Planning a Disney Vacation

Discussion in 'General' started by dtomecko, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    I feel like I'm not even knowledgeable enough to post a question.  I normally research everything before I make a decision on anything.  But checking out these Disney sites is just overwhelming.  I'm not sure where to begin.  Yesterday I forced myself to read up on a few places for an hour or so.  So, step 1 is I'm trying to decide where to stay.  We're planning the first or second week of June (Summer is our only option since my husband is a teacher).  My first thought was the economy Disney resorts.  Then I started reading up on the Swan and Dolphin hotels (not run by Disney) but seem to be more reasonable, still nice, and in a good location (walking distance to Epcot) and surrounded by lots of restaurants?  But then I realized the meal plan wouldn't be accepted at a non-Disney hotel, and not sure of the surrounding restaurants.  Not sure if it's worth it to follow a meal plan and be restricted where you can go, or just do it on your own and eat where you want to eat?
    So then I went back to the Disney resorts and found some of the moderate level ones were reasonable too - Coronado Springs, Animal Kingdom...and the Boardwalk Hotel (more expensive, but it looked really fun!).   
    Has anyone stayed at any of these places and can you offer any advice?  Is the meal plan worth it? I'm sure I have a ton more questions, but this is just step 1!
  2. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We stayed at an economy disney resort.. (Pop century?) the room was not that great but it was clean and perfectly fine for what we were doing. If you're planning any down time at the hotel, or going to other non disney attractions I would probably not choose that. We had 3 solid days of disney, and never spent much time at our hotel. The major pluses for us were the amenities there; great cafeteria for breakfast, shuttle service to the parks etc. the pool was quite nice as well.

    We didn't like the dining plan, because usually when we are on vacation we get a late start and have two big meals a day rather than 3. So it was tough for us to use up all the vouchers. I thought I would like to have everything prepaid and not worry about it, but the flexibility would have been better for us. We were lucky because we had almost no lineups injqnuary, but if you're going during busier times, definitely make dinner reservations for restaurants well in advance. My favourite was the liberty tree tavern in the magic kingdom and the sci-if diner in Hollywood studios.

    If I was doing it again, I would just plan out a couple of things that were on my "must" list, and then there's lots of surprises throughout. All the shows we saw were totally worth it, and disney even makes waiting in line pretty fun.
  3. MrsWright

    MrsWright Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It is so much we chose to use our Disney points on a cruise instead haha!
    Have fun planning! It'll be awesome no matter what you choose!
  4. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    Animal Kingdom is not moderate. It's one of the most expensive.

    We've stayed at the economy, and they were fine, but that was pre-kids. I would totally try one of those family suites though. We usually stay at Wilderness Lodge, which is great. It's like an upper moderate. Has a great breakfast restaurant, which made that meal pretty easy. Kind of its own category. Next time we go, we will need more space, and I think we will do a villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

    I'm a fan of the meal plan. We like to plan nice meals--lots of character meals to avoid waiting in line later and some signature meals at nicer restaurants that use 2 meals. We never had any issues using up meals and we usually do the deluxe meal plan.
  5. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I love Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I find it is really easy to travel to all 4 parks from it faster than most of the other resorts. Boardwalk is also fun quick walk to Epcot, can walk to Hollywood studios. Both Animal kingdom lodge and Boardwalk are considered deluxe resorts.  
    We went December 2013- stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort in a 2 bedroom, then in August 2014: 4 night in a studio in Boardwalk villas followed by 3 nights in a studio at Grand Floridian.  We just did 1 night at All star movies followed by 2 nights at a studio at Animal Kingdom Kidani.  
    In terms of the dining plan, think about where you want to eat and what you would get.  I have not done the regular dining plan since 2007 because it doesn't fit the way i like to eat.  I'm more of an all day snacker with an early dinner.  DH on the other hand perfers meals so we have done the Deluxe dining with is 3 meal credits a day that we use for 2 credit meals.  
    Last 3 trips we did not have a meal plan.  It meant we didn't have both get dessert after dinner if we were full, as well as we never would get dessert with a counter service (quick service).  What we did was figure out about what we were going to spend and bought disney gift cards at target ( save 5%) or BJ's to save a little. 
  6. Christel

    Christel Well-Known Member

    We always stay at either Sports or Pop Century.  It's fine for us since we do not really hang out at our rooms.  
    We do the dining plan, but we only go when it's free.  If we didn't do that, we wouldn't bother because it's really not a good deal.  But we are quick service eaters, not character meals or buffets.
  7. southernmommy

    southernmommy Well-Known Member

    Another option is to look into renting a house. For us since there are 9 of us it ends up cheaper than a room at least in the winter time. We've never gone in the summer.  We usually spend at least 1 day at the house swimming and resting between park days,  plus you can keep food there to eat a quick breakfast before you go or dinner. We have never done the food plan. I pack food to take into the parks for us to snack on and then usually eat late afternoon at the park.
  8. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your responses!  It was tough, but I finally booked it.  We're staying at the Caribbean Beach in June.  They are refurbishing their rooms and upgrading to Queen beds + a murphy bed, so I'm excited to stay in a new(er) room with the bigger beds.  Haven't told the kids yet.  Not sure how or when I'm going to do that.  I'm sure I'll be posting with more questions as time goes on!
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