Mardi Gras 2018 - Advice please?

HI everyone,

My husband, 19 yr. old daughter, 13 year old son and I are going to Disney World during Mardi Gras 2018. We are from New Orleans and we have already taken one trip during Mardi Gras 3 years ago. It’s a beautiful time to go. When we went last time, we had to book everything within a month of going so we missed out on some special things like character dining, etc. We spent a fortune on Animal Kingdom rooms which were beautiful but we were hardly ever in them. INow, I have some time to book things in advance and was hoping for some tips for planning some special things for us and our two teenagers. By the way, we are driving from New Orleans. We have a pretty substantial amount of Southwest points that we are not using to fly but to use on park tickets or hotel rooms. That is a whole other issue, I know. I have the unofficial guide and will pick up the 2018 guide when it is published. Any tips would be completely appreciated!

What kind of special events are you interested in? Character meals? I know your kids are older, but even my DH and I enjoy Garden Grill and Crystal Palace. There are also some fun, more adventurous places to eat that are great, like Sanaa and Jiko at AKL, among others. There are also places that have entertainment that isn’t character oriented, like Biergarten, Raglan Road, Hoop de Doo, etc. My family has also enjoyed the dessert party in MK - it’s a nice splurge to get some sweet treats and then be able to watch the fireworks without being crushed by 10,000 of our closest friends ;), There are some fun tours. I’ve never done one, but people on here seem to review the Keys to the Kingdom tour at MK, Behind the Seeds at Epcot, and Wild AFrica Trek at AK highly.

Plus, with a little less than a year, you can select a resort that fits your needs. The new rooms at Pop look good, but I’m not sure when the refurbs will be done, and the small double beds in the old rooms are a problem for us. We like moderate resorts, like POR. And you will be able to book your FPP right at 60 days, so you can get your pick of attractions and times for the most part - the hardest ones to get (I think) are 7DMT, FEA, any maybe FoP (though its so new, I’m not sure how that will play out over time).

My biggest tip would be just to stalk on here, read the descriptions of different restaurants/menus/tours etc and see what sounds like a good fit for your crew.

How early or late is Marci Gras next year? We went MG 2016, and it was quite a bit colder than we anticipated. Also watch for northern holidays. I had friends that went MG week that was also Presidents’ Day week and it was crazy busy.

If you are just sleeping in your rooms, value or moderate might work better. I mention moderate but I would guess that your kids would rather not share a bed since they are older. Some moderates have a third pullout bed that would make it a good option.

In terms of dining, I would just see what your family is up for. TP has good reviews to help you get an idea of what you would like.

So sorry for the slow response. Thanks so much for the advice. I booked 6 park days with hopper. And, we are staying at the Art of Animation. We are very excited and I am waiting to get to the magic 180 day mark to book some special dining. I think I will book the MK dessert/fireworks show. T!hat sounds fantastic. Maybe we’ll do the luau or Crystal Palace. I was able to buy the tickets and hotel stay with my points so I think I would like to buy the memory maker passport. Again, thanks. Any extra tips would be great!

You mentioned buying theme park tickets with Southwest points. Please tell me how to do that. I have a bunch of Southwest points I could use for my ticket. Thank you. You will love Art of Animation!!

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Hi SherryinBA,

My husband had 300,000 points accumulated with Southwest. I have read that the points go much further when booking airfare but we wanted to go to Disney and since we live in New Orleans, we could drive to Orlando. So, we took the points and converted them into Target Gift Cards then we went to Target and bought Disney Gift Cards with the Target cards. You can only do this at the store not online. So we had 30 $100 gift cards. With the $3000 Disney cards, we were able to buy a room for 7 nights and 6 day park hoppers for my family of four. The Southwest site doesn’t always have Target cards. You have to check. I would also check with your local Target store to make sure they will let you buy the Disney cards with your Target cards.