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Ben
08-09-2011, 09:43 PM
Update - Disneyworld - Florida

Planning a trip nov / dec. Non holiday time though, early in either month (not sure which yet). 2 kids, age 4-6ish. Likely will be there 3-1/2 days.

Need help on whether to fork over the extra bux and stay on site or stay off site at the Hilton or something similar. Anyone have experience with how long the "commute" is if you stay off site and take a bus / shuttle, or even a rental car? Is this silly?
I figure we will be going to parks in the morning, maybe hitting a pool or nap for a bit mid-day, and back to parks in the evening. Or, parks till we drop, then head back for chillin at the hotel pool. Not sure what will work best.

What are recommendations for affordable on site lodging?

What are recommendations for affordable off-site lodging?

DemolitionMan
08-09-2011, 09:45 PM
Are you going to Disney World or Land?

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
08-09-2011, 10:36 PM
I took my family to disney world in florida 3 years ago, we researched and price checked it and ultimately choose to stay at one of the resorts on site and choose to purchase the meal plans, in the end doing it that way was cheaper. The resorts aren't exactly on site but they have bus services that were free and ran all the time. Another thing, your kids height I would check on ride height of the various rides, my daughter was 5 at the time and was extremely limited as to what we could do, so we ended up staying in the kids sections of the various parks. I remember saying to my wife that we should have waited until the kids were older and taller they would have had a better more memorable time.

In the 5 days that we were there we never left the resort area or the parks. IIRC we stayed at the all star music resort, I think pretty much all the kids friendly resorts were all priced the same, the rooms were like mini town homes with a kitchen area and a living room area. Some of the other resorts were more expensive.

Ben
08-10-2011, 07:23 AM
Are you going to Disney World or Land?


World - Florida. Good catch, thanks.

jkski
08-10-2011, 07:41 AM
I second the motion for staying "On Disney Property." The price was fair and you have a multitude of different places to choose from, some more costly than others. The big thing is that you can utilize the shuttle/bus service to get back and forth as often as you would like and by staying on property (unless something has changed) your tickets allow for early and later park access as wel as going in and out of the various parks as often as you like.
Once you arrive, you will not have a need to leave for anything, the shuttles will even take you to Downtown Disney, which is where they held an MC ProTour stop a few years back.

I can not comment on the meal plans as we did not utilize them but saw plenty of others doing so. For lunches, my wife and I felt the pricing was fair for the portion given as we were able to split something and be just fine.

Good luck and have fun.

D3skier
08-10-2011, 07:53 AM
We stayed off site at our time share and had a 15 minute drive to the park. We had the same issue as j.mccreight did with our daughter being too short to ride most of the rides. Seems like most rides are right around the 44" mark to be able to go. She still had a blast and we broke up our days between Disney World and Universal Studios.

93Prostar190
08-10-2011, 08:08 AM
Cograts on picking Nov. That time worked best for us, I have 2 boys. We stayed on premise, and the kids really enjoyed that, ... Meal plan is a must.

I like staying at the mid range resorts around the boardwalk .... Kind of Nice mix of activities for apres park. Take advantage of the extra hour that you get by staying on resorts.

I also recommend that you sign up for breakfast with Mickey. Kids will love that...

On a boat note,

Remember when Sammy D used to have his ski school at Disney... Is that still operating?

Sent from my SGH-i917 using Board Express

BrianM
08-10-2011, 08:15 AM
If you can swing it go the Monday after Thanksgiving. This is the slowest time of the year at the parks and everything is decorated for Christmas. Walk onto almost every ride and attraction. Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times of year but on Monday and the following week it's a ghost town. Absolute best time of the year to go.

Moosecrackers
08-10-2011, 08:29 AM
Fall is a great time to go to Disney - less crowded (as long as you avoid the school holidays) and nicer weather. Before our kids were in school, Fall was our favorite time to go. We mostly stayed on property - usually the Wilderness Lodge as it has both bus and boat service to the parks.

PM sent with some additional thoughts.

DemolitionMan
08-10-2011, 09:09 AM
Disney World is a great place to go. The wife and I will be there the first full week of December for a week. We always stay at one of the resorts last year it was the Grand Floridian the year before it was the Polynesian. We have not decided if we are going to stay at the Polynesian or the Contemporary resort this year. I would try to get a package with the meal plan and park hoppers and stay on site. I believe that it cost $25.00 a day to park if you are visiting the parks and not staying on site. The ride requirements could be a issue with you having small children. Visit Disney's web site and it will tell height requirements for each ride. Here is a link to there web site http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/ . I hope this helps.

LYNRDSKYNRD
08-10-2011, 09:14 AM
We have been twice in the last four years and stayed on site both times, we stayed at the economy resorts becuase we were only there to bath sleep and get in the pool. I also ended up using a travel agent for booking through AAA Travel. For our first trip I planned everything out myself and got all my prices figured out then my suggested that I check with AAA Travel, she have used them several times. I did and they ended up saving me about $800 bucks on the trip and meals through the meal plan. Plus AAA made all of my resevations for the meal plan. I agree meal plan is a must. We used an agent I believe named Rita 334-793-6080 she is very well versed on all things Disney and helped me make alot of decisions. All of our correspondence was done over the phone and internet. Also if you get the meal plan and are wondering about different eating establishments at Disney let me know we have eaten at several. For my money too, breakfast with Mickey was okay, but Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast (Lilo and Stitch) was more entertaining for my kids and the meal was a lot better.

DemolitionMan
08-10-2011, 09:26 AM
We have been twice in the last four years and stayed on site both times, we stayed at the economy resorts becuase we were only there to bath sleep and get in the pool. I also ended up using a travel agent for booking through AAA Travel. For our first trip I planned everything out myself and got all my prices figured out then my suggested that I check with AAA Travel, she have used them several times. I did and they ended up saving me about $800 bucks on the trip and meals through the meal plan. Plus AAA made all of my resevations for the meal plan. I agree meal plan is a must. We used an agent I believe named Rita 334-793-6080 she is very well versed on all things Disney and helped me make alot of decisions. All of our correspondence was done over the phone and internet. Also if you get the meal plan and are wondering about different eating establishments at Disney let me know we have eaten at several. For my money too, breakfast with Mickey was okay, but Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast (Lilo and Stitch) was more entertaining for my kids and the meal was a lot better.

Ohana's is a great place to eat.

rd1900
08-10-2011, 09:41 AM
We did this last year, with 2 kids. Stayed at Pop Century, with the Deluxe meal plan.
Staying on site is the way to go. Disney runs a very efficient system. Coaches run from the airport to your on-site hotel, buses run from the hotels to the parks, it all works really well, and no screwing around with parking, etc. One thing to look out for is the bus routing. Pop Century is definitely lower-budget, but the buses run directly between in and all the parks. Some of the other hotels share a bus route, and this can add considerable travel time. If you want to stay on the tram line (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian), go for it, big bucks and nice rooms and restaurants. But we spent very little time in the room, gone by 8 am and back for bed after dark, so out cheap room was just fine.
The deluxe meal plan gets you 3 sit down meals a day included, but beware of the tips. These are not included, and the prices at all the restaurants are quote high, and therefore the tips add up. I think tips were more than $400 for our 6 days. But we ate in every good restaurant and almost every meal with characters. The food was decent, but a lot of buffets. We had a gluten-free kid, and they generally did a really good job accommodating us. You absolutely need to plan the hell out of the meals in you are going to do it this way, you need reservations everywhere. A good way to go if you want sit down meals all the time. But all that said, we wouldn't do this deluxe plan again. Too much time spent sitting at meals, we would have rather had quicker, more flexible meals.
Take advantage of the quick pass system for the rides, if you really work the system you can save a ton of waiting in line time.
Overall, Disney has quite a system in place, it would be pretty hard beat on your own.

LYNRDSKYNRD
08-10-2011, 09:52 AM
True about POP Century we have stayed there and at ALL Star Sports, POP was quicker because you did not have to stop at other resorts to pick up/drop off other passengers. Our first trip the tips were included with the meal plan......when we went the second time they had changed it but it's still a great value compared to paying full price. We didn't do deluxe. We had one sit down a day one quick service (fast food for lunch) and a snack a day and that was plenty. With just one sit down a day the resevations were not as much of as issue because quick service meals don't require reservations. If you decide to do a meal plan get on it soon though because lots of places will be reserved 6 months out....sounds crazy but it's true.

atlfootr
08-10-2011, 10:13 AM
LEGOLAND (formerly aka Cypress Gardens) will be OPEN by then, 65 days from now in fact!
http://florida.legoland.com/


http://florida.legoland.com/Global/images/custom/parkmap/19291_LLF_2011-Park-Map.png (http://florida.legoland.com/Documents/pdf/2011LLFParkMap.pdf)








You should talk w/ atlfootr, this guy knows everything about it.
Lives a mile away and may even give you and family pulls for fuel :D

xbot50000
08-10-2011, 05:53 PM
We go to Disney every year. On site is definitely the best if you stay at one of the big time resorts. An alternative to that is renting a vacation home. There are tons for rent 10 mins away from Disney, and they only cost like $700 a week. The benefit is you get your own private pool, bbq, fridge, etc. It's a quick and easy drive to Disney - about 15 mins.

mbeach
08-10-2011, 06:06 PM
have stayed at the gran floridian, contemporary, and off-site. definitely prefer a propterty on the monorail. for your age kids, recommend the contemporary especially for the mickey breakfast. me personally, i love magic kingdom - takes me back to a time in my life when times were simple and general feeling of it is good to be alive. enjoy and fun for kids of all ages.

BIGBADBLUE
08-10-2011, 06:18 PM
Trust me on this ... tourguidemike.com ... the site is a bit complicated but for $19 you will have the best vacation ever ... I have used him 8 times now.

John

DemolitionMan
08-10-2011, 11:23 PM
have stayed at the gran floridian, contemporary, and off-site. definitely prefer a propterty on the monorail. for your age kids, recommend the contemporary especially for the mickey breakfast. me personally, i love magic kingdom - takes me back to a time in my life when times were simple and general feeling of it is good to be alive. enjoy and fun for kids of all ages.

I don't think that I have ever been in a bad mood at the Magic Kingdom.:)

Ben
08-18-2011, 08:40 AM
Thanks for all the tips.

Looks like we have it narrowed down to Pop Century w/meal plan vs. Cabins at Ft. Wilderness - not sure about food there yet.

Pop Century seems fine for the small amount time I expect we will be in the room. Plus I like the comments on the bus routing. Can't seem to justify a lot more $$ to be on the monorail. $1000+ to save 20-40 minutes a day seems like a lot of boat gas...

Cabins look fun too, and seem to have activites, just not sure if all that will mean a boatload more walking with 2 small kids.

Anyone stay at the Cabins?

TN X-45
08-19-2011, 09:01 AM
We stayed at the Hilton on points and it is considered "on property" and eligible for the Magic Hours. We did "Dinner with the Princesses" in the castle one night for our 3 year old daughter and it was well worth it. I think they do a pirate one for boys?

starman205
08-19-2011, 10:16 AM
The week following Thanksgiving is the least attended week of the year for Disney World. My family was there that week and we walked up to every ride and attraction we wanted to see with little or no waiting.

Willski
08-19-2011, 10:34 AM
I vote for on site. No worries. Sometimes they have a deal where the meal plan is free. Good deal. Need reservations for a lot of the dinners. We bought a planning book. I thought my wife was crazy doing that, but it was worth it.

ntidsl
08-19-2011, 12:17 PM
on property...just stayed at Beach and Yacht Club with dining plan and it was great!!! plan ahead with parks and dinner reservations and get the book!!! Talk to everyone you know and get the must see things out of the way in the morning and get fast passes for the rides you want to do after lunch!!! Eat dinner early in the park, ensure you have a fast pass for two more rides and then catch the fireworks...then sleep like a baby and do it all over at a different park the next day! be sure to catch the 3D movies, there's never a line and they are great!