Disney World help

<p>I'm surprising D and taking her and her bff for her 16th birthday. </p>

<p>I haven't been in years and would love any suggestions regarding where to stay (need two rooms/suite, don't feel the need to stay at a Disney property, would like "nice" since it's a special occasion but don't want to break the bank), and any other suggestions about strategies to make the trip special/easy, etc. </p>

<p>At first I thought the girls would spend the 3 days at various DW parks but then someone reminded me that there's a new Harry Potter World. Anyone been and care to comment?</p>

<p>Thanks for any/all thoughts!</p>

<p>I have a friend who is a certified Disney travel planner. I think she gets really updated info and good deals. If you are interested in contacting her, send me a PM.</p>

<p>There's an online forum with exhaustive info and tips--it used to be called TheDIS, but I think it's something else now.</p>

<p>My only tip is not to discount staying on property--it gets you early entry to the parks, which is really valuable (if you can get up early enough to do it). There used to be similar deals for hotels affiliated with Universal, and they can be good too, if you're interested in Harry Potter. Check that out.</p>

<p>Go to disboards.</p>

<p>The new Animation resort at WDW has suites but is in the Value category.</p>

<p>I would not go to Universal without staying at one of their resorts. You get front of the line privileges, (not just fast pass.) There is a different deal for Harry Potter - maybe early entry? - but there is still a perk.</p>

<p>We went to Harry Potter World the year it opened - I have two S - who were about the age your D is. We stayed at Universal at Hard Rock - we loved it, and staying on the property allowed us in the park an hour before opening - and the room keys give you fast pass ride access, very important as lines get crazy.
I don't know if it's different with girls, but while my sons loved going to Disney when they were younger, the last couple of trips we took, they passed and wanted to stay at the Universal parks the whole time.
Also, I've found Universal has some great deals if you stay on the property - I think we got free park tickets last time we went.
Whatever you decide, enjoy, and Happy Birthday to your D!</p>

<p>When we went to Disneyland 6 years ago, the website/forum I used was called MousePlanet, IIRC. Had info and discussion forums about both the California and Florida resorts,. Helped me with places to stay, places to eat (both in park & surrounding area), waterbottles to take, when to go when park is less crowded, links to a book which had a detailed plan of which rides to ride in which order so to be most efficient and avoid the longest lines, various money saving tips (including a Disney merchandise outlet not far from the park), etc, etc. </p>

<p>I learned SO much, and it really made our trip more enjoyable.</p>

<p>I don't know whether this would work now, but the Hard Rock at Universal is a Loews hotel. When we went (a number of years ago), we signed up for the Loews frequent traveller card before going, and got a very nice upgrade at the hotel. The hotel was pretty groovy--the kids liked it.</p>

<p>Interested in this, too. H and I are going in a couple of weeks for our 30th anniversary, but would like to return with son and see Harry Potter. Although I was thinking we'd stay off property and see both, reading about the perks of staying on site at Universal has me thinking we'll do that as well.</p>

<p>As for Disney,we're staying at the Contemporary, a longtime dream of H and I, with Magic Kingdom view. And yes, we're breaking the bank, but it's a special occasion.</p>

<p>A good friend is going with her little ones, oldest is 6, and staying at the Caribbean Resort, with the pirate room. She's going day after Thanksgiving, and has free dining. Her trip for four is costing about half what H and I are paying, even though she's staying same length of time, same Deluxe Dining (which she paid the upgrade for), and park hoppers. Big difference in price for hotels, but she's still on site.</p>

<p>My aunt went with her husband, they're in their early sixties, but in better shape than us 50 year olds, and stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. Now, this is the place I want to go to, and I even threatened my H that I will take a weekend just myself and S to go there, since he hates travel.</p>

<p>I will report back when we return from our anniversary trip at the end of the month, but I'm sure a 16 year old girl would have different interests than a middle aged couple.</p>

<p>However, I do have Cinderella Royal Table and Crystal Palace booked for breakfast, as I can't do Disney without a Princess experience, and since I will be waiting outside of Space Mountain while H rides it over and over again, it's an even trade.</p>

<p>I would recommend also using Triple A if you're a member. We get a special Story Time as part of our package, but we were too late to book the reserved fireworks, although you can try for that.If you're driving, you have preferred parking, and I think there's other perks as well.</p>

<p>We also booked our trip a year ahead of time and immediately got the Disney Visa. We used it exclusively and earned 250 bucks toward our trip. We have six months interest free to pay off the trip, which is a great perk!</p>

<p>Looking forward to reading this post and hearing others' suggestions.</p>

<p>There is a new restaurant that is opening in November called Be My Guest, and since your daughter is 16, I'm guessing she is familiar with Beauty and the Beast. I subscribe to the Disney Food Blog, and the decorations and food there look amazing! I would definitely check that out.</p>

<p>Have a great time and have fun planning!</p>

<p>There is SO much to learn about Disney World and tons of options depending on what interests your group. Definitely visit disboards.com and start reading! Lots of information on accommodations, restaurants, strategies for visiting the parks, transportation, etc.</p>

<p>When are you planning to go?</p>

<p>Also, if you will be at WDW at a busy time, consider subscribing to Tour Guide Mike. It costs money, but less than the average guide book and you get detailed touring plans. We went for a week, ending the day after Thanksgiving - a very busy time - and never waited more than 15 minutes for any ride.</p>

<p>There is a Princess Lunch and Dinner at Epcot. More Princesses than just Cinderella and an easier reservation to get than CRT. (Just a little insider abbreviation - Cinderella's Royal Table.)</p>

<p>Also, for folks who haven't been to WDW for a while, remember that there are free apps for your phone that tell you the waiting times. They aren't precise to the minute, but they give you a good idea of what there is a long wait for and what there is a shorter wait for.</p>

<p>If you will have a car, there are also Disney maps you can download into your GPS.</p>

<p>Ooh, I have to find out about the Princess Lunch and Dinner. Is this the Akershush Buffet? I heard the food is not too good. </p>

<p>We are definitely using the apps and already have some loaded on to our phone, but would love to know which is the one with the wait times.</p>

<p>The extended hours for Disney hotel guests can be early in the morning or later at night and also vary by park. There is a calendar with schedule you can check.</p>

<p>There's currently a promotion for room-only reservations this fall that still has availability (I booked some more rooms last night.) You may want to check out the newer Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary. It's all suites, from studio suites to two bedrooms/kitchen & living room/three baths. If you don't think 3 people sharing 1 bath would be a problem, the studio suite could be a good option. Then you'll be on the monorail which would make it easier/quicker for the girls to get around on their own. If the Contemporary doesn't appeal, you could check out Boardwalk Villas. It's near enough to Epcot to walk to a back entrance, and a boat will take you to Disney Hollywood Studios. In addition to early entrance for WDW resort guests, there are late hours that the girls would probably enjoy. </p>

<p>Staying on site offers many perks and is so convenient. We only stay off site when we don't plan to spend much time at any parks, then we rent a house with a pool overlooking a small lake or conservation area to just relax. It doesn't sound as if this is the right trip for a rental.</p>

<p>collage - would suggest saying on site - you get free bus transportation to all of the sites. if you're worried about money, look into the all star resorts. They would be perfect for 16 year olds. That's where I stay when I go there. Very reasonable in price. Once you get to 3 days the tickets are relatively cheap to add additional days on - you can get ice discounts online as well.</p>

<p>There is a website called mousesavers dot com. It has lots of great information.
There is a book called Pasporter guide to Disney (or something like that), and they were both really helpful when my family went. The Entertainment discount books used to let you get great rates at the hotels on-site but not run by Disney. (Swan and Dolphin maybe). At one point if you stayed at those hotels you got benefits like the e-night ride and extra hour in the morning, but I'm not up on the latest trends.</p>

<p>We stayed at the Contemporary Resort when my son's scholars Bowl team won the state championship. We must have gotten a good package deal because I don't recall it being very expensive. It was so convenient and because the kids were old enough, we could let them loose in the park (with buddies, cell phones, check-in times). Really fun!</p>

<p>Montegut: the app we have is called WDW Lines. You need a subscription to see the wait times, but it was GREAT when we went last year.</p>

<p>Another vote for staying on Disney property. The Disney Magic spreads all the way to the hotels; the only time we stayed off property we looked at each other & said never again. The Art of Animation has family suites or you could book 2 of the Value rooms.</p>

<p>Oh, naive me...I just came to check on responses and I'm blown away! The trip is in one month, I just bought airline tickets two days ago (we're in California--the kids have a 4 day break) and I had no idea that so much info was available/research would be needed!</p>

<p>So, just checked the Contemporary (as it sounds like I should reconsider not staying IN DW) and they're booked but there was a pop up that I should view an alternative--The Floridian for $4,149!!! Uh, I don't think so!</p>

<p>A quick look at the Art of Animation Resort shows availability for suites at $300/night so I'll explore that along with others.</p>

<p>Will definitely check out some of the sites and options suggested--thanks so much. Certainly the kick in the tush that I needed!</p>

<p>I tried to navigate through one of the WDW forums last year when we were planning a trip , also for our daughter and a friend. So much information that it was overwhelming !
I do think that staying in the park does have it's advantages. We were lucky and got you use a friend's time share. We stayed at the Saratoga Springs. We only ate one " nice " meal while we were there..the rest of it was either prepared in our little apt or take out from Pizza Hut ...not our favorite , but they were happy</p>

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if you're worried about money, look into the all star resorts

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<p>If you are going to rely on the busses, try to find out as much as you can about the bus routes. I have gone a couple of years for cheer nationals. I stayed at Pop Century - the only hotel on the bus route. (I don't know if they now share with Animation or not.) The girls stayed at All Stars....the bus stops at all three All Stars.</p>