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  1. #1

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    Need help planning a special surprise vacation - first-time at WDW

    I am planning a special first-time vacation birthday surprise for my husband at the beginning of May - he has been to WDW several times but I have not - no children will be with us -- we are staying at Disney Boardwalk and have reservations for Cirque de Soleil and also for dinner another night in Chinese pavilion at Epcot - I am very confused with all the info to navigate on the Disney websites - could you help me answer a few questions:

    • Do we need to have reservations for every meal we plan?
    • What are the advantages of FastPass, especially if we are focusing on Epcot? Do you need a different FastPass for each line or is there one you can purchase for entire park of Epcot? Can the FastPasses be purchased in advance? What is FastPass Plus?
    • I have heard about breakfast in the parks (perhaps Magic Kingdom) before the parks open in the morning - where can I find information on this?


    I am having difficulty planning without ruining the surprise, but there are so many things that don't seem easily spelled out - would greatly appreciate any suggestions

  2. #2

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    Smile Re: Need help planning a special surprise vacation - first-time at WDW

    Hi Spwv! I've been to WDW a few times all without kids, and I'd love to help. No, you can find great restaurants without making reservations before you leave. It's easier to try and do a walk up (sitting two is easier than four or five). Depending on your dining preferences you can either use Concierge or log on through wi-fi to try and make reservations for must do places. Make sure to indicate if it's for a special event because they do some pretty fun things. Le Cellier is fantastic, but impossible to get without reservations. In regards to breakfast before opening, I would call Disney Dining before you arrive to see if you can secure anything. It really just depends on what you want for breakfast (buffet vs. regular sit down). I've only eaten at Crystal Palace for dinner, but I've heard breakfast is fantastic (plus you'll get some pretty views!).

    Fastpasses are free. I don't know to what extent the new system has been implemented, but you can choose to either do the paper passes OR the magic bands. Keep in mind that which ever you choose you MUST be back during the return time window specified. If you choose the paper version it's best to figure out the night before which ride(s) you really want and then go there upon entering the park to secure your passes. Single rider line is also a fabulous alternative if you cannot secure passes for certain rides. You'll most likely still be in the same ride vehicle but just a few rows apart.

    Hope this helps! If you have other questions just let us know!

  3. #3

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    Re: Need help planning a special surprise vacation - first-time at WDW

    It will be very difficult to secure dining reservations this close to your vacation date. The reservations however are just for the table service restaurants. The quick service is basically you order at the counter. You might wanna do mostly quick service restaurants which won't necessarily be a bad thing. Some QSRs can be restaurant quality. Of course if you do the Be Our Guest restaurant (which does quick service during lunch) be prepared to wait in a line for 1-2 hrs because it's a very popular eatery.

    If you do get the option, I would try using the magic bands. The downside is that you will have to reserve your rides and times prior to your vacation. The upside however is that you don't have to worry about racing to the FP kiosks to get passes for a time out of your convenience.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Need help planning a special surprise vacation - first-time at WDW

    Quote Originally Posted by spwv View Post

    • Do we need to have reservations for every meal we plan?
    • What are the advantages of FastPass, especially if we are focusing on Epcot? Do you need a different FastPass for each line or is there one you can purchase for entire park of Epcot? Can the FastPasses be purchased in advance? What is FastPass Plus?
    • I have heard about breakfast in the parks (perhaps Magic Kingdom) before the parks open in the morning - where can I find information on this?


    I am having difficulty planning without ruining the surprise, but there are so many things that don't seem easily spelled out - would greatly appreciate any suggestions
    For Table Service just like had been said reservations are mostly gone. They book starting 180 days out and fill quickly. But you should try if you really want to eat somewhere. Walk up can be 60 minutes waits even at 8pm. This may be a reason to use My Disney Experience.

    You may not be able to ask, but does your husband know how to use FP, has he been in the last decade a time or two?

    To get a FP you go to the distribution area near an attraction, and in a kiosk you put your ticket in and it's returned along with a FP that say come back later inside a certain hour long window. This is only on select and the most popular attractions. Use it for Test Track and Soarin in particular in Epcot. Toy Story Mania in DHS.

    FastPass+ is still in testing. No known date of when it will fully be in use is out. Basically with that you reserve online/mobile a group of time to use the FP queue or a set of attractions. Don't worry unless news breaks suddenly it's not really an option. And also not a good option as far as I have seen.

    Basically each park has a early breakfast option. All character meals. If you want to do this make the earlier reservation 8am for the park you want to eat in. MK has two, Crystal Palace and Cinerellas Royal Table. If the park is opening later than 8am your breakfast is pre opening. Give yourself about an hour to eat.

    I'd suggest AK, because a good highlight of this is walking through the empty park in the morning and that location, Tusker House, is deep into the park.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Need help planning a special surprise vacation - first-time at WDW

    I saw, keel stalking the Disney site for dining reservations. Even thought most popular places are booked, as you get closer, people might make some cancellations. I just booked a short notice trip to WDW in May and was able to snag a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. That was luck!

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