Pre-Trip The "I NEED HELP" Pre-Pre-Trip Report

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Okay.
Deep breaths, Nicole.

Inhale, exhale.

Hello, friends. I am Nicole, and I need HELP. After my whining, and begging, and downright temper tantrum-ing, I have finally gotten my boyfriend to agree to a Disney trip! It has been FIVE years since we went to Disney together, and one whole whopping longgggggg 2015 of no Disney for me. But it's a new year... it's 2016, and this little princess is getting her behind to Disney. :)

So, I am thinking of booking Disney from Friday, November 4th to Sunday, November 13th. My birthday is the 5th, and I REALLY want to wake up in the world. I know it's a little bit more expensive to fly out Friday afternoon and pay for an extra night, but I don't think there is any monetary amount that can compare to waking up in Disney on your birthday.

Now here's where you guys come in.

Should I stay at a Value Resort (thinking Art of Animation) or should a spend about 600 bucks more and stay at Port Orleans Riverside?

I really want to go to Universal (don't throw things at me) because I have never been! Do you think 6 days Disney and 2-3 days Universal for a first timer would be appropriate?

Should I book now (please say yes) or should I wait until like 6 months prior which would bring me to the end of April...I know NOTHING about how airline flights work and I've been checking every day on the Disney website. It does seem like Tuesday is the cheapest day for flights for some reason, no clue why!

So my dear fellow Disney obsessed friends, please help me. I will be forever and ever grateful.


DSC00471 by nicole tiffany
 

StephK

Well-Known Member
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How exciting for you!!!!!!! YAY!
I agree, I cant imagine anything more magical then waking up in the world on your birthday!!!

For me, the extra money is worth it, I've stayed at POR twice, once in Alligator Bayou and once in a Royal room and it is just stunning, you are truly transported to a whole new world when you enter those lobby doors. There is also the boat ride to Disney Springs which is a definitely pro & there are great food options and activities available. It is the most beautiful resort on property if you ask me!

We stayed at Universal for 2 nights and had a 3 day park pass. If you stay in one of their higher end resorts you get an unlimited fast pass for both parks which meant we covered everything in the park in record time and 3 days was more then enough time to do everything twice. Going to universal might be a huge help in getting your boyfriend back again too, I know my boyfriend loves it there because they have a lot more thrill rides then Disney which he loves :)

If you ask me flight prices only go up never down so the sooner you book the better :)

I hope this helps, we did Universal and Disney in October and had the best time (as always)

I'll be looking out for your reports!!!
 

LisaBelle

Well-Known Member
Sooo excited for you ! Waking up at Disney World on your birthday will be the best present EVER!!!
I have never stayed at Art of Animation or Port Orleans Riverside, but from the TRS I've read I think I would choose POR.
I do not know much about airline flights but I think you usually save money booking earlier, so I vote YES to booking now.
Universal is fun. I have only been to IOA and mainly to see Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but am going to USF when my sister and I go in just 15 days! I think 2 or 3 days should be good. Maybe look into express passes but not sure how busy it will be at that time of year.
This is so exciting!! Can't wait to hear all about it.
 

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
For flights you can download an app called hopper. It tracks historic flight prices and predicts whether prices will go up or down. Obviously it's not set in stone, but we've had good luck with it.

A birthday in the world sounds awesome! And I would book rooms early so you can make all your ADRs as far out as possible and have all the fun and excitement of planning!
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
I really want to go to Universal (don't throw things at me) because I have never been! Do you think 6 days Disney and 2-3 days Universal for a first timer would be appropriate?
IMO, 2 days at Six Fla...I mean Universal is plenty. If it were me, I'd plan a 1-2 night stay at one of the UNI resorts to take advantage of their FP system for free. Maybe end your trip at UNI?
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
The way we pick our rooms is whether it's a special occasion or not.

If we are just going for the heck of going, we will go with a more inexpensive room, possibly even off property.

If we are going for our anniversary or… a birthday ( hint, hint!) then we can say, "well, it's a special occasion, so…" And go for a nicer hotel. Port Orleans was actually our first moderate and was a great intro to moderates, also probably more romantic than the two non-Orleans moderates.

In my experience, and maybe it's because I typically book not so far in advance and use special discounts, I have found art of animation to be much more expensive than the other values and often more expensive than Caribbean beach or POR.

Also, we recently discovered booking on Orbitz thanks to another Disney fan site. Basically, Orbitz shows you the discounted pricing that annual pass holders and Florida residents get, and then there is usually a coupon code available for anywhere from 10 to 20% off that rate. you still get magic bands, etc., I think the only difference is you can't add the dining plan, which we never do anyway.

Bottom line, for your birthday, go for the nicer room – and it may even be less expensive than art of animation.
 

cdeev8690

Well-Known Member
1. So excited for you! I just started my long hiatus with my boyfriend. We've visited two times in the last year and a half (I've been about 4 times in the last few years) and he needs a break which is good timing because a lot of new construction will be beginning soon.

2. I base my trips around park capacity and November is definitely not peak season but there are some holidays you should be aware of that may impact the dates a little. Veterans Day is November 11th so schools will be closed = Disney will be packed. Election Day is November 8th, again schools are normally closed but voting in a presidential election won't stop people from vacationing to Disney since Absentee Ballots are so easy to use (Make sure you and your boyfriend send in your ballots if you decide to go during this time!) Additionally, it's usually around that time that New Jersey schools are closed for a Teachers Convention and the entire state flocks to Disney. I would know, because I was unfortunately there during this time two years ago. I think it might be the 10th and 11th. Combine all of these events together, and your dates, or at least the tail end of your dates, may not be the most relaxing unless you are able to plan out your Fast Passes and Dining Reservations like a BOSS.

--Follow me here : It looks like you anticipate 10 days including travel. It may be worth it to change your anticipated dates from October 28th to November 6th. You'll still be waking up in Disney on your birthday but with far less of a headache with the crowds. You will be there for Halloween, and the Halloween Party Event Dates will make going to MK a little bit hectic but if you avoid the party dates, or if you want to go to the Halloween Party on Halloween (why the heck not?), just do what I did when i went to the party this past year and either enjoy the pool or enjoy Disney Springs during the day and then get to the park around 4 PM when you're allowed to enter for the Party. Also, i think the Food & Wine event might be starting up around this time so Epcot could be crowded on select dates.

This is just a suggestion. If you plan out your FP+ and Dining Reservations really really well and the moment you're allowed to (6 months prior for Dining and 60 days prior for FP+), you'll have less of a headache. This is true regardless of when you plan your trip, whether it's peak or off-season (what is off-season anymore?).

3. Universal is wonderful! I always go when I stay at Disney. I usually only go for one day, but then again, it's not my first time at the parks. For you, I'd say 2 days is absolutely enough. I typically take an Uber to and from which may cost you around $20 each way. If you're not already subscribed to Uber or Lyft, you'll get a free $50 credit for your first 5 rides up to $10. If you don't have one or the other, download the app when you get to Disney so you can cut some cost on your rides to Universal. Another note about Universal, it's not nearly as crowded as Disney during the typical off-season but if you're going during the dates I suggested, they may have their own Halloween events, which may make the park more crowded. They'll advertise their additional "Fast Pass" card, which costs maybe $40-$50 more on top of the base ticket and it's not worth it if you're going during the Fall. The lines, even for the Harry Potter rides are not long at all. Universal, in recent years, has been much more relaxing for me than Disney. Getting a two-day park-to-park access is worth it if you're a big Harry Potter fan and want to take the train between the two parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios), otherwise just get a two day 1 park access and do Islands one day, Studios the next. Definitely make some time to do something fun at City Walk. I like Rising Star if you're into live band karaoke! City Walk in general is a lot of fun if you have the legs for it at the end of a long day.

4. If you're going to spend the money on Art of Animation, which is the most expensive Value resort, i'd just go with Port Orleans. I've never stayed but i've wanted to for a long time. i usually go with Value like Pop Century or the All-Stars because they're the cheapest and I don't have a big budget. But if this is your first trip in such a long time and it took this long to convince your boyfriend, well this is probably your last trip for another 5 years. Go big! Go with Port Orleans. They'll likely have some Fall Savings coming out towards the end of summer but if you book early and the price for your room goes down because of the special, you can call the reservation line and ask them to credit you. They'll do so without hesitation. Get your room reservation out of the way

5. I'd wait on flights. Just keep checking starting 6 months out. 3-4 months prior to your trip, they might be the cheapest. Airlines will also start sending emails about promos, so if you have a particular airline in mind, follow them on twitter and subscribe to their emails for updates.

6. Splurge. It's your birthday. Do your research on where you want to eat and which special events you'd like attend. I got myself ticket to the Halloween Party, bought myself a Halloween balloon, a Mickey Ear Jackolanteer basket that lights up, and all the candy I wanted because I knew it would be my last trip for a while and IDGAF. I also purchased Memory Maker which was the best $160 I've ever spent at Disney. You get all the professional photos from the photographers posted up all around the parks and all of the ride photos/videos. They take multiple photos and even add some special effects to some of them. You can access them immediately from the WDW Magic app and save them to your phone. You can also access them online once you get home and save them to your computer. I got mine printed for really cheap at CVS. It just seems really special to have these nice photos of you during your birthday.

7. Make sure to mention off-hand to your boyfriend that he can request to have a cake brought to you during your birthday dinner :) Also, mention to the Room Reservation department that you're celebrating your birthday and they may set up your room with some special surprises!

I hope all of this helps!
 

RyPat

Well-Known Member
Should I stay at a Value Resort (thinking Art of Animation) or should a spend about 600 bucks more and stay at Port Orleans Riverside?

DSC00471 by nicole tiffany
Have you ever considered renting DVC points? You could stay at some Deluxes for the same price or even less than booking POR through Disney directly

POR - $2,034

Boardwalk renting DVC points (+/-) - $1,856
AKL renting DVC points (+/-) - $1,348 (value), $1,682 (standard), $2,204 (Savannah view)

We rented once at Animal Kingdom before buying DVC and for the price i don't know why we would ever stay at a Moderate. Well, except of course that renting points you generally need to put half down when you book, which may not be an option.
 

Disneydreamer23

Well-Known Member
Port Orleans for sure! Are you a big Harry Potter Fan? I am not but I have seen the movies I still find the Harry Potter Section very interesting. I Usually go to Universal for 4 days out of a 14 day trip. I also travel with children though. If you love HP do 3 days for sure, if you are eh what ever I think you will be safe with 2. Perfect year to go , I can't wait to go on King king! Can't wait for your trip, I always re read your reports to get me through the days! I also am taking a cruise bc yours looked amazing! Have a great trip!!!
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
How exciting for you!!!!!!! YAY!
I agree, I cant imagine anything more magical then waking up in the world on your birthday!!!

For me, the extra money is worth it, I've stayed at POR twice, once in Alligator Bayou and once in a Royal room and it is just stunning, you are truly transported to a whole new world when you enter those lobby doors. There is also the boat ride to Disney Springs which is a definitely pro & there are great food options and activities available. It is the most beautiful resort on property if you ask me!

We stayed at Universal for 2 nights and had a 3 day park pass. If you stay in one of their higher end resorts you get an unlimited fast pass for both parks which meant we covered everything in the park in record time and 3 days was more then enough time to do everything twice. Going to universal might be a huge help in getting your boyfriend back again too, I know my boyfriend loves it there because they have a lot more thrill rides then Disney which he loves :)

If you ask me flight prices only go up never down so the sooner you book the better :)

I hope this helps, we did Universal and Disney in October and had the best time (as always)

I'll be looking out for your reports!!!
You make Riverside sound like a dream! I've stayed at French Quarter and taken the boat, so that definitely was an added perk! I loved French Quarter, it was so intimate, but I really want to give Riverside a try. I've been looking at it and Coronado, and Riverside just seems more my style. Ahhhh decisions! Thank you sooo much for your input!
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Port Orleans for sure! Are you a big Harry Potter Fan? I am not but I have seen the movies I still find the Harry Potter Section very interesting. I Usually go to Universal for 4 days out of a 14 day trip. I also travel with children though. If you love HP do 3 days for sure, if you are eh what ever I think you will be safe with 2. Perfect year to go , I can't wait to go on King king! Can't wait for your trip, I always re read your reports to get me through the days! I also am taking a cruise bc yours looked amazing! Have a great trip!!!
I just recently read and watched all of Harry Potter. I am so excited to see it! I need to research what else is at Universal besides Harry though... LOL And enjoy your cruise you will love it!!!!!!!! :)
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
1. So excited for you! I just started my long hiatus with my boyfriend. We've visited two times in the last year and a half (I've been about 4 times in the last few years) and he needs a break which is good timing because a lot of new construction will be beginning soon.

2. I base my trips around park capacity and November is definitely not peak season but there are some holidays you should be aware of that may impact the dates a little. Veterans Day is November 11th so schools will be closed = Disney will be packed. Election Day is November 8th, again schools are normally closed but voting in a presidential election won't stop people from vacationing to Disney since Absentee Ballots are so easy to use (Make sure you and your boyfriend send in your ballots if you decide to go during this time!) Additionally, it's usually around that time that New Jersey schools are closed for a Teachers Convention and the entire state flocks to Disney. I would know, because I was unfortunately there during this time two years ago. I think it might be the 10th and 11th. Combine all of these events together, and your dates, or at least the tail end of your dates, may not be the most relaxing unless you are able to plan out your Fast Passes and Dining Reservations like a BOSS.

--Follow me here : It looks like you anticipate 10 days including travel. It may be worth it to change your anticipated dates from October 28th to November 6th. You'll still be waking up in Disney on your birthday but with far less of a headache with the crowds. You will be there for Halloween, and the Halloween Party Event Dates will make going to MK a little bit hectic but if you avoid the party dates, or if you want to go to the Halloween Party on Halloween (why the heck not?), just do what I did when i went to the party this past year and either enjoy the pool or enjoy Disney Springs during the day and then get to the park around 4 PM when you're allowed to enter for the Party. Also, i think the Food & Wine event might be starting up around this time so Epcot could be crowded on select dates.

This is just a suggestion. If you plan out your FP+ and Dining Reservations really really well and the moment you're allowed to (6 months prior for Dining and 60 days prior for FP+), you'll have less of a headache. This is true regardless of when you plan your trip, whether it's peak or off-season (what is off-season anymore?).

3. Universal is wonderful! I always go when I stay at Disney. I usually only go for one day, but then again, it's not my first time at the parks. For you, I'd say 2 days is absolutely enough. I typically take an Uber to and from which may cost you around $20 each way. If you're not already subscribed to Uber or Lyft, you'll get a free $50 credit for your first 5 rides up to $10. If you don't have one or the other, download the app when you get to Disney so you can cut some cost on your rides to Universal. Another note about Universal, it's not nearly as crowded as Disney during the typical off-season but if you're going during the dates I suggested, they may have their own Halloween events, which may make the park more crowded. They'll advertise their additional "Fast Pass" card, which costs maybe $40-$50 more on top of the base ticket and it's not worth it if you're going during the Fall. The lines, even for the Harry Potter rides are not long at all. Universal, in recent years, has been much more relaxing for me than Disney. Getting a two-day park-to-park access is worth it if you're a big Harry Potter fan and want to take the train between the two parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios), otherwise just get a two day 1 park access and do Islands one day, Studios the next. Definitely make some time to do something fun at City Walk. I like Rising Star if you're into live band karaoke! City Walk in general is a lot of fun if you have the legs for it at the end of a long day.

4. If you're going to spend the money on Art of Animation, which is the most expensive Value resort, i'd just go with Port Orleans. I've never stayed but i've wanted to for a long time. i usually go with Value like Pop Century or the All-Stars because they're the cheapest and I don't have a big budget. But if this is your first trip in such a long time and it took this long to convince your boyfriend, well this is probably your last trip for another 5 years. Go big! Go with Port Orleans. They'll likely have some Fall Savings coming out towards the end of summer but if you book early and the price for your room goes down because of the special, you can call the reservation line and ask them to credit you. They'll do so without hesitation. Get your room reservation out of the way

5. I'd wait on flights. Just keep checking starting 6 months out. 3-4 months prior to your trip, they might be the cheapest. Airlines will also start sending emails about promos, so if you have a particular airline in mind, follow them on twitter and subscribe to their emails for updates.

6. Splurge. It's your birthday. Do your research on where you want to eat and which special events you'd like attend. I got myself ticket to the Halloween Party, bought myself a Halloween balloon, a Mickey Ear Jackolanteer basket that lights up, and all the candy I wanted because I knew it would be my last trip for a while and IDGAF. I also purchased Memory Maker which was the best $160 I've ever spent at Disney. You get all the professional photos from the photographers posted up all around the parks and all of the ride photos/videos. They take multiple photos and even add some special effects to some of them. You can access them immediately from the WDW Magic app and save them to your phone. You can also access them online once you get home and save them to your computer. I got mine printed for really cheap at CVS. It just seems really special to have these nice photos of you during your birthday.

7. Make sure to mention off-hand to your boyfriend that he can request to have a cake brought to you during your birthday dinner :) Also, mention to the Room Reservation department that you're celebrating your birthday and they may set up your room with some special surprises!

I hope all of this helps!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR INPUT! Seriously, your reply is sooo helpful! I loved your decision to splurge. YOLO!!!

I was considering waiting until Avatar is done, but I feel like I'll always be waiting for something and I just cannot stay away. It's going to be an exciting couple of years coming up at Disney!

I went the week of Teacher's Convention in 2011 and don't remember if it was incredibly busy. I guess because the other two times I went were in July and August and nothing compares to the summer. I am originally from NJ so it may be nice to be with "my people", haha just kidding! But... my boyfriend and I have young nieces and nephews and I always like the see them on Halloween. I don't know if I could be away that week. I will keep pricing different options and seeing!

Thank you again, you should totally plan trips to Disney for people! You're amazing!
 

prfctlyximprct

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The way we pick our rooms is whether it's a special occasion or not.

If we are just going for the heck of going, we will go with a more inexpensive room, possibly even off property.

If we are going for our anniversary or… a birthday ( hint, hint!) then we can say, "well, it's a special occasion, so…" And go for a nicer hotel. Port Orleans was actually our first moderate and was a great intro to moderates, also probably more romantic than the two non-Orleans moderates.

In my experience, and maybe it's because I typically book not so far in advance and use special discounts, I have found art of animation to be much more expensive than the other values and often more expensive than Caribbean beach or POR.

Also, we recently discovered booking on Orbitz thanks to another Disney fan site. Basically, Orbitz shows you the discounted pricing that annual pass holders and Florida residents get, and then there is usually a coupon code available for anywhere from 10 to 20% off that rate. you still get magic bands, etc., I think the only difference is you can't add the dining plan, which we never do anyway.

Bottom line, for your birthday, go for the nicer room – and it may even be less expensive than art of animation.

So Riverside it is?! I like how you persuade. :)
 
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