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Old 10-12-2015, 11:12 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by AnalBumCover View Post
Has anyone taken a vacation at Aulani Disney Hawaii Resort?

Had some friends go there recently. They said they had a blast, but not sure if they'd go back just because it was so expensive in their opinion.
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Old 10-12-2015, 11:33 PM   #352
AnalBumCover
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Originally Posted by Mizzou B-ball fan View Post
Had some friends go there recently. They said they had a blast, but not sure if they'd go back just because it was so expensive in their opinion.

Were they DVC members, or was it a one-off vacation trip? I'm weighing the two options, to see if it would be worth it to go the DVC route and plan for other future Disney vacations elsewhere in addition to Aulani (we have a 4yo daughter).

Last edited by AnalBumCover : 10-12-2015 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:11 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by AnalBumCover View Post
Were they DVC members, or was it a one-off vacation trip? I'm weighing the two options, to see if it would be worth it to go the DVC route and plan for other future Disney vacations elsewhere in addition to Aulani (we have a 4yo daughter).

Yes, it was a one-off trip.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:44 AM   #354
AnalBumCover
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My wife and I have just become proud members of the Disney Vacation Club, buying 50 points at the Polynesian Village. After looking at our 5 year vacation outlook, we felt 50 points are all we needed for now, with the intention of buying some more down the line. Hopefully Aulani will still have availability by the time we decide to buy.

With that, we are now planning our first vacation in March. I'll be working with our Club Guide to help book our trip. It'll be a two-part vacation, starting off with a 3-night stay at one of the resorts at WDW, depending on what's available. Then shift over to a 3-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. We won't be using our points for the cruise. I think cruises take up too many points.

We're pretty excited about this trip. Once we nail down the room, we'll have fun planning which park(s) to visit.

This will be our first time out to WDW, so feel free to throw out ideas for us! We're annual passholders at California Disneyland, so I'm wondering if WDW Magic Kingdom will just me more of the same...?
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:01 AM   #355
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Originally Posted by AnalBumCover View Post
My wife and I have just become proud members of the Disney Vacation Club, buying 50 points at the Polynesian Village. After looking at our 5 year vacation outlook, we felt 50 points are all we needed for now, with the intention of buying some more down the line. Hopefully Aulani will still have availability by the time we decide to buy.

With that, we are now planning our first vacation in March. I'll be working with our Club Guide to help book our trip. It'll be a two-part vacation, starting off with a 3-night stay at one of the resorts at WDW, depending on what's available. Then shift over to a 3-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. We won't be using our points for the cruise. I think cruises take up too many points.

We're pretty excited about this trip. Once we nail down the room, we'll have fun planning which park(s) to visit.

This will be our first time out to WDW, so feel free to throw out ideas for us! We're annual passholders at California Disneyland, so I'm wondering if WDW Magic Kingdom will just me more of the same...?

Magic Kingdom there is different than in California. It has almost as many rides as the other three parks combined.

Pick a day with extended hours to hit the Magic Kingdom so you have time to hit everything. I'd suggest two parks in one day to make sure you fit in everything in your three days. Hollywood and Animal Kingdom can both easily be done in a half day and are close to each other. Just combined those two into one day. Epcot can be a full day.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:20 AM   #356
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Magic Kingdom there is different than in California. It has almost as many rides as the other three parks combined.

Pick a day with extended hours to hit the Magic Kingdom so you have time to hit everything. I'd suggest two parks in one day to make sure you fit in everything in your three days. Hollywood and Animal Kingdom can both easily be done in a half day and are close to each other. Just combined those two into one day. Epcot can be a full day.

Yep, and Epcot will have the Flower and Garden festival going on, so you'll have a lot more food choices as well.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:42 AM   #357
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We're getting ready to book for June for as soon as school gets out.

My wife wants to avoid sit down dinners and just do quick service meals (lunch and dinner). Her argument is that sit downs were normally time sucks (~1 1/2 hours) and that our daughter already did them and wouldn't get much out of them on a second go round (she's now 6).

I somewhat agree, but I also think its nice to have maybe one meal a day where you can sit and just relax for a while without feeling like you need to eat fast and get moving again. And I also think that, especially with kids, somewhat ignoring all the characters just turns it into another theme park.

Food choice-wise, quick service meals are perfectly fine since our daughter is more than happy to get by on corn dogs and chicken fingers, but I feel a little like she's still at the age where meeting some of the characters again might be still be cool for her.

Do you guys do full meals, or just quick service?

Also, 6 year old in a stroller, yes or no? I'll feel like a douche, but after 10 minutes at six flags, our daughter is already complaining about walking.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:51 AM   #358
AnalBumCover
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Originally Posted by Easy Mac View Post
We're getting ready to book for June for as soon as school gets out.

My wife wants to avoid sit down dinners and just do quick service meals (lunch and dinner). Her argument is that sit downs were normally time sucks (~1 1/2 hours) and that our daughter already did them and wouldn't get much out of them on a second go round (she's now 6).

I somewhat agree, but I also think its nice to have maybe one meal a day where you can sit and just relax for a while without feeling like you need to eat fast and get moving again. And I also think that, especially with kids, somewhat ignoring all the characters just turns it into another theme park.

Food choice-wise, quick service meals are perfectly fine since our daughter is more than happy to get by on corn dogs and chicken fingers, but I feel a little like she's still at the age where meeting some of the characters again might be still be cool for her.

Do you guys do full meals, or just quick service?

Also, 6 year old in a stroller, yes or no? I'll feel like a douche, but after 10 minutes at six flags, our daughter is already complaining about walking.

If you haven't done this before, if you're going Character dining, buy/bring an autograph book and have her collect autographs as they pass by. It'll be a different experience from the last time you sat and dined.

Last edited by AnalBumCover : 10-19-2015 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:58 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by Easy Mac View Post
We're getting ready to book for June for as soon as school gets out.

My wife wants to avoid sit down dinners and just do quick service meals (lunch and dinner). Her argument is that sit downs were normally time sucks (~1 1/2 hours) and that our daughter already did them and wouldn't get much out of them on a second go round (she's now 6).

I somewhat agree, but I also think its nice to have maybe one meal a day where you can sit and just relax for a while without feeling like you need to eat fast and get moving again. And I also think that, especially with kids, somewhat ignoring all the characters just turns it into another theme park.

Food choice-wise, quick service meals are perfectly fine since our daughter is more than happy to get by on corn dogs and chicken fingers, but I feel a little like she's still at the age where meeting some of the characters again might be still be cool for her.

Do you guys do full meals, or just quick service?

Also, 6 year old in a stroller, yes or no? I'll feel like a douche, but after 10 minutes at six flags, our daughter is already complaining about walking.

There's some hybrid options that are less time but still get a sit down feel. We always hit the princess lunch in Norway. It's easy to get reservations there and fun to try some of the different foods (while still having 'kid' options available). It shouldn't take more than 60-75 minutes.

Also, we're big fans of the Biergarten. No characters there, but it's a buffet so you can get in and out quick and they have tons of interaction between the Bavarian band and the kids.

I'd agree that you don't need one every day. Maybe just the first and last days.

Strollers are a must. We just got back from WDW. I have an 8 year old and 5 year old. I have a tandem stroller we've had for several years. I keep that stroller solely for WDW trips. You're going to walk between five and eight miles every day. A kid can't do that, even at my older daughter's age. Strollers are a great way to give them a break when they need it. No shame in doing that. If you don't bring one, you're going to end up spending a lot of money on stroller rental when you realize you've made a mistake.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:00 PM   #360
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Mrs. G here....

ABC... Being from California as you (I assume since you have annual DL passes), I can give you my impressions of Florida.

We did a week long odyssey in Feb of '12 if I remember the year correctly.

To me: the Magic Kingdom was essentially Disneyland East. It's bigger, and more spread out. Some theming was better... The cue for the haunted mansion was much better there, and the cue for Pirates was amazing! However, the Pirates ride was not as good compared to CA. I remember one drop vs. our 2 drops on that ride. Having said all that, if you have little ones, that will be a must!

Animal kingdom is great, but if you need to, you can hit the San Diego Safari Park... It's a similar concept, although not as "disney" (AK wasn't overly "Disney" itself in my opinion).

Hollywood Studios was a cross between California Adventures and Universal Studios. If you have little ones, it might be the one to skip, unless they have to do Toy Story Mania. They have more 'action shows' and more theater seating events. I enjoyed it, but our 7 and 11 year olds didn't really care for it.

Epcot is the one place that California has nothing to compare! I loved the world showcase and could easily eat my way through the entire circle! The kids will like Turtle Talk, and our kids loved Mission Space (although once on the non-spinny side was enough for me and Mr. G). Definitely get reservations at the Rose and Crown for dinner and tell your reservation person that you want to see Illuminations. We were right down on the water and very close to some of the rafts for the displays. If you have little ones, they might be interested in the Kim Possible "adventure(?)". It was 4 years ago, so it may have been redesigned, but the concept was that you needed to help Kim and Ron solve some mystery as you worked your way around the world showcase. When you went to the right area you got the next clue

Other observations: for sit down.... Make reservations now! It's not like the Blue Bayou where you can walk up at 11 for dinner at 6. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, it was the bottom of the high end hotels, we had excellent bus service, and took the ferry to MK. We really liked the theming and seeking out all the hidden mickeys. We also bought access to a website that tells you when and where to avoid the crowds. The name escapes me now, but it seems that it was $20, and they had historical knowledge of what parks were busiest by day/time. The general theory was, avoid the park that has extra hours on that day. The crowds would be heavier, and lines longer.

Hope this helps
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:09 PM   #361
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Another hidden gem of WDW is the package service. If you purchase something, you can have them ship it to your hotel, that way you aren't lugging packages and bags through the parks. I think you bought and it was delivered to the hotel by 5 the next day
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:11 PM   #362
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The cue for the haunted mansion was much better there, and the cue for Pirates was amazing! However, the Pirates ride was not as good compared to CA. I remember one drop vs. our 2 drops on that ride. Having said all that, if you have little ones, that will be a must!

Just a quick heads up. Pirates is currently under renovation in WDW, so it will be changing at some level. Just not sure how much exactly.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:13 PM   #363
Glengoyne
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Mrs. G here....

ABC... Being from California as you (I assume since you have annual DL passes), I can give you my impressions of Florida.

We did a week long odyssey in Feb of '12 if I remember the year correctly.

To me: the Magic Kingdom was essentially Disneyland East. It's bigger, and more spread out. Some theming was better... The cue for the haunted mansion was much better there, and the cue for Pirates was amazing! However, the Pirates ride was not as good compared to CA. I remember one drop vs. our 2 drops on that ride. Having said all that, if you have little ones, that will be a must!

Animal kingdom is great, but if you need to, you can hit the San Diego Safari Park... It's a similar concept, although not as "disney" (AK wasn't overly "Disney" itself in my opinion).

Hollywood Studios was a cross between California Adventures and Universal Studios. If you have little ones, it might be the one to skip, unless they have to do Toy Story Mania. They have more 'action shows' and more theater seating events. I enjoyed it, but our 7 and 11 year olds didn't really care for it.

Epcot is the one place that California has nothing to compare! I loved the world showcase and could easily eat my way through the entire circle! The kids will like Turtle Talk, and our kids loved Mission Space (although once on the non-spinny side was enough for me and Mr. G). Definitely get reservations at the Rose and Crown for dinner and tell your reservation person that you want to see Illuminations. We were right down on the water and very close to some of the rafts for the displays. If you have little ones, they might be interested in the Kim Possible "adventure(?)". It was 4 years ago, so it may have been redesigned, but the concept was that you needed to help Kim and Ron solve some mystery as you worked your way around the world showcase. When you went to the right area you got the next clue

Other observations: for sit down.... Make reservations now! It's not like the Blue Bayou where you can walk up at 11 for dinner at 6. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, it was the bottom of the high end hotels, we had excellent bus service, and took the ferry to MK. We really liked the theming and seeking out all the hidden mickeys. We also bought access to a website that tells you when and where to avoid the crowds. The name escapes me now, but it seems that it was $20, and they had historical knowledge of what parks were busiest by day/time. The general theory was, avoid the park that has extra hours on that day. The crowds would be heavier, and lines longer.

Hope this helps
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:02 PM   #364
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In June I would be big on the sit down places, if only to have a place to sit and get away from the heat. June in Florida is pretty flippin' hot.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, Pirates has already re-opened. Nothing much has changed in the ride, only a new slap of paint and tidying up of the existing ride.

FYI, a great place to find news of closings and refurbishments is right here: Walt Disney World Refurbishments and Closings
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:23 PM   #365
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I somewhat agree, but I also think its nice to have maybe one meal a day where you can sit and just relax for a while without feeling like you need to eat fast and get moving again. And I also think that, especially with kids, somewhat ignoring all the characters just turns it into another theme park.

Completely agree. The characters are an enormous part of the overall Disney experience IMO, we did it regularly with ours from -- crap, about age 2 on up -- and the experience evolves as the child evolves. It's not just the characters, it's their reaction & interaction with the characters.

Quote:
Do you guys do full meals, or just quick service?

After some experimenting on our first few trips we settled into a routine that worked perfectly for us: one quik-serve per day, one sit-down/full meal per day. That was the balance between feeding & getting that break that worked for us, YMMV of course. One thing I don't really recommend is doubling-up on sit-down and doing 2x per day. Unless it's breakfast & dinner, that's really too much food for the amount of activity you'll be getting and it does become a bit of a time sink like that.

One specific tip I'll offer is to use The Plaza (on Main Street at MK) as an in-between option. It's a notch above quik-serve but the menu & pricing is more in line with QS. That's one spot that would let you get some of the break you're looking for while avoiding the longer time investment your wife objected to. It's sit-down rather than counter service, so you can at least breathe a little bit.


Quote:
Also, 6 year old in a stroller, yes or no?
Nah, I just don't see it. I can't recall exactly when we dispensed with the stroller but I'm virtually certain it was before that. And what a relief it was.
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:27 PM   #366
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Animal kingdom is great, but if you need to, you can hit the San Diego Safari Park... It's a similar concept, although not as "disney" (AK wasn't overly "Disney" itself in my opinion).

Agree wholeheartedly. If you have a top-notch zoo in your area, AK is pretty superfluous IMO ... unless you just really want to ride Yeti. It also works pretty well as a half-day park. Go early, do the 1-3 things that you really want and then escape elsewhere.

Quote:
Definitely get reservations at the Rose and Crown for dinner and tell your reservation person that you want to see Illuminations.


Yep. That's an A1 suggestion right there.

Quote:
We also bought access to a website that tells you when and where to avoid the crowds. The name escapes me now, but it seems that it was $20, and they had historical knowledge of what parks were busiest by day/time. The general theory was, avoid the park that has extra hours on that day. The crowds would be heavier, and lines longer.

There are quite a few sites of that sort -- many of them free -- among the ones I've used most was (IIRC) allears.net

Whatever the source, very much put me in the "find early opening ... and go the other direction" camp. The extra crowding more than kills any advantage of the extra hour(s) and we always plan every single day of a trip to avoid that mess.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:03 PM   #367
Glengoyne
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Looking back through the early pages of this thread, I found the reference to "TourGuideMike". That is who we used. It was well worth the coin.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:04 PM   #368
timmae
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I'll add... Tusker House in AK is a good character breakfast spot. You may be able to get into the park early to have breakfast there and then be ready to hit everything back in that corner right away when the park opens.

The safari at AK was a lot of fun but not sure about how young kids may enjoy it. I know I have always had fun on it.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:48 AM   #369
AnalBumCover
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Thanks for your tips! It'll be fun putting together an itinerary for our trip.

Can someone please explain: FastPass+, My Disney Experience, ADRs, and the Magic Band? This sounds like something I need to arrange far in advance of my trip.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:11 AM   #370
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I think fast pass options and Dining opens up 6 months prior to the date, and you need to get the reservations ASAP for dining. The magic bands will be shipped to you ahead of time. (you may be able to pick them up at the hotel as well, I don't remember). We did the My Disney Experience, but my wife set it up once we got there. I do remember we got a pretty surly customer rep, but it was definitely worth it. We got a lot of good pictures with all 3 of us instead of it always just being my wife and kid (since I'm the cameraman).

I really like the magic bands, it works perfectly every time and just makes everything so much more streamlined.

We're shaping our plan. Fairly certain we're going to do Magic Kingdom 1 day, 1/2 day at Hollywood Studios/Animal Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at the hotel (church day/downtown disney/pool day), then maybe 1 more day at Magic Kingdom or just fly home.

After going to Six Flags over Georgia, I just really miss how easy and clean everything at Disney is. Yes, 4 days at Disney has still been about 30x more expensive than family season passes at Six Flags, but everything just really is that much more enjoyable.
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:46 PM   #371
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My Disney Experience is the pretty much just the name of the website that allows you to setup your account, make dining reservations, Fastpass+, etc. You need to make an account and link your reservation/tickets to the account. You can also pick your color of Magicband for each party member. These are shipped automatically ~3-4 weeks prior to your trip. If you don't pick, they'll just send you a gray one.

Dining reservations can be made 180 days out at 6:00 am ET online, or 7:00 via phone. If you are staying onsite, you can make reservations for your entire trip (up to 10 days) beginning 180 days from your check-in date. For dining, if you are staying onsite, do not just go in chronological order. Do your most desired reservations/hardest to get reservations first, even if they are later in the trip. You might not get those ones if you do them last.

Fastpass+ availability opens up 60 days prior to your trip for on-site, and 30 days for off-site. Again, on-site can book their entire trip (up to 10 days in advance) at 60 days out from check-in. Fastpass availability opens up at midnight. This site: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/ is great for Fastpass priority. Following his itinerary can save you a lot of time. You can constantly change your fastpasses if you want and there is availability using the MyDisneyExperience app. For instance, when we went last August, we had a fastpass for Space Mountain. We got there and it was a 10 minute wait, so we decided to go into the stand-by line, and I changed my fastpass to another ride for a little later in the day as we were walking thru the line.

Once you use your 3 fastpasses, you can get a 4th from one of the in-park kiosks. You can also get 5th, 6th, etc, but other than the initial 3, you can only make one at a time.

We did the Memory Maker photo package when we went. You get all the pictures the photopass photographers take, and also all the rides that have on-ride photos are available with the package. When you ride with your Magicband on, the ride reads your band and sends the picture automatically to your account without even having to stop at the booth.
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:54 PM   #372
OldGiants
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Disney Springs is opening restaurants and shops almost everyday, I'm told. My daughter designed the winch and wing sign for the new Joc Lindsey's Hangar Bar. We went into the Vivoli gelato shop which is a branch of the famous one in Florence. Excellent stuff. The aquatic car ride looks great, but is also pricey.

There is a lot more parking now that the new multi-level is open. So if you have a car, it is much easier to get to Disney Springs now.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:07 PM   #373
AnalBumCover
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How the heck do I edit my plan on MDE? I want to change a park (from Epcot to Hollywood Studios) on one of my days, but all it did was add the additional park. So now I have Epot and HS on the same day as my plan.

edit: nevermind. i had been using an older browser version.

Last edited by AnalBumCover : 10-21-2015 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:17 PM   #374
timmae
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I'm sure it's been said already but I am too lazy to go back and check how recently... check out disboards forum for any general information. Lots of good stuff there. But always be aware that any boards run by Disney are also edited by Disney.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:56 PM   #375
AnalBumCover
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I'm sure it's been said already but I am too lazy to go back and check how recently... check out disboards forum for any general information. Lots of good stuff there. But always be aware that any boards run by Disney are also edited by Disney.

I don't think DIS Boards is run by Disney tho...
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:58 PM   #376
AnalBumCover
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dola

But yeah, DIS Boards is a wealth of information, including discussions on DVC, Disney Cruise Lines, etc.
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:02 AM   #377
bob
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Hey everyone - we have one day left on a multi-day pass for Disney and we are planning on hitting Epcot with an 8, 6, and 3 year old. We have been to the other parks lately, so we are looking for something different. Any advice for us?
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:47 AM   #378
CraigSca
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STROLLER. Epcot is a much bigger park than the others.

Definitely hit Living with the Seas for Turtle Talk with Crush, and the Nemo ride (especially if they've seen the movie). There's an Epcot Character spot in future world - my kids loved that. Take your time around the world showcase and explore - my kids used to love playing in China with the marionette dolls.

Epcot, in general, is a more adult park (drinking around the world, baby!), but you can still find lots of fun things for kids to do there.
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Old 01-14-2016, 01:11 PM   #379
Butter
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They have Kidcot, which is where you can stop and do a little activity at each country, and get a stamp on something for free.

They also have Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, which is basically a game you play on a phone-like device they give you that interacts with the world around you (in World Showcase only). Each country has its own mission, and those are pretty fun.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:02 PM   #380
AnalBumCover
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Just a few days away from our big trip. We used our DVC points towards 3 nights in a savannah view deluxe studio at Animal Kingdom Villas. Then a 3 night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Magic.

We're not gonna "go big" with the parks, just a day in Hollywood Studios, and a half day at Animal Kingdom. We figure, with our DVC membership, we can tackle Magic Kingdom and Epcot in future trips.

I'm super impressed how Disney makes planning our trip as easy as possible. With Fastpass+, the Magic Band, My Disney Experience, and Disney Magic Express, it seems once our vacation starts, I will barely have to lift a finger.

I expect our cruise to be just as fun. There's just one port-o'-call at Castaway Cay. I recently found out that Castaway Cay offers a free 5k Fun Run, so I plan on doing that while the wife and daughter settle in at the beach. The rest of the day will be just relaxing and eating and drinking.

We'll be celebrating my wife and daughter's birthday on this trip (they share the same birthday!), so I have made arrangements to make their trip extra special via the Disney Floral and Gifts website with gifts that will be delivered directly to our room once we check in. Our stateroom on the ship will also be pre-decorated with birthday themed flair.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:25 PM   #381
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Just a few days away from our big trip. We used our DVC points towards 3 nights in a savannah view deluxe studio at Animal Kingdom Villas.
Nice. That's where we stayed when we went last year. Real nice place.

(On our first morning there, the kids went out to look at the animals and came back in to tell us that one of the donkeys was giving a piggy back ride to the other donkey. So make sure you have your camera handy.)
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:25 PM   #382
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We were married in Disney last March on the Boardwalk. Was an awesome experience. I was totally skeptical but my wife wanted to do something different and everyone at Disney made it painless as possible.

I must say that eating at Shulas was easily the best food experience of the trip. I know they have other Shula restaurants but I highly suggest it.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:26 PM   #383
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We were married in Disney last March on the Boardwalk. Was an awesome experience. I was totally skeptical but my wife wanted to do something different and everyone at Disney made it painless as possible.

I must say that eating at Shulas was easily the best food experience of the trip. I know they have other Shula restaurants but I highly suggest it.

AWESOME! Was it more expensive than usual? I would imagine a Disney wedding costs a pretty penny. I do know they have a honeymoon suite inside sleeping beauty castle.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:46 PM   #384
DeToxRox
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AWESOME! Was it more expensive than usual? I would imagine a Disney wedding costs a pretty penny. I do know they have a honeymoon suite inside sleeping beauty castle.

The service was like 4 grand I think. We kept it very small as part of our reason for doing a destination wedding was to get away from having 200+ people. They took care of everything for us and it was awesome. I can't believe how little stress either one of us had to deal with.

Depending on what you do though it can add up big time. I think they said to have Mickey and Minnie at the service is like an extra grand on its own.
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:07 PM   #385
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Awesome stuff.. Have fun abc! Just finishing up 10 days at Kidani.

Be sure to try and catch the star wars fireworks at studios. They are amazing!
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:36 PM   #386
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Awesome stuff.. Have fun abc! Just finishing up 10 days at Kidani.

Be sure to try and catch the star wars fireworks at studios. They are amazing!

I just added that on my things to do. Thanks! We weren't sure if we wanted to stick around that late with a fidgety 4yo in tow, but maybe we can find a quiet place for a short afternoon nap while we wait.

I requested the sunset savannah view at Kidani Village. Hopefully there will be good animal activity during our stay.
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:47 PM   #387
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Yes.. Zebras and giraffes mainly but also cattle and ostriches. A few others... They rotate their feeding areas day to day and throughout the day so be sure to keep checking where the animals are. I am sure you are aware but if you do not like long walks to your room from the lobby then request a closer room. They may be able to accommodate. We have a room in the 5th or 6th block of buildings and it is a hike! Send me a message if you need any info!!

The streets of America section of Hollywood studios is very, very quiet after about 6pm. Best view of the fireworks imho is near the popcorn stand between the main aisle to the great movie ride and the entrance to the star wars area to the north (between the stage and the brown derby).
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:47 PM   #388
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Yes.. Zebras and giraffes mainly but also cattle and ostriches. A few others... They rotate their feeding areas day to day and throughout the day so be sure to keep checking where the animals are. I am sure you are aware but if you do not like long walks to your room from the lobby then request a closer room. They may be able to accommodate. We have a room in the 5th or 6th block of buildings and it is a hike! Send me a message if you need any info!!

I requested Sunset Savanna and Close to Lobby. Hopefully they'll be able to accomodate!

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The streets of America section of Hollywood studios is very, very quiet after about 6pm. Best view of the fireworks imho is near the popcorn stand between the main aisle to the great movie ride and the entrance to the star wars area to the north (between the stage and the brown derby).

Excellent! About how long before the fireworks show should we try to claim our viewing spot?
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:01 PM   #389
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My wife and I have had luck getting there about 15-20 minutes early. If you have an entourage maybe a little sooner than that. There seems to have been space available in that area almost right up until they start.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:27 PM   #390
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Trip Report: Disney World and Disney Cruise

I got back on Sunday from a very memorable week long land and sea trip at WDW and cruise.

First off, the weather was VERY cooperative. I anticipated high humidity and maybe a day or two of light rain. We got neither.

Kidani Village at AKV (Animal Kingdom Villas) was really cool. We were on the fourth level above the savanna, and were able to capture sights of ostriches, zebras, a lone giraffe (was really hoping for a tower), and some other animals of which I can't remember the name.

The wife and daughter were happily surprised about the birthday gifts I bought for them, which included personal messages from our family and friends (a free perk offered by Disney Floral and Gifts).

We arrived late Monday evening, so we didn't get a chance to really explore the area. Room service and off to bed to start the vacation.

Tuesday was a day at Hollywood Studios, beginning with a Character Meet & Greet breakfast at Hollywood & Vine starring Sofia the First, Jake, Doc McStuffins, and Handy Manny. Ashley (my daughter) had her autograph book ready, and I was armed with my camera.

Kylo Ren rocked at the Star Wars Launch Bay. I wanted to ask him why he (insert movie spoiler here), but he cut me of with some cryptic phrases.

Thanks to timmae's suggestion we stuck around to catch the Star Wars Fireworks show. I'm so glad we did. It was probably the best fireworks show Disney has put together, including that at Disneyland at California.

Wednesday: Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The Kilimanjaro Safari was awesome. I sure wished they had told us we were supposed to wait for next truck. We had followed the family in front of us into their truck and tightly sqeezed ourselves into the row. It made for an uncomfortable ride. The animal sightings were really cool though. We didn't really do much else that day, even though we had Fastpasses for a couple more attractions. Lunch and it was back to AKV for the POOL! Dinner at Sanaa at Kidani Village was nothing short of amazing. I highly recommend it.

We had a little free time after dinner to take a short trip to Disney Springs. I wished we had more time to walk around, but we did need to pack our luggage and prepare for the cruise the next day. We covered only a small fraction of Disney Springs.

Thursday was Cruise Day! DCL (Disney Cruise Line) took our luggage at 8am for delivery to the boat. And they picked us up from a meeting place at our resort for transportation. After a smooth check-in at the port and we were on the boat. As I ordered previously, our stateroom was decorated with birthday flair and treats. And our luggage came shortly after.

Thursday happened to be my wife's and daughter's birthdays, so we scheduled a princess makeover for the little one. Oh boy, the attention she received. She revelled in it.

There was so much to do on the boat that I can't really get to everything, but here are some highlights.

Disney Magic is exclusively showing the Tangled: The Musical live show. A must see!
Zootopia movie was released that weekend, so they played it on the boat (in 3D even!)
Pirate Night on outer deck, including fireworks show.

Our only port-o'-call was at Castaway Cay. I ran the 5K fun run. Water was very cold. Food was delicious. Nothing much else to say, except that it was a really nice relaxing day off the boat.

Overall, the service was top-notch. We felt like Kings/Queens/Princesses on board.

Three nights on land, and three nights at sea is probably the right amount of time for a vacation like this. Though I think a 4 or 5 night cruise and a 2nd port-o'-call would be good if you were only taking the cruise. There were parts of the boat I only learned about on the last day.

Oh, I forgot to mention, some time during our stay at WDW, I got a personal phone call from our DVC member rep, leaving me a "Welcome Home" message.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:50 PM   #391
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I sure wished they had told us we were supposed to wait for next truck. We had followed the family in front of us into their truck and tightly sqeezed ourselves into the row. It made for an uncomfortable ride.

We had this happen to us last year when we rode the safari - an elderly couple just followed us in and yeah it was a tight squeeze. It wouldn't kill the CM there to pay attention so that this doesn't happen.

Agree with your comments on AKV- it is an awesome place. My only complaints the one time we stayed there were that we were on the far end so with the buildings shaped like a horseshoe it was a really long walk to the room and that it was so far from Magic Kingdom. Obviously with you only going to AK and DHS it wasn't that bad. Definitely amazing to be able to walk out on your balcony and see exotic animals though.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:10 PM   #392
AnalBumCover
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Agree with your comments on AKV- it is an awesome place. My only complaints the one time we stayed there were that we were on the far end so with the buildings shaped like a horseshoe it was a really long walk to the room and that it was so far from Magic Kingdom. Obviously with you only going to AK and DHS it wasn't that bad. Definitely amazing to be able to walk out on your balcony and see exotic animals though.

We had requested a room close to the lobby (after having read about the super long hallways). We were given one midway, basically at the apex of the horseshoe. Things were made easier when we found an exit along the walk that leads you straight to the bus stops instead of having to walk all the way to the lobby and out.
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:10 PM   #393
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Got back from Disney Tuesday after getting down there the prior Tuesday evening. The flights down there sucked (daughter got pulled out of line by the TSA, initial flight delayed 40 minutes, had to run to make our connecting flight in ATL), but we were able to sneak out during a lull in the tropical storm.

The weather was pretty much perfect. A bit hot and humid as expected, so you wanted to die 1/2 the time while wandering around. It rained pretty much non-stop the last 1/2 of the day on our last day due to the storm, but before doing so we got to ride Everest twice and went on the Safari during the storm, which was cool. Couldn't stay for the Lion King show or whatever we had tickets for that night, since we had to be at the airport at 2 AM. Also had rain the day before for about 1 hour, but we snuck into Buzz Light Year right before it started and it stopped raining by the time we got out.

Highlights:
my daughter getting autographs. She loved that. Didn't hit as many princesses as we wanted, but we also didn't do a lot of those meals where they show up. She's always a bit shy in the character pictures, so having her give them the book opened her up a little, and she loved meeting goofy and the like.
Frozen Sing-a-Long. Holy cow that was good. Well, the first one we saw was good. We then went on our last morning and they had a different group of performers... it was horrendous. The first version was hilarious, they were just so much better at improv-ing.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain 4 times in 20 minutes, then riding Splash Mountain 2 times in 10 minutes. We got 6 rides done in 1/2 hour the last morning we were at Magic Kingdom.

Space Mountain. I had never ridden it before, I loved it. Did it twice during the week.

Lowlights:
The Ariel show in Hollywood Studios stopped after 8 minutes. Suddenly the doors opened and the mikes cut out. Ariel just sat on stage. No one seemed to know what was going on after a minute the curtain closed. Everyone slowly got up and left. They didn't let us know what was going on. It took about 5 minutes until I overhead a worker come out and say there was a technical difficulty.

Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Wow that ride sucked. Thank God I had a fast pass, I couldn't imaging waiting in line for 2 hours for that. It was over in 20 seconds. It was like a boring version of Big Thunder Mountain.

Rock N Roller Coaster. My daughter passed the measurement at the start of the line. They measured her again when we got to the end of the line and said she wasn't tall enough. They measured her by slipping a business card between her head and the measuring stick. I understand they have to CYA, but you can't tell me there's a difference in safety in that instance.

Other Thoughts:
The food was hit or miss. We went to Tiffins the last night, and the Wagyu steak was ungodly. I could cut it with my fork... so tender. The rest of the food there was just meh.

The steak at Be Our Guest was delicious as well, as was the triple chocolate cupcake. Buffets were good enough, but the "prime rib" was quite dry the whole time. They're good for getting refueled after walking around all day. The Brown Derby was forgettable. I honestly don't remember what I ate, I think it was the beef. The lamb at Tutto Italia was delicious, as was the Bacio al Cioccolato.

Quick services for lunch were solid all around. Pretty much as good as you can expect, and unlike most theme parks, they actually give you a good bit of food for the money.

Finally, I love Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and they need to be made available at grocery stores.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:15 PM   #394
timmae
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Sounds like a great time! Looking forward to my upcoming trip in October.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:56 AM   #395
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Finally, I love Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and they need to be made available at grocery stores.

Aren't they?

Great report.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:47 AM   #396
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Back in my day they were, but now its a Disney Park exclusive. If you can find regular Nestle ice cream bars, its probably the same thing, but all I ever find are Nestle crunch bars. The Mickey ice cream tastes like a slightly better dove bar, but filled with nostalgia.

I'm mad at myself for only getting one. I'm a bit lactose intolerant, so I didn't feel like I could risk going overboard on the ice cream.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:43 AM   #397
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W.T.F.

Alligator attacks boy at Disney's Grand Floridian, deputies say - Orlando Sentinel
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:23 AM   #398
timmae
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Just crazy... That is one of my home resorts and I know exactly where this happened. The beach has direct access to the water in that area and while there are no swimming signs posted it is very easy to get near or in the water. Having said that it does not surprise me that an alligator was near there as I have seen them on the lagoon. Being central Florida I always assumed everyone knows about gators but maybe there was not direct knowledge or the family just wasn't prepared to encounter one. I know on the disboards there are people who are astounded that alligators are within the lagoon. Really people? I do feel for this family.. Just tragic.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:47 AM   #399
CraigSca
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Live in Central Florida, but frankly, it never really occurred to me that there would be alligators in that lake (probably because I never really thought about it). I do know they post signs about not swimming all over, but they don't post anything about alligators. I also thought (my wife mentioned this) that they had some kind of wire mesh in the water to prevent alligators from getting too close to shore.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:48 AM   #400
AnalBumCover
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I think it's easy to assume that the resort(s) will have taken measures to keep the gators away from populated areas. The fact that there were no alligator warning signs, adds to that assumption.

Campgrounds here in California post signs warning of mountain lions, which leads to increased diligence while in the area. Gator signs in Florida I think would have the same effect.
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