Sort Of SBR: Tell Me Everything I need to Know about Disney World

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Posted 2/4/2014 by margievis in General Scrappin'
 

margievis
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/4/2014 8:20:26 AM
So, it looks like we are going to get to take the kids to Disney this year-and this is probably the only time we will, so, tell me everything I need to know! Any "insider" tips, etc.? I want to plan for it as well as possible to maximize the experience for the kids. We have 4 kids, ages 14 (she'll be 15 when we go), 12, and 10 year old twins. We are planning on 4 days at the Disney parks, and then driving over the the Gulf beaches for a couple of days for mom and dad to relax. Any tips or advice appreciated!


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~lynne
BucketHead

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Posted: 2/4/2014 8:26:13 AM
You might want to check out this website Capturing Magic for lots of interesting info about both Disney and preserving the memories from your trip. They also have a great podcast. Tons of great info!

Meridy77
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/4/2014 8:30:56 AM
Margie, I have never been. But I wanted to tell you I'm so excited for you and I can't wait to see your pictures!!!!!!!


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margievis
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/4/2014 8:38:23 AM
Thanks ~lynne! I will definitely check that site out! Meridy, I can't wait! We are surprising the kids (we are just going to tell them we are going to Florida for vacation, then show up in Orlando-at that point, I think they will guess from the signs). I am thinking that I will want a Photopass, but not sure how it works. Do you have to pay extra for a cd of the pics they take, or is that included? I plan on taking lots of photos myself, of course, but sometimes my kids cooperate better for strangers , plus it would be nice to be in some of them too!


In my Camera bag:
Canon T1I DSLR
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55-250 IS zoom lens
50mm 1.8 lens

Visit my blogs at:

scrappinmargie (for all things Crafty)

MargieV Photography (for my Photography journey)


Cinderelly
BucketHead

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:00:14 AM
We went in September and I did a TON of research going in. SO WORTH IT because looking back we ended up doing/seeing a ton! Only have a few minutes at the moment but wanted to give you a few apps to check out:

Touring Plans (go to the website and sign up for a subscription. It's worth the $11-ish. The app helps put together itineraries for you depending on what rides/attractions you want to see, tells you which parks will be more/less crowded on certain days and when you're in the park you can access actual wait times for lines/attractions.
I also wanted to meet a lot of characters so I went and downloaded the Kenny the Pirate app from his website (tells you where different characters meet and their schedules).

We did get the PhotoPass+ service and I would absolutely get it again. It was so easy to use and we got amazing pictures. The biggest thing I'd say is that you really need to use it. The photographers are EVERYWHERE so make sure you stop and actually give them your card and take those photos. Some photographers will do "magic shots" where they add in animation (like Tinkerbell sitting in your hands or holding baby Simba etc) and with the Plus package you also get all the photos from rides like Space Mountain etc automatically. We would almost always give the photographer our camera as well and they'd snap a few with both. If you order PhotoPass+ at least a few weeks before you leave, the price is lower. With the plus service, you do get the disc of your images in the purchase price, you just need to go back and use the voucher after your trip to actually order. It looks a little pricey but we thought it was so worth it.

Good luck with planning! So exciting!!!


"When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

Lilyloams
AncestralPea

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:02:48 AM
All I can say, is go with the knowledge that you cannot possibly see everything. Because there is just no way to see and do it all. Read up on the parks, pick the 3-4 things you know you just have to do and enjoy those!

lelei
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:17:45 AM
The best site I have found is EasyWDW The crowd calendars are right on the mark and he gives you the straight up information you need to enjoy your trip. Alot of the other sites are full of pixie-dust snorters who never say a bad word about Disney or people who have nothing but complaints.

The message board on that site are awesome too, you can ask questions and get straight answers instead of opinions. The disboards used to be a good resource but now it seems to be mainly complaining and posters at each others throats. Wdwmagic has a lot of info, but their forums are fairly negative towards Disney.

I love Disney!! Bring extra CF cards for your camera, we never come back with less than 2k pictures.


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myshelly
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:27:41 AM
Are you staying on Disney property?

If so, you need to learn about the Magic Bands and how to manage your fast passes via the Disney website and or app.



Mallie
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:32:33 AM

Some photographers will do "magic shots" where they add in animation (like Tinkerbell sitting in your hands or holding baby Simba etc)
Please note that there are time limits on some of the magic shots -- for example the Tink shot must be taken before sunset.

IAmMikki
BucketHead

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Posted: 2/4/2014 11:37:34 AM
I highly recommend the DisUnplugged: Disney World Edition podcast. I go frequently to Disneyland and listening to the DisUnplugged: Disneyland edition has been helpful and informative each week.



margievis
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/4/2014 11:58:45 AM
So many great links and ideas-absorbing/subcribing to everything I can!


In my Camera bag:
Canon T1I DSLR
18-55mm kit lens
55-250 IS zoom lens
50mm 1.8 lens

Visit my blogs at:

scrappinmargie (for all things Crafty)

MargieV Photography (for my Photography journey)


Lilyloams
AncestralPea

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Posted: 2/4/2014 1:10:34 PM
Are the Magic Bands your 'ticket into the park' too now?

We never used a single Fast Pass while at Disney (we have gone 3 times). (We never took one and didn't use it either).

so I just wondered how the Magic Bands would affect our stay.

krispin41
AncestralPea

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Posted: 2/4/2014 3:11:53 PM
And don't forget the forums at disboards.com lots of helpful people over there too.



Cinderelly
BucketHead

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Posted: 2/4/2014 3:40:29 PM
Magic Bands are your park tickets, hotel keys and dining plan (if you stay on Disney property) and Fast pass access. They're trying to incorporate as much as possible into the band so that you won't technically need to carry anything with you. I believe you can charge to your room from the band as well. Even if you choose not to use fast pass you'd still have a Magic Band.


"When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

Adelinasmom
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/4/2014 4:43:12 PM
I would subscribe to several podcasts. I especially enjoy dis unplugged. Do your research and go with a plan. There are no paper fast passes any more and day guest have to sign up for their fast passes on the day of arrival. If you are staying on property you can sign up to 60days before your arrival. A lot of mixed reviews on the new system.


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cmpeter
PEAceful Pea

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Posted: 2/4/2014 6:57:35 PM
I will one thousand times ditto the suggestion for following Josh's blog, easywdw.com. I love that site. I am also a big fan of Ride Max

We were at WDW two summers ago, crowds were up in the 8 or 9 levels. Using Josh's advice and Ride Max, we never waited more than 10-15 minutes for a ride and were able to do everything we wanted. Used Ride Max last year for a Disneyland trip and had the same experience. Wish there were a Josh for DL.


Cindi

AnnieBeth24
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/4/2014 7:21:01 PM
I highly recommend staying at a Disney resort. Transportation is easy between hotels and the different parks. Also a big fan of the Dining Plan because everything seems "free" once you're there and it's already paid for. You definitely need to make dining reservations as soon as possible. You could even plan your park choices based on the "good" restaurant availability. Character dining is a great way to see the characters without standing in line, especially for older kids who don't want to admit that they want to meet them!




jeferbrooks
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/4/2014 8:40:02 PM
If you are not staying on property then you will need to sign up for fast passes when you get to the park. If you are staying on property or purchased tickets ahead of time then you can pick out your fast passes before you even leave home. There is a free app by Disney that lets you do that.
I suggest you sign up ahead of time, if able. If your kids are going to want to do the big coaster rides, the fast passes may be very limited day of. With more passes available for more rides, the standby lines are longer even during non peak season. I live in FL and just went to Magic Kingdom last Sat. This is normally a slow time but a lot of rides had over an hour wait time. We had a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain and still waited 20 minutes in line, but the stand by line was an hour.
The photo pass is free but you pay to get the pictures. If you are looking into a prepaid photopass package it may already have a cd so make sure you understand what you are getting in the package before you add more.
Oh if any of your younger kids are into Star Wars, then the Jedi Training Academy(ages 4-12) is great, they get to fight Darth Vader, but you must sign up on the day and the spots go quick. Plan to get to Disney Hollywood studios before it opens and head straight to sign up. We did this for my daughter's birthday at her request. We got to the park 1/2 an hour before it opened and went straight to sign up and got into the 2:20 show. Shows start at about 9:15 am and go to about 6 at night, with 2-3 shows per hour.
I hope this helps,
Jenn

Caseyd1966
PeaWee

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Posted: 2/4/2014 9:23:16 PM
How exciting! Definitely visit easywdw.com. His recommendations for which parks to visit on which days & how to minimize time in lines are spot on! Also I would recommend the theme park attractions & strategy forum at disboards.com for helpful advice on all sorts of Topics. Planning a Disney trip can seem overwhelming but it's so worth it!

Meridy77
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/5/2014 1:39:07 AM
Margie. I'm tagging you in my FB post I wrote about the photo pass. And yes the cd is included


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pcarr
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/5/2014 1:54:09 AM
photopass is a must!

lawsonbl
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/5/2014 6:02:18 AM
I love www.allearsnet.com

Awesome website!

margievis
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/5/2014 9:06:04 AM
Right now the plan is to stay off property in a hotel that shuttles to disney. With 6 of us, we usually have to get 2 hotel rooms, which can get crazy expensive...and so far it looks like Disney hotels are basically double (or more) everything else I have seen-and even though we *can* afford the Disney hotels I am not sure I am willing to do that. (Looks like it would be a minimum of 300/night for us). Does it really make a huge difference in your stay if you get a hotel off property? So far, the differences that I have seen are earlier access to the parks, and the Magic Bands convenience.


In my Camera bag:
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Visit my blogs at:

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Cinderelly
BucketHead

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Posted: 2/5/2014 9:26:10 AM
Perks of staying on property:
Magical Express transportation to/from the airport and transportation anywhere on Disney property (parks, resorts, Downtown Disney)
Extra Magic Hours (certain parks open an hour early or stay open late for resort guests)
Access to the Disney dining plan
Ability to have purchases sent back to your room from parks or Downtown Disney

Not going to lie, it can get very spendy. You're the best judge of what perks are worth it to you.


"When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

margievis
PeaFixture

PeaNut 58,762
December 2002
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Posted: 2/5/2014 9:30:39 AM
Thanks, Cinderelly! I know it will be an expensive vacation already, and I am trying to keep the costs down a little if I can! But, I don't want to scrimp in the wrong areas...
I am looking into the WDW hotels a little more-and I am just wondering about the WDW "value" resorts-are they any good? how do they compare to a regular hotel?


In my Camera bag:
Canon T1I DSLR
18-55mm kit lens
55-250 IS zoom lens
50mm 1.8 lens

Visit my blogs at:

scrappinmargie (for all things Crafty)

MargieV Photography (for my Photography journey)


margievis
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/5/2014 10:16:41 AM
I am also interested in Mousesavers and Undercover Tourist... Everything legit with these companies? Anyone use them?


In my Camera bag:
Canon T1I DSLR
18-55mm kit lens
55-250 IS zoom lens
50mm 1.8 lens

Visit my blogs at:

scrappinmargie (for all things Crafty)

MargieV Photography (for my Photography journey)


LindaBabe54
PeaAddict

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Posted: 2/5/2014 12:08:13 PM
Veteran of 60+ trips here.

Check for specials, don't just call your travel agent and book rack rate. Or worse - a package - without having done your homework first.


IF you can possibly swing it - STAY ON PROPERTY. It will do more to give you a quality trip than anything else I can think of. Free regular bus service on Disney buses with Disney trained drivers - approximately every 20 minutes. Extra Magic Hours. The ability to make Fast Pass + reservations and priority seatings many months in advance. Service. Food courts. Safe. Attractive.

Art of Animation has family suites. Ft Wilderness cabins sleep 6, and have all the perks of any Disney resort.

Yes, some off site resorts have bus service. I can tell you from experience, it's a pain in the tush. Most pick up from more than one resort and may serve more than one park on a run, both resulting in LOTS of time on the bus. It may cost you extra - even $5 per person per trip is a lot for a family of 6. They are often run by independant companies that contract to the resort. The drivers *will* be jonesing for tips. They may only serve each park once or twice a day - if you miss the bus, too bad.

You *will NOT* see everything in 4 days.. . or 14 days. For first timers I recommend the Passporter guide to WDW. Plan "downtime" - kids love the pools. There is LOTS of walking - start training now! Kids too - yours are too old for strollers so they'll be hoofing it too. - 3 - 6 miles a day, easy.

Well broken in, supportive shoes. You'll see ladies in heels or flipflops. I'm SURE they pay at the end of the day.

Mousesavers is totally legit.

you will also want to consult Allearsnet.com for tons of free advice, menus and information.

DISBOARDS - yeah some people are snarky but there is more information more easily accessable there than even on Disney's own website.


vcr
PeaNut

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Posted: 2/5/2014 7:07:19 PM
When are you going? Time of year can make a huge difference in your experience. When thinking about extra magic hour perks think of the times. Are you all going to want to get up early to get to the park or stay up til midnight, 1 am? Value resorts are fine but the beds are full not Queen. We live close and go a lot so I don't really know tricks for maxing time. The magicbands are really changing things for us. It is nice to have fastpasses before we get there but the 3 per person limit stinks.

summerbellies
Drama Pea

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Posted: 2/5/2014 8:55:10 PM
Be careful if you use the magic pass... You can use it everywhere and rack up lots of charges!


After a five year break, I'm back baby!!! Now help Bellies get her Groove back....
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margievis
PeaFixture

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December 2002
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Posted: 2/5/2014 9:24:54 PM
so I talked to the hubs, and after all of the advice, I think we will stay on property-the All Star Music Resort has a Family Suite our size, not too expensive-and we are thinking that the convenience would be worth the extra cost. We are planning to go the last week of May (week before Memorial Day). The charts I have seen show that as being one of the last off peak season weeks.


In my Camera bag:
Canon T1I DSLR
18-55mm kit lens
55-250 IS zoom lens
50mm 1.8 lens

Visit my blogs at:

scrappinmargie (for all things Crafty)

MargieV Photography (for my Photography journey)

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