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Disney World & Universal 2014

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Disney World & Universal 2014

Much needed advice please! :)

Starting to plan early for our trip to Florida 2014..I know we can't book yet but I just want to be prepared!

My partner and I and our currently five year old daugter (who will be six or seven at the time of travelling-her birthday is July 25!) are looking to do a two or three week trip in the peak season, and this is where I need help.

Firstly, peak season, are we mad?? I know it will be scorching but I'm pretty sure we can cope. I'm concerned about crowds and therefore advice on Fastpasses and anything like that would be great..are they worth it, how does it work etc. Price-wise...I had to take a deep breath when pricing up (London to Florida isn't cheap!), I know it's more expensive in these months but I'd like to do it during the school holidays. Anyone know of any regular Disney offers that are likely to come up?

Secondly, two or three weeks? It wasn't actually that much more money for the third week so I'm seriosuly considering it. Bearing in mind we want to do EVERYTHING. As in, all of the Disney Parks (Water and Theme) and all of the Universal (Maybe not the Universal water park or seaworld, but defintely the two theme parks and Harry Potter). I don't want to feel rushed and like we are not fitting in everything we want to do, and would like a couple of days of rest round by the pool, so to achieve this, does three weeks sound more realistic?

Thirdly, What are the prices like for restaurants/fast food? Is a dining plan a sensible option? How restricting is it? We like the freedom of choosing where we eat spontaneously. Three weeks of eating out at Disney prices and I'm concerned for my partners reaction! lol

What hotels would you recommend? One at the more modest end of the scale and another at the higher end?

Finally, we may be out there for my daughter's seventh birthday..what do they do out there to make it special for such an occasion?

ANY advice would be REALLY appreciated. I have been to Disney as a child but have limited knowledge as to what to expect now!

Thank you!


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11. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

Im also planning a 2014 trip. We went april 2012 and loved it, temp wise and crowd. We went with the dining plan which seemed taxing at first but i took the time to plan which parks to visit based mostly on which one we would be eating in that night. I hated the idea of basing my schedule around lunch and diner plans but surprisingly it didnt negatively effect my trip at all. The food there was fantastic. We had breakfast buffets in the magic kingdom, lunches varied depending on where we were and most diners were reserved. The meal plan saved us so much money. They provide receipts of what the costs were so you can compare. We went with the recommended plan at that time but id recommend the next step up that allows for 3 table service meals per day per person vs the 1 per day and 1 quick service. Table service are basically restaraunts and quick service is like fast food. The next step up allows you the choice so you can make reservations for some days (id recommend making them atleast 2 months ahead) and other days you can wing it. Research the places to eat, both quick service and table because some are great and others not much. A fun one for us was the 50s diner. The staff is hilarious. For the kiddo the T-rex adventure was excellent. If you fly by night youll find must places in the park will be full up So again, make the reservations and if you do what i did, set an alarm an hour before youll be able to make you reservations from just about anywhere. The days you spend at universal will be days you have extra meal points which are good since a few places use 2 per meal, such as the princess castle and the brown derby, both great places by the way. Dont miss universal, the ride in harry potters castle was by far the most unique and coolest ride ive ever been on. I can say much more about both parks and still not cover it all. I envy you for being able to take 3 weeks and wish i could. As far as hotels, we stayed at the all star movies and it was very affordable and nice. Plenty for us considering we barely spent any time in it. The polnesian was very nice for a more upscale and also houses the kona cafe which was one of my personal favorite restaraunts. To wrap up this already long reply, i highly recommend the meal plan. Takes the pinch away from some very expensive meals as well as the worry when planned out. We saved around 900 bucks for a 10 day trip.

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12. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

i may be lat replying to this but if youve not booked we did something similar to you last year and in 2009 and 2007 and are also planning the same for 2014..

this is what we found..and we do between 15 and 19 nights depending on dates

we stay 7 nights in a disney hotel so that we can take advantage of the free dining plan..we have stayed in animal kingdom. the contempory and the beachclub..that way you can have the regular dining whihc inc a quick service and sit down meal plus snack a day..its great value we find and we book restaurants in advance ASAP as they go in date range that way we can include lots of character dining..chef mickeys a must as is the castle meal..but go lunchtime not dinner..

we then stay on idrive for however many nights we have left we have used a few different hotels but a good ones is the enclave suites as its central have 2 bed apartments so plenty space..

we never have a car and use the i drive trolly and disney transport and just book private transfers..we always use a virign flight but have booked through different tour operators as they fly yo orlando about 30 min away package holidays use sanford about an hour and a half away and im told immogration quese there can be mad..never had a prob at orlando international

seaworld is a great day out and fantastic worth a day trip..

hope that helps a little..oh and we do the international drive stay first and disney last that way we have our last night in magic kingdom watching the fire works

enjoy your trip what ever you do

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13. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

For 2014

Be sure to check out the Free Dining Offer at Disney Resorts


Bethel Park...
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14. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

Good advice from these folks, especially the idea that for a three-week stay, you may want to think about having a place that is more like “home” than a “hotel.” My suggestion for this would be Marriott's Harbour Lake Vacation Club. It is midway between Disney World and Universal, across the street from Sea World. I would suggest a 2-bedroom villa. That includes a full working kitchen; washer & dryer; dining room; living room; balcony; and of course, two bedrooms. (One has a king bed; the other has two queen beds.)

The best part of Harbour Lake isn't even the villa. It's the child-friendly facilities. There are LOTS of activities every day for the children, and the swimming pools are the kind that children dream about. One has a Pirate Ship in it with slides down into the pool and water cannons. Another has spraying water to run through. When we took our grandchildren there for a week, they pooped out early at Disney World from the heat and the waiting and the crowds, and it wasn't long before they started asking, “Can we go back to the Pirate Ship?” It is also a money-saver because you can fix meals in the villa, store leftovers in the refrigerator, and do your laundry as needed (which means you don't have to pack as much initially--we only pack for five days and we do one or two laundry loads during the week--yes, we're Marriott timeshare owners, and no, we don't rent out our week at Harbour Lake.)

The upper Disney hotel prices are around $444 per night. The cost at Harbour Lake is $317 per night.

You might also try looking at renting a villa for the time you want from an “owner” there. (It is a Marriott Timeshare property, and some owners are willing to rent their weeks out for a lower cost than Marriott would charge.)

The lowest rate that I could see for a family of three at the Disney Value Resorts is about $168 per night.

Another option might be to go to vrbo-dot-com, which is the “Vacation Rentals by Owner” site. You can find houses by the week or the month. We did that when we stayed for a week in Bradenton for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Spring Training (a baseball team). It was quite reasonable, and, of course, it had all the comforts of “home.”

It is very costly to make this trip--and you haven't even purchased the tickets for Disney World or Universal yet! My recommendation for Universal is to get the Annual Premium Pass. The cost is $419.99 (plus tax, etc.), but it gives you access to both parks; free valet parking (a $30 value each time you use it for more than 2 hours); eight free bottles of water; discounts of up to 20% at restaurants; special seating areas for events; and the “Express Pass” privilege at all rides that accept the Express Pass from 4:00 p.m. every day. (Cost of a one-day Express Pass starts at $35.99, depending on the day for which you purchase it---and it it pours down rain that day, too bad--you still have to use it.) There are other benefits as well, but those are the highlights. If you are planning to go to Universal four or more times during your three weeks, then it is well worth the price of the Premium Pass. (A four-day, 2-park pass is good for four visits over a 14-day period only, and there is a daily charge of at least $16 for parking, and NO Express pass is included, just to give you an idea. The four-day pass is $167.99 each.)

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15. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

My sister ha booked with Ocean Florida for next August with free dining.

16. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

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17. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

Don't forget to book Character Dining Chef Mickeys awesome for kids !

18. Re: Disney World & Universal 2014

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