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  1. #1

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    DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Hey all you WDW experts!

    My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.

    This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

    1. Magic Kingdom
    2. Epcot
    3. Blizzard Beach
    4. Hollywood Studios
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Universal
    7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.

    We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.

    Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.

    Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.

    Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.

    Any other tips or can't-miss advice would be awesome because once again we are completely novice when it comes to DisneyWorld... we literally know nothing.

    Thanks and have a magical day!

  2. #2

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    I'm a Disneyland Native as well so I don't have much expertise with WDW. I will mention that my cousins recently took a trip to WDW and stayed at the All Star Sports Resort and claimed it to be a "glorified Motel 6." She then continued to mention that it was nice and clean, but the rooms were small. I would suggest Art of Animation as those rooms seem bigger (based off of what I've seen online). Also, if the room isn't the nicest, there are many perks that will come with the room such as the free Disney transportation, the Magic Morning hours, and use of Fastpass+. No matter what your final plans are, have a fantastic trip!
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  3. #3

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    I'm a Disneylander who just had his first official trip to WDW a couple of months ago, so I can share my DLR vs WDW experiences with you.

    Park-hopping: much more difficult and time-consuming in WDW than at DLR. On our last day we were planning to re-hit any of the rides we wanted to see again from the week, but we weren't going to have time for all of them because park-hopping can take upwards of an hour to go between parks (especially if you're going to/from the MK). We ended up spending the last day at the MK and so on our other park days we did some rides twice to make sure we got our fill (Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest were prime offenders).

    Restaurants: Dining in WDW is a big deal, so much more than at DLR. Here, you can just decide where to go and get some food. In Florida, it seems like it requires months of pre-planning to get a spot. We weren't able to do any table-service food during our trip because everywhere had had all their tables booked for months. If you're doing Be Our Guest (which I highly recommend cause it's beautiful inside!), you could consider the lunch version, which allows you to show up and eat (though after waiting in line).

    Fastpasses: EVERYTHING has Fastpass in Florida, which is good cause you'll need it. Use Fastpasses and use them often, even for attractions that you don't think you'll need them on. Example: in DLR you are safe to get a FP for Space and then standby Buzz and maybe Tours while you're waiting. In MK, if you FP Space, you're looking at a 45 min wait for Buzz, 30 min for Astro Orbitor, and maybe 20-35 for Stitch (which in my case just ended up meaning a lot of PeopleMover trips).

    Size: The parks are much, much bigger than you're probably thinking they are. Epcot alone is enormous. My group showed up at Epcot at 9am and managed to make one full trip around the entire park by the time it was time for Illuminations at 9pm (this was hitting every attraction on the way, with Test Track after Illuminations). Make sure you provide your group enough time to navigate just how mind-boggingly huge these parks are.

    Some of the more hardcore WDW'ers can probably answer the hotel and Universal questions better than I can. My group stayed at Art of Animation and it was a great experience! And I agree, Universal is a must-do, and Harry Potter as well is a fantastic experience.

    I hope this helps! Have a good trip



    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    Hey all you WDW experts!

    My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.

    This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

    1. Magic Kingdom
    2. Epcot
    3. Blizzard Beach
    4. Hollywood Studios
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Universal
    7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.

    We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.

    Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.

    Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.

    Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.

    Any other tips or can't-miss advice would be awesome because once again we are completely novice when it comes to DisneyWorld... we literally know nothing.

    Thanks and have a magical day!
    *I am an employee of The Walt Disney Company*
    *All words above are my own and do not represent TWDC, nor do I speak on their behalf*
    *All words above conform to the Social Media policy distributed to employees; no confidential information is divulged*


  4. #4

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

    1. Magic Kingdom
    2. Epcot
    3. Blizzard Beach
    4. Hollywood Studios
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Universal
    7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.
    I would suggest you adapt that to crowds. You should plan to hop if you use Extra Magic Hours as an onsite guest. The parks hosting EMH get more crowded so a good strategy is to stay or go for EMH, then spend the rest of the day in a non EMH park.


    We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.
    You probably won't spend a while day at the waterpark, so maybe make another plan for that day. The main problem is you will want to go when the day is the hottest but so does everyone else. It's good to skip to midday at the waterpark to avoid crowds. Also go when it rains if possible because that flushes the crowds out of the waterpark and then within and hour it's sunny again.

    You may want a partial day at Universal to share with the waterpark days.



    Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.

    For the same price level I would highly suggest POP instead. It's basically the same but more convenient. The value resorts are basically motel style, but huge.

    Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.
    This is a little tricky. There are shuttles, shop around and you can find some that basically include tickets but are the cost of tickets. The are operated by Mears, no matter who you book through. The drawback is you are on their hours.

    For Potter you will want to be there at open. Some of the expansion will be open so crowds will be horrible for the Potter stuff. This may make renting a better option. Of course you will need a big car or someone to run a shuttle. About 60 minutes will be spent by the shuttle driver, there back, and there again. This may also let your group divide as there are some big coasters that may not be of interest to everyone. Also factor in USO parking as a cost.

    You can rent from Disney rental locations. Alamo National has shuttle to and from the resorts to their lot, very simple. Also a National desk in the Dolphin hotel. Near DTD you can walk to the resorts on Buena Vista Hilton, across the street has Avis, and a Thrifty, and more but the walk gets long.


    Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.
    I'd suggest anything from Canada to Germany in the Epcot World Showcase. There are a lot of great places in the deluxe hotels too.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  5. #5

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    Hey all you WDW experts!

    My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.
    Ok do my best to help lets get it started!

    This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

    1. Magic Kingdom
    2. Epcot
    3. Blizzard Beach
    4. Hollywood Studios
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Universal
    7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.
    This is a pretty good plan, however since you are DL vets I would suggest maybe you consider an additional universal half day if you can budget it instead of simply disney repeats. I say this because in one and a half days I'm pretty confident as long as its not crazy busy you guys can see almost all the good stuff at Universal and in turn if you avoid the DL repeats that aren't as good or the same at WDW wont need as much repeat time most likely.

    We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.
    smart move. I would however plan for a half day of something else though here since most likely your not going to spend the whole day at the water park. this could either be scheduled to another park (or that half universal day), or maybe switch from blizzard beach to typhoon lagoon as your water park choice and then after your done there hop over to downtown disney to hangout and grab some dinner.

    Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.
    IMO best bang for your buck in the value section has to be pop century if your looking for two rooms. if your willing to squeeze in however the art of animation resort has family suites that will sleep six and is an equal value but gives you the ability to stay on the newest resort on the property meaning brand new amenities which is always nice. If your really looking for the best bang for your buck and like you said only plan on sleeping in your room basically, art of animation would be my choice for the way to go.

    Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.
    there is no official dedicated shuttle for obvious reasons, however its not like this thing doesn't happen regularly so there are companies out there like Mears looking to capitalize, a taxi van that you call ahead of time would probably be the best way to go for you guys just because your all guaranteed to get on and its there exactly when you want it to be. shop around for prices but again mears was fine when i used them in the past.

    Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.
    there are so many great ones. This is one of the main differences between DL and WDW IMO as there are just an incredible array of options to choose from. If I were you I would make a conscious attempt as long as the budget allows to have one sit down meal a day, its truly part of the experience. be our guest would be my choice for magic kingdom just because its new. for Epcot, pretty much any world showcase restaurant is a great choice, and the living seas restaurant the coral reef is pretty great too. my personal recommendations would probably be le celier of Canada (the home country ), the Biergarten in germany, or the San Angel inn in Mexico. *As a side note, I would also make it a must to book one of La cantina san angel or the rose and crown pub for dinner one night at the right time as both are directly on the water and provide a perfect view for the night time fireworks show Illuminations while you eat, just a quick tip there*. for DHS there aren't as many good options but the scifi dine in theatre and 50s prime time diner are both very fun options. regarding animal kingdom i would use quick service here and instead have a sit down meal at one of the various resorts. thats another tip I would have, book a meal at one of the many great resort restaurants (if you want recommendations just ask) and explore these cool places its a great way to spend an evening and after you can head out to a park on a different mode of transportation for an extra ride like a ferry boat or the monorail.

    thats a lot of info but hopefully that helps if you have anything else don't hesitate to ask

  6. #6

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    Hey all you WDW experts!

    My family and I are from San Diego, CA, and are avid DL-goers. We're going to WDW for the first time in June 2014 and need some advice from you experts. There's six of us at the ages of 50, 47, 21, 19, 18, and 11, so we're pretty able bodied and don't have a problem with a lot of walking/waiting etc.

    This is our current plans. We are going to be at the parks for a total of 9 days, 2 of which are travel days. Our current day-by-day plan is:

    1. Magic Kingdom
    2. Epcot
    3. Blizzard Beach
    4. Hollywood Studios
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Universal
    7. Any Disney repeats we want by than.

    We were thinking that we would do one of the Waterparks the third day to relax a little and not have to walk so much after the first two parks.
    The water parks are nice and are a great "break" day thing to do. You CAN spend a whole day there if you can slip into that "lazy" mode. Some people have a hard time getting that lazy on vacation tho

    Our #1 question would be which hotel is the best value for money. We were looking at the All Star Resort and I would love to hear if any of you have any experience with this hotel. Obviously it's probably not the nicest hotel in the WDW fleet, but considering we're barely going to be there it just needs to be comfortable and a good price.
    The thing to remember on hotels is this, the cheaper the busier. If your looking for a quieter place to relaxe after a busy day, a moderate hotel might be better for you. If your ok with just coming back to the hotel and crashing, then the All Star and Pop may be for you.

    Another question we have, is there a shuttle from WDW to Universal? Do we need to rent a car or is there a cheaper, easier method we can take? We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so this is necessary.
    Already well answered above.

    Also, if you had to pick one nice, sit down restaurant in the whole resort what would you consider to be the best? We were considering the Be Our Guest restaurant for the very first night because I've heard so much about it.
    This is the one I live for and can not possibly pick one! There are so many wonderful restaurants in and around the parks that you can't pick one. You do have to get reservations well in advance but it is worth it. Use the Disney site and check out the restaurants and make a reservation.

    Any other tips or can't-miss advice would be awesome because once again we are completely novice when it comes to DisneyWorld... we literally know nothing.

    Thanks and have a magical day!
    To make the point of what others have said, WDW is HUGE! Below is a Google maps that I put together. The red "circles" are the 4 parks, the blue are the resort hotels, and the black is Disneyland. The overly for both maps is at the same altitude so the space/size is the same. Getting around does take some time. The bus system as well as the water vehicles do work well at getting you around as long as your not looking for instant transportation from one point to another. Just be aware that the time to go from place to place will take time from your visit.

    Name:  Disney_map_zps656c3d10.gif
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  7. #7

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by AvidTurtleTalker View Post
    I would suggest Art of Animation as those rooms seem bigger (based off of what I've seen online). Also, if the room isn't the nicest, there are many perks that will come with the room such as the free Disney transportation, the Magic Morning hours, and use of Fastpass+. No matter what your final plans are, have a fantastic trip!
    Thank you so much! We aren't worried knowing that it is a Disney property so we know it will be clean and well maintained at worst, but we are definately going to to take a look at AOA now that everyone is mentioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by oo_nrb View Post
    Park-hopping: much more difficult and time-consuming in WDW than at DLR. On our last day we were planning to re-hit any of the rides we wanted to see again from the week, but we weren't going to have time for all of them because park-hopping can take upwards of an hour to go between parks (especially if you're going to/from the MK). We ended up spending the last day at the MK and so on our other park days we did some rides twice to make sure we got our fill (Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest were prime offenders).

    Restaurants: Dining in WDW is a big deal, so much more than at DLR. Here, you can just decide where to go and get some food. In Florida, it seems like it requires months of pre-planning to get a spot. We weren't able to do any table-service food during our trip because everywhere had had all their tables booked for months. If you're doing Be Our Guest (which I highly recommend cause it's beautiful inside!), you could consider the lunch version, which allows you to show up and eat (though after waiting in line).

    Fastpasses: EVERYTHING has Fastpass in Florida, which is good cause you'll need it. Use Fastpasses and use them often, even for attractions that you don't think you'll need them on. Example: in DLR you are safe to get a FP for Space and then standby Buzz and maybe Tours while you're waiting. In MK, if you FP Space, you're looking at a 45 min wait for Buzz, 30 min for Astro Orbitor, and maybe 20-35 for Stitch (which in my case just ended up meaning a lot of PeopleMover trips).

    Size: The parks are much, much bigger than you're probably thinking they are. Epcot alone is enormous. My group showed up at Epcot at 9am and managed to make one full trip around the entire park by the time it was time for Illuminations at 9pm (this was hitting every attraction on the way, with Test Track after Illuminations). Make sure you provide your group enough time to navigate just how mind-boggingly huge these parks are.

    Some of the more hardcore WDW'ers can probably answer the hotel and Universal questions better than I can. My group stayed at Art of Animation and it was a great experience! And I agree, Universal is a must-do, and Harry Potter as well is a fantastic experience.

    I hope this helps! Have a good trip
    Thank you for the information! I'm trying to mentally prepare for the amount of preplanning we are going to need for Fastpasses, but I'm SO excited for such giant parks because often times at DL it's easy to get bored because the property is relatively small in comparison. Again, thank you for the information!

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    I would suggest you adapt that to crowds. You should plan to hop if you use Extra Magic Hours as an onsite guest. The parks hosting EMH get more crowded so a good strategy is to stay or go for EMH, then spend the rest of the day in a non EMH park.



    You probably won't spend a while day at the waterpark, so maybe make another plan for that day. The main problem is you will want to go when the day is the hottest but so does everyone else. It's good to skip to midday at the waterpark to avoid crowds. Also go when it rains if possible because that flushes the crowds out of the waterpark and then within and hour it's sunny again.

    You may want a partial day at Universal to share with the waterpark days.

    For the same price level I would highly suggest POP instead. It's basically the same but more convenient. The value resorts are basically motel style, but huge.

    This is a little tricky. There are shuttles, shop around and you can find some that basically include tickets but are the cost of tickets. The are operated by Mears, no matter who you book through. The drawback is you are on their hours.

    For Potter you will want to be there at open. Some of the expansion will be open so crowds will be horrible for the Potter stuff. This may make renting a better option. Of course you will need a big car or someone to run a shuttle. About 60 minutes will be spent by the shuttle driver, there back, and there again. This may also let your group divide as there are some big coasters that may not be of interest to everyone. Also factor in USO parking as a cost.

    You can rent from Disney rental locations. Alamo National has shuttle to and from the resorts to their lot, very simple. Also a National desk in the Dolphin hotel. Near DTD you can walk to the resorts on Buena Vista Hilton, across the street has Avis, and a Thrifty, and more but the walk gets long.




    I'd suggest anything from Canada to Germany in the Epcot World Showcase. There are a lot of great places in the deluxe hotels too.
    We're going to take a look at the POP and AOA per all of your requests. We're willing to pay a little more if the rooms are nicer. And I didn't know there was so many dedicated restaurants! We will definitely have to look up this information. Are the majority of these restaurants the type where you have to book months in advance? I know Be Our Guest is, but it seems like with the amount in Epcot maybe some of them are just drop in?

    Quote Originally Posted by goofy donald View Post
    Ok do my best to help lets get it started!



    This is a pretty good plan, however since you are DL vets I would suggest maybe you consider an additional universal half day if you can budget it instead of simply disney repeats. I say this because in one and a half days I'm pretty confident as long as its not crazy busy you guys can see almost all the good stuff at Universal and in turn if you avoid the DL repeats that aren't as good or the same at WDW wont need as much repeat time most likely.



    smart move. I would however plan for a half day of something else though here since most likely your not going to spend the whole day at the water park. this could either be scheduled to another park (or that half universal day), or maybe switch from blizzard beach to typhoon lagoon as your water park choice and then after your done there hop over to downtown disney to hangout and grab some dinner.



    IMO best bang for your buck in the value section has to be pop century if your looking for two rooms. if your willing to squeeze in however the art of animation resort has family suites that will sleep six and is an equal value but gives you the ability to stay on the newest resort on the property meaning brand new amenities which is always nice. If your really looking for the best bang for your buck and like you said only plan on sleeping in your room basically, art of animation would be my choice for the way to go.



    there is no official dedicated shuttle for obvious reasons, however its not like this thing doesn't happen regularly so there are companies out there like Mears looking to capitalize, a taxi van that you call ahead of time would probably be the best way to go for you guys just because your all guaranteed to get on and its there exactly when you want it to be. shop around for prices but again mears was fine when i used them in the past.



    there are so many great ones. This is one of the main differences between DL and WDW IMO as there are just an incredible array of options to choose from. If I were you I would make a conscious attempt as long as the budget allows to have one sit down meal a day, its truly part of the experience. be our guest would be my choice for magic kingdom just because its new. for Epcot, pretty much any world showcase restaurant is a great choice, and the living seas restaurant the coral reef is pretty great too. my personal recommendations would probably be le celier of Canada (the home country ), the Biergarten in germany, or the San Angel inn in Mexico. *As a side note, I would also make it a must to book one of La cantina san angel or the rose and crown pub for dinner one night at the right time as both are directly on the water and provide a perfect view for the night time fireworks show Illuminations while you eat, just a quick tip there*. for DHS there aren't as many good options but the scifi dine in theatre and 50s prime time diner are both very fun options. regarding animal kingdom i would use quick service here and instead have a sit down meal at one of the various resorts. thats another tip I would have, book a meal at one of the many great resort restaurants (if you want recommendations just ask) and explore these cool places its a great way to spend an evening and after you can head out to a park on a different mode of transportation for an extra ride like a ferry boat or the monorail.

    thats a lot of info but hopefully that helps if you have anything else don't hesitate to ask
    We will definitely take a look at the Pop Century. Thank you for all of the restaurant information! I will definitely take a look at all of these suggestions!


    Another question, which is better, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? We're only planning to go to one, so we just want to make sure we have the right one picked!

  8. #8

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post


    We're going to take a look at the POP and AOA per all of your requests. We're willing to pay a little more if the rooms are nicer. And I didn't know there was so many dedicated restaurants! We will definitely have to look up this information. Are the majority of these restaurants the type where you have to book months in advance? I know Be Our Guest is, but it seems like with the amount in Epcot maybe some of them are just drop in?
    You can drop in, but expect to wait 30 or even 60 minutes for a table. This brings up a challenge. Since a reservation will save so much time, it means that if you want to save time you have to plan where you will be early. You may want to decide what park what day and make reservations this very week. They do fill up quickly.






    Another question, which is better, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? We're only planning to go to one, so we just want to make sure we have the right one picked!
    They both have pros and cons.
    Blizzard Beach
    1. Chairlift to the top of some of the slides.
    2. A wide multilane racer.
    3. Bigger and more spread out.

    Typhoon Lagoon
    1. Tropical theme.
    2. Shark Reef Experience, snorkeling. There is another extra fee component available.
    3. Coaster slides, where you go both up and down.

    I go to one or the other on long visits, and have little preference. They are incredible water parks so you really can't go wrong.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  9. #9

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    I will second pretty much what has already been said here...

    I am a DLR native too, going there usually 4-6 times a year and a ex-CM. I made my first real trip to WDW last January.

    I think you are going for a good amount of time and should get most of the stuff in. Only things I would say is keep in mind Animal Kingdom is only open til 5 so youll need something to do that night (maybe hit another park, go mini-golfing (they have some serious courses on property) or go to DTD which is nothing like at DLR)).

    I stayed at the All-Star sports resort, and while its not the nicer hotels it was still a decent spot. Someone said it is a glorified Motel 6. And while, yes it has somewhat of a motel set up, its not like a Motel 6. Its clean and comfortable and there are plenty to do. I also stayed at the Animation Resort, which is basically the All-Star resorts with Disney theming (ALOT of it, its kind of in your face). I dont think the Animation was worth the much more expensive rooms.

    I know youre able-bodied (as I am being 24) but its alot more walking than youll expect for your first time. Its not like DLR at all. Its HUGE. H-U-G-E. So I think youd want to mix in at least one day that was more lowkey, go at your own pace type day.

    I do not think there are shuttles. You would need a car to get to Universal, as the two really arent that close (maybe a 20-30 minute drive).

    Finally for your restaurant, we did our "big" dinner at Be Our Guest. The theming was absolutely incredible. I was beyond blown away. The food was also really good and not absolutely ridiculously priced. Make sure you ask for the "grey stuff"

    Have fun!

  10. #10

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    I chose POP over All Stars because they have dedicated bus service. All three All Stars share buses so I've heard the wait can be long. AoA also has their own buses but is never offered a discount. I originally booked there but changed to POP when they released discounted rates. I'm only sleeping there so the amenities aren't important.

    for Universal, Mears does a round trip shuttle for $20 to universal but you have to book by phone. I haven't decided if I'm doing a shuttle or renting a car since I have read stories about return trips taking 1-2 hours and picking up more people at Sea World, but I'm only doing 1/2 day there and want to get back as quickly as possible once I'm done.

  11. #11

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Congratulations on your first trip! Our family has very similar ages, so I can give you some advice on what's worked for us.

    1. I agree with your schedule, especially the waterpark. You probably won't be able to spend the full day, but if you leave around 3 or 4 pm, then you have time to go back to your hotel and maybe head to Downtown Disney at night. Another thing we like to do is just walk around the other resorts- a lot of the theming is not to be missed! To do this, take a bus to any of the parks from your hotel. From the Magic Kingdom, you can walk to the Contemporary and the Polynesian. I would personally recommend taking a bus to Hollywood Studios. There, you can catch a shuttle boat that stops at the Swan, Dolphin, Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Epcot. If you take a look at a map, you'll see that all those are in walking distance of each other also. When looking at the entrance to Hollywood Studios, there is a small path to the right that runs along the water. The boat boards from a dock down that path.

    2. We've stayed at All Star Movies and Pop Century. Both are a good value, but Pop Century is much higher quality, in our opinion. The food court at Pop is huge with a ton of variety, and it never seems to be too busy (and we always go the week between Christmas and New Years in peak times). Another thing we've seen is that school groups/tour groups/large groups of younger guests tend to stay at the All Stars, which can make them feel more chaotic.

    3. When we went to Islands of Adventure, we rented a car for the day. For us, since we had never been to IoA and didn't really know how to judge time, we didn't want to be dependent on a shuttle and wanted to be able to work on our own schedule.

    4. For sit-down dining, we have never been to Be Our Guest, but based on what I've heard you should definitely try it if you can get in. Out of all the sit-down restaurants we've been to, Liberty Tree Tavern is our favorite in Magic Kingdom, and the San Angel Inn is our favorite in Epcot. The ambiance at both is absolutely beautiful. At the Liberty Tree Tavern, try to make a reservation during a parade time and specify that you would like a table in the window- it's usually a pretty good view and you avoid dealing with crowds. I wouldn't recommend this being the only time you see a parade, but if you've already seen the parade and fireworks and it's one of your last nights, it's just nice ambiance to have a parade going by the window as you eat dinner.

    5. If you're getting the dining plan, many quick service places will allow you to substitute bottled water for the dessert. This is especially nice in the summer, and you don't have to waste snack credits on drinks. Be warned- the last time we tried this was about 2 years ago, and not all places would allow us to, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    6. With dining reservations, make a reservation at the place you would like, but don't worry if you can't get a good time. Show up the day before or day of and see if there are any cancellations or alternate times open.

    7. Some caveats with FastPasses:
    a) Magic Kingdom- If you want to ride Buzz, you need a FP. It won't seem like it, but the way they run the line is by stopping the standby line anytime a FP guest comes up, rather than taking an equal amount from both lines.
    b) Epcot- Get a Soarin FP as soon as you get there, then go straight to Test Track. If the wait is over 20mins already, cut your losses and go to Mission Space. Once you get out of Mission Space, grab a FP for Test Track, and then go back and ride Soarin. Epcot requires a lot of criss-crossing the park in the morning if you want to avoid most lines, but it will be worth it.
    c) Hollywood Studios- Have one person in your party sprint to get FP for Toy Story while the rest get in line for Tower of Terror. After ToT, either wait for or get a FP for Rockin Roller Coaster. See Beauty and the Beast early before it gets too hot. Once you can, get a FP for Star Tours. The Toy Story line is run similarly to the Buzz line- they usually try to clear the FP line before they take anyone from the standby line, which makes the standby wait really long.
    d) Animal Kingdom- Have one person in your party get FP for Expedition Everest while the rest go to Kilimanjaro Safari. All ride KS, then go back to EE. After that, head to Dinosaur and get a FP, then continue on and see Festival of the Lion King. Then go back to Dinosaur. We've found that Animal Kingdom is the most low-key and doesn't require as much planning as the other 3 parks do- you won't be messed up if you have to do things in a completely different order than you wanted.

    That's just a start- I can give a lot more touring suggestions or quick service dining suggestions if needed. Have fun!

  12. #12

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    We're going to take a look at the POP and AOA per all of your requests. We're willing to pay a little more if the rooms are nicer. And I didn't know there was so many dedicated restaurants! We will definitely have to look up this information. Are the majority of these restaurants the type where you have to book months in advance? I know Be Our Guest is, but it seems like with the amount in Epcot maybe some of them are just drop in?
    I mean really when you look at it its only I think ten dollars more a night and your whole family gets to stay together in the same room comfortably in a year old hotel vs separate rooms at a ten year old one. you still get two bathrooms plus you also have the minifridge, microwave, coffeemaker, bar sink combo area for keeping and making up some snacks at the end of a long day which is another plus. I would recommend if you go this route to request the finding nemo rooms since they are the shortest walk to the food court, lobby, busses, and main pool as well as many having a view of hourglass lake which is always nice. unfortunately its the nature of the beast at WDW as with advanced reservations come advanced bookings and craziness. if theres a place you feel strongly about going (again like the illuminations time dinner or be our guest) then make sure you book that far in advance. other dining options you would like to get to you could do at that time as well or leading up to the trip as you feel like. another insider tip I've found is a couple days before or even the day before or hours before you might get lucky and sneak in for a last minute reservation due to the numerous evil people out there that double or triple book meals and then cancel when they decide what they feel like in the last moments. Ive gotten lucky quite a few times and gotten into some great restaurants only a few hours before the seating. The gamble can pay off if things are all booked up when you look in advance or you want to add another sit down meal at a particular place.

    We will definitely take a look at the Pop Century. Thank you for all of the restaurant information! I will definitely take a look at all of these suggestions!
    Glad to hear again anytime. I can go more in depth if you need it but I just tried to zap through some of the basics as quickly as possible for you.

    Another question, which is better, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? We're only planning to go to one, so we just want to make sure we have the right one picked!
    to me at the end of the day both have their pros and cons. I think personally I would lean towards Typhoon lagoon because It has the newest slide, the crush and gusher, and the wave pool is awesome. Also when I do go to the water park I usually don't do a park that day and TL offers more to do other then the theme parks in its general vicinity. namely I usually hit the water park in the morning when its much less busy (and the coolness will most certainly not be a problem for you in June) then when the park is most packed around lunch time take off and head to downtown disney. They have a ton of great lunch options here so you could either do something a little different like Splitsville (never been but food gets great reviews so far and you can do a little bowling with the family) or something more casual if your worn out from the morning like earl of sandwich or Raglan road. Then walk the area for a while do a bit of shopping, get back to the room for a quick rest and hit a resort for dinner. pretty perfect way to fill a day right there.

  13. #13

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    But one question, if you get two rooms, you have two separate bathrooms. If you have just one large room, is it just one bathroom???? Might be worth it to have an extra bathroom for that number of people.

    Also, regarding visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, if spending two days there, would make sense to spend those two nights at one of the Universal Hotels? Do Universal Hotels have any special benefits for their hotel guests. And aren't they opening another hotel real soon?
    Last edited by Aladdin; 12-29-2013 at 10:59 PM.

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    I would suggest you adapt that to crowds. You should plan to hop if you use Extra Magic Hours as an onsite guest. The parks hosting EMH get more crowded so a good strategy is to stay or go for EMH, then spend the rest of the day in a non EMH park.
    While this is true for MORNING Extra Magic Hours, not so much for the park that's hosting EVENING Extra Magic Hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Do Universal Hotels have any special benefits for their hotel guests. And aren't they opening another hotel real soon?
    Yes! Universal hotel guests get early access to the parks (an hour before the park opens to regular day guests I think) and their room keys serve as Express Pass (their version of Fast Pass) to skip the standby lines at all the rides (except Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey).

    And they're opening a "value" resort, Cabana Bay, next year. I think in the spring.

    As for the WDW "value" resorts, I'd go with Pop Century. I've stayed there several times and loved it (but I'm also a major pop culture junkie). As for bus service, I think they share it with Art of Animation now (since it's just across the lake), but it might be just one stop for both resorts. I don't know for sure because last time I stated at Pop, there was no Art of Animation (the buildings were still the abandoned what was to be the "Legendary Years" side of Pop Century).

    You can take a cab or schedule a Mears shuttle to take you to/from Universal. Or if you want to rent a car you can do that too. Disney has Alamo & National Car rental locations on property (at the AAA Care Care Center by the Magic Kingdom).

  15. #15

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    Re: DL Natives, First Timers to WDW... ADVICE NEEDED :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    But one question, if you get two rooms, you have two separate bathrooms. If you have just one large room, is it just one bathroom???? Might be worth it to have an extra bathroom for that number of people.

    Also, regarding visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, if spending two days there, would make sense to spend those two nights at one of the Universal Hotels? Do Universal Hotels have any special benefits for their hotel guests. And aren't they opening another hotel real soon?
    nope at the art of animation family suites you get a master bedroom with master bath separate from the main living space, which contains a secondary full bathroom, a small kitchenette, a tv area with pullout couch, and dining table that folds out into a third bed. washrooms wont be an issue.

    regarding universal, like aimster said if you stay at one of the three universal hotels, you get early park access and a free express pass which is a free fastpass for every ride in the park (except for brand new additions). Cabana bay however will not offer the free express pass at its location when it opens.

    also art of animation has its own separate stop from pop, there are far too many people staying at these locations to share busses.

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