You have the pirate ship and the Mark Twain as a part of it, and then there's the dragon. Here, no pirate ship, and Jafar turns into a cobra in place of the dragon. And the only difference in the foot traffic between the two is the exiting crowd from the amphitheater that the one here is shown in, where as at Rivers of America in Disneyland, the whole area is a traffic nightmare after the show ends. Lastly, I do like Big Thunder there in California better than the one here. Even though the one here has some creative animated differences, you can only do the "goat trick" at Disneyland.

    That pretty much covers it. But its like another person said, park hopping HERE takes more time because the way everything is laid out. You can easily take the monorail from Magic Kingdom to Epcot, but that could take anywhere between 20 - 30 minutes, depending on crowds and the monorail. But going from there to Hollywood or Animal Kingdom, its a lot longer. You can hop on the boats between Epcot & Hollywood Studios, but you have to deal with the 3 stops at the resorts between them, those being Swan/Dolphin, Boardwalk, and Yacht/Beach Club, which take about 20 minutes one way.

    One last piece of advice I give to WDW first timers. When you first get here, be sure to take a few moments to absorb it all in. You've just come across the country to visit one of the best vacation spots in the world. Not everyone gets to do that. If you choose to stay at one of the Magic Kingdom area resorts, if you close your eyes, you can hear the sounds of MK nearby. But also be sure to take the time to slow down and smell the roses. Don't rush everywhere and enjoy yourselves. Some important points to remember involving Fast Pass and a few of the highly popular attractions. Soarin & Toy Story Mania (both of which, their queues (lines) are far better and more creatively built/designed here in Florida than their California counterparts. At least in my opinion.) ARE TWO attractions who's Fast Passes run out very quickly, especially during the weekends. Hollywood Studios tend to do their "Early Magic Hour" early entry on Saturday mornings. And people who use those have access to Toy Story Mania. Epcot runs theirs usually once during the middle of the week, and yes they have access to Soarin. Check ahead for the Early Magic Hour dates & coordinate these for the dates you are planning on going. And if your planned visits for both parks ends up on a date, whether or not there is an Early Magic Hour/Early Entry scheduled for that day, BE SURE to go to those attractions first. While at Epcot, hit Test Track early as well, or at least get Fast Passes for them. TT doesn't tend to run out like Soarin does, but it is the next popular attraction at Epcot. But the Fast Passes for both Soarin & Toy Story ALWAYS run out by mid-afternoon on the weekends. For assistance with your trip in getting on all of the attractions you want to go on, as well as planning your schedules to optimize everything as much as possible, I highly recommend getting the free Disney app My Disney Experience - WDW before your trip. I created a thread about it when it came out that should be really helpful to you, which has all of the info you need for it, including links to download it. Here's the link to the thread:

    http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disn...phone-app.html

    Lastly, if you would like some assistance from your fellow micechatters in choosing which would be the best resort to stay at, feel free to visit this thread:

    http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disn...l-florida.html

    Disclaimer: Both threads are closed, so you cannot comment on them. But they are still viewable for information, and any links in them are still available to click on.

    Hope it all helps. Enjoy your trip! :wave:

    Hope all of that helps.
    "Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children." - Walter Elias Disney

    Comment


    • #22
      Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

      Originally posted by Austin View Post
      Hey all you WDW experts!

      My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.

      This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

      1. Magic Kingdom
      2. Epcot
      3. Blizzard Beach
      4. Hollywood Studios
      5. Animal Kingdom
      6. Universal
      7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.

      We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.

      Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.

      Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.

      Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.

      Any other tips or can't-miss advice would be awesome because once again we are completely novice when it comes to DisneyWorld... we literally know nothing.

      Thanks and have a magical day!

      Comment


      • #23
        Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

        We are going first time to DW in February. I have purchased the Unofficial Guide to WDW, plus the Touring Plans and app. I have studied this, put in my dates, planned for EMH...and will go with that. They promise to make the most out of your day so I will rely on their expertise.

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        • #24
          Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

          Originally posted by MJM View Post

          June will be very hot. Be prepared, stay hydrated and HAVE FUN!.
          Also, be prepared for wet weather. It rains a lot during the Summer, but its also humid & warm when it rains. So don't pack a heavy jacket. Just a light one and an umbrella. Or a rain suit/poncho.
          "Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children." - Walter Elias Disney

          Comment


          • #25
            Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

            My Wife and I are regular D Land visitors and we have made several trips to WDW as well. I have family in the C. Florida area so we visit several times a year and usually make a stop at WDW. I believe we are close to 10 visits now.

            The last 3 times we went (and again at the end of this January) we will be staying at the Wilderness Campground Cabins. We love staying here for several reasons.

            1. It is considered a moderate resort. A cabin will cost around $330-400 a night without discounts (we use our passholder discount and usually pay less than $225 a night). Each cabin has a full size bed and bunk beds in the bedroom and a fold down full size bed in the living room. It also has a full kitchen so you can buy food and save some time and money eating at your cabin. It also has a deck and charcoal grill outside.

            2. For you party size you may want to get to cabins. 3 per cabin would fit very comfortably. You also have you own parking space right in front of your cabin if you decide to rent a car.

            3. You can take the water shuttle to and from the MK and the Wilderness Lodge. we love this option as the bus service at WDW is both confusing and a serious time eater. we usually drive from our cabin to the other parks but take the water service the MK.

            4. The best advice for meals is reserve your dinners ASAP. Be Our Guest will probably already be booked for your dates for dinner already.

            5. Have fun. WDW is big and confusing but just relax and have fun.

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            • #26
              Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

              We're DLR vets who did WDW last year. The parks are far larger than you imagine, and there's less in them. (DLR has almost the same number of attractions in 2 parks that WDW has in 4 parks.) Be prepared for the walks between attractions to feel oddly long and for MK, especially, to feel a little emptier than DL. Also, Epcot in one day is difficult unless it's not crowded because it's enormous. On your "clean-up" day, you might want to come back here.

              Transportation between the parks takes much longer than you'll be used to as well, so bring lots of patience and give yourself lots of time. We stayed at Pop and liked it, and it was an easy bus ride to the different parks.

              MK is not DL, but if you don't expect it to be DL, it's pretty neat. We liked it more than Epcot.
              Just be prepared for a really different vibe. DLR and WDW don't feel like each other at all. We were shocked by how different it felt. But I really got into MK. The counter service food is abysmal, though. DLR is much better than WDW in that regard. Casual dining was depressing the whole time we were there.
              WDW 1973 Poly | WDW Jul 1977 offsite | DLR Jul 1988 offsite | DLP Apr 2000 offsite | DLR Apr 2002 PPH | DLR Sep 2002 HoJo | DLR Dec 2002 HoJo | DLR Apr 2003 HoJo | DLR Dec 2005 HoJo | DLR Mar 2013 HoJo | WDW May 2013 Pop | DLR Oct 2013 HoJo | Moving to L.A. 2014!

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              • #27
                Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                I'm going back to WDW for my second trip in July! You'll love it.
                For value resorts do either Art of Animation for a newer-modern look or Pop Century. Regardless of their cheap cost, it's still pure Disney magic and you'll sincerely enjoy either. I mean how much time are you spending at the hotel regardless? All of them provide free shuttle service to and from parks so if you're bored go hotel hopping! That's actually a great way to experience other shops and restaurants that are just as good as in park dining.
                Magic Kingdom - Check out Tonys! It's exclusive only to WDW and is a great restaurant on Main St. So cute. As well as Be Our Guest!!
                Epcot - Check out Le Cellier if you can afford it and aren't in to exotic dining.
                Hollywood Studios - Sci Fi Dine In Theatre or 50s Prime Time Cafe. Really neat experiences.
                Animal Kingdom - mainly a lot of quick service dining and park closes early so I suggest going to downtown disney (which is 3x the size of DLR and a great night out of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.)

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                • #28
                  Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                  Originally posted by bkeyes19 View Post
                  (we use our passholder discount and usually pay less than $225 a night).
                  When you say "passholder discount" is this only a discount for WDW passholders? Because I am a DL passholder and it would be amazing if this were a thing! (although I have the sneaking suspicion it isn't....)

                  Also, a couple of you have mentioned when "discounted rates" get released. When does this sort of thing happen, and when would be the best time to book in advance for the hotel? We're waiting for a bonus check to pay part of it, but we might be able to squeeze the money out for the booking early if it saves money.

                  Also, any other types of discounts I should know about for the hotel?


                  Seriously, THANK YOU, to all of the people who have replied. You guys have no idea how helpful this has all been.
                  Check out my Trip Reports on Youtube!


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                  • #29
                    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                    Originally posted by Austin View Post
                    When you say "passholder discount" is this only a discount for WDW passholders? Because I am a DL passholder and it would be amazing if this were a thing! (although I have the sneaking suspicion it isn't....)
                    WDW pass holders. But would it be worth it to upgrade to a Premier AP? In your case if you have or need Premium DLR passes it would be. Then you can get a WDW discount.

                    Also, a couple of you have mentioned when "discounted rates" get released. When does this sort of thing happen, and when would be the best time to book in advance for the hotel? We're waiting for a bonus check to pay part of it, but we might be able to squeeze the money out for the booking early if it saves money.
                    They come out roughly 2- 4 months ahead of the travel period. For example now you can book a Discount for March through early June. If before you pay the You can modify if you get a better rate later.

                    Also, any other types of discounts I should know about for the hotel?
                    You can book through third part sites like Orbitz.


                    Is anyone active or retired military? There is a military hotel onsite.
                    Be Cool Stay in School!
                    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                      Originally posted by CassiefRN View Post
                      I chose POP over All Stars because they have dedicated bus service. All three All Stars share buses so I've heard the wait can be long. AoA also has their own buses but is never offered a discount. I originally booked there but changed to POP when they released discounted rates. I'm only sleeping there so the amenities aren't important.
                      I've stayed at All Star Movies, All Star Music, and Pop Century - I prefer Movies for the layout and Music for the beds - I thought the beds were hard at Pop - given that that's pretty much all I do at the resort besides bath and have breakfast, I'm sensitive to that - As a self-confessed Orlando Commando, I'm exhausted when I get back to the room. These are NOT Motel 6. They are themed over-the-top (the kids will love it) and, like the rest of the 30000 acres, not a detail gets missed. If you are into all the bells and whistles in the place where you stay, these are not for you - but if you're on a budget, they're a great opportunity to have that experience of staying on the grounds. Besides, where else can you step outside your door and be greeted by a 4 story dalmatian, or Buzz Lightyear?

                      If someone has already mentioned this, pardon the redundancy but this is not the time to break-in new sneakers. Bring a couple pair of well broken-in shoes. Having just visited DL in May, I can tell you you're in for a shock as to the size of this resort. The parks are beautiful but they're exhausting - I'm always amazed to watch my fellow females try to navigate these parks in heels - think comfort.

                      Figure out which table service restaurants you want to visit NOW. Reservations are available 180 days out, I believe, and some restaurants are booked solid that far in advance. But, another piece of advice - try not to plan the whole trip around food. I'm always amused to read trip reports where people only have time to do one or two attractions because they have to leave to go be an hour early for their dinner/lunch reservations. Choose a couple of good ones (the character meals are fun if you have younger kids) and try to play the rest by ear. There are wonderful counter service places in each park - some better than others and it allows for more spontaneity. Unless of course you're a total foodie - in which case I say reserve, reserve, reserve.

                      Oh, and have fun!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                        Hey guys! I haven't updated this thread in a while, but I have a few new questions so I'm bringing it back to life.

                        First, a little update. We have booked the All-Star Music Resort from June 8th-16th (in the end it came down to pricing).

                        Questions:

                        Being that we are staying at a Disney Resort, this qualifies us for the MagicBands right? On the WDW website we already customized which colors we would each get, but it doesn't list any specific day that they will ship to us. Do they not ship it until after the designated Fastpass+ planning window? I can't choose our fastpast reservations until April 9th, so I'm thinking that they might display the shipping date somewhere at that date.

                        Also, I know we only get 3 Fastpass+ reservations ahead of time, so what would you guys suggest be the best reservations for each park? For Animal Kingdom we already are planning on Expedition Everest and Dinosaur, and for Epcot probably Test Track, but other than that we don't really know which rides are super popular there.

                        On that note, can we make additional fastpass reservations when we're in the park? And how we would we go about doing that? Or is it limited to 3?

                        Again, thanks everyone so much!
                        Check out my Trip Reports on Youtube!


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                        • #32
                          Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                          Originally posted by Austin View Post
                          Hey guys! I haven't updated this thread in a while, but I have a few new questions so I'm bringing it back to life.

                          First, a little update. We have booked the All-Star Music Resort from June 8th-16th (in the end it came down to pricing).

                          Questions:

                          Being that we are staying at a Disney Resort, this qualifies us for the MagicBands right? On the WDW website we already customized which colors we would each get, but it doesn't list any specific day that they will ship to us. Do they not ship it until after the designated Fastpass+ planning window? I can't choose our fastpast reservations until April 9th, so I'm thinking that they might display the shipping date somewhere at that date.

                          Also, I know we only get 3 Fastpass+ reservations ahead of time, so what would you guys suggest be the best reservations for each park? For Animal Kingdom we already are planning on Expedition Everest and Dinosaur, and for Epcot probably Test Track, but other than that we don't really know which rides are super popular there.

                          On that note, can we make additional fastpass reservations when we're in the park? And how we would we go about doing that? Or is it limited to 3?

                          Again, thanks everyone so much!
                          They will send an email to you with tracking information when the Magic Bands ship. This will probably be in the 15-30 day out range.

                          Login to My Disney Experience and look at the FP options. It's a little different than what you think. You can change them while in the parks at kiosks, but only do this if you miss an attraction you reserved, because they do run out of time slots, so that should only be a plan B. You can also use a phone app, in the park or before. You only get 3 total all day and only in a single park not split between parks if hopping.

                          You can start reserving FPs 60 days out.

                          You don't get any three FPs you want, you get a group A FP, group B FP and group C FP. Sort of.

                          For Epcot, you get one from group A, I would suggest Soarin but Test Track is also an option. Then you get 2 from Group B, Probably a right after opening Spaceship Earth and Mission Space.

                          In Animal Kingdom Everest is the best spot for a FP, but I'd suggest the Safari over Dinosaur. I'm not sure DAK has separate groups for FP, yet.
                          Be Cool Stay in School!
                          Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                            I also suggest make your reservations later in the day. That is usually when the lines are the worst. If you get there in the morning typically the lines are not too insaine yet.

                            If you park hop.. Use your FP+ selections for the later park. Again for the same reason. Typically lines will be better.

                            To me using your passes in the morning is a waste.. I also would NEVER waste them on firworks or a parade.
                            Co-Host of the Disney Nerds Podcast (found on i-tunes, Stitcher, and Podbean)
                            Co-Creator of the Mouseketeer Club group on Facebook.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                              You have three, and unless something changes before you go, you'll have to use them in the same park, so for AK you could use them for Safari, EE and Dino. I doubt they will tier AK, as there's not enough attractions to really do that.

                              DisneyNerdTom is right, make your selections for later in the day as that is when the lines will be the longest. If you are park hopping, go to the first park when it opens and take advantage of shorter lines (even better use EMH...I did Safari, EE, Primeval Whirl and Dino all before the park actually opened, so I did not use FP in AK) then use FP in the second park of the day.

                              You our will be able to make selections in advance, three FP, no more no less, all in one park. At this time, you cannot make additional selections once in the park, but surveys suggest that might change at some time
                              Follow me on Instagram: @disneylovingnurse :ap:

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                Thank you everyone who has given advice on this forum! I am going to WDW for the first time in a month for my honeymoon, and all the information given has really helped me make some decisions.
                                "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." -Walt Disney

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                  Thank you for all the replies! My FP+ date is coming up in two days. I'm excited to log on and really start planning. I love to plan ahead so I'm not stressed during the actual vacation and can just relax and go with the flow. :thumbup:
                                  Check out my Trip Reports on Youtube!


                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                    Originally posted by Austin View Post
                                    Thank you for all the replies! My FP+ date is coming up in two days. I'm excited to log on and really start planning. I love to plan ahead so I'm not stressed during the actual vacation and can just relax and go with the flow. :thumbup:

                                    Keep this in mind. http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disn...-possible.html

                                    Since Disney CEO also said these changes may be coming, you may want to adjust your reserved FPs for what and when.
                                    Be Cool Stay in School!
                                    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                      Originally posted by Austin View Post
                                      Hey all you WDW experts!

                                      My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.

                                      This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

                                      1. Magic Kingdom
                                      2. Epcot
                                      3. Blizzard Beach
                                      4. Hollywood Studios
                                      5. Animal Kingdom
                                      6. Universal
                                      7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.

                                      We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.

                                      Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.

                                      Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.

                                      Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.

                                      Any other tips or can't-miss advice would be awesome because once again we are completely novice when it comes to DisneyWorld... we literally know nothing.

                                      Thanks and have a magical day!
                                      Okay... first the hotels... we've stayed at every level of hotel Disney has and if you stay at a value hotel you will have to rent two rooms. I don't think they allow 6 people in a room nor would you want to have 6 in a room because they are small... Imagine a Motel 6 with a Disney theme and you get the idea. If you are dead set on staying in a Disney property then I would probably suggest the cabins at fort wilderness. If memory serves me they are the only spots that are supposed to be able to accommodate 6 people without requiring you to rent a suite of some sort... If you go down that route I would make a suggestion to you that you rent a car, because the Disney transport from the cabins to the parks is not that good... it exists but we only used it once before deciding that it was quicker and easier to drive to the parks in our own car than use the Disney shuttles.... You also mention best value... the best value is really going to be offsite hotels as they are much cheaper than the Disney hotels and unlike the ones around DL they don't try to jack their rates up to premium levels just because they are close to Disney. But be warned, if you are offsite you will need to pay for parking each day you go to Disney and you wont get the extra magic hours.

                                      (assuming you go down the car rental path)... don't rent it from a place at the airport. You'll get hit with extra tourist and airport concession fees. We rent from an offsite rental place and return it to the airport. It ends up costing about $20 for the cab ride to the rental location but we have never had any extra charges for dropping the car off at the airport on the return. Also you tend to get much cheaper rates on any car excluding the add-on fees when you rent away from the airport, so it will save you a lot. Next step is to go to ebay and buy a AAA parking pass for WDW, it will allow you to park in a special area that is close enough to the gates at the parks that you wont need to use the parking trams, that will also save you time.

                                      Animal Kingdom might not be a full day park.... so you might have time to do other things that day especially since AK tends to close earlier than any of the other parks. Also you are there in the summer so the temps are hot, which means the animals are going to be scarce as the afternoon gets hotter so adjust your schedule so that your AK day is an extra magic hour day and you can get there at 8:00am to maximize your chances of seeing the animals.

                                      Where to eat... that's a very hard question because it depends on what you are looking for... Do you want an all you can eat? If so then for breakfast or lunch I suggest Crystal Palace in MK, for dinner 1300 Park Fare at Grand Floridian... Know that those are both also character meals and you would need to make reservations... For other places the food is usually good and the only place I would suggest you avoid is Cinderella's Castle, it has the worst food in the whole of Disney and as near as I can tell is only popular because people want to eat in the castle.

                                      Universal... if you must leave the mouse then you must also purchase the Universal Express, because it will allow you to skip the regular lines... look at it as a sort of fastpass that you pay... but unlike the fastpass you don't have to find a special machine to claim your pass... it costs but since you are only going to be going to universal 1 day you might as well do it to make sure you get all the rides because summer is going to be busy.

                                      Also make sure you pack ponchos... You will likely get rained on during your trip but its Florida so the rain will usually be gone in less than an hour often in 10 or 15 minutes but during that time it will often feel like a monsoon so unless you want to be walking in wet clothes a poncho is useful, if you need on in the parks just ask in any shop I pretty sure they all have them but they aren't always out where you see them but they will cost you Disney premium for what is a very cheap item of very low quality. Last time we had to get one in the park it lasted little more than a day before it tore.
                                      Last edited by Mackster; 04-08-2014, 11:08 AM.

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                                      • #39
                                        Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                        Alright... I booked my FP+ tickets! I found the whole process really easy and informative. I love the itinerary feature. I'm planning on printing it out and bringing a hard copy with me (just more reliable than solely relying on the app).

                                        My official plans are as followed (I have my new set of questions highlighted in red. Thanks ahead of time for anyone who answers anything! I really appreciate it.):

                                        Sunday, June 8th: Arriving at 5:00 P.M., getting to hotel (All Star Music), getting settled ect. Than planning on checking out Downtown Disney/DisneyQuest and maybe the pool at the hotel.
                                        Monday: Magic Kingdom
                                        Fastpasses: Splash at 1:30 P.M., Big Thunder at 2:35 and Space Mountain at 7:40. Also planning on seeing Wishes at 10:00 P.M. (How early do I need to line for this?)
                                        Tuesday: Epcot
                                        Fastpasses: Spaceship Earth at 9:40 A.M., Mission: SPACE at 10:50, Test Track at 11:50. The rest of the day is for exploring the World Showcase. Planning on seeing Illuminations at 9:00 (Do I need special seating for this, or can you watch from anywhere around the lagoon?)
                                        Wednesday: Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon. We really want to see both of these water parks (we got the water parks and more ticket), so if we finished all there is in Blizzard Beach, we're planning on hopping over to Typhoon Lagoon. (Do I need a specific ticket for this, or will my Magic Band automatically have the Water Park and More tickets preloaded on them? If I visit DisneyQuest, can I use my Magic Band to get in?)
                                        We also are considering getting a dinner reservation for this night at the Bordwalk Resort. We only want one, nice sit down family meal, to save money and time. (Is this a good choice for restaurants? What's the best sit down restaurant in the Bordwalk area?). I thought the Bordwalk would be a fun place to hang out after going to the waterpark(s).
                                        Thursday: Animal Kingdom
                                        Fastpasses: We're planning on running straight over to Dinosaur right as the park opens (it was between this and Kali River Rapids for fastpasses, we went with the latter). Expedition Everest at 12:35, Kali River Rapids at 1:35, Kiliminjaro Safari at 4:05 PM. Also seeing Finding Nemo at 11 AM
                                        Friday: Hollywood Studios
                                        Fastpasses: Great Movie Ride at 2:25, Tower of Terror at 3:25, Rock n Roller at 7:35.
                                        Shows: Indiana at 11:15 AM, Lights Motor Action at 1:20, VIP seating for Fantasmic at 9:00 (How early, besides Fantasmic, do we have to arrive for Indiana and LMA?)
                                        Saturday: (My birthday, :thumbup, Universal
                                        Sunday: Magic Kingdom, The park is open until 1AM so we're spending out last day here! Same FP+ reservations as the first day at MK.

                                        Any tips/suggestions/critiques on my plans? Thanks!

                                        I really did enjoy planning all of this.
                                        Last edited by Austin; 04-09-2014, 11:20 AM.
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                                        • #40
                                          Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

                                          For Animal Kingdom.. if you are going to go on Kilamanjaro Safari you will want to do that early as the lines are better and the animals have a better odd of being out. I know you have a later time for this but from my experience.. the animals are not out as much... if you cant change times.. then just roll with what you have.

                                          Indiana and LMA I would be at least 30 min early to get decent seating.

                                          Illuminations can be seen anywhere.. We a lot of the time are by Mexico. Also you can see if you can go to the railing at Rose And Crown.. there were people who just walked in the last time I was there and didnt eat nor have reservations.

                                          Wishes I would be at least 30 early. If you see the electric parade and there are 2 of them.. see the 2nd one.. less crowded.
                                          Co-Host of the Disney Nerds Podcast (found on i-tunes, Stitcher, and Podbean)
                                          Co-Creator of the Mouseketeer Club group on Facebook.

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