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Questions from first time WDW visitor


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  • Questions from first time WDW visitor

    O.k., well techinically it's my 2nd visit. It was 20+ years ago, I was 12, and had to spend one day in the park with my least favorite cousin.

    I'm thinking about taking my DD (17 by then) on her first (surprise!) trip to WDW in Jan '08. I now, it's a long ways off, but I have to budget and want it to be just right. We've done DLR several times.

    Is the first week in January a good time to go? We both have that week off, but I'm guessing a lot of other folks do too.

    I was thinking Jan 1-6 with four or five days in the various parks and using the dining plan. Is the dining plan worth the money? At DLR we are able to eat outside the park most of the time.

    Anything we absolutely must see/do? I don't remember much of anything about the whole trip to FL but Space Mountain and finding a lizard in the

    We are only in our room about long enough to sleep and shower so we'll go with one of the value resorts. Any recommendations on those?

    If I book online through Disney, can I make payments on it like when I book for DLR?

    How late can we arrive at the airport and still use DME? Does it run all the time?

    What's the weather like there that time of year? We'll be coming from Phoenix.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Enjoying the warmth and sunshine of Phoenix between Disney trips.

  • #2
    Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

    The first week in January shouldn't be so bad with the crowds, but you might run into the WDW Marathon, which I beleive is around the first week of January.

    The weather should be fine, just a little bit cool, which is nice during the day.

    DME will pick up from most flights coming into Orlando International, so I would not worry about that.


    • #3
      Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

      You will surely get tons of replies, but I guess I'll start...

      I have been perhaps a dozen times since '73, and just recently was there the 2nd week of October.

      Must-See attractions (IMHO, of course):

      Mickey's Philharmagic at the MK - A fantastic show, and the best sound that I heard at the parks (I am a bit of an audio-geek, so great sound really gets my attention!).

      Expedition Everest at AK - It was a blast, and norrmally thrill rides and I do not mix.

      Lights, Action, Motors at MGM
      - A great stunt/driving show.

      Illuminations Show at EPCOT - The Inferno Barge and the other affects are something to behold.

      Soarin' at EPCOT - Assuming you have not done the one at DCA, this is also a very cool ride.

      As for hotels, I stayed at All Star Music in January and found it to be adequate. Nothing like the AKL where we were in October, but it got the job done.

      Have fun!

      Last edited by BGLeduc; 11-09-2006, 02:16 PM.
      My Avatar: Duck vs. Monorail, Disneyland 3/18/11


      • #4
        Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

        Dining Plan - I did this my last trip and was pleased. It can be hard to eat outside of the parks. There isn't really anyplace to pop out, eat, and then pop back in again. I didn't worry about the money I was spending because it was already budgeted. I hadn't been to many of the sit down restaurants before and the plan "forced" me to go to some really tasty and fun places. If you do the dining plan, be sure to make reservations for your sit down restaurants way in advance. It can be a bit of a drag to have an "appointment" at WDW but it does make you relax and rest your feet. The dining plan allows for a lot of food. If you aren't a big eater, this might be an issue.

        I stayed at all-star movies. It was inexpensive, clean, bus service was decent, and still had the Disney touch. All I really wanted was a room, so it fit the bill just fine.


        • #5
          Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

          Most marathoners come the weekend of the race. I ran it for 11 years.

          The week before and the week after are almost empty. Thats when we love to go.

          the longest we waited in line was something like 5 minutes at the busiest ride.

          I do believe the race this year is on January 6th so if you haven't planed an exact date for 2008 i'd check out the race schedule first - i think it is on the 5th next year but check the disney site before finalizing your plans.

          Booking - disney requires something like $200 deposit with the balance paid 45 days prior to arrival. (personally i've always hated having to pay for my entire trip before i even arrive but oh well)

          I totally recommend POP for your hotel - imo it's the best value resort and it's fun to see all the props that bring back so many memories.

          weather - well we're from Toronto - so its so much warmer then it is here at that time of year. it was great during the day - not too hot and not too cool - the evenings we just wore light jackets.

          other recommendations - Dining plan - ohhhhh you must do this - you will be able to eat at places you may have thought were out of your price range AND not have to worry about bringing money for lunches and dinners.

          definitely go to the website and plan - you don' have to plan to the minute but at least you'll know whats there to do see and place to eat without wasting time the day you're there wondering what you want to see and eat.


          HAVE FUN.
          Last edited by cooknthyme; 11-09-2006, 02:26 PM.
          šoš Sometimes Patrick, sometimes Karen.
          We'll let you decided who types what šoš


          • #6
            Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

            A few other thoughts....

            Do heed the advice to make advanced dinner reservations for the sit down restaurants you want to go to. I would do it NOW, as they can fill up fast.

            I will also pass along a small tip that worked well for us. I got it from our Birbaum's Guide Book:

            On one of your days at the MK, rather than eat in the park, hop on the Resort Monorail loop, and grab lunch at one of the hotel restaurants. We had a very nice lunch, very uncrowded, at the Concourse Steak House in the Contemporary. Plus, it satisfied our desire to ride the monorail! We were staying at the AKL, thus there was really no reason to ride it other than for fun. This suggestion let us kill two birds with one stone.

            There are also some nice, reasonably priced restaurants in Downtown Disney Marketplace, if you plan to visit there. I am partial to Wolgang Pucks and The Earl of Sandwich.

            One more eating suggestion: Jiko - The Eating Place at the AKL. Not sure how convienient that would be, but since AK closes at around 5pm, it may work to hop the bus over to AKL.

            Definetly upscale and pricey, but we had a wonderful meal there. I have eaten at Napa Rose at DLR on three occasions, and while that is a great restaurant, my Filet Mignon at Jiko put it to shame.

            Dang, I wish I was going again, rather than just having gotten back!

            My Avatar: Duck vs. Monorail, Disneyland 3/18/11


            • #7
              Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

              I would recommend trying to come a little bit later than 1 January - because there will still be some crowds until about the 3rd. If you must because of school - the parks should be fairly empty after the 4th. We have never used the Dining Plan, so I can't give any info on that. I would recommend going to the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday or Wednesday as that seems to be the least crowded. Make sure you see the attractions/rides that BGLeduc recommended, plus we love Mission:Space.

              Unlike Disneyland, you cannot just "pop" out of the Park and go eat someplace and come back, things are so far away that you are pretty much limited to eating in the Parks. We have enjoyed most of the food at WDW, in general there tends to be more quanitity than Disneyland and it seems to be a better value. We like to sit down and relax and have found the Crystal Palace (which is a character venue) to have fabulous food. It is pricey, but the cuisine is delicious. We also like the Liberty Tree Tavern which is a character venue for dinner, but I believe it isn't at lunch. The food was great at Animal Kingdom and Epcot. We were the least impressed at MGM/Disney, but have only eaten sandwiches, fast food, etc. not at any of the nice sit-down places.

              We are planning a trip at the end of January 2007 and we will try and make note of the food. Kevin has a new book on the dining choices that you might want to order.

              Have a BLAST!


              • #8
                Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

                Just remember, Magic Kingdom hours during the winter months vary. Here's a link to the hours for January 2007, I'm sure 2008 would be similar.



                • #9
                  Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

                  Comming from Phoenix it may see a little chilly for you, heavy sweatshirt or a light jacket. It all depends on what you are used to. I am from the Northeast, and two years ago when they had that really cold snap in Feburary I was down there - in shorts and a sweatshirt. All the CM were in heavy winter coats - it all depends what you are used to.

                  Of the value resorts, POP century is the best, as it has been refurbished most recently. I have been in both POP and All-Star Movies, and POP is a bit nicer.

                  DME will pick you up just about anytime you get in. There are operating hours for leaving though, sort of. If you are with a participating airline that does resort check in (which is very nice to have) the check in desk opens at 5:00 - so if you have an outbound flight before 8:00 AM, you really cannot use it.
                  I have used it three times, and it has allways been great (flying on Continental) Do make sure that you pack a carry on with whatever you are going to need for say the next 8 hours or so, because it can take a while for DME to deliver your luggage.

                  I have never used the dining plan. It looks good but I avoid it for three main reasons.

                  1) I have the Disney Dining Experence, so I get a discount on sit down meals anyway

                  2) I usualy go for 7 to 9 days at a time, and thats a large outlay

                  3) It's just me, but I like to remain flexiable.

                  Things to see is tough because it depends a lot on your likes. For example my 7 year old will ride COP back to back to back to back. If we go it is required that she go on it. Its a classic ride (in need of a lot of TLC) but most people can take it or leave it, but for her it matters. Take a look at some of the park info and tell us what looks good to you and people can tell you what they thought of it.

                  "I'm gonna build my own amusement park. But with gambling and hookers!" - Bender
                  "You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." - Bullet Tooth Tony


                  • #10
                    Re: Questions from first time WDW visitor

                    Oh, lots of great info. My thanks to all of you. I did have one more question that I forgot to add in my original post. Does WDW do the ticket promotions like DLR? (i.e: adults play for the kids price)

                    Enjoying the warmth and sunshine of Phoenix between Disney trips.


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