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Disney for a laid-back, non-planner?


alisoncooks
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I'm wondering...

Anyone have a great Disney vacation without major planning?

We are not looking for the ULTIMATE WDW vacation... just a fun, laid-back week.

 

I'm thinking:

Stay off-site

Breakfast and dinner at the condo and lunch wherever at a park -- are there grab-and-go, easy places to eat (not interested in having to make reservations or such). Burger places and tables to eat at?

 

Rides: can't we just make our way through the park and when we see something that interests us, stop and ride (waiting in line, obviously)? What *is* Fast Pass?

 

All the talk about planning it all out and knowing what you'll do and when...meh....

WHAT WILL WE MISS OUT BY NOT DOING MAJOR PLANNING?

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You just described our Disney vacations. :)

 

We've been twice (a week each time), and had a fabulous time both visits. We never used Fast Pass, and the longest we ever waited in line was 20 minutes.

 

We eat breakfast at the condo, pack a cooler with lunch and go to the park. The cooler is more of a back up plan in case we have trouble finding allergy friendly food, but of course it's Disney and there is always allergy friendly food! There are tons of places to grab a quick bite without reservations.

 

We go off season, during the week.

 

I'm just not a planner, but it's worked out beautifully. Maybe if you have princess kids or something specific that you want to do, it will be different? For us, we just *go*... And it's perfect.

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Rides: can't we just make our way through the park and when we see something that interests us, stop and ride (waiting in line, obviously)? What *is* Fast Pass?

 

At a less busy time of the year, the above is do-able.  So portions of September/October, early December, most weeks in January/February, and early-mid May are times when you could do this and still have a great time.

 

But during the summer, Thanksgiving/Christmas, or spring break, I wouldn't go without a plan and a touring strategy.  Actually, I wouldn't go at all during those times, but that's just me.  Waits can easily be 1 - 2 hours for the more popular attractions, and I'm a 30 minutes or less wait kind of girl.

 

Fast Pass is simply a way of reserving your spot in line ahead of time.  I haven't been since they started the new Fast Pass+ system, and frankly, I'm not liking what I read about it.  Because while I don't mind grabbing a slip of paper day of that allows me to come back later instead of waiting in line (which was what the old system did), I think it's crazy to need a smart phone app to plan my wait for rides/attractions days, weeks, even months in advance.  And that's what the new system does. 

 

There are definitely "grab and go" places, some serving average burgers and fries, others with more exotic/tasty offerings (especially in EPCOT).  Pricing at these places is high, but not outrageous.  Or, if you are staying offsite in a place with a kitchen, throw some sandwiches together before you leave for the day and let that be your lunch--Disney allows outside food (just no glass containers or alcohol).  This saves money AND time--no waiting in line for food!

 

But at the very least I would read up on some of the attractions and rides if you've never been.  Because you will wait in lines, even when it's not busy season, and there is so much to do it's almost impossible to see it all in a day.  If you are at least aware of what's available and what you really want to see, you will maximize your time.

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That is how we 'do' Disney. We really try to just enjoy ourselves, take in the atmosphere and not get stressed out, not in a rush. We try to travel when it is not crowded or a million degrees and realize we can always return another time. After we finally changed to this mindset, our trips were so much more enjoyable.

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We went once.  Stayed off site.  No fast pass.  Off-season.  It was crazy.  Long lines every where - for rides, to meet costumed characters, to eat lunch.  When my kids mention going back to WDW, I tell them only if the XYZ family we know (who are planners and know how to "do" Disney) invite them to go along because I'm never going back, lol. 

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I've been only once, and it was during a high tourist time.   Not planning would not have worked.    All the planning I did really helped us hit things when we needed to.   It made a huge difference.

 

I think if you went during a less busy time, and are a laid back person and don't have any special needs in your family, you wouldn't need to plan things out.  We're vegetarians, so that was another thing for us to deal with.

 

I am a planning ninja, and most of my fun comes from planning!!!!

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That's how we do it. Off season. But one person needs to be decisive, or you just go in circles. We get counter service for meals and if a line is long, we either take turns standing in it while others get snacks, or get a fast pass. It helps to know what you want to see before you go so you don't miss it. And maybe at least quickly look at the map and get an order to see things figured out. Or you will do a lot of walking!

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I think if you go in knowing that it will be that kind of vacation, then you'll be fine.  You may not get to see everything (or much depending on the time of year - even off-season, there are days and weekends that are VERY busy).  You may need to wait in long lines.  Try to eat at non-busy times.  Lines get really long around the traditional meal times.

 

Fast pass is a way you get around lines.  EAch ride has a fastpass line and a regular line.  The FP line is shorter because you are given a particular time to come to that ride.  Typically, you wait for about 5 minutes in that line.  Regular lines for rides can be 5 minutes, but the more popular rides can be hours long.  They've just changed the system (I was a tester!) though.  So, you can get your Fastpasses before you get to the park.  It's quite easy - you log in to your account and pick the three (is it still three?) rides you want the FPs for.  It's all programmed into a bracelet you wear.  The bracelet is also your key to your room and your park entry passes.  

 

If you choose not to do it in advance, you can also do it the day of in the parks or on the App.   

 

Would your kids help you with some research?  Have them go through books or webistes and pick their four favorite things at each park.  Ask here or do your own research to find out which ones need FPs to do.  Then, spend an hour or so planning.  Then, you're done!

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I would plan on being flexible about dinner. The evening shows, such as light shows and fireworks are things you are likely going to want to do. I just can't imagine not showing up until after breakfast and leaving before dinner. I wouldn't feel like I got my money's worth out of the ticket for the day. And I'd feel rushed to get it all in before dinner. If you get a big enough lunch, you'll really only want a snack at dinner time anyways. And then dessert a bit later :drool5: .

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Of course you can go to Disney without advanced planning. But I wouldn't advise it. You'll end up walking more (miles of walking each day is necessary, and wandering without a plan could increase it by a lot) and spending a lot more time in line.

 

We've done it both ways, and I prefer a little planning, especially with children the age of yours.

 

You don't have to become an uber planner with every meal planned out and exact times for everything. But if you spend even a couple of hours online to get some general tips, you will have a better experience.

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You could do it that way, but I wouldn't advise it. You don't have to plan every minute of your vacation, but going to WDW blind is going to be a huge waste of money and time. You will spend more time in line than a planner. You will miss certain attractions and shows. If you are just grabbing whatever food is closest, you will find yourself faced with less than stellar menu choices. You will miss some fun experiences that your family would enjoy because they're less obvious or require a bit of planning to secure.

 

You don't have to commando plan (my days there are unstructured from lunch time on, except for meal reservations or shows), but you need to be at least a little familiar with things. Read at least one guidebook, and stalk a couple of websites for awhile before your trip. Disney is an expensive vacation, you should get your money's worth.

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As I believe someone mentioned above - it is much easier to do Disneyland than the 'World, if you dislike planning.  It is compact enough to show up and be all right. The on-property and many of the Good Neighbor hotels are walking distance from the park entrances, so you don't have to worry about buses/boats/other transportation issues.

 

Going early is ideal, especially if you can do one of the Early Entry/Magic Mornings.  We are rope drop people, and get most of our big E-ticket rides done before 11 am, leaving the rest of the day to re-ride favorite rides, catch a show, swim, or just hang out.  

 

Admittedly, I'm a planner by nature - but I have done trips to both WDW and DL, and many WDW people comment how much "easier" it is to visit Disneyland. 

 

Just a thought for y'all, if it's not too late to change venues - that is!   :laugh:

 

 

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I took my adult son with autism in Feb (not Valentines weekend! Avoid that time) and we had a fine time, with short waits for most rides.  Oh, this was Disney LAND, of course.  I have no idea what the non-original place is like.  Anaheim for me every time.  We stay at one of the Good Neighbor hotels across the street from the main entrance and walk into the resort. Pizza in Tomorrowland at Pizza Port is Joe's fav.

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I would just get a guidebook from your library or visit a free touring plan site online. Pick a plan that seems interesting for each park and print it out.

 

As you go, you can skip anything on the plan that doesn't appeal. You still won't do any planning, but even if you do it on a more leisurely schedule a touring plan will likely save you time and reduce walking distances. If you find you hate the plan, you can ignore it. You'll have the option though.

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As I believe someone mentioned above - it is much easier to do Disneyland than the 'World, if you dislike planning.  It is compact enough to show up and be all right. The on-property and many of the Good Neighbor hotels are walking distance from the park entrances, so you don't have to worry about buses/boats/other transportation issues.

 

Going early is ideal, especially if you can do one of the Early Entry/Magic Mornings.  We are rope drop people, and get most of our big E-ticket rides done before 11 am, leaving the rest of the day to re-ride favorite rides, catch a show, swim, or just hang out.  

 

Admittedly, I'm a planner by nature - but I have done trips to both WDW and DL, and many WDW people comment how much "easier" it is to visit Disneyland. 

 

Just a thought for y'all, if it's not too late to change venues - that is!   :laugh:

 

Well, you know, when you go to Disneyland, you only have that and California Adventure. You don't have to decide how to visit the other parks. :-)

 

Even so, Mr. Ellie and I don't feel like we've had a decent Disneyland visit unless we have spent *at least* two days there. Three is better. :-) 

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FastPass is essentially an appointment to come back to a particular ride/attraction/event at a certain time to avoid a long line.  For example, the regular line for Ana and Else (Frozen chicks) is 3-4 hours each day.  If you get a FastPass, it says to come at a certain time, say between 2p-3p, and then you get to go in via the FastPass line, and may only have no wait-10 minute wait.    There are other popular attractions that will have similiar long waits...the new Dwarf's Gem Mine ride....3-4 hours.     There is no charge for Fastpass.  One can start their day with up to 3, and get more as they use those three.

 

So yes doing Disney without planning is do-able, depending on the time of year...and if you don't mind standing in line 3-4 hours for many rides/attractions.   Of course, that time varies WIDELY depending on time of year.  We only go in Oct-early Nov, or March-early May...and only during weekdays...and we've had visits were there was literally no wait for the rides we wanted to go on.  We do Space Mountain, a roller coaster, 4 times by walking on, riding, and going right back on.   If you went this week, you'd stand in line for 2 hours mininum.

 

Fastpasses can be booked online now, at MyDisneyExperience.com...60 days in advance if you are staying at a Disney resort, and 30 days in advance if you are just coming to the parks (and buy your ticket in advance).   One can still get Fastpasses at the park, the day they walk in, but you are going to get the left-over times..the times that no one else selected...and some attractions FastPasses simply just book up.

 

You also will not be able to eat at any sit-down restaurants if you don't make reservations in advance.   The most popular book up 4-6 months in advance.  The others will be booked up within the month of any given arrival date.  There will be some choices left, but not the ones you want...meaning I am in Magic Kingdom today and want to eat here....we won't have any availibility, but I could get you a restaurant at a resort (meaning you have to leave the park).   Yes there are quick-service places to eat, no reservation required, and that's fine...but fast food meals get old after a few days, ya know.   (I work for Disney dining, that's why I say "we", lol!)

 

I would say DIsney is easy to do with no planning if you have older kids, children that understand the long line, children who won't get grumpy if they can't eat at the regular time, etc...but with the ages of OP...no, I'd not waste the money to go to Disney and not put in a bit of advance planning to get the best experience.  Why bother going?

 

ps.  Disneyland is much easier to do than Disney World because it's MUCH SMALLER.   It's like shopping at a convienence store/gas station versus shopping at Wal-Mart.  Not in terms of quality, but in terms of the square footage.  Of course, it's easy to get in and out of convenience store, there just isn't as much to get there.

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ps.  Disneyland is much easier to do than Disney World because it's MUCH SMALLER.   It's like shopping at a convienence store/gas station versus shopping at Wal-Mart.  Not in terms of quality, but in terms of the square footage.  Of course, it's easy to get in and out of convenience store, there just isn't as much to get there.

 

It isn't just that it's "smaller." It's that it is *only* Disneyland and California Adventure, not the Magic Kingdom plus Epcot plus Disney's Hollywood Studios plus Disney's Animal Kingdom plus Disney's Typhoon Lagoon plus Disney's Blizzard Beach. :-)

 

And since I can spend two days at Disneyland alone, it's hard for me to imagine that the Magic Kingdom (just the Magic Kingdom, not including Epcot and the rest) is that much bigger. I look forward to seeing for myself some day (which is the cool thing about Austin: it's almost halfway between Disneyland and WDW) but if never make it there, I won't be sorry. I have loved every moment of every one of the 30+ times I've been to Disneyland. :-)

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What will I miss by not planning?

 

1. Time. You will miss opportunities to save time.

2. Depending on when you go, you might miss certain shows if they are sold out. For example, "Fantasia" at Hollywood Studios sells out sometimes.

3. Lunch at the castle. It is possible to do it without reservations, but, highly unlikely.

4. Lunch at 'Be Our Guest'. Again, possible but very unlikely.

 

Can Disney be done without planning?

 

1. Go early and start with the big ride for the day.

2. Bring things to do while standing in lines. Hand held games and a wifi hotspot are your friend,

3. You will probably be shopping more than otherwise because those lines drive one crazy.

 

I would at least recommend a Disney Passporter. Of all the planners, it is the least amount of reading. Nonetheless, it covers all the essentials. Having said all this, I go without a plan frequently. But, now I usually go into a park for one ride or show at a time. And, I have just recently quit making all dinner reservations.

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I am a True Planner when it comes to homeschooling, but I am doing the laid-back approach for our WDW trip this fall. I peeked at a couple of the Disney boards and gracious, we are not going to be Obsessive Disney People. (No offense to those who are! But we're not that into it.) We don't *want* to see shows. We don't want sit-down meals. I doubt DS will be impressed by the characters, much less looking for all the hidden Mickeys around the park. Dude currently doesn't even know what WDW is. I will look at maps of the park beforehand so that we focus on the areas that will be the most fun for us (read: roller coasters). I'll make sure he sees a couple of movies so he gets the references. (He's already seen Cinderella and The Little Mermaid--didn't like the latter--plus some of the Pixar ones.)

 

We are going during the week, probably 2 days in MK and 2 in Epcot, staying off-site but pretty close. We'll probably go back to the resort and go swimming before dinner and bedtime at least some nights. The only question mark in my mind is whether it'd make sense to spend one day over at the Space Coast instead.

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Going early is ideal, especially if you can do one of the Early Entry/Magic Mornings.  We are rope drop people, and get most of our big E-ticket rides done before 11 am, leaving the rest of the day to re-ride favorite rides, catch a show, swim, or just hang out.  

 

 

 

Here is a real example of what it looks like with planning versus no planning.

 

At Magic Kingdom, we went on an Extra Magic morning (at 8 am), where people who stay on Disney property get to enter the park an hour before everyone else. We headed straight to Fantasyland and rode every single ride back there multiple times by 8:45. There were no lines at all. Then we got in line to see Merida by the castle (she started greeting people at 9) and got into the first group of people to get her autography that day. (She was very popular  that year and the best character we met at the park, because she took time to interact with the children, so her lines were long later). All that by 9 am when the park opened for the regular crowd.

 

So what you need to know in contrast is that Peter Pan in Fantasyland has one of the longest wait times in the park. Within a short time after the regular opening, that ride alone will have a wait of 45 to 90 minutes. Someone who does not plan and wants to ride a Fantasyland ride will spend the same amount of time riding THAT ONE RIDE that we spent completing that entire section of the park multiple times.

 

FYI, the rides in Fantasyland tend to get long lines early, because the cars take longer to board and hold fewer people. Also families with small children congregate there. But the rides are fun for any age, so it's best to get them done before the hordes arrive.

 

So -- an hour with planning versus an hour without. You'll experience much more and get more bang for your buck if you simply do a bit of research ahead of time and gain the benefit of people who have learned some tricks for optimizing the experience.

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I am a total "mouse junkie". We have been 15 times and have did the vacation all kinds of ways. I have planned several different vacations for friends. If you want to stay off site I would recommend staying at Bonnet Creek, however, if you are planning on this fall Disney has a free dining offer right now. To me staying on site is by far the most relaxing. You can go to the parks then go back to the resort to swim, nap, ect. Fast pass is being phased out (not sure when)and all fast passes will be on a magic band. How that works is that when you check in your resort tickets will be on your band, food credits ( if you have dining plan), room key, ect. I did see some kiosks set up to help those who have paper tickets get fast passes. One thing I really liked about staying on site is that we could get up in the morning and choose a park then go to the disney app on my phone and make fast pass selections and dining reservations. Some restaurants fill up in advance so we couldn't get into some. Time wise I would say if you don't want to plan everything I would say to stay on site. That is the best way to get more bang for your buck. Bonnet creek is another way. They don't charge you to park and the will bus you to the parks. The resort is beautiful and have 1-3 bedrooms condos. If you have any specific questions pm me. I would be happy to help. Also knowing when you are going would help those of us who go all the time answer your questions!

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I am a total "mouse junkie". We have been 15 times and have did the vacation all kinds of ways. I have planned several different vacations for friends. If you want to stay off site I would recommend staying at Bonnet Creek, however, if you are planning on this fall Disney has a free dining offer right now. To me staying on site is by far the most relaxing. You can go to the parks then go back to the resort to swim, nap, ect. Fast pass is being phased out (not sure when)and all fast passes will be on a magic band. How that works is that when you check in your resort tickets will be on your band, food credits ( if you have dining plan), room key, ect. I did see some kiosks set up to help those who have paper tickets get fast passes. One thing I really liked about staying on site is that we could get up in the morning and choose a park then go to the disney app on my phone and make fast pass selections and dining reservations. Some restaurants fill up in advance so we couldn't get into some. Time wise I would say if you don't want to plan everything I would say to stay on site. That is the best way to get more bang for your buck. Bonnet creek is another way. They don't charge you to park and the will bus you to the parks. The resort is beautiful and have 1-3 bedrooms condos. If you have any specific questions pm me. I would be happy to help. Also knowing when you are going would help those of us who go all the time answer your questions!

Fast pass is not being phased out....the way fast pass is done has changed. Disney has spent millions to change the system to be more electronic based, ie the Magic plus bands.....but the concept of FastPass stays the same...ie, an appointment for an attraction to avoid the long lines. It will be a while before day guests get Magic Bands....right now they have to,pay $14.95 for them. Until then, they use paper tickets/plastic tickets like always

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We have never been huge planners and we go off season, BUT, it is getting harder to do that now that the magic bands are out.  We do not stay on-site due to cost.  Last time we went (November of 2013) we were still able to get paper fast passes.  I understand this year we won't be able to do that.

 

Last trip we did everything we wanted to do and lines weren't longer than 30 min. with very few exceptions (ToyStory for one.)

 

We do some minimal planning though.  We check EasyWDW.com for crowd levels of each park each day.  We plan/know which rides to start with due to popularity, and we have the Disney APP on our phones to see line levels.  We also do as many single rider lines as are offered.  Test Track, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest all have them.  As long as the child is age 7, he/she can do single rider.

 

Dawn

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Wow, thanks for all the feedback!  I'll definitely have to re-read everything and process a bit.

We will plan to go during a low-traffic time; we're going with my parents and they have the flexibility to go off-season with us.  We don't have exact dates yet...

Sit-down dining is not a priority.  Neither is character meals/meet-and-greet.  I'm pretty sure the whole experience will be overwhelming for the kids (who have never done an amusement park).  I'm not worried about getting the most squeezed in our day... but I would love to minimize unnecessary walking and waiting.  So it looks like *some* planning is needed for that.

 

I do know that we want to go to Animal Kingdom -- oldest is animal-obsessed.  Other than that, we're flexible...

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Fast pass is not being phased out....the way fast pass is done has changed. Disney has spent millions to change the system to be more electronic based, ie the Magic plus bands.....but the concept of FastPass stays the same...ie, an appointment for an attraction to avoid the long lines. It will be a while before day guests get Magic Bands....right now they have to,pay $14.95 for them. Until then, they use paper tickets/plastic tickets like always

Disney's plan right now is to always charge off-site guests for Magic Bands, and to make the price point for that perk even higher in the future. George Kalgridis, president of Disney Parks has stated that he plans to increase the benefits for guests staying on property, and that when the entire My Disney Experience is rolled out (including Fast Pass + and Magic Bands), it will be much more noticeable. For now, one of the proposals is restricting monorail use during certain times of the day for offsite guests.

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I think you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you don't plan. Planning is part of the fun for us (use disboards forums), saves money, and you get to do so many things that you would not ordinarily get to do (due to lack of time or simply not knowing what to do). Your vacation can still be laid-back -- if you plan carefully it can be even more so than if you just show up.

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Disney's plan right now is to always charge off-site guests for Magic Bands, and to make the price point for that perk even higher in the future. George Kalgridis, president of Disney Parks has stated that he plans to increase the benefits for guests staying on property, and that when the entire My Disney Experience is rolled out (including Fast Pass + and Magic Bands), it will be much more noticeable. For now, one of the proposals is restricting monorail use during certain times of the day for offsite guests.

Then this is nothing new, how it is today, and does not indicate FastPass is being done away with. If the plan is to always charge off-site guests for the Magic Band, then the plan is also to always have it as optional....Disney isn't going to burn the bridge of day guests, and require them to purchase a magic and, at a higher rate. Raise ticket prices to include and cover Magic Bands, possibly, but never to require them at a extra price. Disney guests already get more noticeable perks, ie 60 day window to book FastPass, instead of just 30. Invite to Be Our Guest quick service lunch without the wait in line. Not to mention the convenience that Magic Bands offer. But again, none of this says Fast Passes are being done away with, simply changing how they are obtained...which is already done. Disney values their day guests as much as resort guests...of,course we make more money from Resort guests, so they get those perks. But the hundreds and hundreds of hotels in the Orlando area are there for a reason, the Disney day guests, and they come in by the droves...that bridge won't be burned.

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Wow, thanks for all the feedback!  I'll definitely have to re-read everything and process a bit.

We will plan to go during a low-traffic time; we're going with my parents and they have the flexibility to go off-season with us.  We don't have exact dates yet...

Sit-down dining is not a priority.  Neither is character meals/meet-and-greet.  I'm pretty sure the whole experience will be overwhelming for the kids (who have never done an amusement park).  I'm not worried about getting the most squeezed in our day... but I would love to minimize unnecessary walking and waiting.  So it looks like *some* planning is needed for that.

 

I do know that we want to go to Animal Kingdom -- oldest is animal-obsessed.  Other than that, we're flexible...

 

If animals are what you really want to see, Busch Gardens (Tampa) is far better IMO.  Ditto that for whoever said they mainly wanted roller coasters.  I really wouldn't come to Disney expecting great roller coasters...

 

We're here now.  Anyone coming in peak season and in the heat needs to plan (and needs their head examined - we're here now due to a college drop off, so had to choose these dates).  If you didn't plan, you'd be waiting in line for an hour + for many rides.  If you come in the off season you can generally walk right on to most rides with little or no wait.

 

We don't do any character things (never have - we have boys who aren't into that sort of thing).  We do eat in a couple of nice restaurants (were at Ohana last night).  We've always stayed on site, but now I'll admit to rethinking that should we ever return (doubtful to be honest - Disney has become too expensive for what it's worth IMO).  The bus times have been up to 24 minutes+ and have been crowded - even my 71 year old mom has had to stand as others on the bus wouldn't think of giving her a seat.  We're at the Polynesian (our absolute favorite resort) so at least have the monorail for MK and Epcot, but the buses are the worst. (You can get lucky on the wait time, but they still tend to be crowded - esp since they combine with the Grand Floridian and/or the Contemporary.

 

Then there was my mom's Magic Band that quit working and needed to be replaced.  Then there were the kiosks we tried to get our free snacks at that had their band reader machines down (two, both at Epcot - had to skip our snack yesterday).  Then they told us our cups would work for refills at Blizzard Beach since they sent us (Polynesian only) there due to the pool being closed for renovations.  The cups didn't work.

 

On the plus side, they gave us two free fast passes for use anywhere, at any time (a great perk on peak days), $20 credit on the drinks, and $100 food credit on the reader machines being down and the band not working (rather embarrassing for my mom - plus the time to get it replaced).  So, Disney is still trying with customer service, but it just doesn't seem to be the same park as it used to be that we enjoyed when the boys were younger.

 

We stayed at Parkway International the day before we switched to here - FAR better accommodations (2 bed. 2 bath, full kitchen, free laundry in the condo, etc) for less than half the cost and we wouldn't have to deal with buses... It's $17/day to park, but even that doesn't offset the higher cost.

 

But in general, Disney has raised the costs of everything to astronomical levels.  There are so many other places one can go for the same amount of money (or less).  Yesterday we were in Epcot during a horrid rain shower and had to get back to the Polynesian for our Ohana reservations.  The cheap plastic raingear deals cost us $9 each.  They're worth about $2.

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Then this is nothing new, how it is today, and does not indicate FastPass is being done away with. If the plan is to always charge off-site guests for the Magic Band, then the plan is also to always have it as optional....Disney isn't going to burn the bridge of day guests, and require them to purchase a magic and, at a higher rate. Raise ticket prices to include and cover Magic Bands, possibly, but never to require them at a extra price. Disney guests already get more noticeable perks, ie 60 day window to book FastPass, instead of just 30. Invite to Be Our Guest quick service lunch without the wait in line. Not to mention the convenience that Magic Bands offer. But again, none of this says Fast Passes are being done away with, simply changing how they are obtained...which is already done. Disney values their day guests as much as resort guests...of,course we make more money from Resort guests, so they get those perks. But the hundreds and hundreds of hotels in the Orlando area are there for a reason, the Disney day guests, and they come in by the droves...that bridge won't be burned.

 

I'm confused about what you said, and I mean this sincerely, I'm not being snarky.  Disney already does charge off site guests for Magic Bands.  They are free (and mailed to you before your vacation) for on site guests.  What Mr. Kargridis said was to expect the price for those to go up, not that they would be completely done away with.  I didn't say that off site guests would not be able to use a Fastpass...but the old paper Fastpass machines are in the process of being completely eliminated (in WDW, not Disneyland), as Disney converts that park completely to RFID technology.  My point was that the perks for onsite guests are going to increase even more than what exists currently.  I'll try and find the transcript for that news conference and link it.   Maybe I'm completely misunderstanding you...not unusual, I do that all the time here. :D

 

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We're here now.  Anyone coming in peak season and in the heat needs to plan (and needs their head examined - we're here now due to a college drop off, so had to choose these dates).  If you didn't plan, you'd be waiting in line for an hour + for many rides.  If you come in the off season you can generally walk right on to most rides with little or no wait.

 

 

 

 

No kidding!!  You couldn't pay me to be there during the summer or busy holidays.  Too darn crowded, and other guests are too rude.  Whatever happened to manners?  If my kids had remained seating while an older woman stood on a bus, they would have been in serious trouble.  I hope you have fun in spite of the difficulties (the biggest for me being humidity and LINES...I don't do lines).

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It isn't just that it's "smaller." It's that it is *only* Disneyland and California Adventure, not the Magic Kingdom plus Epcot plus Disney's Hollywood Studios plus Disney's Animal Kingdom plus Disney's Typhoon Lagoon plus Disney's Blizzard Beach. :-)

 

And since I can spend two days at Disneyland alone, it's hard for me to imagine that the Magic Kingdom (just the Magic Kingdom, not including Epcot and the rest) is that much bigger. I look forward to seeing for myself some day (which is the cool thing about Austin: it's almost halfway between Disneyland and WDW) but if never make it there, I won't be sorry. I have loved every moment of every one of the 30+ times I've been to Disneyland. :-)

Magic Kingdom is actually smaller than DL. We grew up in SoCal and our first visit to MK was so disappointing! They put rides in the wrong places, and small world, OMG why even bother, and Indie wasn't even at that park.... It's DLand for us. All the way.

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Magic Kingdom is actually smaller than DL. We grew up in SoCal and our first visit to MK was so disappointing! They put rides in the wrong places, and small world, OMG why even bother, and Indie wasn't even at that park.... It's DLand for us. All the way.

 

((((soul sister))))

 

Since I have not been to WDW, I assumed that the Magic Kingdom was bigger than Disneyland. Which goes to show you that you should never assume anything, lol.

 

I have heard that about SM, though, and I knew there was no Indie, which really is a travesty...

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No kidding!!  You couldn't pay me to be there during the summer or busy holidays.  Too darn crowded, and other guests are too rude.  Whatever happened to manners?  If my kids had remained seating while an older woman stood on a bus, they would have been in serious trouble.  I hope you have fun in spite of the difficulties (the biggest for me being humidity and LINES...I don't do lines).

 

Yesterday was much better.  We were at Epcot for the whole day and can do the monorail from the Polynesian there - no buses - and my mom didn't have to stand, though actually, I didn't ask about her and my boys' return trip.  They came back shortly after Illuminations and said it was crowded coming back.  Hubby and I stayed a little later and didn't have any crowd.

 

We haven't had to wait in lines except for buses - then it was waiting for buses, not really lines.  This isn't due to their not being lines - there certainly are.  It's due to having figured out how to "do" Disney even when it's crowded and making decent use of our fast passes.  ;)

 

We haven't been to Disney in 7 years now, so some of the new things have been fun to explore.  I LOVE how Canada redid their film.  (Canada is my 2nd country since I grew up on the border.)  Soarin was fun, but I'll like it better when it does the whole world and not just California.  I don't know when I'll actually SEE the new one after they redo it though.  Our future travel plans and those in the bucket list take us elsewhere for quite some time - into the real world.  However, sooner or later there should be grandkids... and hopefully they'll be able to come off season!

 

We'll see how MK goes today.  Whispering Canyon Cafe is lunch...  :lol:

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Yesterday was much better.  We were at Epcot for the whole day and can do the monorail from the Polynesian there - no buses - and my mom didn't have to stand, though actually, I didn't ask about her and my boys' return trip.  They came back shortly after Illuminations and said it was crowded coming back.  Hubby and I stayed a little later and didn't have any crowd.

 

We haven't had to wait in lines except for buses - then it was waiting for buses, not really lines.  This isn't due to their not being lines - there certainly are.  It's due to having figured out how to "do" Disney even when it's crowded and making decent use of our fast passes.   ;)

 

We haven't been to Disney in 7 years now, so some of the new things have been fun to explore.  I LOVE how Canada redid their film.  (Canada is my 2nd country since I grew up on the border.)  Soarin was fun, but I'll like it better when it does the whole world and not just California.  I don't know when I'll actually SEE the new one after they redo it though.  Our future travel plans and those in the bucket list take us elsewhere for quite some time - into the real world.  However, sooner or later there should be grandkids... and hopefully they'll be able to come off season!

 

We'll see how MK goes today.  Whispering Canyon Cafe is lunch...  :lol:

 

Of course you'll ask for ketchup. :D  We just go sneak it off someone else's table now.  There was that one time we got caught.....

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OP, is it that you don't have the time/inclination to plan it yourself, or that you're opposed to having to follow a plan while on vacation?  If it's the former, touringplans.com might be worth the $13.  They have crowd calendars with recommended parks for each day, plus ride by ride plans customized for each park and the ages in your party.  Here's the sample one for Magic Kingdom: http://touringplans.com/plans/37179   I haven't used it for years, definitely not since the FastPass+ switchover, but we used it on our first trip during a moderate crowd level time and walked on everything we wanted to ride.  When we used it, we printed it out on index cards and popped them in a badge holder with our room keys, but that was before the smartphone era!

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OP, is it that you don't have the time/inclination to plan it yourself, or that you're opposed to having to follow a plan while on vacation?  If it's the former, touringplans.com might be worth the $13.  They have crowd calendars with recommended parks for each day, plus ride by ride plans customized for each park and the ages in your party.  Here's the sample one for Magic Kingdom: http://touringplans.com/plans/37179   I haven't used it for years, definitely not since the FastPass+ switchover, but we used it on our first trip during a moderate crowd level time and walked on everything we wanted to ride.  When we used it, we printed it out on index cards and popped them in a badge holder with our room keys, but that was before the smartphone era!

 

This looks promising.  I am not opposed to having a plan, especially if it makes our days go more smoothly/stress-free -- I just can't seem to wrap my head around all the many different forums/websites/checklists/etc.  I'll definitely check into this site!  Thank you. :)

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This looks promising.  I am not opposed to having a plan, especially if it makes our days go more smoothly/stress-free -- I just can't seem to wrap my head around all the many different forums/websites/checklists/etc.  I'll definitely check into this site!  Thank you. :)

 

Just found a 20% discount, too, if you decide to go with that: http://www.mousesavers.com/discount-disney-shopping-mall/#touringplans

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OP, is it that you don't have the time/inclination to plan it yourself, or that you're opposed to having to follow a plan while on vacation?  If it's the former, touringplans.com might be worth the $13.  They have crowd calendars with recommended parks for each day, plus ride by ride plans customized for each park and the ages in your party.  Here's the sample one for Magic Kingdom: http://touringplans.com/plans/37179   I haven't used it for years, definitely not since the FastPass+ switchover, but we used it on our first trip during a moderate crowd level time and walked on everything we wanted to ride.  When we used it, we printed it out on index cards and popped them in a badge holder with our room keys, but that was before the smartphone era!

 

easywdw.com does pretty much the same thing for free  :)

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easywdw.com does pretty much the same thing for free :)

Yes, this. I used to be a Touring Plans subscriber (and a TourGuideMike subscriber--anyone remember that?) but I've switched to EasyWDW.

 

He has a new book you might be interested in http://www.amazon.com/Guide-First-Disney-World-Visit-ebook/dp/B00L5J99MU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407365481&sr=1-1&keywords=easy+wdw :D

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So.... still looking and thinking and planning...

 

 

Question for those that have BTDT:

Is it INSANE to stay in an Art of Animation family suite with 4 adults and 2 kids?  

 

Would we claw each others eyes out in the close quarters... or is it do-able to save $$.  (Plus, for staying on-site, I think it would give the kids more of the "Disney experience" than some of the more grown-up friendly places... and they would love the pool...)  Camping is *not* an option.

 

Thoughts?  

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So.... still looking and thinking and planning...

 

 

Question for those that have BTDT:

Is it INSANE to stay in an Art of Animation family suite with 4 adults and 2 kids?

 

Would we claw each others eyes out in the close quarters... or is it do-able to save $$.  (Plus, for staying on-site, I think it would give the kids more of the "Disney experience" than some of the more grown-up friendly places... and they would love the pool...)  Camping is *not* an option.

 

Thoughts?  

 

I would do it to stay on-site and not have to get two separate rooms.

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So.... still looking and thinking and planning...

 

 

Question for those that have BTDT:

Is it INSANE to stay in an Art of Animation family suite with 4 adults and 2 kids?

 

Would we claw each others eyes out in the close quarters... or is it do-able to save $$. (Plus, for staying on-site, I think it would give the kids more of the "Disney experience" than some of the more grown-up friendly places... and they would love the pool...) Camping is *not* an option.

 

Thoughts?

Two adults can sleep in the bedroom, two on the sofa bed, and the two kiddos in the Murphy bed. It is tight, but doable. I have done it. Make some bathroom plans.

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  • 2 months later...

UPDATING this thread, now that I've made some decisions (would love feedback)....

 

So...I have gotten sucked into the planning...

 

Once I started looking around at WDW sites, my DDs saw some things that became MUST SEE priorities (Jedi Training!!!  T-Rex cafe!!!  Fantasmic!!!), and that required planning on my part. :o

 

We're staying on-site and have a meal plan.  I actually just made our ADRs this morning -- it's the first day that I could, and it was already difficult to find the times we wanted! We're having Sanaa on our AK day, T-Rex one day after MK, Sci-Fi on our Hollywood Studios day.  Also having Hollywood & Vine -- not so much for the food, but for the convenience of the Fantasmic Dining Package.  (Anyone have experience with that? Is it worth it?)

I'll be honest, I'm glad to have done some planning.  I think the girls will enjoy our experience *more* with guaranteed meal locations/times and some rough idea of the way we want our days to go.  (I will too!)

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I'm wondering...

Anyone have a great Disney vacation without major planning?

We are not looking for the ULTIMATE WDW vacation... just a fun, laid-back week.

 

I'm thinking:

Stay off-site

Breakfast and dinner at the condo and lunch wherever at a park -- are there grab-and-go, easy places to eat (not interested in having to make reservations or such). Burger places and tables to eat at?

 

Rides: can't we just make our way through the park and when we see something that interests us, stop and ride (waiting in line, obviously)? What *is* Fast Pass?

 

All the talk about planning it all out and knowing what you'll do and when...meh....

WHAT WILL WE MISS OUT BY NOT DOING MAJOR PLANNING?

My way to do Disney is pick ONE major thing you want to do each day, plan that, and all the rest is just gravy. So if it's a show or parade, pick your time, plan what time you need to be there, go about your day, wandering at will until the time you planned for. If it's a ride, great, hop in line when you see it and ride it. :-)

 

You'll see tons. Not see even more (the detail at Disney is just too amazing to take it all in!) and have a great vacation.

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