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Thread: First Time Disney - Need So Much Help

  1. #1
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    Default First Time Disney - Need So Much Help

    We are planning to go to Disney World this fall. I am so incredibly overwhelmed, I literally do not know where to start. DH bought me a book on planning your WDW vacation and instead of helping I am terrified.

    All I know is:

    There are five of us - 2 adults, 3 kids (9yo, 7yo, and 5yo who uses a manual wheelchair)
    We will be staying at a Disney resort to use their travel systems instead of renting a vehicle and dealing with carseats and accessibility issues
    We want to go to the different parks
    We would prefer an accessible room, but not if it's going to make us bankrupt
    We are debating about inviting MIL to come. If so, we will need adjoining rooms.
    I think we want a meal plan?

    That's all I've got.

    Help.

    Like really, I don't even know how to book this thing. Do I get a travel agent? Do I need to plan more?

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    A very close friend is a travel agent and is a Disney guru. Let me know if you want her contact info. She would have to do it virtually though as she's in Oshawa.
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    I used "fairytale destinations", they specialize in Disney vacations. They talk to you about what you want or don't want and book everything for you! It was easy. Also Disney goes above and beyond for special needs. We have a nut allergy and every chef came to our table before ordering.
    You need to decide when you will be going, how many days you want to spend at the park and what resort level you want.
    Defunately do the meal plan- makes things much more simple
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    There is someone in Lambeth on Colonel Talbot that does Disney Vacations. My friend's used her and said she was amazing at getting them the best of everything at the lowest cost available. You can't miss her, there is a big sign about Disney vacations. Just a thought.

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    It will all come together. There are deals right now and talking to a travel agent will help. I booked ours through the Disney website because I liked having full control. You need to figure our which resorts will meet your needs. For example, is a highrise more accessible than a resort that is more spread out in smaller buildings? I am not an accessibility expert, but my first thought for you is The Contemporary if that is in the budget. You have the monorail right there, Magic Kingdom is right there as well. Get the meal plan, we did 6 character meals and it was awesome!

    If you are flexible with dates, look at the deals and call Disney reservations or a travel agent. I do think you need to decide on a resort first and go from there. I can add a lot more later about meals etc.

    It is overwhelming, but there is also a lot of help here! I will give you more of my tips later.

    Start with the website. I just did a quick (5 minutes) search and this is what I found:

    Accessible hospitality suite at the Contemporary Nov 8-14, 6 people (3 adults, 3 kids). 2 queen beds, and sleep sofa for $10,700. 5 day park pass and meals.

    Start playing with the website and looking at the resorts. When I did my trip I decided sleeping arrangements were key and I needed queen sized beds - this eliminated quite few resorts for me. I also knew I couldn't do deluxe resorts, moderate where my choices.

    You may want to look at the value resort suites - Art of Animation Lion King Family suite (accessible). Free meal plan is restricted or not available, but it may give you the space you need for half the the price. You will have a lot more travel time for the parks, meals etc.

    We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and I would not recommend it for you, unless they have accessible rooms. The regular room is barely big enough for 4 people, and it has a max capacity of 5 for the one we were in.
    Last edited by Pomegranate; 06-01-2015 at 09:51 AM. Reason: adding info
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    One of my friends also went to the lady in Lambeth and she got all of the stuff she wanted and had tried to book for $700 less than what she would have payed if she tried to book it herself.
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    I've never used a travel agent. I've always just booked direct with Disney they are extremely helpful. I have always played around with hotels and found the one we wanted within our budget and then called them and told them what/where/when and booked with them. I've booked my trip as close as 2 months before our arrival date. Still got GREAT character meals and the fast passes we wanted. The trips I've booked including flights, dinning ( which was free) /passes have never cost me more than $3000 for 4 ppl. The last time we went we stayed at the Port of Orleans which is a moderate.
    Last edited by one ordinary girl; 06-01-2015 at 10:21 AM.
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    There's a LOT to do to schedule a Disney Vacation. I know it can seem overwhelming. I just booked us a trip for end of August, and we've been multiple times before, and even now it still feels overwhelming to me. Here's my advice. Create a plan/timeline and just focus on what you have to do "now"... know that you'll sort out the rest in good time. If you want help, feel free to PM me. I've been there, done that, a number of times, including traveling with someone who needed extra consideration.

    Do now:
    1. Decide on the dates you want to go
    2. Decide on your budget
    3. Pick the resort that best fits your timeline and budget. Confirm that they have accessible rooms (many do).
    4. Book your trip and flights

    Then,
    5a. Plan your high level plan. What will be your overall approach? (Park all day, then early to bed?; Park in the morning, chill in the afternoon, park at night; etc). This will be dictated partially on where your staying and your ease of travel. We often do one park a day and skip the parkhopper as our kids are too tired to enjoy more than one park a day.
    5b. Plan what parks you will do on what day. Think about if you want to use a park hopper or limit to one park a day. Use the site: Free Disney World Crowd Calendars, Ride Reviews, Resort Reviews, Restaurant Reviews, and More to help you gather information. Plan in time for hanging at the pool and swimming... it's often what kids want to do most. LOL

    Finally,
    6. You now know at a high level where you expect to be when. Plan your meals accordingly and get them booked. (ideally this can start as early as 180 days before... but don't worry if you've already passed the 180 day mark... I'm sure you'll still end up with good plans... especially since it's your first time going). Research recommendations for meals, but don't worry about it at all until you're actually on this step. When booking meals, be aware of major events at the park (fireworks/parades, and decide if these are must do activities for you, or if you can eat during these quieter times)
    7. Now that your meals are booked, research fast pass activities that you can book ahead of time for each park.

    Last minute activities
    8. Download the Disney app for your phone, and plan to have a US data plan if possible. You'll be able to reschedule fast passes on the fly, check attraction wait -times, etc.
    9. Book a stroller if you need one. Orlando Stroller rentals is awesome. Do not plan on booking a Disney stroller at Disney... they're uncomfortable and better options exist through Orlando Stroller Rental
    10. Hit up Dollarama, Walmart, etc. and stock up on Disney items to bring with you! They will charge $5US for glow sticks at Disney that can be purchased for 6/$1 here. Disney has never had a problem with me bringing in glow sticks, fun light up accessories, or Disney branded merchandise to give to my kids there instead of buying it. Go buy Mickey and Minnie stuffies now, and go buy cute Disney themed shirts to take with you!

    When you arrive:
    11. Go to Guest relations on your first day. Tell them it's your very first trip! You'll likely each get a big button saying it's your first trip. Also, tell them if there are any special things your celebrating (Birthday, Anniversary, etc)... more buttons! Wear your buttons! They often do make a difference! Also explain any special needs your family has and ask what they can do to assist. Disney prides themselves on being able to accommodate. https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/med...rvice-Card.pdf
    12. Enjoy the magic!
    Last edited by Jellybean; 06-01-2015 at 01:34 PM.
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    Port Orleans Riverside (in the Bayou section) has rooms meant for 5. I believe some are accessible. if your MIL goes, I would look into a family suite at Art Of Animation. It will be cheaper than 2 separate rooms, plus they will not guarantee adjoining rooms or rooms next to each other. Only that they will try to accommodate the request as best they can. I've never used an agent - I like to be able to change things at will and have full control over what's what. I make a timetable (yes, like you would make for school) on a spreadsheet. Start with what parks have things going on that you want to do that day and book everything else accordingly. So if you want to be at the animal kingdom for early hours on a thursday, for example, book your meals there that day, or at the resorts that are near there. I would recommend a meal plan especially since it's free dining right now. You can also upgrade - so if you stay at Riverside, you'll get the "Dining" plan for free. You can upgrade to Deluxe for just the difference in price. With three kids I would definitely do this so you can do as many character meals as you want. Definitely call Disney reservations to let them know your accessibility requirements personally so that is all sorted out. You should get a pass to identify yourselves and will use shorter lines (different entry points) to get onto rides and attractions (the whole family, I believe). Find out from them whether you need to book fast passes with that also or if it's just not necessary.

    HAVE FUN!
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    How is the planning going? What did you decide?



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    not sure if this will help but something on free dining


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    My first question to you is do you have a credit card that has bonus points that you may have accumulated? If so, check how many points you have and what agent you have to use to cash them in. This could be a MAJOR money saver. We went for the first time 2 years ago and I cashed in all DH's points (I am not sure if you remember), but aside from flights I only payed $ 79 for a week there, everything inclusive, meals, parks, room.

    I became somewhat of a expert that year because I booked everything myself. They booked the trip, but I booked the meals and fast passes myself. It was fun figuring it all out. Yes get the meal plan. If you get the meal plan get the one with 1 sit down, 1 snack and 1 quick serve a day. We found it the best way to go.

    We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside too. I loved it there.

    If you want any specific meals, the sooner the better to book them. If you want the bibbidi bobbidi boutique, try to book that as soon as you book your rooms. That is one thing that is super hard to get, as well as Cinderella's Royal Table. If you are booking your own meals, you just sit on the computer every night and click away to find the sit down meals that you want.

    Meals: Generally we used quick serve meals for breakfast. (We got 2 meals and it fed 3 of us). I planned our sit down meal for the day at which ever park we were at that day and it was always a big meal (you walk it off lol), and when we got back that night we got a snack. And just grabbed a snack if we needed anything at the park. If you have the meal plan, you pay the tax on the meal (just the tax-just keep that in mind). \
    Our sit down meals were:
    Chef Mickeys Contemporary Resort (Mickey and his cast),
    1900 Park Fair Grand Floridian Hotel(Cinderella and her cast),
    Akershus Epcot (Princesses),
    Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios (Disney Jr-Handy Manny etc),
    The Crystal Palace Magic Kingdom (Winnie the Pooh and friends)
    I like the character meals the best because they all come around to your table for photo's and they make sure that you see them. This also avoids standing in those long lines for autographs because you already have them
    Last edited by ProudMommy; 06-09-2015 at 10:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZooMama View Post
    How is the planning going? What did you decide?
    I am still SO OVERWHELMED I have finished reading my guide book thing (which didn't actually help) and gone through all of these links and tips and tried practice booking and checking flights and OMG. I'm going to go talk to someone next because I feel like I'm doing this all wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by one ordinary girl View Post
    I've never used a travel agent. I've always just booked direct with Disney they are extremely helpful. I have always played around with hotels and found the one we wanted within our budget and then called them and told them what/where/when and booked with them. I've booked my trip as close as 2 months before our arrival date. Still got GREAT character meals and the fast passes we wanted. The trips I've booked including flights, dinning ( which was free) /passes have never cost me more than $3000 for 4 ppl. The last time we went we stayed at the Port of Orleans which is a moderate.
    HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!?! I'm ending up at $8000+ for 5 people no matter what options I try to do! I cannot figure out how things can get cheaper? I was originally told to budget $1000-1500/person on the high end and that seems impossible at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mum09and11 View Post
    not sure if this will help but something on free dining
    I don't understand the free dining stuff. The small print on that excludes most of October and is only for 4 people. Why is it blacked out in October?

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    We're going the end of Aug. it's costing about $5000 Canadian for 4 of us to go. That includes flights to Orlando, staying at a moderate resort, and a meal plan. We're going for 1 week: Thursday to Thursday. I booked the flights through expedia and the trip through the disney website.

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