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  • [Question] Trip Advice

    I was playing around on the WDW trip planning site and discovered approximately how much a trip would cost for Lord Fauntleroy and myself. We're thinking about saving up and going in a year or so (unless he decides he's too lazy to go two weeks beforehand) and I need a few questions answered from Mice Chatters that have been to WDW more than twice.

    I've been twice (in my early teens), he's never been. I planned on doing base tickets because each park takes at least a day to explore (AK and EPCOT take two from my experiences) so we would have no need for Hoppers. We would stay onsite at a resort and use the free shuttles. I also planned for the quick service dining plan for two meals a day, and pay out of pocket for a decent breakfast or dinner.

    Here are the questions:

    I would prefer to travel in the off season, ideally in the late fall, late winter, or very early spring time. We are both SoCal beach babies, meaning we are whinging, delicate pansies about the heat and humidity. When is the coolest or least humid time of the off season to enjoy a trip?

    Is the quick service dining plan worth it?

    What other tips or tricks do y'all have for a week at the parks?

  • #2
    Re: Trip Advice

    January, January, January... I cannot stress that enough. Go the 3rd of January and stay for a week or two.
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    • #3
      Re: Trip Advice

      Great advice! Thanks, I'll put it into the travel considerations!

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      • #4
        Re: Trip Advice

        Be aware that it can be COLD in January. I mean bitter cold. Yes in Florida. I've lived here for 10 years and while it can be sunny and not a cloud in the sky, in January it can be really windy and biting cold.

        Also in my experience, the few times I've visited WDW in January, it's been PACKED. At least on the weekends. And I've gone during different times of the month.

        I recommend September, just after Labor Day. Schools are back in session, the rainy season is pretty much over and the heat/humidity isn't as brutal as it is in the summer.

        Oh and I've been a WDW visitor since 1978.

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        • #5
          Re: Trip Advice

          I will second September, right after Labor Day. My experience it is not packed and the weather can be pleasant. The few times I been to WDW at that time we experienced very little crowds as most kids are back in school.

          Also, the first week in December is a nice time to go. Very comfortable weather and the holdiay decorations are up. Also it is usually right before the holiday crowds start.
          Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha

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          • #6
            Re: Trip Advice

            Regarding the dining plan, take the following into account:

            1) Quick-service meals have the potential to get real old, real fast. There's only so much variety at the QS spots, and you might be sick of the food before your 12 (or 14 or however many) meals are up.

            2) Regardless of how lucky you get with weather, it will most likely be WARM at the very least. You might not need three meals a day. In my experience, a pastry, early lunch, and full dinner are usually more than sufficient, with some sort of treat sprinkled in there somewhere.

            3) If you want to experience the best of Disney Dining, consider the regular (one QS, one FS meal per day) dining plan. This will allow you to sit down at some great restaurants (particularly in Epcot) without worrying about the price on the menu.

            4) UK travel agents have received literature from Disney that the 2011 version of the Dining Plan (regardless of tier) will no longer include desert. This is a blessing to many, because the amount of food offered under the current dining plan is excessive. Removing desert will reportedly lower the cost of the DP.

            5) If you elected to go with the REGULAR dining plan, consider buffets as an option to combine two meals into one. For example, the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom is a great way to combine breakfast and lunch, while Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge could be a fantastic 4:00-5:00 PM meal that could satisfy lunch and dinner.

            6) Some people may be tempted to include the park-hopper option if they get the dining plan to make the most of the restaurants offered at the World Showcase, but if you plan on touring Epcot in two days, make both of your dinners World Showcase meals and you should be all set.

            7) The quick-service plan is really only worth it if you use every single credit that the plan includes. That being said, if you wanted to get a full service meal one night, you probably won't use that night's quick-service meal. ANY excess credits on your card at the end of the trip render the plan's value ineffective.

            8) Overall, the dining plan (regardless of tier) probably amounts to a wash, neither saving you a ton nor costing you much extra. The reason I prefer it is because I'd much rather spend $600 (or however much the total is) all at once than have to break open my wallet every time I want a meal.

            Hope this helps.

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            • #7
              Re: Trip Advice

              The best times to go in my experience are the first or second week of May or the week after (not the day of) Labor day.

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              • #8
                Re: Trip Advice

                My friend works for Disney at WDW and she has told me that the least busy times are late September into early October. Too bad I am school teacher and can't get those times off!

                When I went in 2008, I didn't get the Park Hopper and I am really glad that I didn't. It takes too long (IMO) to travel between parks. The one thing I wish that I did differently was spent 2 days in EPCOT because I didn't get to see everything.

                Sara S.
                WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
                DLR: 1999, 2009
                DLP: 2010

                Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
                http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  Re: Trip Advice

                  Originally posted by Starshyne View Post
                  My friend works for Disney at WDW and she has told me that the least busy times are late September into early October. Too bad I am school teacher and can't get those times off!

                  When I went in 2008, I didn't get the Park Hopper and I am really glad that I didn't. It takes too long (IMO) to travel between parks. The one thing I wish that I did differently was spent 2 days in EPCOT because I didn't get to see everything.

                  Sara S.
                  Park hoppers are fairly useless in the winter when crowds are light, seasonal attractions are closed, and park hours are short.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Trip Advice

                    I prefer early May or early December. It isn't crowded normally and you don't have to worry about the crowds either. Although, I will say October is appealing because of F&W, but those months still tend to be fairly humid.

                    Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                    Park hoppers are fairly useless in the winter when crowds are light, seasonal attractions are closed, and park hours are short.
                    Park hopper use really depends on your touring style and whether or not you are a regular visitor more than anything.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Trip Advice

                      Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                      4) UK travel agents have received literature from Disney that the 2011 version of the Dining Plan (regardless of tier) will no longer include desert. This is a blessing to many, because the amount of food offered under the current dining plan is excessive. Removing desert will reportedly lower the cost of the DP.
                      They are lowering the cost of the dining plan?? My guess is they will remove the dessert and not lower the cost.

                      As for the dining plan, you may want to look into this. We do not take the dining plan. I have done the math several times and there just is not any benefit to it for us. Based on our eating habits it isn't cost effective. If you go on AllEars.Net, they have the menus up and the costs of the meals. Take some time and look through it and get an estimate of what you would eat. Cost it out and see if the dining plan is a good idea for you.Some people find a benefit, others do not. It never works out for us so we pass on it.
                      Also, we do not get the park hoppers anymore.We used to, but now most parks take up at least a day so I don't see the need to hop between parks. I am a planner, so I plan my days according to posted hours, make my reservations based on which parks we will be at, so no need to park hop.

                      Have fun!
                      Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha

                      ΔΜΧΑ

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                      • #12
                        Re: Trip Advice

                        Originally posted by Mouse princess View Post
                        They are lowering the cost of the dining plan?? My guess is they will remove the dessert and not lower the cost.

                        As for the dining plan, you may want to look into this. We do not take the dining plan. I have done the math several times and there just is not any benefit to it for us. Based on our eating habits it isn't cost effective. If you go on AllEars.Net, they have the menus up and the costs of the meals. Take some time and look through it and get an estimate of what you would eat. Cost it out and see if the dining plan is a good idea for you.Some people find a benefit, others do not. It never works out for us so we pass on it.
                        Also, we do not get the park hoppers anymore.We used to, but now most parks take up at least a day so I don't see the need to hop between parks. I am a planner, so I plan my days according to posted hours, make my reservations based on which parks we will be at, so no need to park hop.

                        Have fun!
                        I completely agree that the dining plan is ineffective at SAVING you any money, but it does have merits when it comes to convenience, piece of mind, etc.

                        Regarding the drop in price of the DP. It is unconfirmed, but the rumor is that the price will drop a few dollars per plan OR the table service plan will include a second snack item to compensate for the lack of desert.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Trip Advice

                          Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                          Park hoppers are fairly useless in the winter when crowds are light, seasonal attractions are closed, and park hours are short.
                          Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more - I wouldn't go without a hopper pass - it's a one-time fee which works out to very little per day the more days you spend there - and it gives you the ability to move around for anything. We usually go in February - right before the holiday weekend when it gets mobbed - and find it useful, mainly for evenings. You may do a day at Animal Kingdom, and then head over to Magic Kingdom in the evening for the fireworks and EMH - with no hopper pass, you would need to make MK your park for that whole day in order to take advantage of the evening events. Also - if you walk into a park in the morning and it is busy, you can turn around and go somewhere else - with no hopper you're stuck. A hopper really allows you to get the most out of the parks - at your own pace.

                          The time that we go in February is very nice usually - we had a cold trip one year - but usually it's about 70-80 and sunny. We usually don't do meal plans - but we're not big sit-down restaurant eaters either. If we were, I'd do the meal plan - the savings on that is supposedly huge.

                          By the way - have fun whenever you go.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Trip Advice

                            Wow, thanks for all of the great advice, especially regarding the dining plans! The late September/early October idea sounds the best. As for the dining plans, it will take a bit of research. We'll price it out for us, but I may stick with a plan for the convenience factor. Handing over cash constantly would end up making me feel guilty for spending more money, whereas if it's already payed for, I might as well use it. As for the quality quick service meals, I don't think either of us would care. Neither of us is into "fine" dining and would prefer the quick service so we don't spend more time than we have to eating instead of ridding rides.

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