Time to plan the next trip! Suggestions?

We just got back on Saturday from our daughter’s first trip, and we are already thinking of going again in about 3 years. I know this is far in advance but we have to budget carefully in order to visit the World.

We stayed at AoA and my husband was very disappointed in the bus system and would like to stay in a hotel that is on the monorail and/or whose bus stop is not the very farthest away in the bus ports. I only know anything (and even then only a little) about the Contemporary. GF is not ever going to be in my budget.

Pros/cons of the Contemporary? Other suggestions? I want to have an idea of a budget to start saving, but I don’t know anything about the non-Value resorts. We will likely be going the last week in August and so will need those close buses/monorail rides to leave the park mid-day.

We loved the monorail at the Contemporary and the food options. If you stay there, I suggest either the Garden Wing or request a room on the opposite side of Chef Mickey. Our biggest complaint was the noise level from the restaurant - and it started early! But the location can’t be beat.

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We stayed at Beach Club last time (in a one bedroom villa) and we could walk to Epcot as well as Hollywood or take the boat to Hollywood. It was a pretty quick bus trip to MK and AK. It was the most recommended by our disney travel agent, and we couldn’t have been happier. I tried to convince my family to stay at Contemporary for our upcoming trip and they loved the closeness to Epcot so much that we are staying in that area instead (currently in Boardwalk but hopefully can move to Beach Club or Yacht Club).

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One thing to consider if you are going to stay at a deluxe is to get one AP for someone in your party (and regular length of stay passes for everyone else). Depending on how many days you stay, the AP discount at a deluxe will pay for the pass and then some- saving you admission for 1 person and provide additional discounts at many restaurants and gift shops. For some people it winds up being a savings- for others it doesn’t- so you would have to do the math for your particular situation when the time comes. It’s way down the road- so just keep this idea in your ‘toolbox’ and see what types of discounts pop up for the time you want to go.

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I don’t really understand. Is there an AP discount all the time? Are those time-based, for instance only for certain times of the year, like regular discounts, or is there a general discount that always applies?

Another thought is to look into renting DVC points for the studios at the Polynesian. Sometimes renting points can save you 20% or more over the rack rate at a deluxe hotel.

There are also discounts offered from time to time. Check out mouseavers


for sort of a history of when discounts have been offered in the past.

Good news is that you have plenty of time to investigate, learn and figure out what is good for your family.

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Yes- time based at different times of the year- usually during value season is when you will get the largest discounts. Different deluxe resorts have different discounts- we usually just go with the resort with the best percent discount the week we are going over- but we live here so aren’t too picky about location. We have done well at AK- got 35% on a CL savanna view room a couple of years ago.

Looks like you have a younger child. That indicates you will be spending most of your time at the MK. Years ago we got 35% at the Poly- haven’t seen that level of discount recently, though. Not sure about discounts at the other monorail/MK resorts recently since they are rarely the best discount level. Just plan your trip in value season during the slower times of the year and hopefully the stars will align for you.

DVC will save you money over an AP in a studio- but that’s about it. Larger families can do well renting DVC as well. IMHO a normal size family that will need something beyond a studio will do better with the AP discount. Remember- this is one person’s admission as well, so it is going to be hard to offset one person’s admission with a DVC rental over an AP discount. So in other words, with a DVC rental you will have the rental cost- then pay admission for the person that would have had an annual pass on top of that.

Also, look at getting a Chase Visa card. Sometimes cardholders get rates as good as AP or FL resident rates- but it is inconsistent. There is no annual fee, so it’s worth carrying one even if you don’t use it a lot. They have had some decent discounts over the years.

Lastly, do your research and learn about this stuff so it’s second nature to you. Join some other fan sites like the DisBoards in addition to this board. They have a really active budget board (I post there regularly). There are unique and interesting ways to save money for your trip using gift cards and gathering points for flights using credit cards. You have a lot of time- and the amount of available information is overwhelming. Take your time, learn some of the budget tips- and you will get back to WDW before you know it.

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Yes, there is an AP discount all the time, at least every time I have gone since I got an AP. It often beats other offers out there, including MVT. The AP discounts come out later than the public discounts, so once they appear you can change your reservation to the new prices with the discount. There is often more availability as well. For example: We want to stay at AKL over spring break. It’s Easter so the prices are high. Original Disney price for standard view rooms was $502 a night. All views were available (standard, pool, savanna, with prices ranging from $502-$732 a night). Then the public discounts came out, I booked the same day they were released and could only book a pool view or pool view with bunkbeds room category for $436-$485 night. Eventually savanna view and savanna bunkbed types opened up, but not until after the AP rates were released. AP discounts came out recently, and I was able to book any view category I wanted, where the public did not include standard at all, and only occasionally savanna. I booked standard view for $326.30. Standard view is still not available to non-AP holders, still is $502 a night. I am so happy I have an AP, it saves a lot on the room. Also, 20% discount on many things in the shops, plus makes you eligible to buy a Tables in Wonderland card which gives 20% off discounts for food and alcohol at most WDW table service restaurants.

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The Contemporary garden wing has been my least favorite hotel in all of WDW (especially for the cost). That section felt like a glorified motel honestly and was the worst bathroom. Wilderness Lodge would be my top pick for a MK resort - especially for the price. Since you have some time to plan, seriously consider getting a SPG credit card and staying for free at the Swan or Dolphin - it really is a much better hotel and you can walk to Epcot and HS…

Also, why August?? Just went in August this year and we all said never again because of the heat and humidity.

We always go in August - but we are from Texas and the weather is similar. It is cheaper in August and slightly less crowded so it’s worth it in my opinion!

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Unfortunately I only have so many options. February break (President’s Day) is super crowded, Easter break (even when it isn’t the same week as Easter, which is usually isn’t) is always very crowded, and I went Jersey Week this year and the days of filming were really packed. End of August, which is a bit less crowded, will be VERY VERY hot but I’m not as worried about the heat as I am about the potential for a hurricane. I have a few years to consider it. I certainly can’t go any other time in the summer without HUGE crowds. The heat is one of the reasons I am hoping to be on the monorail or on the front of the transportation line - ease of traveling back to the hotel mid-day.

This is also what I was thinking.

We loved the WL when we went earlier this year. It’s not a monorail resort, but it is the cheapest of the deluxes and the boat to and from MK was very convenient. We took quite a few midday breaks. And we never had any issues with the buses either. Not to mention it was a beautiful resort. I will definitely stay there again!