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Old 10-05-2012, 10:07 AM   #1
k80mac
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3

My first WDW and staying offsite - got tips?

This is our first WDW trip. We're staying offsite at Westgate Lakes resort & spa. We are also staying during the first week of April 2013 (spring break). I understand the insanity in that, but that's what we've got to work with. I think I have figured out crowd calendars, which parks, fast pass etc.. but what I'm nervous about is driving to/from parks, parking, getting around from park to park. How do I get from MK to Epcot? Can I park at AK, monorail to Epcot but pay MYW for 1 park or do I need parkhoppers? What can I expect after fireworks in MK? (can I park somewhere else than MK?) these little logistical, efficient tips would be very helpful. We plan on driving our car to/from resort and parks rather than relying on our resort shuttle. I'd like to only do 1 park/day and pay MYW tix instead of parkhopping, but don't fully understand the navigation around WDW.

help?
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #2
wishing4PA
Wants to be in Pennsylvania or WDW or PA or WDW or ... and stuck smack dab in the middle!
 
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Hi, and welcome!
You might want to read around a bit on this site (there are some very useful stickied posts in the various forums) or something like allears net and/or check out a basic guidebook from the library just to get oriented.

In the meantime...
I assume when you said to park at AK, you meant MK and it was just a typo. MK is actually the only park you can't park at. You go to its parking lot, but you are still across a little lake from the Magic Kingdom itself, at a place called the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). From the TTC, you can take monorail to EPCOT or to MK, or you can take a ferry to the MK. That's all free (the monorail & ferry), part of being at WDW. Parking, on the other hand, is not free since you're staying offsite. Sorry about that. :-( However, if you should decide to move your car from one lot to another, it is my understanding you won't have to pay twice in the same day if you have your proof that you already paid at the other park's lot. That won't really matter to you, though, if you're only going to one park a day.

So, you can park in lots directly at: EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios. Or you can park in the lot "near" Magic Kingdom (and take monorail or ferry to the MK park entrance.) Since you are just doing one park per day, you don't need park hoppers. That is only to go into 2 parks in a day.

My "one tip" regarding the hoppers is, if you are thinking, oh my goodness, I might want these, I guess I'd better buy them -- but you aren't 100% positive you will need them -- is don't buy them in advance. You can always add the hopping feature after you get to WDW, even on the last day of your trip, if you suddenly decide you need it. So save your money if you think there's a good chance one park per day will work for you.

Hope this helps, and have fun reading!

PS: You can't monorail anywhere from AK ... it doesn't go there at all.
__________________
(me) (DH) (DD9)
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* 7/2013 (YC with DD), 1/2012 (Poly - me, DD, DN, DN, DSis, thanks! ), 7/2010 (FW - the Poly5+Mom), 2/2009 (DD4 & DH's 1st visit! ASMo), Day trip ~1990, Overnight "Jazz Night" with HS band (1978?), ~10 Day trips in 1970's-80's (E tickets!)
* Disney World Preview Center (1970?) An amusement park here, in the middle of nowhere, far from the beaches, nowhere near anything, even dinky little Orlando? That'll never fly!

Last edited by wishing4PA; 10-05-2012 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Just a few suggestions for you regarding your stay at Westgate Lakes (we stayed there the last week of August):

A week or so beforehand, call the hotel and request a renovated room (some are nicer than others). Also, building 500 is in an EXCELLENT location, and would also be my suggestion for a request prior to your arrival.....the mini golf is right beside the building, the marina (paddle boats, etc.) is right behind the building, the tennis court is adjacent to the building, and the Citrus Breeze pool, the Citrus Breeze Activity Center (crafts, games, bike rentals) and the basketball court are right in front of the building. The "main" pool (Coral Reef) is a short walk away. Plus, in building 500, you will be able to see some of the Disney fireworks right from your screened in balcony.

Lots of pics in my trip report (see August link in my signature), if you are interested in taking a peek.
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
k80mac
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Thanks for the info!

I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out ultimately - I can see parking lots on maps (and don't mind paying for parking) but then figuring out "ok I park here, and want to go there... or I'm in MK and parked at the lot near Epcot) errrrr.
Can I park in any parking lot and access any of the parks? Can I park in the Epcot parking lot on the day that I want to go to Magic Kingdom, without having to enter Epcot?

Gina - I actually saw some of your pics on tripadvisor (I think) and then was scrolling through on disboards, I think on another thread. I may send you a message, I'd love to discuss more with you!
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:48 AM   #5
k80mac
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3

ack - I can't send PM's yet.


GINA - - I think I saw your pics on tripadvisor before I even made it to disboards. very helpful! We are staying in a 3 bedroom - do you know if those are included in the 500 building? I've read some horror stories too, but I've read them about most of the resorts I've ever stayed at. Mostly we just want a decent, comfortable place to crash and if we can snag some extras like better views/access then all for the better. I've got a 5 and a 3 year old so their going to be overwhelmed by Disney no matter what. lol

I'm hoping to avoid the sales push on this trip - is it possible to do? Do you have any guidance on whether their Disney shuttle is worth dealing with or have you driven/parked at WDW when you were staying there? Any other tips on the resort?

Thanks!
Katie
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:54 AM   #6
wishing4PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k80mac View Post
I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out ultimately - I can see parking lots on maps (and don't mind paying for parking) but then figuring out "ok I park here, and want to go there... or I'm in MK and parked at the lot near Epcot) errrrr.
Can I park in any parking lot and access any of the parks? Can I park in the Epcot parking lot on the day that I want to go to Magic Kingdom, without having to enter Epcot?
Okay, I'm going to stop second guessing myself and say "yes". Sure, you can just park wherever and get wherever.
But seriously, it's going to be much easier to just follow the huge signs along the road to whatever park you want to go to.
__________________
(me) (DH) (DD9)
----------------------------------------------
* 7/2013 (YC with DD), 1/2012 (Poly - me, DD, DN, DN, DSis, thanks! ), 7/2010 (FW - the Poly5+Mom), 2/2009 (DD4 & DH's 1st visit! ASMo), Day trip ~1990, Overnight "Jazz Night" with HS band (1978?), ~10 Day trips in 1970's-80's (E tickets!)
* Disney World Preview Center (1970?) An amusement park here, in the middle of nowhere, far from the beaches, nowhere near anything, even dinky little Orlando? That'll never fly!

Last edited by wishing4PA; 10-05-2012 at 12:39 PM. Reason: typing ahead of my brain - okay got it straight this time, I think!
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #7
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k80mac View Post
ack - I can't send PM's yet.


GINA - - I think I saw your pics on tripadvisor before I even made it to disboards. very helpful! We are staying in a 3 bedroom - do you know if those are included in the 500 building? I've read some horror stories too, but I've read them about most of the resorts I've ever stayed at. Mostly we just want a decent, comfortable place to crash and if we can snag some extras like better views/access then all for the better. I've got a 5 and a 3 year old so their going to be overwhelmed by Disney no matter what. lol

I'm hoping to avoid the sales push on this trip - is it possible to do? Do you have any guidance on whether their Disney shuttle is worth dealing with or have you driven/parked at WDW when you were staying there? Any other tips on the resort?

Thanks!
Katie
We did Aquatica and Discovery Cove on our trip, and we drove to each daily. We didn't use any of the resort shuttles (but saw lots of people who did). Not sure if the times are convenient or not. The resort's location is really central, so its only about a 15 minute drive to Disney if you choose to use your car. Me personally, I would rather drive than shuttle if a car is available to me, especially with small kids.

Unless you have to do a timeshare breakfast (ie, you agreed to a discounted rate on the room so its a mandatory requirement to get that favourable nightly cost), JUST SAY NO. To the "welcome center" people in particular. Remind them that their own manager, on Tripadvisor, publicly states that the timeshare sales breakfast is competely optional. Be firm. Then unplug your phone once you get to your villa.

There are 3 bedroom layouts in every building, as far as I am aware. So you should have no problem getting a 3 bedroom in building 500, if that's where you want to be .

My trip report has a ton more pics than I posted on Tripadvisor. I got lazy on TA and just uploaded a small selection .

Any other questions, fire away.
__________________
Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! PTR in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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