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Old 12-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Default Disney World Experts?

We are planning what might turn into an extended family trip to Disney in the next year. Most of us have never been. We have one kid in our party with a movement disorder who uses a mobility device. I am the family planner and I have no clue where to start.

Any tips and ideas from experts to first timers?
Do you book your own trip or go through someone else?
Everyone keeps telling me not to pay full price or rack rates for anything, but I don't know where to start making legit plans.
Someone else said it's a good idea to buy up other people's unused tickets on ebay. Is that possible? One of the families in our group has three kids and they might be interested in this.
When's a good time to go with a large group (6 - 8 adults, 5 - 6 kids)?

Thanks in advance! Disney is not my thing but now that I've started reading about "hidden" Disney magic, I'm interested.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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I went to Disney World for the first time last year, and it was fantastic! They are very accomadating of mobility devices. I recommend using a travel agent. They can keep an eye out for deals for you and they have experience, so you do not feel overwhelmed. And like I said they will work constantly to get the best deals. And The dining plan is great. Try the mom's panel on the disney website.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:19 PM   #3
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I want to try and help, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by how open-ended everything is.
How many people? Kids/adults?
How many days/nights?
Do you want to visit multiple parks?
Are you on a tight budget?
Do you want to stay on site at one of the hotels?
Will you have a rental car (or some sort of vehicle?)
Will you be renting strollers at the parks?
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Quiet Ballerina View Post
I want to try and help, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by how open-ended everything is.
How many people? Kids/adults?
How many days/nights?
Do you want to visit multiple parks?
Are you on a tight budget?
Do you want to stay on site at one of the hotels?
Will you have a rental car (or some sort of vehicle?)
Will you be renting strollers at the parks?
That. Give us some more info, and we can help. I love Disney. We go at least once a year. I'll be there in Feb for a couple of runDisney events - the Royal Family 5K & the Princess Half Marathon.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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I work at Disney

That said, Disney has 4 theme parks and 2 water parks. Do you plan on going on any of the water parks? Which theme parks are you planning to visit? You need to talk to the group and see what they're interested in, if it's the prince/princesses, certain characters, or mainly rides. I need more information to help you. Just try to plan and make time for one park a day - the only park that isn't a daily park out of the 4, I would say, is Animal Kingdom. Fantasy land just opened up and they're getting ready to build Avatar Land in Animal Kingdom, expected to open up in 2016, so that's going to take a while..

Without more information, it'll be hard to help.

You can also ask the folks at wdwmagic.com They're Disney experts!!
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:33 PM   #6
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Jumping in! We are going for the first time next year.

We have two boys, 5 and 7. Not big character fans at all, so they will be excited to see any of them. Staying at Shades of Green and using the military passes to do a 4-day park hopper. Planning to do two days at Magic Kingdom, one at Animal and one at Hollywood studios. Already booked dinner plans for each night of our stay. Planning to eat small breakfast in our room and pack a portable lunch. Arriving late Mnday night, staying until following Sunday morning, which is rally five full days...four at the parks and one for just hanging at the pool or whatever.

Nt really sure what to do or plan!
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:46 PM   #7
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Jumping in! We are going for the first time next year.

We have two boys, 5 and 7. Not big character fans at all, so they will be excited to see any of them. Staying at Shades of Green and using the military passes to do a 4-day park hopper. Planning to do two days at Magic Kingdom, one at Animal and one at Hollywood studios. Already booked dinner plans for each night of our stay. Planning to eat small breakfast in our room and pack a portable lunch. Arriving late Mnday night, staying until following Sunday morning, which is rally five full days...four at the parks and one for just hanging at the pool or whatever.

Nt really sure what to do or plan!
The magic height seems to be 44" at Disney. They can pretty much get on most rides if they're that height. For Magic Kingdom, be sure to do Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. Tomorrowland speedway is boring for adults but would be fun for your boys, so you should probably go there aswell. Also the Haunted Mansion - I'm not a huge fan of this attraction, but it's very neat! There will be meet and greet places for characters all throughout the parks and parades at different times during the day. Also, the firework show 'Wishes' is AMAZING, you need to see that. It's usually at 10pm in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom. Also - remember to go to Monster's Inc Laugh House - it's a hilarious show and worth every minute!

Animal Kingdom is probably my favorite park due to the rides and I'm not an animal person by ANY means. Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest, and Kali River Rapids are the must rides. This is not a full day park so if you're exhausted from Day 1 and 2, you can go a few hours late at Animal Kingdom, but just remember that it closes earlier than the other parks. Dress to be soaking wet because Kali River Rapids will get you SOAKED! Hopefully it won't be too cold by the time you go and hopefully you don't go on a day that this ride closes down to be refurbished (Which is from the beginning of Jan. to late Feb., I believe.) You can buy ponchos there, but I suggest you buy your own - they're a lot cheaper. There's also the safari ride where you get to go on a tour and see all different kinds of animals.

As for Hollywood Studios, the most popular attraction there is Tower of Terror. This is a MUST ride. Then there's also star tours and the rock n' roller coaster. Those 3 rides are important. There's also an attraction called 'The Great Movie Ride', but it's not worth it. If you're tired and just want to sit down, this could be an option, but you shouldn't wait too long for this ride.

May I ask why you're not hitting Epcot? There's Soarin', Test Track, Finding Nemo, and Mission Space. Then there's a firework show called 'Illuminations' at night also.

My advice is to REALLY plan and know what you want to do. Grab a map as soon as you walk into the parks. There are cast members EVERYWHERE throughout the parks, so if you're lost, just ask! Put the fast pass system to good use. If you need to hit a ride but see that the wait is too long, grab four pass passes and go do something else. They will tell you when to come back and you can go on the fast line. It's like holding your place in line, while you're elsewhere. There are a lot of things going on at every park, besides the attractions I mentioned.

You will have a wonderful time, trust me. Also, don't forget to ask for '1st Visit' pins for your family once you get there
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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You can also check out Down Town Disney on the day you don't have park tickets.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:04 AM   #9
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I've been to Disneyland tons of times but have only been to Disneyworld once. I had a business trip in the area so we spent the weekend. From what I looked into, you can easily take shuttles between the various locations which can be useful if you are staying at one of the Disney hotels. My husband and I ate dinner at the Animal Kingdom Lodge which was a very nice place.

We ended up having a rental car and staying at a non-Disney resort that was only a couple miles away and it was incredibly cheap for a room with a king size bed and a kitchenette in a brand new resort hotel.

We also ended up going to Animal Kingdom as I've been to Disneyland many times which is basically the same as the magic kingdom. We ended up staying in the area the other days we were around, we shopped in downtown disney, did some miniature golfing and a variety of other things.

As for when to go, I melt in Florida and I've only been during the winter. I'd personally never go during summer or during the fall (hurricane season).
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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My favorite rides are Haunted Mansion and the Pirates ride. But I'm terrified of roller coasters so I never ride any of those.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:37 PM   #11
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Anyway, there will be at least four adults and two kids, possibly 8 and five kids. We would try to line up our visit with a school break like Mardi Grass (one week for us) 2014. I'd prefer to stay on property to cut down on car time. I don't need to stay in the NICEST place because that's not in everyone's budget. My daughter is easily fatigued so we would probably want to stay someplace with a nice pool/stuff for kids so we could take a break at least one day or a few afternoons/mornings.

My own child isn't very into the princess thing, but some of her cousins are. I assume we'd split up. Mine is more Peter Pan/Monsters Inc. Also some Potter fans in our party. I know that's not Dis, but it's the same area. I don't think we'd do the water parks and I'm getting conflicting info on the Animal Kingdom. I also hear Epcot isn't super fun for kids.

Part of me thinks we should nail down a time, get the best deal we can on hotels, and assume that no matter what we will have fun. Sure, we might not hit EVERYTHING on our list, but we can do plenty.

Are the Unofficial Guides and Fodors books helpful at all?
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:28 PM   #12
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The magic height seems to be 44" at Disney. They can pretty much get on most rides if they're that height. For Magic Kingdom, be sure to do Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. Tomorrowland speedway is boring for adults but would be fun for your boys, so you should probably go there aswell. Also the Haunted Mansion - I'm not a huge fan of this attraction, but it's very neat! There will be meet and greet places for characters all throughout the parks and parades at different times during the day. Also, the firework show 'Wishes' is AMAZING, you need to see that. It's usually at 10pm in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom. Also - remember to go to Monster's Inc Laugh House - it's a hilarious show and worth every minute!

Animal Kingdom is probably my favorite park due to the rides and I'm not an animal person by ANY means. Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest, and Kali River Rapids are the must rides. This is not a full day park so if you're exhausted from Day 1 and 2, you can go a few hours late at Animal Kingdom, but just remember that it closes earlier than the other parks. Dress to be soaking wet because Kali River Rapids will get you SOAKED! Hopefully it won't be too cold by the time you go and hopefully you don't go on a day that this ride closes down to be refurbished (Which is from the beginning of Jan. to late Feb., I believe.) You can buy ponchos there, but I suggest you buy your own - they're a lot cheaper. There's also the safari ride where you get to go on a tour and see all different kinds of animals.

As for Hollywood Studios, the most popular attraction there is Tower of Terror. This is a MUST ride. Then there's also star tours and the rock n' roller coaster. Those 3 rides are important. There's also an attraction called 'The Great Movie Ride', but it's not worth it. If you're tired and just want to sit down, this could be an option, but you shouldn't wait too long for this ride.

May I ask why you're not hitting Epcot? There's Soarin', Test Track, Finding Nemo, and Mission Space. Then there's a firework show called 'Illuminations' at night also.

My advice is to REALLY plan and know what you want to do. Grab a map as soon as you walk into the parks. There are cast members EVERYWHERE throughout the parks, so if you're lost, just ask! Put the fast pass system to good use. If you need to hit a ride but see that the wait is too long, grab four pass passes and go do something else. They will tell you when to come back and you can go on the fast line. It's like holding your place in line, while you're elsewhere. There are a lot of things going on at every park, besides the attractions I mentioned.

You will have a wonderful time, trust me. Also, don't forget to ask for '1st Visit' pins for your family once you get there

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!!

My five year old is so, so tiny...41 inches...so some rides will be off limits. We are used to this when we go to Busch Gardens, so as long as no one rides those, everyone should be happy!

I'm just not sure about Epcot. Is it worth it to spend one of our four days there, instead of doing the MK twice? And thanks for the tip about Fowntonw Disney on our off day. I've heard great things about it, and it is free admission, right?

I also plan to buy some Disney items beforehand and take them with us, to be given each day as a treat instead of buying things at the parks. I'm sure we will buy a few trinkets, but not a lot.

I have been to WDW with my sisters family, but I didn't have kids yet, so I didn't pay attention! Lol My boys still go crazy talking about the night we stayed in a hotel on our way to the grandparents. Ha ha. Disney is going to blow their minds!
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:03 PM   #13
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That's a great idea regarding Disney stuff, ChickieChicks! Definitely buy stuff ahead of time, especially things like clothes or stuffed animals and big ticket items.

I will say this (a lesson learned the hard way): If any of the kids going are recently potty trained, be sure to bring at least one extra pair of undies for that child for every day of the trip. Bring a backpack with a change of clothes for that child. I went with a family as an extra set of hands, and their little girl wet her pants just about every day even though we asked her constantly about using the bathroom.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:13 PM   #14
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Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!!

My five year old is so, so tiny...41 inches...so some rides will be off limits. We are used to this when we go to Busch Gardens, so as long as no one rides those, everyone should be happy!

I'm just not sure about Epcot. Is it worth it to spend one of our four days there, instead of doing the MK twice? And thanks for the tip about Fowntonw Disney on our off day. I've heard great things about it, and it is free admission, right?

I also plan to buy some Disney items beforehand and take them with us, to be given each day as a treat instead of buying things at the parks. I'm sure we will buy a few trinkets, but not a lot.

I have been to WDW with my sisters family, but I didn't have kids yet, so I didn't pay attention! Lol My boys still go crazy talking about the night we stayed in a hotel on our way to the grandparents. Ha ha. Disney is going to blow their minds!
I've heard of people going to the park right when it opens to get some rides in and around late afternoon-ish, go back to the hotel for a power nap so that everyone will feel refreshed and happy, especially the kids, so you can consider doing that.

Think of downtown Disney as an outlet mall... there's no such thing as an admission ticket- many people think it costs money but it doesn't Lol. You pay for whatever you feel like buying. There's a variety of stores that sells Disney stuff from Christmas ornaments to t-shirts where you're able to design with your favorite Disney characters.

Is Epcot worth it? I honestly would rather spend the second day at Epcot, not MK. I mean MK is fun and everything (And also most popular, so I understand why you'd want to be there two days), but it's good to try out something different! I'm assuming you have park hopper tickets - you can always try Epcot for a few hours and see how it goes and if you're not feeling it, you can always just hop to another park.

Your son being 41" won't be too big of a problem, he'll be able to go on a lot of the rides. The main concern were the roller coasters that has a height requirement of 44". Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Rock n' Roller Coaster (of which is 48".) But if your other son and husband really wanted to go on those rides, remember you can always do child swap and not have to miss out on any attractions.

And buying Disney things beforehand is a great idea!! Disney can get VERY expensive very fast, so it's better to plan out the budget.

When do you plan on going?
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:24 PM   #15
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Anyway, there will be at least four adults and two kids, possibly 8 and five kids. We would try to line up our visit with a school break like Mardi Grass (one week for us) 2014. I'd prefer to stay on property to cut down on car time. I don't need to stay in the NICEST place because that's not in everyone's budget. My daughter is easily fatigued so we would probably want to stay someplace with a nice pool/stuff for kids so we could take a break at least one day or a few afternoons/mornings.

My own child isn't very into the princess thing, but some of her cousins are. I assume we'd split up. Mine is more Peter Pan/Monsters Inc. Also some Potter fans in our party. I know that's not Dis, but it's the same area. I don't think we'd do the water parks and I'm getting conflicting info on the Animal Kingdom. I also hear Epcot isn't super fun for kids.

Part of me thinks we should nail down a time, get the best deal we can on hotels, and assume that no matter what we will have fun. Sure, we might not hit EVERYTHING on our list, but we can do plenty.

Are the Unofficial Guides and Fodors books helpful at all?
Honestly, I find going to Disney with 3 other people maximum, the easiest. It's hard when each party wants to do certain things. You guys can always hit some attractions together first and split out afterwards.

Animal Kingdom is fun. What conflicting information have you heard about it? Epcot is probably the most 'adult-ish' in my opinion, but it also has some popular rides like Test Track, Soarin', and Mission Space.

And yes, Universal is about a 10-15 minute drive from Disney. If the kids are into 'bigger' rides, I actually suggest bringing them to Universal for a day or two, instead of Disney the whole time. Harry Potter world is very very neat and the Harry Potter ride is my favorite ride compared to any other rides I've ever been on.

Never read any unofficial guides or anything before... there's a lot of information on the internet and plenty of huge Disney fans on fan-sites willing to help if you need extra information.
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