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  1. #1

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    First WDW trip! Tons of basic questions, HELP!

    Hey there, I live in California and have been to Disneyland about a million times, but I've never been to Florida! My family joined DVC this year and are planning our first trip to WDW. There are a lot of things I don't know about the parks, and I'd appreciate some advice! Numbered for answering convenience:

    1. Out of all times of year, what is best (considering crowds, attractions/shows, weather, etc?) I'm out of school so we don't have to go in the summer.

    2. My mom is paranoid about hurricanes. Is this historically a logical thing to worry about? Should we rule out certain times of year because of this?

    3. Carousel of Progress - is it really a seasonal attraction? I really want to go on it. If we don't go in summer, is it likely to be closed?

    4. DVC lets you switch hotels. We were going to do that... stay at corresponding hotels on the days we're going to that park. How many days for each resort, if we're there a week? Is there a park you'd save for last?

    5. We were going to allow 1 day for all of Universal, is that madness? It seems like the only good bits are ET and Harry Potter, or are there other great things there? (I'm interested mainly in dark rides, unless there are some really dazzling coasters or shows.)

    6. What attractions close in the rain if we choose a colder season?

    7. What restaurants are must-eats? Concerned more with decor/theming than the food, although good food is good.

    8. How inconvenient is traveling between the hotels and the parks? Which grant the easiest access to each park?

    9. What experiences might be limited to weekends if we go in the off-season?

    10. Any random first-timer tips we might not have heard? Good times to get on rides, easter eggs to look out for, favorite park traditions, etc?

  2. #2

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    Re: First WDW trip! Tons of basic questions, HELP!

    This is coming from a WDW regular who has an AP and visits once a month:



    1. Out of all times of year, what is best (considering crowds, attractions/shows, weather, etc?) I'm out of school so we don't have to go in the summer.

    I would say pretty much anytime in September (most schools in Florida go back in August and everyone else is back after Labor Day), most of October (though Epcot will be busy due to Food & Wine, especially the weekends when the locals come out) and the first part of November are the best for lower crowds and weather. February and early March are good too. It'll be cooler but you'll just miss the Spring Break Crowds.


    2. My mom is paranoid about hurricanes. Is this historically a logical thing to worry about? Should we rule out certain times of year because of this?

    Hurricane season in Florida runs June 1 to November 30 every year. However, the possibility of a hurricane hitting central Florida is VERY SLIM. WDW is located literally smack dab in the center of Florida and inland far enough they don't get affected much by tropical weather. There have been instances of freak storms like Charley in 2004 but that was a rare occurrence. Orlando will get some wind and rain, but nothing too major really. And if they do close the parks because of tropical weather, they have activities and characters visit the on-site hotels to keep guests busy.


    3. Carousel of Progress - is it really a seasonal attraction? I really want to go on it. If we don't go in summer, is it likely to be closed?


    It's listed as "seasonal" but it's open all the time. No worries there.


    5. We were going to allow 1 day for all of Universal, is that madness? It seems like the only good bits are ET and Harry Potter, or are there other great things there? (I'm interested mainly in dark rides, unless there are some really dazzling coasters or shows.)

    I'd personally do 2 days at Universal. One day at Islands of Adventure and one day at the Studios. There's more to do there than you might realize. The Men In Black ride is really cool (puts Buzz Lightyear to shame), the Hulk coaster at IOA is a lot of fun and you HAVE to check out the Spider-Man ride! Poseidon's Fury at IOA is a cheesy little show but it's got some cool effects. Take the time to really check it out. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    6. What attractions close in the rain if we choose a colder season?

    Only if it's raining hard (I've ridden roller coasters in light rain - it's not fun though) and in the colder season it doesn't rain as much (summer is Florida's rainy season). Lightning is what you'd be more concerned about. If there is lightning within a 5 mile radius, all outdoor attractions will be shut down until the threat passes.


    7. What restaurants are must-eats? Concerned more with decor/theming than the food, although good food is good.


    At MK you'd probably want to check out Be Our Guest. If you can't get a dinner reservation, as soon as you get to the park, line up for lunch (it's first come, first served and the line gets LONG). Also check out Gaston's Tavern (looks like straight out of the movie) and the pork shanks are HUGE and quite good.

    But DEFINITELY try the waffle sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square at MK. They're huge and simply amazing.


    8. How inconvenient is traveling between the hotels and the parks? Which grant the easiest access to each park?

    WDW is a HUGE place. Many people tend to not realize that. There are MILES that separate the parks & hotels. The bus system is ok but it can be time consuming. The best way between DHS & Epcot is to take the Friendship boat or walk (though it's a bit of a hike). Best way between MK & Epcot is the Monorail. The busses would be necessary for AK, DTD and everything else.

    For MK the closest hotels are obviously on the Monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian & Grand Floridian). Wilderness Lodge is just s a short boat ride away.

    For Epcot and DHS, the closest are the Boardwalk, Yacht Club & Beach Club, the Swan and the Dolphin. For values, Pop Century is also close and so is Carribbean Beach Resort.

    Closest hotels to AK is AK Lodge and I think the All-Star Resorts.


    9. What experiences might be limited to weekends if we go in the off-season?

    There really is no "off season" anymore, per se, but in the early fall (September), some Epcot entertainment offerings (the live music around World Showcase) is only certain days of the week.


    10. Any random first-timer tips we might not have heard? Good times to get on rides, easter eggs to look out for, favorite park traditions, etc?

    If you don't care about the parades/fireworks at MK, use those times to go on rides because lines are almost non-existent. I once was the ONLY person on Buzz Lightyear during the fireworks. It was pretty epic.
    Last edited by aimster; 11-16-2013 at 12:25 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: First WDW trip! Tons of basic questions, HELP!

    Oh wow, thank you Aimster! I didn't expect anyone to tackle so many questions in one go.

    It's especially good news since I've kind of been pulling for a trip sometime in October to experience the Halloween theming, but I was worried the weather would be drastically worse.

    We were hoping to stay at only two different hotels since moving our stuff would be a hassle, so we might bite the bullet and just have one park that isn't very inconvenient to us.

    That's also good info about Universal; we went to the California park last year for the first time in a while, and aside from the tram and Jurassic Park it was pretty abysmal! I didn't even know the Florida one had a Spiderman ride though, and he's my favorite superhero so I'll definitely have to give it a shot.

    I should also add that my mom is handicapped, which often gets us very short wait times and might impact how long it takes us to complete each park (although with people abusing the privilege I understand it might get worse for everyone soon). That is one thing to Universal's credit - they spotted us the minute we entered the park and pulled us aside before we even had to find Information, and we really got kind of a VIP experience there.

  4. #4

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    Re: First WDW trip! Tons of basic questions, HELP!

    Great response, aimster! I am also a DLR veteran taking my first trip out in Feb and found your post very informative!

  5. #5

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    Re: First WDW trip! Tons of basic questions, HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderJewel View Post
    That's also good info about Universal; we went to the California park last year for the first time in a while, and aside from the tram and Jurassic Park it was pretty abysmal! I didn't even know the Florida one had a Spiderman ride though, and he's my favorite superhero so I'll definitely have to give it a shot.

    I should also add that my mom is handicapped, which often gets us very short wait times and might impact how long it takes us to complete each park (although with people abusing the privilege I understand it might get worse for everyone soon). That is one thing to Universal's credit - they spotted us the minute we entered the park and pulled us aside before we even had to find Information, and we really got kind of a VIP experience there.
    Well, Universal in Florida has TWO parks, Islands of Adventure and the Studios. Islands of Adventure is overall really pretty awesome. I've only been there a few times (so far) but I've found things to do to keep me occupied all day. I think you'll really enjoy it as there are a couple of great coasters (Hulk and Dragon Challenge) as well as the aforementioned Spider-Man (there's a whole island dedicated to the Marvel characters) ride which is really amazing and of course the Harry Potter section (which is actually quite small and gets VERY crowded). Over at the Studios you got ET, Men in Black, the whole Simpsons/Springfield area... and more Potterland on the way (opening spring of next year).

    Disney recently revamped their disabled guest program because of all the abuse it was getting and so far it's been working to a point (a lot less abuse). You can read all about it just searching the forums & main MiceChat site for "DAS".

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