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Disney Trip Suggestions?

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Considering scheduling a winter break trip to take the fam down to Disney World. We've never been and looking around a bit at the travel sites I'm kind of intimidated. We've got 5 of us...looking to spend around $3k for tickets, room, and food. Y'all have any suggestions? Is the meal plan worth it? Is it better to stay at a Disney resort than at an offsite condo?

 

 

mrnn

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Are you wanting to do 3 or 5 day passes? How long will you be staying? Are you only wanting to do Disney or the other parks? What are the kiddo's ages?

 

Sorry for so many questions... but this gives us an idea as to what you're working with.

 

 

http://www.mousesavers.com

 

I used this site....

Edited by GeorgiaTornado

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Firs,t I would recommend signing up with mousesavers.com. They send out an newsletter on the 15th of every month and have a great website with tons of resources when planning any kind of Disney trip. You can see what rides are closed, what hotels are offering special deals, etc.. They also have links to undercovertourist.com which almost always has the best prices on tickets. We are heading to Universal next week and I just bought our tickets from them for less than guaranteed lowest rate. If you use the mousesavers link you usually get an even better price than if you were to just go to undercovertourist.com. While looking at Undercover tourist the other day I found a calendar that tells the best days to go to which park and links to some apps that will give you real time updates on waits for the lines at various rides throughout the park.

 

If you are taking any kids, the second thing I would recommend looking into is the Disney Youth programs. You can check it out at www.disneyouth.com. They offer the best prices I've seen on multiple day tickets to Disney. The deal is that you attend an educational program. If you look on the website it will give you a description of each "class" and what ages and how long they last. There are some pretty interesting sounding classes that range from stuff on marine biology to leadership to behind the scenes, animation, etc... I think it may have started as something for homeschoolers but now anyone can sign up.

 

Also, if you are planning on Sea World they have something similar but you have to have a certain number of people. You attend an educational program and can get tickets to the park for $25.

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I also wanted to recommend getting on their e-mail lists. I get offers from Disney resorts and they are usually better than most deals you can find. We haven't been to Disney in several years but the last time we went we stayed at their on property value resorts for $66 a night. In fact the last two times we went to Orlando we stayed at Disney because they had the best room prices but all but one of our days were spent at Universal since their tickets are less expensive.

 

Depending on when you are going I would recommend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas. It starts at the end of November and is when they keep the park open late, have a Christmas parade, free hot chocolate and cookies throughout the park and it snows on mainstreet. My kids loved it the two times we went.

 

The trip we are taking next week to Universal (more specifically The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) will be the first time we are staying on property and that is because I received an e-mail last month with a 40% off code. I also have a Hard Rock card that will give us a free room upgrade, special gift at check-in and priority seating as well as a discount in the HR shop. I had forgot all about the card, which I bought for $24.95 (came with a sling bag, $20 giftcard and pin) on a school field trip 4 years ago, until I read the tip at either mousesavers or undercovertourist.

 

There are tons of ways to save money if you have the time to do a little research.

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Are you wanting to do 3 or 5 day passes? How long will you be staying? Are you only wanting to do Disney or the other parks? What are the kiddo's ages?

 

Sorry for so many questions... but this gives us an idea as to what you're working with.

 

 

http://www.mousesavers.com

 

I used this site....

 

 

We're looking at 5 days....Disney and Universal.....7,11,16

 

I'll check out that site. Thanks!

 

mrnn

 

I also wanted to recommend getting on their e-mail lists. I get offers from Disney resorts and they are usually better than most deals you can find. We haven't been to Disney in several years but the last time we went we stayed at their on property value resorts for $66 a night. In fact the last two times we went to Orlando we stayed at Disney because they had the best room prices but all but one of our days were spent at Universal since their tickets are less expensive.

 

Depending on when you are going I would recommend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas. It starts at the end of November and is when they keep the park open late, have a Christmas parade, free hot chocolate and cookies throughout the park and it snows on mainstreet. My kids loved it the two times we went.

 

The trip we are taking next week to Universal (more specifically The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) will be the first time we are staying on property and that is because I received an e-mail last month with a 40% off code. I also have a Hard Rock card that will give us a free room upgrade, special gift at check-in and priority seating as well as a discount in the HR shop. I had forgot all about the card, which I bought for $24.95 (came with a sling bag, $20 giftcard and pin) on a school field trip 4 years ago, until I read the tip at either mousesavers or undercovertourist.

 

There are tons of ways to save money if you have the time to do a little research.

 

:rofl:

 

A trip shouldn't be so intimidating! I appreciate your input and I'll definitely check out these sites.

 

mrnn

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I have WAY to much info to give in a short space.

 

WDWinfo.com

Mousesavers.co

 

Two excellant sources of info for anything Disney. But do feel free to PM me with any specific questions. I can do much better if you give me specifics for your trip like how many and what you want to do and see.:drinks:

 

Much of what I will suggest depends on whether you stay on or off property.

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The older kids will enjoy universal (as will you and Naughty Nurse) more then Disney. Infact the wife and I go everyother year to the Daytona 500 and make sure to spend two days at the Hard Rock Hotel on Universal's grounds. It's a combo theme park/ammusment park/bar district all rolled into one.

 

Can't give you much advice other then that. We avoid the "happiest place on earth" but I'm sure that will change now that we have Jr.

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If you can, get the Park Hopper passes for the Disney parks. It's cheaper per day and you can start at Magic Kingdom in the morning and "hop" over to MGM in the afternoon, for example. I like Animal Kingdom, you have to see "It's Tough To Be A Bug". The kids might like Universal better. Get a combo pass for that too. Universal Studios has the movie-based rides (Jaws, ET, The Simpson, Twister, etc) while Universal Islands of Adventure has the thrill rides and roller coasters and Harry Potter. You can go to Universal City Walk, which is a big shopping/dining area between the two Universal theme parks. They closed the Daytona 500 experience to the public but you can still go to the gift shop and take the speedway track tour. Have fun!

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5 days isn't going to be enough, is it? :rofl:

 

I checked out those sites above and I can tell they're definitely going to be very valuable resources. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

 

What about the meal passes? Do you guys think they're a good deal or would we be better off just winging it with a meal budget?

 

 

mrnn

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5 days isn't going to be enough, is it? :rofl:

 

I checked out those sites above and I can tell they're definitely going to be very valuable resources. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

 

What about the meal passes? Do you guys think they're a good deal or would we be better off just winging it with a meal budget?

 

 

mrnn

 

We are going this coming week for 7 nights at the Wilderness lodge. I have been paying on this trip for 2 years now. We managed to get a Free dinning package. that will include 1 sit down meal, 1 counter service meal and a snack for every person (4) for every night. Total of 28 of each for the week. A sit down meal can go as high as 30 - 40 dollars per person. Higher even but those will take 2 "coupons" for the meal. We have passes for 8 days. Kids 10 and up are considered adults for meals and passes (i'd have to look at those). We are staying in a room with bunks for the kids with a woods view whish is considered 3 step increase over standard rooms. Our total was $3800 for the week. And that also includes a refillable resort mug for each guest. unlimited drins at your resort for you stay. that was new for me. They were approaching $20 each last time I was there.

 

I concur with those saying older kids and adults will have more fun at universal. But we love Disney. It is not really cost effective for us say to spend time at universal as we already paid for Disney parks. You could spend 4 nights at one and 3 at the other but you will lose savings from your passes. Passes cost a bunch to 3 - 4 days. after that their cost is neglidgable. Akin to $10 per day per person. But you will have paid several hundred up to the 3rd / 4th day.

 

Sorry... in summary, i would not get the meal plan if you want to stay on a tight budget and were unable to get them for free. There are many ways to eat cheap ala carte in the parks. Order a double cheeseburger with an extra bun, (.25) last I heard, split the fries put the 2nd patty on the 2nd bun and apply lettuce, tomato and such to your liking. You do this yourself. I have heard of folks using their trays for a salad made from the condiments. I think this is "unfair" to Disney. but they seem to allow it. Another trick is to eat a good breakfast, forego lunch and eat an early dinner. Lunches are cheaper at the sit down locations and tend to offer similar food as dinner.

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We went two years ago with two 19 year old boys.

We thought the meal plan was GREAT!!

Especially for the boys!

On the last day, they still had snack credit left and they went to the commissary and loaded up with snacks to bring home and eat on the trip back!

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My sister is a travel agent who specializes in all things Disney. PM me if you'd like her info.

 

I know they are running the free dining plan special right now, but I'm not sure of the dates of travel. They may not be offering it that far out.

 

Be prepared for lots of people. Dec 23 - Jan 1 is some of the busiest days at Disney.

 

We typically do the meal plan, because it's so much simplier, but if you're looking to stay on a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to do that without the meal plan.

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I would love to help you if you would like. My services are completely free to you and I stay on top of the discounts that come out. Not only do I travel to Disney with my family yearly I also go down every year for training. You can contact me at jill@enchantingmemoriestravel.com if you would like for me to help you.

Disney is my passion and I work to make sure that I know everything there is to know.

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Meal Plan -- We have been to Disney many, many times and never used it -- tried it this last trip. Here's my take on it - It was nice to know that it was all "covered" and we were never hungry, however, the staff training on what was considered a "side", "snack" or a "dessert" was never clear. Seems like each eatery did it different. We ended up on the last night realizing we had eaten all the "meals" but still had several "snacks" left (which we paid for in advance), so we ended up going down to the cafe in our hotel and bought like 6 pop tarts, 4 peanuts, etc which came in handy for the flight home. Overall, I liked using the plan.

 

Other tips I could give would be to lower your expectations -- you cannot experience all that Disney has to offer, as well as Universal in 5 days. I have been to Disney probably close to 100 times and I STILL find little hidden gems. I HIGHLY recommend staying on the property, there are advantages -- you can have anything you buy at the park sent to your room (so you dont have to carry it around) and they open early/late in each park for Disney Hotel Guests. The Pop Resorts are the most economical - since you have older kids, you will probably be out of the hotel most of the day, so I would look to save here. The Luxury resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Polynesian, Grand FLoridian) are AMAZING -- but pricey. Take the monorail over to the Polynesian for an awesome ice cream at Kona.

 

Enjoy!

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Considering scheduling a winter break trip to take the fam down to Disney World. We've never been and looking around a bit at the travel sites I'm kind of intimidated. We've got 5 of us...looking to spend around $3k for tickets, room, and food. Y'all have any suggestions? Is the meal plan worth it? Is it better to stay at a Disney resort than at an offsite condo?

 

 

mrnn

 

 

We stayed in a great Condo literally just off Epcot Center drive, it was the easiest we have ever gotten in and out of Disney. The resort condo we got had 3 bedrooms 3 baths full kitchen (which we really didn't use much except for frig and microwave) a living room and was really nice. They had continental breakfast and a nice pool. We were so comfortable there, if you stay there ask for a condo in one of the new buildings. They also had a balcony w/ a screened porch. We stayed in December the week before christmas for 5 nights and it was $122.00 per night for a 3 bedroom & we had way more space than we needed. It is right at a mile away from Disney. We have done both Disney resorts (4 times) and this off site resort and if I go back I will stay at this World quest resort again. There just isn't enough space in the Disney resorts with out spending a ton of money. Check it out at the website below.

http://www.worldquestorlando.com/

Edited by whatzup?

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My nieces and nephew and I were going to go this Christmas. They were going to rent a cabin and I was going to rent an RV site at Fort Wilderness and we can't go cause they are sold out! We started this plan about 2 months ago. So, we booked for 2013.

 

To me, it's worth the extra cost to stay in one of their resorts. Disney does it like only Disney can. :)

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5 days isn't going to be enough, is it? :rofl:

 

I checked out those sites above and I can tell they're definitely going to be very valuable resources. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

 

What about the meal passes? Do you guys think they're a good deal or would we be better off just winging it with a meal budget?

 

 

mrnn

 

 

No, it's not. :lol:

 

I was at Disney World opening day in 1971. My dad worked for the crane company that supplied most of the cranes to build it so we got free tickets. :lol: I grew up in Tampa which is only an hour and a half away. We had season passes.

 

I STILL have not seen all of it. :lol: :lol:

 

Work with someone like Jill, she will save you money. I know that right now for certain dates, Disney is offering free meal plans. If you can get them free.....just sayin.

If not, I would at least look into the lower priced meal plans. The ones where you might get 2 quick serves and a snack, or maybe a table service and a quick serve and snack. We don't like to feel tied to any plan while we are on vacation. We like our meal options to be more open.

We got lucky the last time we went. They offered a special where for each room booked you got a $300 Disney gift card. We rented 2 rooms so we had $600 to use. we bought the boys a meal plan and we used the gift cards to eat with all week. Of course the boys were older, so they did their thing, we did ours. We stayed for 7 days.

Also, if you know you will not be going to Typhoon Lagoon or other Disney water park, make sure you are not paying for that option.

Working with someone like Jill, she can find those deals for you and get them applied. BTW, I have no idea who Jill is, but we are working with someone like her for our 2013 trip.

Our next trip we are going all out. It will be our 4th anniversary. We plan on staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge in a Arusha Savannah view room. So we can have coffee with the Giraffes.

Our grand kids will be there also but they will be slumming it over at the Allstar Music Resort. :lol:

 

Good luck, have fun. Don't expect your 7 yr old to walk around the park all day and stay up till 10 to watch the Electric Light Parade.

Edited by Papi

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I would love to help you if you would like. My services are completely free to you and I stay on top of the discounts that come out. Not only do I travel to Disney with my family yearly I also go down every year for training. You can contact me at jill@enchantingmemoriestravel.com if you would like for me to help you.

Disney is my passion and I work to make sure that I know everything there is to know.

 

 

I'll be in touch!

 

 

mrnn

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I'll be in touch!

 

 

mrnn

 

 

Great! I can't wait to help you.

 

Disney can be so overwhelming. I have helped people who have never been and those that go all the time they just want someone else to handle the details such as dining for them.

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Considering scheduling a winter break trip to take the fam down to Disney World. We've never been and looking around a bit at the travel sites I'm kind of intimidated. We've got 5 of us...looking to spend around $3k for tickets, room, and food. Y'all have any suggestions? Is the meal plan worth it? Is it better to stay at a Disney resort than at an offsite condo?

 

 

mrnn

 

They are offering the dining plan for free on most nights from the end of September until December. If you need any help planning or a quote, feel free to contact me. It is a great deal right now!

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If you and Mrs Naughty Nurse get a free night, you MUST go to Victoria and Albert's for dinner. It will be the best meal of your life. Jacket required for men and cocktail dress or dressy pant suit required for ladies. You need to make reservations today. Don't take the kids (too expensive and they won't appreciate it at all). Be prepared to pay around $500 for the two of you but it will be the finest meal of your life. My husband takes me every few years and I can't wait to go back. My link

 

If you don't want to go that much, reserve a table in the upstairs dining room (away from the walk in crowd) at Emeril's. It is a different menu, much better, and by far more intimate surroundings. My link

 

Hope you guys have fun!

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We got a great deal last year and i recommend the place we stayed at. It's a 3 bedroom condo with a hot tub in the master bath and a common area outdoor heated pool. It is about a mile from the disney gate / turn off. Plenty of fast food too within walking distance. Fairly modern condos with refrigerator, tv in each room, microwave and full kitchen with dishes, soap and dishwasher, etc, dining room, and a washer/dryer too. The nearest grocery store is about 2 miles. The condo sales staff are at the office, but they do not harass you with trying to sell you a time share -- but, we did get a flyer on the door the last day giving away some kind of tickets free if we would attend their seminar.

 

Orbit One Vacation Villas, 2950 Entry Point Boulvard, Kissimmee, FL 34741 is the official property. But you can book rooms through a number of hotel discount web sites.

 

We stayed there last year and the best price we found for the property was through orbitz.com (no relation to condo property) at $89 per night and there were none of those condo cleaning fees, etc they like to tack on extra. The 2 bedroom condos were cheaper and they all have additional sofa-beds in the living room, so you can pack many people in the place. They do not clean it until you leave. If you want the first floor, book the handicap accessible rooms.

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I have the best deal. I just go and stay with my sister. You can see the fireworks every night from her house. We enjoy them sitting in the hot tub or in the pool. We go to which ever park we want. I have been going to Diisney since it open.

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Why does planning a trip to Disney feel like going to a foreign country?? all the planning, information, crazy stuff -- I'm scared of it. I want to take the kids but all THIS (just in this thread!) is so intimidating. Why isn't it just like Six Flags when you walk up, buy some passes, and go play? lol

:wacko:

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Why does planning a trip to Disney feel like going to a foreign country?? all the planning, information, crazy stuff -- I'm scared of it. I want to take the kids but all THIS (just in this thread!) is so intimidating. Why isn't it just like Six Flags when you walk up, buy some passes, and go play? lol

:wacko:

I have four kids and now six grands....... I have NEVER gone to all the trouble that so many in this thread do. We just get tickets and go, just like we would six flags. Dang if. You can not afford to go just stay home.

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I have four kids and now six grands....... I have NEVER gone to all the trouble that so many in this thread do. We just get tickets and go, just like we would six flags. Dang if. You can not afford to go just stay home.

Finding ways to save money and get more out of the experience doesn't mean that someone can't afford to go, it just means they may be smarter with their money than you.... :good:

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Why does planning a trip to Disney feel like going to a foreign country?? all the planning, information, crazy stuff -- I'm scared of it. I want to take the kids but all THIS (just in this thread!) is so intimidating. Why isn't it just like Six Flags when you walk up, buy some passes, and go play? lol

:wacko:

 

You can -- if you want to pay full price for everything.

 

I have four kids and now six grands....... I have NEVER gone to all the trouble that so many in this thread do. We just get tickets and go, just like we would six flags. Dang if. You can not afford to go just stay home.

 

Without using the websites and the "behind the scenes books" we would not have found out about the epcot segway tour that very few people seem to know about. That is just one of many different things to do in the park.

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Finding ways to save money and get more out of the experience doesn't mean that someone can't afford to go, it just means they may be smarter with their money than you.... :good:

Nope my time is worth money...so maybe you are cheap. With all the time and effort some are putting into these trips I would rather not go.

 

You can -- if you want to pay full price for everything.

 

 

 

Without using the websites and the "behind the scenes books" we would not have found out about the epcot segway tour that very few people seem to know about. That is just one of many different things to do in the park.

Guess it helps to know people who have worked there.

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I didn't answer your original question.

 

I would ONLY stay on property. We've been three times - twice on property and once off (they claimed to be just like on property). The two times on property were heavenly. Just get on the bus - that comes really often - get off - no other problems. Just heavenly. The one time off property - it was hell on earth. Buses didn't show up, crazy schedules, dangerous conditions on the bus, AWFUL!!

 

And, we paid more for the off property site than we could have paid on site - there were reasons that we did it that way. But, overall, it was just awful

 

Stay on property. Disney knows how to do logistics.

 

And, our friends that have been in the last couple of years rave about the dining plans - esp when it's free (it is now!)

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If you happen to enter coke reward codes like we do, we just got $100 off per night at a VERY nice 3 bedroom condo VERY close to Magic Kingdom. 4 nights costing under $300. We aren't going until April, but might be worth checking out.

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We have been twice to Disney and once to Universal. The first trip to Disney we didn't stay in a Disney resort or get the meal plan. The second time we stayed in a Disney resort and did get the meal plan.

 

I DEFINITELY recommend the Disney resort. Even their budget resorts are nicer than most of the off Disney hotels. They offer free transportation to and from all the parks too, all day long. That saves somewhere close to $20 bucks a day just in parking. Most off Disney hotels offer shuttles to the parks also but they are usually scheduled just a few times a day so you have to be there when they are. The Disney shuttles run continuously.

 

We have two boys who were teenagers at the time and the meal plan was also worth the money. There are losts of places that you can use the plan too, even in Downtown Disney. I do suggest making reservations ASAP for the dinner restaurants. We just decided what days we were going to each park and picked a restaurant that was in that particular park. It really did work out to be money well spent.

 

As far as Universal goes, you can easily see and do it all in 2 days. We didn't enjoy that near as much as Disney. Although the Harry Potter World part of Universal was pretty great. If you do go there make sure you have the butterbeer...it rocks. The meal plan at Universal is no where near the deal that Disney offers. There are only a handful of restaurants and they are park pizza, burgers, etc. Not worth it.

 

If only only had 5-7 days I would stick solely with Disney. You can't go wrong there.

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Finding ways to save money and get more out of the experience doesn't mean that someone can't afford to go, it just means they may be smarter with their money than you.... :good:

I agree. Just because I can afford to pay full price does not mean that I should.

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I have four kids and now six grands....... I have NEVER gone to all the trouble that so many in this thread do. We just get tickets and go, just like we would six flags. Dang if. You can not afford to go just stay home.

 

Aren't you special. Not everyone has family in the area or gets to go year in and year out so they like to make sure to see everything they can, get the best expereience for their family and get the best value for their money. If you go every year I'm guessing the planning isn't as big of a deal. Most folks go once or twice a lifetime.

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We went to Orlando over fall break and had a great time. Hubby is a Hilton Honors member and had gotten a 3 night stay for a 1 bedroom studio suite at one fo their time shares for $179. We drove down there the day before our reservations and stopped at the state rest stop and got a hotel magazine that had tons of coupons. We stayed in a Comfort Inn the first night for $60. We went to Universal first. My college roommate's brother works there and got us three park hopper passes for 1 day. We never made it to Universal Studios- just did Islands of Adventure--nmore kid stuff. Did the meal pass there and thought it was worth it because we constantly getting snacks and drinks and we were there from 9:30 to 6:30-- park closed at 7.

 

Parking was 20ish and the meal plan for the 3 of us was about 90. Tickets would have been about 300.

 

The next day we went to the time share presentation, vegged at the pool and had dinner with my college room mate and recooperated from walking all day the previous day.

 

Went to Disneyworld Friday-- wish I had known the park closed at 7 do to a Halloween event. Again 20 bucks to park tickets around 300 for all of us and another 100 for food, drinks, etc. I thought the drinks and food were priced fairly for what you got.

 

We didn't wait too long at either parks for any of the rides. I think the longest we waited for 3 rides was maybe 15-20 minutes. We didn't do the fast pass for anything.

 

I told hubby the next time we go down there for a week we were going to get a book and strategize on all the different parks, lodging, etc. We were down there 3 days so we did fine..

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Nope my time is worth money...so maybe you are cheap. With all the time and effort some are putting into these trips I would rather not go.

 

 

Guess it helps to know people who have worked there.

Cheap and Smart with Money are two completely different things... SOME of us actually consider planning/researching a vacation to be fun... Maybe if you take that corn cobb out, you might find a few more things in life fun too! :)

Edited by All I Hear is Blah Blah Blah
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I have four kids and now six grands....... I have NEVER gone to all the trouble that so many in this thread do. We just get tickets and go, just like we would six flags. Dang if. You can not afford to go just stay home.

 

 

The point is there are hundreds of hidden gems within the Disney property -- some more crowded than others. Folks like yourself who put little research into it make it more pleasureable for those of us that do!!! Now...find your Happy Place and quit hating!

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I got engaged there a year and a half ago and the one thing i can advise over anything else is to use the site http://touringplans.com. We stayed at the laquinta in orlando, drove to the parks which is a 15 minute drive. We bought a 5 day park hopper pass so we can go to whatever park whenever, and we took our own food for snacks and drinks. We spent very little compared to most people. Touring plans helps by telling you the best park to go to, on which day, based on the exact day you are going, it lets you know the status of rides, and an order to go to each ride or show to get it all in with the smallest wait and no lines. We did all parks completely by noon each day and we had a blast. We were able to take a nap after the park and head back for the fireworks or night show at each park afterwards. It was GREAT.

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