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

    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!

  • Austin
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Hello everyone! I'm resurrecting this thread as we're just 12 DAYS AWAY FROM OUR TRIP! It has been a long and hard wait since December, but we are VERY excited.

    We got our MagicBands:
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    And I even organized all of our information into a laminated folder for when we leave:
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    (Yes, I am kind of lame...)

    A couple of last minute questions. How exactly does the online check in work? We requested our two rooms to have a connecting door (or at least next to each other) when we first made the reservation (I don't know if All Star Sports has connecting doors or not... really hope so), but do I need to mention it when we check in online? We want to check in as early as possible to increase our chances of getting the connecting door, and I know you can check in up to 10 days early, so if anybody could possibly clear this up for me I would really appreciate it.

    We're so excited and I will definitely keep you guys informed about our vacation! Thanks, everyone here has been so helpful these last few months. We truly appreciate it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mackster
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by gtpinoy View Post
    Thanks for the reply. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas. If you pay for parking for a day at one park, can you then use that same pass for another park if it's the same day?
    Just a heads up you are going to be a bout a half a mile from a dollar rent a car location... so if you want to save a bit on the car you could rent it from that location and likely be allowed to return it to the airport at no charge. Would assume of course that the Sheraton has some transport service that would be picking you up from the airport. But depending on the length of stay the savings in airport concession fees alone can be significant... and thus far you are not charged those fees if you drop a car off at the airport only if you rent it from the airport.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mackster
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by HeyBaloo View Post
    A few more things..if you haven't considered already..water park shoes! Something you can wear on the rides and slides; the cement gets hot and your feet can get sort of beat up.

    And why not plan on some park hopping? I did a whole lot of planning and most of the time it just went out the window, it seems that Fastpass+ can lock you in just a bit.

    A few favorite cool bars for a cold beer or margarita; Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios, Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom and Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot, no alcohol at the MK,
    Would second the park hopping.. especially since the weather can be unpredictable and you don't want to be in a pool when a thunderstorm pops up.

    Leave a comment:


  • goofy donald
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by gtpinoy View Post
    Thanks for the reply. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas. If you pay for parking for a day at one park, can you then use that same pass for another park if it's the same day?
    yep once you pay once you are set for the day.

    Leave a comment:


  • gtpinoy
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by goofy donald View Post
    which hotel offsite? there are some phenomenal off site hotels like the waldorf which can cost less then a moderate room and would void your need of a rental car as they have full shuttle service to the parks that are better then disney's own service, saving a ton of money in the long run even if you got a good deal on a room somewhere else, and you are still technically on disney land. if you do insist on having the car though, WDW for the most part is so spread out that it is best to just park at the park you want to go to and then drive to the next location if you want to switch things up mid day. the only exception to this IMO would be if you wanted to do epcot and magic kingdom in the same day. in that case just park at the TTC (magic kingdom parking lot) and use the monorail to get to epcot and back.
    Thanks for the reply. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas. If you pay for parking for a day at one park, can you then use that same pass for another park if it's the same day?

    Leave a comment:


  • goofy donald
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by gtpinoy View Post
    My wife and I will also be at WDW in June 2014 and are avid and current DLR Annual Passholders.

    Unfortunately, unlike Austin, we will be staying at an off-site hotel and will have a rental car. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations when it comes to parking? Does each park have their own parking lot? Would it be better to park at one and then use WDW transporation?

    Thanks in advance!
    which hotel offsite? there are some phenomenal off site hotels like the waldorf which can cost less then a moderate room and would void your need of a rental car as they have full shuttle service to the parks that are better then disney's own service, saving a ton of money in the long run even if you got a good deal on a room somewhere else, and you are still technically on disney land. if you do insist on having the car though, WDW for the most part is so spread out that it is best to just park at the park you want to go to and then drive to the next location if you want to switch things up mid day. the only exception to this IMO would be if you wanted to do epcot and magic kingdom in the same day. in that case just park at the TTC (magic kingdom parking lot) and use the monorail to get to epcot and back.

    Leave a comment:


  • gtpinoy
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    My wife and I will also be at WDW in June 2014 and are avid and current DLR Annual Passholders.

    Unfortunately, unlike Austin, we will be staying at an off-site hotel and will have a rental car. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations when it comes to parking? Does each park have their own parking lot? Would it be better to park at one and then use WDW transporation?

    Thanks in advance!

    Leave a comment:


  • delmarjohn
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    fast pass those attractions ...we are going to try fastpass + we leave for 2 weeks at the mouse house on Monday we will be testing fastpass and magic bracelets for the very first time so from what I hear it works pretty well will report on it when we get back

    Leave a comment:


  • delmarjohn
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    we too are from san diego and we go twice a year we are experienced WDW people having gone for the last 23 years...time is important and the cost of a moderate can easily be balance by the time saved to get to the parks,the monorail parks MK and Epcot are both on the monorail system so you can save huge amounts of time also the day you go to the waterparks,they close early,every park has a guest service sor concierge so if you wanted to try a restaurant try checking with them as early in the day as possible,we did book are dining 6 months out ....if this is one time thing you will be tired after 7 days of running around ...good thing is the fireworks are at MK the illuminations show is at Epcot and Fanatsmic is at the STUDIOS,also animal kingdom is a must earlier th better they also close early so you can park hop from there to another park ...don't waste time doing SOARIN ..same building same attraction...space is the old space not like the DLR version,tower is a little better and rockin roller coaster is a short(but in the dark) screamin,test track is same ride technology as radiator springs just faster (about twice as fast )....the American experience is something to see and contemplate, expedition everestt a must done in true Disney fashion.....philarmagic is a must for us DLR' people haunted is the same but the Q is interesting ...any other questions please fell free to ask....fellow san diegan

    Leave a comment:


  • tututiara
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    I am too a DLR native and AP holder. I also am going to WDW for the first time in a long time in June. I have no advice, but am definitely looking at the advice you're getting!

    Leave a comment:


  • Hazer15
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Something you should know is that when it comes to wait times at WDW they usually set them higher so that people are always below what the wait times says. They do this so that everyone is happy and can't complain about a wait being longer than advised. For example I've waited for buzz with a "50" min wait time but only waited about 30-35 min. And for something that is "20" min it's usually about 10-15. Then when it comes to long wait times like 100 mins for space mountain you can expect a bit over an hour and that's it. This rule is almost always true. Just a quick helper to help plan your day.

    Leave a comment:


  • goofy donald
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by HeyBaloo View Post
    A few more things..if you haven't considered already..water park shoes! Something you can wear on the rides and slides; the cement gets hot and your feet can get sort of beat up.
    I prefer some cheap foam flip flops i don't care about but agreed foot protection is key. never know what might happen in such a crowded place.

    And why not plan on some park hopping? I did a whole lot of planning and most of the time it just went out the window, it seems that Fastpass+ can lock you in just a bit.
    couldn't imagine a disney vacation without this option. essential in case of bad weather, ride breakdowns, general business in a certain area just provides so much more flexibility to make changes on the fly.

    A few favourite cool bars for a cold beer or margarita; Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios, Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom and Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot, no alcohol at the MK,
    there is alcohol in MK now at the beauty and the beast restaurant but that is tough to get at. personally my favourite spots are Dawa at AK, le cava de tequila at Epcot, and backlot express at DHS but to each their own

    Leave a comment:


  • goofy donald
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by Austin View Post
    Does anybody know how long it takes the commute from Blizzard beach to Typhoon Lagoon is through Magical Express? Is there a direct shuttle between them?
    magical express is just the shuttle to and from the airport, you would take just regular disney transport once at the resort. disney busses don't travel between the two water parks so therefore the ideal way to get directly from one to the other would be to cab it. $12 in that scenario could save you an hour of your time using disney's transit and would be one of the few times I would recommend the cab option in the resort. If you are dead set on using a bus, safest bet IMO would be to go from BB to port orleans and then to typhoon lagoon, that should be the most natural transfer probably giving you the shortest overall wait times. pure travel time its about 35-40 minutes, depending on how long you need to wait for both busses though the round trip could easily be an hour +.

    And now that we're on the topic... is there a website/part of the WDW website that states the routes that Magical Express travels on? I want to be prepared for how long it's going to take to get from my hotel to the parks every morning.
    disney busses travel directly from each hotel to all the parks, downtown disney, and the water parks and back. if you want to go to another disney hotel you will have to transfer at one of the parks. if you need some estimated times I would be happy to figure it out for you but there are no set bus schedules at disney for you to plan around.

    as an aside there are several alternate modes of transport if you didn't already know. the monorail has its hub at the ticket and transportation centre and goes in two separate loops, one that heads down to epcot and back, and another to the magic kingdom as well as the contemporary, Polynesian and grand floridian resorts. if you felt like park hopping one day between those two locations or wanted to check out some of disney's premier resorts or have a reservation at a restaurant this is a great option. there are also boats that run between epcot and hollywood studios (though i prefer the walk) including stops at the yacht and beach clubs, swan and dolphin, and boardwalk hotels. also there are boats that operate between all of the previously mentioned monorail hotels and the wilderness lodge and the magic kingdom as well as a ferry from the TTC to the park, as well as boats that operate between downtown disney and port orleans.

    Leave a comment:


  • HeyBaloo
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    A few more things..if you haven't considered already..water park shoes! Something you can wear on the rides and slides; the cement gets hot and your feet can get sort of beat up.

    And why not plan on some park hopping? I did a whole lot of planning and most of the time it just went out the window, it seems that Fastpass+ can lock you in just a bit.

    A few favorite cool bars for a cold beer or margarita; Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios, Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom and Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot, no alcohol at the MK,

    Leave a comment:


  • swampymarsh
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by Austin View Post
    Does anybody know how long it takes the commute from Blizzard beach to Typhoon Lagoon is through Magical Express? Is there a direct shuttle between them?


    And now that we're on the topic... is there a website/part of the WDW website that states the routes that Magical Express travels on? I want to be prepared for how long it's going to take to get from my hotel to the parks every morning.

    1. It takes a while to get to the water parks. About 45 minutes to an hour because the buses for DTD, the water parks and more of the non park stuff, come up to every 40 minutes also they can have longer routes because of stopping at more locations.

    There is no bus between the water parks, you have to use a resort as a transfer point. Pick a resort between the two like Boardwalk, Pop, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort.

    Now it gets even worse. They have combined the bus to DAK and BB. You may go to DAK and transfer to a BB bus. They started this about a year ago and I have yet to deal with it.

    BTW your tickets are good for waterpark fun and more, are good for an equal number of entries as the length of days of you ticket. So if you have a four day ticket you have 4 entries, so if you do both water parks in a dayou use 2 of th4 entries. Usually not a problem but something to consider.

    2. Buses come to resorts/parks every 20 minutes, so that is the usual max wait. They can run more often when it gets busy, but the line to load can be more than fit in a bus. If the wait is longer, it usually means, an accident, breakdown, or they switched buses unexpectedly out of the system. Once loaded you bus picks up at all the stops in your resort or resort group, so that adds more stops.

    The moral to this story is it takes up to an hour to get anywhere.

    Leave a comment:


  • HeyBaloo
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Magical Express is the name of the transport for the airport to hotel only. WDW Transportation system is the name for the bus, boat, and monorail. The bus system is really well done, they are everywhere and run 24 hours I believe, with more buses running at peak times of course. On our last visit, during spring break of last year, the Magic Kingdom had extra magic hours until 3 a.m.. We were on a bus at 3:30 a.m. headed down to POP Century, exhausted, in a good way. It was really cool to see the end of the evening lights and music on the castle before we left and having just a bunch of grown up kids running around the park at that hour was really great as well. The pool at POP Century was open 24 hours, unexpected and great for a late night swim. I tend to be more of a night person and the crowds begin to get to you after a while (we were there for 7 days).

    Blizzard Beach gets my vote for best water park, because of the chairlift but mostly because of the amazingly long lazy river, I believe longest in the U.S.. I'm from San Diego as well, we have real waves here so the wave pool at Typhoon didn't really impress, but hey at least the water there is warm. ")

    The Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios doesn't even compare to "ours'.

    Plan on being blown away at Universal! However, they didn't stay open into the evening so that was a little disappointing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Austin
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Does anybody know how long it takes the commute from Blizzard beach to Typhoon Lagoon is through Magical Express? Is there a direct shuttle between them?


    And now that we're on the topic... is there a website/part of the WDW website that states the routes that Magical Express travels on? I want to be prepared for how long it's going to take to get from my hotel to the parks every morning.
    Last edited by Austin; 04-16-2014, 02:35 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • swampymarsh
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    Originally posted by Austin View Post
    What about the Big River Grille? Have any of you eaten there? I know it's not upscale, but it has an ideal menu for my whole family (especially the brewery for my Dad). I can't find anywhere to reserve a table online, so I'm assuming it's sort of an informal Chili's/Red Robin type of place? And to anybody who has eaten there, how long on average is the wait?
    The menu is a little better than those places. Basically the same with a handful of nicer choices. Its pricing was about what you would get in the parks.

    It is the only brewery in the resort and that may be something your dad likes, of course in Epcot you can get a huge variety of beer since the World Showcase countries have been from their nation.

    I think you can reserve through the restaurant itself because it's park of a little chain renting the location from Disney. I've been a couple times and walked in quite easily, probably a 2-5 minute wait both times for dinner.

    My only problems were they seem to squeeze as many table into that place as possible. I was sitting closer to the next party as I was at Biergarten. It really seemed to be a text book example of a burn and turn restaurant.

    Leave a comment:


  • Barbaraann
    replied
    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED

    I have read through this entire thread. One can never learn too much about WDW. My trip is not until August, so I haven't made my fastpass selections yet.

    Leave a comment:

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