some Disney advice from the money I spent if you are going to Disney anytime soon-
After spending around 7000 bucks...
1- don't do the dining plan. I had 3 adults and 3 children there, and spent 1800 plus bucks for the dining plan plus around 400 for tips. we used everything on it , all meals, snacks, etc, and would have spent far less money if we had been using cash. when you think of the cost of Disney food, you need to move out of the expensive category and move to the los angeles new york city insane area. every sit down meal for 3 adults and 3 kids was over 200 bucks. you are forced to pay 18% gratuities, even at buffets where they just bring drinks. gratuities are not included on the the pre-purchased 1800 buck dining plan) and as an added bonus, they give a line on your receipt that gives you a chance to add more for your tip. I'm not a cheapskate, but think of this- a 50 buck tip at a buffet ( tuskers at animal kingdom) has never been on my radar, and you have no choice in the matter. the guy had 4 tables, and you are telling me that it is normal for this guy to make 100-200 bucks per hour in tips to bring drinks? I will sign up for that job tomorrow. the food at china in epcot for over 200 bucks was worse than a 6.99 chinese buffet that any city has.
2- I can no longer reccomend staying at the disney resorts. this was my 6th visit, and at Port Orleans, a "moderate" disney resort you are looking at 150 a night during the less expensive season, if you book 5 or 6 nights or more. one night, 195 bucks. for this price there are too many issues- you do not get the towel animals and the fun disney housekeepers you used to. the paint was peeling off the walls in the bathroom in room 2418. the fridge did not work. the toilet stopped working. there was trash in the landscaping outside the room. ( and it stayed there for my entire 8 day trip )The towels are not big enough to wrap around a guy that weighs 180 pounds. The hottest the water got in the shower was about 3-4 degrees less than what I would call a hot shower. You can call me picky, but once I get past 80 or 90 bucks a night for a hotel, my pickyness meter starts going up. disney fixed a few of these issues, but at 150 bucks a night for each of the 2 rooms I booked, should I really need to complain about paint coming off the drywall above the toilet, revealing drywall about the size of my fist? is it my job to tell them to use primer betewwn paint and drywall ? why was the hyatt place in Houston where i paid 50 bucks a few weeks ago 10 times nicer than a disney hotel?
3- the disney bus transportation just cannot handle the load of it's own resorts when they are booked to capacity. we originally were going to stay at a disney "value" resort, or about 82 bucks a night in the slow season. they were fully booked. They started funneling folks over to port orleans, which is the least expensive moderate resort. then port orleans got booked.
waiting at the parks when they closed for the busses going to value resorts and port orleans was nothing less that frustrating. we experienced 45 minute to 1 hour plus waits, while less booked hotels could jump right on the bus.
why? The numbers are kind of staggering. at port orleans there are two hubs-riverside and french quarter. at riverside alone there are 2048 rooms with at least 2 folks per room usually more. french quarter has 1008. again, 2 folks per room, usually more. most rooms are booked by families with 1-2 kids. so think of it- parks open at 8-9 am, most close at same time, and what happens- 7-10000 people trying to get somewhere at the same time. we watched 6 busses come and go from magic kingdom to port orleans at 9pm, and we were still waiting in line. magic kingdam closes at 8pm. Value resorts were worse lines, with many folks I spoke with waiting over an hour every night. The worst part? Disney KNEW the resorts were booked at least a week or two in advance. did they add bus service? not apparently. every night, at each park at closing, or opening, it was the same. what a way to end your day.
during the middle of the day, while park hopping, not so bad. and at the beginning aof the day, usually a 20 minute wait, but usually no place to sit on bus, you had to stand. I can tolerate that.
if you stay at the contemporary or many of the disney "deluxe" resorts ( 500 to 2-3000 per night, and no, that ain't no typo) you do get some options of boats and monorail to get to your hotel or some of the parks. to go to all of them, eventually you gotta get on the bus. the bus is the only choice for all of the value and moderate resorts.
a word on the mono-rail -when you look at the monorail that walt envisioned before he died, Walt designed a 360 passenger train that would whisk folks to the magic kingdom and epcot every 10 minutes. for the privaledged, it still does. The contemporary, the grand floridian, and the polynesian are the only hotels that get to use it. get ready to pay 1000 bucks a night for the fun. unfortunately, as they built hollywood studios and animal kingdom, and ever larger resorts, they did not bother to extend the monorail. apparently it was much cheaper to buy busses.
I will go back and spend 2500 plus on disney tickets for 6. I will do 8-10 days.
will try to stay at a hotel very close to disney for 60-90 bucks per night and either get shuttled or drive to down town disney and use the disney transportation to get to the parks and or parkhop and get back to my car. I may look into renting a house near disney and spend a grand or so for that. no towel or bed service, but more space for 6 or 7.
I will plan on spending 1000-1500 on food, bring snacks and drinks with me, and share meals. I will avoid tuskers at animal kingdom, sit down restaurant at china at epcot. I will do sit down at france and le-cellier at canada, and tusso at italy ( gotta get reservations for those 3 months in advance).
I may fly the next time if rates cooperate. I may try to drive it all on in one day ( 18 hours )
long crazy post, but I am always about helping folks avoid the mistakes I make and try to make better decisions !
Last edited by David Gretzmier; 02-13-2010 at 12:33 PM.