So we just got back from a lovely week in the mountains of Tennessee, which included a day at Dollywood. Overall Dollywood was fine, but the crowds, ridiculous food lines and wait times were a bit much by the end of the day. It seriously made us rethink going to WDW for a week in November.
The kids aren’t into the world of Disney, my oldest would rather do kiddie carnival rides, and we barely made it out of Dollywood on a 10-7p day. The thought of doing that 6-7 days in a row for even longer is seeming like an unpleasant task. The day really put a damper on the prospects of Disney.
I’m going to look at splitting our days up with lunch time back at the resort/pool, but I fear we’ll just end up cutting several days short or pushing too hard to get our monies worth.
Would November be your first trip? Or are you basing your decisions on previous trips with your family? How old are your kids?
Money’s worth is in the eye of the beholder. Would a great break at the pool be fun for everyone? Will it reduce your stress? To me, the resting and less stress approach makes it worth my money. The constant go, go, go FOMO ruins my peace, and is not worth my money.
Everyone is different and only you can make that determination. There are a lot of fun things to do at WDW that don’t require standing in lines.
I would also say that you should not base a Dollywood vacation on a WDW vacation, especially right after getting back. When I leave WDW, I always am glad to be going home away from the crowds, but it doesn’t take long for me to want to plan another.
It sounds like at the very least, you will want to make sure your trip is on the laid back end of the spectrum. In which case you are on the wrong forum.
JK, but seriously, definitely plan in breaks, utilize the hours when your family has the most energy (morning? nights?), and try to focus on priorities rather than “doing it all.”
He can not speak for everyone, I DO not run around and burn the candle at both ends anymore. Love you Jeff and all the others who can’t slow down But there are many of us who have by choice or circumstances approach the parks differently, w/ reverance but laid back.
What are your priorities? I think that’s where it begins… what rides are must dos, where do you want to eat, pick a resort w/ a lovely pool etc.? Much to think about and consider. Also, you can cut expenses by staying off site especially if you don’t want to rush rush rush go go go. There are many resorts w/ fabulous waterpark type pools w/in minutes of WDW.
DFB reminded me of Fort Wilderness today, you can definitely slow down there and do other things besides elbow your way through park crowds or punish your feet w/ long lines Why You Should Stop Ignoring This Unique:sparkles: Disney World Hotel! | the disney food blog
It’s really hard to say for anyone else how their experience will be like as it depends a lot on you and what your expectations are. How old are your kids?
Fort wilderness is beautiful. We spent an afternoon there giving up our SDD FP+ for a horseback ride and what was a surprise for me really fun archery class. The grounds are just so different from anything else at WDW and it’s a very calming place.
I’d say Fort Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodge (especially Kidani) are very peaceful relaxing places where you’re in the magic of Disney but not in the go go go of the parks.
I asked my DD this summer if she wanted to go to WDW or Disney’s Vero Beach this summer and she said Vero Beach which is another fabulous option for “Disney” bubble relaxation.
If you do go, maybe consider doing other things too. Sounds Legoland would be ideal for your kids. When we went if you add a day to your ticket it cost an extra $20 or so. That could cut the number of days you buy for WDW too.
Also have a look at the plans for the parks with young kids. No reason to stress overly about doing all the rides if there’s enough to keep them entertained. TSI, for example is a great way to unwind. The Kidcot stops around World Showcase, Wilderness Explorers at AK are great fun. Make it a more laid back trip.
Ultimately it does come down to what you would consider as value for your money. There are lots of things to do at WDW that doesn’t mean going hard at the parks all day.
The kids will be 6 & 9. The only real priorities will be Star Wars things at HS, and maybe Guardians and that’s purely for me. If I don’t get a LL/ILL for RotR I might cry. Otherwise, no one is tied to Disney in any way. We’re currently booked at Pop, Nov 5-12, with 7 days of tickets - 3MK, 2HS, 1EP, 1AK.
I think at minimum we cut it back to 5 days and spend those remaining days at a beach or otherwise off property. I’ll play around with adding a nice 3hr break in the days and see how that plays out as well.
Staying off property doesn’t seem to make sense to me logistically or financially since we’re already staying budget, and not having a remote chance of booking RotR.
The skyliner would make it easy to take a midday pool/nap break for your days at HS and Epcot. That worked very well for our recent trip in Febuary. We also scheduled a resort day midweek to spend at the pool/Disney Springs. While I’m happy to stay in the parks from early entry to fireworks, the rest of my party wanted a more relaxed pace. We also planned table service meals around 1-2 pm at AK and MK for a break during the more crowded parts of the day.
Are you more worried that it won’t be worth the investment (time + money), or that it will be a stressful trip? or both?
for what it’s worth, we went for the first time when my kids were 4 and 7 and they had zero interest in Disney in general. While we had a good time, I think they didn’t quite “get it” all. However after our second trip a year later, they’ve always wanted to go back and and have started to get into Disney characters, movies etc. So I think 6 & 9 is a pretty good age in the sense that they will appreciate WDW. My kids still don’t care for characters for example, but they have their favorite things and always want to go back.
As for RotR, I don’t think you will have an issue getting ILL for it at least later in the day if you are ready to book at 7am. And it’s always good you have a second possible day to try if it breaks down or something else comes up.
The worry is a bit of both - it’s a big investment of time and money to go and be stressed from now (planning phase) all the way through the end. I know at the end of the day, we’ll have a good time, but we could also be miserable each evening. I do think their ages are perfect for a trip like this.
My concern with the midday pool break, is that it would turn into an all-day pool break, and we’d not make it back to the park. It’s too easy to relax at the pool, and my kids are part fish and would want to stay in forever!
Maybe don’t take a break but end your park days early. So end by 3/4 then pool dinner hotel time each day.
You can have an amazing trip with littles and not go back to the parks at night if that’s what works. Really!
With my two little morning lark kids (4 and 6 at the time), one on the spectrum, keeping our normal routine was key. We did parks each morning with an aggressive rope drop Touring Plan, outta there by 1 pm, then swam, had dinner and put them to bed! On our last night, we pushed the envelope and did fireworks since we weren’t going to be spoiling next day’s rope drop.
They loved it-we definitely didn’t “do it all”, didn’t eat at all the hot restaurants etc. But we did what they would enjoy and it was magical.
We’re returning in a month (they are now 8 and 10 and keeping routine still matters). I am hoping maybe this time we can do a bit in the evenings, but I’m not planning any must do’s in the evenings.
Now sometime, I WILL do a solo trip (or convince my husband that seriously, there are all these people in the world that go to WDW without children) and do all the great dining and late night stuff and drink around the world!
This is wonderful idea. I rented points at Vero Beach but there are so many beaches and beach clubs nearby. Also universal studios with express pass is so nice. If you stay in RP or HRH or Portofino it comes with and is good for either day of your stay. But honestly I think there is much to do outside of the parks at Disney you can stay in Pop and spend a day at Fort Wilderness or have a pool day and then a dinner at Kidani in Sanna for the amazing animal view and sooo good food. They brought back the evening safaris too. As an adult with teens I prefer world showcase days just drinking, eating and listening to live performances and doing the scavenger hunts. I’d focus on this in Animal Kingdom too. Just spend some relaxing time looking at animals and playing wilderness explorers. For must do id just ride FoP, EE, KS and Dinosaur. Then just enjoy live performances and relax and explore leisurely. I’d try to see Nemo and/or Lion King if you haven’t already. But both Epcot and AK are my easier going parks where it’s not running around from ride to ride so much but exploring.
My kids best trip was 8 and 11. Big enuf and brave enough to ride everything and young enough to feel the magic as a kid.
If your kids are girls then the whole Disney princess dress up thing is probably over for the 9 yr old already, but the 6 yr old might still be into it. You said they aren’t into it but they might be when they get there and see other girls dressed up. For me, that was a deciding factor in going when my daughter was really little, but I was into it and your family seems not to be.
Have you looked into Discovery Cove? I haven’t been myself but I’ve eyed it and it looks really interesting. Only reason we didn’t go was that our last trip was Disney-only-trip-of-a-lifetime. You mentioned your kids are fish so I thought of that.
This summer we will be at the Legoland in CA. We got 3 nights at the Hilton Timeshare for around $250 for the 3 nights. We have to do the presentation, and then we’ll get a $200 hotel voucher and some dining credits. The hotel is literally on the back fence of the park and there is a special back entrance for the hotel. Your kids are in the sweet zone age for that park. There is also a tiny water park.
Are your kids morning people or night people? Are you coming from the west coast?
For my May trip, I’m exclusively focusing on arriving late to the parks and staying late. I personally like staying late better as there is no sun beating down on you and the parks clear out a bit. (My kids are not into fireworks.)
In our most recent trip, we had a day where we hit the parks with early hours, went back to the hotel for a nap after lunch, and came back to close out the evening. Realistically, we spend 5-8 hours at the parks and that appears to be our max, regardless if that’s in one shot or split up.