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Old 02-23-2013, 08:27 PM   #1
khaoskat
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1st EVER Trip for family of 6

Hi all...I have always wanted to go to Disney myself, but always thought it was too expensive. Now I have a family of 6, and we are going.

We have a budget, not a whole lot to spend, so I am open for all tips.
We have considered renting DVC, Value resort suite, off site, and have determined that we really want to be on-site for our first ever visit. I know we could probably save about $1,00 off site, but we really just want to experience the magic. So, we are down to either renting DVC or a Suite.

I am torn between getting the Dining Plan and how big of a one. I am considering the regular plan and just paying out of pocket for anything extra (including maybe going out of park, or cooking in the room some). To that end..have lots of questions. Do any of the other resorts other than WL/Campgrounds have picnic areas with grills in them, or grills within a reasonable distance of them? If they offer free dining plan, I am thinking for our resort it would be either the Quick Service or 1Q, 1T, 1S...can you pay and upgrade to the Deluxe (3 meals/day)? I have two people (Hubby and DS#1) that have big apps.

I know many suggest doing a meal at 1900 rather than Cinderella's Castle, but I am really wanting to do this and I think my daughter would love it. I am going to leave it up to the older boys if they would want to do it or not, so can you have less attend the meal than what is on your dining plan (ie only 2 of us go instead of 6)?

Ages at time of trip 9/8/5/2.

Interests
DS #1(9) - Star Wars; animals; Phineas and Ferb; Pirates, Cars...
DS #2(8) - Toy Story, Cars, Phineas and Ferb, Pirates, animals
DD #1(5) - Princesses, Cinderella, Marida, Minnie Mouse
DS #3(2) - Mickey, Trains, Cars, Toy Story....

I am already going to make them individualized Autograph Books and Passports.

Any ideas of things we shouldn't miss. And which fireworks are a must see...what about parades?

Thanks so much.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:28 PM   #2
pittsburghmarc
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It seems you have a good idea of the things that are important to your family.

The first decision is on or off site. And you have made that decision already.

Don't jump into the dining plan right away. That takes some number crunching especially if you are on a budget.

I would love to help you navigate these waters.

PM me if you would like some help.

My kids are in the same age range with similar interests.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:05 AM   #3
brightcutie
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Unless the dining plan is free, I personally wouldn't do it. I have a husband who is a really big eater and he was more than satisfied with Disney's very large portions at both counter/quick service and table/sit down meals. The main reason I would say no is because you could easily share a meal with your two youngest and save a good bit over the dining plan. Also, I think there are restrictions on what you can order if you buy the child version of the dining plan ( kids menu only) which can get a little boring and limited. I do not think your 9 year old big eater would enjoy much off of that menu. My mother and I shared meals and tipped like we ordered two meals at table service and we walked away full and it was much cheaper than if we had bought the dining plan. Also, you can bring inexpensive snacks from home like peanut butter crackers, gummy snacks, and frozen waters into the parks. Overall, those things should save you a good bit.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:34 AM   #4
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Hi! We are also a family of six so I know how hard it can be to plan for everyone. I would really think twice about doing the dinning plan. It has never been a worthwhile purchase for us. I suggest you look at the sample menus on allears.net or on here and see what you would normally order. Add that cost up and then look at the total cost of the dining plan. Also, there is much less flexibility with the dining plan then paying cash. Some places have modified menus. Also if you 9 year old would rather order something off the adult menu, even if it is an appetizer, that would not be allowed. Lastly, remember tip is not included in that dinning plan. So you need to factor that into your total cost as well. I hope that helps. If you need anything else or have any other questions, feel free to PM me!
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #5
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to the year around Disney playground. Once you have gotten use to the Dis Board, You are stuck like chuck. The people on the board and the threads have so much information, you"ll be a well seasoned Disney Traveler even on your first trip.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:52 AM   #6
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:35 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I am sure I will probably ask a lot of silly questions...but please forgive me in advance.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaoskat View Post
I know many suggest doing a meal at 1900 rather than Cinderella's Castle, but I am really wanting to do this and I think my daughter would love it. I am going to leave it up to the older boys if they would want to do it or not, so can you have less attend the meal than what is on your dining plan (ie only 2 of us go instead of 6)? Yes, just 2 of you could go eat somewhere. You could book another restaurant the boys



Any ideas of things we shouldn't miss. And which fireworks are a must see...what about parades? My family love the parades & fireworks at MK, but you usually have to stake out a place in advance. We like to go to Frontierland and sit near the Frontier Trading Post.
I've also heard the one at AK is good, but we've never done that one.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #9
Jasperann
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Hey I'm a family of 6 as well! We do the dining plan each time we have gone. We did the regular one the first time and were very very shocked with how much the Tips were. I think we spent over $500.00 on tips for sit down meals. The Tip is added automatically because of the size of your group. My hubby does not like the regular dining plan because he felt it way to much time away from the parks. With it being our first time we missed out on so much because we were always trying to factor in the time of when our reservation was. It was kinda a pain.

The second time we went we got the QS plan. We really loved it. Even the kids loved it. There were a few places that they could get something other than nuggets and pizza and we would add those places into the rotation of meals. They were really happy with it. We always felt very full with the amount of food that was offered and ended up cashing in some QS meals that we didn't use for Snacks to take home with us. It was a nice added bonus.

I think what we liked most about the dining plans is the fact that everything is paid for before you go. You don't have to worry about having extra money or keeping track of how much everything costs. I think I would have had a hard time paying for anything if I had to worry about the price. (I coupon... all the time so paying full price for something is really hard for me :lol

On to the place to stay... We drove down the first time and camped in a tent the whole time. We like camping... however we do not like camping at Disney. We won't do it again. But I would love to stay at the cabins I just love the feel of Fort Wilderness. It is so comfy and you feel relaxed just being there. The second time we stayed in a family Suite at ASMusic. The kids LOVED it! They loved the theme and they loved the pool. The room was nice and had enough space for everyone to sleep, the two bathrooms was amazing for getting everyone showers. This time we are staying at Boardwalk Inn (club level Deluxe room) We had booked Art of Animation but then I got a code and it wasn't good at AoA, so I checked prices for other places and the BWI was only $1800 (about) more than AoA... so I switched our reservation. It is a once in a life time trip.

I know this is a supper long post, I just wanted to share with you our experience. The number one tip I would say is, don't expect to do everything. Research and have everyone pick out the top 2 or 3 things they would like to do in each park and then plan on doing that. Consider anything else a bonus. I way over planned and almost ruined our first trip with how Commando I planed everything. I broke down crying in the middle of the Magic Kingdom because we weren't doing everything I had planned and it just wasn't magical enough... That was day 4... after that I tossed the plan out the window and we did what we wanted. The last few days were so amazing and magical, I wish I would have done that first. :lol:
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