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Overwhelmed planning trip for fall

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by jeremyg, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member

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    Hi guys!
    I'm so excited, I'm planning our Disney trip for this fall. It's been 3 years since I've been and my kids are older now (9 and 4) and will flip out once they find out we are going.

    We've been in the past. But I've been fortunate in that my parents would pay for all of us and siblings to go every other year. So they would do the planning and we would stay at Saratoga or Key West resorts. You can image my surprise when I started planning just how expensive it is.

    Anyway, we plan on going either last 3 days in Sept or the first 3 days in November. It appears both time frames have decent crowd levels. November will have cooler weather, but we live in south Florida so heat is nothing new to us. I know the Wine and Food fest is going on in Epcot during those time periods, so that's one negative we have to deal with.

    Are these decent time frames?

    My biggest priority is Money. I want to go for as little as possible. We will probably stay at POP for 4 days and do a 3 day park hopper. But if budget gets tight, we will downgrade the park hopper and just get base tickets and possibly only go for 2 days. From the dates I picked, we would be arriving on a Wed night and first park day would be a Thursday. So we should be able to get Value prices during that time. Another question is, since we will be staying through till Friday (which is not a value price day), how will the price work? Will I get charged for a 2 day value and then a single day Regular price?

    I'm also aware of the upcoming discounts that should be released in late April. We are hoping for the free dining plan in order to save more money. But from what I've read in the past, the better dining plan is for Moderate resort packages. So I will have to calculate out food pricing and make sure the upgrade to a moderate resort will not out way the food plan verses us bring our own food.

    Trying to keep it all together, but there are so many factors to consider. Would love to get your expert advice. Thanks

    Jeremy
     
  2. DisneyJoe

    DisneyJoe Well-Known Member

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    Are you getting Florida resident tickets?
     
  3. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    most likely. It should be a lot cheaper going that route yes?
     
  4. TDGMedley

    TDGMedley Active Member

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    I was there last year in September and free dinning was not offered. I planned this trip only 3 months out, witch is last min for us. I played with my dates. The more i moved it the cheaper it got. I was first was looking at end out Aug. but we ended up Sep 12-17 we also stayed at pop. I do think if your trying to go cheaper the all starts my be a little cheaper. I went and was looking for past discounts. And last year they offered a Florida resident discount. (25%-35% off room-only rates for Florida Residents (also bookable as AP package))
     
  5. carriebeth

    carriebeth Active Member

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    a lot of the time if not always you have to have a minimum days of stay to get free dining when its available. I think on our bounce back offer for free dining last fall it was 6 nights minimum...not sure on that as we always do a lot more so I didn't really pay much attention. So even if free dining is offered, you might not have enough nights to qualify.
     
  6. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    Thanks for the advice. We decided on October 4th through the 7th. I did more research and it looks like I would not qualify for free dining, as they would require a packaged deal in the past. I'll still be hopeful though that I will qualify for something. I can still book and then call for changes once the promotions come out.

    Also, I found that the tickets were way cheaper booking through Disney website verses undercover tourist. My cost for tickets for 3 days was $768 for the 4 of us. 2 adults and 2 kids. POP was $427 for a 3 night stay. Can't seem to get anything cheaper than that.

    I will probably contact a travel agent first to make sure I can't get anything else. Thinking of using Destinations to Travel. Has anyone ever used them before?
     
  7. Cosmic Commando

    Cosmic Commando Well-Known Member

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    If you're only paying $768 for four people for three day park hoppers, you're either doing something wrong or you've found an incredible discount. That's about half of the gate price. Also, Disney's ticket prices will not include tax until the very end; Undercover Tourist's include tax up front.
     
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  8. p.a.m.

    p.a.m. Member

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    Agree. Even if the tickets are not park hoppers, 2 adults and 2 children will cost $1120 not including tax, for 3 days, 1 park per day. Hoppers add another $60 per person.
     
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  9. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    Yeah the price is without park hopper and without tax. It is FL residency discount. But I didn't realize that the price of Undercover Tourist was with tax. I'll have to look at that again and compare the prices.
     
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  10. p.a.m.

    p.a.m. Member

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    I missed the part about you being a Florida resident. Sorry.
     
  11. djdan888

    djdan888 New Member

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    I know it will be more, but you might consider Annual Passes. if you use them 3 times in a year it will have been worth it. With the discounts you can get at Pop Century as an AP plus the discount you get on food and merch, it might be worth your time. Also, if only one person gets the gold pass, you get the pictures included.
     
  12. Gaston's gal

    Gaston's gal Well-Known Member

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    Pop Century is a great Value resort to choose. If you buy base tickets instead of the Park Hoppers, that will save you some money too. When the discounts come out, if you can be flexible with your resort choice, you could get a better discount if you can move your dates around or move resorts. Good luck and enjoy your trip!
     
  13. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    Thanks for the advice. I have been looking at the AP as it would provide alot of value. Especially since we live in south Florida. However, the price is still too much for us right now. But looking at the benefits, we will start saving for next year and get them.

    I ended up contacting the travel agency mentioned above and they came up with the exact same price. So it's a no brainer, I'll be going through them as I will get additional benefits and freebies. They will monitor the upcoming discounts and call and apply any that they find. They will also let me know of any other resorts that are being offered at a discount.

    I'm still trying to decide on the length of hotel stay. My original plans is to check in Wed evening and start the parks the next day. Then I will be checking out on Sat before heading back to the parks for our 3rd day and driving home after the park. Would be nice to stay another night and relax at the resort in the morning. So if POP offers early check in, I may decide to drive real early Thursday morning, check in and then go to the park. The last option is to spend an extra $150 for another night. Every penny counts for us though. Guess I need to check POP first and confirm their check in and out times.
     
  14. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    Just realized that date is Columbus Day Weekend. Are Crowds going to be higher that weekend?
     
  15. djdan888

    djdan888 New Member

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    Any weekend where kids are out of school will be higher crowds.
     
  16. Weather_Lady

    Weather_Lady Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, here's some unsolicited tips on other ways to save money:
    1 - You're already implementing one of the best by watching for special offers (check first thing every morning, and consult the "Mousesavers" website's "Historical Discounts" chart to get an idea of when to expect them to some out) -- so you'll be able to jump on any available room discounts as soon as they come out. As a Florida resident, you may be eligible for some better deals than the rest of us. :)
    2 - Don't pay for extras like the dining plan (very difficult to save money on it) or MemoryMaker (cast members will happily snap all the photos you want with your own camera, for free). Some people will laud these things as "must-dos." They are not. :)
    3 - Budget dining doesn't mean you can't enjoy meals in the park. Bring breakfast and snack foods from home and choose your in-park meals wisely, with an eye toward getting the most bang for your buck. The tool at distripplanner.com (it's designed for determining whether you're better off paying out-of-pocket or with the DDP, but along the way it allows you to see and compare the projected out-of-pocket costs of meals at the restaurants you're considering) is a nice way to take a look, if you don't have time to physically study the menus for each restaurant. At CS locations, where portions for various "platters" are often huge, consider splitting a meal (e.g., a Pecos Bill fajita platter + fixins bar can feed at least 2!) or ordering your entrée item without the advertised side dish. (They won't be listed separately on menus -- but just ask, for example, for your "burger without the fries" and you can get just the burger, for a modestly discounted price.) You can also order off of kids' menus at CS locations, if you just want a light meal. As always, iced water is free everywhere, and at any CS location on request, no purchase necessary, and if you can avoid ordering and buying the GIANT fountain drinks offered at every meal at WDW (at $3.29 a pop - literally!) you can save a bundle over a few days. For TS meals, be aware that some restaurants are cheaper for lunch than for dinner even if the menu is almost identical (and for those that serve breakfast, that will generally be cheaper than lunch or dinner, although the menu will be more pedestrian).
    4 - Explore ways your credit cards can save you money -- Disney VISA rewards bucks, or rewards points that might be applied toward your travel expenses. (I use a JetBlue MasterCard with a $40 annual fee that saves us $600-$1,200 in airfare every time we visit Orlando, and my husband has a Disney Rewards VISA that racks up a good $100-$150/year in rewards dollars, with no annual fee. We pay things off in full, every month, so we're not paying interest -- just saving hundreds of dollars every time we go to WDW, simply by using our credit cards.)
    5 - If people ask what you want for Christmas/birthday in the months leading up to your trip, request Disney gift cards!
    6 - Although hotel and food costs may stay fairly constant, the per-day price of your park tickets goes down with every day you add -- that means that if you want to save money, avoiding extra hotel nights and onsite meals is a good way to do it, but shortening your ticket length is not. (e.g., an adult 4-day MYW ticket has a base price of $350 but a 5-day is $370, and a 6-day is $390, only $20 more per day, instead of the $75 you'd pay to add parkhopper to that same 4-day ticket...) If you're going to have a partial day on your arrival and/or departure days where you might like to visit a park, it might be well worth it to pay for a full extra day or two (which would also make it easier to use one-park-a-day tickets rather than parkhoppers, since you could put those partial days to good use -- e.g., you can knock off HS in 4 hours on your arrival day and be done with that park completely, and use your departure day to revisit favorite attractions in MK or Epcot instead of hopping there on a prior day, since 1 full day isn't enough for either of those parks...)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
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  17. Weather_Lady

    Weather_Lady Well-Known Member

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    THIS! OP, you might want to consult the Undercover Tourist crowd calendar, the 2017/2018 "Best weeks to visit WDW, ranked in order" on the yourfirstvisit website, and/or the crowd projections on touringplans. Your travel agent should have access to similar resources, as well. October is a wonderful time to visit -- but it is always best to avoid the days around any holiday weekend if you want to visit with lower crowds, lower lines and lower stress.
     
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  18. jeremyg

    jeremyg New Member Original Poster

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    Thanks again for the great advice. I looked over the crowd calendars and that week is ok. 4 and 5 out of 10 for crowd levels. But there's nothing less busy for that month. In fact the following week Ian red across all calendars. I might switch to the week before. Afternoon looking through the historic discount offers, the only potential issue is a blackout date for October due the free dining plan. It in think that's still not going to apply to me because I'm not doing a package. So I should be good if I go a week earlier. Room discounts historically seem to be all of sept through at least Nov.
     
  19. TwisterMomma

    TwisterMomma Member

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    Have you thought about the Swan/Dolphin at all? We stayed there in 2012 and I was pleasantly surprised. It is REALLY convenient to Epcot & Disney Studios and you get most of the perks of a Disney Hotel. Their pool is very nice too. I think our next trip is going to be a split stay there and a Deluxe resort.

    Costco always has a travel deal for that resort too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  20. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    As a former SoFloridian who visited Disney often, your best bets are most likely going to be FL Resident resort discounts and tickets. This will save a ton of money right there.

    I think "free dining" would end up costing you a lot more overall.
     

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