Since I had a few people ask i thought i would share a few of ourDisney tips-
If you stay in moderate or above resorts the 30% off room rates should save you more than free dining. If you have. Chance to go in the off season it is so worth it! No extreme heat and less crowds make everyone happier!
Dining plan tips- we have done the dining plan with one quick service, one table service and I snack.
Quick service meals are the all the same- so you can get your kids adult portioned and priced meals for the same as a kids meal- like at pizza planet a much larger pizza for the same "price"
Each meal comes with a dessert and drink at dinner and lunch- breakfast is no dessert -but for dinner and lunch you can usually get some type of fruit or yogurt for your dessert If you don't want something sweet!
You also get 1 snack per person per day- you can pack your own drinks in a cooler and snacks- so we used these for things like ice cream, soft pretzels, cotton candy and even the small size "goofy candy" souvenir bags.
To get the most out of your dining plan with table service use it for character meals! You can have 1 a day- dinner is much more expensive than breakfast so if you make dinner reservations you get more "bang for your buck"- akershus in Epcot gives you a free picture with belle and is great- we love chef mickeys cape may and Ohana at the Polynesian as well. Remember tips are not included so usually between 12-20$ a meal.
For quick service we like boardwalk pizza window- 2 quick service comps equal a whole large pizza, 2 large drinks and 2 desserts! Also Pecos Bills in the MK has a "salad like bar" with lots of fixings that Anna loves!
Most of the resorts have quick service in the hotel- you can also refill your free mug as often a you like with pop/tea/water at the resorts
So far we have stayed at the value resorts, ft wilderness cabins, boardwalk villas and beach club villas- you definitely get more for paying more. Our favorite thing about boardwalk and beach club is you can walk to Epcot and to Hollywood - or take a short boat ride to either. So the buses are only needed for Magic kingdom and animal kingdom.
Beach club by far has the best pool! Taking time In the trip to swim is a must! It is called storm along bay and is about 6 different pools all connected with bridges and a lazy river. It has a whole sand area like a beach but its a pool- then a large slide comin from a pirate ship and a kids pool with a kids slide. It also has two separate pools and handicap accessible hot tubs. The kids loved the pool- you can only swim in it of you are staying at the yacht/beach club.
This is also a Disney vacation club Choice so if you want a villa- make sure you Get your reservations early enough!
Amazing! You are right above the boardwalk and can walk to shops and restaurants and walk to Epcot/Hollywood. Cool pool with a slide for older kids/adults.
Ft wilderness cabins were awesome! Stand alone cabins with a bedroom and pull out bed- kitchen Etc. the only drawback was that they are in the Mk area so a walk and a bus ride from anything-2 pools with fun slides and a great kids slide and pool. If we stay there again we are budgeting in a golf cart which they haw available to rent at the cabins! There is a place to fish, boat and horses at the cabins. As well as chip and dales campfire- anyone can come to this and it is free!
Value resorts - we stayed at all star movies- it had 2 small beds and a bath- but it works on a budget! This is also furthest from the parks and all of the value resorts are on the same bus line- so give yourself plenty of time if you have a meal reservation.
We skipped animal kingdom this year and gave ourselves a lot of breaks. Much more fun with happy rested kids! Disney can be overwhelming for everyone- low expectations and patience is helpful! We did magic kingdom the first night for about 4 hours- this included crystal palace with pooh and friends for dinner- and leaving before the crowds/parade/fireworks.
The castle is the center and it branches off from there- the train takes you all around as well. We loved the new little mermaid ride- fast passes are available for this! Monsters inc laugh floor, country bears jamboree, tiki room, dumbo, tea cups, Peter Pan, small world- dumbo now had 2 rides and a play area where you get a buzzer when it's your turn! Fantasyland is open - be our guest is a quick service restaurant - but you can make reservations- haven't tried that one yet. They are still working on some of it, but what is done is pretty cool. We rode big thunder mountain- scarier at night! Wyatt like the Haunted Mansion last year- but not in the dark this year! The main at electrical parade is worth staying for- but it gets crowded!
and a few drinks around the world! If mom and dad like a drink I recommend -frozen margarita in Mexico and the 3 caballeros ride- grey goose slush in France and an Italian margarita in Italy! Well worth the 9.75 each-
There is a lot to look at and not too much to ride here - we love the living seas with Nemo! There is an. Awesome ride that ends in an aquarium that is a must! We also love going into Innoventions where Anna has her piggy bank game and there are other interactive games- if it is hot or raining these are all inside a huge building as well! We also love the boat ride "living with the land" you can see where they grow the food you eat at the theme parks - we haven't been on it but most love soarin which is in the same area as that. We spent a lot of time just walking around and enjoying the "sites" akershus is here . A sit down dinner with aurora, belle, Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel. They come o the table and the food is amazing! You get a complimentary picture with belle here- definitely worth it on the dining plan bc this is a pricey meal!
We had awesome luck here this year! Make sure to get your fast passes for toy story mania as soon as you get there! They run out early! We were able to wait 30 minutes and get a fast pass- so we rode it twice! For little ones there is a playhouse Disney show the kids love- it now has doc mcstuffins and Sofia the first In it! Near this is jake and handy manny for pictures. Voyage of the little mermaid is a show that is here as well- we didn't do star tours- but wy and tj did the backlot tour (this can be a bit scary- there is a fire and explosion). We also saw the beauty and the beast show- it was amazing! Like broadway! There is a restaurant called Hollywood and vine we have eaten at with characters here as well. Tower of terror is in this park - but we don't do that one! The rocking roller coaster Is as well.
Animal kingdom- in past years we have headed straight to the safari- fast passes;) we also loved the bugs life show and dinosaur festival area. There is a camp Minnie And Mickey with characters and Everest (yeti rollercoaster) we like Tusker house to eat breakfast here as well. Also take rafikis train to a bunch of characters and a petting zoo!
We have driven the past two years to avoid the buses at night! Parking is easy and that way you can leave easily with all of your stuff! Tons of shopping here- but f you see something In a store don't wait! They may not have it at the next! (This is true at the parks and resorts a well!) Our favorite things here are once upon a toy- potato head parts! And the Lego store with the amazing Lego "sculptures"!
As for the rest of our time-
We have putt putted before and this year tj was able to golf- the "downtime" is nice! If you have the time/desire- Split up- sometimes we have different ideas of fun/rides/activities- let mom take one kid and dad take the other!
My best advice is plan ahead for heat, tired legs and rain! That way if you are left with an unused rain poncho from the dollar store and a happy family you will be pleasantly surprised instead of upset;) our kids are 5 &7 and we used umbrella strollers the whole time-$20 at Walmart before we left! We were blessed with awesome weather this year, but last year it poured the whole time- just make it a part of the day and go with it- don't expect too much from the kids- or the parents- or the weather!
We stayed 5 nights 6 days this year and did 3 parks- magic kingdom and Epcot we split into 2 days each- this gave us a lot of time to enjoy the pool/boardwalk and arcades/ice cream parlor! As well as time for TJ to golf!
Shop before you go- disney store online and Walmart.com have some super cute stuff for better deals than when you get here!
Have fun! Take tons of pictures! Bring lots of spending money;)