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Old 08-08-2013, 11:35 AM   #16
disfan4life1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18

Did you find the weekend trips to be hard? We did a weekend trip last year, but we flew, so not really comparable!
We usually have at least 2 drivers. So we an take turns sleeping during the drive. We will leave after school on Thursday. Get to bed around 3 am on Friday. Sleep a few more hours. Spend Friday and Saturday in the parks. Get up Sunday morning around 7ish to head home. Usually home by around 4-5ish. Again take turns sleeping on way home. The weekends are always such an adrenaline rush for us. We love seeing how much we can get done in those 2 days.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #17
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We have had APs for a few years now. Here is my story:

When we lived in NY, we did the AP if we were doing two or more trips in a year. I should mention, we have a DVC, so our prices is a little lower than the price to the general public. Not uncommon from us to schedule this year's week long vacation in August, and next years in June.

Two years ago, we moved to North Carolina (an 8 hour drive to WDW). For a long weekend (at least 3 day) trip, we will leave after work/school, drive about 6 hours (Jacksonville area), and stop. The next morning, we will leave and be at the parks by RD. On the last day, we leave the parks after lunch, get home by about 9PM.

I have never used the AP to get a hotel. Again, we have DVC, but for our weekend trips, we normally just stay at the Hampton Inn or Homewood Suites in Lake Buena Vista. Again, AP includes free parking, and since we are driving, we have our car. If you do it right, even a last minute weekend trip can be surprisingly affordable if you already have an AP.

AP also gives you the merchandise discount. Sadly, they changed the premium annual pass to only now have a 10% discount (it was 20% when we first bought it). However, add in TIW, and you can realize quite a bit of savings...

Lastly, yes, it is only a mindset, but with the APs, I don't think about a plan as much. I am ok just spending a few hours in a park. Once we changed plans at the last minute, and skipped the parks to head home on the last day due to the "Sunday Surprise" homework that nobody had mentioned until the "Dad, what time will we get home tomorrow night?" question. We have also planned a trip in just a couple of days.

We have not done a literal weekend only trip, but with family and friends still in NY, I could very easily see someone telling us they will be in Disney one weekend, and my wife asking if we could basically "go for the day Saturday". I know it will happen at some point.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:32 PM   #18
wfjny
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Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18 View Post
Thank you! I will look into it, I'm sure we spend more that $500 per trip in food!
To be clear, I think it is changing, but the last time we bought a TIW card, it was good for 13+ months.

In other words, I showed up on October 31st 2011, and wanted to buy a TIW card. The cm asked me if I was going to use it today. I said no. they then informed me that a card bought on Oct 31st would be good until the end of the next 13 months, or in other words, Nov 30, 2012. However, if I bought it the next day (Nov 1st) it would be good until Dec 31, 2012.

The bigger point being, it is not break even at $500 per trip, it is break even at $500 per year (or really per 13+ months).

It is only for sit down meals (not quick service), but when we went with my sister and family, we could easily spend $300 or more on the 10 of us at one dinner. I am sure if you drink, with a group you could easily pay for itself in one meal.

Lastly, some of the restaurants at DTD take the card as well. Since the TIW card does not necessarily expire when your AP does, you could be in a situation where you have no active Disney Park Tickets (say a separate Universal only trip after your APs expired), and still be able to use the TIW card.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #19
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We justify getting our AP's by usually getting two vacations out of them. We always go during end of May/June so the year we get our AP's we go like the 2nd week in June then the next year we plan our vacation a couple of weeks earlier. That more than pays for the AP's and then any trips we take during the year are just extras. The 10% discount on merchandise also really adds up during a week long vacation.
Thank you! This helps!
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by disfan4life1 View Post
We usually have at least 2 drivers. So we an take turns sleeping during the drive. We will leave after school on Thursday. Get to bed around 3 am on Friday. Sleep a few more hours. Spend Friday and Saturday in the parks. Get up Sunday morning around 7ish to head home. Usually home by around 4-5ish. Again take turns sleeping on way home. The weekends are always such an adrenaline rush for us. We love seeing how much we can get done in those 2 days.
This seems really do-able! Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfjny View Post
We have had APs for a few years now. Here is my story:

When we lived in NY, we did the AP if we were doing two or more trips in a year. I should mention, we have a DVC, so our prices is a little lower than the price to the general public. Not uncommon from us to schedule this year's week long vacation in August, and next years in June.

Two years ago, we moved to North Carolina (an 8 hour drive to WDW). For a long weekend (at least 3 day) trip, we will leave after work/school, drive about 6 hours (Jacksonville area), and stop. The next morning, we will leave and be at the parks by RD. On the last day, we leave the parks after lunch, get home by about 9PM.

I have never used the AP to get a hotel. Again, we have DVC, but for our weekend trips, we normally just stay at the Hampton Inn or Homewood Suites in Lake Buena Vista. Again, AP includes free parking, and since we are driving, we have our car. If you do it right, even a last minute weekend trip can be surprisingly affordable if you already have an AP.

AP also gives you the merchandise discount. Sadly, they changed the premium annual pass to only now have a 10% discount (it was 20% when we first bought it). However, add in TIW, and you can realize quite a bit of savings...

Lastly, yes, it is only a mindset, but with the APs, I don't think about a plan as much. I am ok just spending a few hours in a park. Once we changed plans at the last minute, and skipped the parks to head home on the last day due to the "Sunday Surprise" homework that nobody had mentioned until the "Dad, what time will we get home tomorrow night?" question. We have also planned a trip in just a couple of days.

We have not done a literal weekend only trip, but with family and friends still in NY, I could very easily see someone telling us they will be in Disney one weekend, and my wife asking if we could basically "go for the day Saturday". I know it will happen at some point.
Thanks! I like the idea of staying off-site to save money.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:38 PM   #22
DisneyJillian18
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Originally Posted by wfjny View Post
To be clear, I think it is changing, but the last time we bought a TIW card, it was good for 13+ months.

In other words, I showed up on October 31st 2011, and wanted to buy a TIW card. The cm asked me if I was going to use it today. I said no. they then informed me that a card bought on Oct 31st would be good until the end of the next 13 months, or in other words, Nov 30, 2012. However, if I bought it the next day (Nov 1st) it would be good until Dec 31, 2012.

The bigger point being, it is not break even at $500 per trip, it is break even at $500 per year (or really per 13+ months).

It is only for sit down meals (not quick service), but when we went with my sister and family, we could easily spend $300 or more on the 10 of us at one dinner. I am sure if you drink, with a group you could easily pay for itself in one meal.

Lastly, some of the restaurants at DTD take the card as well. Since the TIW card does not necessarily expire when your AP does, you could be in a situation where you have no active Disney Park Tickets (say a separate Universal only trip after your APs expired), and still be able to use the TIW card.
I think we will defiantly spend $500 in a year! We normally spend between $500-600 with quick service so I'm sure table service will be more. Thank you!
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:04 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18

This seems really do-able! Thanks!
It really is... If you can't get a good room discount staying offsite is really good too. Parking would be free with AP and the trams get you closer than the busses do. And if you eat cheap a weekend is very do-able. I'm gonna miss it when it expires. Lol.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by disfan4life1 View Post
It really is... If you can't get a good room discount staying offsite is really good too. Parking would be free with AP and the trams get you closer than the busses do. And if you eat cheap a weekend is very do-able. I'm gonna miss it when it expires. Lol.
If you don't mind me asking, will you not be renewing because of cost or not able to get your monies worth?
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18

If you don't mind me asking, will you not be renewing because of cost or not able to get your monies worth?
We won't be renewing right away due to taking a cruise in June for a senior trip and making that our main focus. After that we may buy the AP again when we decide to get back that way... Gotta wait and see how the kids schedules work out (college/high school have different holiday schedules). If I knew for sure that schedules would work out I wouldn't hesitate to renew. We had a blast this year and would love to do it all over again.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:06 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18 View Post
I think we will defiantly spend $500 in a year! We normally spend between $500-600 with quick service so I'm sure table service will be more. Thank you!
Be sure to review the long list of restaurants on tablesinwonderland.com! It'll show you the short list of counter service places you can use it at, too. And if you haven't found Cheshire's post somewhere yet, the basics are that it's *less than* $500 in eligible food and drink, because the TAX is figured on the post-discount price. (tip for table services is based on PRE-discount, but not tax!) so it actually lowers the threshold.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:23 PM   #27
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Weekends are busy times at WDW because of locals. The crowds can sometimes be a bit unpredictable, too. You might find that after the drive you can't fit in everything you want.

As others said, plan your ticket purchase around your trips. Don't buy a ticket and then go. It's expensive AND it loses some of the magic when it turns into "UGH. I'm tired of eating at _____." It stops being a treat when you go too frequently. Not to mention you might end up having to miss out on fun stuff at home since you're saving up for yet another trip to Disney.

It's totally okay to go off on a weekend to someplace that is not Disney. You'll still have fun and it'll make Disney that much more special when you go there again.

I've only had an AP three times - all three times because I *planned* on going more than 13 days in a year and already had the money mostly set aside.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #28
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Just a note on TIW, I bought it in May and I believe it is accepted at all-star cafeterias and some counter service venues.

I also bought my AP in May with 2 trips in mind, but I am considering additional trips for rundisney events or just a warm weather break in winter. It is great because I only have to budget for hotel and airfare (driving for you). But it just plain makes shorter, sudden trips possible!

And on renewal, you will get the slightly cheaper renewal rate then.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by DisneyJillian18 View Post
I think we will defiantly spend $500 in a year! We normally spend between $500-600 with quick service so I'm sure table service will be more. Thank you!
Also, I found that with the discount, TS did not cost much more than CS. Especially places like The Plaza or even Sci-fi.
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May 2013 - Port Orleans Riverside
November 2013 - first solo trip for Wine and Dine! Decided to explore new resorts: CB, YC, POLY
January 2014 - Animal Kingdom Lodge CL. Happy Birthday to me!
March/April 2014 - Coronado Springs/Wilderness Lodge
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:47 AM   #30
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We won't be renewing right away due to taking a cruise in June for a senior trip and making that our main focus. After that we may buy the AP again when we decide to get back that way... Gotta wait and see how the kids schedules work out (college/high school have different holiday schedules). If I knew for sure that schedules would work out I wouldn't hesitate to renew. We had a blast this year and would love to do it all over again.
Great! Thank you so much for all your advice!
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