May 11, 17, 03:35 PM #1
Disney World-- What To Do/What Not To DoI've been going to Disney every year with my family for basically the past 20 years. My parents bought a DVC membership in 2001 and just bought our 2nd last year. The reason I started this thread is because I'm sure a lot of you have young children who are either in the prime Disney age or getting close to the prime Disney age.
- Don't take your really young children. It is a pain in the butt for both you and them. For me I wouldn't even consider going to Disney until at least 4-5 but unless they are abnormally tall for their age I would say ages 7-8 are when kids really start to enjoy the full experience of Disney.
-STAY ON PROPERTY! No need to even discuss this one. You get free transportation from the airport to your resort, you get free transportation to and from the parks, you get special access to park hours before the park opens and after it closes, plus all of the resorts are phenomenal.
- My personal favorite places to stay are the Beach Club, Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk. These resorts have walking access to Epcot (5 minute walk), they have really awesome pool areas, and great nightlife for those maybe going without kids.
-PLAN A YEAR IN ADVANCE! This gives you adequate time to get your schedules in order and start planning out what you will do when you get there. Most of the best restaurants at Disney require reservations and you can make those 6 months in advance.
- PARK HOPPER! (Just trust me)
- Magic Kingdom. The most famous park and the park where there is the most stuff to do. IMO it is the only park where you can't accomplish everything there in one day (nor should you try). The key attractions are the mountains: Space, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash. Then you have the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Pirates of The Carribean. While these are only a fraction of everything there, these are the must do attractions.
Epcot consists of two areas: Future World and World Showcase. Future world holds all of the big attractions like Test Track and Soarin'. This part of Epcot is still great, but World Showcase is what makes Epcot my favorite park. In World Showcase you have 11 countries represented by pavilions: US, UK, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Morocco, Norway, Italy, Germany, and France. Each one has very authentic dining experiences, attractions, and shopping. Plus the best part of World Showcase: alcohol from every country.
Think of Animal Kingdom as a really cool zoo. There aren't nearly as many animals, but there are tons of attractions. Animal Kingdom has the best ride at the whole resort: Expedition Everest. Then you can go on a short safari ride through Africa and see tons of animals in a simulated natural environment.
As it stands right now Hollywood Studios is the smallest park at WDW and has probably the least amount of things to do. It has some fun rides like Rock 'n Roller Coaster, an Aerosmith themed roller coaster, and Tower of Terror themed around The Twilight Zone. They also have a Toy Story themed ride where it's a shooting game where you score points and compete against your family. It is so much fun. If you have kids that are really into Star Wars they have a really cool Jedi Training Academy right now where your kids get a light saber and robe and get to go on a stage with their "master" and fight off Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. But if you have young kids that will be around prime age in 3 years or so. WAIT! They are opening up a Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land at HS in 3 years.
-This is the best thing about Disney. Period. The food is incredible everywhere. Each park has fantastic and unique restaurants plus additional restaurants at the resorts. Here is my list of my favorite restaurants:
1. Le Cellier (Canadian Steakhouse at Epcot)
2. Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom)
3. Tusker House (African themed Character breakfast at Animal Kingdom)
4. Rose and Crown (Authentic British Pub at Epcot)
5. Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
The most important thing to remember is try not to overwhelm yourself during the day with food because there are tons of counter service places that are also great food options. I would suggest eating at one sit down place a day and then try and get counter service or similar during the day. Alcohol is served in all the parks except Magic Kingdom where it's only served at Be Our Guest Restaurant. At World Showcase each country has a wide selection of drinks from their country, I even found a craft beer stand in the American pavilion. If you really want to try, you can get a drink from every country in World Showcase in one night, but you may have some trouble getting back to your resort afterwards (another reason to stay at Beach/ Yacht club or Boardwalk) haha.
What To Do:
- Plan a year in advance. You can make reservations for restaurants 180 days in advance and in order to get in all of the places you want you probably will need to utilize this option.
- Go during off peak seasons. The worst time to go is during Christmas and New Years. The best time to go is October to Mid- November. This is during Food and Wine festival at Epcot too so they bring in other countries at World Showcase that have authentic food and alcohol.
- Stay on property. I really can't stress this enough.
- Budget. Search online for the resorts that you can afford and then make your dining reservations based upon this. If you know you are going to be bringing home a lot of souvenirs, plan for it. Disney is expensive but if you can have a realistic idea of what you can expect to spend going into it, you won't be shell shocked when you get there.
- If you go for more than 4 days, come back to the room in the afternoon to rest. You and your kids will thank me later. What we usually do is get to the parks first thing in the morning, stay until 1 or so, then go back to the room and maybe go to the pool for a couple of hours. Then we get ready to go back to the parks around 5 or 6 to eat dinner and watch the fireworks at 9. We spend a lot of our nights at Epcot just grazing around the countries or grabbing a margarita in Mexico, beer in Germany, etc. It's very relaxing. If you stay for a week I would say take the middle day off for the mornings and just sleep in, go to the pool for a couple of hours and then go to the parks around 3 or 4.
- Splurge on the Park Hopper option. It's worth it. It's nice to be able to go to Magic Kingdom in the morning then Epcot at night.
What not to do:
- Don't try to wing it when you get there. Resort guests can plan their fastpass options 60 days before your trip.
- Don't try to force a trip when you don't have the funds to do so. If you feel you can't afford it this year, save that money and wait until next year. It will be worth it and you'll have a better time not worrying about your finances when you're there.
- DON'T THINK DISNEY IS ONLY FOR KIDS. There is more to do for adults than children.
Sorry for the long post, but hopefully this helps some of those who are planning or will be planning trips in the near future. I'm sure there are some other Disney nuts on here who can add to what I have said. But if you have any questions we can discuss them in the thread or you can send me a PM and we discuss more. I'd love to give you all some advice and help plan your future trips.Advertisement
May 11, 17, 03:50 PM #2This is just the basic stuff about Disney. I'll continue adding to the thread as time goes by.
May 11, 17, 03:59 PM #3
May 11, 17, 04:12 PM #4Staying for a week at Caribbean Beach hotel. Opted for that because they offered $75 gift cards per night since they are under renovation. Also staying during the free dining period.
Have you ever done the Mickeys Christmas Party thing that is extra?
Before I get too far. I have 2 kids that are ages 8 and 4.
May 11, 17, 04:40 PM #5
Yes the Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party is a lot of fun. Your kids should love it. It's basically a Christmas themed parade at night and a special fireworks show different than the typical one they have every night. Disney around Christmas is amazing though. You should have a great time! Have you thought about places you'd like to eat yet?
Last edited by GrantNKY; May 11, 17 at 05:05 PM.
May 11, 17, 05:28 PM #6No reservations yet. We r not going until early December so I don't think we are able to book yet. We were look at a few character meals -- Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, Ohana and Chef Mickeys and Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios. Any others we should consider
As far as the Christmas Party it is quite expensive so wasn't sure if it's really worth it (almost $100 a person) If we do it was hoping to use the gift cards from staying at Caribbean Beach. Not sure how popular these are and if they sell out. There are 4 parties the week we are there so we will have some options.
May 11, 17, 05:43 PM #7Great thread! Went there this past Christmas. Had a wonderful time. Yes--it was crowded. But we planned well with Fast Passes and were able to do everything that we wanted to do. The Christmas lights and decorations were so spectacular---so much detail. So glad that I had the opportunity to see it all at Christmas time.
We stayed at the Caribbean Beach resort. Transportation was fine. We were right near a bus stop. Years ago we stayed at the Polynesion and loved being right by the monorail. But this time we had more people and more days, so the Caribbean was more affordable.
My least favorite park was Animal Kingdom. Nothing wrong with it, but one day or even part of a day was enough for our group. For my crew---kids age 9-22---Hollywood Studios was the favorite. My boys are big action movie buffs. LOVED all the Star Wars stuff. My favorite ride of all was the Toy Story Ride.
Epcot was awesome for all the reasons you stated above. And of course, the Magic Kingdom always is a great choice for us.
I want to go back! I realized that all the nostalgia made me so happy. All the Disney characters and shows reminded me of when my kids were little, when a Disney movie was playing all the time at our house. It truly is the happiest place on Earth, IMO.
May 11, 17, 05:53 PM #8
With regards to my honest opinion about the Christmas party, I've been to it probably 3 or 4 times and it's fun, but it's not the most fun thing you would do the whole trip. It will sell out pretty quickly or at least it has in the past, but IMO you aren't missing out on a whole lot if you decide not to do it.
May 11, 17, 07:47 PM #9If you are wondering why I'm not commenting, I'm not trying to be rude or anything. I'd love to help, but I haven't been to the Mouse House since a month or so after EPCOT opened. Between Christmas and New Years, 1982. #ignoreme
May 11, 17, 08:57 PM #10
May 13, 17, 12:40 PM #11To add a little more information about the resorts on Disney property. There are 4 rating system based on value, moderate, deluxe and deluxe villas.
Value: Between $100-$200/ night depending on the season
- All Star Sports
- All Star Movies
- All Star Music
- Pop Century
- Art of Animation
- Campground at Fort Wilderness
These resorts are themed and you have transportation to and from the parks, but you don't have direct access via walking, boat, or monorail to the parks. They have basic amenities at the resorts with probably just a quick service restaurant and a basic pool.
-Port Orleans (French Quarter and Riverside)
-Cabins at Fort Wilderness
These resorts are a definite step up from the value resorts. They have nicer amenities such as sit down restaurants and nicer pool areas. They are more spread out than the deluxe resorts so it may be a bit more of a walk to the main parts of the resorts. Still no walking, boat, or monorail to the parks except for Fort Wilderness which has boat access. There is however boat access to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)
from some of these resorts
Deluxe Resorts: ($500+/night)
- Beach Club
- Yacht Club
- Grand Floridian
- Wilderness Lodge
These are the nicest places on Disney property. All have direct access to some parks via walking(Beach, Yacht, and Boardwalk can walk to Epcot), boat (Beach, Yacht, and Boardwalk can take boats to Hollywood Studios and Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom), or monorail (Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian to MK). These resorts also have the nicest pool areas, bars by the pools, really nice sit down restaurants, and spas. Really the best thing about these resorts though is the access you have to the parks. This is really what you are paying for at these resorts.
-Old Key West
-Polynesian (2 bedroom bungalows out on the water)
These are mainly where DVC members stay. The rooms are equipped with full service kitchens, washer and dryers, multiple TV's, and much more. You can stay here if you aren't vacation club but it's much more expensive.
May 15, 17, 08:39 AM #12
I just got back from a week of WDW. I met my nephew, his wife and 3 sons(ages 7, 5 & 1 1/2). It was good that we had 3 adults & 3 kids so if the little guy couldn't ride one of the rides we would take turns riding the smaller rides with him. Of note -if the kid is under 2 they pay nothing for his ticket. We stayed at Saratoga Springs, Deluxe Villa Resort Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa | Walt Disney World Resort
- Join Date
- Dec 06
- NE KY- Its the engine not the horn that makes the car move.
which I would highly recommend. The trip was planned for a year. We had hopper passes, fast passes & visited every park-Magic Kingdom 4x, Epcot 3x, Hollywood Studios 2x & Animal Kingdom once. My favorite ride was Soarin. A couple of things-they brought 2 strollers which came in extremely handy. Disney Springs a must check out. Dinner reservations a must. We used Uber 1 time, the rest was all Disney transportation.
I went to pay for a pineapple float when the waiter said, "Mickey paid for it". I thought that was great We didn't use the dinner plan so I can't comment how that works. The park wasn't crowded so good time of the year to go. The longest time we spent in line was 20 minutes (yeah fast pass) which didn't happen often, most of the time we would walk right on. We used the Disney app which let us know up to the minute wait times. We all had 'Magic Bands' which was great. All in all great vacation
May 15, 17, 09:04 AM #13
May 15, 17, 01:16 PM #14May I suggest a VIP agency worth every penny?
Early access to park for awesome pictures and the longest we ever waited was 5 minutes for a ride.
Adrian's Vacations - Private VIP Tours to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld
May 16, 17, 05:55 AM #15