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Old 04-12-2005, 10:00 PM   #61
Tamar
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Well, I didn't realize this until I looked it up just now, but DDE is only valid for Annual Passholders and Florida residents. Having said that...getting annual passes is a great tip if you'll be at Disney for a week or more...you get lots of discounts that add up, and a great excuse to go back before they expire!!

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Old 04-13-2005, 09:24 PM   #62
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The hanging shoe organizer thing for toiletries-brilliant suggestion and worked like a charm for someone like me, who is usually rummaging through every bag looking for the toothpaste, etc. From battery chargers to floss, we had a compartment for each item and it saved valuable time not only in the mornings before we went to parks, but also when it came time to pack up and leave for home.

I got a Columbia waist pack for DH who balked and balked ("I am SOOO not wearing that, no way, no how--it looks dorky"), but guess who was singing its praises left and right when he got to WDW discovered he could fit a small Sony digital camcorder in there? He has a bad back and cannot wear backpacks anymore. We're totally for the waist pack!

Ziplocks. All kinds, all sizes. Gotta love em. Esp. the new 2 gallon size.

Never ended up using the ponchos but you never know--they are so inexpensive and could come in so handily for water rides as well as sudden rainshowers.

Get the cheap lightsticks and other cool kid gadgets that light up before you get to Fantasmic. Those merciless vendors go up and down the aisles in the stadium for the entire hour you are waiting, and it can get really painful when your 2 year old does not understand why she is not getting the extra special sparkly light up wand or lightsaber doohickie that they are waving in her face every 2 seconds I missed the boat on this and left the lightsticks in the resort room. Not gonna make that mistake again...
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Old 04-17-2005, 05:08 PM   #63
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I second the suggestion to split up everyone's clothes into each suitcase. That way if one suitcase goes missing, everyone has at least SOME clothes. We also bring a small change of "bare essentials (undies, t-shirt, wind pants, which are lighter and smaller to pack) along in our carry-on luggage.... just in case!! (Plus my friend's Mom got vomited on by a drunk passenger on a LOOOONG flight home from Ireland.... and she had NOTHING to change into!!)

I have yet to try the over-the-door shoeholder idea, but I will be utilizing it this summer on a long trip. I think it will work great!

I also second the idea of copying your park tickets. I lost a ticket between the security checkpoint and the gate (a distance of about 10 yards) a few years ago. It was picked up by someone and given to a CM... and then another family tried to claim it! Fortunately, they could tell by looking at the rest of my tickets that the number sequence was correct and that the ticket was mine (BIG RELIEF)... the next time I made sure that DH and I both had a copy of our tickets with us AT ALL TIMES!

I also used the ziploc bag packing idea on our last trip to WDW. It worked well, even though the weather was iffy on some days. For the most part we just wore the pre-planned outfit and added a jacket or sweatshirt. If it was really cold, we exchanged the shorts from the preplanned outfit for a pair of pants that was brought along "just in case".

I always bring along a nightlight from home. Neither of my kids sleep in complete darkness (although DD used to... when did that change??) and it is helpful to not be disoriented when you wake up at night to use the potty.

I may be using the "inflatable-bath-pillow-as-a-seat-cushion" idea this summer at DL. Apparently there is no real "seating" for Fantasmic except on the pavement. And since the parks will be crowded, I'm sure that we would have to sit early to reserve a spot. I know from experience at WDW that after about 30 minutes my feet and legs are so numb that I couldn't stand if the place was on FIRE!! I think I will be looking into 4 of those cushions! (and I know that you can stand to watch Fantasmic, but I imagine we would be rather tired after being on our feet all day in the parks!)

In addition to tying a colorful scarf or ribbon on our stroller handle, we have also tied them around the antennas on our rental cars. Otherwise I think we would spend HOURS looking for it.... despite the fact that I diligently write down where we park.

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Old 10-17-2006, 05:30 PM   #64
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:37 PM   #65
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Use Tour Guide Mike. If nothing else, follow his recommended park days, and get there at rope drop. Everything else is wonderful gravy!!!
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:39 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand2me
Best piece of advice that I got was to bring your own poncho and have it with you at all times...EVEN if they say it's not going to rain. You never know. We found out the hard way last year . A really good piece of advice that I got from my brother was to start walking. I know it sounds wierd but he said that you do an OBSCENE amount of walking in all of the parks. He wanted us to be ready. Really glad that I followed that one.
I totally agree with both ideas! I was so glad to have my 69-cent "emergency poncho" tucked into my fanny pack the night before Hurricane Wilma hit. We had a torrential downpour - I have never been in a storm like that before. Never needed a poncho again the whole trip, but was sure glad I didn't have to shell out the money for a WDW poncho!

And be sure to get in shape before you go! I swear, next time I go I'm going to get a pedometer and see how many miles I really walk there. If you're not in shape, you'll suffer!

Also, take care of your feet. Use a combination of Bodyglide and moleskin to prevent blisters. Make sure your shoes are extremely well broken-in. I brought my regular workout shoes (which I wear 3 or 4 times a week) and was very sorry not to have brought my older, more beaten-up tennis shoes, which were much more comfortable.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:35 PM   #67
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Body Glide

I picked up this tip from the boards and it saved our vacation!
DH developed a nasty rash on inner thighs after day 1.
He then started using Body Glide which allowed him to continue walking pain free.
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:50 PM   #68
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In the early days, as I was finding my way:

1) Read Unofficial Guide (I love the snarky commentary and reviews)
2) Book early (air, hotel, dining reservations)
3) Stay on-site
4) Get there early, early, early
5) Take midday naps (they're not just for kids) & relax by the pool (it keeps your sanity)
6) Make an itinerary and stick with the plan (but allow leeway for spontaneity)
7) Character dining (I'm sort of shy)
8) Bring snacks and water
9) Be adventurous; try things you don't think you'll like
10) Talk to CMs and other guests
11) Take time to notice details

Now that I'm more experienced, I'm refining my trip strategies. Here are some of my new favorites, in no particular order:
1) Use 2-Gallon Ziploc Bags to organize clothes
2) Buy cheap ponchos @ Target, etc.
3) Bring two pairs of comfortable walking shoes
4) Travel light (and, in my case, do laundry)
5) Squishing pennies is a great activity and offers small souvies
6) Healthy eating helps to maintains energy; so does working out
7) If staying at POR, take the boat to DTD
8) Make specific building requests
9) Visit the Greater Orlando area; it'll make you appreciate Disney even more
10) If possible, give yourself a leisurely travel day to and from Disney; you don't want to start or end your vacation stressed out
11) Bring moleskin, sunscreen, aspirin


Oh, and I'm a big fan of car rentals. I really find the option convenient!

Things I'm planning on doing the next time:
1) DDP--mainly to encourage myself to experience new places
2) Stay at a new resort, maybe more than one; Tour different resorts
3) Try a new WDW experience
4) Segway Tour
5) Sprinkle some pixie dust of my own!
6) TourGuide Mike
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Old 10-20-2006, 05:01 PM   #69
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Deekaypee, I just LOVE #11 - Take time to notice details. Simple yet so perfect. That's #1 on my list this time!
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Old 10-20-2006, 11:07 PM   #70
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Here is some advice that I followed on our trip:

1. Planning and Research: That will be your best friend throughour your vacation. I spend months planning our first trip and if I didn't do my research I know I would have been totally screwed. DH and I would have been miserable, waiting in lines, spend all of money by the 2-4th day into the park (and we were there for seven days.)

2. Eating Dinner Early: We ate lunch late (3-4pm). Since we went during the time of November, the parks closed earlier (7-8pm). Most restraunts serve the same meal during dinner, expect they charge $10-25 bucks more (depending on the restraunts.) We ducked out of waiting long lines and had our dinner early so we beat the dinner rush. And while everyone is trying to eat dinner, we're riding the rides. Plus we would save $10-25 per meal.

3. Fast Pass: Important tool. Study the craft and you'll rarely wait in lines.

4. Bring Your Own Poncho: Instead of paying $10-15 a poncho at WDW, just buy one at Target for $5. Just bring it with you and when it rains strap it on and you're good to go.

5. Bring Ziplock Bags: Protects your items from getting wet and easier to keep your items in.

6. Go To The Parks During OFF SEASON: Why pay two to three times more when you can spend less money on your vacation and not dealing with huge crowds? Instead of going on our honeymoon in June and having to deal with crowds, weather, and spending mucho money, I planned our trip ahead and booked our trip for November.

7. Keep Fit: Walk about a mile or two a week or two before vacation. You wouldn't think that you will do that much walking, but you definatly do! I lost a total of 10lbs on our vacation from all the walking.

8. Bring Snacks and Bottled Water: DH and I bought bottled water and snacks with us. We did eat breakfest at the parks (only 3 times during our seven day vacation) but we ate before hand so we wouldn't spend extra money on snacks. Plus, why spend $2-3 on a bottled water when you spend $4 on a twelve pack of bottled water at Target?

9. Bring Different Types of Clothes: Bring clothes that will fit for just about any weather. Thought, the park remained mainly around 70 degrees, at times that park would get chilly, so bring a jacket.

10. Stay on Site: We enjoy the bus transporation and the convenience of being close to the parks.

11. Chat with the CM: They are wonderful people and you never know what magical things will happen.

12. Special Events: If you're going to WDW when it's someone's birthday/honeymoon/anniversery/etc. let Disney know beforehand during your reservations, plus the parks sell buttons/pins/hats that would fit your need.

13. Go Early Early Early: You have to go early to the parks. You can relax a bit, enjoy the parks when the crowds are low and ride the rides you want before they get crowded.

14. Avoid EMH: The parks is twice as crowded; go to another park instead.


Things That We Will Do On Our Next Trip:

1. Use Tour Guide Mike: Got the $3 discount from Disboards and the first day using the website is worth every penny. Even an old dog can learn new tricks.

2. Making Reservations In Advanced: Use their advice on booking reservations. If you want to eat at the best restraunts, book the reservation in advanced. You do NOT want to be disappointed.

3. Purchase MVMCCP tickets and CLP tickets: Will definatly purchase these in advanced.

4. Use The Discount Codes: Seek and destroy. Some packages online (AAA, Expedia, etc.) may be easier to book but most likely be more expensive then booking seperately.

5. Save Save Save: Save more money. We rarely bought any suvineers because we had to budget. This time we want to go "wild" so we have to say every penny.

6. Use Towncar Service: Mears was alright (it was cheaper) but we waited 45 minutes to an hour to load up everyone and took over an hour close to two hours just to arrive at the parks. Will definatly NOT do that again. I would rather have someone pick me up on my schedual and take me to the store so I can get last minute supplies and head to the resort so I might be able to enjoy the parks.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:21 AM   #71
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A tip for those staying at AKL: Don't park near the grassy medians, especially if there is a chance for rain. Why? ANTS. I read about this a few years ago and mentioned it to my DBIL the last time the family stayed at AKL. He chose to ignore the advice -- even gave me some good-natured ribbing about being "Mr. know-it-all Disney." (Which I owe to the DIS, btw! ). Anyway, they spent an extra couple of hours on the last day of our trip trying to get ants out of their mini-van, and had to make several stops on the trip home to further de-ant the vehicle.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:29 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenoser
Thanks I was wondering how we would get copies.
When we got to DW last October (06) I just shot a picture with my digital camera of the front & back of our passes. I always have my camera with me so if I lost the passes at anytime I had the "copy" on hand. Just another way to get a copy

And I guess the best advice I got was PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Because we were planning this trip for a year in advance I was able to get an unbelievable price (3K for everything for 12 nights including food & souvies for 4), look at the parks before getting there to see what my children would most likely want to do vs. things we could overlook because they were too small (3 & 4 at the time - we will be going back ), make all my ADR's so we weren't turned away at must eat places CRT, Crystal Palace, LTT, and soooo much more I learned on the DIS
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Old 10-23-2006, 09:27 PM   #73
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We were so glad we found this site before our recent trip and these were the tips we used that were really helpful:
1. Crystal Lite packets to mix into water bottles- I would have never gotten by without these!
2. Stay on the monorail with very young children - this was invaluable with DS2, returning to the room for naps or bedtime was so easy and quick
3. Get the DDP!
4. Have a plan for each day
5. Use the Unofficial Guide
6. Pack the ponchos and stroller rain cover every day!

Things we did that we posted as advice to others that worked well for us:
1. Get the MK view at your hotel if you can, especially if you have a child that goes to bed before fireworks/shows. We were still able to enjoy Wishes and the water light parade each night.
2. Packed using travel sized space bags - really saved us alot of space for the stuff in #3 below
3. Packed small cereal boxes, plastic spoons and bowls, NutriGrain/granola bars and bought a small carton of milk at the resort and had our breakfasts in the room. We are not huge breakfast eaters and this was actually a nice way to save money and to spend a little "down time" together each morning before rushing off to the parks.
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Old 10-24-2006, 01:54 PM   #74
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Exclamation Thanks For This Board!!! More Help Please...

Doing Disney for the first time in March for 5 days w/ my hubby and 2 kids (7 (girl) and 5 (boy)). Staying at POR, and I am nervous, based on some of the posts I've read but not going to change I don't think. Would love to stay at the WL but don't think the extra 100$ per night is worth it. Agreed?

What are the dinner places/meal events NOT TO MISS? We're on the meal plan. Already booked CRT Breakfast but what else? Ohana vs. Jiko? Chef Mickeys? Seriously need some guidance here.

I have never been to Disney, this will probably be my one shot at it for a while so I really need the "must sees", "must do's". Please keep the advice/tips coming. I don't know too many of the "abbreviations" used on the board so please spell it out for me...!

Thanks to all you Disney Masters!
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:41 AM   #75
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Wow, this jumped from April of 05 to Oct of 06. Someone's doing research!

1. Crystal light or Kool-aid packets are great. They save money and sugar!

2. Breaks in the middle of the day. Especially with small ones. During our '04 trip we ignored this. DISASTER. In '06 we knew better. I'm afraid to go back because we had such a great time. I'd hate to ruin the memories. (Yeah right)

3. I've never done this but I've researched it: Instead of Mears or another service, rent a car for one day at the airport and return it at the Swan / Dolphin. $180 vs $30.

4. No matter how strange you look or feel, take pictures of everything. Don't hold up your party but snap away. You will love looking at them when you get home.
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