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Old 11-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #1
Jazztoon
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Please help me decide which Resort

My head is spinning a little bit trying to decide which hotel. I've been researching and researching and I can't decide. Even called Disney, but the lady was not helpful (she was nice, but not helpful). The parks we plan to visit are Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Here's my criteria for what we want:

[Most important] I want to be able to get from the parks to the resort without a major hassle. My kids are 6 and 8, but the youngest has joint problems so I know we might need mid-afternoon breaks back to the hotel to rest. I want to minimize standing around waiting for buses, monorails, etc and to hopefully be able to get a seat while going back and forth.

[Very Important]I want one that has a kid's club (some of them seem to have a "club" where the kids can hang out from 4pm to midnight so parents can go out).

[Would Be Really Nice]We're not major foodies, but a nice resort restaurant would be great. And, if we can do the kids' club, a bar where the grown-ups can go have a drink would be awesome.

[I'll Deal If I Can't Have It]Since there will be four of us staying in a room (I'm assuming right off the bat we can't afford a 2-room suite ), I'd like the room to be as roomy as possible.

[Basic Pre-Requisite]Other than that, clean and comfortable beds and as little noise as possible! (but who doesn't want that? )

So far, I'm looking at Wilderness Lodge, French Quarter and the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas.

The French Quarter is cheaper and seems to have decent transportation. I can't figure out how easy/hard it is to get to the parks from Wilderness Lodge (other than to Magic Kingdom by boat), and know nothing about the Animal Kingdom Lodge other than I'm assuming I'll be able to see giraffes walking around, which would be super cool!

But I'm considering any and all parks, ideally in the Moderate range, but would splurge on a lower end Deluxe if something amazing is there that can't be missed.

Please, please help me sort this out. Thank you

(and then standby for the restaurant questions ... we'll be getting the dining plan and I'll have to sort out where to make reservations - yikes! too many options)

Last edited by Jazztoon; 11-26-2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:29 PM   #2
Andie272
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I am in the same boat, trying to figure out what resort I want. I am also looking at POR and WL. My favorite resort Coronado Springs is booked when we are going Check to see if that is available for your trip, we LOVED it and the buses are just for that resort, so not bad at all. Never had to wait too long.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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the three resorts you picked are bus transportation only (except the boat to the MK at WL).

the only way to get great transportation is to pick the park you will be at the most -
if Epcot and/or Studios
BW, BC or Yc - non-disney hotels - Dolphin or Swan

if MK and/or Epcot
CR/BLT, polyn, gf - now wl would work too if you are willing to take the boat to the cr then get on the monorail and do the monorail transfer at TTC.

all others are bus transportation (including the above)

so if you stay at CR and want to go to studios/dtd - you do get on the bus first but then it goes to Polyn and then GF before going to the parks.

same with the epcot resorts
either BC and YC share
then BW, D&S share
otherwise they all share one bus

the best bus service for me was at Pop Century (value) - one stop - so it always looks crowded - that say when the bus would not hold everyone - before that bus left another would appear to take you to the parks. really appreciated this and wish the other resorts would do this as well.

the deluxe resorts do not have the best transportation to everything - only to the park(s) they are close too or have the monorail.

so would go with what park will be at the most.

unless you are happy with bus transportation then would go with WL or POR

akl is very nice but it can be a far ride to the MK (which I think will be your big park with the ages of your children)
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:33 PM   #4
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I don't believe French quarter has a kids club...pretty sure only deluxe have those.

AK only has bus transport and is further away from major parks, except AK. FQ also is only bus travel to parks and boat to downtown, but is closer. WL has the boat and buses, so a little more convenience.

Based on your criteria tho, I'd recommend a deluxe Epcot resort. Epcot resorts have boat or walking distance to HS and Epcot, lots of great restaurants, the boardwalk area has jelly rolls and dance hall for adults, and the sandcastle club at the beach club for kids! All other transport is by bus, btw.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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I don't know if the Polynesian fits your budget, but it meets all your needs.
The resort monorail provides the fastest transportation between MK and Epcot and resort.
The Neverland club at the Poly is open from 4pm to midnight for a kids club.
The restaurants at the Poly are great! Capt Cooks (CS) is open 24 hours a day and serves great food, drinks, and Dole Whip! Tambu Lounge and the Barefoot Pool Bar are awesome!
The rooms at the Polynesian are some of the largest rooms that are not suites/cabins/villas. They have two Queen beds + a couch that converts to a twin bed. My wife and I shared a Queen, my DS7 had a Queen to himself, and my DD5 loved sleeping in the twin.

I know you mentioned Moderate resorts. We have only stayed at the Poly. We save our pennies because while my kids are still young WDW is our big family vacation for the year. The Poly has lots of advantages, but it definitely can stress your budget.

Some tips for the Disney Dining Plan (DDP):
Pick up your resort mug at the CS restaurant at your resort as soon as possible. You can refill this mug at the resort CS restaurant for free anytime during your stay. You can get coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, etc. Saves money on buying drinks while you are at your resort. Unfortunately it does not include "adult beverages".
We pay for breakfast out of pocket because it is usually the cheapest. The only exception is when we use our TS for a Character Breakfast at the park before rope drop. Usually at CS restaurant at resort. (Capt Cooks)
We use our CS for lunch at the parks. These come with a dessert. We don't need or eat dessert at lunch. Some CS restaurants will let you get a bottle of water instead of the dessert. It never hurts to ask, and we always need more water.
We save our TS for dinner and book special or character meals. Our favorites are Akershus for princesses, Chef Mickey, Rainforest Cafe at AK, and O'hana. My son loves T-Rex Cafe at DTD. We are trying CRT for breakfast ($$$ out of pocket, but figured it was a once in a lifetime meal) and Be Our Guest for dinner on MK day. Lots of good food at Epcot, but my kids are picky, and we don't really go to WDW for the food - but many love the restaurants at Epcot.

Last edited by graceandhayes; 11-26-2012 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graceandhayes View Post
I don't know if the Polynesian fits your budget, but it meets all your needs.
The resort monorail provides the fastest transportation between MK and Epcot and resort.
The Neverland club at the Poly is open from 4pm to midnight for a kids club.
The restaurants at the Poly are great! Capt Cooks (CS) is open 24 hours a day and serves great food, drinks, and Dole Whip! Tambu Lounge and the Barefoot Pool Bar are awesome!
The rooms at the Polynesian are some of the largest rooms that are not suites/cabins/villas. They have two Queen beds + a couch that converts to a twin bed.
I agree with all points . I think the Poly is the best choice if it fits your budget, with the WL being my next choice. The boat is great for going back and forth to MK and during both of our WL stays, we thought the buses were fine time-wise for getting around .
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:14 PM   #7
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When reading your criteria every thing kept making me think of Polynesian. It has Kona Cafe (great for breakfast), Tambu Lounge (great for drinks), just a short monorail trip to Grand Floridian for Citricos, Narcoossee's or Victoria and Albert's or to Contemporary for California Grill (closed until atleast August for refurb).
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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I do believe the POLY is the answer to all your needs...Monorail for Epcot and MagicKingdom, zero entry pool, restaurants, kids club...however I know you had said you have a budget, therefore lets move on.....

I have stayed at both POLY(twice), FQ(3times), Yacht Club(1), and Contemporary(1)....

Love the FQ, although it does NOT have a kids club for watching children. You might want to call and see if you can use one at a deluxe for a fee. Not sure they will let you, but worth a try...The grounds are small, great food court, but NO sit down restaurant. But you can use the one at Riverside. In fact you can use all amenities at Riverside and vice versa. As far as I know that is the only 2 resorts on property that allow that, probably due to them once being one big resort....The only thing i think you should be aware of, and because I have stayed there 3 times and every time it happens is bus service can be LONG and often returning from parks it can be standing room only. A lot of kind men give up their seats and even I have but unfortunately there are a lot of rude people out there with no manners who won't. So if you go try to maybe leave the park at NOT closing times so you are pretty much sure guaranteed a seat. On the flip side going to the parks seeing how FQ is always 1st picked up, we have always had a seat, never stood. Even my DH who always will give up his seat...

Wilderness is from what I hear a great resort. My only problem with it is the Midwest feel to it. Coming from Illinois and doing mini vacations in Wisconsin, and Michigan, I am not sure if I want to see more woods stuff. I love me some Palm trees! But the resort is nice and I like the boat to MK..

Animal Kingdom never stayed, have no interest. We have great zoos where I live. And the one drawback I found to it, is that it is FAR from most parks...What can I say I like to get to the parks as fast I can and have some fun. ANd yes I know I am on vacation but patience for transportation isn't my strong point, from that I bet you can see why we always fly to Florida never drive....

Really look into all the transportations issues. If you have a child with special needs you don't want him to have to wait any longer. MAybe WIlderness might be your best bet if babysitting is that important. DOnt know we never used it, to us Disney is a family vacation. BUt I also can understand how going out for a meal and not buttering anyones bread could be nice, just once ...Good luck, and agree with you picking a resort is very hard! GO to AllEars Net and read there accommodations page, they have picture and people write reviews, that might help as well!!!
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:25 PM   #9
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The Poly is amazing for young families.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #10
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You CAN use the kids' clubs at any resort, even if you're not staying there.

If a moderate is more in your price range, do POFQ and get an in-room sitter instead of using the kids' club. The sitter can take the kids to the arcade, the playground or the food court, or play games. I believe POFQ has a lounge you can patronize while the kids are with the sitter, if you didn't feel like going far.

Otherwise, as I was reading your post, everything you were saying made me think of WL. I love WL. I have stayed there and had no problems with transportation, be it bus or boat, and it's a beautiful resort.

Plus, as someone else mentioned, with little kids, you'll probably find yourself spending a lot of time at MK. I know we always do.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazztoon View Post
[Most important] I want to be able to get from the parks to the resort without a major hassle. I want to minimize standing around waiting for buses, monorails, etc and to hopefully be able to get a seat while going back and forth. Any Disney transportation is going to involve standing around and waiting, no matter what type of transportation it is. If lines and waits aren't your thing, consider renting a car and driving (except to MK) Monorail resorts give you relatively easy access to MK and Epcot, but require buses to the other 2 parks (and they share the buses). Epcot area resorts have easy access to DHS and Epcot but require buses to the other 2 parks (and they share the buses). WL has a boat to MK and buses to other parks. AKL has buses to all parks, but only shares with Kidani.

[Very Important]I want one that has a kid's club (some of them seem to have a "club" where the kids can hang out from 4pm to midnight so parents can go out). Only some deluxe resorts have kids clubs. Check the amenities listed for each resort on the Disney web site.

[Would Be Really Nice]We're not major foodies, but a nice resort restaurant would be great. And, if we can do the kids' club, a bar where the grown-ups can go have a drink would be awesome. Again, if you want this combination, you'd need a deluxe resort.

So far, I'm looking at Wilderness Lodge, French Quarter and the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas.
Given your preferences, POFQ would be eliminated on several counts. That leaves WL and AKL. We like both of these, but prefer AKL. It is totally unique in its theming. It has some of the best restaurants- CS, buffet, regular TS and signatures, in all of WDW. Savannah rooms can't be beat for the views. The pool area is one of the best IMO. And the bus transportation is only a few minutes longer than other resorts- it certainly wasn't a problem for us.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazztoon View Post
My head is spinning a little bit trying to decide which hotel. I've been researching and researching and I can't decide. Even called Disney, but the lady was not helpful (she was nice, but not helpful). The parks we plan to visit are Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Here's my criteria for what we want:

[Most important] I want to be able to get from the parks to the resort without a major hassle. My kids are 6 and 8, but the youngest has joint problems so I know we might need mid-afternoon breaks back to the hotel to rest. I want to minimize standing around waiting for buses, monorails, etc and to hopefully be able to get a seat while going back and forth.

[Very Important]I want one that has a kid's club (some of them seem to have a "club" where the kids can hang out from 4pm to midnight so parents can go out).

[Would Be Really Nice]We're not major foodies, but a nice resort restaurant would be great. And, if we can do the kids' club, a bar where the grown-ups can go have a drink would be awesome.

[I'll Deal If I Can't Have It]Since there will be four of us staying in a room (I'm assuming right off the bat we can't afford a 2-room suite ), I'd like the room to be as roomy as possible.

[Basic Pre-Requisite]Other than that, clean and comfortable beds and as little noise as possible! (but who doesn't want that? )

So far, I'm looking at Wilderness Lodge, French Quarter and the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas.

The French Quarter is cheaper and seems to have decent transportation. I can't figure out how easy/hard it is to get to the parks from Wilderness Lodge (other than to Magic Kingdom by boat), and know nothing about the Animal Kingdom Lodge other than I'm assuming I'll be able to see giraffes walking around, which would be super cool!

But I'm considering any and all parks, ideally in the Moderate range, but would splurge on a lower end Deluxe if something amazing is there that can't be missed.

Please, please help me sort this out. Thank you

(and then standby for the restaurant questions ... we'll be getting the dining plan and I'll have to sort out where to make reservations - yikes! too many options)
Welcome!

You are correct about the giraffes. Totally cool! We love that resort and the dining options.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #13
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We normally stay at WL. The theme is great for the kids my dd loves having bunk beds. The boat ride is great and you can also take a boat to the CR and take the monorail to the transportation center to get the monorail to Epcot.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:41 PM   #14
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Talking Consider BoardWalk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazztoon View Post
My head is spinning a little bit trying to decide which hotel. I've been researching and researching and I can't decide. Even called Disney, but the lady was not helpful (she was nice, but not helpful). The parks we plan to visit are Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Here's my criteria for what we want:

[Most important] I want to be able to get from the parks to the resort without a major hassle. My kids are 6 and 8, but the youngest has joint problems so I know we might need mid-afternoon breaks back to the hotel to rest. I want to minimize standing around waiting for buses, monorails, etc and to hopefully be able to get a seat while going back and forth.

[Very Important]I want one that has a kid's club (some of them seem to have a "club" where the kids can hang out from 4pm to midnight so parents can go out).

[Would Be Really Nice]We're not major foodies, but a nice resort restaurant would be great. And, if we can do the kids' club, a bar where the grown-ups can go have a drink would be awesome.

[I'll Deal If I Can't Have It]Since there will be four of us staying in a room (I'm assuming right off the bat we can't afford a 2-room suite ), I'd like the room to be as roomy as possible.

[Basic Pre-Requisite]Other than that, clean and comfortable beds and as little noise as possible! (but who doesn't want that? )

So far, I'm looking at Wilderness Lodge, French Quarter and the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas.

The French Quarter is cheaper and seems to have decent transportation. I can't figure out how easy/hard it is to get to the parks from Wilderness Lodge (other than to Magic Kingdom by boat), and know nothing about the Animal Kingdom Lodge other than I'm assuming I'll be able to see giraffes walking around, which would be super cool!

But I'm considering any and all parks, ideally in the Moderate range, but would splurge on a lower end Deluxe if something amazing is there that can't be missed.

Please, please help me sort this out. Thank you

(and then standby for the restaurant questions ... we'll be getting the dining plan and I'll have to sort out where to make reservations - yikes! too many options)
Tall order, my friend, but I think that the BoardWalk might be the right answer for you. Here's how it meets your criteria:

Proximity - You can walk down the sidewalk to Epcot, take a quick boat ride to Hollywood Studios, or go through Epcot to the monorail station and get quickly to the Magic Kingdom. You'd still have to catch a bus to Animal Kingdom.
Kid's/Adult's Night Out - They have a Kid's Club, and the Boardwalk has a microbrewery, a dueling pianos bar, and a dance club.
Food - Iron Chef Cat Cora's restaurant, Kouzzina, is also on the Boardwalk. There are really great places to eat at the Swan and Dolphin hotels (a short walk), including Shula's ($$$$$) and there's good food to be had at the Yacht Club and Beach Club (just across the lagoon).
Room size - These rooms are really roomy, the studio rooms can sleep 5. I think you would be impressed.
Price - BoardWalk is a little pricey, but if you PM me, I will tell you how to get the room for much less!

I am a proud owner of a Vacation Club unit in Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is really amazing to wake up each morning to a different grouping of animals outside your balcony. The trick is paying a little extra to get the Savannah view. The bus rides to the park, however, are a real minus to the experience. It takes forever to get anywhere other than the Animal Kingdom park.

Wilderness Lodge, while beautiful and possessing another terrific restaurant, is also a long tromp to any of the major parks.

I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to restaurants in the parks AND the hotels, so ask away. Just don't wait too long to make reservations, or you won't be able to get the most desirable places.

-Tim
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:43 PM   #15
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Don't mean to intrude in on this thread but I'm trying to decide between POR and BWI, and I definitely appreciate all the opinions out there!! So when I read Tim's reasons, I am leaning heavily towards BWI now!! Since I have not made a lot of posts, I can't PM Tim to find out your secret
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