Me and Son Going at Disney World Orlando - Please, Help Me Plan This!

Updated on July 16, 2012
S. asks from Greenville, SC
9 answers

Ok Mammas, so for the first time my beloved son (he's 6) and I will be completely alone this summer. It feels unsettling and a bit scary, SO I decided to slap adversities in the face and to take my son to a place where he can have a blast, be with other children and do something exciting -I will conquer my fears and will take us there. We will be flying in from Europe and hope to stay in one of the resorts (which one, though?). The chosen week is from sunday august 5th to sat. august 11th, but we could depart as early as the 3rd (considering the jet-leg effect we may be sleepy the first two days). I have so many questions: 1) Where are we staying and will the hotel come and pick us up at the airport? 2) Should we arrange for bed and breakfast or is better half board (with breakfast and dinner)? 3) which parks are good for my 6yo boy and how to I get those specific tickets? 4) How do we get from the resort/hotel to the parks (distances seem HUGE) and back? 5) How hot will it be in august or will it be rainy (so what do I pack)? 6) What is there to know in order to save time (afraid of long lines at the rides) and, possibly, money?
There are so many websites and resources, it's just too much, it's confusing and I have no idea what it is like there. I am thinking to go to the rides in the morning and to take a break in the afteroon, returning in the the walking going to wear us down? My son is too big for the stroller and I am too small to carry him, 6) is there any kind of transportation within the park?
I am sure i am forgetting something...thank you in advance, mammas!

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answers from Des Moines on

I know it seems overwhelming....but dis is a wealth of information. You are going to spend a small fortune on this vacAtion so might as well plan it to the last detail, like you are. I would just go to the and ask away!

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answers from Dallas on

Are you talking about the summer of 2013? It's a bit late for Aug 2012 to be planning in order to get seats at special meals, etc.

Most resorts and character meals/activities fill up about a year in advance.

We LOVE the Polynesian resort which is on the monorail line, super convenient, and yes pricey but so WORTH it. We've never stayed anywhere else and we started Disney trips when daughter was 2. We went every 2 years until she was 14. The character breakfast a O'Hana is great. Polynesian also has a character luau and a regular one. The regular/"authentic" luau is better in my opinion. You can take the boat taxi or monorail to/from MK from Polynesian.

If you are on the main monorail line.... another perk is that 1 park opens an hour earlier each day for those guests at the specified hotels. This was helpful when we did MK and had no lines, etc for characters.

We opt to have a private cab from the airport to the hotel. Last time we went, about 3 yrs ago, it was about $100 each way about an hour each way. WORTH it, because you get a straight shot and are not on the bus (which is free) waiting for your stop which is unknown as far as timing.

The monorail will take you to Epcot and MK. There are buses that are handy for the Aninal Kingdom and other parks. We really enjoyed Animal kingdom... we did a private safari that was SO exciting.. It was off the beaten path, up close and personal with the animals.

It will probably be hot in August and possible rains. Just prepare with sunscreen and bring a poncho unless you purchase one while there.

Don't miss the daily parade at 3pm in MK or the fireworks show at night. Both are very good.

As far as booking.. I never went through any agents or discounters.. I dealt directly with the airline and WDW. We bought tickets when we arrived good for any park as many times as you wanted daily up until midnight of your departure date. GREAT!!

My motto is if you are going to do it then do it right... don't go cheap. If you can't afford to do it right and stay out of debt, then wait. It is very expensive. We fly from DFW, stay at the Polynesian, eat, drink, buy goodies, pay a pet/house sitter and never spent less than $5000.

I am sure you can go on less than that if you look into dealing with agents, brokers, etc.

Enjoy! It is magical.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

For ease of use, staying at one of the resorts that is serviced by the monorail is best. They are the Deluxe resorts, but again you can hop on and off.

Disney does offer transportaion from the airport to their properties. There are several rental car places at Disney, there are also buses that are free that will take you around the Disney properties.

For tickets get the Park Hopper. It's worth it. You can go to 1, 2, 3 parks a day if you wanted to and if you get the dining plan, which I recommend, makes making reservations easier. You WILL need reservations for character breakfasts and any sit down meals that you plan.

This plan offers up to a 20% discount on the meal plan for the week in question.

Each park has special 'Extra Magic Hours' for guests staying on Disney property. You MUST be staying at a Disney property, doesn't matter which Deluxe to Budget level, to enjoy rides and the parks during these hours.

I wouldn't worry about Downtown Disney, its mostly restaurants that your son may not like. There is a lego store there, but I would save it for an afternoon/evening event.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Get the latest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disney World - hopefully that will help you out some, and give you lots of good information. It's always been invaluable to us every time we've gone!

Doing some kind of vacation package, such as staying at the one of the on-property resorts, having Disney transportation pick you up and drop you off at the airport, getting the meal plan, etc. might be the easiest and most convenient way to go. Dreams Unlimited is a good travel resource to go through.

Orlando in August is HOT...and in suck-the-breath-right-out-of-you hot and humid. Sometimes there will be random showers where it suddenly downpours for several minutes, but then ends just as quickly - so some rain doesn't have to ruin your day. Your best bet would be to take advantage of Magic Hours, when the parks are open earlier and/or later for guests staying on property. Get there for opening, stay the morning, take a break in the afternoon and go swimming, rest up, etc. Then head back in the evening. There is A LOT of walking and A LOT of standing in line. Taking advantage of their Fast Pass service can save you a lot of time waiting in lines!

I am wondering too though if you mean next summer - because it's pretty late in the game to be trying to get something arranged for a few weeks from now.


answers from Lakeland on

My daughter and I go all the time without my hubby, but we live 15 minutes away.

I would try to stay on Disney property. They have different hotels and prices. They even have camp grounds and I think they still have cabins (I am not positive).

When you fly in they have busses that will bring you right to the resorts and they have busses that go to ALL their parks and Downtown Disney. A lot of the surrounding hotels also offer transportation to the airport, I am not sure if they also go to the parks.

It is hot and humid here in August and it usually rains a lot (just not all day). You will only need shorts and tee’s and an umbrella. I would suggest that you figure out which rides you want to go on and get fast passes when you get into the park (Disney does not charge for them Universal does).

There are 4 Disney parks, but Magic Kingdom has the most rides. I also like Hollywood Studios it has a lot to see. The rental strollers there are big and would easily carry a six year old. But there are lots of places to sit and rest.

If you decide to stay outside the resorts there are so many hotels that are much cheaper and some offer kitchenettes (this way you can make at least two meals there), you can also bring a cooler into the park with your own drinks and food. You would have to rent a car then to get around, but the economy models are not expensive. I would look for hotels that are west of the main gate (this is a nice area of Kissimmee and 10 minutes to the parks).
If you have questions about certain hotels outside Disney just PM me.



answers from Denver on

There's lots of good advice here, but I see lots of expensive advice too.
My "budget" advice would be this:
Disney's All-Star Resorts are great, inexpensive, and you get the same Disney service that you get at any of the other Disney Resort hotels.

There is Disney transportation offered for free from the airport to ANY of the Disney hotels, and it is free and easy.

There are Disney resort busses that go from EACH resort to EACH Disney park and Downtown Disney, so don't worry about the ease of getting around. You will do fine.

The parks are great, but every time we have gone, we have done one park for the visit, and the rest of the time is spent swimming, exploring, relaxing, visiting Downtown Disney, etc.

A couple of our favorite free or cheap things to do:
1. At Fort Wilderness resort, there is a nightly FREE character meet and greet at the Campfire. You can buy the stuff to do Smores (or just bring your own in a little cooler), and Chip and Dale come out and take pics with each child. Plus they play a movie as it gets dark. We have gone every year and there has never been a crowd. Its the best kept secret on the Property! You would just find out the time for the Fort Wilderness Campfire movie, take a bus from your resort to Magic Kingdom, then get once at the gates to MK, you get on the bus going to Fort Wilderness. It's pretty easy, and the bussing will take about 30 min total. You reverse that to get back to your resort.

We love going to Downtown Disney to take in the sights and sounds. There is a Rainforest Cafe that is really fun to eat at, and a great ice cream place is down there too.

If you take a bus to the Baordwalk Resort in the evening, you can walk the boardwalk, and head over toward the bridge to Epcot, and watch Epcot's fireworks show right from the bridge! Its beautiful!

You can take a bus to MK, and then get on the ferry to wherever you want to go, even if its just the 40 minute round-trip around the lagoon. Its free.
Same thing with the monorail. Hop on at MK, and take it the full way around or get off at each of the resorts to look around at the amazing hotels (you can go inside, browse the gift shops, walk the grounds by the pools, eat outside by the pools, and at some, even swim).

We have always had great luck going to "visit" Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is a breath-taking resort. There are animals on the savannah that you can go visit, the pool is amazing ( and we always where our suits and take a beach bag with towels to take a dip-never had anyone say a word to us) and then we usually stay and eat lunch at the "quick-eats" restaurant they have by the pool. You can go inside, pick your food (if you do the Disney dining plan, it works there too), and then take your meal outdoors and eat at the tables that are right by the pool. Its a lovely way to spend a day.

We always do these fun and free things and end up having a wonderful time. Check out There are really good tips there for budget ideas too!



answers from Charlotte on

I highly recommend that you either go through AAA (if you are a AAA member) or go through the Disney website. Stay at one of the Disney resorts. They are pretty much all inclusive. You won't have to rent a car or drive at all. You get a refrigerator (a small one - not house size) in your room, washer and dryers on site, and the bus comes to pick you up to whichever park you plan to go to. Those buses run all day long.

When you arrive at the airport, the Disney bus will take you to the resort you are staying in and drop you off. If you want to buy some groceries, you can order them and have them dropped off at your resort. It's not cheap to do that, but if you decide not to be on the mealplan, you could eat breakfast and pack lunches for your trip this way, and eat dinner at the restaurants.

It was such a joy to not have to deal with driving when I took both my kids. We loved hopping the buses and not having to stress.

The walking is tiring, but there are plenty of places to sit and rest. I would actually not discount a stroller - as long as it's not wide, let him be "too big" for it. You can hang your stuff on it - bag with water and food and snacks, suntan lotion, etc. The water at Disney tastes awful, so I bought water bottles and put them in the little freezer. The summer heat would melt them, and the cold bottles would keep the lunch fruits and sandwiches cool enough to eat by lunchtime.

You might be tired for walking, but your son won't "hit the wall" nearly as bad if you utilize a stroller, even if he is big.

It takes some planning in your head to shop for the week, but put your head to it and place the order the day before you come down, telling them what time you will arrive. They have a certain time frame for delivery, but you don't have to be present for it. You do want to try to time it within a certain window, because the resort won't refrigerate it for you.

This will save you a lot of money from eating every meal at the resort. They will tip you to death at night on top of the amount you pay for the meal plan - no joke. (They no longer allow the tip to be part of the plan.) Being able to eat breakfast in the room, even if it's only cereal, milk and fruit, is a great deal.

Have a wonderful time!



answers from Los Angeles on

There is a great website called DisBoards - basically a discussion forum all about Disney. I'd recommend checking that out! ask the same questions there and you can get some really great info.

It will be very hot, humid, and sticky. Pack extra changes of clothes or plan to do laundry. Pack bug spray so you don't get bitten by too many mosquitoes.

Most big hotels will pick you up from the airport, but confirm that when you make your reservation.

Do you have a smartphone? If so, you can find a Disneyworld app (Disneyland has one called MouseWait, I am sure Disneyworld has something similar) that tells you how long the lines are at each ride. It's real-time updated by other guests at the park. It's a good way to plan so you don't walk across the park for a ride and find it closed or having a super long wait.

A really good idea is to plan to take a break in the afternoon to rest and cool down. So be at the park from opening until 1 or 2:00, then go home till 4 or 5:00 and head back out to the park for a couple of hours in the evening. This will help keep you from being too exhausted and you'll be out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Have a wonderful vacation!



answers from Dallas on

Dreams unlimited travel is a great resource! They take care of booking resorts, dinners, etc. AND it's free. We went for our first time this summer and booked through them. Amazing! Beth Fejer is who worked with us and she is very informative. Have fun. Btw- I do agree with the post asking if it was this summer. We started planning last summer.

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