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Thread: Need help planning WDW Trip

  1. #1

    Need help planning WDW Trip

    I am a Disneyland regular and feel confident helping others who have never been to DL plan all aspects of their trips. However, WDW is a different story. This will be my first trip there since September 2000. Obviously so many things have changed, and I know many things are different than Disneyland (i.e. the types of tickets, booking FP's ahead of time, etc).

    My family of four will be there this summer in July. Can someone provide me the basics on when to book tickets, how many days you'd recommend, when and how to book FP's, etc. Are there certain days of the week that are better to go to certain parks? I have ALL the questions. :-)

    Thanks in advance. My kiddos are so excited to finally experience WDW!!

    Hi-Ho

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  3. #2
    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    I don't know the Covid aspect of changes but we did 5 park days the first time and 6 for the second. I actually planned the days on which fast pass I could get but I don't believe they are doing them currently.


  4. #3

    It's a LOT different these days due to restrictions driven by COVID. I've not been down there since all this started, hopefully some who have can give you some better feel for the current state of things during their actual trips.

    Yes, WDW is "open", but it's in a much reduced state in terms of what's offered.

    Not all Resorts/Hotels are open, so you need to see what's taking reservations for when you want to go. This part of the WDW web site shows what is currently open as well as a few dates for some that will be opening by early summer.

    Some restaurants may be closed too. If you browse the Dining part of the web site, it will list restaurants that are not currently open as "temporarily unavailable". (Go to Things to Do --> Dining --> All Restaurants. You can then use filters to browse by park, type of service, places that take reservations, etc.). The "Temporarily Unavailable" ones are generally listed at the end (after the end of the alphabetical list of those that are open).

    They are still admitting only up to a very reduced capacity at the parks, I am pretty sure. I think it was at 35% of max capacity around the Holidays, I don't know if it has officially changed since then.

    There is no such thing as Fast Pass + right now. No one can say with certainty if there might be six months from now, but my money would bet on it not being back by July if I had to guess.

    You currently need a reservation to get into a park, even once you have purchased a ticket. Though you can look at dates available for each park on-line in somewhat real time, I believe (so you can see if certain dates are full or at risk of becoming full)- so you can probably see what is there for your days, come up with a rough plan, buy tickets and then try to get your reservations. They did just recently bring back park hopping as a possibility, though I think the current rule is you can't hop to a different park than the one you started in with your reservation before 2 PM.

    There are no night time fireworks displays, no parades, no traditional meet and greets with characters (though characters are up and around in what they are calling "Cavalcades" at random times in a socially distanced manner). Almost none of the shows are running (though I think I recall seeing that Festival of the Lion King is opening up sometime soon at Animal Kingdom).

    That's just a start (though hopefully I touched on most of the big things that are limited significantly).

    Some of the more generic questions may depend a lot on your intentions (see a lot, or take your time and lay back and relax a bit without running around?), ages of your kids, tolerance for how long before a day isn't fun anymore, etc. Not to speak for candles71, but I believe her family was all at least late teens or young adults when they did their trips. If your kids are toddlers, you will probably have a much different planning scenario .

    Last edited by Dave1313; 02-08-2021 at 05:11 PM.
    -Dave

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    It's a LOT different these days due to restrictions driven by COVID. I've not been down there since all this started, hopefully some who have can give you some better feel for the current state of things during their actual trips.

    Yes, WDW is "open", but it's in a much reduced state in terms of what's offered.

    Not all Resorts/Hotels are open, so you need to see what's taking reservations for when you want to go. This part of the WDW web site shows what is currently open as well as a few dates for some that will be opening by early summer.

    Some restaurants may be closed too. If you browse the Dining part of the web site, it will list restaurants that are not currently open as "temporarily unavailable". (Go to Things to Do --> Dining --> All Restaurants. You can then use filters to browse by park, type of service, places that take reservations, etc.). The "Temporarily Unavailable" ones are generally listed at the end (after the end of the alphabetical list of those that are open).

    They are still admitting only up to a very reduced capacity at the parks, I am pretty sure. I think it was at 35% of max capacity around the Holidays, I don't know if it has officially changed since then.

    There is no such thing as Fast Pass + right now. No one can say with certainty if there might be six months from now, but my money would bet on it not being back by July if I had to guess.

    You currently need a reservation to get into a park, even once you have purchased a ticket. Though you can look at dates available for each park on-line in somewhat real time, I believe (so you can see if certain dates are full or at risk of becoming full)- so you can probably see what is there for your days, come up with a rough plan, buy tickets and then try to get your reservations. They did just recently bring back park hopping as a possibility, though I think the current rule is you can't hop to a different park than the one you started in with your reservation before 2 PM.

    There are no night time fireworks displays, no parades, no traditional meet and greets with characters (though characters are up and around in what they are calling "Cavalcades" at random times in a socially distanced manner). Almost none of the shows are running (though I think I recall seeing that Festival of the Lion King is opening up sometime soon at Animal Kingdom).

    That's just a start (though hopefully I touched on most of the big things that are limited significantly).

    Some of the more generic questions may depend a lot on your intentions (see a lot, or take your time and lay back and relax a bit without running around?), ages of your kids, tolerance for how long before a day isn't fun anymore, etc. Not to speak for candles71, but I believe her family was all at least late teens or young adults when they did their trips. If your kids are toddlers, you will probably have a much different planning scenario .
    Thank you and Candles71 for all the info!

    One specific question I have is regarding tickets. You can add Water Park Options to your tickets. So, say we had a three day park ticket with the water park option, does that mean three days in one of the theme parks and a different day at a water park? Thanks!
    Hi-Ho

  6. #5
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
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    Sacramento, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Hi-Ho View Post
    Thank you and Candles71 for all the info!

    One specific question I have is regarding tickets. You can add Water Park Options to your tickets. So, say we had a three day park ticket with the water park option, does that mean three days in one of the theme parks and a different day at a water park? Thanks!
    Yep!
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013



  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Hi-Ho View Post
    Thank you and Candles71 for all the info!

    One specific question I have is regarding tickets. You can add Water Park Options to your tickets. So, say we had a three day park ticket with the water park option, does that mean three days in one of the theme parks and a different day at a water park? Thanks!
    If you add the water park and sports option to your tickets, you get the same amount of visits to those options based on the length of your theme park ticket. So if you bought a 3 day theme park ticket and added the water park and sports option, you would be allowed three visits to one of the water parks or one of the sports options (ESPN, golf, NBA Experience, etc). So you essentially can do the theme parks and water parks on the same day.
    Next WDW trip, May 14-18, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

  8. #7
    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    foresthill Ca

    Yeah our first trip was "off season" in September and we did both waterparks in one day. Then we hit Earl of Sandwich and ate at our room.


  9. #8

    You will need LOTS of water and rain gear.

    You can still order water to your room right? Can you also have other food type items pre shipped to your room? I think there is a$6 fee

    "If you can Dream it you can Do IT." Walt Disney


  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jrsharp21 View Post
    If you add the water park and sports option to your tickets, you get the same amount of visits to those options based on the length of your theme park ticket. So if you bought a 3 day theme park ticket and added the water park and sports option, you would be allowed three visits to one of the water parks or one of the sports options (ESPN, golf, NBA Experience, etc). So you essentially can do the theme parks and water parks on the same day.
    Oh, wow! That's cool! Thanks for the clarification!
    Hi-Ho

  11. #10

    We just planned a trip for next month and are finding it really hard to make any dinner reservations.

    Will we be stuck with counter service for dinner for our party of 3 or will we be able to find some sit down places for us?

    "If you can Dream it you can Do IT." Walt Disney


  12. #11

    Capacity is greatly reduced due to Covid right now. You need to be flexible with where you want to eat. Certain reservations are always difficult to get. However depending on the size of your party you most likely will be able to find something.

    I just returned from a 2 week visit and we made some changes to our dining reservations while there. There was some availability for a party of 3 for dinner at some places for last minute availability.

    Also some restaurants are doing a walk up wait list through the app or mobile take out.


  13. #12
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhanksaz View Post
    We just planned a trip for next month and are finding it really hard to make any dinner reservations.

    Will we be stuck with counter service for dinner for our party of 3 or will we be able to find some sit down places for us?
    Try looking for a party of 4. I have been looking at availability for a trip later this year and I have to change the number in my party from 3 to 4 to get better options

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by suejacken View Post
    Try looking for a party of 4. I have been looking at availability for a trip later this year and I have to change the number in my party from 3 to 4 to get better options
    I will give it a try. Yesterday we were able to find quite a few though
    "If you can Dream it you can Do IT." Walt Disney


  15. #14

    My family (of 4) went for our first time in November, so we know a ) what it's like for the first time b ) what it's like for the first time w/ CV19! I've been waiting for someone, anyone, to ask "my" advice! ;-)

    It may be a bit tougher on you going in July. IT. IS. HUMID. Soooooo humid. And bring ponchos!!! And wear Tevas or water Keens!

    We originally had our trip planned for March 24-31. Whoops.

    Anyhoo, we ended up with a 6 day park pass (was originally a park hopper plus, but no park-hopping or water parks while we were there.) Because we too, are DLR folks, we figured MK was close enough to our home park to only need a day there. I had been to Epcot when I was a kid and it just didn't seem to have enough to make it worth 2 days, so ended up getting park passes for DAK and DHS for 2 days, and only one day each for the other two. I only scheduled 2 days for DHS in order to ensure we got on RotR, and sure enough, we only got a boarding pass for one of the days.

    When we went, we could only make dining reservations 60 days in advance. I'm assuming you're on the west coast - if so, I'm not kidding, you have to get up at 3:45 AM to be ready to make your reservations. I think they allow park-hopping now within limits, so you'll need to have at least a 80% idea of which park you might think you'll hop to, if any. (Personally, I don't think park-hopping is worth it at WDW, the place is so damn big, you'd waste precious time getting from one place to another!) Definitely have an idea of which restaurants you just HAVE to go to and make those first. I still didn't get my ideal time for Sci Fi Theatre, but thankfully, since we had 2 days in DHS, I got a second chance.

    I'm assuming you have the My Disney Experience (MDE) downloaded on all mousketeers devices and linked up, right? Life-line to all things WDW.

    Our arrival time in MCO ended up much earlier than anticipated, so we arrived at AoA without any dinner reservations. I checked MDE for any of the Disney Springs restaurants I'd heard about, but none were available. I asked the concierge for her advice. She said to actually CALL the restaurant (whaaa?) and BOOM, we got into Raglan Road, which I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend!! BUT make sure you leave enough time to get there - we realized there was no way we were going to make it in the 1/2 hr we allowed ourselves, and had to re-call and re-schedule. They were awesome about it.

    As of now, there still aren't any FPs, so rope drop is a must... in fact, while we were there, we got there at least 45 mins ahead of the posted opening each time, and the parks were ALREADY OPEN! It was so cool... got to ride all the E-tickets before official opening several days!

    Have you checked out touringplans.com? Very cool site. You can get to the basic crowd calendar for free, but they also offer many other services and info for a small fee (think it's like $15 a year or something) and I think it's worth it (and I'm a cheapskate!) That is the best way to determine which parks to visit on which days. I used that site to determine our schedule. The great thing is that if something changes, (and you've subscribed) they'll email you, and you may have time to switch things around.

    Are you staying on-site? If so, where?

    I will "talk" your ears off if you want me to... but I'll end here for now.

    Oh wait... you must do Yak & Yeti.
    Oh yeah, Flight of Passage rocks. As does Expedition Everest.
    Oh yeah, and Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen is super cool.
    If you have any doubts about your constitution, do NOT do Mission Space Orange.
    Ok one more thing - if you don't mind a late dinner, try to schedule your dinners as close to closing time as possible. That way, you're not spending ride-time in a restaurant. Our dinner at 50's Prime time was scheduled for 1/2 hr before closing, so we only lost 1/2 hr, and got to walk out through a very empty Buena Vista street!

    Trips to DL: 2x 1978-1988, 90, 95, 98, 99, 00, 05 (2x), 10, 12, 15, 16, 17(2x), 18, 19(2x). WDW 11/2020.
    Me: 46, DH: 49, DD: 16, DS: 13

  16. #15

    If you are having issues with finding the dinner reservations that you are looking for. there are sites that can assist you. I used one for our trip to find a reservation for Oga's cantina.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


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