View Full Version : WOW... didn't realize the planning that goes into WDW vacations...

Tondi G
04-28-2008, 01:13 PM
Where do you start???

We are considering a trip NEXT YEAR.... would like to plan 4 or 5 days at WDW and a 3 or 4 night disney cruise. First off I think it will end up being the most expensive trip we'll ever take... but I think the boys will have the trip of a lifetime.... they will be ages 4 and 8! we will hopefully be going with DH's cousin and family (girls ages 5 and 2.5). when is the best time to travel? I am thinking if we can make it a more comfortable stay we would be willing to pull DS out of school for the trip.

SO what do we need to know about places to stay? where will we have the best pool area with lots of slides etc? where is the best place to stay in terms of transport to the parks? what parks do we want to see besides the magic kingdom?

There are just so many places etc.... totally overwhelmed right now!

Thanks in advance


04-28-2008, 07:41 PM
My favorite time of the year to go is early December. Crowds are low, Christmas decorations are up, and the weather is great. Usually warm enough to swim and for shorts. But not extreme Florida humidity. Nights can be cool. It is value season cost-wise, too. Not sure how that time of year is for cruising though.

Where you want to stay depends on how much you want to spend. All of the WDW hotels have great pools. I think only the All Stars don't have slides. I believe the Disney Beach Club has the best rated pool. The monorail hotels are closest to parks and also most expensive.

There is a lot of great info here, and not too overwhelming. If you want information overload check out allears.net and disboards.com. Allears has good guidebook-like info on the parks and hotel, and pix of most of the hotels too. A guidebook from the library is also a good place to start.

All of the WDW parks are great for 4 & 8 yos. If it were me and I weren't planning on going back anytime soon I'd hit them all.

We went last Dec with our 5yo& 3.5yo DS's. We stayed out Old Key West which are condos so they have kitchens, laundry etc. It has a great pool with one big slide and a hot tub. Playground right at pools edge.

Have fun planning!

05-02-2008, 03:07 PM
When I planned my first family trip a few years ago, I bought the Birnbaum book and read it cover to cover. You can prob get a copy at the library too.

I would also suggest visiting a site like www.intercot.com. There is sooooo much info on the intercot board. Hotels, menus, park hours, etc. If you have questions, you will get an answer from someone "in the know." I always use that board when I am planning a trip.

I LOVE planning our trips- you definitely need to know if you want to stay at a deluxe, moderate, or value resort. You can get pricing info, photos, details from the Disney website or intercot. Deluxes are obviously more $$, but are, for the most part, on the monorail making getting to and from MK very easy. The moderates and values (as well as some deluxes) rely on WDW bus service to the parks- which is generally very efficient.

Pulling the kids out of school gives you a lot of flexibility. You need to decide if you want to go around the holidays to see the decorations, Sept/Oct for Halloween, or early spring. Pulling them out of school will also allow you to go when there are smaller crowds.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

Happy planning!


Tondi G
05-02-2008, 07:49 PM
what is the best time as far as crowds and weather? I would love it to not be super busy. I would also love it to not be blistering hot.... my boys get really grumpy in the heat!!! Hurricane season comes into play too I guess. I was first thinking September but it seem to be peak hurricane time.... then was thinking maybe early October. I need to look at what their "season" are and also what is a good time for the cruise as far as weather and water temps are. Decisions, decisions!

I am thinking we'll probably go for broke and go with a Deluxe. I really liked the idea of the Wilderness Lodge ... but the pool area at the Beach Club looks fantastic. We've stayed at the Disneyland hotel a few times and my little guy really adored the tiny kiddie waterslide they have. Is the Beach Club the only one with the little kiddie waterslide?? From all the pics I've looked at so far (my gosh are there a ton out there on various sites) it looks like all the other hotels only have the larger slides for older kids.

I am thinking this may be one of the few times in their life that they get to experience Disney World and a Disney Cruise so we might pull our older DS out of school for a week or so. It's 2nd grade... not high school!

Thanks for any advise you have to offer!


05-03-2008, 11:09 AM
September and early October are still VERY hot at WDW! 90's and humid!

I'd go with early December or sometime in January. Can you wait until the 2.5yo turns 3? I think that 3yos can do a lot more on the cruise than 2.5yos can.

Tondi G
05-04-2008, 08:16 PM
September and early October are still VERY hot at WDW! 90's and humid!

I'd go with early December or sometime in January. Can you wait until the 2.5yo turns 3? I think that 3yos can do a lot more on the cruise than 2.5yos can.

I thought about that too... but they seemed fine with the idea that she wouldn't be able to take part in the childrens program. They might utilize Flounders Nursery though for a few hours each day! If we went in January then she will have just turned 2.... something to think about though! Thanks for the insight into the weather in Florida. Only thing about February is that I've heard that the water in Castaway Cay might be cold.... another thing to consider!


05-04-2008, 08:54 PM
We were there mid-Sept last year and thought the weather was fine. Definitely hot, but certainly not unbreable. I think October would be perfect, but that's just my opinion.

05-17-2008, 06:34 PM
We went last year in late March (DS turned 3 that May). We had a fabulous time. We went back this year for DS 4th birthday and had a great time, but I have to tell you that his age and the time of year had A LOT to do with our experience. I would highly recommend March - park was not crowded and we had perfect weather. Also, having DS be 3 was very nice. He was agreeable to try anything and Playhouse Disney was a HUGE hit. He napped in the afternoon so we could do Magic Kingdom in late afternoon and evening. This trip napping and exhaustion had a lot to do with our meltdowns. We want to go again, but not for awhile and next time we will definitely pull him out of school and go in March again.

Tondi G
05-17-2008, 08:48 PM
The more we've been looking at it the more I think we will go either in March or late October maybe. Weather is a huge factor for us... my boys (DH included) just don't function in the heat that well!

Thanks to everyone for your replies and suggestions... they are much appreciated!

Still have NO idea where we'll stay or whether to do the cruise or not. My 1st thought would be to spring for the hotels that have Monorail service Like the Poly or maybe Beach Club for their extensive pool area but then I wonder just how much time we will actually be spending at the resort. So many decisions and stuff to research.... no wonder it takes people months and months to get everything worked out and booked!!!!


05-17-2008, 10:11 PM
March is iffy. End of March can be surprisingly hot. Also depending on the year, March can be spring break time, so be careful about that. The first week of March is usually safe from spring break though, and is generally uncrowded and very pleasant.

The end of October is actually a pretty popular time right now. The Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties, Epcot Food & Wine Festival and adding in Columbus Day holidays and this can be a crowded time.

Better choices, IMO, would be early November (before Thanksgiving week obviously), early December and January. All those times are still very pleasant weather and generally the lowest crowd levels of the year besides September (which is very hot IMO).

Tondi G
05-18-2008, 07:52 PM
Early November huh..... my birthday is the 1st... maybe we'll make it a birthday celebration for me! LOL

Thanks for the weather info... it's hard to know unless you know people who have been a lot or live close by! I think comfortable weather is more important to us at this point.... we'll stand in a little longer lines if it means we aren't doing it sweating like pigs!

Thanks again


05-20-2008, 03:12 PM
Not a Disney expert or even close but I would avoid March
because of Spring Break. March and April, actually.

05-22-2008, 09:35 AM
We went in early October last year and it was HOT. There were rainshowers every afternoon, but they didn't last long and this is probably typical for Florida.

We're going December 11-17 this year and staying at the Wilderness Lodge again, it is supposed to be breathtaking at Christmastime. I think the weather will be a little more tolerable too. We got a great rate on our room and tickets through a travel agency specializing in Disney vacations. I normally don't like to give up the control, but for the rate we got, I'll hand it over. ;)

Have a great time planning your trip!