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Looking For Some Help/Advice

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by Truth72, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member

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    Hey folks, I thought I'd throw up a quick post here to get some advice on my upcoming Disney trip. My Wife and I are returning to Disney for the first time since we were teenagers (32 now) and obviously things have changed a whole lot since back in those days. I'm basically going to rattle off our agenda and ask a couple of questions, feel free to throw opinions on things we should do, etc.

    We are leaving Toronto (our home) on Friday the 21st and actually heading to Cleveland until Sunday the 23rd (catching the Blue Jays vs Indians series) we drive back to Toronto on Sunday night and fly out to Florida Monday morning. I had tried to book the trip out of Cleveland on Sunday night or Monday morning, but the flights were horrific (stop overs, delays, etc.) We depart on WestJet at around 10:30 am and I believe we are expected to arrive around 1:15.

    I haven't booked a rental car yet but I'll probably use Alamo as I've always had a good experience with them (I don't mind paying a bit extra). I also like the convenience of the rental car office being in the airport and not having to take a shuttle etc. We're probably just going to rent an economy or compact car and this is where I could use some help. The compact car is a Mitsubishi Mirage (or similar) and from what I've seen, it looks REALLY small. Am I going to be able to get 2 adults, 2 Fullsize suitcases as well as two carry on bags in this car? The same question for the Nissan Versa (next model up). Anyone with experience with these cars, or cars this size would be helpful. I don't really want to upgrade to an SUV (we'll be doing a fair bit of driving as you'll see later) so I don't want to upgrade to something huge. I really don't care about the car being fancy or not either, I plan on using it to get around and that is it, I'm good with booking the cheapest car that will fit our needs.

    From there we are heading over to our Hotel in Disney for 5 days which is Saratoga Springs. I read some decent reviews and actually booked this place because of it's proximity to Disney Springs. The availability was somewhat limited (we booked all of this Monday Night) so I took what we could get which was a deluxe studio. We had originally planned to stay at the Contemporary, but it sold out while we debating. Anyone have any experience with Saratoga Springs? I know it's one of their 4 star (or level 3) resorts, but I'm assuming it'll be fine, we don't plan on spending much time in our room.

    I do have a question about transportation, obviously staying on Disney we have access to all of their transportation, but what ends up being quicker? Is it quicker to just drive to the park or take the hotel transportation? Also I've read conflicting things about parking, do Disney guests have to pay for parking at Parks?

    Once we check into the hotel (4pm) we're going to head over to Disney Springs and do a little bit of shopping. Is there anything we have to check out? I'm really not looking for clothes or anything like that, I can get those at home, so I'm really just interested in checking out Disney related stuff. The Disney Art and Disney Christmas stores look like must do's.

    We have a 5 day park hopper pass (it was buy 4 get 1 free) so we're using the free night for just a few hours on Monday night when we get there. We have an 8PM reservation at Rainforest Café (At Animal Kingdom) and we're probably going to hang around Animal Kingdom for a few hours (its open until midnight). Is there anything that's a must do at Animal Kingdom?

    Day 2 is Epcot, we'll probably sleep in a bit later and then head to the park. In my experience it probably will not take a full day to experience Epcot. Once again, recommendations for Epcot? We've got a reservation for Planet Hollywood at 8pm that night and will probably wander around Disney Springs for a couple hours after that.

    Day 3 is Magic Kingdom, I assume this one is going to be a long day. We didn't make a dinner reservation, we're basically going to play it by ear.

    Day 4 is back to Animal Kingdom, this time for the full day, with a reservation around 5PM at Yak and Yeti (on site restaurant)

    Day 5 is Hollywood Studios, I wanted to book this last because I believe it's the smallest park and we're having to get away early on Day 6. I also booked a reservation at STK Orlando for 8pm, was curious if anyone knew if there was a dress code?

    Day 6 we wake up, head to Siesta Key and spend two days there before flying back out of Orlando on Monday the 31st.

    My main questions are the ones I posed above, regarding the rental car and the transportation. But I'd also love to hear opinions, tips and recommendations on the trip.

    Thanks Everyone.
     
  2. nickys

    nickys Well-Known Member

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    Is this for this month? So no fastpasses booked yet? Assuming yes to both ........ I suggest you have a look at what's in each park and decide on 4or 5 must dos for each. Then get what fastpasses you can. The sooner you do this the better you can try and plan what else to try and do.

    AK - obviously Pandora is the new land, but imo the park has the best overall theme-ing of them all. Take time to check out Harambe (African village). Kali will get you soaked, stash everything in a locker before you ride. Everest if you are a coaster fan. You may get an fp for Navii River, no chance for FoP. Dinosaur worth doing, same for Safari. You might not get Safari or Everest at this stage.

    Epcot - this can take 2 days to see it all, sorry! Depends if you want to ride everything and see all of World Showcase. Although there's maybe not much left in Future World, the headline rides are TT, Soarin, Mission Space (down for refurb), SSE. If you plan to explore more than just walk though all the nations it will take several hours. Some like Morocco, Japan, China, Canada have areas to explore that you cannot see from the main path. Rides are tiered, you can only fp 1 of Soarin, TT or Frozen in advance.

    DHS - are you Star Wars fans? If so, there is plenty to see and do that are not rides. Of all the shows, Indy is my favourite and worth seeing. The others are obviously based on IPs which may appeal more to families with young kids. Toy Story, RnR, ToT, GMR and Star Tours are the rides. Again rides are tiered, only 1 from TS, GMR and ToT.

    Both Illuminations at Epcot and Fantasmic & Star Wars at DHS are worth seeing although you seem to be heading out of parks for the evening.
     
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  3. Minnie Mum

    Minnie Mum Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forums, fellow Canuck.

    Car- 2 FULL SIZE suitcases just for a week? Um, okay... I doubt you'd get 2 28 inchers in the trunk of the Mitsubishi, but so what? Put one in the trunk with your carryons and put the other in the back seat. Done.

    While you may not be able to get into your room before 3-4 pm, you can check in when you arrive and get your MBs. Store your luggage with Bell Services until your room is ready. Leave nothing of value in the car.

    Whether to drive to the parks or take the buses is personal preference. As a resort guest you get free parking. We've been going to WDW for decades, and our car stays in the resort parking lot for the duration of our stay.

    No fast passes booked??????? Holy crap batman!!!! Do that today. I'm not kidding. Although available FPs for most of the headliners will be limited if not gone by now. Didn't you know that you could book FPs 60 days in advance? I agree with Nickys recommendations.

    You've booked Disney Springs dinner reservations on some nights. It's up to you, BUT by doing that you will miss all of the big evening entertainments in the parks ( Illuminations, Fantasmic, the Star Wars Spectacular). I'd recommend you reconsider, unless dining is the focus of your trip.

    For all its hype, Disney Springs is an overpriced mall with a bunch of restaurants added in. But you're planning an afternoon plus 2 evenings there instead of enjoying what the parks have to offer. But it's your trip, so it's your decision.
     
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  4. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member Original Poster

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    Hey Nickys,

    Thanks for the prompt response, I really appreciate it. I actually should have outlined that I already have my fastpasses and have made reservations for all of the rides I wanted to check out. So that should help.

    I'm a big star wars fan and my wife doesn't hate it so I'm certainly looking forward to Hollywood Studios!

    Yeah I was unsure about the times of the firework shows etc, we plan on leaving the parks some evenings and then returning later, or heading to a different park (whichever has the extended hours). Maybe I'll re visit the reservation time on a couple of those...
     
  5. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member Original Poster

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    Minnie Mum,

    Thanks for taking tome to respond and the warm welcome! What part of Canada are you from?

    I assume two full suitcases for a week is a lot? LOL. Keep in mind we're spending 5 days in Disney and then a couple in Siesta Key as well. I'm assuming we'll need some decent clothes to wear to a couple nice dinners. I'll also probably change my T shirt atleast once throughout the day.... Anyway yes I guess we pack heavy.

    I figure we'll arrive at our hotel around 3-3:30 so I'd be pretty surprised if the room isn't available.

    I probably should have mentioned in the previous that message that I do indeed have my fast passes booked.

    I may reconsider some of the reservations, but with us having the park hopper, I think we may bounce around to a couple of different parks at night. Wednesday I'm going to hang around MK until it closes, Monday we'll be at AK for close. Out Thursday dinner is booked at 5pm, so we can easily leave AK on that day and head over to Epcot or Hollywood Studios to catch their fireworks etc.

    I'm planning on Disney Springs a couple of times because it has the largest amount of bars within a close proximity :)
     
  6. nickys

    nickys Well-Known Member

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    Ah, OK, so you already have fastpasses etc. That makes things somewhat less, er, stressful!

    I agree though that by booking DS dining on your Epcot day you've made seeing Illuminations a whole lot harder. The times are available on the official site, as well as elsewhere. I would book somewhere around World Showcase if you can instead. Plenty of bars there too ;). That means you can see WS in the evening.

    The Star Wars projection show is amazing. More projections than fireworks, it is not a fireworks show. Make time for March of the First Order, it's on usually 30 minutes before the stage show, but try and watch from the junction between Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd. for the interaction with the crowd. If your wife needs a catch up on the SW saga so far, then the 10 minute recap might be worth it before the projections. It runs on a continuous loop, so sneak it in just before or after Star tours. Watching the Jedi Training can be fun too, even if you don't have kids.
     
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  7. DisneyJoe

    DisneyJoe Well-Known Member

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    It can really depend on many factors. You could walk up to the front desk and check in and a room be ready, or they could tell you that it may not be ready for some time and to go to a park or Disney Springs and check back later. Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club resort, so check in isn't officially until 4pm, but they do let you check in and store your bags with bell services until your room is ready.
     
  8. SAV

    SAV Well-Known Member

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    I had been looking at car rentals for my trip next week and they are really expensive. Over $300 for a week. In past trips in June, I was getting $125 - $150 for 10 days. That was using the discount codes from mousesavers.com, but still they are very high this July. That confirmed our decision to drive down instead of fly down since we are going to the beach for a week after Disney and need a car.

    I prefer to drive myself to the parks, so I don't take the bus. My wife slept in last trip and took a bus and she would rather take the car instead of the bus. It does sound like you will not really need a car, except for the last couple of days when you go to Siesta Key. So the "free" Disney Transportation may be the way to go. Then rent the car at the end.

    Definitely ditch the Planet Hollywood Reservation and stay in the park that night to watch Illuminations. Epcot is the "Food Park" of the 4 parks. So much to eat there that leaving the parks to eat seems like a waste.

    I also wouldn't leave DHS to eat. The new night time shows there sound amazing...I'll find out on Monday.

    Disney Springs isn't just shopping. We went there to walk around and just took in all of the entertainment...and a sammich at Earl of Sandwich. It's where were going on our Arrival evening on Sunday.

    There is so much to do at AK. The obvious big attractions, but also "Flights of Wonder" is a fantastic show. Festival of the Lion King is a must do. Finding Nemo the Musical, Dinosaur!, Jungle Trek...the list goes on. AK is a great park to just slow down and take it all in. So many details that you just run past.
     
  9. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member Original Poster

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    I actually just moved my planet Hollywood reservation to 6pm this way we can head back to Epcot and catch the show. I figure on Thursday (our 2nd day at AK) we'll leave a bit early and head to Hollywood Studios to take in the show. That way I can take in each of the closings at all the parks. Unfortunately ditching Planet Hollywood isn't an option (they have some dish there my raves about.... )

    I'm pretty excited to check out Disney Springs anyway, I'm big on souvenirs and bringing back stuff for family and friends so I'm good with it being a little over priced and whatever.
     
  10. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member Original Poster

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    Help me out with the viewing parties. If I'm going to stick around these parks and take in the shows (as everyone suggested) I saw there were some places to take them in privately. Has anyone done this? Any recommendations?
     
  11. Truth72

    Truth72 New Member Original Poster

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    Annnnnd scratch the viewing parties, just looked around and there doesn't appear to be anything available.
     
  12. yensid67

    yensid67 Well-Known Member

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    Am I going to be able to get 2 adults, 2 Fullsize suitcases as well as two carry on bags in this car? The same question for the Nissan Versa (next model up)= YES! I looked at Edmunds.com and either rental will be enough space! Personally I would go with Versa

    Is it quicker to just drive to the park or take the hotel transportation= I would personally drive my car...I am pretty sure as long as you are a resort guest, there is NO PARKING FEE! (someone correct if wrong)

    The Disney Art and Disney Christmas stores look like must do's= I would stay with The World of Disney. Disney Springs is nice to just walk around and see all the updates, but basically its just another open-air mall! Don't forget to go to the World of Cocoa Cola and visit the Coke Polar Bear on 2nd floor! HE IS CUTE!

    That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! LOL~ Hope everyone's information helps! Have a good trip!
     
  13. DisneyJoe

    DisneyJoe Well-Known Member

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    While I don't drive in WDW, I have heard many say that they often drive to all parks except for MK, since when you drive to MK you park in the MK parking lot at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and then you need to choose between riding the monorail or taking the ferry to the park. If you take the bus from Saratoga Spring to the MK, the bus stop at the MK is much closer to the MK entrance and you just walk after exiting the bus.
     
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  14. Smiley/OCD

    Smiley/OCD Well-Known Member

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    First off, WELCOME!!!

    As far as the car rental goes, check your credit cards...most offer either discounts or, in our case, with the Citi Thank You Preferred, we accrue points that we can use towards car rentals. We were at WDW last March, and with our points, we were able to rent a GMC Yukon for the week free!! Obviously, the smaller the car, the less points needed. Most of the car rental companies are pretty good: Enterprise, Alamo and Thrifty.

    As far as driving vs. the transportation system (bus), for us, the car stays at the resort, and we use the busses...we also go in March or November, and actually LOVE the bus system. It's a great way to talk Disney to fellow riders, and you can have great conversations with total strangers, (if you're an extrovert- I used to work in Radio and retail management, so I LOVE to talk) LOL If you take your car, just remember that a) you don't have control as to where you park in the lot...it may be a long walk to the tram, and b), a long walk to the gate. Some guests HATE the bus system, but we have never had a problem with it.

    I agree with the others, depending on how you as a group walk, Epcot really won't be a 1 day park if you haven't been there in a while. We try to go every 2 years, so we kinda know where to take our time, and where to step on it, BUT every time we go, we always see something new.

    I hope you have a great time there, and don't overlook the small stuff...there is ALWAYS something new to see...some times in the least expected places!!
     
  15. kaitertot5249

    kaitertot5249 Well-Known Member

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    Since you have expressed interest in going somewhere that has a lot of bars in close proximity, you might also be interested in this magical Disney experience for adults: Drink Around the World(showcase)! My boyfriend and I tried our hand at this ultimate pub crawl and barely made it halfway around the world :hilarious:because there are SO MANY OPTIONS (I recommend splitting a drink and a snack in each country and just picking a few places to each get your own things)! As others have commented, EPCOT can take two full days to really take in depending on what you are hoping to see so I would recommend staying in this park for a full day at least.

    But, since it does look like you are looking to take some breaks from the parks, maybe you could check out the Boardwalk and/or Yacht and Beach Club which are just a walk or boat ride away from EPCOT - you can catch the friendship boat from World Showcase and get dropped off at the boardwalk in about 20 minutes depending on how long you have to wait for a boat. This would give you a chance to explore a different (and often far less crowded than Disney Springs) out of the parks area that has a solid assortment of restaurants and ice cream :hungry: Not to mention the killer views, this resort area is beautiful and can be quite romantic!

    In the end, you are sure to have an amazing trip no matter how you plan to spend your days. Just remember to take the time to enjoy your surroundings and not rush through everything. Disney environments are so immersive so let yourself get lost! Happy travels!
     

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