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Disney Vacation Ideas Needed!
Old 04-13-2006, 07:32 AM
 
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I want to take my family to Orlando this summer for their first ever visit to Disney and am looking for some affordable options. Does anyone have a quality hotel they would recommend at a reasonable price? Also are there any options for cheaper tickets at Disney, Universal, Sea World, etc.? Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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All-Star
Old 04-13-2006, 08:16 AM
 
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The All Star Resorts (Music and Sports) are supposed to be Disney's most affordable hotels. I prefer to stay on site due to all the little "perks", however off-site hotels might be even cheaper. When we went there for our honeymoon our park tickets were park of our hotel package. We had a park hopper pass for each day we were at the hotel. Plus, I think you have to have a specific type of pass to use the Fast Pass options and those are definitely worth a little extra money.

Are you a member of AAA? I know that as a member, I used to be able to get discount tickets to Sea World (not sure since they got rid of our local Sea World).

If I can answer any more questions let me know. I'm not an expert, I just love Disney. Good luck and enjoy your trip!
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All Stars or moderate hotels
Old 04-13-2006, 09:13 AM
 
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I have stayed at All Star Movies, All Start Sports, Port Orleans/Dixie Landings and the Polynesian (normally too expensive for me but they offered us a rate of $159 a few years ago because the pool was being renovated). The all star resorts are the budget hotels - they have a food court. Port Orleans is a moderate resort, it is a little more upscale. My opinion is that I would rather stay on site because on site guests get that extra "magic hour" where the parks are open an hour or so earlier for resort guests. Disney also now offers shuttle service from the Orlando airport to the resorts. go to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/index?bhcp=1
and check out the pricing of the different packages. Just as word of advice - don't pay for a package that includes options you wouldn't use - for example, picture packages or character breakfasts or golf.
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Old 04-13-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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I don't know about hotels ( I live close enough to not need to stay ) but Teachers get in Sea World for free! Take a copy of your certificate and recent pay stub into the passport office right at the front gate and you can get in free. The ret of the family will need to pay but hey, one ticket free is better than none! Millitary gets in free too, I don't know if that helps at all.

I would suggest getting hopper passes for the Dinsey parks, it is cheaper in the long run than paying for tickets at each park gate.

My sister works at MGM and a friend of hers works at Epcot so I usually get in free or close to it so I'm sorry I don't know much more to tell you other than to have fun!!
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Doing Disney
Old 04-13-2006, 11:12 AM
 
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Hello.
I've successfully done Disney twice with my family. Both times we stayed in the All Star hotels, which are clean and affordable. It was well worth it to stay on Disney property, because there is free and convenient transportation to and from the various parks. They're offering a deal right now if you go after August 13th, but that's late for many teachers (it's a really nice price, though). They have definitely improved their website since the last time we went, and online booking is pretty easy. Universal currently has some deals on their site, too.
My best advice, though, is to take the time to plan. I think that the guidebooks available at any local book store or library are worth their weight in gold- if you combine the info. found in two or three books, you'll be able to plan where to be when the crowds are elsewhere. I went a week before a friend's family went, and my experience was so much more positive than hers because I had planned and she hadn't. My family and I managed to avoid the busiest places at the busiest times and still saw and did everything , while she told me her kids were exhausted by the lines and they missed out on things they really wanted to see. Everything I learned came straight from guidebooks, but I hear there are some really good Disney discussion boards out there, too (I don't know their URLs- sorry).
Have fun!


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We stay outside the parks
Old 04-13-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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All the other posters recommend staying in a Disney hotel but we always stay outside the park. There are a TON of really nice timeshares within a mile of the park, and you can rent them for 5 to 7 days for really cheap. Just do a web search on Orlando Timeshares. We have stayed at the Cypress Gardens resort, run by Marriott, and it only cost us $850 for 7 days.

The reason we like condo timeshares better is that they have 2 or 3 bedrooms, so our whole family can stay together without paying for 2 or more hotel rooms. Also, they have a full kitchen so you can save money and not have to eat restaurant meals 3 times a day. They also have laundry rooms, recreation rooms, weight rooms, several swimming pools, kiddie pools, and ice cream parlors and pizza places right on site. They have maid service and the atmosphere is beautiful, well landscaped and relaxing.

To really see the whole area, I think you need at least 3 days in Disney, 1 day for one of the Disney water parks, and 1 day each for any other things like Sea World. Have fun planning your trip! I love the planning; that's half the fun!
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kissimmee
Old 04-13-2006, 03:50 PM
 
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If you are looking for more affordable accommodations, try looking into Kissimmee. It is very close to the all of the Disney theme parks and has a lot to chose from. There are loads of places to eat there, too.
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Disney trip
Old 04-13-2006, 04:56 PM
 
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We went to Disney over spring break (March). In fact my daughter age 2 is watching the video in the other room as I type :-) We stayed at the Fort Wilderness cabins. It was great! I think they are a little expensive (the cabin was paid for by grandparents), but very family friendly. There are shuttles to each park and other places in Disney. Also, like posted before, park hopper is the way to go. We decided after being in Animal Kingdom a couple of hours we would rather be in another park, so left and went there. We often hit more than one park each day because some closed earlier. Also the extended hours are a great perk if you stay on site. I probably am not not much more help than you've already received, but we had such a great time. We ate at Liberty Tavern (I think that's the name) in Magic Kingdom and to our surprise -- the characters were there! It was great! You can also catch some shorter lines during the parade and fireworks they have each night. Hope you have a great trip!
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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In many of Disney's resorts/hotels, tickets are included in the price. Have you talked to a travel agent? I'm sure they can help you find some good deals. I believe someone mentioned fast passes. Those are awesome! If you are staying in certain places, you can use these as like your ticket to "cut" (won't your students love that? lol) in line! You don't get to go first, but it significantly cuts waiting time. We still waited about 20 minutes for Splash Mountain with our Fast passes, but it wasn't near as much as those without them!
 
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Disney
Old 04-13-2006, 06:52 PM
 
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I love Disney World. Make sure to go and eat at the O'Hauna(not sure about the spelling) at the Polynesian Resort. They serve and unlimited amount of food and the kids get to participate in games and races. It is really neat.

Character Breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge is good.

We loved staying at the Polynesian Resort because it is right on the monorail system. Then you can just walk out of your hotel room and go. This is nice if you have small children because then it is much easier to go back to the room to take a break.


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agree with teach00
Old 04-14-2006, 05:30 AM
 
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We stayed at Fort Wilderness with our two boys and we all loved it! Fun, rustic place. We stayed in one of their large family "campers."
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Old 04-14-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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I'm going to Disneyworld for my first time this June, it's for our honeymoon. I discovered disboards.com. We're doing the meal plan and magic your way tickets. We're staying at the Caribbean Beach resort (moderate price), but I've heard the Pop Century is a good value.
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Caribbean
Old 04-14-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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The Caribbean resort is fun, too. Nice place with great thematic decor and music. We stayed there once with our kids, too.
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Old 04-14-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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We stayed at the Caribean as well.
 
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orlando tips
Old 04-14-2006, 09:45 PM
 
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1. in the theme parks you won't be able to see/do everything: make a list of things you want to do most--try to group them by what's close together--and get to those so you don't feel cheated about the most important things--and one thing we would do a better job at next time is take turns: 1 kid's choice, then the other's, etc. (unfortunately, this doesn't always work with the whole proximity tip!)

2. you can get a FastPass (other posters have mentioned) this is like a "cut" in line.....however! you can only get 1 FastPass at a time...can't go to one ride, get a fast pass and then go somewhere else and get one...(you use your entrance ticket to get the FP). also, you have to take the time that is next available for FP---say you want to go on the mummy ride--it's 2:00--the line is 2 hours long (i'm not kidding--but good--SCARY--ride--not disney, but universal). so you get a FP--oh! it's for 6:45. also, an attraction may be out of FP's for the day.

3. any of the interactive shows are really cool....Honey I Blew up/Shrunk (?) the Kids and Bug's Life


4. lines can be long (duh); bring something to keep you entertained/keep kids occupied

5. we went to orlando for SB last year--my mom bought some disney package--we had some interchangable passes where we could go to any Disney park we wanted (we did Epcot--kind of boring for the 6 & 8 year old boys!--Disney World, Animal Kingdom, and Disney/MGM**that was one of our favorites! ....there were 2 others we didn't go to...some Disney Water Park and Disney Sports Complex) I don't think we could have gone to 2 in one day....we basically got to each park at 10-11 (husband and dad golfed most mornings, grrrr...) and then left around 9-10. can't tell you anything about hotels because we stayed in a time share.

6. there are a ton of "theme" restaurants down there...like Medieval Times and Pirates and Arabian Nights. we went to the Pirates dinner....even though we had tickets waited quite a while in line; once we got inside, there is a large "holding pen" ugh...they had crummy food (potato chips...i can't remember what else, just remember being annoyed at the salty chips and having to buy a soda). we were stuck there for a long time...poor 6 year old...he HATED it...and we all hated him! BUT it was much better once we got inside the actual "restaurant"/theater. the dinner was quite terrible, but the show was great--very acrobatic (and hey, hot muscular guys without shirts!) our boys loved it!!! (the pirate action, not the hot guys) make sure to let your server know you want the kids to participate--they get to go up and help the pirates "fight". i would try another theme dinner in the future....what i didn't like (duh, besides the holding pen and the bad food) was the musty smell in there----you sit around a giant pool of water--inside--with a huge pirate ship sitting in the middle...you've got to wonder about that inside water in the dark...i could just feel the mold spores being sucked into my body! (that was not a real resounding recommendation, was it?) oh well, i would do it again, but knowing what i know now would be helpful!

7. rent walkie talkies so you can coordinate with each other if you family splits up

HAVE FUN!!
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my advice
Old 04-15-2006, 04:04 AM
 
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My advice is to get to the theme parks as soon as the gates open. If you are going to the Magic Kingdom, grab a Fast Pass for the Briar Rabbit ride (I'm not sure of its exact name) because it's a fun ride with a waterfall, and it's long, too. Fast Passes run out early on that ride, and the lines get impossibly long, especially for hot, tired, and cranky kids.

Once it gets to be extremely crowded, go to the rides and places that move a lot of people: Hall of Presidents (nice theater, air-conditioned comfort) and the Haunted House, for example.

Look for the parade schedule. Don't miss the parades. They are the "character" of the Magic Kingdom, and adults, as well as kids, love them.

They usually have fireworks at the Magic Kingdom at night. Something else to look forward to.
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Emerald Island Resort
Old 04-18-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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We stay at Emerald Island Resort, they have 3 & 4 bedroom townhomes for $115 a night. And this townhome is less than 5 years old, and in perfect condition. There is a laundry room, full kitchen with all utensils and necessities. A community pool right in the backyard. It really is the best place to stay.
I prefer to stay off Disney property so that we can have all of the comforts of home while on vacation, especially if you have kids. It is so nice to be able to go back "home" and relax and get some privacy, instead of being in a one bedroom hotel room where your kids are just a few feet away at all times.
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inside
Old 04-21-2006, 08:56 AM
 
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You really can't beat staying in the park. We've done both. The time we stayed out we had to drive, pay for parking, etc... Pain!
If you stay on property you are privy to Magic Hours! These are a MUST!!!!!! A select park will remain open 3 hours late. The amount of things you can accomplish in this 3 hours is insane! There are many many many things we would have never ever done if it hadn't been for the magic hours. That alone makes it worth it.
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