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  1. #1

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    Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    My wife and I are planning on hitting WDW with our two young boys for our first time for about 4 days next year before our Disney Cruise. They have never been to FL and I haven't been to WDW since the early 90s as a kid. At the time, we stayed at the Contemporary Resort which was unbelievable to me as a kid. Knowing that times have changed along with hotel prices, I had a few questions about staying on the loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe resorts. I hope some of the experts might be able to help me out.

    1. The financial side of me says there is no monetary reason to stay on the loop, but the fun part of me says blow the family budget there. Does staying on the loop actually translate into getting into the parks (MK and Epcot) sooner? Do they present other transportation advantages that the moderate ones don't in terms of time savings?

    2. What other amenities/experiences do the deluxe resorts offer that the moderate ones don't that help justify the price to my wife?

    3. What do the moderate resorts offer (other than price savings) that are better than the deluxe resorts?

    4. What moderate resorts do you guys recommend so that I can do some more research on them?

    5. Are there any disadvantages with the transportation from the moderate resorts to the parks?

    6. What else should I be aware of when planning our trip (yeah, a broad question I know)?

    Thanks a ton.

  2. #2

    • Mr Test Track
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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    4. If you want to stay at a deluxe resort, I would reccomend the Beach Club because I LOVE to eat at the restaurants in Epcot and they have the best pool in the whole resort (besides Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). If you are interested in those two things I would definitely choose the Beach Club.

    6. One thing that I would definitely take advantage of is the Disney Dining Plan. It can help you in many different ways. For one person in the package you get 1 snack per day, 1 quick service per day, and one table service per day. It can also help you save some money too. Hope this helps you.
    Last edited by PerrySimon; 02-21-2013 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Adding

  3. #3

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Quote Originally Posted by mpabis525 View Post
    1. The financial side of me says there is no monetary reason to stay on the loop, but the fun part of me says blow the family budget there. Does staying on the loop actually translate into getting into the parks (MK and Epcot) sooner? Do they present other transportation advantages that the moderate ones don't in terms of time savings?
    Not nessecarily. The lines to get on the monorail from a resort can be very long. Generally a bus is quicker. It's mostly a fun option. The monorail resorts also all have Resort Launches, boats to the MK. While the boats don't travel fast you may get to the MK quicker.

    The quickest resort to park options are at the Contemporary where you can walk to the MK and the delux Epcot resorts where you can walk to Epcot.

    In any case you still use buses some of the time.


    2.
    What other amenities/experiences do the deluxe resorts offer that the moderate ones don't that help justify the price to my wife?
    A quiet pool. A better big pool, larger water slides, rather than simple slide. Zero entry pools. More dramatic theming.

    A door into the bathroom, rather than sinks open to the room. Queen beds versus double beds. Rooms are off indoor hallways, and offer balconies.

    A giant lobby. Table service dining. Room service.

    3. What do the moderate resorts offer (other than price savings) that are better than the deluxe resorts?
    This is not true with each resort but some are more spread out. They tend to be many small buildings, where as the delux are a few or one large building.

    4. What moderate resorts do you guys recommend so that I can do some more research on them?
    Port Orleans French Quarter. It's the most compact resort and easiest to get around. The Port Orleans Riverside and Carribean Beach Resort offer special themed rooms.

    5. Are there any disadvantages with the transportation from the moderate resorts to the parks?
    The main problem is they are very spread out so the buses make a loop around them with a few stops. The Port Orleans French Quarter is not like this and only has one stop, that is part of why I prefer it. Midday during slow times the Port Orleans French Quarter bus also serves the Riverside Resort so it makes 4 stops.

    6. What else should I be aware of when planning our trip (yeah, a broad question I know)?
    You are also doing a cruise. Do you know how you are getting to the port? If you are renting a car than transport in the resort may not be a big consideration.

    What are you doing on the cruise, will swimming be a major part of it, maybe resort pools are not so important.

    Likewise since the cruise offers a lot of food, maybe you don't want to eat a lot in the parks. The Disney Dining Plan may make you eat more than normal, and only saves money if you use it fully on high value meals.
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  4. #4

    • Mickey's cousin, Sparky!
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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Quote Originally Posted by CastleTravel View Post
    1. Depending on which resort you choose would make a slight difference as to you ability to get to the park quicker than others. As far as actually entry to the park, no you don't get in early due to being on the loop. Personally I can relate to both sides you speak of. The question is if you spend more on a resort are you going to change your spending during the rest of your stay, or similarly, if you spend less on a resort will you be spending potentially more during the rest of your stay? Here's your catch 22, kids love hotels and remember them more than most, however, it's Disney and kids remember a lot of things about their stay like character meals, meet and greets, etc. So, do you think it's more important for them to focus on the accommodations or the experience and which do you think they will remember most. As for transportation advantages, other than the monorail, not anything really. It does seem like they have an extra bus or two running for those resorts at the other attractions, but nothing for certain.

    2. Deluxe- nicer and generally they seem to be slightly roomier but nothing huge. They tend to have some amenities that make them more desirable, like GF spa, multiple sit down restaurants like California Grill and Wave. You're really paying for proximity to the park, views, and monorail transportation.

    3. I think that you tend to have a more festive, energetic, kid friendly atmosphere. You have things like the Princess theme rooms at Riverside. You tend to have a younger crowd there and people like to spend time at the pools, eating in the fast service resort places, etc.

    4. I have always loved Riverside, I think Caribbean Beach is underrated.

    5. I don't think so at all. Buses seam to be more crowded at all times and they make more stops in the resort. We like to rent a car especially if we are at a moderate, then this can be an advantage because you're located a little closer Epcot and HS.

    6. As you said, very broad, with a 4 day visit, consider whether you want specific/special meals or CS, Do you want to see shows, even La Nouba, How about something like Fireworks dessert party. Since time is limited, what are your must see/do items at each park, do you want to take a break midday or go all out, park hop each day or one a day. Rental Car or ME.

    If you want some assistance in planning any portion of your trip please get in touch. I assist visitors from veteran Disney goers, to newbies. My services are free of charge.
    I was aware that you don't get in early for staying on the monorail loop. More of a distance = time equation and if the distance and monorail as a transportation option truly saved time.

    I am sure the kids will want to play at either the hotel pool or Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon. To me, it just seems criminal to spend that much money on what may be a once in a lifetime trip and not hit the intended target. HOwever, their fun will be more memorable than anything else.

    What is a Fireworks Dessert Party? I haven't heard about that.

  5. #5

    • Mickey's cousin, Sparky!
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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    Not nessecarily. The lines to get on the monorail from a resort can be very long. Generally a bus is quicker. It's mostly a fun option. The monorail resorts also all have Resort Launches, boats to the MK. While the boats don't travel fast you may get to the MK quicker.

    The quickest resort to park options are at the Contemporary where you can walk to the MK and the delux Epcot resorts where you can walk to Epcot.

    In any case you still use buses some of the time.


    2.
    A quiet pool. A better big pool, larger water slides, rather than simple slide. Zero entry pools. More dramatic theming.

    A door into the bathroom, rather than sinks open to the room. Queen beds versus double beds. Rooms are off indoor hallways, and offer balconies.

    A giant lobby. Table service dining. Room service.



    This is not true with each resort but some are more spread out. They tend to be many small buildings, where as the delux are a few or one large building.



    Port Orleans French Quarter. It's the most compact resort and easiest to get around. The Port Orleans Riverside and Carribean Beach Resort offer special themed rooms.


    The main problem is they are very spread out so the buses make a loop around them with a few stops. The Port Orleans French Quarter is not like this and only has one stop, that is part of why I prefer it. Midday during slow times the Port Orleans French Quarter bus also serves the Riverside Resort so it makes 4 stops.



    You are also doing a cruise. Do you know how you are getting to the port? If you are renting a car than transport in the resort may not be a big consideration.

    What are you doing on the cruise, will swimming be a major part of it, maybe resort pools are not so important.

    Likewise since the cruise offers a lot of food, maybe you don't want to eat a lot in the parks. The Disney Dining Plan may make you eat more than normal, and only saves money if you use it fully on high value meals.
    I guess my childhood memories of 5 minute waits for monorails and then off to the front gate are now null and void with the crowds taht come each day. How far of a walk is it from the Contemporary to MK? Are the Floridian, Polynesian/ Wilderness Lodge walkable? Do they have boat service?

    A co worker has recommended the Port Orleans too so I will continue to look into that.

    I wasn't planning on renting a car as I understand the Disney Express takes care of the transportation there. I also understand there are shuttles to the port from Orlando. Just have to do a cost analysis on that vs. rental and let it sit for a week.

    At this time, I don't envision eating outside the park. Much as we do at Disneyland, once in we stay in until we head back to sleep. With that said, I don't plan on hitting Downtown Disney. Knowing the park food is usually good, what places should I look into at each park? Are there ones that are better than the other?

    How much does the dining plan usually run? Is it by day? Trust me, I can use every last drop of the dining plan credits. Putting away food is no problem for me

    Speaking of restraunts, is there really a need for reservations at each one? To me, it seems so strange to make reservations for a park restraunt, but from what I am reading, it almost seems the norm rather than the exception at WDW.

  6. #6

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Just a question in general to everyone, but how likely is it for daily rain in mid to late May? It is something I guess I will have to start thinking about. I have done Disneyland in the rain for a few hours and it did not end well with the family. Do Florida showers go the Hawaii route where they last for 10 minutes or are the longer? How does the park handle things when it rains like that and what is the norm for guests in the park when this happens?
    Thanks.

  7. #7

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Quote Originally Posted by mpabis525 View Post
    What is a Fireworks Dessert Party? I haven't heard about that.
    They do it on a patio off the hub along the Tomorrowland buildings. It has a simple dessert buffet, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, brownies and that king of stuff. It has the basic drinks, sodas, milk, juice, coffe and tea. Then you stand there and watch the fireworks. You have to get out and to the edge to see the fireworks otherwise the eves block the view. It's about $30A and $15C. With a limited visit it may be worthwhile.

    [QUOTE=mpabis525;1056923633]I guess my childhood memories of 5 minute waits for monorails and then off to the front gate are now null and void with the crowds taht come each day. How far of a walk is it from the Contemporary to MK? Are the Floridian, Polynesian/ Wilderness Lodge walkable? Do they have boat service?[QUOTE] It's only walkable from the Conteemporary in about 10 minutes. From the Ploynesian you can walk to the Ticke and Tranportation Center in again about 10 minutes and get on the Epcot line of the monorial.

    All those resorts you listed have boats to the MK.

    At the Epcot resorts there are boats to Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios.


    I wasn't planning on renting a car as I understand the Disney Express takes care of the transportation there. I also understand there are shuttles to the port from Orlando. Just have to do a cost analysis on that vs. rental and let it sit for a week.
    Keep in mind Disney Magic Express is nice and free from the resorts to and from MCO. I like using it because the simple baggage delivery is nice. Parking for resort guest is free at the resort and parks.

    To and from the port going to of from WDW or MCO is not Free. Nor is parking at the port.

    At this time, I don't envision eating outside the park. Much as we do at Disneyland, once in we stay in until we head back to sleep. With that said, I don't plan on hitting Downtown Disney. Knowing the park food is usually good, what places should I look into at each park? Are there ones that are better than the other?
    Of course I have my favorites but that's bases on my preferences. Restaurant Dining Menus from Walt Disney World When you look at that you will see WDW has a lot more dining locations than DLR.

    The Dining Plans can only be added to a Magic your Way Package, tickets and room stay.
    Quick Service Dining $37.58 $14.32
    Plus Dining $55.59 $17.16
    Deluxe Dining $99.97 $26.84

    They are a couple dollars more in peak season.




    How much does the dining plan usually run? Is it by day? Trust me, I can use every last drop of the dining plan credits. Putting away food is no problem for me
    You have to get it for each night of your stay, no day by day option. Also everyone in the party. You can use them in any order, on any day from check in to check out day.

    One key to getting value is ordering high price menu items/meals. Dinner versus breakfast, and steak versus pasta.

    Quick Service includes, per day:
    2 Quick Service Meals, think burger with fries, soda and cookie
    1 snack, think cart popcorn or ice cream bar
    A refillable mug, that is good at your resort during your visit. Not in the parks.

    Regular Dining called Plus above, per day:
    1 Tables Service, think buffet or menu entree with soda and dessert.
    1 Quick/counter Service
    1 Snack
    1 Mug

    Delux
    3 Tables Service
    2 Snacks
    1Mug

    Tips not included.

    Speaking of restraunts, is there really a need for reservations at each one? To me, it seems so strange to make reservations for a park restraunt, but from what I am reading, it almost seems the norm rather than the exception at WDW.

    Yes. If you want a specific table service meal,at a specific time there is immediate demand 180 days out at busy times, and don't push your luck on slower days.

    If you don't have a reservation 30-45 minute waits at 9pm in the offseason are common.


    Quote Originally Posted by mpabis525 View Post
    Just a question in general to everyone, but how likely is it for daily rain in mid to late May? It is something I guess I will have to start thinking about. I have done Disneyland in the rain for a few hours and it did not end well with the family. Do Florida showers go the Hawaii route where they last for 10 minutes or are the longer? How does the park handle things when it rains like that and what is the norm for guests in the park when this happens?
    Thanks.
    In May it's more like rain everyday, not at all, or every 3rd day. It does have quick thundershowers, or long rains, but in May more the former. A big difference about WDW is more attractions and more queus are indoors. So it has less of an impact there. It was built for rain, Disneyland for sun.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Swampymarsh,

    Thanks for all the good info. Even more stuff to consider. I hadn't even considered the dining plan before. I guess it will be a case of running the numbers to see what might work best. Looks like I will need some more research on it. What is the Magic Your Way package? Are the numbers you qouted per person per day?

    Looks like I will be perusing menus to see what places we should eat at and make plans for them while we are there. Any best choices? I think the kids might get a kick out of the new Beauty and Beast restraunt as would I.

  9. #9

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    Quote Originally Posted by mpabis525 View Post
    I guess it will be a case of running the numbers to see what might work best.
    You should do that to see if it will make you save or spend more. Also price, room + tickets against packages and then add meals to each. It's a lot of work but pays off.

    What is the Magic Your Way package? Are the numbers you qouted per person per day?
    A package just means tickets+room together. Then you can add on the Dining Plan if you want. Yes those are per peson, per day.

    For an example let's say you do quick service and go to the Animal Kindom. These number have a little rounding but you'll get the idea.

    So for two adults you paid $37.58 each to eat today and $14.32 for each child, 3-9 years old are children.
    You go to Flame Tree BBQ(this is one of my clear favorite places to eat) for lunch and dinner, and the ice cream place in Asia.
    You're hungry and get ribs with choclate mousse and a soda both times. Then a soft serve for your snack. Us your mug at your resort for coffee and a soda, morning night. (11.99+3.79+2.50)x2+2.50+ 3.89+2.19+2.50=$51.51 you saved $12.
    Your partner eats lighter, Fruit plate, mousse and tea both times. Then a water for the snack and tea in the morning at the resort. (6.99+3.79+2.19)x2+2.50+2.19=$31.25 wasted $5
    Kid 1 gets a 5.99 combo lunch and dinner, a soft serve snack, and a soda at breakfast. 5.99x2 +3.89+2.50= $18.37 saved $4
    Kid 2 eat lighter, still 5.99 combo lunch and dinner, water, nothing in their mug. 5.99x2 +2.50 =$14.50 saved 8 cents.

    Basically it does work that way. Kids always save, adults maybe not.

    If you did a regular plan and the delux, you may got to buffets which tend to be a little cheaper than a typical table service, but that's where the characters are.




    Looks like I will be perusing menus to see what places we should eat at and make plans for them while we are there. Any best choices? I think the kids might get a kick out of the new Beauty and Beast restraunt as would I.
    I do like that Flame Tree BBQ. I like Table Services in Epcot overquick services. Beauty and the Beast is the hot ticket. I didn't get to try it.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Newbie help with WDW resorts on the monorail loop and Moderate vs. Deluxe

    We JUST (yesterday) got back from 8 days at WDW. Drinking coffee and trying to get awake to actually work....

    Anyway, some thoughts (our kids are 5 & 7 and we also visited WDW prior about a decade ago). We stayed before at POR and then time at CBR

    1) Buses were REMARKABLY efficient and quick for Point to Point service (with one GLARING exception - see below). When we last visited it wasn't uncommon for us to wait 20 minutes plus for the right bus. Sometimes it would be too full to take us on. But this time, also without car, I can't remember waiting very long AT ALL for service to theme parks or water park. Magic Kingdom buses seemed every 5 minutes (at worst) and only at the most peak times did we have to stand. Even being at one of the furthest resorts to the MK I would say our peak travel time to the MK was about 22 minutes. Given all the walking you _WILL_ be doing I think the extra time compared to monorail resort isn't a huge deal.

    2) We found great value at the food court with kids this time. When visiting as a couple I found the moderates food choices limiting. But this time it was a godsend. Kids just vary tremendously day to day (heck, minute to minute) on their hunger level and food choices.

    3) CBR has a great pool. 2 water slides (not clear in pictures) and good theming. The sand beaches right nearby were used for castle building. I am sure that Stormalong Bay is better but honestly, they didn't know the difference and were happy as clams. I thought about doing a mid-vacation switch but just said "no" since the extra $$$ (about $150+ a night) just didn't seem worth it)

    4) If you go moderate I would highly recommend budgeting the "premium location" room price. They are VERY spread out. I can't imagine the hike for some folks at CBR to the main hub. We paid that premium and had one of the closest buildings to both the main pool/Food court and bus stop. On our last visit we were some distance from the main action at POR and it would have been "tough" with kids to hike that far to swim.

    Now for some anti-magic....

    5) I was frustrated by the Disney dining situation. With 5 and 7 year olds it is just SO hard to plan. Sometimes they were hungry by 5. Sometimes not. Sometimes they would have been happier to just swim and get a pizza. Other times bored and ready to do stuff. Sometimes everyone just wants an extra hour of sleep. And yet, sitting there with a cancellation fee involved was our dining plans. I think that if, going as we did at a busy week, I would punt the plan and make, perhaps, ONE or Two reservations max. Sure, sit downs almost impossible to get same day reservations but quick serves will never kill you and the flexibility is far better at times. I understand the business logic of what Disney is doing but the "minute by minute planning" seems a lot more tailored to adult only parties than when you are with young kids - a paradox in the WDW business model. I think with just 4 days I would wing it - depending on the age of your kids. They will get lot of eating structure as it is on the cruise.

    6) If you are resort hopping for dining (we did three nights) I would ABSOLUTELY rent a car. Our worst experience was trying to efficiently make transfers. Downtown Disney was a nightmare - compounded I think by some activities associated with the Princess Half Marathon (as well as just busy Friday and Saturday night crowds). Doing a CBR-MK-Beach Club would have been stupid. Busing to Epcot and then walking through future world to Beach club after a day of water park fun would have resulted in one irritated and mad 5 year old DD. Even thought we love (and paid) for mini-golf we didn't go because of the hassles of getting to the courses. We post-facto priced out an economy class car through Thrifty - would have been the best $100 spent.

    Back to the Magic

    7) And finally, as long time DL vets we found our 7 year old LOVED (to the point of obsession) the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game. I can't tell you how much fun we had with that versus going on rides the kids have done time and time again at DL. DM for me on more of that if you have a son who like collectible card games - came away with some thoughts and hints on that which are not so clear when you first start. 4 days may be too short to enjoy it but if others are at WDW for a while it is a fantastic activity with kids of the right age.

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