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Family of 5 Going to Disney over Christmas Break

Family of 5 Going to Disney over Christmas Break

Jan 21st, 2008, 07:49 PM
  #41  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 152
Hi Everyone!

First and foremost I want to thank everyone for their advice on our trip! When reading everyone's comments, I seriously thought people were blowing things out of proportion. I was VERY wrong! I have never been in such a chaotic place in my life! We will NEVER go back to Disney over the Holidays! Here is my trip report...

We arrived at the Orlando airport and all was fine. The transportation system to Disney went smoothly. We stayed at Saratoga Springs Spa and Resort. It was nice, but a bit too far from things. We arrived at 2pm and decided to go to Magical Kingdom. The Christmas decoration and the castle were beautiful. We got to see the lighting of the castle the kids went crazy! We went on a few rides but the lines were insane! We tried to get into several restaurants and EVERYTHING was booked! We ended up on the Main Street buying hot dogs and fries but had to wait 45 minutes just for a HOT DOG! We got to see the parade that evening, which was fun. However it was VERY hard to find a place to stand. We finally snuck in an area but we were cramped. We bolted out after the parade back to our hotel welcoming the peace and quiet and were exhausted. My husband and I looked at each other wondering "Yikes, what are we in for here" haha....

The next day we followed the advice of going early to the Parks. We got to Epcot at 8am and it was great. Our kids had no lines for the charactor autograph signing. This was a big deal for our kids. They wanted everyone's autographs! We followed the advice of AjColorado and it worked great! Soarin was a lot of fun(wished it was longer). Thank goodness we had a fastpass for this because it was a 90 minute wait. We were not able to get into all the rides we wanted because by 11am the Park was PACKED! They were not giving out fast passes because they were maxed out. So we went back to our resort and hung out at the pool. Luckily the weather was Beautiful ALL week! 80's!

The rest of the week we tried to get to the parks by 9am. We decided that each day we would try to pick 2 rides at each park and get fast passes, this was all we could really do with how busy it was. We left one of the parks one day and thought we would go to Blizzard Beach water park, thinking the crowds would be less. NOPE! 45 min to 1 hour wait times to get on all of the water rides. We were there for 3.5 hours and got to go down 4 water rides. When we left Blizzard Beach we were going to take the bus, but after a half an hour waiting we decided to take a taxi. The taxi driver said he had never seen it so busy! Apparantly he had heard there were 8000 people that had attended the water park when we were there that day.

I managed to get into three decent restaurants when we were there. We ate a Japanese restaurant called Teppanyaki. We sat and a chef cooked our dinner in front of us. The kids had a great time watching the chef chopping and she was really funny with the kids. We also ate at The Artist's Point, and Portabello Yacht Club. All had good food. One day we went to the The Beach Club Resort and checked out their pool. They had a great slide that the kids loved! We had lunch there at a restaurant called Beaches and Cream Soda Shop. It was a great little 50's style burger joint that had GREAT burgers and Sundaes!

On New years we ended our trip by going to Cirque Du Soleil. This is definitely a Must SEE!! It really was an incredible performance. We had got another tip from a cab driver telling us to make sure we get out of any Disney Park before midnight. He said that last year there were people waiting to get transportation until 4am!! We decided to head back to our hotel after the show at 10:30pm(it still took 1/2 hour to get a cab at this time)and we sat on our patio and we toasted the New Year watching the fireworks in Downtown Disney.

I can not explain enough to anyone who is planning on coming to Disney over the Holidays(Apparently Easter is really bad too)that if you have your heart set on certain things you need to plan a 6-12 months in advance. And that means Restaurant reservations too! We are not people who like to have every minute planned for a vacation. When we go on vacation we like to take it day by day. Disney is NOT a day by day casual destination. You need to have a daily itinerary and stick to it! We were not able to do half of the things we wanted, which is okay. We started planning the trip about a month before we left, I had no idea how busy it truly was going to be.
tuleppy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 08:19 PM
  #42  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 152
To sum everything up:

Plan, Plan, Plan!

Thanks Again everyone!

Happy New Year to All!!
tuleppy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:31 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 217
I was wondering how it went for your family, tuleppy. Glad to hear it wasn't a complete disaster.



mollmatt is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 04:53 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,337
Thank you for trusting us, tuleppy. Glad you had a good time.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:14 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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tuleppy, Good for you for making the most of it! Come back and see us some time when it's not as busy.
321go is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:27 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Next trip, subscribe to tourguidemike.com. It costs under $20. Thanksgiving week-another week of major crowds-we rode everything we wanted with never more than a 10-15 minute wait. It works like magic.

But you are so right....a WDW vaction takes a lot of planning to maximize the experience.
missypie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:40 AM
  #47  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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missypie, that looks like an interesting deal. What time of year did you go when you used that program?
emd is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:00 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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The Friday before Thankgiving to the Friday after Thanksgiving.
missypie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:29 AM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 226
The way things are at WDW any time of year (not just holidays), you might consider making dining ressies as far in advance as possible (once you know for certain you are going!). You can always cancel if you decide you can't make it to a restaurant. You can use something like Tour Guide Mike to help determine which parks on what days so you'll have an idea how to plan. Tour Guide Mike really worked great for us in that we were able to ride everything we wanted with little waits; my husband got a little tired of the "commando pace" so some days it might be nice just to stroll around without worrying about being at a certain place, certain time, etc...z
mouseRD is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:33 PM
  #50  
wow
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hi, tuleppy! I didn't know that you cld use the pool & slides @ The Yacht & Beach Club Resort if you weren't staying there.
Did you have to get some kind of a special pass? (or maybe I missed something & you were staying there but I thought you mentioned staying @ an off site hotel.).
wow is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:37 PM
  #51  
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There is NO WAY that Tour Guide Mike could of made it easier for us on our trip. I really have no way of explaining to everyone how crazy it was with people. Just trust me that when I say that Christmas Break week is insanely busy and there are no TOUR GUIDES that are going to help eliminate the amount of people that attend WDW this week. I dont quite understand this 'Guide', because if everyone is using his idea on getting around, it obviously is still going to be nuts because everyone will be doing the same thing..???
tuleppy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:55 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I believe that "pool hopping" is forbidden unless one's own pool is closed for rehab. At many times of the year they check room keys at the entrance to Stormalong Bay.

Tour Guide Mike is a guy who gives private tours for a living, and also maintains a web site where he passes along his tips. If you go on his "best days" and follow his tips, it is really like being in an alternate reality, where you are not waiting in long lines and everyone else is.

missypie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:05 PM
  #53  
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In response to wow. We stayed on the WDW grounds at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. I was told that if you are staying at any resort in WDW you were able to use other pools. So we checked out the Beach club. I liked that area because you were close to the Boardwalk and Epcot. We got in the pool where the slide was like a ship. It was a great slide and the pools there had sandy bottoms which was kinda cool. When we went it was in the morning and it was sprinkling out but it was close to 80. The pool was not busy, so maybe if it was really busy they wouldnt have let us in??
tuleppy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:09 PM
  #54  
wow
 
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Thanks tuleppy. We stayed @ The Boardwalk & they told us that you could not use the other pools. Interesting.
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Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:31 PM
  #55  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We were at Disney for 10 days at Christmas '04. We followed a plan, but not the one missypie cites, and we had pretty good luck w/it. We got fast passes first thing as soon as we got in the parks. We were able to ride everything we wanted without crazy lines that way, w/the fast passes. At Epcot they were running out of fast passes for the day by 10:30 am, but we just got there early and got them right away.

We booked the Candlelight Prcoessional way before we went and got first row seats to that, and had restaurant priority reservations as early as we could get them. And we booked non-Disney things to do on the really busy days like Christmas Eve.

I've also been at Easter week and am going again this Easter week, 2008. I have not found Easter week to be as bad as some people say either, as long as we plan months ahead.
emd is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:50 PM
  #56  
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The fast passes are great, however you can only have one at a time before you can get the next one. We got to the parks early and would get a fast pass and get on a ride lets say at 10am but then when we wanted to get another pass we couldnt get in until 4 on a lot of rides. So we didnt want to stay the entire day to just go on two rides. Granted the lines are short with the fast pass but the wait times in between were quite long. So there were a few times where we sat in line for an hour because we already had a fast pass for another ride. Does this make sense? Its too bad they cant come up with a number of people that the Parks could manage and everyone attending would have a reasonable wait times. They would have a limit on people in the park. With all the resorts, did the engineers figure out if every resort was at full capacity what this would do to the Parks and activities? I am sure that they were running at full capacity over Christmas break and it just makes things crazy and guests disappointed.
tuleppy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 02:02 PM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Disney really is a victim of its own success. Crazy crowds, but the crowds keep coming! They raise the prices, but the crowds keep coming!

Telepuppy, next trip (and with the ages of your kids, there SHOULD be a next trip....that little one has to ride all the big roller coasters!), spend the $20 or so and join Tour Guide Mike. Join 7-9 months before your trip. You will see a WORLD of difference.
missypie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:52 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 8
I've been following this thread since the first post in mid-December. Glad to hear you had a good trip, tuleppy, despite the craziness during xmas week.

My DH and I are taking our 5-yo DS to WDW at the end of April. I joined TGM a month ago based on recommendations on another BB and have found the information both overwhelming and incredibly valuable. We have already made all of our ADR's and have an itinerary in place for the parks based on TGM's recommendations for the least crowded times to visit. I urge anyone planning a trip to WDW to join TGM. (btw, I paid $21.95 for TGM but found, after the fact, that there is a link on disboards that will save you $3.00. Worth every penny, even w/o the $3 savings.)
mdepsmom is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:55 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I agree that there's a WHOLE lot of info in Tour Guide Mike's site. If someone only has a couple of weeks to plan, or hates to plan, I tell them to buy the Unofficial Guide and use the touring plans in the back of the book. But those who are willing to spend hours on Mike's site are amply rewarded!
missypie is offline  

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