wonderful persimmon / 25960 posts
@mediagirl: Is Animal Kingdom off the table?
If so, I'd do two days at Magic Kingdom and one day at Epcot. If it's not, I'd do one day each of Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom.
hostess / wonderful persimmon / 25280 posts
@looch: @skinnycow: AK is absolutely not out. We were thinking we would need one more day at MK. But if that's not the case, that's good to hear. It's a shame, we are going a few weeks before Toy Story Land opens.
grapefruit / 4522 posts
Anyone willing to share their budget? I'm starting to put pen to paper on some of this stuff...interested what others are budgeting AND the different ranges depending on the varying factors?
cantaloupe / 6885 posts
We are just back from the most amazing, magical trip ever ... it was Dd2’s first time and I was a bit worried since she can be a bit , um, spirited ... but she was a total trooper and loved every minute. DD1 is a pro at this point and loved revisiting her favourites and introducing her little sister to everything.
Some quick thoughts ...
We stayed 2 nights at AKL and 8 nights at Beach Club. We rented points through davids and saved a ton of money. AKL was nice - we saw giraffes, zebras etc out of our balcony each day and the grounds are beautiful. That being said, I loved loved loved the Beach Club. It felt so Vacationy to me. The pool is out of the world - my girls loved building sand castles on the sandbar that is literally in the middle of the pool.
The best part for me was being able to walk to two parks (Epcot and Hollywood Studios). That was sooo amazing and gave us a ton of flexibility. We used buses to MK, AK and Disney Springs and never waited more than 5 minutes. We were really lucky (overall it seemed a lot more efficient than past trips). We did use a Minnie Van to get back to Beach Club after dinner at Polynesian - it was $25 but way more convenient than taking a monorail to MK then connecting to a bus.
As for food, we did a lot of our favourites - Biergarten (this is Dd1’s favourite and only request, she loves the live music and going to dance on the dance floor), Raglan Road (Dh’s favourite - he loves the band and the kids get to go dance on the stage with the highland dancers). Ohana dinner is a huge hit for everyone - we’ve never had a bad meal.
Some new restaurants we tried that we really liked were Cape May breakfast (probably best buffet I’ve had at disney and my girls loved seeing the characters in their bathing suits), Satuli Canteen (SO good and an awesome deal for a quick service) and Via Napoli.
At MK the best tip I have is to book a Be Our Guest breakfast for pre park opening. It’s a great deal if you are on the dining plan (quick service). It’s a huge advantage to get back to Fantasyland early. We did 7 dwarves twice and Peter Pan before rope drop crowds even came. After that we were one step ahead of the crowds the entire morning.
We also did the Fantasy Parade dining package at Tony’s town square. The lunch was really really good and another great value if you are on the dining plan. For 1 credit you get appetizer, entree, dessert, beverage and a ticket to watch the parade in a special area. It was sooo nice to walk up to the area 5 mins before the parade started and have front row seats with room for the kids to spread out. The parade and Happily Ever After fireworks are must sees.
Mobile ordering is a HUGE time saver. We often picked which quick services we would eat at based on which offered mobile ordering. It was so convenient.
For a date night, dH and I did the “After Hours” event at MK. It was the best thing ever. In 4 hours we were able to do 16 rides and they have free mickey bars, popcorn, drinks, etc. they only sell a limited number of tickets so the park was super quiet. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. It’s only offered a few nights a year but we would definitely do it again if our next trip coincides with the dates.
I am downloading all of our memory maker pictures as we speak and I am so glad we got that. They took so many awesome pics and captured the moments so I could step back and enjoy them. We split the memory maker package with other family members who were going at the same time so it was really affordable.
All in all it was another amazing amazing trip ! I think we’ve found our “home” in Beach Club and will be putting in another request to stay there again through Davids for March 2019.
@Charm54: Welcome back!!!! Thanks for all the good tips - so glad to hear you had a blast!
grapefruit / 4372 posts
I just wanted to jump in and tell you all that this thread plus the other thread has made me decide that we're going next year, and I have spent the last four days deep in Disney research mode, and I'm overwhelmed and super excited so thank you and curse you all.
@Charm54: OH! This is fantastic information because I am debating those two resorts, and while I'm leaning towards Beach Club I'm also concerned that it wouldn't be warm enough to swim at this time next year and we wouldn't get to take advantage of the pools. Was switching hotels a hassle? Would you recommend doing a split stay (it will be our first visit, staying for a week) or just picking one hotel and simplifying things?
@erinbaderin: I would recommend picking one hotel and sticking with it. Disney makes it super easy (they transfer your luggage for you and will deliver it to your new Room) but I kind of felt like I was living out of a suitcase at AKL until we got to BC and could unpack. It’s a bit of a pain if you are on the dining plan (you have to get two seperate plans and use all credits from stay #1 before you check in to resort #2).
We always go the first week of March and the weather is 95% of the time great and warm. This trip we had 2 days where it was cooler than usual (locals were wearing fleeces) but being from Canada it was still nice enough for us to go swimming - lol. The other 8 days were gorgeous , 23+C and definitely pool weather.
GOLD / wonderful olive / 19030 posts
@Mrs D: I'm actually in the process of planning a trip right now, we are going in busy time (Christmas) due to us having a wedding in Florida that weekend.
We will be staying at Art of Animation for 4 nights and going to the park hopper passes for 3 days (with it being the being the busiest time, we decided we wanted freedom to escape MK if it's super busy and go somewhere somewhat less busy like AK or HS.)
For our family of 4 (6 and 3 year old) with 3 day park hopper, hotel, the Dining Food plan, and photo pass we are spending just over 3K. Flights we are getting ready to book and will be about 2K for our family of 4 (we are in the Midwest.)
We are going with my entire family (parents/siblings/kids) and because of this we all decided that for birthdays/holidays this year we will all buy the nieces/nephews GCs to Disney for spending money for them. Otherwise I plan on taking an additional 1K for spending money/additional food outside of our meal plan.
For us the meal plan is worth it, because we are doing a character meal, and 2 sit-down restaurants for Christmas Day and the day after. I also like that it takes out the stress of the menu, I tend to order cheaper, but now I wont have too, if I want that steak or prime rib I will order it instead of a cheaper chicken option, etc. And the kids can have that milkshakes or dessert and I won't have to be like "man that's $12."
@Charm54: Hey! I have a couple questions regarding the Tony's Town Square package you mentioned. Does this meal take 1 or 2 sit-down credits from the meal plan? And to double check, you can eat and then leave and walk around before coming back for the parade, you don't have to stay there the whole time before the parade starts right? I think this sounds like a fabulous idea!
@LuLu Mom: it’s just one credit - and you also get an appetizer which you don’t usually get on the regular dining plan. You can eat whenever you can get a reservation and they give you a ticket to come back to the reserved area. For example, we ate at 11:40, then went to do Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain afterwards. We went back to the reserved area around 3:10 (parade starts at 3:00 but only reaches the reserved area around 3:20). We’ve done it two years in a row and it’s a great value. Food was even better this year with a new menu change.
@Charm54: I’m going to wall you with some questions, if that’s ok!
@erinbaderin: replied to you
@Charm54: Thank you! That was exactly the information I was trying to track down. Decision made!
@erinbaderin: one other thing I meant to mention was wait to buy your park tickets if you can, the last 2 years they have offered special rates for Canadians (20-25% off). I’m thinking they will offer it again this year at some point since our dollar is pretty crappy right now!
@Charm54: Oh, great suggestion! I figure once I get the hotel booked there’s no rush on park tickets unless they announce they’ll raise prices again, but I probably would have just booked them to get it done - discounts only occurred to me in terms of rooms.
pomelo / 5711 posts
They usually raise prices every Feb. Also IMPORTANT NEWS...they will charge parking FEES for ON-SITE hotels if you book after March 21st. You can book for any day in the future calendar but you have to book in the next week or else you have to pay $13-33 a night depending on level of hotel!! CRAZY!!!! Hello, Friendship hotels. Guess they want you dependent on their transportation and make more $$.
Just chickened out on relying solely on Disney transportation for our next trip and booked a Hotwire medium sized car for 6 full days for $95 total with tax. Worth it! Plus I don't have to order groceries/tip etc. and can explore more freely on our last free day.
eggplant / 11060 posts
@808love: kind of crazy they are charging so much for parking.
Equally crazy is the deal I just got on the car. Plus $2 back on ebates. I figured I might as well get a car while it is free parking. By the way, they are still offering free parking for dining, DVC, and disability passes.
So - I've joined a FB group for people going to Disney this Fall, and have been researching the crap out of lodging and what not. I've narrowed down a tentative schedule...once we file our 10K at work tomorrow I'll ask my boss to confirm my week off then book the room. Here's my plan/simple schedule...would love any feedback!
Lodging: 1 Bed Condo at Bay Lake Tower (for ref 6 nights is going to run me about $3500)
Deets - 6 nights, 4 park days, 1 pool day, no parks planned either travel day.
Timing - We're going down the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Sat - Travel Day, Polynesian Luau for dinner
Sun - MK all day...Be Our Guest for Lunch or Breakfast
Mon - HS all day (Toy Story Land!!!!), Hollywood & Vine for Breakfast or Lunch.
Tues - Pool Day - maybe Chef Mickey for Brunch, no park ticket, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party starting @ 4pm (MK)
Weds - AK in the AM, Tusker House for breakfast, home to nap, then Epcot in PM Akershus Royal Banquet for dinner
Thurs - MK all day, BBB in AM, Cinderella's table for lunch
Plan, other than Weds, will be to nap on the fly. At BLT we are walking distance to MK so one of us could always walk home with DD2 if she needs to nap. We also have AMPLE MK time, so we could always split one of our MK days with another park...depending on what the kiddos are eyeing.
I'll be so happy to have the condo reserved and then take a big deep breath and break from planning until its Dining Reservation time!
You'll note I have like nothing planned for dinners (MVMCP and Epcot). DD1 will be 5 and DD2 will be 2.5. Our girls have always been a bit of "early to bed types" so I dont want to plan anything MAJOR for dinner and have to be disappointed if it doesnt work out. That said...if everything is fine we may just be in the park enjoying low key QS meals for dinner and living it up. Just trying to limit our mandatory commitments at our trigger times!
persimmon / 1098 posts
@Mrs D: I’ve mentioned to other people, not sure I have to you, but if going for a one bedroom villa, have you looked into renting DVC points (or is that what you are doing)? It usually winds up being significantly cheaper than renting direct through Disney.
@bloved: YES! You mentioned it to me! Not only cheaper but actually the only way its available!
@Mrs D: oh yay!! I feel like a convert trying to get everyone to see the way! It was so much cheaper for our vacation that I can’t imagine doing regular room rental again!
@bloved: Its about the same for us as what we were going to spend at AofA for a suite but I feel like its getting us a much better compromise! I am down right giddy about our lake view AND being walking distance to the MK...
@Mrs D: that’s awesome!! I seriously considered going the BLT route for our August vacation. It was only that I have dreamed about the Grand Floridian since I was a little kid that made me stick with going there. Even at that, I still doubt that I made the right decision...I think your walking distance can’t be beat!!
apricot / 261 posts
@bloved: @Mrs D: I'm researching this now. Do you rent from David's Vacation Club? Or directly from owners? (Or somewhere else?)
Well, I officially sent in my request to David's Vacation Club - I'm actually more than 11 months out so they can't even book it yet, but I'm too excited to wait.
@shabang: I rent from someone I know directly which works out to be a cost savings versus David (I believe David’s charges $17 a point and my friend charges $12). So if you know someone willing to rent, I would go that route. Of course, if they are not close to you, that could
Be riskier because you have no protection.
@bloved: Okay, great to know, thanks!
@erinbaderin: exciting !! We are preparing to put our request in but aren’t quite at the 11 months yet either. Which resort did you end up requesting ?
We rented from Davids this year and they were absolutely fantastic.. answered any question I had quickly and thoroughly.
@shabang: I have a quote from Davids. I did have a woman from my FB group reach out to me because her friend had recently approached her about needing to rent out some points...so I am waiting to hear back from her bc I think it would be considerably cheaper...still not sure I would go that route but open to pursuing it...
@Mrs D: Wow, sounds good, hope that pans out for you. Thanks!
@Charm54: We went with Beach Club, your review tipped me over the edge! The problem is that it's too early to be as excited as I am!
@Mrs D: your plan looks awesome ! I love Be Our Guest ... the atmosphere is so amazing. Can’t wait to hear all about Toy Story Land! My dd2 is obsessed with Buzz so I know she will freak.
@erinbaderin: I hope you love it as much as we do!! I brought up the idea of going back to the resort we usually stay at - Caribbean Beach - to save $$ next year (which my Dh is all about) and he said he can’t imagine staying anywhere else but Beach Club and that it’s worth every penny. That’s saying something coming from him lol
This comment has been deleted by the original poster.
@Charm54: LOVE it...I got all the feels watching your video...looked like SO much fun!!! Is it November yet?!
@Charm54: your kids are so precious, I love how much they seem to just LOVE life! The spontaneous running and hugging your family and Mickey and Minnie (that's how far I've gotten so far...) is so sweet!
What did your DH use to take all the videos?
Anyone have any suggestions for a nice sit down restaurant that only uses one sit down dining credit? Preferably not at a hotel but at one of the 4 parks. We need to decide where to book for Christmas dinner with really good food.
We are planning on doing Akershus the day before and planning on doing Tony's Town Square on the day after.
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