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Impressions of WDW - 2 Wks Before Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'US - Florida Timesharing' started by Talent312, Nov 11, 2017 at 10:22 PM.

  1. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I have been going to WDW off and on for 45 years (shortly after it opened). Since there was only the Magic Kingdom and the term "E-Ticket" actually meant something. As a Florida-resident, it's been fairly easy for me to visit. But this was my first trip back in 5 years.

    We did EPCOT, Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom. I thought that mid-week school day visits would not be terribly crowded. Perhaps by today's Disney standards, it wasn't, but I was amazed by the size of the crowd and the sheer number of strollers. Perhaps it was the Food+Wine Fest at EPCOT, the Veteran's Day holiday or just good weather that drew them out.

    In earlier visits, I would have scoffed at the idea that any single park requires two days... not anymore. In light of the crowd, it is more important than ever to book Fast Passes at the earliest opportunity (7AM, 30 days before or 60 days if at a WDW resort) - be sure to sign out and sign back in. After 10AM, most Stand-By lines at the parks became quite long - at least 50 minutes - 210 minutes (3.5 hrs) at Flight of Passage (Pandora). I can't imagine anyone waiting that long.

    For table service dining, reservations should be made months earlier. That said, counter service while crowded was still relatively fast, and the food, well, better than Universal (IMHO). You need to be selective at the Food+Wine Fest to get the good stuff, and be prepared to sample some clunkers. I found pre-loading a gift card to be useful.

    Mickey's Very Merry Christmas: Quite pricey for what it is, but IMHO, it was a good-spend to do once - free cookies and beverages, fake snow on Main Street, the Castle nicely lit up, a nice parade and really good fireworks - if your into that sort of thing.

    IMHO, the crush of humanity notwithstanding, its still possible to have a good time.

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017 at 10:28 AM
  2. bankr63

    bankr63 TUG Member

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    Haven't been going nearly that long, but we are regular March breakers for 10+ years now.

    My one addition to above would be to have a plan for hitting the parks now. Even on March break we are able to ride everything we want, every time, by having a smart (but flexible) plan. Lots of great sources of information out there on how to do this; our personal favorite is the Unofficial Guide (for both WDW, and Universal). The new FastPass+ system makes planning a bit more difficult than it used to be for us, but only because we really knew how to maximize the old system. Follow the advice in the park level apps (Undercover Tourist has one that is free and accurate) when picking which day to do which park. Arrive early, ride the headliners first, and spend the afternoon more relaxed and taking it all in.

    People who arrive at the parks late, with only a vague idea that they are going to "do stuff" are bound to have a much more frustrating experience; and considering the cost of Disney tickets now, that is a really bad thing to have happen.
     
  3. vacationhopeful

    vacationhopeful TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Talent312,

    Did you happened to go during the Election Day week? If so, you found the week known as "NJ Week at Disney World". See a lot of NY and PHL sports shirts and caps? Another sign of NJ residents ... as there are only 1 major professional sports team based in NJ... all the rest are in either NYC or PHL. There are only 2 days of public schools during Election Week (Thurs & Fri are NJ Teachers Convention in Atlantic City) plus some public schools are totally closed that week.

    I tortured my sister one year by doing Disney World that week .. she move far away right after High School ... I just would smile big and point to those NYC or PHL sports team logo ... saying my hometown in NJ. After a couple of days, my sister asked me HOW did I knew all these people .... she got the humor after I explained it... well... she sort of got the humor.
     
  4. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Yes, it was that week, but not many NY or PHL shirts or caps. :shrug:
    There were a lot of guests from overseas... and at my HGVC resort.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney raise prices in the Spring, again.
    The unwashed masses (of which I am one) seem impervious to cost.
    .
     
  5. vacationhopeful

    vacationhopeful TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I was way MORE sensitive to the PHL/NYC sports stuff than a FL resident might have been ... as I knew before going to Disney what that was Election Week trip was also called "Jersey week" at WDW.

    As for my sister, that was the YEAR I was babysitting her ... her husband had dropped dead on the kitchen floor less than a 7 months earlier early from a brain blood burst .... i got the family role to babysit her by doing stuff she NEVER did with that husband of 10+ years (her second marriage) from 1500 miles away for months and months. And I had taken her to Disney World earlier in May.... which we both had to go home early .. I was sick, needed major surgery and went home early due to declining health... SWA was the best and got us both home (NJ & TX) without added costs .. she was having major "need" (almost panic attacks) to be among his possessions back home. The November Disney World trip was much better and both of us enjoyed that trip during Food & Wine Festival.
     
  6. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Vacationhopeful:
    Gosh! I'm glad you were both able to make it back and finish what you started!

    Okay, Jersey Week is a real thing, but some online sources say it's overrated.
    From www.dadsguidetowdw.com/november-disney-world-crowds-and-jersey-week.html

    Jersey Week at Walt Disney World
    I have been reading alot about increased crowds and busy parks because of "Jersey Week". We will be in Disney during the first week of November. We chose that week because we thought it was a less busy time. Does this "Jersey Week" really cause one of the busiest weeks of the year? Thanks for your answer Dad.

    Dad's in their dreams Answer
    Yes, Jersey Week does exist. According to some websites all 200,000 people that still live in Jersey flock to Disney World the first week of November because the all of the kids are out of school on Thursday and Friday for teacher workdays. This causes crowds that overrun Disney World so badly that you can't even breathe in the parks. (Say it ain't so, Dad ...) It ain't so. Yes, crowds will be up just a tad during Jersey Week, and yes, if you get to the parks after lunch you might see a few people there. BUT IT WON'T BE AS BAD AS A MODERATE SUMMER DAY, and it certainly isn't as busy as a Spring Break day where guests from all over the world descend on Disney World because they have a whole week off.

    From yourfirstvisit.net ...
    That said, if you can avoid Jersey Week, do so–especially the days of the conventions themselves and the weekend that follows them. The weeks on either side of it are great times to go to Walt Disney World!

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM
  7. Big Matt

    Big Matt TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    DC Metro area schools in Virginia were off two days last week too. Several folks I know took the week off and went there, so not just Philly/NJ
     
  8. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Disneyworld and Disneyland are busy all times of the year. I have been amazed at the crowds almost every visit in the last six years or so. It takes the fun out of it, being run over by strollers, and people not paying attention to where they are going. My mother-in-law Rick's stemom, does not need a wheelchair at 89, she walks just fine, but we insisted on it because people are so oblivious. They will stop and turn quickly, right into you, or they play the game. Mom would be knocked over way too easily at 89. She is fragile and tiny.

    We are going in May again with the kids and grandkids. I am not looking forward to the heat and the crowds. It's not all that fun to go with either heat or crowds, and we will have both. I hope my mother-in-law doesn't decide to go with us that trip. I had better tell the kids not to make the invite over the holidays.
     
  9. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We're going back the 2nd week in December... to get our $$ worth from annual passes.
    We'll compare crowd levels then. I hope that being there at rope-drop doesn't catch on.

    .
     
  10. Sea Six

    Sea Six TUG Member

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    You can start booking meals at 6 months out. Crazy as it sounds, depending where you want to eat, you'd better do it! Places like Le Cellier in Canada, or Be Our Guest at MK, may not even have a table if you don't start early.
     
  11. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I checked today for 30-days out and found "lesser" places available, but only early or late.
    We decided to forego Chefs de France at 8PM and took Teppan Edo at 5PM, instead.

    I was online at 7AM for a FP for attractions in Pandora (A/K) 30 days hence... No joy.
    Looks like we either need to trade into DVC to have a chance, or be there at rope-drop.

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 3:50 PM
  12. VegasBella

    VegasBella TUG Member

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    We are planning to go next year during a busy time. I learned some excellent strategies on DisBoards.

    General rules:
    - plan in advance (get your fast passes and restaurant reservations months in advance)
    - get there as early as possible (rope drop is minimum, do AM extra magic hours if you can)
    - be a little flexible

    My additional rules for me:
    - bring ibuprofen and earplugs for the afternoon
    - pack our own food (it’s against the rules but no one has ever had trouble bringing in their own food - this saves money but more importantly for me it saves time and ensures we eat food we like)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I needed ibuprofen more the day we came back when the soreness from our visit hit.
    I like fried, greasy, overpriced Disney food. Actually, Flame-Tree (A-K) was quite good.

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 3:51 PM
  14. PigsDad

    PigsDad TUG Member

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    Actually, not.
    Source: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/outside-food-and-drink/

    We have always brought some level of snacks, but still plan restaurants for meals.

    Kurt
     
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  15. ssreward

    ssreward TUG Member

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    We'll be there just before you. I could sent you my rider swap FPs for Flight of Passage, they'll be good until the end of Dec. Made me sick last time so I'm not planning to use them & usually give them away at the park but it's worth a stamp to help out a fellow TUGer ;)
     
  16. Big Matt

    Big Matt TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The only real slow times at Disney in Orlando are: The second and fourth weeks in January, September after Labor Day week, the second week in November, and the first two weeks of December. The end of April and the beginning of May are also fairly slow, but not like the others.
     
  17. Big Matt

    Big Matt TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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  18. Sea Six

    Sea Six TUG Member

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    Teppan Edo is one of our favorites! My wife used to prefer Taste of Tokyo, but they cut back on the menu and she can't get the variety of tempura she used to. Plus they stopped serving my favorite drink - the Samurai, which was kind of like a martini made with plum wine. Booo!
     
  19. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Update on FP's -- At 7AM EST, I did score Na'vi River Journey for 12/15.
    Earlier this week, I got Frozen at 8:50PM - it must'a'been close to last.

    BTW -- For those obsessed w-planning (as I am)...
    I like www.easywdw.com's maps. They label attractions with names, not numbers.
    It makes finding stuff so much easier than referring to a numbered-list on the side.
    I copy maps to Word, and then insert circles & text boxes w-times for each activity.
    It may be OCD, but it helps me keep track of where we need to be and our routes.

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 3:53 PM
  20. mdurette

    mdurette TUG Member

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    We did a quick trip to WDW last week. Thursday the 9th and returned on Sunday the 12th. Did Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. We normally go the week before Thanksgiving (so this week) and yes, I saw the differences in the crowds.

    I worked the FP system and although it meant spending a lot of time with my face in my phone it worked out perfectly and we were able to FP all the rides we wanted throughout the days. It helps to book your original 3 early on in the day and then you can get all the rest for the afternoon and evening as you go.
     
  21. BDMX2

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    You may have also had some crowd spillover from the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, which was the 3rd through the 5th, ending with a "post race" after hours party at Epcot on the night of the 5th. It ran to 1am, and with election day off along with veterans day I think a lot of people took their kids out of school (we did through Tuesday that week)

    But that said, Disney has done a good job in recent years of making sure there is no "slow" season anymore. Festivals, special parties and events, free dining, various marathons etc. There really aren't the nice slow seasons anymore. We've been visiting a couple of times a year or more since our honeymoon in 1994, not nearly the 45 years you have Talent312, but we've certainly noticed the changes over the years. While the FP+ system has killed the spontaneous style we used to have, we've learned to work with it and make even the crowded times a pleasant visit. It also helps to remember that there are plenty of non-FP+ things to do, and that the quick service restaurants are good as well. You can find things to do and eat that don't require planning a month or more out, but you need to manage expectations.

    Oh, and keep watch on the app for Flight of Passage, the sometimes drop some same-day fastpasses. We picked some up on Nov 6th at around 11:30 am - they were for 2:45 that same day.
     

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