Help an overwhelmed dad out

Sirwalterraleigh

Premium Member
My general advice is That the convenience and general feeling of “not leaving” in the onsite hotels is worth it. But don’t spend more than you have to.

That is going to be busy as the locusts from New Jersey and other special events are there are that time.

I have a lot of experience in Disney hotels...but I am NOT an apologist or cheerleader/salesman for Disney.
Just for reference.
 
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nickys

Premium Member
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Why would Epcot be your only option? There is only one park doing morning EMH and then only one in the evening, so all other parks are in play for that corresponding morning/evening.

And Yes, it holds true for using EMH. If DHS is having EMH, don't go there for EMH. The lines will be just as long if not longer than usual, exacerbated by the fact that they don't always open all of the attractions up for morning EMH.

If MK is having EMH, you can bet that the crowds will show up. You'll get more time in the park, but you definitely won't get short lines.

Now, EMH used to be great. They would keep the park open a couple hours longer and the crowds would be lesser. I miss those days, but they're gone now.

My .02 is that EMH just isn't worth the hassle anymore.

As I posted earlier, it is still possible they will extend the duration of those extra EMH after the half marathon day.

Which would mean 7-8am EMH at MK and AK, and 6-9am EMH at DHS.

So your advice, whilst it’s a reasonable argument against using EMH, would be of little use to anyone visiting in September, October and possibly November (not to mention likely December and January).
 

Worldlover71

Well-Known Member
The 60+10 Fast Pass window for Disney resort guests is a big advantage. In case you do not know what that means, it means that as soon as the 60 day window opens for the first day of your trip, you can book Fast Passes for your entire trip. This is often the only way to get a FP for some of the most popular rides like Flight of Passage.
 

flyfree432

New Member
Original Poster
Yeah, and since the cost is pretty much the same as staying off resort, we are going to stay on resort.

So, I guess the only question left, is it more worthwhile to do a preferred room at ASM or a Little Mermaid room at AoA for about $300 more.
 

Worldlover71

Well-Known Member
AoA is a slightly nicer resort and the skyliner would give you a fun alternative to the buses. Only you can decide if this is worth $300.

On a related note, how would your 13 year old son feel about staying in a Mermaid room? Some boys would be fine with it or even love it while others might not be so keen on it. If it is an issue, ASM is the way to go.

Also, you will have no problem using the buses and other WDW transport to get to the parks well before opening. They start running quite early. No need to Uber if you don't want to.
 

Epcot_or_bust

New Member
Hi Flyfree432: You have really done your homework and you are asking great questions. Financially, staying off property will cost you the least comparing room rates and transportation. ($450 + $250 transportation = $700 based on the numbers above.) But here are some things to consider in addition to the items listed above by others:
1. Staying on the Disney property will let you book fast passes 60 days in advance. Staying off property is 30 day booking window. Given the time that you are going in November, this may not make that much of a difference. But in my experience, the extra 30 day booking window can mean the difference in getting Fast Passes for Mine Train and Flight of Passage or not. We would easily stay on property for the extra $108 at All Star in order to get these Fast passes.
2. Our family does not have the stamina to stay at the park all day so we find our selves heading back to the room early afternoon, especially on day 3 and afterwards. This would add another $30 per day to the Uber Transportation, which again makes staying on property worth it.
3. If you decide to stay off property, you might consider renting a car. The last time we rented a car, it cost us about $150 for a week. With parking for 4 days at $25 per day, this would be about $250. This is about the same cost as currently budgeted for transportation but gives flexibility. Plus, you could eat out a meal a day, saving the cost of eating in the park (which should pay for the gas and may pay for the parking as well.)
4. Taking the bus transportation system should be about the same time frame or less as taking an Uber to the offsite Hotel. The buses do get crowded at closing so you are right to be concerned about this.
5. From your dates, it looks like you are staying overnight on Nov 12 and leaving the next day. If for some reason you are not staying overnight on Nov 12, you will need to do something with your luggage on Nov 12. Staying on property OR renting a car would solve that dilemma.
6. If you are willing to pay for the A of A price, staying at All Star and upgrading to Park Hopper would be a little more than staying at A of A but gives park flexibility. We find ourselves park hopping on the days that we visit Animal Kingdom and Hollywood studios, although GE will most likely change that pattern.
7. The Skyliner is going to be a game changer for A of A Resort. To me, the theming of the A of A resort is not worth the $250 difference in price over the All Star. However, the convenience of the Skyliner would probably change the dynamic for our family.
8. As mentioned above by others, there are many things to do on property. When you get to the offsite room at night, taking a dip in the pool is probably the only entertainment for the kids short of TV or phone screens.

We have stayed on site and off site several times and we prefer staying onsite. Lately, we have been staying offsite and renting a car. Hope you and your family have a great trip.

-E
 

nickys

Premium Member
The 60+10 Fast Pass window for Disney resort guests is a big advantage. In case you do not know what that means, it means that as soon as the 60 day window opens for the first day of your trip, you can book Fast Passes for your entire trip. This is often the only way to get a FP for some of the most popular rides like Flight of Passage.

Ahem, 60+14. 😁
 

flyfree432

New Member
Original Poster
Great advice! Skyliner is not worth the extra few hundred dollars if we will be happy at ASM and the transportation will work for us. We will stick with ASM, and you are right, our 13 year old probably wouldn't care that much about the LM theme, but he would probably be happier with a different theme.

We will stay at ASM and either pick up the park hoppers or find something else fun to do to invest that $340 into. I think with the opening of Galaxy's Edge we can spend a whole day in DSH now. The only park I imagine we would want to jump ship early from is AK. MK we can spend a whole day in easily, as well as Epcot. So, park hopping just for animal kingdom might not be worth it. We could practical hop over to Universal or Legoland at that price :D

When we are at Disney we pack snacks, bring refillable water bottles and flavoring for them, and eat one nice meal a day in the park to manage our costs. That's always worked well and kept us full.

Well, I think we're all set. 4 days in the parks, 5 nights on site at ASM.

I'll keep an eye on things when GE opens as far as using the EMHs or not.
 

hanwill

Well-Known Member
Great advice! Skyliner is not worth the extra few hundred dollars if we will be happy at ASM and the transportation will work for us. We will stick with ASM, and you are right, our 13 year old probably wouldn't care that much about the LM theme, but he would probably be happier with a different theme.

We will stay at ASM and either pick up the park hoppers or find something else fun to do to invest that $340 into. I think with the opening of Galaxy's Edge we can spend a whole day in DSH now. The only park I imagine we would want to jump ship early from is AK. MK we can spend a whole day in easily, as well as Epcot. So, park hopping just for animal kingdom might not be worth it. We could practical hop over to Universal or Legoland at that price :D

When we are at Disney we pack snacks, bring refillable water bottles and flavoring for them, and eat one nice meal a day in the park to manage our costs. That's always worked well and kept us full.

Well, I think we're all set. 4 days in the parks, 5 nights on site at ASM.

I'll keep an eye on things when GE opens as far as using the EMHs or not.
That sounds like a great trip! We really liked ASM when we went (spring break)- and we thought the theming was cute. Also- they changed the name of the "movies" on the boards above the food court area. It was a cute little themed thing.... It was very clean and the buses came quickly.... and it wasn't a long ride to any park. Have fun! And walk the resort..... it's also right next to All star music and all star sports. You can practically walk from one to the other- take a walk if you have extra energy to burn off- they are cute!
 

crawale

Well-Known Member
Our family of 4 went to Disney for the first time 3 years ago, and have been back once since then. We have a trip planned for 4 days November 8-13. I've never stayed in a disney resort hotel, but I booked two resorts - All Star Movies and Art of Animation. We have a preferred room for $808 total at ASM, and $1094 at Art of Animation (Little Mermaid room). I also have a room reserved at Comfort Suites east maingate (rated 9.0/10.0) for $500 total. We also get 10% back on that so it's more like $450. We only use our hotel rooms to sleep and shower. We spend most of our time in the parks.

So, I need to cancel 2 of those rooms, but I'm trying to understand why staying at a Disney resort is worth so much money. I guess you get access to free transportation, extra magic hours, and free magic bands? I admit the free transportation looks good - Ubering to and from MCO costs $50 each way. Ubering to the resort each day from local hotels cost $15 each way last time. That's potentially $250 right there + $100 for parking at the parks. I don't care about the Magic bands because we still have them from our last trip.

I'm worried about the potentially long waits for buses. Monorails and boats at MK are an absolute nightmare at closing time, I can't imagine how many hours you have to wait for a bus back to your resort. When you stay on resort, can you get there well before rope drop? We're going to want to get in line quickly for Galaxy's Edge. I'm also not sure what to think of the possible lines for the Skyliner when it opens near AoA. How long does it take to bus from the resorts to the parks?

I also have a question about park hopping tickets. We can easily spend a day in MK without park hopping, but AK isn't our favorite (still a few rides we would like to do, and can easily be done with that park in 1/2 a day). 14 hours in Epcot would be a little much with extra magic hours thrown in, but we could start the day at Magic Kingdom and head on over. I guess, adding a 5th day is only $20 more per person, compared to $85 for a park hopper. Can we use the ticket for the 5th day instead of buying a park hopper?

Thanks!
The air conditioned buses to take you to and from the Park are priceless. From the parking lot at MK to the park is a horrible experience and takes forever. The first time we stayed at Disney we stayed 1 mile from Main Gate and it might as well have been in a different state. We have always since then stayed on property and that's more for than 30 years. Also the resorts have some interesting places to dine/breakfast. If you are flying it is also a no-brainer with the Magical Express, luggage pickup and delivery and checking in to the airline from your hotel.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
I don't know if you booked your rooms yet, but, did you look at the prices for POP? POP is right across the lake from AoA, with access to the skyliner, better bus service and food court than ASM. POP will also be cheaper than staying at AoA. POP was our goto resort, but we have outgrown one room for 4 adults, so we now get a suite at AoA. If you didn't book yet, I'd look into POP.
 

flyfree432

New Member
Original Poster
I'll take a look. The nice thing is that you can book as many rooms as you want and cancel for free as long as it is within the cancellation period.
 

flyfree432

New Member
Original Poster
Okay, Pop Century standard is the same price as our ASM preferred room reservation. With the skyliner opening up is it more worth staying at pop over ASM? Pop preferred room is $200 more than our ASM reservation.
 

StarWarsGirl

Well-Known Member
Have you considered Pop Century? It's my favorite out of the values. It will share the gondola system with AoA and the bus system is one of the most efficient on property. The rooms are also new and have two queen beds as opposed to two double beds. One pulls down from the wall, and it's about as comfortable as the other one, but if you need extra space for a bit, you can put the one bed up and move around. The food is also great.

EDIT: I see you are considering Pop. It's definitely worth the extra money. Sometimes the All Star resorts share busses, but Pop almost always has its own bus. Plus, there's the queen size beds. Totally worth it even without the gondolas.
 

Rlandrigan

Active Member
Queen beds always win - and I'd go with a regular POP room - if you were going to upgrade, the AoA would be a better return, but not needed. Getting Gondolas is a good, as choices are always good. Dedicated busses are also very nice. For the cost of upgrading to a preferred room, upgrade a meal instead:)
 

allymonkey

Active Member
It's trash because all it does is guarantee that the park will be very busy for that morning/evening. This is more true of evening EMH especially, and is worse at MK than the other parks, but it remains true in general across all parks. The masses ascend upon the park with EMH waiting to "take advantage", and all it ends up meaning is bigger crowds and higher wait times.

My suggestion to you would be to avoid the park with EMH. It will give you a more pleasant park experience at whichever park you choose to attend for that morning/evening.

Morning EMH parks can be used to your advantage if you have park hoppers and are willing to spend the time moving to another park or your resort by lunchtime. Yes the parks that have Morning EMH can get busy by late morning/ early afternoon. But if there are some E-tickets attractions (besides Flight of Passage) that your family really wants to ride and you were unable to get Fastpasses, you should be able to ride them during EMH with minimal wait. During Easter/ Spring Break 2018 we rode Expedition Everest 3 times during Morning EMH. We used our 3 Fastpasses for the day and then headed back to the hotel for a break just as the late risers were making their way into the park.
 

DisneyOutsider

Well-Known Member
Morning EMH parks can be used to your advantage if you have park hoppers and are willing to spend the time moving to another park or your resort by lunchtime. Yes the parks that have Morning EMH can get busy by late morning/ early afternoon. But if there are some E-tickets attractions (besides Flight of Passage) that your family really wants to ride and you were unable to get Fastpasses, you should be able to ride them during EMH with minimal wait. During Easter/ Spring Break 2018 we rode Expedition Everest 3 times during Morning EMH. We used our 3 Fastpasses for the day and then headed back to the hotel for a break just as the late risers were making their way into the park.

I'd argue that you can do Everest very easily with minimal wait at rope drop of a normal park opening. Try doing it with Flight of Passage or Slinky Dog... My point is you'd be better off just getting that extra hour of sleep and going to a normal park opening where you'll often find equal or less crowding.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
Okay, Pop Century standard is the same price as our ASM preferred room reservation. With the skyliner opening up is it more worth staying at pop over ASM? Pop preferred room is $200 more than our ASM reservation.
The preferred room (I think) is usually a lake side room which is quieter than the pool side. If you are choosing, we always took the top floor facing the lake (top floor so you don't have anyone stomping on you head above you. If you don't want to spend the $$$ for AoA, I'd go POP.
 

flyfree432

New Member
Original Poster
Here was our overall cost analysis and why I made the decisions I did based on your advice here at this forum (maybe this will help someone else in the future).

Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids - 13m, 11f)
$3,000 budget for hotel and parks
5 night stay / 4 parks

Hotel
  1. Off resort main gate hotel (pros - lower initial cost, very nice breakfast included, access to lower cost fast food options. cons - rental car + parking fees or uber fees and long waits at park close make the cost about the same as staying on resort, without any of the resort perks like picking fast passes 60+ days in advance) - $520 for 5 nights. ~$780 after parking fees & rental car or uber
  2. All Star Movies (pros - cheapest, renovated rooms, preferred rooms not much more. cons - transportation can be an issue with longer lines and fewer options, not as many amenities) - $808 for 5 nights (preferred room)
  3. Art of Animation (pros - still a value resort, but some really nice amenities, including the big blue pool, close to the skyliner transport system, better food options. cons - standard rooms come in Little Mermaid only, they are not renovated, and far away from transportation options) - $1084 for 5 nights (standard room)
  4. Pop Century (pros - renovated rooms with queen beds, close to AoA so you can visit, nicer end of the value resorts, not as much as AoA, still has its own bus systems and skyliner, more food options. cons - theme isn't as nice as ASM) - $915 for 5 nights (standard room)
Decision - Pop Century standard room. Just a little more, with the advantage of dedicated buses, skyliner, renovated rooms, queen beds, more amenities, and more food options, and the experience of being "at disney" for the whole trip. We've done off resort before and it's a pain, especially to leave places like Magic Kingdom and come back later. $915

Park Tickets
  1. One day per park 4 day tickets (pros - lowest cost, stay at disney the entire time and go to all 4 parks. cons - stuck at the park if lines end up being long. Crap shoot whether or not to use EMHs when staying on resort) - $1,837.96 USD
  2. Park hopper 4 day tickets (pros - You can park hop, which is especially useful at AK, or on days when MK closes early for special events and likely to be less crowded until MIckey's Christmas party. cons - more expensive, may not be worth the $340 upcharge. Especially not worth it if your kids are little.) - $2,178.76
  3. One day per park 3 day tickets + 1 day at Universal or Lego Land (pros - Animal kingdom just is not a priority for us. Except for the Lion King show, Everest, and Pandora which we aren't willing to wait 4 hours for, there isn't much there for us. cons - more expensive option) - $1,872.34 USD
  4. Same as 3 but add park hopper (pros - we could do the most if we keep ourselves on the run going from ride to ride and place to place. cons - exhausting and expensive). $2,100
Decision - One day per park 4 day tickets. We can always add park hopper when we are in the park on the first day if we decide it would be worth it based on wait times. There is no need to spend the money now. Going to Animal Kingdom will give us a chance to spend part of the day at the resort or wandering around Disney Springs. $1837.96

Total: $2752.96 ($250 under budget; but we have flexibility)

Our flights are free using skymiles, and we're putting the tickets on another card for the bonus points
 

allymonkey

Active Member
I'd argue that you can do Everest very easily with minimal wait at rope drop of a normal park opening. Try doing it with Flight of Passage or Slinky Dog... My point is you'd be better off just getting that extra hour of sleep and going to a normal park opening where you'll often find equal or less crowding.
My son wakes up at 6 am even on weekends and vacation. There is no extra hour of sleep in my family. My family tours the way we choose and everyone else is welcome to tour the way they choose.
 

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