Seeking Tips - new to WDW and overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by Daisybelle, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Daisybelle

    Daisybelle I'm just happy to be here

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    I hope some of you can simple this up for me! I'll try not to ramble. :worship:

    The past 10 years my daughter (now 23) and I have enjoyed several Disneyland vacations. (We are West coast dwellers) Once I planned that first trip, the subsequent trips were easy peasy.

    Now we want to finally conquer Disney World. (A family celebration of sorts:cloud9:) Oh. My. Stars. So many details! I've listened to the Dis Unplugged for years, so I'm not unfamiliar with what is needed for prepping a WDW trip, but still. I find myself seizing up at figuring out the details when I have so much else going on right now.

    Two things we have settled on:

    1. Stay at Pop (unless we can get a good rate at POR)
    2. The week of March 2 -8, 2019.

    We're not too hung up on ADRs and we plan to keep it simple in general since it's the first time. There are only a couple we are are interested in booking and the rest will be QS. We won't worry about adding on dessert parties and the like for our first trip. At least not at this point.

    Suggestions on what to do next? We don't know which park to do when, but we would like to start with the Magic Kingdom. Is there a 'best' place to research this type of thing? Google told me to quit bothering him and ask someone else.

    Suggestions? Words of encouragement? :rotfl2:
     
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  2. Eve & Wall-e

    Eve & Wall-e Mouseketeer

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    DH and I have been to Disneyland many times. We currently have our third WDW trip planned for late Nov-early Dec. I remember feeling overwhelmed on where to begin on our first WDW trip.

    What helped me the most was the book: Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. It's a big book, however it covers everything you would ever want to know. I also got two more books, the Official Guide, and the Easy Guide to your Walt Disney World Visit.

    After that, I searched and found several WDW blogs that I follow. (I was a lurker on the DIS boards.) The point was to become as familiar as possible with WDW. Then you start planning: which day at which park, where to eat (ADR's) and FastPass+. There is no possible way you can do everything you want to do. Plan for your "must do's." Anything after that was a bonus for us.

    The one thing that really hits you when you're at WDW for the first time is: It's huge. I mean really huge, compared to DLR. All the parks and resorts are so spread out. You need to plan for how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B. For me, all the planning paid off. We had a magical time, and so will you.

    Good luck with your planning and have a magical vacation!
     
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  4. heart goes boOm

    heart goes boOm Mouseketeer

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    you can google crowd calendars to see which park is best to visit that particular day! i personally use undercover tourist.
     
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  5. Daisybelle

    Daisybelle I'm just happy to be here

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    Thank you! This is helpful. I'll go look for the Unofficial Guide right now! :thumbsup2
     
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  6. Michelle James

    Michelle James Mouseketeer

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    I second the recommendation for Undercover Tourists crowd calendar. Park crowd levels can vary a lot on a given day - eg: if it's the extra magic hours park, it'll be busier - it would be good to know and plan around that.

    I might also reconsider not booking ADRs. You could spend a lot of time waiting on a QS restaurant. But even if you don't book any others, book Be Our Guest!

    My husband bugs me about my "obsessive" planning. I get the tendency to go down rabbit holes. I've found WDW Prep School as a great general resource. Best of luck!
     
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  7. Daisybelle

    Daisybelle I'm just happy to be here

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    Do you mean TS is quicker sometimes than QS?
     
  8. Michelle James

    Michelle James Mouseketeer

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    With reservations, that's been my experience when the parks are busy. We've tried doing it without reservations and spent a lot of time waiting to get a table, or trying to fing a QS restaurant that was less insane.

    But I suppose in fairness, the mobile ordering thing is new and might change that a bit - although it wouldn't get you a table, just food.

    Oh, and Be Our Guest is quick service, but takes reservations.

    And if you do want to stick with QS, try to eat at off times. I have a 6 year old - that doesn't work so well with him!
     
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  9. NH-to-FL

    NH-to-FL DIS Veteran

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    This is DIS... What else besides encouragement would you expect?

    As for suggestions, I will second the Unofficial Guide as a great reference. Another book might be The Easy Guide to Your WDW Visit.

    Since you are staying on site I suggest exploring the possibilities offered by Extra Magic Hours. When we stayed on site DW and I would always plan our parks around morning EMH. You can get a lot done in that first Extra Magic Hour and then next next few hours until the crowds really build around 11am. Then we would break for an early lunch and usually a retune to the resort for an afternoon break. Work out your park visit schedule and then be prepared to make your FP+ reservations at 60 days. Another advantage of morning EMH is that you can get one (or perhaps two) headliner(s) done at rope drop before heading off to your FPs. If getting up early on vacation is not your thing, especially coming from the west coast, then check out evening EMH.

    Another item to consider is whether to get park hoppers. Will you focus on one park per day or perhaps like to do something different in the afternoon or evening? We would always get hoppers but then we stayed at an Epcot resort which made it easy to visit Epcot in the evening.

    DW and I are not big foodies so we always did QS. We would plan to eat a bit off hours so never found the QS crowds too bad. We have started to use mobile ordering and that can speed things up. On a mid day arrival to AK this spring I punched in our order to the Flametree as soon as we entered the park and by the time we got to the window my order was ready. The seating was a bit busy but we found a table in our preferred location.

    If you have been following DIS for a while then I suspect you are better prepared then most first time visitors. You've got time. Keep studying and continue to ask questions.
    Wishing you a pixiedust: visit.
     
  10. Daisybelle

    Daisybelle I'm just happy to be here

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    Oh yeah! Mobile ordering might be really helpful! Forgot about that. Thank you! :cheer2:

    Thank you!! I haven't decided on the park hoppers yet. We always have them at DL, where it makes perfect sense, and I'm inclined to get them for WDW too. We really want to hit EPCOT a lot, as that's what interests my daughter the most at this point, and this trip is for her.

    I've pre-ordered the 2019 Unofficial Guide since it comes out next week. I've had a few people on here mention it now, so I better get it! :disrocks:
     
  11. beccasmom

    beccasmom DIS Veteran

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    One of the gals I work with is planning her first WDW trip next summer with her fiancé and I gave her suggestions for reference. I agree with prior posters’ recommendations. The Unofficial Guide is a great planning tool (which I wish had been around for our early trips!). All Ears, Disney Tourist Blog and WDW Prep School are informative websites. I also like Your First Trip and Mousesavers.
     
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  12. 53Jay

    53Jay Earning My Ears

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    touringplans.com is the best I've found for organizing. Crowd calendar, even make a plan for when to do different rides and shows.
    Most important : Start training now for lots of walking. The parks are huge. Not uncommon to walk over 10 miles a day.
     
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  13. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    The resources I’ve found most useful are:

    • The Unofficial Guide book for general overview
    • Touring Plans website for general knowledge and subscription for the app, personalized plans, and crowd calendar
    • All Ears website for general knowledge
    • Mousesavers for deals
    • Undercover Toursit for tickets and deals
    • And of course the Dis for everything else I can’t google
     
  14. GoofyVette

    GoofyVette Mouseketeer

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    Hi Daisybelle; Congrats on taking the big leap. Pop Century is favorite for a reason. We visited Disneyland for over 25yrs before visiting Disney World. You really can't compare the two, WDW is so much larger, in so many ways. That was the biggest surprise for us, so much more walking to see and so much more to do. Try you're best to plan you're days just keep in mind everything is really spread out and lines are very long sometimes. Getting from and to hotel, bus etc is much much more than DLD. That's still our hardest part to get accustomed to. At DLD, you're 10mins from Haunted Mansion to your hotel room, could be an hour an half at WDW.
    Still best Park ever, Epcot and Animal Kingdom (do the Safari ride in the mornings) are fantastic. As everyone will agree, planning your days are very important and don't try to do too much per day. We've visited 10+ times now and still haven't seen it all.
    Good Luck on your planning and read a lot on here, everyone is so helpful.
     
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  15. Wild4Walt

    Wild4Walt DIS Veteran

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    Take your planning one step at a time and that will help you feel less overwhelmed. The good news is, you have a good amount of time for planning still.

    If it was me and I was unfamiliar with WDW, I'd start by getting the Unofficial Guide - it's an awesome guide but it's also awesome in size. So take it in small bites.

    When I plan, I like to get started with how am I getting there. So I'll shop my air ( and book if I find a good deal ). Then since you are not familiar with the Magical Express, I'd read up on that. Get a lay of what it is and where do I get it once I'm at the airport.

    You can also get maps of the Orlando airport and it's set up in printable versions for during your planning process.

    You have some good choices for your hotels so my next step would be to do some research on the hotels - may sure you have a lay of the land and that the resorts you have chosen have the amenities you want. Disney hotel levels offer different things - so you don't want to be disappointed in your expectations.

    Have fun with it!
     
  16. Magical2017

    Magical2017 Mouseketeer

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    A big yes to The Unofficial Guide! I check it out from the library or purchase one for every trip. I love their Undercover Tourist site and have the Lines app on my phone for our trip next week.
     
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  17. Chrisvee

    Chrisvee Mouseketeer

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    What fun you have ahead of you! I love touringplans.com for crowd calendar and suggested itineraries.

    Depending on where your ADRs are, you might build your itinerary a. It around those of course.

    One thing that has worked for me is to have each person going write down a list of 1-3 things they really want to do in each park. Sometimes I’ve actually sat down and and we’ve gone through the list of attractions together on the website to put together our must do list.

    That can surface some priorities like ‘hey we don’t need to go to ‘x’ or we need to spend 2 days here.

    You might also want to figure out your touring style. Do you want a relaxed trip with pool time, or shopping at Disney Springs, or evening fun at Jellyrolls? Or are you all about seeing as much as you can in the parks?
     
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  18. disneyguy07

    disneyguy07 Mouseketeer

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    I'm going to add a vote for purchasing a copy of the Unofficial Guide. The book is massive, but don't let that scare you. There are quite a few chapters you won't need. I also find the WDW Prep School website very helpful because it provides a lot of information step-by-step.

    A few specifics for you to keep in mind: early March is a very busy time at WDW. I know you don't plan on doing a lot of table service restaurants, but you definitely will want to make ADRs for any that you are planning to eat at. Also, keep in mind that Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom requires ADRs, even though it is counter service for breakfast and lunch. Early March is when Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival begins. You may want to set aside some extra time for checking out all the topiaries and other festival activities in the park.

    If I were you, I would spend some time getting to know the attractions in each park and decide the number of days you want to allocate to each park. Then take a look at a crowd calendar to decide which parks you will visit each day. Since you will be staying onsite, you'll need to consider whether you want to do Extra Magic Hours or not.

    Best of luck with all the planning!
     
  19. Tasscrapper

    Tasscrapper I belive in dragons, unicorns, good men and other

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    I think you've already made the best decision by not going in summer. We are from Utah and have had annual passes to Disneyland off and on for the last 10 years too. I think there has only been one calendar year we didn't get to go at all. So, we are big Disney fans. However, we just got back from a 10 day trip and I truly believe the humidity and heat colored our perception of going to the WDW parks. I don't know that we will ever go back again. I would definitely start at Magic Kingdom to get the whole Disney vibe going. MK was by far the most enjoyable park for us and the most reminiscent of what we were expecting of a Disney park.

    It is totally doable to do counter service compared to table service. It depends on the experience you want and how much you are willing to spend. Mobile ordering does help but it doesn't notify you when your meal is ready. We had to be at the counter to know when it was done. If anything I found counter service quicker in Disney World. Something cool I found out by seeing another guest is that you can take your cup back to the counter and and ask for a soda refill. I don't know if that is normal or not but I saw someone do it at I believe Cosmic Rays and then tried it myself at Columbia House and it worked with no problems. :)

    My biggest piece of advice is trust your instincts on how you guys like to tour. Oh and do not underestimate the power of fastpass+. Whether you decide to use them as early in the day as possible so you can pick up more or save them for the afternoon or evening they are important.
     
  20. Mome Rath

    Mome Rath 3 Decade Disney Traveller

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    Yay! I was in the reverse position just last summer, as I took my mom to DL for our first trip there, and we are WDW veterans from way back. I'll try to reverse some things that surprised us about DL that are different in WDW.

    1) More travel time everywhere you go, even within in Magic Kingdom. Not going to lie, DL was so much more compact it's crazy. In MK everything is spread out so there is more walking between attractions, and as you probably know, there are more attractions jammed together (not in a bad way) in DL than there are in MK. So, you'll usually walk more in WDW. Also, park hopping takes longer. Some don't recommend park hoppers for WDW but we absolutely love them. One huge advantage is that you can begin and end a day in different parks, just like in DL, but it will take time to get from one to the other, so figure in your travel time.

    2) You really do want ADR's if you think you want to try a restaurant. The TS are a bigger deal in WDW than in DL. But, you can indeed get good food at QS locations as well. TS takes up more time, but it also gives you a bigger break in your day. We eat a TS about every other day, and QS the rest.

    3) Rope drop is a bigger deal at WDW. If you are early risers, it is worth it to get to your park at least 30 min early (if you are rope dropping Flight of Passage (FoP) at AK, or Slinky Dog Dash (SDD) at DHS, then you can plan to be there around an hour early (at least right now). We attempted rope drop really early at DL and we were the first in line with no one else around, it was nuts to us! lol

    4) EMH works different, so just keep track of the hours for each park for each day of your trip. And, be aware they can change them up on you.

    5) During your dates EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival should be going on (if the dates hold true from this year), and I think EPCOT is at it's prettiest then. There are also extra food booths and demonstrations.

    6) If you study one thing here on the Dis, make it how to effectively use Fastpass +. Look at the "refresh strategy" threads, and the FP FAQ's.

    I love Pop and POR both. Pop is "busier" with more "in your face" Disney themes, good variety in their food court, and POR is more laid back, also a good food court as well (they have a TS restaurant there too). POR would offer you the boats to Disney Springs if you are interested in that.

    I've done the World of Color dessert package at DL, and the Candlelight Processional dining package at Christmastime at EPCOT and those are the only 2 I've ever done. So, I don't really have any advice there. I think you can get along fine without them.

    I don't ever trust crowd calendars except if it is an actual holiday. How we choose which parks which days; we look at hours and EMH offerings (when I go I'm a rope dropper, so the hours are important if I want to sleep in later or get up really early, also as a park hopper, I can rope drop an EMH park, do what I want, and go to a less crowded park afterward), we decide if there is anywhere we "must eat," and what we must absolutely get to ride. Also, I figure out which parks I would like to start and end my vacation in (so that sets up your first morning and last evening).

    Hope you have a ball! WDW is different than DL, but they both have pro's and con's, I love them both and am so glad to have been to both coasts.

    Don't get overwhelmed! I think with your experiences at DL, you are in good shape to tackle WDW. Yes, it takes a bit more planning... and the place is BIG! lol But it'll work out. The unofficial guide would be a help, I got one for DL when we went and was glad to have a compendium at hand.
     
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