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Old Yesterday, 05:08 AM   #1
Darkleafar
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4

First WDW trio ever, newbie humbly requests guidance

Hello everyone!
This is going to be my first disney trip of any kind, ever. Wife and I are experienced travelers, but never encountered something as intimidating as Walt Disney world. It is going to be just us two, January 7th through 15th,.
I have a ton of questions, but I never ask anything without doing research of my own first.

First thing is booking. So far I'm dealing with a company called small world vacations. Agent is not as proactive as in would like, but their prices are lower than directly through Disney. Any recommendations on using an agent vs direct?

Second thing is lodging. At first we were trying to decide between Coronado Springs and Caribbean beach, but then we went on YOLO mode and started looking t contemporary and wilderness Lodge. What would you guys consider best value? If not value, are deluxe amenities really worth it?

Third thing is dining. So far I'm lead to believe the stay, play, and dine package is the best value Available for my dates. I like the idea of the dinning in plan, but I'm a little intimidated by the sheer amount of choice s and planning required to simply use the thing. I still don't seem to understand what a character meal is, other than the fact it uses two table service credits. Why would you do that? Isn't that two days of table service food? And what's with all the Tipping madness? Are tips automatically added for a party of two in any situation? Or do I always get to choose the amount? Do I have to tip In quick service restaurants? Do all the resorts I mentioned above accept dining plan?

Fourth thing is fast pass. I understand if I stay on site I can select what rides I want 60 days in advance, 3 per day, per Park. First question is, do I have to go through my travel agent to do the fast pass? Or I can do it by myself? Is it included in the stay play and dine package? I fast pass akin to buying tickets online for your favorite band, where you click the refresh button incessantly hoping to nab a ticket? Or how does it work? I also understand after I used my 3 fast pass per Park, I can do extra reservations "in park". Are these at an extra cost? What's the point to doing those if I can only do them once km already there? Isn't it too late already?

Fifth thing is weather. How's Orlando in mid January? Will it be too cold for visiting the pools?

Sorry about all the questions, thank you very much for your time.
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Old Yesterday, 05:34 AM   #2
Disneylover99
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Just East of Toronto
Posts: 7,494

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkleafar View Post
Third thing is dining. So far I'm lead to believe the stay, play, and dine package is the best value Available for my dates. I like the idea of the dinning in plan, but I'm a little intimidated by the sheer amount of choice s and planning required to simply use the thing. I still don't seem to understand what a character meal is, other than the fact it uses two table service credits. Why would you do that? Isn't that two days of table service food? And what's with all the Tipping madness? Are tips automatically added for a party of two in any situation? Or do I always get to choose the amount? Do I have to tip In quick service restaurants? Do all the resorts I mentioned above accept dining plan?


I'll try to tackle your dining questions.

I think the only table service character meal that equals two credits is Cinderella's Royale Table. That's the restaurant right inside the MK castle. All of the other character meals are only one credit. Most of the character meals are Buffets. The characters circulate around the room and all will eventually come to your table. Most people take pictures with them and/or get their autographs. There are some signature dining experiences that cost 2 table service credits as well.

Tip will not be added to your bill because you are only a party of two. You can tip what you wish at table service meals and you don't tip at quick service restaurants.

All the DW resorts accept the dining plan. I know you're going in January, but google the 2014 DW dining plan for a full list of participating restaurants. Then check out the menus to see what appeals to you. Good luck.

if know one answers your other questions, ask about lodging under the resort section and ask about FP under theme parks and attractions.
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Old Yesterday, 06:42 AM   #3
buzz2400
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Answer to to question. As long as you are staying on site you can book fp 60 in advance. You will need to long into mydisneyexperience.com. After you have used those 3 fp, you will be able to get more fp in the park on that day.

Dining, people like the character buffets so that they can meet the characters and get pictures in a more relaxed setting. You would need to do research as to what characters are at each buffet so that you meet who you like ie Winnie the Pooh is at

Re booking with someone other than directly with disney is a preference. I usually price who is the cheapest and go with them but I have found that they are all basically the same. Keep in mind that if you are a aaa member you can get a discount as well.

I have stayed at Coronado and all the value resorts. I feel that you get better bus service the more you pay and that the pool area is better. Since I don't use those two things and we are only 2, we stay at value resorts to save money.

It is intimidating to have to plan where you are going to eat and the time you are going to eat. That is why I prefer not to do the dining plan. I can eat anytime when I am home. I would rather spend my time doing the rides at disney. You can see the menus at allears.net.

Re weather, we went one year first week of jan. It was so cold that we had to go to target and buy heavier clothes. Towards the end of the week it did warm up a little. Very hard to predict what temp will be.
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Old Yesterday, 10:08 AM   #4
Darkleafar
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneylover99 View Post


I'll try to tackle your dining questions.

I think the only table service character meal that equals two credits is Cinderella's Royale Table. That's the restaurant right inside the MK castle. All of the other character meals are only one credit. Most of the character meals are Buffets. The characters circulate around the room and all will eventually come to your table. Most people take pictures with them and/or get their autographs. There are some signature dining experiences that cost 2 table service credits as well.

Tip will not be added to your bill because you are only a party of two. You can tip what you wish at table service meals and you don't tip at quick service restaurants.

All the DW resorts accept the dining plan. I know you're going in January, but google the 2014 DW dining plan for a full list of participating restaurants. Then check out the menus to see what appeals to you. Good luck.

if know one answers your other questions, ask about lodging under the resort section and ask about FP under theme parks and attractions.
Thank you! That clears up some things.
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 AM   #5
Darkleafar
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzz2400 View Post
Answer to to question. As long as you are staying on site you can book fp 60 in advance. You will need to long into mydisneyexperience.com. After you have used those 3 fp, you will be able to get more fp in the park on that day.

Dining, people like the character buffets so that they can meet the characters and get pictures in a more relaxed setting. You would need to do research as to what characters are at each buffet so that you meet who you like ie Winnie the Pooh is at

Re booking with someone other than directly with disney is a preference. I usually price who is the cheapest and go with them but I have found that they are all basically the same. Keep in mind that if you are a aaa member you can get a discount as well.

I have stayed at Coronado and all the value resorts. I feel that you get better bus service the more you pay and that the pool area is better. Since I don't use those two things and we are only 2, we stay at value resorts to save money.

It is intimidating to have to plan where you are going to eat and the time you are going to eat. That is why I prefer not to do the dining plan. I can eat anytime when I am home. I would rather spend my time doing the rides at disney. You can see the menus at allears.net.

Re weather, we went one year first week of jan. It was so cold that we had to go to target and buy heavier clothes. Towards the end of the week it did warm up a little. Very hard to predict what temp will be.
The only reason I was turned off by value resort is that reviews say they feel like a motel, and that kinda sucks.
I'm still confused in fast pass. If I had to book rides 60 days in advance, why would there be any available spots open if I book anything on the day of?

And so far looks like deluxe resorts are not picked that often?
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Old Today, 02:54 PM   #6
buzz2400
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the available spots that are still opened for fast passes are the rides that are not that popular or where you really don't need fast passes.

the fast passes that you really really want to book for is toy story mania, 7 dwarfs, soarin, splash mountain, space mountain. The next few to pick from would be test track, rnr, tower of terror and big thunder mountain. These are the rides that have the longest lines. Of course these really are based on if you even want to go on these rides. We did find that we couldn't rebook the big hit rides on the day we went (we wanted to change the time of toy story) but there was no more fp for that ride and this was before 11 a.m.

When I booked at the 60 day mark, I first figured out what days/parks and then I booked starting at 11 a.m. and gave about an hour in between so that I would have finished by three fp around 2ish so that I could get additional fp. I then picked the above rides since they get the longest. At hollywood studios since they tier, I chose toy story and tower of terror and then I hit rnr at rope drop and was able to ride that twice before the lines got too long.

Hope this helps.
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