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Old 03-28-2013, 07:00 PM   #1
Tracy NS
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Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
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Smile Planning our first trip!!

Planning our first Disney trip as a family.
There are four of us- two kids, boy aged 11 and girl aged 6 (at the time we plan on visiting).

We are planning on visiting in either April 2014 or November 2014.

We still have MANY questions that I'm hoping will be answered here by all of you Disney pros!!

1. Our first fairly large decision (other than choosing a date) is to decide if we want to stay on site or off site. I've heard the pros and cons to both.

I like the idea of off site for the fact that we are probably going to want a day or maybe two just to relax (no park visits) and just enjoy the pool or games or whatever the case may be. The fact that it is cheaper to stay is also swaying. I also realize we'd have to rent a car (more than likely). How difficult and expensive is parking at the parks?

I highly doubt we would consider the dining plan even if we did stay on site as I don't think it would be worth it for our family. I'm a fairly picky eater (and usually do not eat expensive meals when eating out). My daughter also doesn't eat much out either. I'd have to do some research but honestly, with the exception of fitting in a character meal or two, we probably would be quite content with burgers, fries, chicken strips, or hot dogs for the most part.

Anything else I should consider or be aware of when choosing to stay on or off resort?

2. Our second decision once a date and location is chosen is going to be deciding what we want to do and where we want to go when we get there! So many options, so little time! Magic Kingdom is an absolute must. Animal Kingdom probably as well. What else is strongly recommended for first time visitors with children ages 11 and 6? How many days would you suggest at each park? (or for each activity if offering other suggestions)?

3. The other stuff will all fall into place afterwards. But if anyone has any other suggestions they'd like to share, I'd appreciate it!!

Thanks and I'll be around surfing up information and asking lots of questions I'm sure!!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:05 AM   #2
GaBelle
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Welcome!
Planning a first trip or any trip to DIsney is exciting!

You will see/hear many different opinions regarding staying onsite vs. offsite. If $$ is the only factor, then yes offsite is very swaying. Parking (today) is $14 per day. It is not difficult, but it is time consuming.
Our first visit 5 years ago we stayed offsite. I thought we'd save a ton of money by doing so. Our resort was only 1 mile to the gates of WDW. But WDW is enormous! Once inside the gates, it still took us another 20-30 minutes to get to MK. Then parking, then the monorail to the park. Leaving to go back to the resort, we had to reverse the process in addition to the crowds that were also leaving. UGH!
After that experience, we decided that onsite was the way to go- from a convenience and time saving standpoint. But, that is us.
If you go into it knowing the travel and parking factor, you may deem it worth staying offsite.
Hope this helps and happy planning!
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #3
RipperSB
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Greetings Tracy, we had our first visit over New Year's 2012-13. Most of the planning for that was done by our son and his wife as they are veteran visitors of WDW. They are also members of the Disney Vacation Club and we had such a fantastic time, we are now members ourselves. All that to say we are now in the process of planning our next trip and have found an indispensible guide to help first-time planners - PassPorter's Walt Disney World guide and Planning book, check them out at PassPorter.com. Another excellent source of information is at allears.net

If you are happy with the burgers and fries, the Quick Service Dining Plan may be one to look at. We were on a dining plan and it was excellent... seriously, we did not have a bad meal the whole time!

Something we saw while driving around WDW was an outrageous line-up of cars waiting to get into the park (never mind parking), of course we were there during the busiest time of the year.

While we haven't check into them ourselves, there are more moderately priced accomodations available on-site. Something to think about.

Cheers.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:03 AM   #4
jjmat
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Planning

1. Stay onsite - less driving
2. Dont do the meal plan
3. go during low season - Mid December
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
Mari23
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Hi Tracy,

Congrats on planning your first trip. Both April or Nov are good times to go. In April you have the Flower and Garden Festival and in Nov you have the Food and Wine Festival or xmas decoration depending what part of the month you go. Weather wise there are confortable also. I would recommend all 4 parks. Each park has its perks and you will all find something you like in each park.

We will be visiting next month and staying at Pop. We are only paying $120.00 a night. Which to me is comparable to any decent hotel outside Disney. It all depends on what Disney has to offer during that time. DH and I prefer to stay on-site since no driving is necessary. Personally we stay a minimum of 7 nights so we have the oportunity to vist all 4 parks. But again, it depends on your budget. Plus staying on-site you are completely immersed in Disney. If that is what you are going for.

Truthful there is LOTS to do outside the parks so pool days are great at whatever resort you choose. And with staying inside getting around to do those things will be easy. On Disney's site you can find a list of free things to do.

But most of all enjoy the planning but don't make yourself overwhelmed with it. Ask as many questions as you need. It's one if the best things about a Disney trip.

Have fun!
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
Tracy NS
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Thanks for the feedback. I guess the only thing I'm a little concerned about with staying on site is that the only places I've seen for staying onsite are hotels, is this correct? I was very much hoping to find a place to stay that has separate rooms for sleeping at the very least. We would much more enjoy ourselves knowing the kids could be put to bed and sleep while we can still watch TV or whatever! A little more difficult to do when in a hotel room. KWIM?
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:50 AM   #7
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