Do a value hotel- you'll save money and it's still absolutely amazing service and atmosphere. Have at least a day per park- we took two days in Magic Kingdom (but you could get it done in one) If you can help it- don't go in the summer. We went in May and the heat was unbearable, we had to be back at our hotel by like 3 pm each day because we couldn't make it any longer because of the heat. That's the one regret I have. Buy a dining plan and RESERVE ANY MEALS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE AHEAD! They sell out!
We went last year for the first time. We stayed at Pop Century, it isnt expensive and isnt the nicest but it was fine for us as we were only in the room to sleep! We got the meal plan and that worked well for us. And I suggest making reservations in advance so you can eat decent. We did the Mickey character breakfast and that was fun! And dont know if you have any girls but we booked her a visit with bippity boppity boo which is a salon for girls (or boys) and she got an updo and makeup done and she wore her Rapunzel dress. She LOVED it!!!! If you have any questions, please PM me and I will be more than happy to help!!!!
there is a Disney group that is wonderful for info
See if you can go when they have the free dining or if not get the dining plans. It will end up saving you money in the long run.
There is a Disney group on Cafemom where thats just about ALL they talk about.
Oh yea you can go to disneyland.com and look for the offer of the Planning DVD it really helps
I'd post this and add yourself as a member to the Disney site on Cafemom. You'll get lots of help. We went in Sept 2012 and it was our first family trip with 3 kids, ages 2, 5 & 7 and my hubby. We took the Amtrak Auto Train down and got to take our car with us. We are AAA members and with that you get a room discount and perks, like a story time, special seating for fireworks/parades, special parking up close near the handicap, coupons for restaurants and activities. AAA travel agents know a lot about Disney and the Disney operators are great if you have a lot of questions, you could call them directly. We browsed the WDW website to see where things are in each park and get familiar with everything.
Best advice I can give you is that there is so much to so give yourself 2 days for each park, plan your dining (especially your dinners) as far ahead as Disney allows for reservations, there are character meals so plan those ahead of time, too, As a family of 4 you can stay at a value or moderate hotel and get a meal plan and it'll save you $$. They run % off hotel specials or free meal plan specials so watch for those. If you booked and didn't get that but the offer pops up later during your dates of arrival, you may be able to get that savings, too.
Check the weather before you go so you know how to pack and depending on when you go, Disney can super crowded or a little better in the off season.
We bought autograph books for each kid and when we got there, found out where all the characters were each day and tried to get to the parks when they opened to meet them and not have to wait in long lines.
Also use the fast passes for rides...they will save you time(a fast pass is a slip of paper you get at the ride that tells you when to come back and you enter a special fast pass line and don't have to wait as long for rides).
For our girls we did the Bippity Boppity Boutique for a princess make over but you can also get a pirate make over as well for both boys and girls. If you do the BBB princess thing give yourself a lot of time at that place...it takes a while to get all princessed up...we gave ourselves 2-3 hours between that and our dinner reservation.
There are phototpass photographers there to take pics of all of you together...they will give you a card and you can order pics after you get back from your trip...you can check that out ahead of time. We thought it was pricey but worth it.
If you have little kids, give yourself some down time, like maybe get to the parks early and come back in the early afternoon...we found that our girls really wanted to relax at the resort pool and as a family we needed that down time...there is so much to do sometimes it's hard to fit in real relaxation time. Hope you have a great time....it's a fun thing trip to plan but the good things is, help is there if you need it. Have a blast...it'll be a vaca you will never forget!
I definitely recommend the photopass cards use it as much as you can! You can get one each day and keep the used ones in a safe or someplace else where they will not get lost. When you get home, upload them all into the Disney photopass site, then add borders and such, get a nice full disc, lots of pics with border variations. It makes the price of the cd worth it! We live near Disneyland, and have annual passes, we go a lot and use the photopass for special things each year. they are valid for 30 days after they are taken/uploaded. Most of all, don't stress out, go to rides and such by shortest wait times, get there early, then take a break mid-afternoon and go back in the evening. Enjoy it!!!!
Quoting tonijmccann:Do a value hotel- you'll save money and it's still absolutely amazing service and atmosphere. Have at least a day per park- we took two days in Magic Kingdom (but you could get it done in one) If you can help it- don't go in the summer. We went in May and the heat was unbearable, we had to be back at our hotel by like 3 pm each day because we couldn't make it any longer because of the heat. That's the one regret I have. Buy a dining plan and RESERVE ANY MEALS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE AHEAD! They sell out!
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