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Old 01-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #1
Rivka
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 41

Newbie planning my very first trip!

Hi everyone!

I'm planning our family's first trip to WDW in October 2013, to celebrate my 40th birthday. It'll be me, my husband, 8yo daughter, 4yo son. I'm hoping to go for 8 nights, 7 days arriving Oct. 19, and also hoping that Disney will offer free dining again during that time period.

My current thoughts are:
- Carribean Beach Resort or Port Orleans Riverside (Alligator Bayou)
- 3 days MK, 2 days Epcot, 1 day each AK and HS
- 40th birthday dinner at the California Grill, returning to MK for the Electrical Parade and Wishes

My main dilemmas are:
- Rent a car or not (not planning to do anything non-Disney, but with the ages of our kids we are counting on returning to the hotel for a rest most afternoons)
- Where else to make ADRs, assuming free dining
- How our plans should change if there isn't free dining

I'm sure plenty of other questions will arise as I really get started planning.

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:38 AM   #2
PrincessAmyLu
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Location: Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka
Hi everyone!

I'm planning our family's first trip to WDW in October 2013, to celebrate my 40th birthday. It'll be me, my husband, 8yo daughter, 4yo son. I'm hoping to go for 8 nights, 7 days arriving Oct. 19, and also hoping that Disney will offer free dining again during that time period.

My current thoughts are:
- Carribean Beach Resort or Port Orleans Riverside (Alligator Bayou)
- 3 days MK, 2 days Epcot, 1 day each AK and HS
- 40th birthday dinner at the California Grill, returning to MK for the Electrical Parade and Wishes

My main dilemmas are:
- Rent a car or not (not planning to do anything non-Disney, but with the ages of our kids we are counting on returning to the hotel for a rest most afternoons)
- Where else to make ADRs, assuming free dining
- How our plans should change if there isn't free dining

I'm sure plenty of other questions will arise as I really get started planning.

Thanks!
You will be there during the food and wine festival will you be participating in that on your two EPCOT days??
It is actually my birthday then and we will be down there for food and wine.

Also you can watch wishes from the special viewing balcony if you eat at the California grill. It was great when we went for our honeymoon.

Do you plan on doing character dining?
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
atcNick
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Why wouldn't you use disney transportation back and forth?
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
Rivka
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Originally Posted by atcNick View Post
Why wouldn't you use disney transportation back and forth?
Well, good question. I read somewhere that if you're planning to go back to your hotel for an afternoon nap you should have a car, or you'll waste too much time waiting for buses. But I don't know whether that's really the case.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
Rivka
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Originally Posted by PrincessAmyLu View Post
You will be there during the food and wine festival will you be participating in that on your two EPCOT days??
It is actually my birthday then and we will be down there for food and wine.

Also you can watch wishes from the special viewing balcony if you eat at the California grill. It was great when we went for our honeymoon.

Do you plan on doing character dining?
I'm not entirely sure what Food & Wine entails beyond lots of extra food vendors. We probably can't get any scheduled grownup food activities in past the kids, but we're certainly planning to grab as many goodies as we can get on the fly in Epcot.

I was thinking that we should do Chef Mickey's on our arrival night, so that we get some Disney in right away without using up one of our days of park admission. But it appeared an awful lot of times on the list of "restaurants you never want to visit again." Thoughts?
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:51 PM   #6
PrincessAmyLu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka

I'm not entirely sure what Food & Wine entails beyond lots of extra food vendors. We probably can't get any scheduled grownup food activities in past the kids, but we're certainly planning to grab as many goodies as we can get on the fly in Epcot.

I was thinking that we should do Chef Mickey's on our arrival night, so that we get some Disney in right away without using up one of our days of park admission. But it appeared an awful lot of times on the list of "restaurants you never want to visit again." Thoughts?
Google food and wine menus and such. There are little kiosks all throughout the world showcase. You will spend quite a bit on food though. I think some of the things count as a snack on the dining plan. The people we go with every year have a child and he does great although he is not a picky eater.

I have never been to chef mickeys. My favorite character dining experience was at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian resort! Since you have an 8 year old girl I think it would be great for her. You eat with the stepsisters, stepmother, Prince Charming , and Cinderella. The food was ok but the entertainment was wonderful! Most character dining is loud and you have to sit there a while. Most adults hate both of those things while you are eating. Which is probably why it got a bad review.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:12 PM   #7
jenabelle
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Hi Rivka

How exciting to be planning your first trip! Iíve struggled with the car rental question in the past too. A couple of things to keep in mind on the rental versus bus question:

1) Magical Express is cool- itís a free bus service for resort guests from the airport with extra perks. When you check your bags in at your home airport, Disney takes over- they pick up the bags in Orlando and deliver them to your room at the resort. All you have to do is get yourself on the bus and they drop you off at your resort.
2) You mentioned that youíre going to Magic Kingdom for 3 days and thatís a big reason for me to go with bus vs rental. While at the other parks the lot is adjacent to the park, at Magic Kingdom you canít park anywhere near the park. The parking lot is huge (they all are) and you take a tram from your section of the parking lot to the Ticket and Transportation center where you then wait for a boat or monorail. The monorail is cool, but that trip takes some time. If you take a Disney bus, you are dropped off right next to the entrance to the park. One year with a rental car we considered leaving and coming back, but it never happened. The ďextraĒ travel from the lot to the park made for an extra journey that felt daunting- when we used the buses we left and returned.
3) I do like the freedom of a rental car and the ability to get off property if needed. Itís nice to be able to pick up food and sundries without always paying Disney prices. On the flip side, if Iím on a dining plan, it reduces even further the need to get off property for shopping.

In the end it comes down to your family and their needs. You do give up some freedom with using only buses, but itís a nice money saver and immerses you in Disney. People on the bus tend to be very friendly and you get some extra Disney magic and time. It can require some patience (can be up to 20 minutes between buses although I've found itís usually shorter than that) and willingness to go with the flow- if youíre family fits that then the buses are a good option.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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