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Disney planning

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by justtxyank, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Planning to go Disney world next year on a down week and wanted some clutch fans knowledge dropped about best hotels and stuff. Value isn't my driving goal, want best experience and have a three year old with us.
     
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  2. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Specifically thoughts on grand Floridian and animal kingdom lodge
     
  3. jdh008

    jdh008 Member

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    If you're looking for the best experience for your three-year-old, between these two choices, go with the Animal Kingdom Lodge and get a savannah-view room. Waking up to seeing a bunch of animals running freely out on the savannah is a really cool experience that only that resort can give you.

    With that said, the Grand Floridian has its benefits, namely, the close proximity to the Magic Kingdom. If you're going to have to take breaks in the middle of your day for the youngster (and don't kid yourself, you probably will if you're going to get a reasonably early start), it's nice to be able to get on the monorail and be there within a matter of minutes rather than having to wait for a Disney bus and getting back in half an hour or so.

    But again, from an experience standpoint, it's AKL for me.
     
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  4. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    Don't go swimming at the Grand Floridian beach.

    I'm just saying.
     
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  5. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    We took our 3 year old to Disney World and stayed at the Contemporary Resort. It is on the monorail and you walk to the opening gate from the hotel in 10 minutes. It was nice to be that close since we could bounce between the park and the hotel room.
     
  6. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Join Thousand Trails like my dad did, then stay in a single-wide at their Orlando lodge. Hopefully it won't rain three out of the four days there.
     
  7. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    The two hotels you listed are great. Another to consider is the Wilderness Lodge. Great location and neat experience.

    My biggest piece of advice and one we've always had success with: take a day off from going to the parks in the middle of your trip. Lounge around the pool, go out to eat, and rest up.
     
  8. mateo

    mateo Contributing Member

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    I spent a week with my kids at the Animal Kingdom lodge. Its totally worth the bus rides. The restaurants in the hotel are awesome (Jiko is so good, Sanaa also yummy) and its a truly unique experience.

    Suggestions:

    If you stay at the AKL, pay up and stay on the concierge floor. You get free breakfast, snacks all day, enough apps where you could blow off a dinner if you had to (not recommended, but you can), and free booze. You can bring bottles of water and snacks out of concierge lounge and bring them with you in backpack to park during the day. In short, dont get a meal plan, get concierge level and then pay as you go.

    Also the concierge service can help you lock down hard to get reservations with characters if you forgot to wake up at midnight 60 days before arrival and get your fast passes. (DO THIS)

    Savannah view room is worth it. You can get the free night vision glasses and look at the animals at night.

    Finally, as a AKL Concierge level guest, you have the right to purchase tickets to the Sunrise Safari and breakfast. You get to go into the Animal Kingdom 2 hours early and see the animals before the heat sends them into the shade. Its worth it although you have to wake up really early.
     
    #8 mateo, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
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  9. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    We're thinking about Disney as well, with our 9 & 6 (will be 7) year old during their Spring Break. Considering staying at a resort, even though my father in law lives in Orlando (though it could easily be a 30+ minute drive with their traffic).
     
  10. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm

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    Funny. I was literally looking at different Disney World packages yesterday. I really want to take my 6 and 3 ( will be 7 and 4 this year) year old boys next year. I'll be following this thread closely.

    I went in 05, got a great deal on everything, airfare included. I don't see anything like that right now. That said, I went through a travel agent to get it. Might try that again.
     
    #10 mikol13, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  11. TMAC3

    TMAC3 Member

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    Going in October with 2.5 year old. Staying at Contemporary and have already fast passed everything for 3 days. Any other advice?
     
  12. jdh008

    jdh008 Member

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    Are you planning on eating dinner in the parks? Often, you can get a dining reservation just a few days in advance for many restaurants, but if you want to go to one of the more in-demand restaurants (such as Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom) you'll want to do that sooner rather than later.

    Even if there aren't any openings when you initially look, keeping checking back, as openings pop up when people cancel.
     
  13. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    The hotels you mentioned are great. MadMax may chime in with some advice. He knows all kinds of things about visiting Disney. I would listen closely to anything that he says.

    Please check out this book. "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2016"

    That book will tell you all about every hotel, restaurant, snack bar, Disney package, ride etc.

    Most importantly it will tell you how to avoid lines for all the rides. It will help you figure out all about meal plans or not to do meal plans, whether you will need your own car, or not. It talks about doing the parks with kids, or not with kids, who to make sure that you include rest time, and keep the kids entertained.

    If you don't take your own car and stay at a Disney hotel the pick up service from the airport is great. You don't even have to claim your own bags. They have a shuttle that takes you to the hotel. They also claim your bags and deliver them to your room.

    The biggest tip I can say which is also mentioned in the Unofficial guide, is to get there early before it opens. You will wait in line for 10 minutes at a ride first thing in the morning and for the same ride, it will take you an hour in line at 10 in the morning.

    The book also shows you which days to go to which of the different Disney parks. It mentions a method to keep the parks from being anti-climatic for your kids, and which days which parks have the biggest crowds etc.

    The great thing about a Disney vacation, is that even if you are getting up early to get to the parks, they do a very nice job of taking the stress out of it. It's so easy. Your whole focus can be on having a good time.

    Plot out when you are going to see which shows, and which ones you aren't going to see. Make reservations for certain restaurants or things ahead of time.

    Have fun.
     
  14. mateo

    mateo Contributing Member

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    https://touringplans.com has Fastpass strategy guides where insane people track the wait times for all rides and give you an optimal way to get the most out of your Fastpasses.

    You can either figure it out yourself using their tips:

    https://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/fastpass

    Or pay $13 and they give you their customized itineraries for families with little kids, tween, seniors, etc.

    This works. At Magic Kingdom, in July (peak season), on a magic hours early entrance day for Disney hotel guests (8am), we knocked out 12 rides before lunch. Including the Seven Dwarf Mine Train, Frozen princesses, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates, and Buzz Lightyear. I did this with a 4 year old and an 8 year old so we were not running/stressing.

    Combine that information with the live wait time data on the Disney App (which mostly worked) and you can squeeze a lot out of your time there.
     
  15. HR Dept

    HR Dept Contributing Member

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    My 3 year old walked up to me yesterday and said: "Daddy, I want to go to the Magic Kingdom."

    Damn Disney Junior channel and their advertisements! :grin:
     
  16. DFWRocket

    DFWRocket Member

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    ^^This^^ we used touringplans and it works fairly well
     
  17. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    You might consider staying the Dolphin or Swan resorts, which are right beside each other. You can walk to two parks: Epcot (back entrance) and Hollywood. The walk is 10 minutes or you can take a boat ride. Both resorts are also even shorter walk to The Boardwalk, which has restaurants and gift shops.

    The Dolphin and Swan resorts are not Disney owned resorts. Their quality is about the same as Disney's top resorts (like Contemporary and Floridian) but they are not as expensive.

    Since you have easy access to Epcot, you can have dinner at one of the many Epcot country specific restaurants.

    If you want to go to one of the Universal Studio parks, there are bus services that will pick you up at the resort and give you round trip to Universal Studios.
     
  18. da_juice

    da_juice Member

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    If you want to eat at a restaurant within Disney (not just the parks, literally anywhere) be prepared to make a reservation. Best food is in EPCOT.
     
  19. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    With a 3 year old, I would guess convenience is a huge factor and that most of your time will be at magic kingdom. If so, Floridian is a no brainier. The ability to get back to your room for a nap, if you forgot something, to get out of the heat, whatever.... That's priceless and the monorail is flat out better than buses.

    Floridian also has a good club level so if your kiddo is napping, you can run to the hospitality room for snack, drink, whatever.

    If you guys can stay up w the kiddo, the fireworks at Magic kingdom are world class and not to be missed. If not, don't sweat it, catch it next time when the kiddo is older.

    If you're into photos, buy their autograph booklets, bring a sharpie, and get all the characters to sign when you eat at the character dining restaurants. Use your camera to take a picture with the character, and when you get home print out a 3x5 photo and slide it into the photo slot where he character signed. It's a cool keepsake and my kids loved it.

    If humanly possible, do during late Jan or February. Fewest people there and weather is not insanely hot.

    Book character dining restaurants months ahead. Popular stuff like Cinderella castle and belles restaurant book up big time.

    Lastly, don't stare at the Princesses. They are very attractive, especially Jasmine, and you don't want to be that guy.

    All of this is coming from someone who really dislikes the Disney experience... crowds, lines, heat, etc and no amount of fast pass is fast enough for me.
     
  20. DFWRocket

    DFWRocket Member

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    I'd add that you can get the autographs at Epcot. The lines are MUCH shorter, and there's an indoor spot where Goofy, Mickey, Minnie & Pluto hang out ALL day and you can get in and out in 15 minutes with pictures and autographs from all of them. You'll see all the Princesses around Epcot as well, but again the lines are MUCH shorter than at Magic Kingdom.
     

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