17 answers

Disney World for Family of 6

We are looking at taking a family vacation to Disney World at Thanksgiving. Yes, we know that is not the best time of year to go, but it is the only time we all have off.

We are trying to decide if staying on Disney property is worth the extra costs. Any advice you can share from your own experiences would be greatly appreciated! If you recommend a place to stay, that would be great too.

Thanks!!

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We have booked our trip to Disney! We went with Delta Vacations. We will be staying off property, mainly because we could get twice as much room for all 6 of us for the same or less than staying on property.

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Here are couple of websites that will be helpful in your planning. There is a lot of great advice from fellow disneyites. We are a family of 5 and headed there in 2 weeks...also a crowded time.

http://www.disboards.com/index.php?
http://www.allearsnet.com/
http://www.intercot.com/discussion/

Let me know if you have any other questions.

C.,
I am a travel agent and work at Fairway Travel in Carrollton, I live in lewisville. I can help you with your vacation to Disney! I have been there 10 times! :-) Just want to ask you a few questions and I will send some pricing your way. 1.How many nights do you want to be in Florida? 2.Are you looking for something inside the park or out? (There are advantages to both)
3.Are you looking for a hotel or maybe a condo or rental house? Are kitchen facilities important to you? 4.Are you planning to drive or fly? 5.How many people all together, 5 or 6? By answering these quetions, you are giving me the info I need to put together the perfect vacation for your family. My phone is ###-###-#### Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm and this Saturday 11:00am-3:00pm(We rotate Saturdays)
I would love to help you plan your vacation.
S.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort - Lake Buena Vista, and loved it. There have Kid Suites, with room for 3 kids in the kid suite, a room for the adults and a sofa in the den for 1 more small child.

http://www.kidsuites.com/

I think kids under a certain age eat free.... which really helps with cost.

Also, we did go to a sales pitch at a nearby timeshare and received a huge discount on tickets (and we didn't buy into the timeshare). But it's something you can do too, if you have a few hours to waste.

Staying on property is worth the money especially since you do have the Disney bus system to take you back and forth from the parks. Since you are going during peak time though these buses will be packed, especially near park opening and closing. At times we've had to wait about 1-2 buses before being able to get one. Here are some websites that are invaluable for trip planning, I'm a disney nut so I visit them everyday even when I don't have trip in the works, www.allearsnet.com or www.mouseplanet.com.

C.,
We are a family of five and we stayed off property. It depends on what is important to you as to whether you stay on property or not. Staying off property you would have to rent a car unless you are driving. The home we stayed in had a pool and you could even get it heated while you are there as it is enclosed. You can cook your own meals and save money on that. You might check www.vrbo.com for homes in the Orlando area. Also visit www.mousesavers.com for some awesome deals on Disneyworld. Again, it really comes down to what is most important to you and your family. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

I got the following advice from a travel agent @ the following address:

Kristi Rose
Bass Travel LTD
1603 W Pinhook Rd
Lafayette, LA 70508
###-###-####
____@____.com

I mentioned to the travel agent that I was thinking about staying off the grounds & she gave me the following advice:

My advice it to stay at a Disney property-there is so much added in when you stay on the grounds,

1. the use of Disney's Magical Express, which will pick you up from the airport and bring you to your resort, they also handle your luggage and it will meet you in your room! And when you are ready to leave they pick you up from your resort and bring you back to the airport.
2. "Extra Magic Hours"-everyday one of the parks will either open early or stay open late just for guests staying at a Disney property, and I can tell you from experience that it is great-no lines, especially during the night hours, (once you check in they will give you a calendar for the week telling you which parks have the extra hours).
3. If you stay at a Disney resort you have round the clock transportation to each of the theme parks from the front door of your resort. Take for instance the Pop Century (been there, loved it) right outside the front door are several bus stops- stop 1 heads right to the Magic Kingdom, stop 2- Epcot, stop 3- MGM Studios, stop 4- Disney's Animal Kingdom, stop 5- Downtown Disney and stop 6 heads to the water parks. And once you are ready to leave the park you head right outside the gates and find the bus stop which takes you right back to your resort.
4. Disney's Dinning Package-this optional package includes 1. one counter service/quick service meal-which includes and entrée, side and drink, 2. one table service/sit down meal-which includes an appetizer, entrée, drink and dessert and 3. one snack-which includes either ice cream, a soda, cookies, popcorn, etc... per day per person and there are over 100 different places through out the parks and the resorts that you can use this plan. The plan is roughly $35/day/adult and $12/day/child, it does seem like a lot at once but anyone who has been to Disney before knows just how pricey the food can be. **I will give you a personal example- before becoming a travel agent my husband and I went to Disney for 5 days, before the dinning plan existed, and we went to a great 4 star restaurant in the MGM Studios called Mama Melrose's (fantastic Italian food). We both had tea, split an appetizer, each had an entrée and split dessert and our bill was well over $120, with the tip. Needless to say that was our only big meal of that trip. This past April we went again with our 18-month old daughter and this time decided to try the dinning plan. We went back to Mama Melrose's and had 2 drinks, 2 appetizers, 2 entrées, and 2 desserts and all we had to do was swipe our dinning card and that was it, even the tip was already built in. This time we ate like that every night because it was included in the dinning plan. Plus we were each able to trade in one of our sit down meals and do a character dinner, Chef Mickey, which our daughter loved. (Chef Mickey usually runs about $26 per person). So that's my personal endorsement for the dinning plan. :-)

Hopefully this helps!

C.,
We went last summer with our two kids, and had a blast.
When we went, we did the Disney package. We stayed at the All Star Movie hotel. It was okay, but it was the cheapest. The good thing about staying in their hotels is the shuttle service. They will pick you up at the airport, and take you to and from the parks and hotel. it was very convenient.
Would you mind letting me know what other responses were about hotel recommendations?

A.

I think staying at the property is totally worth the extra expense especially if you really only plan on going to the Disney parks. The transportation alone saves you the expense of a rental car. There are hotel shuttles that charge a fee to/ from the airport but the shuttles to the parks are free. We stayed at one of the value resorts (Music) and it was fantastic..lots for the kids to do too. The parks also offer a great Thanksgiving feast with the charactures so be sure to look into that.
HAVE FUN! Wish we were going too!

I have only been there once...during spring break week with my then 5 year old and mother in law. In my opinion, it is absolutely worth it. You won't need a car since they have a very elaborate transportation system within the park(s). You can get to any park or hotel you want within Disneyworld you want.

Also, book now for special meal reservations like the Princess Breakfast (it sells out months and months in advance)..we really liked the Polynesian show, and the character dinner at the Contemporary hotel.

Also, I saw a lot of people reading guides on the park before we even got to the place and I wish I did too....there "fast pass" system is great for popular rides and it makes sense to go in with a plan to get your fast passes, then go on the less popular attractions, and go back to the popular rides during your "scheduled" time.

I would highly recommend you stay on the Disney property for your trip. You can go to Disney.com and plan absolutely everything meals and all before you go. It will make your Disney experience even more memorable! We planned our trip to Disneyland on the Disney website and got tickets to shows, meals with characters (which by the way are huge buffets)and all the information ahead of time about the park events. All we had to worry about was souveniors. When you shop you can even have your purchases sent back to your hotel so you don't have to carry them around. If nothing else go to the Disney website and compare all of your options to find your best deal. Good Luck! A.

Well, first off... GOOD LUCK! Yowza...that is one of THE busiest times of the year!

Staying on property is dependent upon a lot of things. Me personally, I love it because everythign I want and want to do is ON WDW property. If you're a family that likes to leave the property and do your own thing, then staying off property may be better for you. I liked staying on property because I didn't have to pay for parking, wait in parking lines, etc. (I have parked there before... so I do have experience first hand with both).... and the rail/bus/monorail system is great... if you can, stay in a hotel that the rail is on and you'll be zoomin in between parks easier than any other way!

The last trip we took we did sort of an all inclusive thign that included hotel, all meals, snacks, theme park tickets, etc. It was SO worth it... we didn't have to worry about anything! We didn't, however, stay at a place that had a rail line going through it -- bus only... next time -- we will pony over the extra dough!

My husband and I have been to Disney World a few times, at different times of the year. We have both at the Disney Resort and "off location". While it is nice to stay at a Disney resort because they have entertainment for kids there, are well planned out, have restaurants on site and offer transportation to the Parks - it may not be worth the extra cost if the only time you will be back in your rooms is to sleep. There are several hotels in the area that offer shuttle service to many of the attractions in the vicinity, so getting around - unless you want to do stuff other then the "big attractions" is very convenient. I guess they only incentive that would lead you to staying at a Disney resort is they often have packages that make it a bit more affordable and when you leave, you are offered fun "parting gifts".

I love Disney World. Yes, it is worth the cost. You can stay at the parks later on certain days and go early on some days. Being near is a great benefit with younger children. I could go on for hours about how to plan your trip. There is a book available at the Disney Store that is a must. It tells you all the ins and outs of the different things to see and do based on children's ages, where the best deals are and so on. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom- not my favorite. We have also stayed at the All Sports- ok but not great-cheap way to go and far from the parks. The best place for us was the plantation- it is in the middle on the price schedule. I believe we got better service than the Animal Kingdom- which is considered the top of the line. Exactly 90 days prior to your trip, you need to call and schedule the Princess Breakfast. It fills up the first day and is the hot ticket to get. You get to have breakfast in the castle with all the various princesses. I could go on and on. Feel free to email me if you would like to discuss.

C.-
Actually, depending on when you go, Thanksgiving is a great time to be at DW - the week after starts their least crowded (and least expensive) time of year!

We went the 1st wk of December last year and had a blast. Our kids were 2 and 3 and we stayed at the Saratoga springs resort. It's new, with several bedroom options. I highly recommend staying on property if only to take advantage of the Dining program - it is an absolute steal! If you are members of AAA, talk to them about it. If I had to book something today, I would choose a monorail resort, but that is b/c my kids still do naps and are younger than yours - waiting for a hotel bus at the park shouldn't be that big of a deal.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me. I LOVE Disney World and since we were just there, might be able to help you out!

J.

We've been to Disney 3 times, once was last Thanksgiving, it's not a bad time. We stayed on property twice and off property once. We would never go and stay off property again. Having access to Disney transportation is optimal. We've stayed at the All-Star Resort (Disney's cheapest) and the Port Orleans resort. All-Star was fine, but we really liked Port Orleans alot better. You can reduce your cost by eating breakfast in your room. At Port Orleans there is a refrigerator in the room, and Tiffany Towncar service will pick you up at the airport and stop at a grocery store for no extra charge. Get a good guide book and get to the parks before they open.

Absolutly stay at one of the disney resorts, it's definatly worth the extra money. We've been 4 times and stayed at one of the resorts each time. Twice at the polynisian, one each at the disney institute and at fort wilderness. It really depends on what you want to spend but disney is all about service and I've never been diappointed. The polynisian is very posh (obviously for what it cost) and the service was the same as at the less expensive resorts but the atmosphere was absolutly magical (especially for the adults) the institute was new when we stayed there and they offered us a package that included all our breakfasts with characters for the entire stay. It was a nice little "efficency" apartment that was perfect for my husband and I who were taking a second honeymoon. But my favorite has been the fort wilderness lodge for more than one reason. We rented one of the cabins that slept 6 and was essentially a small trailer home complete with a full kitchen complete with pots and pans and dishes and such, deck and a seperate bedroom for us (the parents) that afforded some privacy. We weren't secluded per say but the cabins were nicely spaced and the kids loved the natural "camping" enviroment it offered and we save loads of money by doing grocery shopping our first day in kissamee and having breakfast and dinner at the cabin.
As for the other resorts, I can't give you firsthand knowledge, but we have dined at and toured nearly all of them except for the last few newer ones and again, service was fantastic. The staff are truly trained to give their guests a magical personalized experience that we've never gotten at any other chain hotel/motel. Another benifit of staying onsite is that the cards they issue to get you in the parks also serve at a "debit card" that you can use in the parks to make purchases that will be billed (and delivered) to your room if you don't want to carry cash around all day and you can even set you children up with a "spending limit" on their cards (or elect not give them access to spending) so there's no danger of lost money and the kids get to feel like they are responsible for their own purchases.
As you can see, I've a big fan of disney and I always enjoy those vacations the best so if you have any questions or are looking for a "hard sell" to convince you, just email me and I'll be happy to help.

A wonderful place to stay in Disney World is the Grand Floridian hotel. IT is absolutetly beautiful. It's worth the extra money, because the hotel is on the monorail system. So to get to the parks you just jump on that from your hotel and your there. I stayed there many many years ago, but it was wonderful. My husband and I went to DW for our honeymoon, and we rented a car and stayed at a hotel away from the parks, and it was a pain. Next time we go we will definetly stay at a hotel that is on the monorail. Good Luck and Have Fun!! Tell Mickey HI!! :)

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