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First Trip to WDW ever!

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  • First Trip to WDW ever!

    I grew up in San Diego and have been a life long DLR goer. I have always had a huge place in my heart for all things Disney and never had a chance to visit WDW until now. My wife and I moved our family out to Vermont and have been living here for the past two years and we were finally able to pull the trigger and book our very first WDW vacation! To say we're really excited is an understatement! I have two beautiful daughters (ages 3 and 9) and even though our trip isn't until October (we heard that's a great time to go) that's all I hear about day in day out.

    Now I'm sure there's a thread for first time goEra or a tips and trips thread around somewhere but if anyone wouldn't mind helping me out that would be amazing.

    what advice would you give someone who's going for the first time who's been a long time DLR person?

    we chose the Coronado Bay hotel on property but we're still entertaining the idea of staying off property, does anyone have a preference as to which is better? Experience vs. Cost? Worth staying or not?

    and lastly any advice for going with two kids would be awesome! Or just any advice in general.

    thanks!
    "If you were thinking, you wouldn't have thought that"




    sigpic

  • #2
    If you're just going to WDW parks I would stay on site! Transportation is so much easier with the Disney hotels. Also just the entire atomosphere at the resorts is worth it. You never leave the magic! I would also book at least one of the character dining experiences for your little ones. Either Cinderella's royal table at MK, or Akershus at Epcot. Ohana is also a great breakfast experience but of course no princesses there unless they add in Moana. It sounds like you've got a great vacation planned and I hope you all have a great trip.

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    • #3
      First timers high five!🙋 Our family is taking our first WDW trip as well this coming May and though I really don't know everything there is to know there are some things I've learned in preparation for our trip. First thing, remember that Magic Kingdom is not an exact carbon copy of Disneyland so be prepared to experience an almost completely different park. I had a former boss of mine that went to WDW a few years ago and was unprepared to how different Magic Kingdom was to Disneyland so she was a little disappointed because she expected it to be just like Disneyland. Second, be prepared as to how big WDW is. It is not like the Disneyland Resort where you can just walk a few hundred feet and you're in the next park but you will rather have to drive to another park or take Disney transportation. Third, figure out how much you are able to spend. Our family would love to stay on Disney property because of all the benefits you get but unfortunately since our group consists of 7 people and we will be staying there for 2 weeks staying at a Disney hotel would be quite costly for us at the moment. Although, we did get a heck of a deal at an off property hotel that serves a free breakfast buffet. So you will have to gauge what your budget is for your trip to figure out where to stay. Another thing to consider when planning your budget is all the restaurants you'd like to eat at. For us, in the end, we could stay at a Disney hotel but that would mean we would not be able to eat at all the restaurants we have reserved. But that is our personal budget, it may be different for you. Fourth, research. There is so much to do out there that if you don't do any prior research you may miss out on all there is to do. Watch YouTube videos, read Disney related websites and content that will give you a preview of what it is like to be on vacation there. Fifth, research all the restaurants they have out there. Disney World has 4 theme parks and more than 25 resort hotels so you can guess that there are quite a few restaurants there. There are so many our family won't be able to experience them all even in our 2 week vacation period. So you will have to see which ones fit your fancy and plan accordingly. Since you do have little ones do check out the character dining experiences like mousester suggested. There are quite a few but the ones I can remember off the top of my head are The Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey's, 1900 Park Fare, The Garden Grill, Tusker House, and Hollywood & Vine. I could go on and on but lastly, I would recommend getting the Park Hopper ticket. If you're like us I would want to have the freedom to go to and from as I please. People have been saying Hollywood Studios is a half day park right now because of the areas closed off for Star Wars and Toy Story Land construction so if it so happens that you finish that park early I would want the freedom to be able to go to another park on that same day. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time! Happy researching!

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      • #4
        STAY ON PROPERTY!!!!! Am I clear on that?! Seriously, if you can afford it, I'd say the experience far outweighs the cost. Especially for a first time trip. Although some people may disagree, I've never had a problem with the transportation. YOu can also take advantage of their extra magic times.
        One idea, since the busses do get VERY full at closing, it will cost a few dollars, but if you want to get back to your hotel quicker, Uber from the parks to your hotel. It's very convenient. We did that this summer, and it worked great.
        http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
        http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...ip-report.html
        http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
        http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
        http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...something.html

        No matter where you go, there you are.

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        • #5
          I agree with staying on property. Pace yourself. You can't just park hop in a few minutes. It takes a good 15 to 30 minutes to travel between parks (and sometimes hotels), so be prepared for that. Their online FastPass system is actually really easy to use. I recommend getting FastPasses for each of the more popular rides you're interested in early (60 days in advance).

          Try the "clone" rides, they are often different enough to warrant a ride through. However, their Space Mountain has never gotten an update, so no music and single file seating. Just a warning.

          Don't forget that it's okay to take some time out from the parks to go back to the hotel for naps or decompression time. Sometimes the "go, go, go" mentality on these trips can be a detriment.
          Peter Pan: "You know, your hair is on fire."
          Me: "Yes. It happened after a recent trip to Neverland."
          Peter Pan: "Well, you can dunk your head in the pond behind us, if you want."

          Lost Child of
          Neverland since 1996.
          ~Favorite Hero: Peter Pan. Favorite Villian:Malificent.Favorite Ride: The Haunted Mansion.~

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          • #6
            Thank you all for the advice and tips. We ended up going with the 1 park per day ticket and will be there for 5 days. We figure that if we get finished with one of the parks early (someone mentioned how closed ff Hollywood Studios is) then that would just give us extra time to enjoy the hotel and some needed down time. I'm really excited to stay on property and like the fact that our hotel is at least somewhat close to 3 of the 4 main parks. My daughters have already watched YouTube walk through videos of all the parks and it was nice to really get a ay of the lands, especially Magic Kingdom! It's so much more spread out the walking areas look spacious!
            "If you were thinking, you wouldn't have thought that"




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            • #7
              The walkways in Magic Kingdom are much more spacious. I love it personally but I definitely agree to having down time with kids. With things much more spread out, there's definitely more walking involved.

              I say try not to compare ride versions but if I'm being honest with myself, I did it sometimes. Especially if one version was MUCH better/worse than another. It just happens sometimes. If you find yourself pressed for time, certain attractions are carbon copies of each other. So, if you have to pick and choose, rides like Star Tours, Ariel, Dumbo, Toy Story are identical. The queues are different but the attraction itself is the same.

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              • #8
                If it's in your budget, and they have one during your visit, consider attending one of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties at the Magic Kingdom. The hours are from 7pm to midnight, but they will let you in at 4. You can wear costumes, and there is trick-or-treating. They also have a special parade, a special fireworks show, a special stage show, and more opportunities to take pictures with characters. You could spend the morning at Hollywood Studios, go back to the hotel for a nap, and then go to the party at 4.

                My advice is to use FP+ as much as you can, and realize that you can't see everything in 5 days. Just enjoy the time that you do have, and don't rush. If you already have your reservations and tickets, reserve your FP+ as early as you can. Keep checking the Animal Kingdom FP+ page to see if they are releasing them for any of the rides in Pandora. They might already be doing this, but I don't have a WDW pass anymore so I don't have access.

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                • #9
                  I'm from San Diego as well and have been only twice to WDW in my life, but I can echo everyone's suggestion of staying at the resort as well as remembering to take the 15-20 mins for park hopping into account. Personally, I stuck to 1 park per day as much as possible to limit travel time. We skipped most of the carbon copy attractions, but still went on Haunted Mansion, ToT and Space Mountain due to the minor differences.

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                  • #10
                    I'm from California and grew up going to Disneyland, too. A couple years ago, we moved to the East Coast, and I took my family to WDW. As a Disneyland guy, we LOVED our trip to WDW! Here were some of my impressions:
                    • We stayed on property (Caribbean Beach) and did 5 days at the parks (1 park per day). During the week, week, we took one day to just hang out at the resort. I'm so glad we did that. We got some rest from the gogogo of the parks, but we were still immersed in the Disney environment. The pool was great, and we enjoyed exploring. We enjoyed it so much that at the end of our trip, we extended a day with a last-minute deal at Port Orleans Riverside. It was very nice, and perfectly captured the immersive experience we love.
                    • Magicbands/FP+ were great. Of course, we connected them to my credit card which made it SUPER easy to spend money. Still- no regrets as it really made things carefree.
                    • Some of the cloned rides are very different. Some feel like they just shortened them and maximized capacity (maybe lessons learned from Disneyland?), but others are really great.
                    • I really enjoyed the nostalgia of riding the PeopleMover again.
                    • The whole place felt very 1970s in a way that Disneyland probably feels very 1950s to first-timers. Between the

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