September 10, 2008,
D.H. asks from Lewisville, TX on September 09, 2008
Planning a Disney World Trip for May - Any Advice or Great Deals/websites?
We are planning a trip to Disney World in Orlando. We plan on going for a week with our two kids, age 5 and 2. One of my friends told me about www.tourguidemike.com which looks like it's going to be a great site to help with the plans. I was wondering if anyone had any other great planning sites that they recommend.
Also, does anyone have any amazing tips for planning, park time, or just general Disney travel that you think might help us plan?
Any advice or tips would be much appreciated :)
Thanks so much!
2 moms found this helpful
E.W. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
I also highly recommend getting the Passporter guide to Walt Disney World. It has so much information in it as well as places to write down all of your confirmation #'s, ADR's, any touring plans you have as well as tons of other stuff.
If you are staying on property and not renting a car, use the Disney Magical Express. You put a special luggage tag on your bags and when you land in Orlando a Disney rep will get your bags for you and deliver them to your resort. All you have to do upon arrival at Orlando is check in at the Magical Express desk, get on a bus and they wisk you away to your resort. Your bags will follow you a few hours later, no problems!!
Definitely take some breaks each day so you don't overload your kids - especially the younger one. Even if they don't take naps anymore Disney will wear everyone out.
Take some time to explore different resorts, there's so much to see at each one. Also, ride the monorail just for fun and ask if you can sit in the front with the driver.
To get your children excited, order the custom disney park maps from the disney website. They'll arrive with your families name on them, they'll be a great keepsake but also a fun way to get your kids involved in the planning.
I could go on and on with ideas and tips, if you have any specific questions just send me an email.
1 mom found this helpful
K.K. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
GO OUT AND GET FODORS A GUIDE TO DISNEYWORLD WITH KIDS 2008-2009 IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY!
1 mom found this helpful
R.B. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
I am so excited for you! I love DisneyWorld and Land and we go every year as we are Disney Vacation Members.
You have received some great advice. I second the Fodor's book on Doing Disney with kids- it will let you know what your kids can ride, etc...
Other than that, the biggest advice I have is to plan, plan, plan. You can get on-line and see what times the parks open. Plan what you want to do the most and go from there. AND, make any and all reservations for meals, activities 6 months out. I make a folder and keep all my notes in there.
When you call for your reservations###-###-####) have everything ready that you want to book. This makes the reservation process much, much easier. And, be ready to be on the phone for a while without interuptions.
Finally, don't try to do everything in one visit. You and your children WILL get tired and cranky. I love the strollers that you can rent at the parks- they are so easy to push. It does cost a bit extra, but it is worth it in my mind.
If you want to talk over the phone, please feel free to Private Message me. I enjoy talking about Disney. We are going the second week of December for 10 days. It is absolutely gorgeous that time of year and the crowds are at a minimum.
1 mom found this helpful
R.C. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
We planned a trip a couple years ago and used tourguide mike's website. It was totally worth it. We went the week of Christmas (their busiest week) and didn't wait more than 15 minutes for any ride, and many times we just walked right on. It took a lot of work to plan out our days, but it was worth it. I also used some info from mousesavers and the dis boards, but tourguide mike was what I relied on the most. If you really spend time on his website he can answer any question you can imagine and a lot of things I would have never even thought of. Good luck!
L.M. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
check out www.mousesavers.com
also, go buy the The Unofficial Family Guide to DisneyWorld. It's the best book that I've found.
T.T. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
The Disney World.com site has helpful links to make your trip easier.
Go to My DisneyVacation tab at the top for more helpful links.
They have a customize your map where you can pick out what you want to do and print out the map at home or order one and mailed to you. This will help you hit all the spots you want at each park.
A.M. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2008
We went in early August with my brother- & sister-in-law who are Disney nuts! They recommended the book - Passporter's Walt Disney World. It has GREAT maps -- easier to read than the ones that disney give you. And it each eatery and ride listed, reviewed, with height restrictions, etc. It was really helpful -- I kept that with me in my backpack everyday we went to the parks so we could be armed with information. It helped!!
Also I like the allears.net website --- good reviews of all things disney world. including lots of pics of each resort.
Also.... make dining reservations as early as possible -- I think it's 6 months in advance. And call on that day/time -- there will be others booking their times during your vacation time! So unless you like to eat dinner at 10 pm -- make reservations!
Popular ones: The Coral Reef restaurant in Epcot. There's a huge aquarium on one wall full of beautiful fish, sharks... occasionally a scuba diver is there to hand feed them.
A kid favorite dinning option: Chef Mickey! lots of characters here!
Tips: take a laptop - if you're shooting your family pics with a digital.... so you can download the pics off your camera card every night - and you'd be guaranteed to have those images. Sadly, I lost my camera on our last day at disney!! And no one turned it in. I was so upset. And we didn't take a laptop so all those images were gone - forever. :-(
Get a prof Disney photographer to take your family's photo and they'll give you a Photopass card. Keep this with your park pass/ticket every day and use it! Have the photogs take your photos -- you can even ask them to take your photo with YOUR camera and they'll do it. You can go online to order their images.
Do the Fastpass line thing --- Go to an area of the park (Frontierland, etc...) And then discover (this is where the guide books come in handy again) which rides are the most popular -- go straight there to get a Fastpass (you need everyone's park ticket w/you to get a fastpass for each person in your party). Your fastpass will probably tell you to come back to the ride in an hour or so... it will give you a time frame of about 20 mins ("come back anytime between 4-4:20"). So during that wait time you can go to shops or even jump on some of the rides less popular with 0 wait times. That made the days more enjoyable - we felt like we rode a lot of rides! Some you MUST get the fastpass as soon as the park opens -- Disney studio's Buzz lightyear toy story ride; Disney studio Aerosmith rocking rollercoaster (this is for adults anyway).
OH! also -- there's something called "parent swap" -- where the child/ren can ride with one parent and the other parent can wait it out... when they return after the ride is over -- the child can ride again with the remaining/waiting parent. So the child gets to ride 2 times! This worked for us on the speedway cars. Really cool because we both got to drive a car with my son (only 2 bodies/per car). Just ask your ride attendant about it -- consultant the guide books on which rides this is most beneficial.
T.F. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
We have not been in a while since our daughter is now 13 but from ages 2-10 we went every 2 yrs. I realize some things may have changed.
I always booked everything on the WDW phone number. We always flew in on the earliest flight and floew home on one of the later afternoon flights.
If you fly: You can either take the shuttle which is shared with others and you may or may not be the first stop off the shuttle to your hotel. Name of Shuttle service is Mears. We preferred AND IT WAS FAR WORTH IT....to take a cab directly to our hotel. The cost was less than $75, straight shot to and from hotel. You really don't need a car there, especially if you are on the property.
Hotels: Our preferred hotel is the Polynesian right on the monorail line. SO EASY if you have little ones to run back to your room from Magic Kingdom. Polynesian and the Grand Floridian have a boat taxi to and from Magic Kingdom which is faster than the monorail sometimes...
I usually booked our rooms about a year in advance. We like the beach, pool, and everything about the Polynesian. I could stay there and never go to any park! A lot of people balk at the Conceirge Rooms at the Poly but it was worth it to us. They had light foods which covered breakfast, fruits and drinks always out, lite lunch type foods, appetizers and happy hour late afternoon and coffee dessert at night. YES, you pay more but think about the food bills you are NOT paying for in the park or wherever because you had food at your hotel suite available to you. Depending on the location of your room, you can overlook the beach AND see the nightly MK fireworks.
We loved the traditional luau and the character breakfast at O'Hana at the Polynesian.
We also like Chef Mickey at the Contemporary. Nice buffet and children see a lot of characters.
We did a breakfast inside MK with Pooh.
Take autograph books for the children.
Go to the parades at MK.
Tickets: Upon checkin we bought tickets that were good from checkin until midnight on the day of checkout for any park any time. Also, when we were there, one of the parks opened early every morning for the guests at Polynesian, Grand Floridian and Contemporary. I understand that some other properties may be involed in the early promo now. REMEMBER: on checkout day, even if you are checked out, you can still visit the parks until midnight. The Valet staff will store your luggage and belongings until you leave.
I checked everything out on the Disney website as far as what to do, etc. We always had a blast and we are actually thinking of going back in March to the property at Animal Kingdom where you can go on an early morning safari ride and see the animals from your room! Exciting!
I apologize for being too long winded. After 5 trips there, you have a lot of info to share. If you wnt more info, just ask me.
ENJOY! It is a wonderful place, TAKE A LOT OF $$$, the smiles on children's faces is just wonderful.
M.M. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2008
We are going Thanksgiving week and I booked through www.alifefortravel.com
We are so excited. I would recommend doing the food plan, our whole trip was prepaid so the only money will be souveniers, tips, and extras :)