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Old 01-04-2015, 07:52 PM   #1
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Disney World? ?

Wife and I are planning a trip to Disney World with our 3 and 6 year old this April/ May. I wish were able to stay in the wilderness campground. However we are looking at staying at the art of animation for 7 nights.
Is the art of animation a good place to stay? (Likes and don't likes)
Would like your inputs on what are must do's and any other advice you guys can offer.
Is the memory maker package worth it?
The food packages are those worth while?
Is 7 nights too many or just right?
We are also thinking about leaving the park for a day to go to sea world.
The wife and I do want to take the kids when they are older as well(ages 9 and 12). That's when I think we'll drive there with the camper and stay at the wilderness campground.
If you guys want to share your experience with the campground there I'm all ears as well.(maybe I could convince the wife to camp there instead, however that's a long haul from MN with little ones)
Thanks in advance for your tips and advice.

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Old 01-04-2015, 08:02 PM   #2
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We didn't stay there but it looked real nice, we walked through it. 7 days is a lot. I say go for 7 and spend 4 days in parks and 3 days hanging out. Its a lot of walking and standing in lines. We had the most fun at discovery cove which you get free tix to sea world. Its pricey but the most relaxing exciting time they had. Get the dolphin swim included. You get breakfast and lunch included, A day they will never forget. My kids weren't that into epcot, kinda geared for teens/adults. Try to get to the parks the min they open less lines for a bit. If you can swing it you will love discovery cove though. They limit the amount of people in so you must book early to get a spot. You can schedule a day and what time you want to swim with the dolphins

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Old 01-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
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Everyone is different. We took the kids to Fort Wilderness back in the early nineties. Had a very, very memorable trip!! Wife and I went back in Disney but in a motel in early 2000's. Spent a lot of our time hanging around the campground. Took the grand kids back a couple of years ago. I can say with certainty, I'll not go to Disney unless we stay in Fort Wilderness. Staying at Fort Wilderness is half of the trip!!
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:56 PM   #4
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Don't get us started on WDW! TOO LATE!! We are big fans and I'm sure you'll find lots of others on JOF a big fans, too.

If this is your first trip to WDW, you've got a lot of research ahead of you. Did you know that you could make dining reservations 180 days in advance? Of course that means you've got to know where you'll be in the 'World' to be at the restaurant.

The reality is WDW costs lots of money, takes lots of time to get there, and it can be really overwhelming unless you plan ahead. There are web sites maintained by Disney fans that can help and there are folks on this site that would be happy to help... my wife and I included.

Please send me a PM and we'll see what we can do to help get you off to a good start. There's nothing in it for us... just want to see you come to love the 'mouse' as much as we do.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:47 AM   #5
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I just got back from Disney last week. We spent the week of Christmas there with my daughter and her family. I had not been to Disney in a long time and it was great, but with the 7 year old twins it was a lot more fun.

We didn't decide to do this until too late to get into Ft. Wilderness, but we stayed at Tropical Palms for the week and it was very nice. We all had so much fun we have already made our reservations for adjoining sites at Ft Wilderness for Christmas 2015.

One suggestion from an older guy that can't walk and stand all day, rent a scooter. I picked up one at a local rental company that broke down into 5 pieces for hauling. It literally took 30 seconds to reassemble and ride off and the cost was $30.00/day or three days for $75.00. I was on and off of it for 11 hours and rode all over the Magic Kingdom and the battery was still good. My grandson did hitch a ride on the way out that night. He was pooped. I had a great time too and wasn't exhausted or hurting.

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Old 01-05-2015, 06:08 AM   #6
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If you go to Art of Animation and don't get a room/suite in either Finding Nemo or the Cars complex it is a fairly long walk back to the food court or buses. When you figure your meals into your costs I think staying at the FORT is just as cost effective. We only do hotels for stays of 3/4 days anything longer then that we head to the FORT. I definitely recommed that you but "Park Hopper Tickets" that way you can mix things up better especially if you plan on taking afternoon breaks and put the kiddos (and maybe mom and dad ) down for a nap.

No matter what you decide you will have a fun time.
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:23 AM   #7
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I have stayed in the Fort Wilderness cabins they are very nice. Did a couple of short trips and stayed in the music and the sports hotels. My biggest complaint is the beds are very small. Now if I were to go back I look for the rooms with the queen beds. I think the meal plan is worth the money.
Then the only other thing you need to do is take the week off after, to take a vacation from your vacation.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:03 AM   #8
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Here's my 2 cents worth. Disney is huge and as a first timer staying on property has many plusses so take advantage of them!

First is transportation, which is a bus in your case. You can save the rental car money and use the resort transfer from the airport and not rent a car if flying. There really is no need for one, but if you do need one then rent it for the day you need it from the on property rental.

Sea World was not that great for us. The shows were okay, but felt it lacked overall punch. Your kids are too little to take in Universal Studios, especially for the cost of one day.

I found the hopper tickets were a waste when my kids were young. You will burn out after the first 2 days since it's all new and you will want to do it all. Without Fast pass your will wait 1+ hours for all the feature rides your kds want to see. Have to have a stroller to carry bags and sleeping kids. Bring snacks and waters in, saves a ton!

Do a park a day and plan on 2 for MK IMHO. We have been there several times of the year and Spring break is the most crowded hands down. MK, DHS and AK are great for the kids. Epcot is spread out and there are only a few things for little ones under 6 perhaps a one day hopper for this to go between 2 parks would be worth it. Plan a down day for recharging early in the week. Kids get cranky and so do we.

Don't buy too many days tickets ahead as you can add as you go prorated, or at least you used to be able to. Disney has gotten smarter as the years went on and there really is not much savings to be had. We spend a day on the busses and MRails exploring the propeties which is fun for all. Just can't use the other properties pools.

If you are going to pay for a property stay then stay in DW. Save the off property exploring for another trip and stay off property to do it. You can do it for half or less depending on what you want in amenities.

Download the app and use it!

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Old 01-05-2015, 08:39 AM   #9
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And yet another opinion....


Every time we stay somewhere other than Fort Wilderness, we wish we hadn't, and end up back at the fort. There is just so much room to wander at the Fort, and the nightly light shows and fireworks are awesome! And, you can see them right from the beach at the lake.

We never do the dining package as it kind of forces into being somewhere at a specific time, and we don't like to be that structured when we're there. We usually eat at the camper, or at the buffet right there at the campground.

We got a 6 night package from AAA, and they gave us a free extra night, and free park hopper passes. The park hopper passes are worth their weight in gold, as they let you go to as many different areas of DW in a day as you want. Being there for 7 days was great, as it de-stressed rainy days... it eliminated the feeling that we JUST HAD TO go and do something, even in the rain, 'cause we were running out of time.

Fort Wilderness gets my vote! But what ever you decide, have fun and be safe!
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:15 AM   #10
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Over the years (there have been many) we've visited WDW 5 times that I can recall. On property 3 of those times. Both have their +'s. If your destination is WDW then on property would be my first choice. With younger people in tow it's great to take a mid-day break and have a relaxing swim in the pool (or even a nap). The last trip was just the bride and myself (and the wiener dog) and we stayed in Fort Wilderness CG and loved it. The only downside is getting to most places seems to take FOREVER except going to the Magic Kingdom but that was offset by the $85 a night.
If you are staying on property I think the meal plans are the way to go.
We've not gotten the memory maker in any of our previous trips, we take our own pics.


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