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Old July 7, 2011, 10:42 AM   #26
DavidnJudy
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If you decide not to fly, then take the VAN. I can't imagine that long a trip cramped in a car and all the luggage you want to take.

JMHO
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:55 PM   #27
LadyBeBop
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Resorts: Bluebeard's Castle Villas Wyndham Smokey Mountains
Looks like you're in the same dilemma as I'm in. With the TPU change, our trading power isn't enough for DVC...even with two years banked.

With your family, I wouldn't think about flying. But I would take the van for sure.

I'm assuming you're driving from Portsmouth, VA. Mapquest has it at 12 hours. Probably without stops. Unless you stop an awful lot (and I usually budget about two hours for stops), you should make it in less than 15 hours.

What I would do....I'd take two days going down, and one day going home. Some suggested Hilton Head. I love HHI; however that's only slightly more than halfway. The key is to get as far as possible and have an easy second day. I'd probably stop somewhere in Southern GA or Northern FL. That way, you'll probably have a three hour drive down to WDW. Probably with no stops...or at most a 15 minute potty break. The result...you'll be releaxed for your trip.

Coming home, I think you can make it in a day. By that time, you just want to get home.

Last edited by LadyBeBop; July 8, 2011 at 08:57 PM.
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Old July 24, 2011, 07:48 AM   #28
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Annual Trip

I drive down from NJ every year in July with my mom and two sons (now 11 and 13). We stay a week in Orlando and visit Disney. We just finished our week there and now we are enjoying time on the beach.

Weather: Yes, it's hot and humid. Dress very lightly and wear shades and hats. Put on sunscreen. Take air conditioned breaks and drink water. The rain starts in the afternoon. Plan meals and shopping during those times. If you stay on site, they will send your packages back to your hotel.

Disney: If you get to the park when they first open with the extra magic hour, and use the fastpass system, you can get on every ride you want. At Magic Kingdom in the morning we went on Space Mountain three times, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain twice, It's a Small World, and Buzz Lightyear. We were done by noon. We went back to the hotel and relaxed and then went to Epcot at night for their extra magic hours (and rode Soarin and Test Track). The trick is to get the fast pass before you go on the ride you want. Then, hold it while you go on that ride as well as a second ride. Then, your time for another fast pass will be ready and you can get another. You don't have to use the fast passes when they say you do. They can be used throughout the day. Always get fast passes when the time allows you (it says when on your fast pass ticket).

Accommodations: I've stayed on site in Disney several times as well as at most of the timeshares mentioned. If you want the full Disney experience, you should stay on site in a two bedroom. It is most convenient for the kids and for transportation. I like the convenience of the Beach Club Villas as they have a great pool for the kids and boat service to two parks. I'm not a fan of the bus service, although they run efficiently. Wilderness has the boat service to the Magic Kingdom.

Driving: I always drive. For 15 hours, I would leave around 3am and let the kids sleep in the back. Bring their pillows and blankets and each with their own snacks and electronics. You will arrive in the evening. Get a few groceries, unpack and sleep. You will be ready for the next day. If you want to stay overnight on the way, stay as close to Orlando as you can drive. Reserve in advance as the nicer hotels sell out! Consider Pooler, GA. Having a long drive the second day isn't fun and it ruins that day. Kids are dying to get out and you are exhausted. Flying can be just as much of a hassle these days.

Gatorland: This year we went to Gatorland and the kids did the zip line! Wow! It was an experience they will never forget! Take a look at it for an alternative Disney day.

Have fun!
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Old July 26, 2011, 03:09 PM   #29
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Resorts: Chalet High North - Basye, VA & Mountainside Villas - Massanutten, VA
Well noticed a few DVC showing up here and there for exchange, however they are 36 Points !! Out of our reach even combining 2 Timeshares

Have noticed there are plenty of 3 Bedrooms available in our range in July & August for Summer Bay, Vistana, and a few others...

Still undecided on flying or driving. Prefer to fly but then think of the added cost of flying, bags, food, etc... so how much is the convenience of flying down worth vs 13-15 hours of driving ?? that is the debate... Figure almost $1000 more to fly & rent a car vs driving down with our van. Plus no cost for baggage check in, and other misc cost. Then wear there is wear and tear on the Van & the joy of driving

Good thing is we are still about a year out and plenty of time to watch, wait, and debate... oh i love the waiting part...
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Old July 31, 2011, 05:09 PM   #30
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Smile

Grand Beach had 3 bedroom units as well...... very, very nice.
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Old July 31, 2011, 09:49 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyBeBop View Post
I've thought about Bonnet Creek. I have 126,000 Wyndham points; enough for a two bedroom over my granddaughter's birthday. Problem with that is...I have them on even years only. I still think I'd rather go with a DVC resort.
If you decide on Bonnet Creek in 2013, you can still credit pool your 2012 points before the start of the 2012 use year. Then you can use the pooled credits to make your 2013 Bonnet Creek reservation, 10 months out. Just a thought. The fee to credit pool is much, much less than an RCI exchange fee. Our young nieces absolutely LOVED the Bonnet Creek Spanish Fort pool with zero entry, as well as the slide and floating river. They liked the evening poolside movie nights and kiddie waterplay zone. Their older sister enjoyed all the pool parties and game rooms. It's very kid- and teen-friendly. Just a thought - you'd need to decide before your last date to credit pool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post
Looking as Disney Resorts, do they bank them (make them available) in lots, at certain times or how do they work. Also saw some Bonnet Creek and others, but are only available through Feb 2012, are they also banked in lots or certain time frames ??
Yes, the Disney resorts are usually deposited in small groupings of deposits around 7 months out. They do trickle in a bit. The Wyndham deposits are made in larger groupings, 1-3 months' worth at a time - you'll seldom see additional deposits made for the same dates after a bulk banking. So you'll want to have your ongoing search in place beforehand if you want this resort. They are currently banked through February 2012.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post
As for TPU banking my 2 weeks & combining them gets me 29 TPU, so looks like there are many options.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post
There will be 5 of us, 2 Adults & 3 Kids (Teen, Pre-Teen, & Under 10)
Perhaps many options in the area, but not for DVC. A DVC studio currently runs 22 TPUs but then you'd be squeezing 5 people into, basically, a single hotel room for 4. Most of the 1BRs also only sleep 4 with a single bathroom and 1BRs are 32 TPUs - too many for you. 2BRs, what you really need for your family, are 36 TPUs... if they hold steady and don't increase again!

The only non-DVC resort that I know of which offers completely complimentary transportation to the parks is Wyndham Bonnet Creek. That can be fine for a day or two, but I'd probably choose to drive. Then again, we've mostly driven from DVC resorts too. Anyway, you have mentioned a nice assortment of nearby offsite resorts which offer reasonable proximity, nice pools and good amenities. Wyndham Bonnet Creek would definitely be my first choice for your family size, ages and your interest in being close to the parks. Another to consider for a summer vacation is Cypress Pointe - not quite as fancy as some but it's very nearby, offers large 3BRs, has family-friendly amenities and all rooms are only a short walk to a pool. Who wants to make a long trek to a pool in the heat (sometimes an issue at Holiday Inn-Orange Lake)? Vistana Resort's rooms are almost all near pools, tons of family-friendly activities and game rooms, very short drive to the parks and 2BRs are easy to get. Summer Bay is a bit further of a drive but may be worth it to you if you get a 3BR condo or a House at Summer Bay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post
To Drive down and stay over 1 night each way (to break up the trip) would be about $700 Car, $900 Van Includes Gas, Meals, & Hotel both ways.

Now to fly down, rent a Car, & gas for the week would be about $1750 (Flight $250 x 5 = $1250 Complete Plus Car Rental $400 and $100 for Gas to be safe)
You've said that you'd like to take it easy on this trip. If the $1750 flight plan is within your budget, I'd spend it differently, personally. We would get a Sun-Sun RCI week. On Saturday, we'd leave before dawn but only drive 3/4 of the way, let the kids have a swim in a basic motel pool and get everyone some sleep. Then we'd finish the drive on Sunday morning and start our Disney vacation. The following Sunday, we'd drive about halfway back and spend 3 nights at the beach. A Sunday check-in would likely provide more options for reasonable rates at the beach. It would be a fun way to break up the drive home and give everyone something to look forward to, at the end of the trip. You may even look into a 3-night stay at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort - a destination in itself for Disney fans!
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Old August 10, 2011, 02:10 AM   #32
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There are some Marriotts near Disneyworld that trade both II and RCI. Their location would be great and they share facilities with the Marriott World Center. My other RCI choices would be Bonnet Creek and Sheraton Vistana Resort. All of the above are very close to WDW. Sheraton Vistana Villages would be nice too, but they are located closer to SeaWorld and you would be dependent upon your car.

Marriott Imperial Palms and Bonnet Creek have 3 bedroom units available. All of the above have in suite laundry and full kitchens.
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Old August 10, 2011, 06:58 AM   #33
DavidnJudy
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If you don't want to wait - book Vistana. We love Vistana close to the parks, but you have to drive. (We prefer to drive by the way). If you want to wait book Bonnet Creek. But Bonnet Creek could be around 25-30 TPU. Make sure you have enough TPU for that. Summer Bay had transportation to the parks, but the schedule wasn't great and there were tons of people waiting for the buses - we always drove. If you are going to have your car at the parks I would drive. It may cost you a little more (14 dollars to park) but it will be more enjoyable for all (in my oppinion). But I haven't used the buses at Bonnet Creek - maybe they are great? Anyone with expierences with the buses at Bonnet Creek?

Good luck.
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Old August 23, 2011, 12:43 PM   #34
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Resorts: Royal Suites at Atlantic Palace, Sheraton Vistana Resort, Orange Lake East Village
On Vs Offsite

Forgetting about individual resort amenities for a moment, the advantage of staying onsite at WDW really depends which resort you get. If you are at the Beach Club or Boardwalk you can walk or take the boat service to Epcot or Disney Studios plus walking around the Boardwalk at night is great. Wilderness Lodge you can take the boat service to Magic Kingdom then hop the monorail to Epcot. But all of the others you are at the mercy of the bus service which at times can be frustrating (particularly if you are leaving with everyone else) and not much of a timesaver thus losing some of the appeal / advantage of staying onsite.

A major advantage of staying offsite is you can easier get stuff for your unit (eg, food, laundry detergent, etc.) at local stores (eg, Walmart, Target) at a lower price and better selection vs. whatever they have in the Disney stores.

If you're staying onsite you may want to consider renting a car through the Disney Car Care Center which is ran by Alamo and National. They offer prices which is usually cheaper than the airport and they will pick you up and drop you off at your Disney property. This way it will be easier to explore more of Orlando / Kissimmee / Lake Buena Vista versus relying on the Disney Transportation System (and give you a few hours away from the mouse). As a resort guest you don't have to pay for parking at the parks.

I'm not sure if the Disney timeshares warrant enough for the amount of points you need to exchange versus some of the closer offsite resorts. We are heading to Orlando in October. 8 points for a 2 BR at SVR vs 36 points for a 1 BR at any DVC property. In this particular situation, are the DVCs really worth 4.5x as much? Granted to be fair, the value of DVCs look to be stagnant regardless of the time year while the offsite resorts change worse than the stock market but you get the idea.

Good luck in whatever you do / did! Just remember that if you have a smartphone make a favorite out of Disney's restaurant reservation system mobile site. It's a great tool!
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Old August 25, 2011, 05:35 PM   #35
Aaron Kristen
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Resorts: Grandview Las Vegas
Bonnett creek

Well, we just exchanged into Wyndham Bonnett Creek, 2 weeks, April 2012.
Gosh i hope it is as good as most people say. me, wifey and 2 rats (8 and 5).
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Old August 29, 2011, 03:37 PM   #36
kathyp
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Resorts: Vistana(Kissimmee), SeaCrest(Hilton Head), Cliffs(Kauai)
WDW info

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Last edited by DeniseM; August 29, 2011 at 09:57 PM.
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Old August 29, 2011, 07:48 PM   #37
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Resorts: Hyatt High Sierra, Marriott Willow Ridge Lodge, HGVC - Bay Club, Sheraton Desert Oasis.
Forget DVC....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post

We are open to options, and would like fedback if you have been there and experienced Disney or any of htese resorts. Thanks :!)
....go Bonnet Creek. They offer free transportation to the parks, there is no rip-off "transportation" fee, the service is actually better than Disney, the units are larger and nicer. This is a no brainer. DVC is over-rated, you will be very happy and comfortable at Wyndham Bonnet Creek.

BTW, I don't own either DVC or Wyndham, but have stayed at both.

-TJ
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:21 PM   #38
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I would like to mention that Wyndham Bonnett Creek is on Disney property,and offers a free and convenient shuttle to the gates.
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Old August 30, 2011, 01:14 PM   #39
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Resorts: Seasons@Sugarbush Dikhololo Orange Lake Fitzpatrick Castle Holiday Homes
Summer Bay, Orange Lake and Silver Lake are all close to Disney.
My family came down and stayed at Summer Bay and I believe they have complimentary bus service to the parks. Orange Lake has buses too, but there is a fee and if you have your car the parking fee at Disney would be the same as the bus fee from Orange Lake. I am an owner at Orange Lake and enjoy staying at the resort they have a lazy river park there called River Island. On site mini golf and movies in the club house area. Also 4 golf courses and on site restaurants. I have not stayed at any of the DVC in the Disney area, but did stay at Disney's Vero Beach resort last year. They have day trips to Disney, not sure what the price is as we did not go to Disney from Vero, just stayed at the resort and enjoyed the beach.
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:16 AM   #40
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Resorts: Chalet High North - Basye, VA & Mountainside Villas - Massanutten, VA
Still in the Hunt... Finalizing Details...

Well we are still stalking the resorts for the week we want for our Disney Trip. We have narrowed it down to a few resorts Vistana, which is readily available and Bonnet Creek, which is yet to be available for our timeframe, but notice it books FAST !! Our Top three list is Bonnet Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort (#6369), Sheraton Vistana Resort (#0450), and Summer Bay Resort (#3175)

We will be traveling the first week of August, since I am back in school working on another degree I will not get out until last week of July 2012 and then Fall will start mid August we have a 2 week window to travel.

Also what is the difference between Sheraton Vistana Resort (#0450) and Sheraton Vistana Resort-Fountains Villas (#V450) ?? know they are some what one in the same, but know there is something different since they are listed separately !! Same for Summer Bay Resort (#3175) vs Villas at Summer Bay Resort (#5995) ...

Anyone have thoughts opinions on the new Allegiant Flights ?? Looks like they are now in our area and we can fly via them for about $80 one way per person, even with fees and taxes cost would be about 25-35% cheaper then the other guys !!
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Old December 1, 2011, 08:23 AM   #41
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Resorts: Starwood-WKORV, SDO, & SVR, Roark Vacation Club, Kingsbury Crossing, 3 X Kauai Beach Villas, Edinburg Residence
Quote:
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Also what is the difference between Sheraton Vistana Resort (#0450) and Sheraton Vistana Resort-Fountains Villas (#V450) ?? know they are some what one in the same, but know there is something different since they are listed separately !!
Fountains is one phase within Sheraton Vistana Resort - there are several others. The resort just completed a total renovation, so all phases are newly remodeled and redecorated. At the top of the Starwood forum, in the Starwood Owner Resources Sticky, there are brochures showing the renovated units, and at least 1 resort map.
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Old December 2, 2011, 04:18 PM   #42
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Resorts: Summer Bay Orlando (3BR LO), Palace View Branson (4 Lockouts), Grandview (Points), CMV (UDI), DVC (SSR 25)
Similarly, Villas at Summer Bay is a separate phase/section of Summer Bay. I think it generally doesn't get as good of reviews. They also have Houses at Summer Bay, which are incredible (3BR houses with small, private, screened in pools). Summer Bay is quite a ways out from WDW. I would go with one of those first two (or any of the HGVCs) before Summer Bay.
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Old December 2, 2011, 06:16 PM   #43
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Resorts: Orange Tree Golf; Beach House Golf and Racquet Club; Palace View by Spinnaker
Stayed in Vistana Fountains - my son flew in via Allegiant

Quote:
Originally Posted by BearsFan315 View Post
Well we are still stalking the resorts for the week we want for our Disney Trip. We have narrowed it down to a few resorts Vistana, which is readily available and Bonnet Creek, which is yet to be available for our timeframe, but notice it books FAST !! Our Top three list is Bonnet Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort (#6369), Sheraton Vistana Resort (#0450), and Summer Bay Resort (#3175)

We will be traveling the first week of August, since I am back in school working on another degree I will not get out until last week of July 2012 and then Fall will start mid August we have a 2 week window to travel.

Also what is the difference between Sheraton Vistana Resort (#0450) and Sheraton Vistana Resort-Fountains Villas (#V450) ?? know they are some what one in the same, but know there is something different since they are listed separately !! Same for Summer Bay Resort (#3175) vs Villas at Summer Bay Resort (#5995) ...

Anyone have thoughts opinions on the new Allegiant Flights ?? Looks like they are now in our area and we can fly via them for about $80 one way per person, even with fees and taxes cost would be about 25-35% cheaper then the other guys !!

I stayed Thanksgiving week at the Sheraton Vistana Resort - Fountains Section. The refurb is wonderful, and the unit was very comfortable. I also liked the location. Getting to Disney was very easy, as was accessing I-4 to go elsewhere in the metro Orlando area. If I stay at Vistana again, however, I will try to get a Cascades unit - newer and more interesting architecturally. Not sure about the decor and furnishings - probably not much difference.

My son flew in on Allegiant on Thanksgiving Day. Because they fly to the Sanford Airport, rather than MCO, it took close to an hour to get there from Vistana to pick him up. You sure can't beat their fares, though, and he had no cpmplaints about the flight. He did, however, have no baggage - having heard that Allegiant's baggage rates are relatively expensive.

Even though it is a ways off, have a great trip!
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Old December 2, 2011, 07:23 PM   #44
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I wouldn't go there in July+August. The pavement is hot enuff to fry an egg.
When it rains, you can see the steam rise up from the pavement.

But hey, some folks love the sauna.

Wear plenty of sunblock, be at the park ~15 minutes b4 it opens,
leave about Noon, have lunch and a mid-day break off campus,
and return late in the afternoon.
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Old December 5, 2011, 12:35 AM   #45
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Resorts: Worldmark, Ridge Tahoe
I'm also debating whether we should aim for staying in DVC or a nice off-site nice resort closeby. The availability for 2 bdrm is soo much higher offsite. For people staying in an off-site resort, is it still allowed to use Disney's boat/monorail transportation system? Somehow I had an impression that it is only available to guests staying with Disney operated resorts.... Is it really that much convenient comparing to driving? How's the wait time for boat/monorail?

Our kids will be 5 and 7 and seniors are in their 70s. If there is a lot of wait time to use Disney's transportation system, maybe we will just rent a car regardless where we stay and pay $14 parking. Then, there is not much an advantage of staying in DVC other than the dinning plan. I haven't researched much on dinning plans but in general I do not like to be locked in...

We also want to visit the Kennedy Space center.
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Old December 5, 2011, 02:34 AM   #46
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Resorts: Summer Bay Orlando (3BR LO), Palace View Branson (4 Lockouts), Grandview (Points), CMV (UDI), DVC (SSR 25)
If you have enough trading power (it now takes close to 50 TPU to get into a 2BR DVC unit in the summer) and would rather have location and on-site perks rather than space, NOW is the time if you want to get DVC for next July. The latest bulk deposits have been right before the timeframe you're looking for. Set up an ongoing search ASAP. You might already be too late.

You'll find a lot of threads about the pros and cons of on site and off site. Essentially, there are off site locations (mainly the ones mentioned in this thread) that are nicer, more spacious, and that require far fewer TPU (probably no more than about 20 for July). The DVC units (other than Old Key West) are relatively small (generally about 1075 sqft vs. 1250+) and have smaller kitchen and dining areas. Staying on site is "more magical", gives you more convenient transportation, is closer, gives you access to Extra Magic Hours, free parking, etc.

As for the dining plan, I would skip it. You're staying in a timeshare. You'll likely have a car. It's much cheaper to eat in the timeshare or off-site. Even if you do eat on site, it's probably no more expensive just to pay out of pocket. The dining plan used to be a good deal, but the value has been significantly degraded in the past several years.

The boat/monorail is for everyone to use. In fact, if you stay off site, you have NO CHOICE but to use one or the other to get to MK. You park something like a mile or two from the park, take a parking lot tram, then either the boat or monorail to get to MK. If you're on site, you can take a Disney bus directly to MK (which we usually do, even if we have a car, because it's more convenient).

I would suggest that you visit easyWDW.com and learn more about Disney before your trip. It can be pretty overwhelming if you're not prepared. Just like timeshares, some education makes a huge difference.
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Old March 31, 2012, 09:30 PM   #47
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RCI weeks

I have an ongoing search with RCI weeks to find a disney property to stay on Dec 29 2012. Do you think I started looking too late and what month should I say forget it and look at possible offsite locations.
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Old March 31, 2012, 11:44 PM   #48
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I have an ongoing search with RCI weeks to find a disney property to stay on Dec 29 2012. Do you think I started looking too late and what month should I say forget it and look at possible offsite locations.
The last DVC deposits were made for early October. You still have a couple of months before December deposits start showing up.
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Old April 1, 2012, 12:30 AM   #49
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My 2 cents:

1. Yes, July and August will be hot, but you are from Portsmouth, VA. The days can be just as hot there, it's just that we have more of them in a row than in VA.

2. Thunderstorms will happen. If you can travel in late June or early July, you may minimize the chance of bad weather. They pass relatively quickly for the most part, though.

3. I personally enjoy the parks in the late afternoon and evening to minimize time in the sun. I don't know if you are night owls, but if you are, I would recommend that.

4. Make sure you make reservations for sit-down restaurants for a late lunch if you go to the park during the day. That will get you out of the heat for hottest part of the day to relax and recharge. Walk ins are hard to come by in the summer because everyone wants to get out of the heat!

5. My parents lived in Yorktown for years. I did the drive 2 or 3 times a year, at least once a year by myself, with little ones. The drive isn't bad as far as drives go. It does get long, but by the time I drove to the airport, parked, got through security, hoped planes weren't delayed, etc, I usually felt like I might as well drive. Then I had my own car available. It took me 12 hours with stops. Orlando adds about an hour from where I live, but you live about 45 mins closer to rt. 58 than they did. (Your house is before the tunnel. ) It is really a personal preference- each choice has pros and cons.

6. If you do decide to fly, check out Allegiant Air. They have non-stops from PHF(Newport News)-Sanford (a smaller airport outside of Orlando), although they don't have flights every day. My mother and sister have both flown on them and have gotten tix for about $100 total, round trip. I don;t know if summer would be as low, but it is worth looking into if you are thinking about flying.

7. Parking is not bad at WDW, IMO. I prefer driving and parking to most of the resort shuttles. (Even the ones for the Disney properties aren't as convenient, depending on where you are staying and which park you are visiting.) If you stay off property, the shuttles are not at all convenient and there is often a per person charge. You are better off driving and paying for parking both cost wise, and flexibility wise.

8. There are a lot of good time shares in Orlando. You will get a great one planning this far out!
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Old April 1, 2012, 12:42 AM   #50
spencersmama
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I left the computer when I was reading the thread. After I posted my reply, I realized I hadn't read everything, some people made the same points as me, and the thread was started last summer. Hmm, I guess I'm a day late and a dollar short!
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