Planning a Trip over Thanksgiving 2021

First off, let me say hello. And give you a little background.

I’ve been going to Disney World since I was little. So, I’m not a Novice, really. But’ as an adult I’ve only planned and been to Disney World one time. The last Disney World trip I went on was in August of 2013. So, it’s been a little while. At that time, there were 10 of us (My sister & family, my parents, me & my 2 kids) that went. We stayed at All Star Sports. My kids were 5 & 7 years old and I had a room with my kids and my parents had a room that connected to my sister’s room.

Now, fast forward to now…I’ve promised my daughter that we are going again. My parents said they would come once again with us if we don’t go in summer. But, I’m not sure of my sister going, but it’s not likely at this time. So, I have sort-of decided to go during Thanksgiving, so I don’t take my kids (who will now be 13 & 15) out of school too many days. They have 3 days off for break. But, I know this time is typically busy, but I don’t know how it is compared to the summer months. If it’s similar, I guess that’s really ok and I’ll know what to expect.

Along with myself and my 2 kids, my girlfriend and her young adult daughter (she will be 22) will most likely be coming too and be in the same room. And, as I said, my parents will come too.

So, I was trying to figure out the best room options for us. I want to splurge a little more and go to a moderate resort, but still keep a lower budget. I thought that maybe I can work out getting the rooms with the 5th sleeper (but size of my kids make me wonder if this is a good idea) so the 5 of us can fit, but there also may be an option to just have adjoined rooms with my parents and have one of my kids stay with them.

So, I need some opinions from others. Thoughts on the better moderate hotels and the best rooms you’ve been in. Families come in so many shapes and sizes so I thought someone out there could have some tips.

I was looking at Port Orleans - Riverside. I like the Alligator Bayou area. I want to ensure I can easily get on the bus. I’m always fearful when the bus comes and there are multiple stops and being a last stop there is no room and never getting on a bus. I read somewhere that it was best to stay in the Alligator Bayou area because of the bus stops are one of the 1st? As for the other moderate hotels, I’m not sure. I have been to Caribbean Beach as a kid / teen twice. They now have the skyliner, so I’m not even sure how that works with transportation.

Any help would be much appreciated. I actually planned our 2013 trip…actually over-planned and made everyone mad at me. I’m definitely trying to avoid that this time. So, I’m probably not park hopping this time.

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I’ve only been (as an adult) at Thanksgiving week, in 2014, 15 and 19. It’s a great time to go re: decorations (Xmas ones), festivities, and weather. It is not a good time to go re: crowds. To me it seemed much worse this last time than in 2014 or 15, although that could be b/c the weather was great and in the past it wasn’t so great when we went. I don’t know. But the crowds got to me after awhile. If you look back at TP historical crowd levels you can see what several years worth of CL for that week are (remember that Thanksgiving day changes yearly so check on TP to see what days were actually Thanksgiving week for that year you’re looking at). Overall however I liked it and would do this again. I really hate hot weather and don’t want to travel when my kids are in school (they missed a few days for T week) and also want to avoid the busiest times of Xmas and Easter. It is a good compromise all around. That first weekend of T week and the Mon and Tues are the lowest crowds. I will add that some new transportation options such as the skyliner and minnie vans can really change things if you plan to use them. We stayed at AOA and loved the skyliner access; my kids were actually upset when we had to take our car to AK and MK b/c they got used to it.

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I will add that at AOA we had a family suite and it was great. 2 bathrooms and enough sleeping space to comfortably sleep our family of 5. I think the room sleeps 6. When we planned it the skyliner was just a wish and it happened just before our trip. It is now a big feature of staying at AOA.

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The 5th sleepers are not very large. Not sure how tall the 13 yo is in your group. My 10 yo fit pretty comfortably. She is only 4’10" though. 3 adults and 2 teens may be a bit tight in one room. The option of having one kid stay with your parents would be a better option. They wont guarantee adjoining rooms but usually will get you close to each other. I have 5 in my family but my kids are all small which made it bearable. Alligator bayou is awesome beautifjl and quiet. Stayed there a few years ago and had no problem with buses filling on the way to the park. Most buses were beyond capacity at park close though buy that would be any hotel i think. I have to say though, we stayed at CBR this past fall and loved the skyliner. So much more efficient than the buses. Rooms are the same as POR size wise and same layout. We made it to HS in under 10 mins from leaving our hotel room till we got off the skyliner at the park. If i had to choose one or the other i would pick CBR everytime just for that reason. The price is a little higher at CBR though.

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We did the 5 in a room at Caribbean Beach. Two adults, a 13 yr old girl and 2 boys - 13 and 9.

The 13 yo girl found the murphy bed comfy. At that time she was about 5’2" and slender - prob about a jr size 3. She’s very into karate so probably weighs more than you’d expect. She sleeps with about 14 gazillion pillows and there was enough room for her and her nest.

We were also happy with the room size. But we’re neat people. Stuff has places to be and it stays put away. We don’t over pack - rather take a quiet morning to do laundry.

We did discuss each evening what time we were leaving the room in the morning so we could coordinate who was using the bathroom when. Two were bedtime shower types, one was early morning while another was afternoon break. The 5th was not a daily shower person.

You’re not in the room much and your stay isn’t long. Riverside will be fine.

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We stayed at POR in 2018. We had two adults, DD18, DS4, and DD’s 16 year old friend. It was tight, but we weren’t in the room much to care. I am 5’2 and fit comfortably on the pull down bed. So it depends on how tall your kids are. We almost always used the West bus stop, which is the first one to pick up.

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Just a note about something I wish I’d thought of. I booked the auto train in January 2019 for our trip that Nov. My kids heights were ok in the sleeper bunks. Fast forward to the trip and I realized shortly before the train ride that the 2 boys have grown soooooo much taller that they don’t fit. We did manage to figure out how to sleep in there but we had to get creative. This was in a family sleeper room on the auto train and 2 of the berths are less than 5 feet long. I mention this in response to the talk about the size of the 5th sleeper.

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That’s good to know. I’m 5’1…but my kids have both grown taller than me now…and they are still growing. So…it looks like I’ll just have to send a kid to my parents room.

One thing we did twice was to book 2 rooms at an All Star resort and have the parents’ room and the kids’ room with an adjoining door. We have 2 adults and 3 kids. Door stayed open so it was like one big hotel room.

That’s what we did last trip at Pop! Disney claims they will guarantee adjoining rooms only if more kids than adults (not sure if they always do but both my TA and CMs on phone said the same).

Good point: I’ve been told that if there are 2 adults the adjoining room is guaranteed, but as soon as a 3rd adult is present the connection isn’t guaranteed. Of course, these things could change all the time. We got the connection both times we asked and it was the busy Thanksgiving week too, although 2014 and 15 so a lot of new Disney stuff didn’t exist then.

I’d consider the Swan/Dolphin. We did that for Thanksgiving and the rates were very reasonable because there aren’t many if any conventions going on then.