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Old 12-28-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
sablebomb
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Halifax, NS
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Where to start??

This is my first time even attempting to plan a Disney vacation.

Where do I start?

We have narrowed down a date (January 2014) but that's about it.

I guess first choice would be to decide if we want to stay on site or off site?
Any suggestions? I've been sent some great links to different places and talked to a few people who have done both and I guess both have thier benefits.

Then what?

And, I must ask, ball park figure, for a family of four (two adults, two kids) approx. 1-2 weeks, how much of a budget should we be looking at?
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:07 AM   #2
noleen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sablebomb
This is my first time even attempting to plan a Disney vacation.

Where do I start?

We have narrowed down a date (January 2014) but that's about it.

I guess first choice would be to decide if we want to stay on site or off site?
Any suggestions? I've been sent some great links to different places and talked to a few people who have done both and I guess both have thier benefits.

Then what?

And, I must ask, ball park figure, for a family of four (two adults, two kids) approx. 1-2 weeks, how much of a budget should we be looking at?
First I would, without a doubt, stay on Disney property! Then go on disney's reservation site and start pricing. You can make dining reservations up to 6 months in advance. Consider a dining plan if your kids want photos with characters and if they would like signatures.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
sablebomb
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Thank you!!
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
danicaca
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Go to WDW Prepschool - Shannon has a lot of great info, especially for those planning their first trip! Here is the link:

http://wdwprepschool.com/how-to-plan...-disney-world/

Have fun planning!
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No countdown for now, but a trip in December of this year or perhaps next is in the works - woo hoo!
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
mickeyluv'r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sablebomb View Post
This is my first time even attempting to plan a Disney vacation.

Where do I start?

We have narrowed down a date (January 2014) but that's about it.

I guess first choice would be to decide if we want to stay on site or off site?
Any suggestions? I've been sent some great links to different places and talked to a few people who have done both and I guess both have thier benefits.

Then what?

And, I must ask, ball park figure, for a family of four (two adults, two kids) approx. 1-2 weeks, how much of a budget should we be looking at?

A date is a good place to start. Let me give you a few broad overviews:

Not to undo where you've started, but nkow that all choice of dates have pros and cons. As long as you understand the advantages and disadvantages, January is as good as any month. Jan is oftne not all that warm- sometimes you'll get a day to swim, but you may miss out on all the water rides in Jan, and swimming propably will be very chilly. Jan is also when quite a few rides are closed. the advantage of January is low prices (After New Years weekend), and low crowds.

Think about an overall budget. Probably start withthe idea of onsite, unless the price seems too high. Consider though that onsite means you don't NEED to rent a car. Consider how you will get TO WDw, put that in your budget. Get familiar with going rates- like airfare.

I gotta go know, but I'll be back...
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:05 PM   #6
redrosesix
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we started with the wdw planning dvd -- and that's what I recommend to anybody else who is thinking about going. We fell in love with the value resorts because they were so disney-ish, and that was lucky because it has saved us tons of money. They might not be for you though, and you can really only tell from a video.

But, yes, stay at disney, use magical express and disney transportation, and just do disney the first time you're there. You can add more on your next trip.

And don't add the dining plan unless you know for sure it will work for your family -- and think about whether you'd rather fly by the seat of your pants and just explore what there is, or run a tight ship and get to each attraction on a fixed schedule. That will affect what you really want to book in advance.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:25 PM   #7
mickeyluv'r
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It would help me to now a little about you, and how you wish to vacation. Disney world has lots of choices, enough to fit almost every budget. You can do a super-budget trip in your own camper/or offsite place, living on pbj all week. I'm pretty sure it's also popssible to spend a million $ in one week at WDW: staying in a huge suite, eating all high end meals, having personal escorts, getting the VIP celebrity treatment. (Oprah's been to WDW more than once, I'm sure she doesn't skimp!)

Knowing a bit about how you like to vacation will help us steer you in the right direction.
1. What is your group make up: Adults, number of kids in each age range (over 9, 3-9yrs, or under 3)? gender of kids?

A 2-adults only trip is going to be a bit different than a trip wtih 16extended members or a family with three kids.

2. What kind of dining do you prefer: eating in the room (with or without a kitchen), quick serve (fast food style, but better quality than McD's), buffets, moderate table service, room service, high end fine dining? Is offfsite dining something you think would be great, or a waste of time?
2B. Are you moderately adventurous, picky eaters, or non-adventurous (say all burgers/steaks/American)?

3. On a scale of say - one to ten- how immersed do you want to be in Disney? "One" being, "I was as little immersion as possible. Mickey makes me want to puke. I'm only going to please someone else." And "ten" being, "I want to hear Disney songs in my sleep, and see characters the entire time my eyes are open."

4. Do you like to take a slow pace vacation, or a high energy vacation? Are you more in the see-everything camp, or the sleep-in every day camp? (Disney is more geared towars the high energy..but again, it opens it's arms to everyone!)

5. Are there any mobiliy issues? Disabilities we should know about? You don't have to tell us this one. I'm not trying to be insensative, but mobility is important at WDW. A kid in a stroller can make quite a difference. All resorts can accomodate any family...but if mobility is an issue, then you may want to avoid the very large moderate resorts. You may want to opt for the compact POFQ, a preferred location room, or a deluxe resort.

The disney DVD is a like a long commercial. It will give you an overview, and lots of pretty pictures, but the last one I saw (I think was 2009) was not all that informative on details- like prices. Another possible way to get info is if you have a AAA membership. Going in person to your local office is a good place to start. Even if youa re not a member, they might be willing to give you some brochures. A local travel office cna also do the same. Still one more possibility is Comcast's on Demend. Tehy used to have info there, not sure if they still do. There are also travel books you can get, or you can just use us.

One more question....Do you prefer to have all the small details planned, or more of a 'go with the flow approach' (i.e. the freedom to make in-the-moment smart choices) We can help you get to a happy place either way.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
mickeyluv'r
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As you probably already know, every month has pros and cons. I'd not mention the month at all...but if I am advising a newcomer, January is not the first month I'd suggest. WDW is certainly open for business in January. It is also one of the most inexpensive times to go. I just don't want you to go uninformed. WDW is kind of made for 80 degree weather, and January is probably not going to be 80 degrees. that's why January is inexpensive. It's also a low crowd time of year. Lots of informed customrs love going to WDW in January.

Another aspect of January is the national weather. It depends where you are coming from, but I've been to WDW in winter lots of times, and can tell you it's entirely possible to have your flights delayed/cancelled in winter (or really any time of year) due to storms, but it is kind of most frequent in winter and late summer (hurricane season). Again, I'm not trying to tell you to pick a different month, but rahter to inform you. I've gone many times in Feb. Feb is still a toss up weather-wise, but the odds of better weather go up as the month progresses (as do the prices, esp on the Pres holiday week). If you are driving from anothe part of FL, then you kow all this. If you are coming form someplace up north, and expecting FL to be in the 90's, then you may not be getting what you want going in Jan. Southern FLA stays pretty warm most of the time, but the Orlando area sometimes gets pretty cool. Then again, sometimes it's in the 70's in January. If you are flying, it might be worth your while to seek out direct flights, say.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
sablebomb
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Halifax, NS
Posts: 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyluv'r View Post
It would help me to now a little about you, and how you wish to vacation. Disney world has lots of choices, enough to fit almost every budget. You can do a super-budget trip in your own camper/or offsite place, living on pbj all week. I'm pretty sure it's also popssible to spend a million $ in one week at WDW: staying in a huge suite, eating all high end meals, having personal escorts, getting the VIP celebrity treatment. (Oprah's been to WDW more than once, I'm sure she doesn't skimp!)

Knowing a bit about how you like to vacation will help us steer you in the right direction.
1. What is your group make up: Adults, number of kids in each age range (over 9, 3-9yrs, or under 3)? gender of kids?

A 2-adults only trip is going to be a bit different than a trip wtih 16extended members or a family with three kids.

2. What kind of dining do you prefer: eating in the room (with or without a kitchen), quick serve (fast food style, but better quality than McD's), buffets, moderate table service, room service, high end fine dining? Is offfsite dining something you think would be great, or a waste of time?
2B. Are you moderately adventurous, picky eaters, or non-adventurous (say all burgers/steaks/American)?

3. On a scale of say - one to ten- how immersed do you want to be in Disney? "One" being, "I was as little immersion as possible. Mickey makes me want to puke. I'm only going to please someone else." And "ten" being, "I want to hear Disney songs in my sleep, and see characters the entire time my eyes are open."

4. Do you like to take a slow pace vacation, or a high energy vacation? Are you more in the see-everything camp, or the sleep-in every day camp? (Disney is more geared towars the high energy..but again, it opens it's arms to everyone!)

5. Are there any mobiliy issues? Disabilities we should know about? You don't have to tell us this one. I'm not trying to be insensative, but mobility is important at WDW. A kid in a stroller can make quite a difference. All resorts can accomodate any family...but if mobility is an issue, then you may want to avoid the very large moderate resorts. You may want to opt for the compact POFQ, a preferred location room, or a deluxe resort.

The disney DVD is a like a long commercial. It will give you an overview, and lots of pretty pictures, but the last one I saw (I think was 2009) was not all that informative on details- like prices. Another possible way to get info is if you have a AAA membership. Going in person to your local office is a good place to start. Even if youa re not a member, they might be willing to give you some brochures. A local travel office cna also do the same. Still one more possibility is Comcast's on Demend. Tehy used to have info there, not sure if they still do. There are also travel books you can get, or you can just use us.

One more question....Do you prefer to have all the small details planned, or more of a 'go with the flow approach' (i.e. the freedom to make in-the-moment smart choices) We can help you get to a happy place either way.
1. 2 adults, 2 kids- ages 6 (girl) and 12 (Boy). First time for all of us. We live in Nova Scotia Canada.

2. we are simple eaters. We probably prefer quick and easy stuff. Nothing fancy (the kids won't appreciate it anyway). We wouldn't mind room service a time or two. Like buffets as well.
2b. I'd go on the picky eater side. Hubby will eat anything (loves new stuff). The rest of us, not so much.

3. I think the first time being there, we'd love the Disney. Not a 10 but certainly not a 1 either. I'll go with a little higher than the middle- let's say a 6 or 7!

4. We are a bit of both. Love keeping busy and the kids will love keeping busy and want to do it all. However, we'd probably like to have a day or two of just chilling and swimming for the day. A relaxing day in the middle would be perfect!! Hubby is also the type who won't want to go go go all the time. He will want to relax a bit. I have a feeling I may end up taking a day and going with the kids while he stays at the hotel.

5. No disabilities or mobility issues. Tired kids if we have to do a bunch of walking is about it. lol

Thanks so much for all of the help you guys are all giving! I appreciate it!!
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
sablebomb
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Halifax, NS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyluv'r View Post
As you probably already know, every month has pros and cons. I'd not mention the month at all...but if I am advising a newcomer, January is not the first month I'd suggest. WDW is certainly open for business in January. It is also one of the most inexpensive times to go. I just don't want you to go uninformed. WDW is kind of made for 80 degree weather, and January is probably not going to be 80 degrees. that's why January is inexpensive. It's also a low crowd time of year. Lots of informed customrs love going to WDW in January.

Another aspect of January is the national weather. It depends where you are coming from, but I've been to WDW in winter lots of times, and can tell you it's entirely possible to have your flights delayed/cancelled in winter (or really any time of year) due to storms, but it is kind of most frequent in winter and late summer (hurricane season). Again, I'm not trying to tell you to pick a different month, but rahter to inform you. I've gone many times in Feb. Feb is still a toss up weather-wise, but the odds of better weather go up as the month progresses (as do the prices, esp on the Pres holiday week). If you are driving from anothe part of FL, then you kow all this. If you are coming form someplace up north, and expecting FL to be in the 90's, then you may not be getting what you want going in Jan. Southern FLA stays pretty warm most of the time, but the Orlando area sometimes gets pretty cool. Then again, sometimes it's in the 70's in January. If you are flying, it might be worth your while to seek out direct flights, say.
Thanks for the info. As soon as I noticed someone else mention the lower temps in January and say we might not get to do any swimming, it sort of changed my mind. We did a lot of searching today and we are now leaning towards late April instead. Lower volumes but nicer weather.
We will be flying from Halifax, NS, Canada so I know all about cancelled and delayed flights- BOOOO!!! Would hate to have that happen!
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:17 PM   #11
sablebomb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrosesix View Post
And don't add the dining plan unless you know for sure it will work for your family -- and think about whether you'd rather fly by the seat of your pants and just explore what there is, or run a tight ship and get to each attraction on a fixed schedule. That will affect what you really want to book in advance.
How exactly does the dining plan work?
To me it sounds worth it, but I may not completely understand it either.

Does it involve reservations for all meals?
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:30 AM   #12
myzel
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Hi, enjoy your first trip.

I will put in my 2cents. You an interesting case, will the children share a bed? This will determine where you stay and may impact your budget. The value resorts are equipped with family suites, or rooms that are joined by an interior door.

Being your first trip some character dining would most likely be in order, but that is another thread. There are some really good threads on the Dining Plan, but depending on when you go ADR's can be a must. Used to be a time when you had no problems but more people are enjoying dining at T/S than they used too.

January in Florida is like April in N.S., April is much nicer. For a first timer I would suggest a Disney Specialist like Build a Better Mouse Trip or Small World Vacations. They are used to dealing with people who want to make things just right and ask a lot of questions.

I like to suggest a moderate resort for first timers however if you need more room I would be inclined to go with POP Century, it is a nice value resort. The value resorts are still very Disney and it is hard to believe when you are there that are possibly 5000 other people sharing the same resort.

I hope this helps.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:59 AM   #13
chalee94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sablebomb View Post
How exactly does the dining plan work?
To me it sounds worth it, but I may not completely understand it either.

Does it involve reservations for all meals?
no - reservations still need to be made by you in advance. nothing is guaranteed.

i don't like the dining plan. it was a good deal back when tips were included but now it doesn't offer much of a savings and it often pushes you into choices that you don't really want.

there is an entire forum dedicated to the dining plan, so you might want to read some of the stickied threads there to decide what you prefer:

http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=116
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:56 PM   #14
sablebomb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalee94 View Post
no - reservations still need to be made by you in advance. nothing is guaranteed.

i don't like the dining plan. it was a good deal back when tips were included but now it doesn't offer much of a savings and it often pushes you into choices that you don't really want.

there is an entire forum dedicated to the dining plan, so you might want to read some of the stickied threads there to decide what you prefer:
I was reading a bit about the dining plans but kept going back to the comments that if you want to have character meals, you should get the dining plan? Is the dining plan make it easier to reserve the character meals? or is it just that the character meals are more expensive so it makes it more worth it? That's what I haven't come across yet. (tons of info and I've spent hours on here so far reading up on all kinds of great topics!).
What exactly is this character dining?
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:39 PM   #15
mickeyluv'r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sablebomb View Post
How exactly does the dining plan work?
To me it sounds worth it, but I may not completely understand it either.

Does it involve reservations for all meals?
April is just about the perfect time to go. Being from up north, Winter temps would probbably feel warm to you, but I still think April is iseal, unless youa re a REALLY looking to go on the cheap, or really don't mind cold.

In 2014, Easter falls on April 20 - so you will do better if you can avoid the week before Easter and the week after. there shoudl be a sweet spot aruond the begining of the month, or at the end of the month. If you don't mind going that late, the week including April 28 will likely have great rates. Otherwise the very start of the month will be great weather, not sure yet how pricing will fall. The tail end of March/first few days of April should also be excellent (weather and crowds) , since Easter falls so late next year.

All Disney resorts have pizza delivery, but I think only the deluxes have real room service. All Disney resorts also have quick serve places (food courts). We really like to eat in the food courts most mornings because they are quick.

In the morning, it pays to make good use of time. you don't have to drive your fanmily nuts holding to a schedule, but being at the parks very close to 9am most mornings is very helpful. On the DIS we call that 'rope drop.' (being at the gates when the proverrbial rope drops tolet guests enter the park. If the posted park opening is at 9am, rope drop actually often happens at quarter to the hour, 8:45am) Personally we are rarely AT the gate before 9am, but most days we are there by 9:15am. You cna get a lot of park done in the first hour. Conversely, you can aslo do a lot of rides after dark. the parks are really fun at night, so I highly suggest it. the crowds drop off a ton, and the nitgh time lighting is relaly superb. The night parade at MK is the only one we see. It's that cool. the night fireworks at MK are also superb - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you are going in April, then any disney resort is going to be nice. (In Jan, it realy pays to stay deluxe).

the Dinig Plan used to be a great deal. It is not for 2013, but we'll see what 2014 brings. It is still useful though as a rough guide as to how much food costs at WDW.

gotto go...
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