disney vacation advice

shelly71March 26, 2007

We've never been on a family vacation to Disney World, but anticipate it as soon as its affordable. Any advice on what to look for? deals to be had? Good season to go? where to stay? Two adults and two kids (grade school age).

THANKS for anything you can share.

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I have family in Tampa so we have been there several times. It is not affordable in my eyes but there are some things you can do to save money. We used to stay on the property when my mother worked for Disney but she does not anymore. We were down there in February (went on the cruise) and stayed in a 3 bedroom condo that was 2 minutes from the property and it was very nice. I found it on floridamagicvacation.com I also thought they were very reasonable. Watch what you buy there as food and souveniers get really expensive. I also had gotten on a forum that was all about disney I think it is disboards.com. These people live disney and can give you alot of helpful hints.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 3:15PM
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We visited Disney last year during the last week of August. It was our first visit and was very memorable, to say the least. We ended up getting a great deal. We stayed at one of the Value resorts (All Stars Movie). They were running a special where a family of four could stay for $79 a night and it included the food plan (Magic Your Way Plus Dining). I would never go back without doing it this week. You were basically given a credit type of card for each member of the family. Each member is alloted one snack, one counter meal and one dinner per day. You can use these meals at any of the restaurants at any of the resorts or theme parks. We wanted to do quite a few character meals so we made our reservations several months in advance. We actually had quite a few counter meals and snacks left over at the end of the week. It is more than enough. Some of the big dinner shows counted for 2 dinners because they were more expensive (Hoop-De-Do review and the Polynesian Luau). We used a counter service ticket the next night to make up for it. We loved the luau! I think they only run this special twice per year. I'm not sure where to find this plan on the internet site, but you could call one the reservations line and inquire about it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:44PM
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There are always specials so be sure you check the Disney website often. The least busy months are January, May and September so if you can go then you'll find it easier to get into everything you want to see.
Staying on Disney property provides many advantages but if you can't find a good deal on-site, then try hotels in the area that offer shuttles to Disney. Sometimes for just a few dollars more than a hotel with no services, you can find one that provides breakfast, a nice pool, room for all 4 of you to share a room, etc. I live in Orlando and when we have friends visiting town (if they aren't staying with us!) we always recommend a hotel called the Caribe Royale. (No, I'm not an employee. I just think it's the best deal in town!). The rooms are all suites that can easily sleep two kids in addition to two adults, they have a great breakfast buffet, and unless they've eliminated it recently, you can catch a shuttle to Disney or Sea World. The pool area is awesome and may become the family's favorite spot. They are really close to a large outlet mall, too, if you want to do some shopping!

I don't know where you live, but be aware that Orlando in July and August is brutally hot. Even September is well into the 90s on most days with very high humidity. Bring hats and dark sunglasses. It is likely to rain every afternoon, although it doesn't usually last much more than 1/2 hour. Disney sells rain ponchos ($7) but it's not a bad idea to bring one along for everyone in your group. I'm sure you can get them cheaper at home ($4?).

Most of all, ENJOY! It really is a magical place and I'm sure you'll have a blast.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:27PM
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we stayed at POP CENTURY inside Disney very affordable for Disney...I have 4 children!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 8:57AM
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If I had my way, I would stay onsite at Disney because you get extra magic hours which enables disney resort guests to enter early and leave later. We have stayed at pop century resorts before but they are very basic. Cinder block walls and small rooms but excellent pools.
But if your budget is thin, do not hesitate to stay in Kissimmee somewhere. It is a close ride to the disney property. And there are many nice hotels.
And you don't have to pay to stay for disney restaurants. Disney meal plan would not have been cost effective for us because our 2 kids (6 and 9) are not big eaters at all. And since it was hot NO one wanted to eat much. And food in the parks can be expensive. Stick to the counter service meals if you want to save.
We just got back (early June) and it rained for short violent periods 4 of the 7 days we were there as it is getting to be hurricane season. Mid to upper 90s daily and superhumid. We anticipated this and brought our own raincoats.
Although the plus is, in the summer, magic kingdom is open later til 11 and we took advantage of doing is at night. We took advantage of the pools during the day. Daytime in the magic kingdom it was just way too crowded to even navigate. We rode more rides from 5pm until 11pm than we would have if we came during the day when the waits are an hour plus. AND you can stay out of the heat.
Other parks are different shorter hours though.
And if you get your disney tickets through AAA club, we got a special diamond parking pass which enables you to park right up front. A bonus.
We drove, we decided airfare was too expensive and we did not want the expense of renting a car.
There are disney specific forums on the web that will help you also.
Although be forwarned, even if you go basic and budget minded, it can still be expensive as your kids will want to buy everything in those shops there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 11:09AM
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It was cheaper for us to stay here, and just buy park hopper passes for the kids and ourselves. The owners are amazing!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 11:06PM
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we went in early October and it was really great no wait for the attractions. I would recommend getting the Park Hopper passes because you might not get through a whole park in 1 day ( but we like Magic KIngdom and wanted to go through it again) Animal Kingdom only took us a half day(for us anyway). We did eat at a 5o's dinner and it was expensive but it was fun.. The counter prices for food to me were very reasonable and actually did not taste bad -- pizza water pop etc.. It was cheaper than other places like" Six Flags" . Parking was expensive so I would also recommend saying somewhere on the property ( pop star or all star) or maybe an off site hotel that has shuttle service. All though the off site hotel wasnt a great as the pix showed. Watch out for that. We stayed off site and rented a car just because we went to Clearwater for a few days after ( very relaxing part for me and we were on the beach all 3 days) The Luau is a MUST SEE --but you have to get reservations as soon as you know the Dates of your vacation. I could not get reservations for the Disney Luau so we went to one a Sea World which wasnt as good as the Disney, but still better than not going to one.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 7:46PM
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The best advice I can give is to tell you to purchase a copy of "The Unofficial Guide to Disney". You can pick it up at any large bookstore and amazon.com has it as well. It tells you all you need to know about the hotels and restaurants so you can make wise decisions. It gives you very helpful info about the rides and shows, short cuts, maps and lots of other tips and hints!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 12:35PM
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Definitely agree with the opinions posted so far. The only thing I could add would be that if you're planning on traveling with kids, it can get expensive to cart all of the kid-accessories (strollers, nap supplies, etc) with you on the airplane. There are a few family-oriented sites that will let you rent these things (which actually ends up cheaper than the airline 'fees'). Our best experience was with a little company called Kids Gear Here (KidsGearHere.com). The friendly woman that we spoke to and dealt with was a Mom herself and very accommodating.

Do not rent from Disney as the fees are astronomical! Prepare to take out a second mortgage on your home if you do go with Disney rentals.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:41PM
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I want to take my family on a Disney vacation. We live in Jersey and there are six of us. There's nothing affordable about this gangster conglomerate i.e. Disney! And all that's connected with it.
And that's including Sea World. When you're paying 100 dollars plus per person to basically walk around and go on a ride or two there's something wrong. So far the $$$ is about $4,000.00 plus. Airfare, hotel, and tickets. Those package deals aren't deals at all. E.G. $400.00 per person...considering hotel cost "median price" might be about $100.00 per day so that's $500.00 for 5 nights. Figure airfare around $1,300.00. Now tickets on the otherhand are about fixed with little savings. So I will estimate a rediculous additional fee of another $1,000.00. This is a grand total of $2,800.00. Seems reasonable. So where the heck is the expense of $4,000.00 plus coming from??? Now that's PIRACY!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 7:36AM
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Been there 3 times. 3 adults + 2 children was $750 for Park Hopper tickets and $750 for 5 nights in Pop Century. If you stay outside the park - you pay for parking and loose an hour a day in the park. We alloted $20 a day per person for food. We only bought suppers and maybe an occasional drink or snack. One suitcase full of evening snacks. One suitcase full of breakfast items-cereal,etc . A coleman cooler/refrigerater held milk/cheese,juice, etc. One suitcase with styro bowls/plates/plastic ware. Management doesn't really care if you load the room with foodstuffs and it does cut down on expenses. Bring water bottles-fill from fountains. We drove down from PA and stayed one night at Econ-lodge along the way. Same on the way back. Gas price cheaper the more south you went. Last visit was 10 years ago so ticket prices may be higher. Son and wife and 4 kids went two years ago and it was pretty much the same then too. Had kids earn spending money all year to buy souvenirs and such.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:01PM
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