I know it’s not Disney, but Sea World is offering free food all day with the purchase of a ticket.
That is a BUNCH of savings given how much theme park food costs.
But if you stay on the grounds, you can usually get a shuttle to and from the park AND also take advantage on some places giving you the ‘no line’ pass (where you show up at your time and do not have to wait in line for rides) which is also worth the savings of staying off grounds.
We were there two weeks ago with our little ones. It was my first time too. We stayed at the Hilton - Lake Buena Vista near Downtown Disney. That was nice because Downtown Disney is a nice place that you can go for a (mostly free) day as a break from the expensive parks. It was also a nice hotel with great outdoor pools. The downside is that, if you don’t have a car, you will need to take a bus. The bus ride is fine it can just get long with little kids (especially after a long day at the parks). You might consider staying in the park — the Contemporary or the Polynesian. As for the parks themselves, it depends on whether you have small children — if so, Magic Kingdom is the best but Animal Kingdom is also good.
I stay away from all Disney properties due to their very pro-homo policies,
Stay in a Disney resort. Transportation to and from the parks is easy and buses run from the front of all resorts every 15 minutes or so. All-stars are good deal for the money. Pop Century is fun for the kids too. Hopper passes are a must, if they still call them that. Its been a couple years since we have been.
Been there once.
October is great although a little more crowded than in the past. First and second week of December is WONDERFUL. When the kids were younger we’d get an annual pass, go second week of Dec that year and next year first week of Dec before they expired and then IF we could another trip in Oct for fall break . . . we did this a couple of times and clocked about 30 days on each set of annual passes. At the time AP’s were about 300.00 they are much higher now. Also were able to get cheap airfare about 125.00 or so per person. We’ve stayed at all three levels of the properties on Disney. It is worth staying on property. That said, Wilderness Lodge is my FAVORITE especially in December, next would be Pop Century in the 60’s building or Budget Movies in the Toy Story themed building. Only one year did we get the Premium AP’s for the water parks and Disney Quest.
Have a GREAT time! I loved using www.disboards.com for trip planning and usually went through their Dreams Unlimited and they booked everything and even lowered prices when they dropped.
If you’re going to Orlando (I presume so, but better safe) try to get Fort Wilderness. You get a cabin, with your own kitchen (save $$ by eating b-fast at your cabin) with enough space for 7 folks.
And make sure you get a rental golf cart. You won’t need a car if you’re staying that way.
1. Research this trip thoroughly to save money/time. Vacation dollars/hours are precious.
2. Buy a guidebook that describes each ride and hotel in the area. Plan,plan,plan. Only you know your budget and how much you want to spend on a nicer hotel, more exquisite meals, etc.
3. Park Hopper Pass allows you from park to park in the same day.
4. Learn the Disney Bus Routes and use their buses to transport you from park to park, hotel if possible.
Kennedy Spac Center is close to Disney World and has a fascinating Visitors’ Center, if you are into space stuff.
However, it is kind of like visiting Yesterdayland instead of Tomorrowland at present.
(A former rocket engineer.)
We have stayed off and on property - we prefer on property because of the extra hour in the morning. We have literally ridden every roller coaster multiple times and been ready to head back to the pool before the crowds pick up at 11. On property doesn’t have to be the pricey place - pick the pool you like the best (make sure it will be open while you are there) and sit back and enjoy.
Off property requires transportation coordination and hit or miss chances with quality. (Our usual hotel, Embassy Suites, was a complete dump outside of Disney World.)
my first advice would be to skip DW if you can. Of course the family might just be aching to see the characters and if so, take a barrel of money
Stay in Sanford and commute. J/k. I can’t afford Disney thanks to Obama.
All this and gorgeous weather with almost no humidity (especially in Oct!)
Most over-rated, overpriced vacation/amusement park ever. Hated every minute of it and my kids weren’t impressed either. JMO!
the first time we went to Disney World, we stayed in a time share exchange in Kissimmee, NOT RECOMMENDED. they forced us to attend a speech about buying a timeshare, then they said if we did not attend, we would be held responsible for anything broken, almost everything in the room was broken, the icemaker, the pocket door, the appliances and the condo itself was in poor condition.
There are a ton of duplex that are rented out near DW - and that’s what we did the last time we went (that’s probably been 10 years ago now). 3 bedroom with a small pool and a kitchen, so you can save some money on foodage while you’re down there. Also had laundry machines. Do your homework - we had very good luck. Much cheaper, more room.
I was there in July. And the July before that
I’m pretty knowledgable about it. But for a really good resource, book mark this site: http://www.disboards.com/
(it might be a bit overwhelming at first, but people there LOVE to help newbies...my handle there is kidd_freeper)
There are four ways to save BIG, and have a better experience than what is offered through a Disney package:
1. Transportation: if you have the stamina, drive there instead of flying. Advantages: about 35-50% the cost of flying. Can pack more stuff. You’re on your own schedule. Diasadvantage: the trip back is tough.
2. Lodging: stay off-site instead of on-site. I highly recommend Windsor Hills condos/homes. We rented through this site: http://www.magicalvacationhomes.com/
The pictures on their website are very accurate.
Advantages: far nicer accomodations, 20%-40% the cost of on-site, more space, in-room kitchen. Disadvantages: you’ll have to pay $14/day for parking at the parks, no package delivery if you buy gifts in the parks, less Disney atmosphere.
3. Park tickets: IF you have school aged kids, and IF you can travel at the right times, I urge you to take advange of the Disney Y.E.S. program (individual enrollment). Site: http://www.disneyyouth.com/individual-enrollment/
You get an incredible experience, get to enter the parks before anyone else AND the tickets are about half-price. No disadvantages. IF you can’t take advantage of the YES program, get your park tickets through Undercover Tourist. They are a legit seller of Disney tickets, and they offer discounts on the order of 10% over what Disney offers.
4. Meals: Disney food is expensive, but eating at Disney is fun. Eat breakfast in your room. But plan on eating at Disney at least once a day. If you have your own kitchen, you can save a ton of money by eating lunch in your own kitchen
Have done onsite & offsite on multiple occasions.
Definitely stay onsite if you plan on doing nothing but the Disney thing.
Traffic outside the parks is awful. We stayed in a Residence Inn away from the parks and honestly, it was a dump from hell.
Our next FL trip will not include Orlando at all.
St. Augustine is amazing, and Jacksonville Beach is great. The kiddies came home from Jax with a bagful of shells and sharks’ teeth, which a kindly local beachcomber taught them to find for themselves. That turned them on more than the $$$ we spent at Disney.