Planning first time trip to WDW for family of 4

We are a family of four (2 adults & 2 kids - both are 10 - boy & girl). We are most likely staying at the Boardwalk Villas April 1 - 10. We will be renting points from a friend for a 1 bedroom. I will be putting in our reservation in for Boardwalk on September 1st.

Now that I have the resort picked, my next question is how many days at the park should we plan? Right now, I am looking at 8 days at the parks but it doesn’t mean we will be spending all day at the park for all 8 days. I would like to spend some time exploring the other resorts.

Also what restaurants should we make reservations at 180 days out? I started to research all the different restaurants but there are so many choices. I know the kids would like to do a character breakfast & a dessert party. What are the must due restaurants?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Once you move past 4 days, adding days to tickets is relatively inexpensive - given that I would get 8 day tickets (personally Park Hoppers, but that’s something else to decide on) as even on your calm resort day, you can stop by and eat at a park or walk into Epcot or HS for a few rides if the mood strikes. That cost is something on the order of $15 per person for that luxury which compared to the overall cost of the vacation is noise.

Lots of good ADR options and since you’re in walking distance of Epcot, you’ll be in the epicenter of the good restaurants. Here are some thoughts on the CM Breakfasts:

  • Epcot - Garden Grill has Chip, Dale, Farmer Mickey etc. and is very good. Family style with a really good character interactions - PPO likely gets you on Soarin’ prior to the masses. Akershus is princesses and offers early PPO access to FEA.
  • AK - Tusker House is highly regarded, offers good character interactions - food varies from traditional breakfast offerings to some more exotic African fare - probably one of the better buffets. Some like to time it late to catch a little breakfast and a little lunch. PPO could get you on Safari early, although with Pandora being all the rage, this may be less useful.
  • MK - Crystal Palace has the Pooh characters and offers a solid buffet. CRT offers Princesses inside the castle - very expensive, but it’s dining inside the castle.
  • Resorts - you’ve convenient to Trattoria al Forno which is well reviewed and Cape May at the BC. The 3 monorail resorts all have good CM breakfasts as well - less convenient for you but all our good depending on timing and what characters your kids are interested in.

Overall, I’d ask your kids what characters they want to meet and then prioritize those. Most of the breakfasts offer similar food options, so the real differentiation is which characters and any bonus pre-park-open benefits of catching a ride early here or there.

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I am sure that your kids will want at least one resort day to play in the pool :slight_smile:
I usually combine that will a couple of hours and maybe dinner at Disney Springs, but sometimes the kids would just rather stay at the resort There is a lot of information about other resorts on TP and other sites. I don’t know how much time the kids would want to spend going to other resorts but depends on your kids :slight_smile:
I love BOG for a PPO meal at MK. I do that every trip.
For character meals - I have only ever done them in-park and I liked them all. But as @Damavs said - you really have to look at what characters are at the different meals and go from there.
For days in the park - it does get cheaper the more days you buy. You can add days on-to your ticket when you are there, as long as you have one day left on it, you only pay what it would have cost you when you bought them originally, but you can only make FPP reservations for as many days as you have tickets for.
I wouldn’t do less than 7 - and if you intend to do some days when you are only in the parks for a short time -I would go for 8 :wink:

We stayed at Boardwalk this past april for our first trip. But we’ve been to DL several times.
We had 6 day hoppers, for 7 days, with first day being a resort day. I think you’re on the right track for 8. And I agree with still getting tickets including your resort day. Opens up all the food options. And you could even sleep in one day, hang out at the pool and use some fastpasses in the evening. Lots of options.
My family loved via Napoli in Epcot for pizza. So easy from Boardwalk. Hopefully you can grab a beaches & cream over at beach club, but ample hills on the Boardwalk has great ice cream too. We had lunch at Be our guest on one of our magic kingdom days and liked it.
Staying at Boardwalk, I do recommend hoppers if you’re on the fence. It was so easy to eat at Epcot regardless of our other plans. And also easy to do extra rides at HS in the hours before closing regardless of where else we started.

Here are my thoughts - some of which echo other folks here.

First and foremost… if this is your first trip… READ THE BIG BOOK… the big Unofficial Guide to WDW is the single best resource available (IMHO). It can seem overwhelming, but just tackle one section at a time. All the restaurants are reviewed, all the rides explained. It is a top notch research tool. If you like the research.

steps off soapbox

  1. Do park hoppers. The cost is about $75/person for anything over a 4 day ticket. Since you are staying near EPCOT always having the ability to pop in to eat is well worth it. Again, $300 for the family is nothing to sneeze at but I love the flexibility. Additionally, later in your stay you may want to go hit highlights of a couple parks on a given day. Also, unless you are doing a package, purchase your tickets before the 2019 price increase (which has been in February the past couple of years). Use the ticket tools here to help find the best deal.

  2. 8 days is perfect, but if you want to add more, you can. I upgraded 7 day park hoppers to 9 day park hoppers this month and the total was like, $28 per person. So, if you want to add a 9th or 10th day, it is a negligible cost. I always like more flexibility rather than less.

  3. Dining. If you want to hit the REALLY hard meals to get… usually Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, etc. you will have to be ready to pounce at 180 days…especially for an April trip. But if you are flexible with your table service options, you will have some play in the schedule. As to where to eat? That’s really up to you… if you have an adventurous food spirit, Jiko is a top notch restaurant, as is Sanaa (I’ve been told). For character dining, many people like the Garden Grill in EPCOT. Many of the restaurants in EPCOT are good, as are the disney springs options. You will have to decide what your family’s tolerance is for sit down, table service meals, etc. But you have plenty of time to find the ones you like. Ohana at the Poly is one of our favorites, as are Jiko, California Grill.

  4. The HEA dessert party was pretty good. Although with the introduction of the post-fireworks party, I would monitor as the year goes by regarding reports of crowdedness in the garden viewing area.

Well, there’s a start… good luck!

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Thank you all for the information!! I really appreciate it.