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Disney World Suggestions


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Planning to take the family to Florida next year to do the Disney World thing.  Anyone done this recently and have great suggestions?  My wife has looked into it and thinks we should stay at the resort.  Good idea?  Better to rent a house and car and just drive to/fro and pay for parking?  Any parks better than others?  Things that are "not to miss"?  Weather for that region between March and May?  Thanks for the input in advance.

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HJB;

I was practically born and raised there, so I could offer some advice. 

First things:

1. Do you have kids, and what ages? 

2. Budget? Do you like deluxe resorts or do you just want a place to sleep?

3. Are you a rides person? Or do you want to golf, boat, pools, etc...

4. Do you plan on just doing WDW, or are you going to hit Universal, Sea World, or any of the other area attractions?

5. Do you and your wife want nightlife, or are you happy staying late in the parks and just crashing?

The weather will be perfect during the time you want to go. Just be sure to avoid holiday weeks as it will be crowded. 

 

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NJ, thanks for the response.

1.  I plan to take my 8 and 11 year old kids, plus wife.

2.  Wife just looked into staying at the resort (Disney World resort, I presume) and it was gonna run 9k or thereabouts.  That included the flights out/back, hotel, and 5 day park-hopper passes.  I think we'd enjoy the resort experience.  But, wouldn't completely rule out renting a nice house.

3.  Primary reason is the parks.  Kids will want to hit the pool, whether that's at a resort or a rental house with pool.  I'd actually love to plan a exhibition game if I go down during spring training, but not sure how far training camps are from Disney.

4.  I think we'll be hitting up all major area attractions, so Universal and SeaWorld may be in the mix.

5.  Nightlife won't be necessary.  After drudging through the parks all day, I'm sure I'll be ready to crash afterwards.

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HJB:

I definitely recommend staying at one of the resort hotels. Much better than driving, parking, and taking trams. 

Your kids are still young, so I would recommend one of the hotels near Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

BY MK, I like the Polynesian Village for its location and atmosphere. It is a bit expensive though. Both the Contemporary Resort and Wilderness Lodge will save you a few bucks, and are also great. 

Near Epcot, my favorite place is the Beach Club and Yacht Club hotels. They share the best pool in WDW, and also have a special backdoor entrance to Epcot that you can walk to. At night, the whole Epcot Hotel Resort area hasclots to do with the Boardwalk, and Swan and Dolphin Resorts all circling the lake. You can also walk to Disney Studios from there, or take a boat.

Definitely get the hopper pass, as you might want to go back at night to a different park. 

The Atlanta Braves hold their spring training right in Disney World, and the Tigers are not far.

Universal Orlando is a great park itself. You would probably need two days to see it all, or if you buy the one day VIP pass , you could probably pack it all in a long day. The resort hotels there are worth consideration, or just use Lyft from WDW.

One of the best things they do is the Disney Magical Express. It will make your trip seamless. Once you check in at the airport, your luggage goes right to your room. The bus picks you up at Orlando airport, and takes you to your hotel. 

All four parks at WDW are worth at least a full day, some probably more. Epcot is our favorite. 

I have probably stayed at every hotel on property, so if you have a question on any ones you like, please ask, or any othet questions you have

 

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Wow, amazing info.  This is one of the many reasons that I love AngelsWin.  Come for the baseball, stay for the expert, first hand information on countless topics.  I'm sure I'll have more questions as we really start to fine tune our trip.  Appreciate the input greatly.  Thanks.

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I probably don't have much to add that NJH didn't already say, but my wife and I did Disney World for our honeymoon 2.5 years ago. Here are my tips:

1. Definitely stay in the resort. It's not like Disneyland where all the on-property hotels are $400+ per night. There are plenty of cheaper ($100-$150) and midrange ($200-$300) options. The convenience you get from staying in the resort is incredible. The free shuttle service will take you to all the parks and hotels, and it will be more fun for the kids: it'll be like they're living in Disney World. We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter, which was $189 per night at the end of September. It was ranked as the best midrange hotel at Disney World. We loved it. You can also take a ferry from that hotel to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney), and it's a really beautiful ride, especially at night.

2. Purchase a meal plan option. You'll never have a lack of food, and you'll save money in the long run. We each had the option that offered 1 quick-service meal and 1 sit-down dining meal per day per person. On that note, you can use 1 sit-down meal to have pizza delivered to your hotel room if you'd like to stay in for a meal.

3. If you decide not to rent a car and then book your flight through Disney while organizing your trip, you can take the free Disney Express bus from the airport to your hotel, and your luggage will be delivered straight to your room. Another fun experience for the kids (my wife and I enjoyed it, too).

4. Park hopper is a great deal, and it doesn't cost that much additional per ticket. Sometimes it's fun to hit up Animal Kingdom during the daytime hours, and then cruise over (via shuttle or ferry) to Magic Kingdom at night to watch the fireworks or go on a couple rides to round out the day.

5. We went at the end of September, which is apparently the best time to go weather and crowd-wise. If you go between March and May, the weather will probably be mild, but you'll be going during Spring Break season, which might mean higher prices and bigger crowds. We were lucky that our wedding was on September 20, so our honeymoon lined up at the right time. But I remember reading that the best and most affordable times to visit Disney World are September/October or January/February. 

For the two of us, the trip ended up costing about $4,300 (if I'm remembering correctly)—that included the flight, staying 7 nights at the French Quarter hotel, 2 parkhopper passes for 6 days, and 2 meal plans. We're planning to go back for our 5th anniversary.

Also, my family went to Disney World when I was in 5th grade (probably about the same age as your older kid). Other than my honeymoon, I still recall that as the best vacation I've ever been on. It was so fun and magical for 5th grade me.

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I agree with Taylor’s assessment. Lots of good info there.

1.  Totally agree with staying on property, and have stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter many times. Loved it there. Good theming, nice pool, good choice. Disney Springs is a great way to spend an afternoon and night away from the parks. 

2. Meal plan is great, as you can use it almost anywhere, and it feels better not having to go into your wallet every time you are hungry. Well worth it.

3. Agree. No need to rent a car if staying on property. Disney does all of it for you.

4. Hopper option is great. Allows you to break up your day, go back to your hotel for a mid day swim and meal, then hit another park at night.

5. Weather during your March-May window will be ideal, with lower chance of rain. Taylor is correct about September being one of the less expensive times to go, but it is also prime hurricane season. I have had friends lose most of their vacation week to heavy rain. Orlando rarely gets hit as it is inland, but you usually get the outer bands which can last for days. Since you are going with your kids, you might not have a choice of when to go due to school schedules, but try to avoid holidays as they will be more expensive and crowded. WDW can handle the crowds better than Disneyland, but lines are still long at the major attractions. 

 

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13 hours ago, NJHalo said:

5. Weather during your March-May window will be ideal, with lower chance of rain. Taylor is correct about September being one of the less expensive times to go, but it is also prime hurricane season. I have had friends lose most of their vacation week to heavy rain. Orlando rarely gets hit as it is inland, but you usually get the outer bands which can last for days. Since you are going with your kids, you might not have a choice of when to go due to school schedules, but try to avoid holidays as they will be more expensive and crowded. WDW can handle the crowds better than Disneyland, but lines are still long at the major attractions. 

This is good to know, in case we do return for our 5th anniversary. The weather was pretty awesome when we went (we got lucky), other than the daily 10-minute thunderstorm that happened every afternoon. 

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5 hours ago, Taylor said:

This is good to know, in case we do return for our 5th anniversary. The weather was pretty awesome when we went (we got lucky), other than the daily 10-minute thunderstorm that happened every afternoon. 

Chances are you’ll be fine, but it really sucks if you’re not.

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41 minutes ago, m0nkey said:

I'm planning on going with the girlfriend in late january/early february next year, so this definitely helps

Pack for every type of weather. We have been there sweating our asses off, swimming in the pools, and then had to wear hats and gloves later the same week. Very variable, but nice and empty. 

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Stay at a resort/hotel.

A house might save you a bit of coin, but why would you want to go on a vacation and still have to cook food, do laundry, clean up? If that normally falls on your wife, doesn't sound like much of a "vacation" for her.

Aim for relaxation - it's about being pampered man. Plus the resorts have spas, room service and pool-side bars. 

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  • 7 months later...

How did your trip end up going @HaloJustinBieber?

 

Coming back from four days here. 3 full days and 2 half days here yet I still feel like I blinked and it was over. Don’t know if it’s because it’s the first time in 15 years I’ve been here but it’s so much nicer than Disneyland. Holiday weekend yet it wasn’t packed and there aren’t low class people infecting the parks. 

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After being there for the 4+ days, @NJHalo really covered everything.

Can’t speak on not staying at a Disney resort, but doing so made everything so easy. Don’t have to worry about transportation to/from the airport or any of the parks. Depending on the time of day, you may have to wait 20-30 minutes for a bus to take you, but for the most part it’s pretty quick. If you book in advance too, you can choose your fast passes 60 days prior to your day in the park, so that can help you make sure you get the popular/top rides (the avatar ride in Animal Kingdom had wait times of 3+ hours the entire time I was there. We got there one morning when the park opened and waited an hour for it. Definitely worth the hour wait and hype).

The parks themselves were incredible. I assume your kids are into Disney stuff and that’s why you’d consider going, so they should love it. Hell I’m 26 and I love it. If it’s in your budget, I’d also recommend the park hoppers just to be able to split up your days. Not a huge deal if you can’t though, there’s plenty to do for a whole day. 

I’m lucky (“lucky”) enough to work for the Mouse so I didn’t have to worry about tickets and I get huge discounts on the lodging/merchandise/food, but I think I still spent quite a bit, though some of that was because I don’t have self control. But hey, what’s the point of penny pinching while on vacation?

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