First Disney World Trip

PinTraderSam

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The wife and I are thinking of going next year possibly early in the year for my birthday. Figuring out the logistics.

This will be our first time and I know many here frequently go to Disney World. Got any tips, advice? Money saving practices? Which resort?

Thanks is advance!


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krand1276

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If you're planning to stay at a Disney hotel and your dates are flexible, go to the room type you want, then click on Rate Details (under the price - I'm doing this from a desktop computer), then click on view rate calendar. This will show you the price of that room each day through the end of 2022. This helps you find the cheapest times to go.



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PinTraderSam

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Great tip! Did not know that, but looks like that function is not available right now unfortunately.


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krand1276

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Great tip! Did not know that, but looks like that function is not available right now unfortunately.


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Really? That's weird. I was pulling it up as I typed that response because I couldn't remember what everything was called. Hopefully it'll be back up later.

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PinTraderSam

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Really? That's weird. I was pulling it up as I typed that response because I couldn't remember what everything was called. Hopefully it'll be back up later.

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Strange, I’ll try again but I asked through chat and they said it was down but maybe they’re misinformed.


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PinTraderSam

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Would ya’ll at expedition Everest is worth pushing the trip back for til it’s back up?


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dancecats

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The wife and I are thinking of going next year possibly early in the year for my birthday. Figuring out the logistics.

This will be our first time and I know many here frequently go to Disney World. Got any tips, advice? Money saving practices? Which resort?

Thanks is advance!


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First, while I normally go to WDW on a regular basis, I haven't been since January 2020 so please keep in mind that many of my suggestions might not apply to a current-and-post pandemic park. That being said:

Since this is your first trip, DO NOT attempt to see and do everything. DO NOT make the first time mistake of underestimating how large WDW really is. I am not exaggerating when I say that WDW is TWICE the size of Manhattan. One could be there for two weeks and not see and do everything. Seriously. DO NOT underestimate the distances between the resorts and the parks or the parks from each other. Very few resorts and parks are within walkable distances to each other - and not everyone will consider these distances walkable. And if you are using Disney's transportation, do not underestimate the time you will spend commuting from Point A to Point B; you likely will spend more time waiting for your chosen method of transportation than you realize. I'm not telling you this to discourage you from using Disney's transportation; it's great, free, and convenient and I encourage you to use it. You just need to be aware to factor it into your timing. WDW is a gigantic maze and it is extremely easy to get lost, especially if one never has been there before. I wouldn't recommend driving oneself until one has a passing familiarity with the area. I've been going there for years and I still don't drive.

I would recommend that, in planning your days, definitely make sure you have your dining reservations booked. I usually book one table service meal a day because, let's face it, you're going to be snacking all day and who can eat that much food. I like to book dinners because that suits me best; I like to grab a quick breakfast and get going, have a light lunch along with snacks, and stop for a proper dinner. I've found (the hard way) that if I don't eat a full, proper meal each day, I just get too tired a few days into my trip. If you can give me some insight into your food preferences, I can give you some dining recommendations.

How long do you think your trip will be? The reason I ask is because, depending upon the time of year and length of stay, the most cost efficient ticket to purchase is an Annual Pass. I haven't done the calculations to determine the 'breakeven' point for the Annual Passes to determine how many days one would have to go in order to make it worthwhile. In any case, it would vary both upon when one wants to go (seasonal rates) as well as for how long. Pre-seasonal rates, I believe the 'breakeven' point was about 6-8 days for the year, exclusive of additional benefits.

An Annual Pass becomes even more helpful when you factor in the discounts on park merchandise, WDW resorts, and Tables in Wonderland (but I'm not sure if all perks still are available). Plus if you think you might go back for a second (third, fourth, etc) trip within the year, your park tickets already will be paid for and in hand.

As far as the resort goes, you are looking to stay on property, correct? Since this is your first trip, I gather that you're looking for a place to basically sleep, shower, and store your things, yes? Unless you actually plan on spending any meaningful time at your resort, I would not recommend staying at any of the deluxe resorts. They're all amazing, but unless you plan on actually enjoying the property, I would say they're a waste of money.

But at the same time, I wouldn't recommend the value resorts either. I've only stayed at the All Stars and I wasn't impressed with them. They're very small, too small for any more than two people in the room, and I didn't think the location was that great in relation to the parks. They're also loud in every sense of the word. I've heard good things about Art of Animation, but I have no firsthand experience with it.

Since you're going for your birthday, I would suggest one of the moderate resorts, specifically Port Orleans French Quarter or Coronado Springs. They're right in the middle, price wise. Coronado Springs is a bit more spread out, but it has both a food court and table service restaurant. Port Orleans French Quarter is the smallest, but it has a food court and shares a table service restaurant with its sister property, Port Orleans Riverside. The properties are nice, but not to the extent that you'll feel guilty about spending next to zero time there.
 

Rick195275

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Would ya’ll at expedition Everest is worth pushing the trip back for til it’s back up?


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Ooof that’s a tough question.... I’m not sure any 1 attraction would be worth pushing my vacation back for but Everest is amazing in my option! Theming is incredible from start of the queue, all the way through. Might be our favorite thrill ride at WDW and ranks in my top 5 attractions. We are going in Feb and might skip AK due to is refurb but we go semi regularly.
If you want to stay deluxe on Disney property I would look into renting dvc points. Might be hard to do on short notice if you’re set on early 2022 but could look for a confirmed reservation on rental sites/groups.
 

PinTraderSam

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Great stuff [mention]Rick195275 [/mention] this won’t be a long trip just 3 days. As for food, we like to try new things that are unique in content and not a simple burger (although Disneyland corn dogs are oddly delicious. I have heard of renting dvc and used to know more when I was looking into actually becoming a member but haven’t the slightest clue anymore as to renting. I recall some rule changes as well, renting is still a viable option?

As for resort I think a big thing I’m factoring is shortening transportation time due to only being there for 3 days.


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Rick195275

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Great stuff [mention]Rick195275 [/mention] this won’t be a long trip just 3 days. As for food, we like to try new things that are unique in content and not a simple burger (although Disneyland corn dogs are oddly delicious. I have heard of renting dvc and used to know more when I was looking into actually becoming a member but haven’t the slightest clue anymore as to renting. I recall some rule changes as well, renting is still a viable option?

As for resort I think a big thing I’m factoring is shortening transportation time due to only being there for 3 days.


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Do you plan to try to hit all the parks? Renting is definitely still a viable option, especially right now, since the shut down there are still a lot of owners with more points than they can use so you can even find some really good deals. Problem is finding availability for the same reason, the backlog of points in the system. Facebook groups are probably your best chance at finding a good deal, rental sites would probably be the best place to find a confirmed reservation (reservation someone already made they are looking to rent out. Tons of owners abroad that still aren’t even eligible to visit so confirmed reservations are popping up all the time as flights are cancelled coming in from other countries.
 

Rick195275

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I think we’re just doing 1 a day, possibly Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot.


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Hollywood studios is our favorite so it would be hard for me to say skip it but I totally understand why you would, especially if you have experienced Galaxy’s edge before. If you were doing both HS and Epcot on the short trip I might say look into an Epcot resort for ease of transportation but if you are doing those 3 it’s pretty spread out and wouldn’t really matter.
As for the food question definitely look into the food options in animal kingdom and even animal kingdom lodge on your park day there. Boma, and Sanaa are both fantastic and at least for us unlike most places in our area, those are both at the lodge and I’ve heard great things about tiffins in the park but haven’t personally dined there…. Maybe in Feb though now that I think of it. Epcot you obviously have tons of options within world showcase so kind of depends on what you’re feeling and also when you go, if there is a festival which there is pretty much all the time in Epcot you’ll have food booths to choose from too :) and well Magic kingdom…. I’ll nicely suggest leaving the park to eat if you want anything remotely decent. Even the headliners like be our guest and Cinderella’s royal table weren’t really great in my opinion. Theming for both is absolutely off the charts and worth experiencing…. But if you want quality food I find both to be a miss. If you want really good food most people would suggest heading to contemporary to California grille for dinner or over to grand Floridian for 1 of their 2 signature restaurants. None of those Magic kingdom suggestions are very budget friendly though. Tons of great options in Disney springs! Again not really budget friendly but I’m personally dying to try Jaleo and plan to in Feb.
We will be there for a week around Presidents’ Day! If you decide on February I would probably suggest avoiding that week…. We are going because that’s when school vacation is for my little one but that applies to a lot of the northeast and tends to be a busy time for WDW. But if you do decide to come towards the end of that week it probably won’t be so bad (or at least that’s my hope) and we can offer some in person help :)
Hope this is helpful!
 

splashmtnman

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What ever you decide we can work the details..

Here is a link to all (Alphabetic) the places to eat on property and Disney Springs with prices.
More mud to add to your visit....
I would use EPCOT as a late night dinner park with nightly fireworks and go to HS instead during the day..

Once you pick a date maybe we can meet up.. I love AK and Everest is a must... and Yak and Yeti . Sanaa too.
So much to choose from,,
 

dancecats

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Great stuff [mention]Rick195275 [/mention] this won’t be a long trip just 3 days. As for food, we like to try new things that are unique in content and not a simple burger (although Disneyland corn dogs are oddly delicious. I have heard of renting dvc and used to know more when I was looking into actually becoming a member but haven’t the slightest clue anymore as to renting. I recall some rule changes as well, renting is still a viable option?

As for resort I think a big thing I’m factoring is shortening transportation time due to only being there for 3 days.


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Since you're only going to be there for three days and you're (reasonably) concerned about saving time commuting, IMO your best transportation option most definitely will not be free and might not be budget friendly.

If you use Disney transportation, it'll be free, but you'll likely spend more time waiting than you want. That won't be much of an issue if you go for a week+ at a time, the way I do, but when you're only there for three days, that's time you don't want to spare. You can hire a car, but since you've never been, the likelihood of you getting lost is extremely high - and who wants to spend a short holiday driving when one can be driven around?

Pre-pandemic, I would have said your best option would be to utilize something called the Minnie Car/Van option, which is a ride share service Disney created in combination with (I think) Lyft. The cars are readily identified by their polka dot exteriors and they can be worth their cost because their drivers are authorized to pick up and drop off as close to the main gates of the theme parks as humanly possible without physically crossing any barriers. I have no idea about the pricing as I've never had a reason to use it. I believe, however, that the service was temporarily paused during the pandemic and I have no idea whether it has been resumed or will be by your trip.

If the Minnie Car/Van option has not been resumed by the time you go, I would suggest relying upon ride shares (Uber/Lyft) or taxis instead of hiring a car or using park transportation. You can call for your ride when you want and have it meet you in the designated pick up lot. That way, you'll spend more time in the parks and less time waiting around for your transportation, which is how I think you would want it.

And since you're not going to be relying upon Disney's transportation, the location of the resort becomes significantly less important. Especially considering that since you're planning to go to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom, I can't think of any one resort that's particularly well located to all three of those parks. It's possible to be close to one, but not all three - and I wouldn't recommend changing resorts multiple times to reduce commuting times.
 

TiggerSue

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The All-Star Music and Movies have been completely renovated in the new Disney European style with 1 Queen bed that can flip up out of the way. However, the Bus lines can be long if, fully booked. Or stay at the Pop Century to use the Skyliner to go to Epcot. You'll be delivered to the back in World Showcase where all the food (& Ratatouille) is. Use Disney Bus to Animal Kingdom. If line is too long for MK, use Uber/Lyft to the Contemporary, get out near the gate, walk across street thru sidewalk Security and you are right at the entrance to Magic Kingdom.

We aren't "foodies" and prefer to eat in the moderate price range. In MK, the Columbia House and Sleepy Hollow, in Liberty Square, and, per reviews, the Plaza Rest. are good choices. In Epcot, aside from the Countries, the food court in the Land pavilion is good. The Coral Reef is a real treat & the "view" alone is worth it - If you like the ocean. In AK, we usually do the Flame Tree Barbeque (which now offers a view of the Kite Show while you eat) or Restaurantsaurous in Dino Land. Just our 2 cents. Have a great trip!! :)
P.S. the Minnie Van is no more :(
 

TiggerSue

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Load online or have Disney send you the MAPS of the Parks. Best to know where everything is before you get there. I also HIGHLY recommend loading both the official site - Disney Parks Blog and the fan site - Walt Disney World News Today (WDW NT) apps on your phone/computer. And, start reading them now!!!

FYI - WDW NT also covers Disneyland, as well as the overseas Parks, and Universal news.
 
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speedwaystar1

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I'm booked up to go in Jan 2022 !
I chose to stay at Pop Century , mainly because of its travel links and cost
The All-Stars resorts were cheaper but since they all share the same buses waits are much higher , Art of Animation was the other option
Of the 3 parks you mention MK isn't really near anything budget resort , however I plan to use the skyliners from Pop Century to Epcot then ride the monorail and ferry to MK . Whilst it may take a bit longer the journey is a fun one :)
Expedition Everest is pretty fun , but not something I'd personally plan around . Plenty of other things to do in AK these days (Pandora etc)
Regarding events , Jan-Feb is Festival of the Arts at Epcot , most of those things are thurs-sun if you plan to do that
Should you decide to upgrade I can highly recommend Port Orleans French Quarter , it has a great boat link to Disney Springs and good bus service
 

TiggerSue

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The All-Star Resorts each have their own Buses for morning and evening. Only during the "slack time" in the late morning/afternoon do they run between Resorts before heading to the Parks.

That being said - the Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter ARE lovely places to stay, if in your price range.
 
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firechief18

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Port Orleans Riverside/French Quarter both have the option of bus or boat to certain areas. Really nice pools for relaxing.
 

PinTraderSam

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Skyliners working right now? A lot of good info! Might look like an end of April-May trip. The boat ride sounds cool!


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TiggerSue

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Skyliners working right now? A lot of good info! Might look like an end of April-May trip. The boat ride sounds cool!


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Yep, the Skyliner has been up & running since 2019. The boats from Port Orleans just run to Disney Springs and back.

If you can avoid - DON'T go the 2 weeks around Easter and go before Memorial Day weekend.

Later in April thru first 2 weeks of May are usually a good time to go - both crowd and weather wise. So exciting!! :)
 

PinTraderSam

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Date seems to be April 26-29, I’m thinking of going to MK on a busier day because I’m assuming most rides are the same as Disneyland so ride priority is lower therefore not as pressured to do everything there. Priorities are 7 Dwarves, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise. Are there any other rides that are worth the difference/better and not worse than Disneyland?


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Shelterkat

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Date seems to be April 26-29, I’m thinking of going to MK on a busier day because I’m assuming most rides are the same as Disneyland so ride priority is lower therefore not as pressured to do everything there. Priorities are 7 Dwarves, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise. Are there any other rides that are worth the difference/better and not worse than Disneyland?


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I mainly go to MK to see the attractions DLR doesn't have or no longer has, like Carousel of Progress, Peoplemover, Country Bears, and the WDW Hall of Presidents is so great because it has all the presidents, not just Lincoln.
 

Rick195275

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Date seems to be April 26-29, I’m thinking of going to MK on a busier day because I’m assuming most rides are the same as Disneyland so ride priority is lower therefore not as pressured to do everything there. Priorities are 7 Dwarves, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise. Are there any other rides that are worth the difference/better and not worse than Disneyland?


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Space mountain maybe? Seating is in a straight line instead of side by side. Pirates is different too but my understanding is the Disneyland version is far superior. I’ve yet to make it to Disneyland so can’t comment on the differences.
 
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