Author Topic: Disney Vacation  (Read 4116 times)

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Aeris

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 10:14:42 PM »
I recommend getting the Disney Visa card.  You earn points that you can spend at Disney.  Also if you use it pay for your vacation you get 6 months 0% interest.

I would only do this if you have the money already saved by the time of the trip, and spend no more on the card than you already have in the bank, ready to go. It's all too easy to get wrapped up in 'the magic' of the vacation and spend more than you've saved, and find yourself stuck after the fact with a hefty credit card bill that you have trouble paying on.

Those Disney points aren't remotely worth it if you put yourself in actual debt and end up paying interest charges later on.

kareng57

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 10:21:47 PM »
I recommend getting the Disney Visa card.  You earn points that you can spend at Disney.  Also if you use it pay for your vacation you get 6 months 0% interest.

I would only do this if you have the money already saved by the time of the trip, and spend no more on the card than you already have in the bank, ready to go. It's all too easy to get wrapped up in 'the magic' of the vacation and spend more than you've saved, and find yourself stuck after the fact with a hefty credit card bill that you have trouble paying on.

Those Disney points aren't remotely worth it if you put yourself in actual debt and end up paying interest charges later on.


I very much agree.  Very often, with those no-interest for several months agreements - if you're one day late making the first payment, the interest is through the roof.

OP, assuming that you're in the continental US, $10,000 seems to be a huge amount to pay for a Disney vacation.  Two weeks is a very long time to spend at WDW.  With such young kids, I'd think you'd be spending most of the time at the Magic Kingdom and perhaps the Animal Kingdom, rather than Epcot.  One week would likely be plenty - you could always go again in a few years when the kids are older, and when the youngest ones would have more awareness.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2013, 12:25:13 AM »
For comparison, we're going for eight days at around the same time and planning to spend about $3-4K.  (That does include splitting the cost of a vacation rental with my parents, so our cost without that would be a few hundred dollars more.)  It may end up being a bit more because that cost doesn't factor in the car rental or souvenirs yet, but it's still a far cry from $10K.  I absolutely respect your right to vacation the way you wish, but you can do it for a lot cheaper without having to give up very much  :)

LilacGirl1983

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2013, 09:32:52 AM »
Thank you for everyone's input. We are looking at the most of 10k..We are trying to find ways to save money as well..whatever we don't spend will go for other things we might want to save up for later. We do have to pay for flights which we are looking around 2k. The hotel we are guesstimating around 5k..and tickets to other places for another 2k..so that leaves food expense and souvenirs and other expenses..we would rather save to much and have it for elsewhere then not have enough..We plan also to go to Universal studios, sea world, and water parks.. I was hoping people would have tips to cut back on the expense for the 14 day vacation.

Sharnita

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2013, 05:32:13 PM »
Definitely look into the meal plan - like I said, they might even give it to you for free if you are staying on site and it is during off season.

Paper Roses

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2013, 08:50:59 PM »
When my oldest child was young, we went several times in the fall.  It was a great time to go, because the crowds get much lighter, and you can burn through the parks much faster.  Plus, if you have a really young one, you don't have to worry as much about them getting bored and antsy in long lines.

As for the dining plans - get the least expensive one.  This will give you 2 "walk-up service" meals per day, plus a snack.  The next tier up includes one "sit down meal" per day, which sounds great, but trust me, when you get there you'll find it's a waste of money and time.  And the walk-up service meals are usually really good, and include a dessert and drink, and there's plenty of variety.  Also, some of the things that count as "snacks" can be meals, like the cinnamon rolls at the Main Street bakery.  I got a few of those one night and brought them back to the hotel, and we all had those for breakfast the next day.

The character meals are fun, but IMO, overpriced.  I would say go to one for the experience, but I wouldn't do more than that - that's time you could be spending on rides!

Tip - If your package includes the refillable drink cup, this can be used only at the hotel.  It's unlimited, but you can't use it in the parks or anywhere but your hotel.  So, before you go to the park, fill it with whatever beverage appeals to you, then bring it back to your room and put it in the fridge.  It will be nice and cold and waiting for you when you get back - and trust me, you will appreciate not having to 1) lug it around the park with you (you'll have enough to carry) and 2) get it when you get back, then bring it all the way to the main building or lobby) to fill it.
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Snooks

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2013, 07:50:59 AM »
I'd imagine for $5K you could get a much more upmarket hotel than the Port Orleans.  Admittedly this was three years ago but we stayed there on our honeymoon on a seven day package, including the meal deal and transatlantic flights for $3K.

cicero

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2013, 03:04:55 PM »
Thank you for everyone's input. We are looking at the most of 10k..We are trying to find ways to save money as well..whatever we don't spend will go for other things we might want to save up for later. We do have to pay for flights which we are looking around 2k. The hotel we are guesstimating around 5k..and tickets to other places for another 2k..so that leaves food expense and souvenirs and other expenses..we would rather save to much and have it for elsewhere then not have enough..We plan also to go to Universal studios, sea world, and water parks.. I was hoping people would have tips to cut back on the expense for the 14 day vacation.
i've been to disney a few times, aslo with DS when he was around 11.

Is the two weeks something that is engraved in stone or are you flexible? because I think it's really too long. I LOVE disney, but i think 5-7 days is fine. you have to understand that it's very tiring, over whelming, over stimulating, and there is all that "stuff" staring you (and your kids) in the face going "buymebuymebuyme". that would be the first place i would look to cut back on expeses.

Parks - for those ages i would do magic kingdom (maybe two days) and animal kingdom and possibly a waterpark. we were extremely unimpressed with sea world - I don't know where you live but there are far better of this type of park in other places. we were at Universal before it was renovated. MGM disney is cute but i think most of the "good" rides there are really more for older kids.

Also, you mentioned you would not be renting a car - we've done both with and without a car. either way, in addition to the walking around all day, the crowds, the lines, you have the getting to and leaving - the parking lots are not always right next to the entrance so you have the lines to get in, park, and then walk or take a shuttle to the entrance. and vice versa at the end of the tiring day. if you use the shuttle buses take into account that they often do bunches of hotels on one route so the trip may be longer than you might anticipate.

go to the various orlando sites (mousears, mousesavers etc) - there are a lot of good tips there. what worked for us to save (and YMMV):
*buy big vats of bottled water (you can get them in any supermarket/drug store), fill up empty water bottles and freeze. drink that during the day so you dont' have to spend money on bottled water.
*plan on bringing sandwiches, fruit, snacks etc. (NOTE: find if this is allowed, they change the rules on this).
*buy your park tickets at your hotel concierge. if they don't sell them there, then find a hotel that does. it will save you on line time in the AM.
*a tip from my cousin: tell your child they are allowed *one* (or whatever number you decide) treat a day - that is either a treat (ice cream, slushie etc) OR a souvenir. or they are allowed X dollars for treats and they get to decide how to spend it.


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Hmmmmm

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2013, 04:48:05 PM »
A few years ago we saved a ton of money on hotel stay by using the Disney Vacation Club point rental program.  Basically you pay a Disney timeshare owner for the use of their annual timeshare points and then they rent a on-property Disney timeshare condo for you. And you receive all the benefits of staying at a Disney resort. 

My husband thought I was a little nutty to try it but it worked out beautifully.  It did require a little more research.  I had to research which DVC properties I liked, then find out how many points were required for each night of my desired stay (there are charts to help with this) and then locate via the board someone with that number of points to sell. Once you find them, they then have to contact the resort and try to confirm reservations for you so it's good to have two options for them on properties.  They then send you a copy of the confirmation of the booking in your name and you pay them for the points. 

To buy the points, I used a site that sold points directly from a points owner. But Mousesavers.com has a site that sells points for a set rate.  It's a little higher but does elliminate some of the fear of fraud. In looking at their site a 2 bedroom villa at Wilderness Lodge (my favorite) in October '13 would require 234 points and their cost is $13 per point so a total of around $3000.  A one bedroom at Boardwalk villas would be around $1800. Or a studio that sleeps 4 at Animal Kingdom would be $962.


Morticia

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2013, 11:13:36 AM »
If you wait to book until a few months out, they usually offer free dining with the purchase of rooms and tickets. Staying on site gets you a lot of perks, and is a more Disney experience.  If you are going the first part of October, it will be cheaper and they will still be doing their Hallowe'en celebrations. If you include resorts, parks, watermarks and Downtown Disney, there is more than enough to do for 2 weeks. And POR is one of my favourite resorts.

There is a boat between that resort, its sister resort and Downtown Disney.  I would strongly recommend taking a few days to relax at the pools (French Quarter is Riverside's sister resort, so you can use the pools and facilities at both if you are staying at either one). Straight theme parking can be overwhelming and lead to meltdowns and exhaustion.
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TheaterDiva1

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2013, 11:49:10 AM »
Thanks everyone..We are looking at the Port Orleans Riverside but not sure how suitable it will be for two younger kids..also we are looking at about 10k for everything including hotel, flight, attractions, food ect..Is that to long for 14 days ?

We stayed at Port Orleans last November (French Quarter) - lived it!

That said, look into getting Park Hopper passes.  That allows you to just go in and out of different parks over time - great if you want to spend the day at Magic Kingdom but just want to go to Epcot for dinner later (then again, we only stayed two days).

cutejellybeen

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2013, 08:33:07 PM »
my husband and I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter last november and loved it. There were lots of families with small children there too and htey all seemed ot be having fun. it was great to have the boat to Downtown Disney too!

If you can go when free dining is offered do it. it saved us money, and allowed us to try lots more restaurant choices than we other wise would have!

I know a lot of people are saying two weeks is too long, but if you are planning on down days at the resort then that would be fun, and you will need the days at the other parks. Depending on how you want to spend your hotel time, you could always do a split stay, and spend part of hte time at one hotel, and part at another. Disney will even arrange to have your bags moved for you. Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club looks like the best pool on property, though of course that hotel is more expensive.

we didnt rent a car while there and found the bus system more than adequate for what we needed. Though if you are planning on other parks, it might make sense to rent a car for part of the trip, as I would think that cabs get expensive, and Disney doesnt shuttle to other theme parks as far as I know.

Book restaurants at the 6 month out mark - the good ones fill up fast!



Morticia

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2013, 09:32:27 PM »
Boma is our favourite on property restaurant, and the Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth spending time at. If you're not staying there, you can't use the pool, but you can wander around and see the animals. I believe some nights they offer storytelling around the fire.  And night vision goggle animal viewings.
Now our mom says she's changed her mind about the devil's brood, they may be evil so she thinks, but at least they're never rude...
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Library Dragon

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2013, 09:49:47 PM »
During our first trip we stayed at the Carribean Beach Resort with our 2 DSs.  They were 4 & 11.  If you plan to swim I like that all the "villages" have a smaller pool and there is still the large fancier pool.  This meant there were not a bazillion people in one pool.  There's a nice playground area.  We had a down day mid week and hung out at our resort.  We rented paddle boats.  The refillable cup is a good deal. 

A character meal is a must!  We took our boys to the Contemporary for breakfast and they loved it.  Years later we took our niece and her daughter to the breakfast at the Grand Floridian.  It was more "girly".  The characters know what their doing.  Our great niece loved seeing the characters from a few tables away, but not right next to her.  Once they realized this they only came close enough for it to be a good experience.

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Cami

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Re: Disney Vacation
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2013, 02:21:06 PM »
Some random thoughts based upon 20+ years of Orlando vacations and my dd working as a CM at Disney:

1. Two weeks is an awfully long time for a 6 year old and a 1 year old to be away from home, in a small hotel room. It's also not necessary to spend that long to see what kids those ages want to see. I'd cut it back to 10 days max, probably closer to 7.

2. Kids often surprise parents with their preferences. Example: kids are often just as thrilled to go swimming than they are to go on rides. So make sure your hotel has a good pool and you bring swimsuits and PLAN for swimming (and also the need to take decompression breaks because the parks are often overstimulating for children). Another example: I thought my then 6 year old dd would be thrilled to have the Princess breakfast in Cinderella's castle. It was fine for her, but what she really loved was Hoop De Doo -- she talked about that for months after!  So carefully consider what your kid will really enjoy.
 
3. I'd skip Epcot and possibly Hollywood Studios at Disney. We love Epcot, but with a very few exceptions, most kids are not fans of it. Toy Story Mania at HS  is the hottest "ticket" at WDW because it's really the only kid-friendly ride in the entire park. Riding it generally means you must get there at rope drop and hustle right over there to get in and/or get a FP for later. Don't hustle? On an average day, you won't get a FP and you'll have a 60 minute wait. So with kids of that age, you need to ask if it's worth it.

4. The best way to get the most done with the shortest lines is to get to the parks at "rope drop" -- which is as soon as it opens. By doing so, you will be able to get on rides while waiting the shortest possible time, which allows you to get on more rides before the kids get tired and/or the parks get crowded. If you do not get there for rope drop, plan accordingly and understand that you WILL have to wait on lines, sometimes long lines.  Prepare everyone for that reality.

5. Understand how to use the FP system at WDW and how it differs from the systems at Universal and Seaworld.

6. Get on Disney, Universal and Seaworld's email lists. Disney will send you regular offers of discounts and free dining options that are worth using.   Also, if you belong to AAA -- they often have great deals. For example, this year they had a deal so that if you bought a Seaworld one day pass, it became an annual pass.
 
7. If you are planning on going to SeaWorld and Universal, you'd be better off renting a car or staying at a hotel with shuttles to those parks because the cab fare to get from, for example, Disney's Pop Century Hotel to Universal was $40 each way. That's $80 per day in cab fare that would have covered most of a week's worth of a car rental.

8. We have stayed at a variety of Disney hotels and off-Disney hotels. Our favorite Disney hotel with kids is Pop Century. It's a value resort and has a good cafeteria right on site, as well as numerous pools. Another huge advantage is that the Disney bus service for Pop is only for Pop, unlike many other resort buses, which are shared. We do not find any value to spending a lot more money to stay at the moderate Disney resorts such as Port Orleans.  We have also stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Buena Vista and the Holiday Inn Resort in Buena Vista -- both fine (and the Holiday Inn Resort has an option for a very large room at no additional charge at times, which is a god send if you have a pack and play and a car seat, etc.) I'd also note that if you sign up for Groupon, they often have Disney area hotels on sale. In fact, just today, they had a deal for a Disney-partner hotel for only $57/night.