Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Smile First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    My sister and I have never been to WDW and my parents went about 21 years ago, so everything was way different and they don't remember a whole lot.
    Can you guys tell me anything I may need to know about my trip? what to do in what parks, where to eat, where to stay (preferably the value resorts).
    Would july or august be the best time to go? And for about how many days do you think would be appropriate for first timers who are wanting to do everything (well most things), go to all of the parks & water parks.
    If you can, can you also try to answer the following questions? Sorry it's so much, I am just trying to plan the best vacation!
    -We had Universal Hollywood Passes and did everything there, should we go to Universal Orlando if we are not huge HP fans(I think that's at Universal, sorry if I'm wrong).
    -What meal plan should we get?
    -Is it worth a day to go to Downtown Disney and to walk around the resorts?
    -Is the room key combined with park and meals (just curious, not a concern. I just read somewhere online from 2008 that said they did this and thought it was interesting)
    -Best parks to visit first?
    -Any other info would be Great!!
    My sister is a teenager and I am a couple years older but feel like a teenager. My whole family loves Disney and have disneyland passes, so we are very, very excited!
    Again, I know it's a lot, thank you so much for reading and helping me! It is GREATLY appreciated!!
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  2. #2

    • MiceChat Moderator
    • I'm back! Sorta...
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Eustis, Florida (45 minutes from WDW)
    Posts
    3,025

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Dear Ash,

    Welcome to Orlando! You're request is a bit daunting, please understand. You're looking at the World's Largest Tourist Attraction and asking for a brief synopsis? That's like asking what to see in Europe in under ten sentences! I'll do my best, of course, cause I'm like that--but I would highly encourage you to get to your closest library and pick up some guide books as well to fill out your own curiousity as your trip looms closer. Birbaum's publishes the "official" guide (IE: commissioned by Disney) and there's an "Unofficial" Guide as well that also gives more candid reviews. Thousands of people go to these parks daily from all over the world--and it's going to be difficult to find one agreeing opinion on what you should see.

    But we can try!

    *)Onsite and offsite staying...I always say, start with the cash and what you can afford. On site is not really cheap, but the perks are facinating. You can get hold of the busses and move around without a car a bit easier, as well as, take advantage of Disney's Magical Express to and from the airport. However, off site is, by far, cheaper. I usually compromise and stay in the Downtown Disney area at one of their 'partner' hotels. It gives me a breather from eating and drinking all things Disney.

    *) Where to eat? There are a few gazillion restaurants and here is where the guidebooks come in. We here can't really predict your likes and dislikes, so thats a difficult question to remark upon. I do encourage you to look into a dining plan, which might be free when you visit. I also encourage you to look into restaurants in the World Showcase at EPCOT. They are experiences upon themselves and a true sliver of what EPCOT is about. Pick a country and when your family has decided on which one...make a dinner reservation. Something to think about!

    *) Have you ever walked on the sun? Well it's not that hot here in Orlando, but it can feel like when you are standing in line with thousands of people in the middle of July or even August. With school being out, the parks can be PACKED. Think of a street event just letting out in your hometown and letting out at the same time. We're talking throngs. That doesn't mean you can't have fun! Each ride is a small experience and it wisks you away fairly quickly from the hubbub. But that dang sun can wilt the strongest of hearts if you're not ready. If you have no other time to come, slap on that sunscreen and breathe deep--you'll be fine! Just keep it in mind and learn to read yourself and your family. When lunchtime rolls around and your family is dragging, head back to your hotel and maybe go for a swim and come back later, refreshed!

    *) Universal Orlando is not like Hollywood's park, it's totally different as Disneyland is to Disney World. If you have time, I recommend you go! It's just as exciting and engaging.

    *) I, for one, LOVE Downtown Disney, but I'm all about "merchantainment!" I recommend you use it on those half days when you finish a park early or the days you are flying in or flying out. Again, it can be crowded, and since it's not a park, it can be difficult to manuever. DisneyQuest has been remarked upon here--you might want to do a search and see if it is something you'd enjoy. As for walking around the resorts? If you stay on site, make sure you see and use what your hotel has to offer! Otherwise, why pay through the nose for it! As for hotels beyond yours? If this is your first visit to Orlando, I'd recommend not worrying about it. The hotels are great, but stick to your focus. If time allows, sure, take a look at some of the restaurants and the gift shops.

    *) Yes, your key is your ticket and everything else. YOu can even put your credit card on it, if you want. Unless that's changed. I live here now and haven't stayed on location in a smidgen.

    *) Have fun! You mention being from California and I encourage you to keep your heart and mind open! It's natural to want to compare our parks to yours out there and it's unavoidable. However, take the time to make sure you're getting what you're supposed to from a visit! A fun break from reality! You can't do that if you keep sizing everything up to what you know from out there!

    I hope that this hit the highlights of your tall requests. I'm excited to see someone else coming to our little 'burb and I hope you get a kick out of the place as much as we do living here. Let us know what you need us to clarify and what other background we can offer!

    Also, there are meets every Saturday at the Magic Kingdom with Kevin Yee. He gives a special, personal tour of a specific attraction every week in honor of the 40th birthday of the resort. Make a trip over to say hello! We also have a blog, Orlando Parkhopper, which comes out every week here. Pay that a visit too for further information!

    Peace,
    Roo
    husband, petowner, wordsmith, imagineer, martialist, playwright, traveller, ardent, wit, critic, barista, Taoist, superhero, fortuneteller, reader, fidget, teacher, dreamer, author, blogger, ghosthunter, voter, patient, bear, gourmand, Floridian, friend

  3. #3

    • Hello there
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    winter wonderland
    Posts
    3,892
    Blog Entries
    2

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    *where to stay (preferably the value resorts). - I like the values. If possible, I always recommend to stay on property. It offers you transportation to and from the parks, to and from the airport, total immersion, EMH. We always stay on property and range from Value to Moderate (I never stayed at a deluxe). Most people would tell you Pop Century is the favorite of the value resort. One reason is it doesn't share a bus with the other values. Since I always rent a car, this is not important to me. I like All Start Music. I have stayed at all 4 values and they are all comparible. Just look on line at the decor and choose. If you decide to rent a car, parking is free at the resort and all the parks (also an added perk of staying on property) Parking at the parks can be a bit $$

    Would july or august be the best time to go? And for about how many days do you think would be appropriate for first timers who are wanting to do everything (well most things), go to all of the parks & water parks. As Roo said, july and August will be hot. Very hot and humid, with daily rain. Rain is usually only about 15 minutes and it doesn't get much cooler after the rain. For first timers, budget at least 1 day in each park. EPCOT and MK usually require 2 days to get it all in, but AK is not a full day park, so you can always park hop to another park once you are finished at AK. So, minimum, 6 days. ( IMO). Also, these are very busy months so expect lines. Utilize the fastpasses. They work the same way they do at DL.

    -We had Universal Hollywood Passes and did everything there, should we go to Universal Orlando if we are not huge HP fans(I think that's at Universal, sorry if I'm wrong). If you can fit it in, go. IoA have some really good thrill rides, even if you are not a HP fan.

    -What meal plan should we get? - That depends on what you like to eat. If you eat a lot of burgers and do not want a sit down meal, than the QS dining plan will be fine. Last time I went we did the dining plan with 1 qs and 1 table and 1 snack. It is a lot of food! but we like to have 1 table service per day so it worked out perfectly. There are a lot of places to eat at WDW. Look at the menus and makes ADRs as soon as you decide, some of them fill up quick. Good place to see the menus is AllEars.
    -Is it worth a day to go to Downtown Disney and to walk around the resorts? We always plan some time to go to DTD. its nice to walk around. This can also be something that is done, say after you go to AK or DHS, spend the rest of the evening walking around DTD. Or we go the day we are leaving, before our flight. The resorts are also great to visit. If you have a reservation at one of the resort resturaunts, try to get there a bit early so that you can walk around the resort a bit before you dine. Each one is unique.
    -Is the room key combined with park and meals (just curious, not a concern. I just read somewhere online from 2008 that said they did this and thought it was interesting) Yes

    -Best parks to visit first? That depends. Look at the operating schedule and make your choice from there. Look at who has EMH. The parks that have night time EMH will be busy for the day. But after about 1 hour into it, the EMH crowd dies down. Just what I have noticed.

    -Any other info would be Great!!

    Make sure to drink a lot of water. It gets really hot. (can't stress that enough)
    Have fun!
    Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha

    ΔΜΧΑ

  4. #4

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Wow!! Thank you both SO much! All of your information is helping me out so much! And I enjoyed that blog,Roo. Thank you!
    I have been looking at Disney guides and plan to buy one in the next few days. Have you heard of passport disney, or would you still recommend the ones Roo mentioned? I visited their site and they have pretty good info, but I have never gotten a tour book before. I may just buy two or three though.
    Also,is there a store within walking distance from the value resorts (whether it's a grocery store, target, Walgreens...) that sells cases of water?I have looked online at some of the grocery stores that deliver to your resort, but it is about 2 or 3 x the price of other stores (at least in CA). I read that with the DDP you get a drink with your QS meal as well as a refillable mug when you visit. Can you get a bottle of water or a vitamin water instead of a soda, or would you have to pay extra for that? (random ?, I know, but my parents don't like to spend $3 or $4 on a bottle of water several times a day and we can't pack too much water in our suitcases)
    And can you buy water park tickets separately? I think we are going to stay 9 or 10 nights and want to go to the water parks, but it's $200 to add the water parks and more option to a park ticket pack. If we did that, would we be able to go to the water parks in the late afternoon for a few of the days if we add the park hopper option?
    And one last question for now: Can I make reservations without booking my trip? We will know the travel dates soon and will probably get a DDP that will allow us to have at least 1 TS meal a day (we enjoy the atmosphere of restaurants -especially while in EPCOT) and want to make ADR as soon as we can, especially since we have to go in the middle of summer.
    Thank you guys so much for all of your help and for giving me information and answering my questions. I thought I knew a lot until I started to look online, so your information has helped me out so much!
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  5. #5

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • How do you do?
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Chickapin Hill
    Posts
    10,907
    Blog Entries
    6

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Just to chime in on what's been already said:

    The Pop century I would also agree is the best value resort, however depending on when you're going, (this year or next), check to see if the Art of Animation is open yet. They have family suites (sleeping up to 6) but also traditional hotel rooms as well. It will be the newest resort so might be better maintained in terms of upkeep.

    You definitely can call and make ADRs ahead of time. I suggest doing it ASAP, especially if you know the dates of the trip. They go quickly and the sooner you have them in place, the better. They might ask if you have a resort reservation, but if you explain to them, they will be more than accommodating.

    I usually don't get the Water Parks and more option, but I do know you can buy the water park tickets separately if you wish. That's definitely an option for you.

    I have pretty much my whole life gone in August (usually the second half, when all the Florida schools are back in session) It's hot and humid and rains every afternoon between 3-4, but the smaller crowds make it more manageable. Plus, if you stay at a Disney resort you can head back to the room and stop for a snack, pool break, or nap before you go back in the evening.

    Unfortunately, there are no places to walk to from the value resorts except maybe the McDonalds, and I believe the water bottles are a snack credit on the Dining Plan (I don't use the dining plan, so I'm not 100% sure of that).

    As far as the guidebooks, I have heard great things from the Passporter book as well. It's written by some of the writers of the website http://www.allears.net which in and of itself is a fantastic resource as well. Birnbaums and the unofficial guide are great as well. I also am partial to the Complete Walt Disney World, which can be a great book too. If you're thinking of next year (2012) I would hold off on the guidebooks until late August/Early September. That's when the new guidebooks come out.

    Finally, don't forget http://www.mousesavers.com which is a FANTASTIC resource for saving money. And, if you have any other questions, don't be afraid to ask here. You have plenty of experts on here!
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  6. #6

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyAsh View Post
    Also,is there a store within walking distance from the value resorts (whether it's a grocery store, target, Walgreens...) that sells cases of water?I have looked online at some of the grocery stores that deliver to your resort, but it is about 2 or 3 x the price of other stores (at least in CA). I read that with the DDP you get a drink with your QS meal as well as a refillable mug when you visit. Can you get a bottle of water or a vitamin water instead of a soda, or would you have to pay extra for that? (random ?, I know, but my parents don't like to spend $3 or $4 on a bottle of water several times a day and we can't pack too much water in our suitcases)
    And can you buy water park tickets separately? I think we are going to stay 9 or 10 nights and want to go to the water parks, but it's $200 to add the water parks and more option to a park ticket pack. If we did that, would we be able to go to the water parks in the late afternoon for a few of the days if we add the park hopper option?
    Unfortunatley, there is no place to walk to from the Value resorts to buy water by the case. Walt Disney world is somewhat isolated from the surrounding area, and it is a short drive to offsite stores, the closest might be at the crossroads plaza near downtown Disney, which has Goodings (a pricey supermarket) and a pharmacy. All of the roads on property are like highways, with no safe place to walk along side. You might walk to crossroads from DTD, but even that would be a hike carrying water. You can get water as a snack credit on the dining plans, not sure if it can be the beverage with the meals themselves.

    With the waterpark and more option it is about 59$ per ticket to add. If you have a 10 day ticket and add Waterparks, it gives you 10 days of the 4 main parks (MK, EP, DS, AK) and 10 admissions to a waterpark or Disneyquest (or 9 hole rounds of golf at one of the courses). You cannot use a park admission for a waterpark, its a separate type of park hence the Waterpark fun option. So when you add park hopping (59$) and Waterparks (59$) to a ticket you get the ultimate flexibility. You could spend the morning at Animal Kingdom, the afternoon (after the rain) at Blizzard Beach, then the evening at Epcot. Since a 1 day admission to a waterpark costs over 40$ anyway, you might as well pay 59$ and get 10 admissions. And it makes Disneyquest at DTD an option as well.

    August is busy the first 3 weeks, then it slows down dramatically as the end of the month approaches. We spent 2 weeks there last year in august, and by pacing ourselves, we never felt overwhelmed by crowds. Get there early each day. Leave at lunchtime to take a break at the resort, then back at suppertime to another park. Parkhoppers are a must. That way if you get nasty weather, you can choose a park that wont require as much outdoor walking. The queues for most attractions at WDW are covered, but not necessarily all of them, for example the shows at AK have outdoor uncovered queue areas. Cheap rain ponchos are a must in summer months. I use the dollar store ones, rather than the 15$ disney ones !

    ---------- Post added 06-30-2011 at 06:12 PM ----------

    I should add that I prefer the unofficial guide as my book of choice. The advice is great, if jaded. They do a tremendous amount of statistical research and can get rather analytical, but the advice is spot on.

  7. #7

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    WOW! Thank you for your answers/help! I really appreciate it! I guess we will use snack credit, buy water, or bring re-fillable bottles with the filters in them. Are there water fountains? haha. I know it seems like such a silly thing to worry about, but my sister gets sick if she gets dehydrated and in the summer months in FL, I have heard it is very hot, and we do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on water if it is easily avoidable. Thank you for your answers about the markets, though! I couldn't find it online.
    So would about 10 days be a good amount of time to spend there? I am looking at an 8 days park hopper, and we will most definitely add the park hopper and probably the water park (in the package, when it said +200 or something, I wasn't paying attention and though it was $200 per person.)
    Thank you for you advice on the times to go, times to leave the park, and tour book guide! I really appreciate it!!
    Is there a bus from the parks directly to the water parks? And how can you get to other resorts from a value resort? We may do a breakfast at another hotel one day.
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  8. #8

    • MiceChat Moderator
    • I'm back! Sorta...
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Eustis, Florida (45 minutes from WDW)
    Posts
    3,025

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Experience has shown me that after about three or four days, people tend to be 'Disney'ed out.' 10 days will be superfine--just remember to take breaks throughout the day. The heat and crowds can zap even the strongest of individuals and can kill even an individual with terrific stamina.

    Busses go EVERYWHERE, don't worry about that one bit. Do know that you'll be in your bathing suit on the bus should you take the bus over to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. Yes, there are locker rooms, but you have to make that call. I'd not say the busses go directly from your hotel to the water parks. They usually go to DtD or the TTC and you exchange from there. This is how you'd go from resort to resort as well. You'll get a map with your guide book. Make sure you get a general idea of which hotel is where that you'll wish to visit. They are kept in camps or areas. Some are in the "Magic Kingdom Resorts" area (Grand Floridian, Contemporary, etc.) others might be in the EPCOT area (Swan and Dolphin, Boardwalk, etc.).

    You're well on your way to hvae a great vacation.

    Peace!
    Roo
    husband, petowner, wordsmith, imagineer, martialist, playwright, traveller, ardent, wit, critic, barista, Taoist, superhero, fortuneteller, reader, fidget, teacher, dreamer, author, blogger, ghosthunter, voter, patient, bear, gourmand, Floridian, friend

  9. #9

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • How do you do?
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Chickapin Hill
    Posts
    10,907
    Blog Entries
    6

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyAsh View Post
    WOW! Thank you for your answers/help! I really appreciate it! I guess we will use snack credit, buy water, or bring re-fillable bottles with the filters in them. Are there water fountains? haha. I know it seems like such a silly thing to worry about, but my sister gets sick if she gets dehydrated and in the summer months in FL, I have heard it is very hot, and we do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on water if it is easily avoidable. Thank you for your answers about the markets, though! I couldn't find it online.

    Is there a bus from the parks directly to the water parks? And how can you get to other resorts from a value resort? We may do a breakfast at another hotel one day.
    There are most certainly water fountains as well! No worrying there either.

    As far as resort hopping, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get from one to another (seriously, like an hour). To take a bus, you have to take a bus to a theme park or Downtown Disney and then take the appropriate transportation from there. There is no direct busses from hotel to hotel.
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  10. #10

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Okay, thank you all so much for your answers!!
    I am getting very, very excited for my trip.
    Does anyone else have any suggestions on tour books? I will probably buy at least 2, just to get different info. But is that needed or is most of the information in the books similar enough to not need two? Has anyone every gone off of passporter? I think I will also get the unofficial guide, but I've never gotten a tour book, so I don't know which ones to buy.
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  11. #11

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Plenty of water fountains are available to fill the water bottles. you do want filtered ones ! Orlando water is nasty if you are from elsewhere.

    The counter service places will provide a free cup of ice water on request.

    Busses run from each resort to the water parks. But may not go from the theme parks to water parks. They are seldom direct runs, they may make other stops, ie Typhoon Lagoon bus stops at Downtown Disney
    Change rooms are available, lockers and towels may be rented.

    Unless you are on the monorail line, the only way to travel resort to resort by bus is to connect at a theme park. The exception is for early character breakfasts they do run special busses, but it can take a while to get there as they are milk runs.

  12. #12

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    okay, thank you! I did not know if the counter service places would give you water, so thank you for letting me know that will help a lot!
    Again, all of your answers have helped out so much! Thank you all for taking your time to answer my questions!
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  13. #13

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    okay. I called WDW and they sounded confused and told me to call disneyland resort so hopefully one of you can answer my question:
    In my family, we currently have a premium pass to DLR and 3 deluxe passes. Do we get discounts on packages for WDW? If so, about how much?
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

  14. #14

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • How do you do?
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Chickapin Hill
    Posts
    10,907
    Blog Entries
    6

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyAsh View Post
    okay. I called WDW and they sounded confused and told me to call disneyland resort so hopefully one of you can answer my question:
    In my family, we currently have a premium pass to DLR and 3 deluxe passes. Do we get discounts on packages for WDW? If so, about how much?
    The only Disneyland Pass that works for both coasts is the Premier Pass. The Disneyland Premium and Deluxe passes do not offer any discounts at WDW.
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  15. #15

    • Don't Stop Believing
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    69

    Re: First Time WDW Vacation Help?

    okay, thank you very much.
    And one last question (Sorry, I know I should get a travel agent, but I really really enjoy planning vacations). Can I make a reservation 6 months in advance if my trip is not booked? If I change my trip, can I cancel it? Online it says that fees may be charged if you don't give enough notice, but I would give a 3-4 month notice.
    When You Keep On Believing, A Dream That You Wish Will Come True
    Visit my Flickr!

Similar Threads

  1. First time WDW
    By cemberella in forum Orlando Travel Planning
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-18-2008, 03:02 PM
  2. First time WDW Visitor.... Question..
    By darrendman in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 01-13-2008, 12:52 PM
  3. Questions from first time WDW visitor
    By wvnative in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-10-2006, 07:16 AM
  4. First Time to WDW...
    By quasimodo1384 in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-10-2006, 07:42 PM
  5. First Time at Disneyworld (Looking for Help)
    By Proud_Papa in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-18-2005, 09:40 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •