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View Full Version : It Official We're going to Disney!!!


farnhamstj
01-11-2011, 07:24 PM
We booked tickets in Nov and booked the Hotel and tickets this afternoon. Staying at Port Orleans french Quarter, Flying into Ft Lauderdale and renting a car to go to the beach for a few days and have the ability to leave the happiest place on earth. Staying 4 nights 5 days in D-world. Having breakfast with the Princess on Friday am. My kids are 5 and 6. I always wanted to go as a kid. Going week before Easter. Any sugestions or experiences to share? We've read the books and know about fast pass.

TIMZTOY
01-11-2011, 08:30 PM
defentlly go to the water park !!! worth every penny.. as a kid i loved it the best.. later when i was 28 we went to d-world. and still had the most run at the water park.

FJBRADY
01-11-2011, 08:35 PM
Farnham, I lived in Orlando when my kids were that age and it is the perfect age for Disney. Good for you splitting your time between the beach and the attractions, sounds like there will be something for everyone. Port Orleans is a great resort.....have fun.:thumb:

Corbet
01-11-2011, 09:39 PM
I have not been down there since I was your kids age. I'm guessing things have changed some. Take good notes, I'm only a few years behind you with Bridger.

nakman
01-11-2011, 09:50 PM
Farnham I'll tell you all about it.. we're going the second week of February for 4 nights, staying at Port Orleans of all places. man small world.. this is one vacation where I've had absolutely no input, other families are going, and they are controlling every detail I'm just there for the experience. but I've heard stories of breakfast with princesses, and dinners at Epcot.. I think we got a package that includes food.

Uncle Ben
01-11-2011, 10:15 PM
We booked tickets in Nov and booked the Hotel and tickets this afternoon. Staying at Port Orleans french Quarter, Flying into Ft Lauderdale and renting a car to go to the beach for a few days and have the ability to leave the happiest place on earth. Staying 4 nights 5 days in D-world. Having breakfast with the Princess on Friday am. My kids are 5 and 6. I always wanted to go as a kid. Going week before Easter. Any sugestions or experiences to share? We've read the books and know about fast pass.

It's a personal preference thing but don't plan on spending a whole lot of time at Epcot, the kids will be bored to tears!. Magic Kingdom has the most rides but also the most people. The kids will love it all. Universal Studios is very close and you and the kids will love it. I am a coaster fan and bar none Universal studios FLA has a couple of the best! The little kids will be totally enamored in Whoville (Dr. Seuss Land). We were there at the Millennium change (1999/2000) It was a huge family trip with Lori's mom and dad and both her sisters families. We rented a large house (with covered swimming pool) in Kissimee. (The cost savings staying of Disney property is staggering!) That was a very wise and economical choice as we were 15 minutes from WDW and about the same distance from Universal studios. An added bonus is Kissimee has some stellar putt putt courses and also go-carts. Cape Canaveral is also a drive but round trip doable in a day.

wesintl
01-11-2011, 10:18 PM
Last time I was there was maybe '90 before that maybe '84.. i'm no help. I'll need a report though as I'm sure another year or two and i'll be making plans.

Mendocino
01-11-2011, 10:31 PM
I've been to Disney Land and on a Disney Cruise; the kids will love it. Good luck.

Caribou Sandstorm
01-11-2011, 11:14 PM
Sounds like a total blast....We are jealous!! A few years out for us.

I heard another cool thing is to swim with the dolphins and it is near WDW, but that is all I know...details??

CardinalFJ60
01-11-2011, 11:28 PM
I think that's the name. It's a cute little "Truman Show" type town that blasts 'snow' on the streets for the kiddos - very cool. its family and kid friendly for walking around, etc. it'll be Different than the rest of the Disney stuff you'll experience and cool none-the-less.

Hulk
01-12-2011, 01:27 AM
We went last January for a week. We stayed at the Boardwalk. It was a good trip, but I would have liked a few beach days. Disney is not relaxing -- there is too much to do (and you will be tempted to try to do it all). It's super fun but it will be exhausting too.

Our kids were 6 and 8. IMO, those are about the minimum ages you should take your kids. We saw so many people pushing strollers around the park. Seems like a huge PITA. It's not like your 3-year-old will remember it. Plus it's a super expensive vacation.

Our favorite parks were the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot (in that order). Actually, Karie and I really enjoyed Epcot, but there is a lot of walking. There are some really cool rides in Epcot that are worth doing multiple times.

You can avoid Downtown Disney completely. It's really for older kids (teenagers). We didn't do any of the water parks since we went in January.

We purchased some books in advance:


The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World (updated yearly)
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids (Unofficial Guides)
Birnbaum's Walt Disney World For Kids 2010


The Unofficial Guides are well worth the money. They are big books, so buy them now, start reading and make a plan. You might think, hey, this is vacation, I don't want to make a plan. But this is Disney, and you don't want to come home to find out that you missed out on something that would have been really fun had you only planned it in advance. You will want to bring these books with you.

The Unofficial Guides are amazing. They have analyzed the traffic flow in all the parks, so they can tell you how to go against traffic and do more rides with less waiting in line. We even bought their app for Karie's iPhone to tell us where the lines were in real time.

The last book, Birnbaum's Walt Disney World For Kids, is for your kids. We went through it with the kids before we went to get them excited about the trip and to see what they were interested in. There was stuff they could look for while they were there, too. It was pretty cool and I would do this again. The kids had a blast looking for "Hidden Mickeys" which are everywhere.

When we landed in Ft. Lauderdale, we did not take the Disney shuttle. Instead, we had arranged for a private transport -- basically a guy with a nice van -- to pick us up, load our bags, and take us directly to the resort. By the time the shuttle arrived at our resort, we had checked in, unloaded our bags, had lunch, and we were waiting for the bus to go to the Magic Kingdom. Basically, for $50 we got 2 extra hours of Disney. Well worth the money.

Be prepared for spending $$$ on souvenirs. In the last 20 years, Disney has remodeled the park so every ride exits through a shop selling trinkets specific to the ride you just enjoyed. The good news is that they are usually pretty decent quality. The bad news is that they are spendy, and your kids will want something even if you just bought them something 30 minutes ago. We handled this by giving each kid a daily souvenir allowance. They could spend it immediately, save it up for several days to buy something really big, or whatever they chose. This strategy worked really well for us. We still bought them some extra stuff, like some pajamas, but it really cut down on the whining. The kids knew they had money. The decision process is different when it's YOUR money.

We hired a babysitter thru Disney one night and went out to a really nice dinner at the fancy Italian restaurant in Epcot. I would do this again. It was very nice watching the fireworks over the lake with Karie. There is also a British pub in Epcot that has excellent food and beer. I wouldn't miss this!

Make sure to take the kids to Tom Sawyer's Island in the Magic Kingdom. This may be the oldest part of the park, but the kids loved exploring the island. California Soaring in Epcot was probably everyone's favorite ride. For a roller coaster that even little kids can enjoy, go to Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom. Space Mountain and Expedition Everest were scary for Charlie (Maddie loved them). Test Track in Epcot was fun too. The Buzz Lightyear ride was super fun for everyone because it's like moving target shooting with laser guns.

FYI: the "meal plan" is well worth the money. It seems expensive when you're sitting at your desk here in Colorado, but when you get there you will realize how much money you are saving by not paying cash for every meal. We even took the kids to the Disney Japanese restaurant at Epcot (similar to Benihana) for a meal, which would have cost a small fortune if not for our dinner tickets. Also, you need to make your dining reservations in advance -- the sooner, the better.

corsair23
01-12-2011, 02:00 AM
My thoughts...Last time we were there was the week after Thanksgiving 2001

The sites, rides, eating, everything will take longer than you expect. Even with the fast pass. Assuming things haven't changed the fast pass simply allows you to get a more definitive time to ride a ride...Stick in the pass and it is almost like getting an appointment in that it will tell you to come back at say 11:40am. Try to plan out the day as we ended up walking a LOT trying to squeeze something else in before our specified time for a ride. Even with the fast pass you will wait in lines, albeit shorter ones...One day at WDW isn't enough if you want to see and experience everything...2 days is probably about right. We stayed at the Swan on the property and while UB's point about saving $$ by staying off the property is true, it was real convenient to walk out of the hotel, and hop on the water taxi and then tram to get to WDW or Epcot and a bus for elsewhere.

Epcot is more for teens/adults but I bet the kids will find some :cool: stuff there if you go. It is big as well and can easily suck up a day + of your time to see everything. They had a cool ride back then that was like a car test drive etc.

When we were out there we also visited the Animal Kingdom, Universal (cool coaster there) and Seaworld (lots of fun rides as well). There is so much to see/do that if you aren't careful you could try to squeeze in too much and end up not seeing much of any one place.

If you have the time to drive up the coast vs. taking the turnpike to get to Orlando I'd do that. The turnpike will get you there quicker but the drive is boring. We spend a week on Singer Island every year (just north of Palm Beach) and usually make the drive up to Ron Jon's in Cocoa Beach. You have to actually take the smaller state highways etc. but I'd much rather look at the ocean on the drive if you have the time.

Sounds like you have a great trip planned :thumb:

FJBRADY
01-12-2011, 08:05 AM
Sounds like a total blast....We are jealous!! A few years out for us.

I heard another cool thing is to swim with the dolphins and it is near WDW, but that is all I know...details??

I believe Sea World in Orl. you can swim with the Dolphins.

I think that's the name. It's a cute little "Truman Show" type town that blasts 'snow' on the streets for the kiddos - very cool. its family and kid friendly for walking around, etc. it'll be Different than the rest of the Disney stuff you'll experience and cool none-the-less.

Celebration is the town next to Disney with the fake snow.



As others have said your kids are to young for Epcot....save your money and take them to Europe in 5+ years.

Islands of Adventure/Universal has all of the Roller coasters stear clear with your kids they are not tall enough to enjoy. Universal Studios, the other side of the park and the name escapes me, is good for your kids since it is all Hollywood theamed and many of the rides are simulators.


Lasty, keep your wits about you the entire trip. FL is a tourist meca and there is a criminal element that prays on tourists, big time. Orlando looks and feels nice, but it's crime stats are some of the worst in the nation....be carefull!

Dr. Schlegs
01-12-2011, 08:11 AM
Lasty, keep your wits about you the entire trip. FL is a tourist meca and there is a criminal element that prays on tourists, big time. Orlando looks and feels nice, but it's crime stats are some of the worst in the nation....be carefull!

I.E. Leave the fanny pack at home.:D

simps80
01-12-2011, 08:42 AM
We went to disneyland in California last spring

we did 'city passes' which got us into universal studios, disneyland, california adventure (the bigger kid park across the street from disney) and san diego zoo

disney and california adventure were 'unlimited admission' while the rest were one day passes.

it was nice to be able to come and go from disney without feeling like we had to 'stay to get our money's worth'. If the kids wanted to go in the morning and leave and go swim, we were able to do that, and then go back.

So not sure if they have a similar thing in florida, but you might check into it, I thought doing it that way was well well worth the money if for no other reason, the flexibility of it.

timmbuck2
01-12-2011, 09:14 AM
awesome info everyone! still deciding between Florida and California. kids are 5 1/2 6 1/2 and 13. Would be taking grandma(or two) along to keep the 2 1/2 entertained. we have family in San Diego who would be joining us, and California would be cheaper...maybe Florida in a few years when Connor is old enough to enjoy also.

thanks for the info, and have fun those of you going soon!

Beachboy
01-12-2011, 10:12 AM
After living in Florida most of my life and supplying Disney with bread, the only other suggestions I would have with the kids your age is to visit Sea World if you have the chance. Just remember that it can be cold that time of year (usually not by Easter). We were freezing in the keys while visiting my mom in Miami over Christmas. Very cold for the water parks, and Yes I agree, don't bother with Epcot. Universal is fun but your kids would not be able to ride alot of things. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are your best bets.

subzali
01-12-2011, 10:20 AM
My family took a vacation down there when I was probably 15 or so. We also visited Busch Gardens in Tampa, which was also fun because there was a zoo aspect to it as well. Don't know how well it's catered to kids the same age as yours though. Future trip?

Oh, and even at 15 I didn't enjoy Epcot at all. Maybe it's changed in the last 10 years, but it was not what I was expecting from Disney World.

wesintl
01-12-2011, 10:28 AM
I remember when epcot was cutting edge :eek: That was just when people starting getting personal computers and such. :D

Hulk
01-12-2011, 11:12 AM
Farnham I'll tell you all about it.. we're going the second week of February for 4 nights, staying at Port Orleans of all places. man small world.. this is one vacation where I've had absolutely no input, other families are going, and they are controlling every detail I'm just there for the experience. but I've heard stories of breakfast with princesses, and dinners at Epcot.. I think we got a package that includes food.

Sounds like you have everything planned out, but if you want to borrow our stack of Disney books, we can loan them to you (the Unofficial Guides).

nakman
01-12-2011, 11:41 AM
Sounds like you have everything planned out, but if you want to borrow our stack of Disney books, we can loan them to you (the Unofficial Guides).

That would be cool, thanks, but doubtful I'll run into you before we leave unfortunately, as I will be traveling during the Feb meeting. I'm not too worried though, my wife's friend told me a couple weeks ago to "just stick to my plan and you'll have a great time" so I'm good with letting her just run with that, she's a Disney pro apparently and I'd only slow down and complicate matters. Kind of looking forward to not making any decisions for a few days, honestly.. there are 4 families going, we all have kids about the same ages, the women have every minute planned and the guys are just along for the ride.. :cool: :drink:

Cheeseman
01-12-2011, 05:24 PM
Disney, The best place on earth, well almost. I've been going there since it opened. Many years ago. Some things I would do with kids. Rain. Bring garbage bags of a different color than they sell there. Then your family will stand out when your in a crowd or just going different ways. Water. Just as important there as anywhere. You can carry a small backpack with you for stuff. Just be able to put it by your feet on some of the rides. The fast pass is great but sometimes a guarantee to stand in just a shorter line. Plan for the parades. By that I mean find out where they "appear" from and where they go so you can pick your spot. Always look for characters. Get a good spot for the Cindarellas castle shows at night. They are spectacular. Be careful of a long day with kids if you plan to see all the parades. It can be fun getting there early at opening and head to the farthest parts first and then work back. There are great restaurants in Disneyworld and all but check for reservations. The one thing I most enjoy is looking up in the upper windows, corners, and such to see that everything is finished. There are a few stages that have what I would call mini shows. Some are for kids and some for older. Above all you will walk a great deal so be prepared for tired kids. Have something to do when waiting in lines. Go see the Hall of presidents.

All for now but that is some of the things I have learned in the almost 40 years I have been going there. It truely is a magical place.

Jacket
01-12-2011, 05:56 PM
That's awesome. We were there in June '09 for a week. The kids had a blast, but I'll be damned if one of their favorite activities wasn't the hotel pools.....:rolleyes:

I'm sure you'll get to information overload with all the stuff there is to do, but one thing to note is that it's a long, hot day for the kids. They'll get tired and whiny several times during the day so just be prepared for that. And the adults with older kids like to stay late and catch the fireworks and hang out after dark, so if you can stomach it getting there early will net you some smaller lines. You can hit a bunch of rides, then go back to the hotel and take a break or go for a swim, and head back to the park for a second round. Or just do the late shift and rely on the fast pass to ride the popular rides.

farnhamstj
01-12-2011, 07:44 PM
We got our guide books from some place in town where you can borrow books for little while and then bring them back when you are done. Library, I think it was called.

Greg, I wouldn't have guessed you to be a Disney regular.
We picked the hotel with the best looking pool.
We are a very impatient family, we know that. It's gonna be hard standing in line. We do however like people watching.
We will waterpark for sure if the weather is good.
We are planning on watching some of the shows, hadn't thought about the parades.

We plan to bring an umbrella type stroller or may rent a disney one. Read a great tip about hanging a "dirty" diaper in a bag from the handle so nobody touches it.
Bringing our own glow sticks for at night and an electic kettle for oatmeal breakfast and tea.
I really want to do an airboat ride while in FL. Redneck swamp people style. The kind where my wife is afraid the boat's not safe for the kids and the guy is gonna steal our teeth. Not because he's a theif, but because he needs them.

I intend to consume a large amount of Rum and $11 hotdogs.

Cheeseman
01-12-2011, 08:59 PM
A new Disney museum. The Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco. It is absolutely excellent. For those of us who have lived with Ol' Walt for most of our lives go see it. Takes about 3 hours or so and costs $20.

The Disney family opened up there family treasures and has all of it on display. From the Baby dress thru his entire career and the end. All of his 400 some odd world awards are on display including his Grammy's, Golden Globes and of course his Oscars. It is the absolute best place to see and understand his history and that of the business. No where in each of the parks is there as good of history as is in this museum. A person will finally understand what made him tick.

Nay
01-12-2011, 09:04 PM
I intend to consume a large amount of Rum and $11 hotdogs.

What's funny (to me, anyway) is when I saw this post, I thought "I'd rather go to Vail :D". I guess that's me as an East Coast native.

I do think they have what amount to alcohol destinations for fathers, which seems to me a supremely good idea.

Have fun, your kids will love it. :beer: