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  1. #1

    • Mickeyfan3
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    Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    My son and I have never been, and my husband hasn't been since 1985 or 86....although we're at Disneyland all the time.

    So - after looking at some of the resorts, I have the say the Rock n Roll, Music, etc themed resorts have no interest for me at all. They look too sterile and modern and plain, and well, blah. I'd like recommendations with pretty grounds, in all price price ranges and with closer/faster/easier access to the parks themselves. I heard that AKL is beautiful but way out there and the bus system takes forever. We're flying in, so no car. Tell me what you like or don't like about the hotels!

    If there are any non-Disney hotels that are close by with easy access we'd be open to those too.

    And - what other airports are within 1-2 hours of Orlando? Wondering if we'd save enough by flying into one of them vs Orland itself to make it worthwhile.

    Finally - we'll only be doing Disney on this trip. How many days should we plan and still allow time to explore outside the parks, take breaks, etc? I'm guessing at least 2-3 for MK, 1-2 for Epcot, 1-2 for Animal Kingdom....any suggestions? Son is 15, so we're much less restricted than a couple with young kids.

    Thank you so much!!!!
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  2. #2

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    If I had no limits, I'd want at least 2 weeks! If that's not reasonable, try about 9 or 10 days. THere is a LOT to see.

    I personally haven't really had a bad experience with the busses. Just be prepared to wait a bit at times.

    My favorite hotel that I've stayed at is the Port Orleans Riverside. (They used to call this Dixie Landings). In the Aligator Bayou section. It is absolutely gorgeous! I loved just walking the grounds there. Very relaxing and tranquil.

    The hotel I've never stayed at, but would love to is the Wilderness Lodge. Very beautiful, like staying in a national park forest. Any description I'd give wouldn't do it justice. It should be very easy to Google some pictures, and see it for yourself.

    I also love walking the Polenysian Resort. It is on the Monorail line, so transportation is pretty easy there. It is also, wonderful. I haven't stayed there, but it is beautiful.

    I've stayed at All Star Movies, and I agree, it isn't as nice as the others, although it still wasn't bad. Just not as nice as the others. But if your budget allows you to pay more for a nicer place, do it.

    Check out Disney's Magical Express service for when you land. They'll take care of your bags for you, and get you to your hotel, and back to the airport at the end of the trip. You'll arrange this when you make your hotel reservations. Of course, this is only if you stay at a Disney hotel.

    Have an awesome time, and post MANY pictures.

  3. #3

    • Mkcoastie
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    Hotels

    The polynesian is my all time favorite. It is a beautiful resort, and has a magic atmosphere at night when the whole resort it lit up with Tiki torches. It also has, in my opinion, the best location of any resort. It is directly across the seven seas lagoon from the magic kingdom. This gives you a spectacular view, especially while relaxing on the beach. Speaking of the beach, it an awesome place to watch the fireworks from. It’s peaceful and relaxing and you can watch everything while they play the fireworks with speakers lining the beach. The fireworks take place right after the lighted boat parade that travels in front of the beach as well. As far as transportation goes, things could not be better. It is on the monorail and also has a small boat (shared with the Grand Floridian) that is the most relaxing way to get to and from the Magic Kingdom. Add to that a short walk to the ticketing and transportation and you have a great way to get anywhere fast. The resort also has lots of extras like hula dancing in the lobby and of course a pool with a volcano slide. As far a dining goes Ohana is supposedly great, but really hard to get in to. You pretty much need to book that right away. There is also a dinner show that is expensive, but good.

    I can also recommend the Beach or Yacht club for deluxe level resorts. They are sister hotels and share a pool complex, but it's an amazing pool! It's a HUGE free form sand bottom pool with a lazy river and a pirate ship slide. Definitely the best pool on property. The other big advantage to this resort is the walk to EPCOT. It’s a very short walk to EPCOT's back entrance. This is basically a private entrance for the Beach Club / Yacht Club and Boardwalk resorts. It’s MUCH less crowded than the main entrance and brings you in near England in World Showcase (this area is closed when the park opens, but cast members’ direct you through the World Showcase to Future World). The resort also has a small ferry to Hollywood Studios, but unfortunately busses to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are shared by all the EPCOT area resorts.

    For moderates i agree that Port Orleans is a good option. I’ve never stayed there myself, but I’ve heard nothing but good about it. I would also recommend Coronado Springs Resort (I have stayed there). It is also a beautifully themed resort with a really cool pool area (Mayan pyramid!) I think this is the best kept secret of moderate hotels. The only thing you have to watch out for is that this hotel includes a convention center, so it could possibly have some very busy times.
    There are some good options off property, but I definitely recommend a Disney hotel. There are some who will argue against it, but you really can’t beat the experience. Many of the resorts at WDW are so well themed that they are like extensions of the parks.
    As far as airports go, your only real options are Orlando International (MCO) and Orlando Sanford. You can sometimes get cheaper fares to Sanford on some budget airlines, but you have to weigh that against the problem that Disney's Magical Express does not serve Sanford, so getting to WDW can be pricey. Good Luck!
    Last edited by mkcoastie; 04-26-2012 at 06:43 AM. Reason: Horrendously bad spelling

  4. #4

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    Airport? You want MCO, for the reasons already stated above. It's a MUCH shorter ride to WDW, plus you'll get the free Disney's Magical Express transfers and automatic luggage delivery.

    Don't believe what you hear about the bus system taking forever. As for AKL being far out there, keep in mind that there is no resort that is near every park, every resort is relatively far away from something.

    The most expensive of the three tiers of resorts, the Deluxe resorts, have something in common besides the upgraded amenities ... with the exception of AKL, each is either walking distance to at least one park (or Downtown Disney) or provides some transportation other than bus transportation to at least one park (or Downtown Disney). In the case of AKL, you still need a bus to get to Animal Kingdom, but it's a very short ride.

    If you love Magic Kingdom, then the monorail resorts are for you: Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian. If you love Epcot and/or Disney's Hollywood Studios, then the BoardWalk-area resorts are for you: BoardWalk Inn, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club, Beach Club Villas, Yacht Club. If you want to be able to walk to DTD, then Saratoga Springs Resort is for you; if you want to take a boat to DTD, Old Key West is for you. There are also two Moderate resorts, the sister resorts Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter, that also provide boat transportation to DTD.

    If you want pretty grounds to walk around and you want convenient transportation and aren't scared off by a high price tag, then I'll recommend Polynesian Resort ... beautiful grounds, large rooms, monorail to Magic Kingdom, and walking distance to the Transportation & Ticket Center where you can catch a direct monorail to Epcot.

  5. #5

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    Yeah for airports you want to fly in to Orlando MCO, no question there Magical express and convenience is a big plus.

    relating to your planning question you forgot to throw in dome time for DHS which you really should consider especially with a 15 year old. it has some repeats for you like Muppets, ST, TSMM, but it more then makes up for it with rockin roller coaster, the far superior version of tower of terror, lights motors action, the shows, the great movie ride, the unique dining experiences plenty there to fill up at least a day for you. so for scheduling I would throw 2-3 days for MK, 2 for Epcot (even with test track closed and having seen soarin already World showcase needs that extra time, 1 for DHS, 1.5 for AK, .5 DTD, 1 relaxing day, resort hopping, possibly go to a water park or mini golf ect. so a total of 8-9 days.

    for hotels, my personal preference for favorite resort is the Beach club. themed to new England beach side hotel with a very well kept nice looking grounds, the best pool on site for sure, views overlooking a lake across to an old time boardwalk, directly next door to an essentially private entrance to Epcot through the world showcase and walking distance to DHS or you could ride in a boat if you prefer, also the majority of disney's best restaurants are within walking distance as well yachtsman's steak house at the attached yacht club hotel, all of the WS restaurants, and the flyingfish cafe and kat kora's restaurant at the boardwalk. the boardwalk is another nice thing to walk to with sideshow entertainment and games to play. the location is very central, prevents you from using many buses if you don't want to, and almost guarantees great atmosphere and dining every night just a walk away.

  6. #6

    • Mkcoastie
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    Lightbulb Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    Quote Originally Posted by goofy donald View Post
    for hotels, my personal preference for favorite resort is the Beach club. themed to new England beach side hotel with a very well kept nice looking grounds, the best pool on site for sure, views overlooking a lake across to an old time boardwalk, directly next door to an essentially private entrance to Epcot through the world showcase and walking distance to DHS or you could ride in a boat if you prefer, also the majority of disney's best restaurants are within walking distance as well yachtsman's steak house at the attached yacht club hotel, all of the WS restaurants, and the flyingfish cafe and kat kora's restaurant at the boardwalk. the boardwalk is another nice thing to walk to with sideshow entertainment and games to play. the location is very central, prevents you from using many buses if you don't want to, and almost guarantees great atmosphere and dining every night just a walk away.
    The Beach Club definately has location down! Something I really enjoyed on our Magic Kingdom days (if you're not oppsed to a bit of a walk) was walking trhough EPCOT first thing in the morning and taking the monorail from EPCOT to the Magic Kingdom. It's a bit of a trek because you have to walk across the entire park to get to the monorail out front, but it's such a nice start to the day, and (as you are starting from the opsisite direction of everyone else) the park is empty and beautiful.

  7. #7

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    When I went in 2009 we stayed at the Coronado Sprints Resort, the rooms were very nice and the rate was reasonable at the time (Around $80+ Tax).

    I would not stay off property just the bus system alone that Disney provide may not be perfect but it is very convenient, though during our stay we had zero issues and even had very pleasant bus drivers!.

    On the amount of days to spend I would recommend at least 9 days, it was just long enough for us to enjoy all the parks and still leave some things un-visited for a future visit.


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  8. #8

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickeyfan3 View Post
    My son and I have never been, and my husband hasn't been since 1985 or 86....although we're at Disneyland all the time.

    So - after looking at some of the resorts, I have the say the Rock n Roll, Music, etc themed resorts have no interest for me at all. They look too sterile and modern and plain, and well, blah. I'd like recommendations with pretty grounds, in all price price ranges and with closer/faster/easier access to the parks themselves. I heard that AKL is beautiful but way out there and the bus system takes forever. We're flying in, so no car. Tell me what you like or don't like about the hotels!

    If there are any non-Disney hotels that are close by with easy access we'd be open to those too.

    And - what other airports are within 1-2 hours of Orlando? Wondering if we'd save enough by flying into one of them vs Orland itself to make it worthwhile.

    Finally - we'll only be doing Disney on this trip. How many days should we plan and still allow time to explore outside the parks, take breaks, etc? I'm guessing at least 2-3 for MK, 1-2 for Epcot, 1-2 for Animal Kingdom....any suggestions? Son is 15, so we're much less restricted than a couple with young kids.

    Thank you so much!!!!
    I can highly recommend the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. It's on the small side, quiet, and charming. It only has one bus stop, so the wait to get on the buses can be shorter than at other resorts. There's a boat to Downtown Disney. It has fewer amenities than some others (only one pool, for instance), but it's a short walk to Port Orleans Riverside, and since they're sister resorts you can use any of the facilities there.

    It's a Moderate-level resort, and I found the rates very reasonable. The Port Orleans resorts have their own unofficial fan site with lots of information and pictures:

    Unofficial Guide to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter Resorts

    I hate to drive at WDW if I can avoid it, so I wouldn't fly into anywhere but MCO where I can get the Magic Express bus to the Disney resorts.

  9. #9

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    I agree with everyone else on Port Orleans - we stayed there and really loved it.

    Depending on the type of touring you are going to do of the parks, you may want to let that help make your hotel decision. If you are going to the parks all day, no break, then mostly sticking close to the resort in the evening, location won't make too much of a difference.

    However, if you like to take mid-day breaks, will be going out and about most evenings, and will be dining out in the evenings at other resorts, you will probably want to pick an MK or DS/EPCOT resort. We had the dining plan last time and made lots of reservations at the resorts; we ended up taking cabs back to Port Orleans several times because we just didn't want to take go to the nearest park or transportation hub - usually a 30-40 minute ride back to PO. A more cost effective option for a DS/EPCOT resort would be Swan or Dolphin. I haven't stayed there but have been stalking it for our visit next year!

  10. #10

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    We went at the beginning of last month and stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. We had one of the new pirate rooms which were very nice. We also found the walk along the river from the room to the dining area and the main pool area to be very pleasant and relaxing.

    We were there for a week and still didnít see everything there is to see at the resort.
    "You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."

  11. #11

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    I felt the carribian beach resort was like staying in a motel 6. I have stayed at 12 of the wdw resorts and my favorite one were the cabins at fort wilderness ( it's like being in a forest with your own separate house 50' away from your neighbor ) and for its extravagantness the Widerness lodge. Also to get to the magic kingdom you can take a ferry or a bus

  12. #12

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    Take a gander at flying into TPA it's landing fees are considerably less, and it's a nicer airport IMO, it's about a hour drive from WDW...also may I recommend you fly Southwest, as we don't charge for bag fees and our prices are pretty reasonable, also it has the added bonus of you helping to keep my family and I fed and able to go to the world myself(sorry for the shameless plug)...

    For picturesque grounds and a nice Disney Flair I recommend Port Orleans riverside, or Old Key West...both are very nice imo and they both afford easy bus access to the parks and are within walking distance to Downtown Disney...

    Hope that helps

    edit: Sorry TPA is Tampa international airport in airport code....also forgot you may want to check and see if they do the Magical Express, I don't think that they do, so you would have to rent a car, which is also cheaper in Tampa than in Orlando International, and affords you the chane of driving yourself to Universal or Sea World without calling for a cab..
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  13. #13

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    Re: Hotel & airport recommendations for 1st time wdw visitors?

    I've stayed at Carribean Beach twice. I enjoy the atmosphere very much...however, I do NOT enjoy the bus times. As the hotel property has 8 or 9 bus stops, the bus runs take a lot longer compared to some of the other hotels. The Pop Century resort generally has stops right next to Carribean Beach, and you could see three or four busses go by in the span you waited for 1 from Carribean Beach.

    That's really the only thing about that hotel that I can criticize. But, I won't be staying there this year.

    ---------- Post added 06-14-2012 at 11:52 PM ----------

    I really don't spend a lot of money on the hotel, because I won't be there often. I'd much rather spend it on the deluxe dining plan, and then pigging out on the parks.

    I think the beach club is my favorite, in terms of park location, ease of access (ferry or walk to both EPCOT or Hollywood), and the general feel of the area. I like hotels in the center of the park, as it pretty much limits all the bus trips to 20 - 30 minutes max (if not less)

    ---------- Post added 06-14-2012 at 11:54 PM ----------

    Also, with the Magical Express, the hotels ALSO have airport check ins...which can allow you to squeeze out an extra day / 1/2 day at a park. You can check all your bags and everything at the hotel, and Disney will deliver the bags to the airport for you...all you have to carry to the park is a day pack (which you probably are carrying anyhow)

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