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melh Oct 30th, 2006 11:54 AM

Help with Disneyworld planning
We are planning our first trip to Disneyworld (family of 4 - w/kids 11 & 7)and the options are just staggering! We are planning to stay on property and I am trying to choose a resort.

We will be going in March. What is the weather like then? I'm not sure how big a factor a swimming pool would be? I don't want to spend the extra $$ for a nicer resort with a great pool(s) that the kids will only get to look at.

I'm torn between splurging for a Deluxe resort or just going with the basics of one of the All-Star resorts.

Any insight/advice would be appreciated!

radiofanatic Oct 30th, 2006 12:08 PM

I would recommend looking at and to help you with your trip. I love Pop Century as a value resort over the all-stars. Deluxe resorts are nice, but I would really look at how much you would actually use your room before deciding on a level. If not much, a deluxe may be a waste of money.

placeu2 Oct 30th, 2006 12:11 PM

I assume this is spring break for the kids? Rest assured that many school districts will be out at this time so you should expect huge, big, gigantic, crowds of people complete with long lines at DW.

March is too early for swimming in Orlando unless you come up with heated or indoor pools (I have no knowledge of that at on property facilities).

So, given that, book what your budget will allow.

Did I mention it will be crowded?

escargot Oct 30th, 2006 12:18 PM

I just figured out where to stay at Disney - we are going in January with our kids, 21 and 24 ! that's where they chose to revisit their childhood memories -

When they were younger we had stayed on the monorail hotels (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary), as we also had my mom with us and someone could go back for naps/rest/and for quick transport - but when they were 7 and 11, we stayed at the all-star sports resort , we didn't need to be going back and forth to room for naps, etc. and I didn't want to pay for the monorail hotel rates when they'd be in the room hardly at all.

It was fine - we left after breakfast, sometimes took a late afternoon break where they would 'veg' and swim in the pool, play in the arcade, some down time and go out again at night - other days we'd go all day long and return after dinner - but that was ten years ago and the resort reviews for that one may be different now.

Not knowing your kids hard to say, ours would swim in any weather and so a pool was a part of the package in their minds.

Here is a link to my current posted thread where I rec'd lots of info - which won't apply to you as we were looking for more night action now for the kids - but the web links people provided me helped a great deal -

the links had great info, listed all the transport options, and that helped in our choice - the main disney page also had a resort comparison chart which may help you choose also.

Good luck - wherever you choose -

escargot Oct 30th, 2006 12:18 PM

sorry, forgot the link :

mollmatt Oct 30th, 2006 12:43 PM

March may not be too cold for swimming. It all depends on the weather. We've been in the pools in Dec,Jan,Feb,and Mar. I do believe all of the resort pools are heated. They have the water parks open in March as well.
As for where to stay, if you think you'll be spending alot of time at the Magic Kingdom, then pick a resort near there may be easier for access. (It's a good idea to purchase tickets with the "park-hopper" option so that you can go to lets say, Magic Kingdom for the day and then head over to Epcot for dinner and illuminations later on)
Anyway, back to the resorts, your choices are Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary for easy access to MK.
All three are on the monorail so if you want to split up at all, you have easy access back to your hotel.

Wilderness Lodge has a boat that goes directly to the MK and is a great place to stay. You don't say where you live, but my children loved Wilderness Lodge because it's so different from the landscape here in Florida. They also have the rooms with the bunk beds which is fun for kids. They've recently remodled there as well. I suppose I'd think about what sort of resort theme my family might like the best as part of the choice. If your kids are into animals, then Animal Kingdom Lodge is the place to stay.

The All-Star resorts are great but you have to be careful as sometimes, especially in the spring, they host large groups of cheerleaders, football teams, band groups and they all stay at the All-Star resorts. It can get loud and very busy. But, the price is right.

For our first trip years ago, we stayed at the Polynesian and loved it. Our kids were 3 and 5 though so we spent nearly all of our time at MK. If you think your family will spend more time at EPCOT and/or MGM, then pick someplace in the Boardwalk area. Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn or Swan and Dolphin are the hotels in this area. You can walk to both Epcot and MGM which is nice or take the boat. The Boardwalk Villas have studios which are nice because they have a mini-kitchen.

I know, the choices are enourmous! Good luck and have fun!

padams421 Oct 30th, 2006 12:55 PM

Are your children more interested in the rides and attractions in the parks or swimming? My kids would rather be at the parks all day than swimming at WDW but we live in the South and can swim 6 months of the year. If you live in a colder part of the country and/or your kids don't swim often, the pool may be a big attraction. You won't regret being at the All Stars but you may regret what you're spending for lodging if you stay at a deluxe and your kids don't want to leave the parks.

Bob_KY Oct 30th, 2006 05:32 PM

The book "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World" has alot of useful information. They have a website:

that has a calender with estimated crowd levels - click on crowd calender on the left side. It looks like March is pretty busy. Given the cost, if there is any way you can arrange to go at a less crowded time, it will be worth it.

Whenever you go, I would definitely recommend the aforementioned book.

travel_addict Oct 30th, 2006 07:12 PM

I'd second the recommendation for the Unofficial Guide, and check out too.

ajcolorado Oct 30th, 2006 09:18 PM

I have stayed in values, moderate, & deluxe resorts at Disney World. Here's what we do - if we're going to be in the parks all day, we stay in the value resorts. Why pay for more for a room that you'll only sleep in.

If you are planning several parks days + a resting day or two, why not change resorts? Disney will move your luggage for you. Try to do the deluxe or moderate on a week day as weekends may be priced higher. has more information than you'll ever need about the All-Star Movies (also called ASMo, for short) has great pictures of the resorts - just click on the area the line points to, rather than on the actual words.

You are in your 180 day dining reservation window and good reservations can be hard to get during spring break.

We used a service for our last trip that was really wonderful - they helped us with the best days to be in each park, made custom touring plans for us, and even made our dining reservations. I thought the prices was pretty reasonable, especially given the time they spent communicating with us. You can see their website at

melh Oct 31st, 2006 04:35 AM

Thank you all for your replies.

This will be our first trip to DW, so I imagine the kids will be quite interested in seeing the parks, esp. Magic Kingdom.

Personally, I'd prefer to stay somewhere nicer (and the monorail sounds really convenient) but maybe the All-Star resorts (or Pop Century) would be better for this trip. Decisions, decisions!

Thanks for the info and links. I've been spending a lot of time at lately! I'll definitely check out the other links also.

camoang Oct 31st, 2006 04:57 AM

I used to be a cast member and I've stayed at Wilderness Lodge and at All Star Movies...if you're planning on spending alot of time in the parks, opt for a cheaper'll be so tired when you get back that you'll only use your room to sleep anyway.

Honestly, my favorite part of staying at a Disney resort is buying the mug and getting unlimited soda at your hotel. I'm easily amused.

scohen1969 Oct 31st, 2006 12:44 PM

I'd recommend going to the following website. I was able to find a discount on the resort we stayed at last fall. They usually have specials listed.

Avalon4 Oct 31st, 2006 03:18 PM

We stayed at a moderate resort- Caribbean Beach- which is a little nicer than the all star resorts. Our kids were 10 and 6 at the time, and the location was perfect. Caribbean Beach is very spread out so we made sure we requested a room close to the main pool and the restaurants and snack bars. We used the pool for mid-day breaks and the temp was fine. Definitely get the Unofficial guide and familiarize yourself with fast pass. It really eliminates any long waits. I would also recommend renting a car. We did and were glad we did not have to wait at the end of a long day to catch a shuttle back to the resort. Have fun. Your kids are at the perfect age to enjoy all the parks.

melh Nov 1st, 2006 09:38 AM

Thanks again for the information.

I am leaning now towards staying at the Pop Century or the ASM resort.

Is there somewhere online where I can find out travel times from these resorts to the various parks? I have no real idea of how spread out things are.

Bob_KY Nov 1st, 2006 02:52 PM

I'm not sure about online, but the book I mentioned (unofficial guide) has 2 pages that show travel times from every resort to every park - both if you use your own transportation, and if you use Disney's.

miller20621 Nov 1st, 2006 07:43 PM

Another vote for the "Unofficial Guide"- its been an essential part of my planning for the 3 times we've been to Disney. The $14- $18 it costs is WELL worth it- better than any online forum I've read b/c of its depth, balance and scope.

angethereader Nov 2nd, 2006 06:12 AM

Yet another vote for the Unofficial Guide.
We took the maps in the back and had them laminated.
Each morning I would put the laminated map of the park we were going to in my pocket. My DH and DS's called me a geek. But guess who asked for the map?

melh Nov 3rd, 2006 07:02 AM

I bought Passporter's Disney Cruise book and Birnbaum's Disney World Guide. Looks like I need one more!
Thanks for the advice. :-)

ajcolorado Nov 3rd, 2006 07:18 AM

The Birnbaum books have very good general information but they just don't cut it when you need a good touring plan during the busy season.

Don't buy a used copy of the UG unless it is very recent. WDW has made several new additions to the parks and that completely changes the touring plans.

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