Family Trip to Disney World - May 2013

Michelle - posted on 02/13/2013 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Trying to plan a family trip to Disney World for my husband and 4-year b/g twins. What an overwhelming process based on all the hotels, parks, expenses, etc. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you

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Geri - posted on 02/13/2013

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The best $2 I ever spent was purchasing an iPhone app that provided up-to-the-minute data on line weight times and ride closures. It's so great to make informed choices about what to hit and when.

Ana - posted on 02/13/2013

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I can only tell you my experience for Disneyland which has 2 parks (Disneyland & California Adventure). I traveled with my husband, 3 yo & 9 mo. We purchased a 2 day park hopper, but for us a one day park hopper would have been fine as we only park hopped on the 2nd day. We chose to stay at a hotel near by (with shuttle service). If you plan on staying several days, it will be better to stay at a condo/apartment, as it may be cheaper for extended stays. Regarding shuttle service vs. parking, for me it would have been better to park b/c you can arrive and leave when you want without having to wait in the lines for shuttles. It really becomes beneficial at the end of day b/c you are so tired and just want to get back to your room and realize that you have to wait for the 3rd shuttle to come has the previous ones were all full. It took us 45 minutes to get on the shuttle. Next time we may consider staying at a hotel within the park to eliminate the transportation concern.
The park is expensive inside, so if you can bring your snacks or meals, DO. You will spend $30 for 3 hot dogs, 2 drinks and coffee! Save your money for the souvenirs.
Clothing, dress to the weather and in layers. If it is cold bring a warm jacket and blanket for your children and a change of clothes of course.
Strollers, I recommend you bring your own if you want to tote it around or you can rent, but have something. My cousin's son who is 4 yo road in our double stroller when I was carrying our 9 mo. Supposedly the 4 yo was considered a walker, but give him the opportunity to sit, he would. It will be a long day. The stroller can also be used to store your stuff, have the children take a nap, multi-purpose. Don't forget they have lockers, but I find them to be inconvenience b/c I have to walk all the way back to where I stored my stuff. For me, I didn't mind lugging the stroller around.
As for the rides, pay attention to the height limits. If your children do not meet the height limit, they will not be able to wait in line. That means one parent has to wait in line, obtain a parent pass, ride, then switch. We went with another family so it was nice to ride different rides, obtain passes and then switch the passes. Plus, each couple used their ticket to obtain a different fast pass, so that we really didn't have to wait in lines. One set of parent would use their fast pass, obtain a parent pass, ride, then switch. The fast passes can be used anytime after the time indicated, not just within the time frame.
As Amy mention, AAA offers discounts on the tickets, plus they have travel packages.

Hope this helps.

Sarah - posted on 03/17/2013

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Whenever you do decide to go to Disney Google the Disney Moms Forum. It's a group of unrelated moms (and a dad or two) who vacation to Disney all the time and offer tips, advice, and information on the parks, rides tht are good for your child by age, etc. I've found the site immensely helpful the two times we've gone (when my LO was 3 and again at 5). The biggest piece of advice is that if you want to book a character lunch you should do so as far in advance as possible. We've loved the princess one in Epcot! The price is a little high, but the food we've had and our daughter's joy was worth it. Also, we realized that if we go for a week we needed to hit Epcot first and the Magic Kingdom second as most people do it the other way and it gets crowded. All of the parks have characters.

Enjoy!

Jenice - posted on 02/15/2013

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best time to go...october! no waiting, great weather. talk to travel agent. they took care of all the reservations. Do the dining plan. EASY. plan out you trip on-line. And make yourself a cool disney map that they will mail to you!! have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah - posted on 02/13/2013

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I would say a lot is going to depend on how you vacation. My family is an on the go family when we vacation. We want to fit as much as we can fit in as who knows when we will get there again. So with that we leave early in the morning and pack a bag for the day and don't come back to the hotel until late late in the evening. With that in mind staying on one of the Disneyworld resorts allows you access to certain parks (it changes each day, but rotates through all four parks) before the gates open to the public and after the gates close to the public. This REALLY helped with those rides that fill up fast throughout the day. We were able to hit those rides and go on them multiple times before the lines started to form and this was during their busy season. As far as which resort to stay at.....we stayed at one of the cheaper ones.....further away from the Disneyworld park then some of the other ones. The closer to the Disneyworld grounds you get the more expensive it is. The one we stayed at was nice and had an AWESOME pool...it was their sports one. The shuttle picks you up there and drops you off.....I think it is every 20/30 mins. throughout the whole day. It was not a long ride from the resort to the park and was really easy to use. I would suggest doing the meal plan if you think you will be eating most your meals at the park or resort....versus buying and making your own. Food is VERY expensive and the meal plan saves you some money.

As for the parks......you can spend a day if not more at each park. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios will probably be the kids' favorite. Epcot is fun, but a lot of walking. There are fast passes you can get on the most popular rides that allow you to come back at a given time instead of having to wait in a long line.....though as the day goes on sometimes they run out of fast passes for that ride. As another poster said the app for your smart phone is a VERY helpful tool. There are also passes you can get if you are one that sits out due to waiting with a child. So if a certain ride has a height requirement the person that waits with the children can get a pass that will allow them to go on the ride after the other person gets done. This is VERY helpful when you have little kids, but all want to have fun.

Oh if there are certain characters you want to see make dinner/breakfast reservations. This is the only way you are garanteed to see the characters you want to see. For example the Disney princesses have both a breakfast and a dinner at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. While you eat the princesses come around and talk to you and take pics with you. Make your reservations WELL before hand. They fill up fast. We wanted to do ours at Magic Kingdom (it is on the second level of the castle...how cool is that!!) but 6 months before we were going to be there it was already booked. So we went to the Epcot princesses breakfast instead, which was still good.

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Elizabeth - posted on 09/23/2013

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Don't waste money on the Disneyland resort-stay someplace across the street. The disneyland resorts are not worth the money you'll pay. Also, try to eat as much of your own food as possible-all the food in the parks is crazy expensive.

Francine - posted on 09/23/2013

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My suggestion to you is go see a travel agent, they take the stress out of your planning before you even leave and remember they have the knowledge and experience we DO NOT HAVE.

Christina - posted on 09/17/2013

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We just planned a trip to Disney for November I used orbitz.com they had awesome deals on airfare, hotels, car rentals etc.

Julia - posted on 09/10/2013

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How was the trip? There are some great resources online and the unofficial guide to WWW is the best resource. If you can stay on property. Much better access and experience. A lot of off property hotels limit you because transportation is in frequent and sometimes well before closing. Plus Disney guests can enjoy extra magic hours (more park time during the coolest parts of the day, early am and evening). Finally the service is amazing. Once you stay on property you will never stay off property again. Save universal for when kids are older. For younger kids do a day at Sea World they will love it.

Nicole - posted on 03/20/2013

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Stay off disney properties ..it is MUCH cheaper. You can hang with the kids at the pool during the hottest parts of the day then go to the parks after 3 or 4:00, the prices of admission are considerably cheaper!

Jenice - posted on 03/17/2013

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YEEES!! Disney Mom's forum is great. Excellent advice. My family and I might be returning this year in October as well!

Michelle - posted on 02/17/2013

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Thank you all so much for sharing. Since my twins 5th birthday is in May perhaps we will stay closer to home and go to Dutch Wonderland and/or Sesame Place and plan our Disney World trip in October?!?!?!

Ana - posted on 02/13/2013

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I forgot to mention, we didn't go back and forth to the room b/c it was to cumbersome for us to have to wait for the shuttle. The first day we stayed at California Adventure for 13 1/2 hours!! We didn't park hop. The next day at Disneyland we park hopped and left around 6pm. I was to exhausted for back to back trips. I wish I had a day in between to rest.

Amy - posted on 02/13/2013

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If you are a AAA member you can probably sit down with a travel agent for free who can help guide you through the process.

Amy - posted on 02/13/2013

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We took my son when he was 3 1/2 and he absolutely loved it! He's now 7 and still talks about it. This site allears.net has a lot of information. When we went we rented a condo because we went with my parents and that way we could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there if we wanted to. Usually we would go to the parks in the morning come home for lunch maybe go swimming and then go back to the parks. Although it's more money we did park hopper passes so we could do more than one park in a day if we wanted to. Depending on the time of year you go they sometimes reopen the park at night for special events, we went to the Halloween spooktacular event which isn't scary at all.

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