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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are saving up money to take our kids to Disney World in Florida. The kids (ages 5 & 9) are saving up their money too... so far they've got $5.08 saved. lol :D

I've only been once but I was so young that I only remember riding "It's a Small World After All", nothing else.

So, I greatly need some help in planning. I'd like to go as cheap as possible for several days but still have fun. Can anyone share what we absolutely must see... what we can pass up... what we should pay more for... and the like? Please share your experiences! ;)

I'd like to stay in one of the resort there -- I heard about some cabins that have full kitchens? I'd like to use the transit systems there (buses, trams, etc) if possible versus driving in and parking.

DD loves all the princess stuff that's she has seen there. DS loves anything boyish. Is there anything in particular for either of them that I should work into the budget? Anyone done the character breakfasts? Are they fun for the kids?

This may be our only time going... so I want it to be memorable! :banana02:

Thanks everyone so much!
~Ashley
 

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My best advice is to get a copy of the current Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. It will give you the good, bad and ugly of Disney World, without the official bias.

We stayed in our camper at Fort Wilderness, where the cabins also are located. It's a great campground and the Disney bus system is fairly good, though really crowded at closing time. Fort Wilderness has an outdoor "theatre", think drive-in without cars. They show Disney movies and Chip and Dale come out to visit with the guests. This is a nightly event (I think) and there's no charge if you are staying at the campground.

My favorite ride (in my favorite park, BTW) is Soarin' in Epcot. It's a simulator ride, but you'll feel like you are flying. My son rode it when he was five and loved it, not scared at all.

For young children, Mickey's PhilharMagic (Magic Kingdom) and Muppets 3D (Hollywood Studios) are good choices. They are both 3D and the seats don't go anywhere.

One other favorite is Fantasmic, an evening show at Hollywood Studios. It can be a little intense for little ones, although mine were fine. There's a big dragon that Mickey has to battle, but of course, he comes out unscathed. It really is worth the wait, even an hour or more.

Have fun!
Blue
 

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How fun!! I've been going to Disney World since I was 14yrs old with my parents, and that was back in 78. Now we go every year .
We've stayed at Fort Wilderness they have camping there and they have the cabins that have the full kitchen and picnic areas. We liked staying there but it seemed like there was alot of transportation to get back and forth to the parks. But thats your best bet for cooking meals yourself, that will save alot of money right there.
And i'm not sure how much they are a night, when we stayed there we went with another couple and split the cost.
This year we're staying at the All Star Pop Culture resort for a couple of night for 74.00 a night which isn't bad for a Disney Resort, and the other nights we're staying with my Dad and SIL.
When are you going? We usually go winter break which is Feb 14th thru Feb 24th. But we're driving down there. We've gone Spring break before but all you do is stand in lines hardly riding anything it seems.
Well you have a good start saving your money :)
 
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If trying to save money the All Star resort inside the park is the way to go. You only need a shower and a bed and they are Disney quality and have all the ground transport services.

Scott
 

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We went over the summer. It was a lot of vacation, if you know what I mean. We did one of the character dinners, at the Crystal Palace with the Winnie the Pooh characters. It was nice, they all came around to the table once, and the buffet had kid-friendly and adult-friendly items. I would assume that the other meals with other characters would work the same way, but I don't know for sure.

Kayleigh
 

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Not far from Disney is a place called Old Town. Behind Old Town is a campground. Can't remember the name, but it seems like it had the word "Paradise" in it. Anyway, they have some wonderful cabins with kitchens in them. I've stayed in them several times and was always happy with it. As far as what to see in the park itself, that really depends on each individual. My family likes rides, but my parents like the shows. My favorites are It's a small world, Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion. But to be truthful, I preferred Universal studios, and since we only lived an hour from Disney and Universal, we always got seasons passes to Universal.
 

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The last time I went (2000) I stayed in the AllStar Movie Resort. We liked it since we didn't have to worry about transportation. The first day we got there we didn't want to pay for part of a day in a park so we spent the afternoon in Downtown Disney. There's actually quite a bit to see there even though it is mainly a shopping area.

I can't wait until we get to take our kids a few years (and bills) from now!
 

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I think Disney also has a promotional "Free on your Birthday" admission at all of their parks. If you could go during one of your children's birthdays that would save you a little $$.
 

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When I took my daughter (she was 7) to Disneyland, someone recommended that I "pre-shop" for souvenirs and now I recommend that to everyone too! I was lucky to be able to get to a Disney store, but you could just find any Disney princess/character themed t-shirts, books and trinkets. I bought PJs on clearance and some other little things and doled them out as surprises. She was amazed, because she never saw me buy anything but she got lots of little things that she loved. The things for sale in the park are outrageously priced and they are EVERYWHERE -- this technique satisfied her "gimme" urges and make me feel good about spoiling her, without costing even 1/4 of what it could have! If you buy anything in the park, consider buying an autograph book. My daughter loved collecting autographs from the characters we saw, and we got the kind of book that lets you put a snapshot next to it (take your own photos, not the ones they sell!) so now she has a really neat souvenir.

One ticket option that is worth it if you can get it, is the early admission. We got into Fantasyland an hour before the park officially opened, and even though there we plenty of other people the lines were pretty much nothing. She got to ride Peter Pan like 5 times in a row and I kid you not we got off the Small World boat and climbed right back onto another. She loved it ... me, not so much:)
 

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I think Disney also has a promotional "Free on your Birthday" admission at all of their parks. If you could go during one of your children's birthdays that would save you a little $$.
Yes we're doing this, Our daughters birthday is the 19th of Feb and I already have her signed up. She will be 18!! :)
 

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We went over the summer. It was a lot of vacation, if you know what I mean. We did one of the character dinners, at the Crystal Palace with the Winnie the Pooh characters. It was nice, they all came around to the table once, and the buffet had kid-friendly and adult-friendly items. I would assume that the other meals with other characters would work the same way, but I don't know for sure.

Kayleigh
*******, we did this also, for our daughters b-days, the oldest is Feb 19th and the youngest is Feb 26th so we combined them, they had a blast :)
 

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I have been looking at taking the family (first time for husband and son - 10) and the cost for a week is the best value. Staying at the Disney "Value" resort for a week using their buy 4 get 3 free promo going on right now looks like the best buy. If you travel before March 31 (I think) you get a $200 gift card to use on the park. I was wanting to travel in January 2010 - I know a year from now but that is when all our bills minus the mortgage would be paid off. I think they both will enjoy the vacation although we will be driving down from Illinois and long road trips can be stressful.

Search online for Disney Vacations and I swear you will spend a month on there looking at all the information listed. By the way if staying at the resort and using the week long deal it is not a bad idea to add the cheapest food package. Includes 2 snack and 2 dinners per person per night stayed. I think when I penciled it out it cost $30 per person per day. While that seems like a lot most of the disney resorts dont even offer a microwave in the rooms so cooking would be hard.

Good luck with your search and hope you have a great time.

Mel
 

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Your kids will of course like fantasy land best. princess castle, mikey, all that is really really kid oriented in in fantasy land. So that is a must.

Personally, I would not plunk down extra money for a park hopper pass. One "world" is enough for an entire day.

Epcot we loved...but there is a LOT of walking in that one, and while Epcot center itself has really cool stuff, and there are rides, it's not as intense. The original monorail is a REALLY NICE slow break from running everywhere. Good place to sit and relax while still seeing stuff.

Food is horribly expensive IN the park. But it's large portions. Packing a lunch and picnicking would be a good way to save some coins. Take cameras. maybe even pick up a small digital for the 9year old so he/she can take pictures. Those are the best souvenirs! There are LOADS of Disney themed picture frames in the stores...fridge magnet types, wall frames, big, little.....I found a couple dozen different ones (princess, mickey, minnie, goofie, mermaid, etc.) that were under $3.00 each. We put prints of some of our favorite pictures inside them as gifts for grandparents/etc. They are also WAY COOL ways to rmember your trip for the kids:)

Disney souvenirs are all over the place outside the park. Much less expensive.

Staying inside the resort is a great way to save time and money. No parking fees. No hastle driving in and out. Transport is right there. and BOY do those people in the resorts take care of you!

It's a very intense DISNEY time. Just a few days is generally enough for anyone.

If possible, schedule your vacation during the "off" season....late in fall, NOT over thanksgiving week tho. We were there in early November and there were NO lines on the rides. and I mean NO waiting. The fantasy kingdom was the only one that was even 1/2 busy.

If you have some friends who want to go, too.....there are package deals that could save you some money. Not to mention that having an extra pair of eyes on the kids is a GOOD thing ;)
 

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Definitely get the unofficial Disney book. And definitely do the fast pass option on everything you can. I HATE those long lines.
 

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we went the first week in november this year i hadn't been since i was 12 we took the kids my mom and dad and my inlaws also came we got a deal thru AAA we stayed saturday to sunday we did the meal plan that was 30 per person per day you got one sit down meal one counter service and one snack each day

i would definitly do the food plan again while the kids don't eath thier 30 dollars worth every day i deffinitly made up for it every place we went i had a 30 dollars steak and desert usualy 7-9 dollars on the menu that is included also you could substitute a smothy for your drink think pint of pinacolata like drink with fruit 4.95 on the menu then i would buy a coke when i was done with the fancy drink so i would have had about a 45 dollar bill just for me then they zero it out that was our sit down meal ,

for our counter service if you found the right place you could get ribs and a 1/4 of a chicken mashpotatos, desert and a coke if you at allthat you realy didn't need but 2 meals a day often we were to full to eat our snack but som how i found a way to use them for double dip ice cream cones

now you may think this is pure gluttony and i mostly agree but niether I nor any one in my party of 11 gained more than a pound we walked and walked and walked for 10-12 hours a day from one thing to the next sit for 5-10 minutes here and there but otherwise on our feet

we stayed at the caribean beach resort , it was nice

now for tshirts sweat shirts and so on there is a super walmart just east of the disney property take buana vista east then north at the corner with the welcome to disney property sing i think we got this tip from a disney emplloyee working at down town disney i would have liked to go back and thank her but didn't have the time.

yes we rented cars , there are busses that take you right to the gate from each resort and they pick up points are fairly regular but while it is probably the nicest public transprtation in the US it is still that and you are at the mercy of thier schedule , i thanked my dad as we passed a buss so loaded with people that there was a guy pressed against the glass door of the bus , my wife is closterphobic and that would have been a major anxioty attack to be squeezed in like that and can't just go do your own thing we had dimond parking with our AAA package and could park realy close at epcot then just take the mono rail to disney world if we wanted

we pushed had to see all that we could knowing we wern't going back for years we saw epcot , majic kingdom ,anamal kingdom , holywood studios and went to clear water to the beach one day

i secind sending one person to run accross the park get all of you fast passes then meet back up with the group , radios would have been handy but range woudl have been severly limited unless we could use the ham gear (talking the rest of my party into getting thier ham liceneses is never going to happen) but we used cell phones
 

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definitly digital camer and extra memory stick maybe 2 you know they only fit like 400 pictures each
and a good poncho it rains in central florida and you get about 2 seconds warning
 

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The last time I was at Disney world, thy were just starting to plow up the ground to build Epcot or whatever they call it.

I imagine it's changed quite a lot since then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow, you guys rock! :)

I knew you'd have some good tips for us... and you sure do! So many great ideas - things I would have never thought of! Now I need to start writing all this down so I won't forget. I'll check into that book too (the unofficial guide...), it sounds like it would be a big help when planning something as big as this.

And I didn't even think of the fitness part of it... walking for hours... now that's gotta burn some calories! lol :)

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far! I so greatly appreciate it. Keep the ideas coming.

~Ashley
 

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We went down a couple of times and spent far LESS than we planned and we're frugal people. ; )

Some of the things that we did was buy a big ticket package (which included the park hopper special and water parks- 2 days). It's good for a lifetime, so we did a few days in each of two trips for that one ticket expenditure.

We stayed on International BLVD in decent hotels for about $39.00/night and it included a breakfast buffet. For 5 people that adds up if you don't have to buy breakfast. The last time, the third child was larger and we took a blow up air mattress for him. The time before, he slept between me and hubby.

Know that you can go up to any place serving food and drinks and get a free cup of icewater... whenever you need one. This saved a fortune.

We packed in a kid bag, with peanut butter and jelly bagels, snack crackers and some cheese. We carried a single water bottle to refill with the free water.

We ate one meal a day at the park nicer restaurants,,, like the German Beiergarten buffet in Epcot.

We kept a filled cooler with sandwich stuff back in the room.

Driving and parking was not much of a hassle... with the parkhopper pass, we could ride disney transport between parks. End of the day, they carried us back to our car.

We brought home more than half of the money that we took for the first trip, and knew better what to take the second time. The second time, we hit a few outlets on the way home, in addition to going to a state park (maybe called Blue Springs) that has manatees swimming freely in warm springs. It was way cool.

Sunscreen!~ Digital camera!~ Travel games!~ Good Attitudes!~

Go for it!

dawn
 

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I've been to DisneyWorld over 200 times (I lived in Orlando for 7 years and had an annual pass every one of them) what do you want to know?

Make sure you go to the Magic Kingdom and I would suggest Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) for that age children, Animal kingdom would also be great fun and educational for your kids. Staying on proerty - depends on how much money you want to spend; You can get better deals off propety for hotels but park tickets and transportation is included when you stay on-property.

Didn't have young kids then so no clue about charector meals. They appear to be having fun, but there are charectors wandering the park all day long with lots of opportunites for 'meet and greets' and pictures.
 
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