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Discussion in 'WDW Parks General Discussion' started by RaulnAmy, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. RaulnAmy

    RaulnAmy New Member

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    Hi!! We are a family of 4 going to WDW for the first time. We have 2 girls 3 and 6 who are super exited! I am asking for all of your help on ins and outs. We have a 3 day park ticket one per day and are planning MK first day then maybe Epcot or WK. I would love some input on what to eat and what I should budget for each place..(example: Ate dinner and XYZ 4 people were $150) We have a huge condo offsite about 10 mins so we can "go home" for rest! Thanks in advance for all of your wisdom!
     
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  2. larryz

    larryz Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! I used to budget $40 per person per day, but recent increases have pushed me to $50 per person per day. At that level, you can essentially do a single item breakfast, counter service light lunch, and table service dinner. You can also swap those around if you want -- single item breakfast, table service lunch, and counter service dinner. If your family eats breakfast late, you can cut out the single item breakfast and just do two fairly heavy meals at lunch-ish and dinner-ish, one CS and one TS. Eat prior to 11 or after 1:30 for lunch, and before 5 and after 7 for dinner to avoid potential crowds. Others will, I'm sure, kick in more specifics about individual restaurants.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  3. Matthew Hiester

    Matthew Hiester New Member

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    Congrats on your first visit to WDW!! You have a lot of questions (understandably). I'll give you my two cents (as someone who has been to WDW several times and the father of two young kids).

    If you are doing a 3-day pass non-park hopper I would say skip Hollywood Studios. Unless your girls are really into Star Wars, there's not enough there right now to use a whole day pass on. Others will probably flame me for this, but I'd also say skip Epcot. Yeah the Frozen attraction and Anna and Elsa meet and greet are there and you also have Nemo and friends. But that's about it for younger kids. Don't get me wrong, I love Epcot, but with a limited number of days and younger kids, it's probably not a top priority. I'd say do Animal Kingdom one day and two days at MK. Since this is your first time, you can easily fill up two full days at MK. You will find you have favorite attractions/shows/parades you'll want to do more than once.

    In terms of food.... that's so hard to answer. Are you talking three meals on property a day? Do you want sit down service or is counter/quick service ok? Do you only want to eat in the parks, or are you open to restaurants elsewhere on property? I would say go to the My Disney Experience website and check out the dining site. You can do searches for all restaurants and, I believe, can filter them by location, cuisine, price, etc. You can also see the menus of each restaurant and most should list prices. That might help you narrow down where to eat and approx. what it may cost. Of course, just go into it knowing it'll be pricey wherever you eat.

    Hope this helps somewhat. I'm excited for your family getting to go on your first WDW trip!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  4. Disneyfan_76

    Disneyfan_76 Active Member

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    When are you going? The time of year could help some of us give you more tailored advice. I would agree with Matthew that Hollywood Studios is most likely a skip. However, depending on how "into" Disney Junior the three year old still is, I would recommend getting a park hopper for one of the days and doing the Disney Junior Live show in the morning. The six year old can ride tower of terror or GMR while the show is going on if you want to split the group. I would then spend the rest of that day at EPCOT or AK. There just isn't much to do at Hollywood Studios right now. Having just gotten back from WDW myself with a 2 and 4 year old, I would recommend adding a little more to the food budget if you can to include one sit down meal per day. The air conditioning and waited staff make for a better break in the day and a better experience overall. I just personally found it easier with the kids than the quick service. We ate at Germany in EPCOT, and Skipper Canteen in MK. Both were great.

    Also, pick up the Disney Visa if you don't already have it. Use it for the discount on food and merch in the parks, and for the perks of the private M&G in EPCOT. It's worth it for the M&G alone.
     
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  5. RaulnAmy

    RaulnAmy New Member Original Poster

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    Wow Thanks Everyone! We are planning on April 22-25th ish! My 6 year old is super "tomboy" and the 3 year old is all princess so its a tough crowd.. They also pretty much don't like anything but sandwiches and snacks found under the couch (just kidding for the hater trolls out there) so I'm so glad for input
     
  6. Matthew Hiester

    Matthew Hiester New Member

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    Ha. On our most recent trip my 5-year-old daughter insisted on eating chicken tenders at every restaurant we went to. We called it her "chicken tenders around the World" tour. The beauty of Disney is, both of your daughters will find things to do/eat that they will love.
     
  7. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    When the window for fastpasses open up make your picks quick. Some may already be unavailable when your window opens but you might get lucky on some, but if you wait until 1 or 2 weeks before you go you can almost guarantee you'll get slim pickings.

    If you are offsite don't think you'll be able to go back and forth from the park quickly for nap time, the only way that ever happens is when you are onsite and at a resort that pretty much connects to the park you are in, otherwise assume you'll spend an hour going from a park to your condo and an hour getting back, so plan accordingly.

    Make sure you keep your receipt for parking, if you don't you'll end up having to repay for parking when you return to the park later in the day, not fun at 20 dollars a pop.

    If your kids are going to do autographs do yourself a favor and buy a book and pen from the local walmart it will cost you less than 1/3 the price of a book in the park. Better yet, don't let your kids get into the autograph stuff if you can help it....doing the meet and greets just to collect autographs eats up a lot of time and if you only have 3 days don't waste on getting autographs.

    At magic kingdoms transportation center you will have to use 1 of 3 different options to get to the park, the ferry, an express monorail to the park or a resort monorail... The ferry should be your choice of last resort it takes the longest... express is the best option unless it has a massive line if you see people lined up all the way down the ramp leading up to it then take the resort monorail it will make 2 resort stops before you get to the magic kingdom but will still get you there faster if there is a massive line for the express.

    freeze some water bottles at your condo and take them with you to the park. Water in a bottle is expensive at Disney and while you can get free water in a cup the water at Orlando is some of the nastiest stuff you have probably ever had so your best bet is take your own.

    Oh... You'll likely want a stroller... at 3 and 6 you might think you don't need one but you will. You probably don't have a double stroller so I would suggest you rent one at the park and have both kids ride in it, it will keep them from getting tired and cranky a little longer. Also is very useful as a baggage cart to lug your stuff around.

    Oh yes... prepare yourself for rain. Stop at your local Dollar Tree and grab some cheap ponchos the rain will likely hit you at least 1 or 2 times on your trip, and even if it only hits for 10 or 15 minutes it can be a down pour, best to be prepared for it.
     
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  8. Herdman

    Herdman Active Member

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    With your girls being the ages they are I would definitely not spend a lot of time at Epcot or the Studios. Maybe use your park hopper to just hit the more "kid friendly" attractions like Toy Story, Frozen, Nemo etc. You'll definitely want at least a day and a half at the MK. Probably at least 3/4 of a day at AK also, especially if your girls love the zoo. Some great shows at all the parks that they would probably love also. I'm sure you'll have a blast!
     
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  9. SyracuseDisneyFan

    SyracuseDisneyFan Well-Known Member

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    Have fun.
     
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  10. Smiley/OCD

    Smiley/OCD Active Member

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    Welcome!!! A few suggestions...if you need a strollers, and want to save $$$, rather than renting them, I would suggest going to Wal-Mart and buying 2 cheap umbrella strollers...they will get a workout while there, and if you don't want to bring them back you could either toss 'em or, better yet, give them to a family that's looking to rent them while entering the park.
    My go-to advice to all newbies with children is for one grown-up to enter MK first and scope out a great location on Main St. Snap their pictures the minute they see Cinderella Castle for the first time. You will TREASURE those photos forever!!!
    Many first-timers get very frustrated when they arrive because everything you and the kids wanted to see didn't get done...Pre-planning is the KEY. The more planning you do BEFORE you arrive, the BETTER vacation you will have. It can be VERY overwhelming once you arrive the first time! Just remember, the more you put into your vacation beforehand, the MORE you'll get out of it.
    Enjoy your vacation!!!
     
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  11. figmentfan423

    figmentfan423 Well-Known Member

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    My advice to first timers is to get a copy of the unofficial guide to Disney and read it. Saves a ton of headaches
     
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  12. Disneyfan_76

    Disneyfan_76 Active Member

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    The double umbrella stroller is good advice. We rented a double stroller from a local service. It got parked most of the time but was great when the kids were tired and needed a spot to sit or nap.
     
  13. danyoung56

    danyoung56 Well-Known Member

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    My main advice is to do things at your kids' pace. You might have the perfect day planned, with multiple parks and great dining, and your child only wants to swim in the hotel pool. It can be very frustrating for a parent, but if you force your kids into doing things that they don't want to do, meltdowns are right around the corner!
     
  14. Phonedave

    Phonedave Well-Known Member

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    Having been to WDW many times (more than I remember) as solo, adults only (either just me and my wife, or with other adult friends), with our family (3 kids) or with extended family (in laws, nephews, etc) this is my advice to you.

    Strive for a balance between under and over planning.

    If you go into WDW with no idea of what you want to do, you are going to be very disappointed. Unfortunately WDW has become crowded at all times, and wait times for popular rides can get very long, and many table service restaruants book to capacity well in advance. So take a look at a guide book, or a web site, or Disneys site, or the My Disney Experience app with your kids and pick out some of the stuff they really want to do. Then make Fast Pass + reservations for those rides and Dining reservations for anywhere special they may want to eat.

    Then, after that, stop with the detailed planning, and just do rough planning. Don't plan out every single momement of your trip. You are not going to be able to see and/or do everything WDW has to offer. Not in one trip, not in half a dozen trips. Get comfortable with that fact, and don't try it cram it all into one visit - or you will be disappointed. Do, however, take a look at the maps of the parks ahead of time, so you at least have an idea of what attractions you want to visit and in what order. Magic Kingdom is probally the most "free flowing" of the parks. There are a number of attractions/events that only happen at specific times - such as parades or shows, but many of the attraction are just wait in line and go next type things. EPCOT and AK are in the middle - there are a bunch of "whenever you get there" attractions, but there are also some scheduled shows or events. EPCOTs are mainly performances in the various countries, and AK has some stage shows and some performance acts as well.

    If you end up using one of your days at DHS, that will require a bit more planning, as many of the attractions there are at scheduled times, as they are stage shows.

    However, what it really boils down to his have fun. Your kids are young, they will get distracted and see something fun and want to do it. Let them. Maybe they are on Tom Sawyers island and are loving the fort. If you whip out your shchedule and say "kids, we have to leave, because the schedule says we have to eat at Pecos Bill's in 11 minutes" it is going to make for a sad trip. Now if they are doing something that would make them late for a stage show they really wanted to see, then yes, maybe you explain to them that if they stay at the dino dig site any longer then they will miss Flights of Wonder (now we have moved to AK by the way). The best way for you to enjoy WDW is for you to enjoy your kids enjoying WDW.
     
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  15. danyoung56

    danyoung56 Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly how I plan my (solo) trips. I know what park I'm going to hit on any given day, and I know my dining rez's, and I know my FP+s. Beyond that, I'm wide open to going with the flow. If a line is too long, I'll just skip it for this trip and move on to the next cool thing. After all, I'm on vacation, not storming a beach somewhere!
     
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  16. Phonedave

    Phonedave Well-Known Member

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    It took me a while to get used to having to make dining reservations. I started going at a time when around lunch time you could decide where to eat, call up, and make a reservation. We woud change parks on any given day if we felt like it. Now, if you want to do any sort of TS dining, you have to lock in it. It is one of the reasons (quality is an other) that we have cut back on much of our TS dining.

    When we do adults only, much of our day is scheduled - mainly because auults only is for F&W and we schedule a lot of seminars, tastings, and dinners. But when going with kids, you really just have to go with the flow. Now that mine are older, they can go off on their own, but when they were small, they would spend time doing some things you would think would not be appealing. I spent more time on trips watching them color those masks they used to have at the KidCot stations. We are in WDW, and you want to sit here coloring a paper mask? But you know what, it took 20 minutes, they had fun, they brought those masks home (we still have some in a storage box I think), and they remember it to this day. That is what going to WDW with kids is about. We also spent an inordanate amount of time at the Affection Section in Rafikis Planet Watch - but again, they loved it, they had fun, they talked about it after the trip, even if it is just a run of the mill petting zoo. Things like the Bugs LIfe Playground, the Dino Dig, and the Winnie the Pooh play area took up a good amoutn of time on some trips, but that's what kids like. Let them be kids, let them have fun, soon enough they will have schedules and deadlines in school and then life. No need to impose schedules on them at WDW.


    -dave
     
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  17. OvertheHorizon

    OvertheHorizon Well-Known Member

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    If your off-site resort tells you that they are 10 minutes away from WDW, they are most likely giving you the time until your car arrives on Disney property. I'd double that estimate. WDW is vast - twice the size of Manhattan Island. The internal roadways are very good and signage helps you navigate anywhere within the "World." I live six miles from WDW property. It takes me 15 minutes to arrive at the Epcot parking lot, and between walking to the tram, etc. probably another 15 until I'm in the park.

    Familiarize yourself with the parks. Have an idea in advance of what you want to do. For the most popular attractions, it is good to have a FastPass or arrive early and head to that one first. There is a lot of ground to cover, so when you plan what you want to visit and when, keep in mind that you'll want to have a game plan that keeps you in one area of the park at a time. For example: If you visit Splash Mountain, you're also close to Country Bear Jamboree, the Riverboat ride, etc. If you arrange a FastPass for Splash Mountain at 10 a.m. and Under the Sea Ride at 11:15 a.m., you'll be traveling to the opposite side of the park. Study the park maps in advance.
     
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  18. Incomudro

    Incomudro Well-Known Member

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    My no. one tip: Get to the parks slightly before they open.
    I know it's tough to get out early when on vacation, and it can be especially tough when toting little ones.
    But there can be a huge difference between crowds at opening (don't let the mass at the gates fool you - the lands absorb them quickly) vs one to two hours later.
    Also, look at things from the height of a child...
    When the park is not crowded, they can see things around them.
    All the structures, etc.
    Once the crowds come, all the kids can see are bodies.
     
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  19. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    My 2 cents-

    Plan, but don't overplan. It's tough, but take the time to just stop and enjoy your surrounding, without hurrying to the next attraction/dining reservation.

    And...
    Please don't skip Hollywood Studios!!!

    Ok wait, I'll modify that statement-
    Check out the Disney website and look at all that is offered at the Studios.. If you think your children would enjoy the attractions there.. Do it. If not- Skip it.

    We personally absolutely love it.. only you know your family's interests. Fantasmic is an incredible show imo, I haven't had the chance to see the Star Wars one, so can't give input there.
    I do recommend Hollywood and Vine if the 3 year old is a Disney Jr fan...my 5.5 year old at the time enjoyed it...and he was just out of the Disney Jr stage.
    I love Epcot.. but I'd be more inclined to plan 2 MK days and 1 HS day in your scenario. But again, depends on your family's interests.

    If you're doing a meal at MK then definitely BOG.. if you go for lunch the prices are very reasonable, and the food is good...it's more about the experience rather than the food there.

    Outside of those, I'd skip character meals/table service and just free up time to enjoy the parks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  20. danyoung56

    danyoung56 Well-Known Member

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    I definitely remember booking the day of. Remember those cool video stations in Epcot? Cutting edge technology - now you can do it on your cell phone if you want!
     

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