Back for our 3rd trip to DLR - and our 1st trip to WDW!!

Discussion in 'Australia' started by heidispidi, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. heidispidi

    heidispidi Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    486
    Hi Everyone! It's been a while since I've been on these boards, but with planning for our next trip well and truly underway, I thought I 'd come back and, when needed, rack your brains for information :-) I hope I don't bore you with details!

    We leave 20th September and are away for around 2 1/2 weeks. Going is me, DH, DD (15) and DSD (24). It's my DSD's 1st trip overseas, and at the age of 24 (25 by then), I think it's well overdue! Spending 11 nights in Orlando as experiencing WDW and USF is the plan for this trip, and 4 nights in LA.

    Flying Qantas (I cringe at the cost of flights but it is what it is). In Florida, we are staying 4 nights in a 2BR condo at Wyndham Bonnet Creek (non-Disney but within the WDW boundary) before moving to AKL - Kidani Village in a 2BR villa for the other 7 nights. I rented DVC points and had the reservation confirmed today - SO excited! I plan on keeping that part a secret from the rest of the family, as they think we are staying at the Wyndham for the whole 11 nights. Will be doing WDW, USF and Kennedy Space Centre, as well as a lot of shopping (I have recently lost a lot of weight and need to replenish my wardrobe!).

    We plan on staying at DLR for our 4 nights on the west coast. I have stayed at GCH before and while PPH was nice last time, I did tell DH that we wouldn't stay anywhere but GCH on our next (and probably last) trip. We either need 2 rooms or a 2BR villa, and doing the sums, renting points for a 2BR VGC villa is slightly less expensive than booking 2 x std view rooms at GCH, so I think I will go that option. While in LA, we will do a tour of the city and DSD wants to go shopping at The Grove - but the rest of the time will be spent at DLR and relaxing before the trip home.

    Thanks for letting me get all that out - as we haven't been to WDW before, I am open to all suggestions for dining etc. I have finished reading the 2018 version of the Unofficial Guide to WDW, so have the basics, but I know there are some WDW experts on here who could help make this a truly magical experience! I say this is likely to be our last trip to the US as my DD is in year 11 this year and this is our last opportunity to take her away with us before she knuckles down to get through the final year of school. After that, well, DH and and I can holiday on our own, and there are many places we'd like to see before returning to the US. So I want to make the most of this trip!

    Edited to say that the ticker below is from our 2012 trip and I will update when I figure out how!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    Aussie Wendy likes this.
  2. WanderlustNZ

    WanderlustNZ DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,911
    Hi Heidispidi,

    It sounds like you have a great trip planned. Congrats on scoring AKV points. I love Animal Kingdom Lodge. The restaurant in Kidani is delicious.

    My fav restaurant in WDW is 50’s Prine Time Cafe. The food is decent, but not amazing (except for the milkshakes which are amazing), however I absolutely loved the atmosphere.

    I also loved Crystal Palace breakfast for it’s early entry into MK.

    I’m not good with Disneyland acronyms. Out of interest, what is GCH?
     
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. heidispidi

    heidispidi Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    486
    Hi WanderlustNZ!

    Thanks, I'm actually trying to extend our stay at AKL to 11 nights - fingers crossed. I can't wait to try the restaurant at Kidani!

    I have got the 50s Prime Time Cafe on my list of must-tries, as you said, for the atmosphere. I will look into Crystal Palace also, thanks for the tip.

    GCH = Grand Californian Hotel - love, love, LOVE it there! Thinking now of doing 2 nights there if we can rent points, and spending the other 2 nights in Santa Monica or at Universal Hilton.
     
  5. WanderlustNZ

    WanderlustNZ DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,911
    Of course! For some silly reason I knew immediately what VGC was, but not GCH. Duh. :blush::rotfl:

    When booking Crystal Palace, choose a non extra magic hours day and get the earliest time possible. Walking into an empty park and getting pics of the castle with no people in it feels really special.

    As for DVC rental, have you considered a split stay and trying to book those extra four nights elsewhere? Disney make it so easy to move (they transfer your luggage for you) and you get the benefit of being close to another parks.
    Our 10 night split stay was Boardwalk and AKV. I preferred the latter, but being able to walk to HS or through the back gate of Epcot (especially for the F&W festival) was awesome.
    For our end of year trip we will be staying at Wilderness Lodge. It’s sadly only 3 nights, but for 6 nights or more I would have done another split stay.
     
  6. inhighspirits40

    inhighspirits40 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge on our last trip. It was a surprise for my wife who thought we were staying at all stars :). We ate lunch at Sanaa one day...incredible! We ate a Boma for breakfast another day...best buffet breakfast I have ever had! We also ate at California grill, amazing sunset and great view of fireworks. The food was great but our server was a bit meh. Tiffins at Animal Kingdom.....WOW! my favourite restaurant at WDW.

    We also had a character dining at Epcot, Akershus, there was princesses that came around. It was really nice but the food was only OK.

    Our first trip to WDW at xmas 2016 we ate at Jiko. Also amazing! you are going to have the best time at Animal Kingdom Lodge, if you are at Kidani, make sure you head over to explore Jambo house, The lounge bar, Victoria Falls is also really nice.

    We didn't eat at the 50's prime time, but we did get some drinks at the lounge bar. The food apparently isn't the best, but it was fun hearing the waiters yelling to people that they were late for dinner and other antics. We ate at the sci fi dinner at HS, Great burgers and wings, and an amazing experience eating in the 50s style cars at the movies.

    Have a great trip. I cant wait to head back to Florida, just wish it was an easier flight...
     
  7. inhighspirits40

    inhighspirits40 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    5

    Split stay sounds cool. For our next trip I am thinking of spending the bulk of the trip in all star resorts, and maybe 2-3 nights at the a deluxe resort at the end of the trip, when we are tired and feel OK about hanging out at the resort rather than running around the parks. CAn you book this split stay on the website? How did Disney go moving the bags, do you have to check out of one hotel and into the next?
     
  8. WanderlustNZ

    WanderlustNZ DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,911
    Sounds like a great plan. :thumbsup2

    Sorry, I’m not sure how a split stay booking would look directly through Disney. I booked both of my stays separately renting DVC points using a well known third party broker site. I then added both bookings to the My Disney Experience website and making restaurant bookings etc for both was a breeze.
    I’m a fan of renting points. It works out at about 50% cheaper than Disney prices with the main downsides being no daily cleaning and no access to free dining (should that be a promotion while you are there).

    As for moving, we checked out of one hotel in the morning and handed over our bags. After a day in the parks, we headed to our new resort and checked in. Our bags were waiting for us in reception. The whole process was a breeze and wasted no more than 30 minutes of our day, which we more than made up in quicker transfers into certain parks e.g. we specifically did most of our HS and EPCOT visits while staying at the Boardwalk and all of our AK and Blizzard Beach visits while staying at AKV.
     
  9. inhighspirits40

    inhighspirits40 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    That is really smart! I didnt know it was that much cheaper to rent points. I am going to have to look into that more.

    What website do you use. I will have a bunch of questions now...but i'll do my research first and might come back to the boards if
    i cant find the answers.

    A quick question though, renting points, can you still book fast pass 60 days in advance, and dining 180 days out?

    Thanks heaps
     
  10. WanderlustNZ

    WanderlustNZ DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,911
    Hi,

    Yes, the booking experience for FastPass and dining are the same as booking directly with Disney. From the minute your DVC booking is confirmed, you get a reservation number and can link your booking to your ‘My Disney Experience’ account. Once you buy tickets from Disney, or the likes of Undercover Tourist, you can then also link them to your reservation and make Fastpasses when the booking window opens.

    You can also book the Magic Express and a Dining Plan, should you wish. You just need to go through the points owner for these 2 things.

    I have used David’s Vacation Club twice before for AKV and Aulani and found them to be very good. For BWV and Wilderness Lodge, I have used the other main company with a red and yellow logo. (As David’s is a sponsor on this site, I don’t think I can name this other site). Feel free to message me if you want more info.

    These broker sites are more expensive than renting directly from an owner, but they make international payments very easy and they write up a legal contract that makes the process (IMO) safer and easier. Some renters have had huge success renting directly from owners and will disagree with me on this, however for my own personal peace of mind, this is the only way I would go.

    Depending on the time of the year and number of points holders, some DVC resorts are difficult to lock in and book out very quickly at the 11 month mark. I booked my Xmas stay at the Wilderness Lodge right on the 11 month mark for this exact reason. Other bigger (eg AKV) or less popular (eg Saratoga Springs) resorts have more availability for longer.

    I hope this helps.
     
  11. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Down Under Disney Lover x

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    541
    So exciting! We'll be at AKL the same time - Sept 15-22 and then at Saratoga Springs 22-25.

    Have fun planning!! :flower1:
     
  12. masterpabu

    masterpabu Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    14
    This is exciting! I love that you're keeping AKL as a surprise for your family, they will be thrilled!

    Have you purchased any of your park tickets yet? I recently just purchased my DLR tickets for a pretty good deal with Flight Centre (I know, weird seeing good deal+flight centre in one sentence??). It was $392 per adult for a 4 day park hopper, and since prices went up last month this deal is cheaper than parksavers, getawaytoday, I think I saved just under $100! I was told the deal ends at the end of March so if you're looking to save some money I would recommend having a look :)
     
  13. OziJo

    OziJo Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    444
    Hi Heidi. I'm back here after 6 years! We are finally returning to Disney this time to Disneyland for New Years eve and I've come back to pick the brains around here. Your post was the first to catch my eye because I would love to be able to do both WDW and DLR but this time we will only have 4 days in DLR. We spent 11 nights in WDW in 2012 staying at Fort Wilderness Cabins. We were so lucky to have free dining and took advantage of all the credits to do some great restaurants as well as the Hoop Dee Doo review. Things have changed so much since we went that I feel like a newbie again. I would recommend though that you do a Crystal Palace breakfast and would highly recommend the Hoop Dee Doo Review at Fort Wilderness. It's an absolute blast and was one of the highlights of our stay.

    I so wish we could go back to WDW but this trip is really about a White Christmas in Canada and New Years in Disneyland on the way home with only DDH, DD3 (20) and myself. One day we will go back to WDW with the whole family.

    Have fun planning!!!:flower1::cool1:
     

Share This Page