BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Going to Disney World
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
Going to Disney World
DisneyWorld over Thanksgiving
My husband, son and I are meeting my husband's in Orlando
over Thanksgiving. We will be there from Tuesday to Friday
and bought three-day park hopper passes. Do you have any
advice about things that we should and shouldn't do while
we're there? I've been to DisneyLand multiple times but have
never been to DisneyWorld. Any must sees?
We're staying at the Nickelodeon hotel. Any advice on the
best way to get to/from the airport and to/from Disney?
We're also looking for a nice place to have Thanksgiving
Any advice that you can give about the best way to structure
this trip would be much appreciated! Overwhelmed with
thoughts of this trip
You'll have a great time!
But it will be very busy and crowded.
It might help you to keep in mind this perspective: All of
Disneyland fits into the *parking lot* for the Magic Kingdom
at WDW. In fact, WDW is bigger than the city of San
Francisco. So in 3 days, you're only going to be able to do
a little bit of it. I'd recommend this website as a place
to review all the activities and make some plans:
www.allears.net. Literally, every piece of information you
could possibly want to know is on that website! In terms of
Thanksgiving dinner, I'm sure there are many restaurants at
WDW that are offering a meal. You could call WDW Dining
(407-WDW-DINE) and ask them to tell you about the offerings.
Have a great time! Seasoned Disney World traveler who loves
to go back every chance I get
Discounted Disney World Tix
We will be traveling to FL in a couple of weeks and would
like to take our kids to Disney World as one of their
Christmas gifts. I am wondering if anyone has any advice on
ticket discounts? Going for two days is really our max, and
all of the online deals I see are selling packages for a
minumum of three. Also any recommendations on a nearby hotel
would be helpful. It does not need to be fancy at all, just
clean. Thank you!!
We went to Orlando in September with our 3 year old. I also
looked for discount tickets and was unable to find any. I
think we saved a whopping $10 by buying a 2-day pass which
we then used for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. We had a
great time at both. Even though we spent over $500 on park
tickets (yikes, I know), I found the food inside the parks
to be more affordable than I expected (of course I use the
Bay Area as my point of reference). Magic Kingdom is almost
exactly like Disneyland, but we were there for a conference
and it was the park with the most rides a little kid could
go on. I don't know what your budget is, but we stayed at
the Orlando Hilton and got a good rate from AAA. The pool
area was fabulous! http://www.thehiltonorlando.com/ anon
We are planning a trip to Disneyworld in May with our 2.5 year old.
We're only going to be there for 4 days so we want to enjoy as much
as we can esp. for our daughter. Does anyone have general advice
about accommodations, which parks, eating, etc.? Any advice would be
Never been to DisneyWorld
We are going to Disneyworld and other places at the end of May. We were
originally going in April but checked into the Disney hotels and very few were
available and were kind of expensive. There is an Embassy Suites Orlando -
Lake Buena Vista, which is virtually next door, and we got a rate of $139 a
night which includes full breakfast and a separate bedroom for us.
We've been to DisneyWorld several times, but not with our kids yet - although
we're in the process of planning. I can recommend a couple of books you might
want to check out: the Birnbaum official guide (get the ''with kids'' version)
and the Unofficial Guide by Sehlinger and Testa. The unofficial guide
especially has great tips and tricks, as well as a link to a website where you
can design your own schedule for the day based on what you want to do. I
strongly suggest that you: make a schedule, stick to it, and make dining
reservations whenever you can! Other than that, relax and enjoy the ride -
DisneyWorld can be insane, but there's truly no other place like it if you let
yourself go. Have a GREAT time!!
I haven't been to Disneyworld myself but I've been told by those in the know
that these are two very important websites:
Also a good book (which I have bought and read almost cover to cover) is The
Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. It offers info on meals,
accommodations, and planning your days at each park (depending on the ages of
your kids, whether you like to sleep in, etc).
We went to Disney World at Christmas (when it was super-crowded) with our
just-under-3 year old. We had a great time, although it was fairly exhausting!
A few suggestions: 1) get up early to be at the parks when they open, then
leave for a nap at your hotel, and come back after nap if you feel up to it.
2) See the Animal Kingdom -- it was really good and, unlike the Magic Kingdom,
it's not something you can go see in So Cal (assuming you're less likely to be
back in Florida). We went to Magic Kingdom, too, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
3) We also liked Sea World a lot -- there are a few rides, but lots of shows.
We skipped Epcot and the Disney studios (name?) because they seemed aimed a bit
older. 4) the _Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World_ was really helpful for
figuring out what attractions we wanted to see and what would be too scary for
our son, and also for finding food, figuring out what we should do first, etc.
And 5) Have fun, and don't be afraid to take!
a day off to sit at the hotel pool or to do something less intense!
Hi, I would welcome any advice on things to do in Walt Disney
World with my 3 and 6 year old girls. We will be staying at the
Floriday Beach Club on Disney property and honestly, I'd rather
hang around the pool with my three year old than wait around
while my husband and older daughter stand on line for rides! Any
suggestion on activities we can all do together? What about the
other parks outside of Magic Kingdom?
Disney World has something for everyone - I think you'll be surprised by
how much. If you are staying in the Disney hotels, you can go into the
parks before and after regular hours. This allows you to experience the
parks w/out the crowds and when it is cooler. Outside of the regular
parks, our 5 and 7 year old daughters loved, loved, loved every minute in
the water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). So plan to spend
daytime hours there.
What we did that worked out very well was to go to the water parks during
the days and the Disney parks at night.
Stock up on sleep - Disney world requires stamina!
Roller Coaster Mom
We're headed to Disneyworld in August, and have 5 day Park
Hopper tickets. We are now thinking that 5 days is way too
much. Can we share the tickets with other friends that we are
going with, i.e. we use 3 days, they use 2? Or does the same
person need to use all 5 days? Any advice is appreciated.
First Time Disneyworlder
Believe it or not 5 days in DisneyWorld is too short a time, not
too long. We just got back and our days were jam-packed the whole
time and we didn't make it to MGM Grand at all. Sharing the pass
is not an option in any case, as they scan your fingers and you
put your fingers in the scanner whenever you enter the parks.
We added the option to go to the Water Parks (to our Park
Hopper tickets) and that turned out to be the highlight of our
stay. We'd go to the water parks in the morning and to the
Amusement Parks in the afternoon when it would be a smidgeon
cooler. My kids were in the Wave Pool jumping up and down and
screaming at the top of their lungs ''this is so much fun!''...
If you haven't booked your hotel, consider staying in the Disney
hotels - you can go into the parks during off hours - this is
wonderful at night (when it is both cool and uncrowded).
Have a wonderful time.
We were just there in March. They have a new fingerprint ID
system that prevents you from sharing tickets, and you have to
be careful to know which ticket belongs to whom!
But 5 days is not too much. It is so different than the Anaheim
experience. Animal Kingdom is a FANTASTIC place and makes you
feel good to have spent your life savings on Disney. If your
kids love animals you may want to spend a few days there. Take
your time and enjoy each attraction/park. If you get burned out,
you can always do something different during the day and then go
at night to see fireworks or the watershow at EPCOT or whatever.
I'm actually not sure of the answer to your question but wanted to share
a few websites that I use to find the answers to all of my WDW questions:
allearsnet.com and disboards.com. Check there if you haven't already.
I would also suggest that you keep the 5 days. We went for 10 days last
August, and although 10 days was plenty, I'm sure 3 days would not
have been enough. There are 4 parks to cover. It is REALLY hot and
humid, and there are thunderstorms and rain. It is great to have the
flexibility to take things at a more leisurely pace. Feel free to e-mail me if
you have any questions. I'd be happy to share my WDW experience...
Technically, you can't share a Park Hopper ticket legally. If you
have ''Magic Your Way'' tickets, I understand they put a
''biometric'' on the ticket that ties it to your fingerprint:
If they don't, though, I think you'd be OK. I bought 5-day passes
to Disney*land* in March and sold the last 2 days to someone on
eBay. She was able to use the last 2 days (and our unused Early
Entry) just fine.
Do Xerox the backs of the tickets so you can replace them if needed!
We are going to Tampa, Florida for a wedding mid-May. We thought
we'd take our girls (5 & 7) to Disney World, etc. while we were
on that coast. Any recommendations of places to stay, Disney or
other site-seeing tips? Any places to avoid? Any must-see
spots (both for the girls and grown-ups)? I'm really confused
about the hotel situation - should I aim to stay in Disney
complex, or are the others close enough so that it isn't a big
deal to shuttle in? We'll be in Orlando area for ~6 days
and Tampa for ~4 days. I'd like to be able to stay somewhere I
can do some minimal cooking/refrigeration (but this is more
important in Orlando than in Tampa). Budget is mid-range - we
can't afford the luxury route but don't have to go Econo either.
Thanks for your advice,
We've been to Disney World a few times. We've stayed at two
different places and liked them both: The Villas at Wilderness
Lodge and Fort Wilderness. Wilderness Lodge is on the pricey
sdie, but great. It has condos with all the comforts of home
(full kitchen, washer/dryer), combined with daily maid service.
Plus it's very convenient to the Magic Kingdom. Fort Wilderness
is a great value; you get a nice little cabin and there's
shuttle service to everywhere.
If you've never been to DW, I have a couple of warnings: First,
staying inside the park is much more convenient for the Disney
attractions. But I'm told that there are other places to go in
Orlando (Universal Studios, for one). We've never been; it's
just too easy to stay in the park. Second is the food issue.
The good news is that there are now a wide range of choices,
both in quality and price. The bad news is that they tend to be
either (a) expensive, but pretty good (although you get better
quality for the money in Berkeley); or (b) priced for families,
but too boisterous for our tastes -- the waiters and other staff
spend a lot of energy on being entertaining (which our kids
like, but my husband and I didn't). All of that said, DW is a
great place for kids; just not very relaxing.
June 21- 26 my husband will be attending a meeting in Orlando.
Of course we are thinking of making it a family trip to Disney
World. We need a place to stay. We want a suite or condo with
a kitchen, 1 bedroom, a pull-out in the livingroom and a private
balcony. We want a regularly scheduled shuttle to and from
Disney World, a nice pool and it can't be too far from the
convention center. We are also looking for opinions about what
to see and what to skip with small kids in Disney World. We have
a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy.
We went to WDW last August for a vacation with extended family, and
we're headed there again this summer. Unfortunately, I don't have any
specific recommendations for places to stay as we stayed on-site at the
WDW resorts. It was expensive but nice and convenient. I have plenty
of recommendations for what to do and see. We visited all 4 parks. For
my 8 and 5 year old girls, Magic Kingdom was, by far, their favorite park.
Favorite attractions: Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (interactive ride,
where you collect points by ''shooting'' at targets), Mickey's
PhilharMagic (3-D movie), and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Epcot
was their second favorite park. Favorite attractions: Test Track and
World Showcase (they loved visiting each of the countries, watching the
various performers, and getting their passport stamped--they also loved
eating the pastries from ''France''). MGM was okay. Favorite attractions:
Playhouse Disney Live (great show) and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I
personally loved the Rock n Roller Coaster. Animal Kingdom was a
disappointment for us. A couple of great websites that I used to help
plan: allearsnet.com and disboards.com. They have all the information
you could possibly need to plan. WDW is huge! Be strategic--realize
you can't do everything. It's also hot and humid, so plan to work in rest
periods and breaks. Use FastPass to minimize waiting in lines. And,
most of all, have fun. I have so many things to say--I could write on and
on. Feel free to e-mail me, and I'd be happy to elaborate and give you
more information and tips.
Hi, I've seen a lot of info about Disneyland but not much about
Disney World. We're spending spring break in Fla. to see family
and thought we might try and do 3 days at Disney. Are we insane
to go this time of year? Does the park sometimes get so full
that it closes, as sometimes happens in California? Any
recommendations on tips for lodging or cost-cutting?
We once spent a week (yes, a week) at Disney World. I thought it
would be awful -- overcrowded, crassly commercial, etc. It was
great! We had a really splendid time. Best tip: ARRIVE EARLY.
Get there when the park opens, and go straight to the back of
the park. You'll be able to get right on all the best rides.
Then work your way to the front of the park. The real crowds
start rolling in late morning, and by lunch time there isn't
room to breathe. You'll be headed out when the worst of the
crowd is arriving. Plus, you'll have your kids near the gate
instead of near the back, so you won't have to struggle your way
past every activity in the park (''please, mom, just one more!'')
when you're trying to leave.
I don't know about Spring Break, but we went to WDW for a week
last January and it was *GREAT*. I think we got 5-day Park Hopper
passes and it wasn't quite enough for us--there's so much to see
Check out http://www.mousesavers.org/ for money-saving tips. Also
''The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World'' and ''... With Kids.''
Spring Break may be a big crunch time. It was plenty crowded in a
somewhat cool January... but *SO* fun for me and my then-almost-3
Hi! We are thinking about going to Disney World in January and
I would love some tips on what to do while there. We want to
maximize fun and minimize stress! Also to save money! We are
purchasing a package - 3 nights, 4 days - but since we've never
been there and since there is so much to see, I wanted to get
some advice, tips, etc on how to make the trip fun for the kids
and sane for us. THANKS IN ADVANCE.
I grew up going to Disney World and continue to love it,
although it's been a few years now and things continue to
change there. But what you do will depend on how old your
children are. They have three theme parks and you could easily
spend a day at each one. When I was there, there were also
three water-themed parks, plus other activities like jet-skiing
or boating on their private lake, horseback riding, etc.
Finally, there's an adult-only evening island with nightclubs
and dancing. I don't tend to be a big nightclub or bar person,
but this place was interesting because it was like having a
drink in a disney ride -- the place we visited had special
effects, like talking pictures and ghosts.
When we went, we purchased a ''Food and Fun Card'' which enabled
us to eat in all of the restaurants, and many of the
restaurants were good -- especially the Brown Derby in the MGM
park. Like I said, without knowing your kids' ages I'm not
sure what to recommend, but I enjoyed wandering ''around the
world'' at Epcot, the ''rides'' at the entrance to Epcot were
interesting. In the Magic Kingdom I've always loved the
haunted house, and the Pirates of the Caribbean. In MGM the
Tower of Terror was fun for a roller coaster and Twilight Zone
fan. I also love to swim, so I loved the water parks.
There are guide books to Walt Disney World out there that are
pretty good. I suggest browsing them and picking one up.
You didn't say what age your kids are, and whether they can do the
same level of rides. We found that splitting up, one adult to one kid, was
the easiest way to tackle the attractions. If possible, both parents should
carry cell phones to communicate. Lots of people use walkie-talkies too.
The food is HORRIBLE in the parks, and expensive. As much as you
can, try to pack food and bring lots of water. (I don't remember them
having a ''no outside food'' rule but you should check the website.)
People often suggest renting the Disney double strollers--you can carry
a lot of stuff in them. In January you shouldn't face big crowds, and the
weather will be good. You may want to bring your own rain gear to
avoid having to buy rain gear at the park.
The ferry that runs between Epcot, MGM, and some of the resorts is free
and a nice way to see Disney World. Try to spend a few hours in the
late afternoon at your hotel to rest every day, then go back to the park for
the evening parade if you want to do it. You could have an early dinner
outside the park to save money. Our favorite evening spot was the
Epcot fireworks. I would avoid MGM's evening event with small children
as it is pretty scary. Magic Kingdom's parade is very crowded but fun.
The shows at the Animal Kingdom are really great--but get there early
because they are popular. I'm not that enthused about the character
meals--they are really expensive, and you can meet the characters all
over the parks.
Have a great time!
We've made several trips to Disney World in January. What to do
depends on your taste and your child's age. Our kids (2 1/2 and
5/1/2 at our last trip) love the Magic Kingdom. I'd say that's
a must if your children are young. I would skip Epcot unless
your kids are considerably older than ours (8 or 9, at least).
The Animal Kingdom was great.
Eating out can be an expensive chore. The good news is that it
is possible to avoid junk food and get a decent (if not steller
by Bay Area standards) meal. But a lot of the restaurants are
like inter-active shows, so getting a quiet meal can be tough.
On the other hand, our kids really liked the interactive
restaurants that we went to (Whispering Canyon Cafe and the
Rain Forest Cafe), even if their father and I didn't. The kids
also loved the Whoop De Doo dinner show (which is not cheap).
You can get a quiet meal at one of the nicer restaurants (we
went to Artist Point and California Grill), but they are
pricey. Also, although the food is pretty good at the nice
restaurants, if you live if Berkeley, you are used to better
food for less money. Bottom line: if you stay in a place with
a kitchen (which we've done at Fort Wilderness and the Villas at
Wilderness Lodge), you will save money and migraines just being
able to eat in once in a while.
There is so much to do at Disney World, I think you will find
that you won't be able to do everything in 4 days. So you are
going to have to choose wisely. I used to work for Disney
Resorts Reservations and would be happy to give you some general
information. If you haven't made your reservations yet, I would
recommend that you stay in the Disney Resort area. They have
value properties that are very resonably priced---they are
the ''All Star'' Resorts---the best rates are usually off-peak
season and mid-week. I recommend staying in the resort for one
reason ''naps.'' You didn't say how old your kids were but if they
are under junior high age, you are definitely going to need them
(you and the kids). This way you don't have to travel very far
to get back to the hotel (there are also non-Disney hotels
within the resort like Howard Johnsons at reasonable rates).
Also if you stay at the resorts you can buy 4 day flex passes
that allow you to go to all the parks at a cheaper rate than
buying tix at the gate. You definitely want to go to The Magic
Kingdom (it is different than DisneyLand) you could spend one
whole day there. If your kids are young---I would skip EPCOT
Center. It is boring for youngsters. Not a lot of fun rides. It
is like a World's Fair with country pavilions, technology
pavilions, etc. Disney MGM studios is a lot of fun, but only
needs about 1/2 day to get the most out of it. You could split a
day between that and one of the water parks or the hotel pool
(weather will be nice in January). Then one day for Animal
Kingdom. I would skip Pleasure Island if you are on a budget,
there is a separate entrance fee and there are only high-priced
(low quality food)restaurants and dance clubs---again not a
place for young children though teens would probably enjoy. If
you haven't already called Disney Resort Reservations (1-407-
WDISNEY) you should. They can give you lots of info to help you
decide where to stay, how much rates are currently, and how much
the flex passes are. Here is a little secret---don't just ask if
there are any discounts or specials in general. We were trained
to be very tight lipped about specials unless we were asked a
specific type. If you are AAA member or have an Amex or visa
card you can ask for specials relating to those. And you can
call just to get info, you don't have to make the reservation
right then. I hope this helps a little. You are going to have a
We have to go to Florida with our almost 3 year old in late
August and got good tickets to fly into Orlando. We have
decided to spend an evening and day at Disney World. We know it
will be HOT and that we can only plan on doing a few select
things. What are the best parks/activities for a three year
old? We would like to stay in or very near the parks. Any
recommendations of where to stay or not to stay?
Mickey or bust
You are going to have so much fun. We were there a few months
ago with my 2 year old and we had a blast. First off, it will
be brutally hot and it will be crowded. It was crowded when we
were there in March.
If you are only going to be there for one day, I would spend it
at Magic Kingdom. It is best suited for a three year old. That
being said, if you can afford to stay at the Contemporary, I
would recommend that since it is very close. The Polynesian is
also very close. I say to stay there because it is really worth
while to take a break mid-afternoon for a nap. It will make
your stay a much more pleasant experience. WE SAVED OVER $100
BOOKING OUR HOTEL THROUGH HOTELS.COM. DON'T GO THROUGH DISNEY!
Since it was so crowded the last time we went, the lines for
rides were very long and many of the younger kids rides don't
have the fast pass option. Here are the rides/attractions my
son really liked:
It's A Small World ..
Country Bear Jamboree ..
There is a tram ride that goes through Tomorrow Land. I forget
what it's called. There were no lines and we rode that thing 10
times! It was a blast.
When we went back in the evening, we had dinner at a cafe-type
place in Tomorrow Land across from the go-carts that had some
animatronic cabaret show which was lots of fun.
Toward closing time, we were able to go on Buzz Lightyear
several times in a row with no lines.
Best of luck - I know you'll have a great time.
I just took my almost-3-year-old to WDW last January. We had a
blast. We were there a week, but I think he enjoyed the Magic
Kingdom the most. The MK has lots of rides esp. in their Toon
Town-type area (I can't remember if it has a different name there
than at Disneyland) that little ones can go on, and really fun
parades (check the schedule; hopefully, you can do this online).
Things at Epcot are a bit 'older'. The Animal Kingdom is fun, but
it's kind of a weird mix between a zoo and an amusement park (the
ride on the safari 4WD is fun, as you are basically touring a
cool zoo); the Dinosaur area is really just a bunch of amusement
park rides. Finally, the MGM Grand/Studios has some cool stuff
for little ones (a great show with Bear in the Big Blue House and
other Disney kid characters from cable TV) but not a lot; there
is a nice climbing/adventure area designed after A Bug's Life.
Bring lots of water, maybe a personal mister like Misty Mate, and
stop for ice cream/cold soda often. Have fun!
this page was last updated: Nov 26, 2014
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network