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Thread: Family friends - trip conundrum

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Family friends - trip conundrum

    I need to go to the experts on this one: One of my close friends (who also happens to be my DH's boss - small town - what can I say) is about as anti-corporation (Disney in particular) as you can get. And he hates crowds. And gets motion sick. And he's vegan and hates fast food. But he has a wife & 2 girls (9 & 12) who have been begging to go on a Disney trip for several years. I've suggested they go without him. But they want Dad along for the magic. And he wants to make his girls happy. I've been asked to help them plan, to try to make it the best experience under the circumstances. I'm worried this will not go well.

    My advice was to stay onsite so Dad can bail early if need be, while Mom & girls can continue. Or all take a mid-day break and go back without him for fireworks etc. I've advised him to avoid fireworks & parades because of the crowd components. And am also avoiding Value resorts because of crowds/chaos. I've also given her Josh's book. They're starting from zero on this (ask which park potterworld is in.)

    The tricky part is that they've decided they would like to go in March and the prices seem high onsite to me and not a lot of availability. I'm looking at moderates because of the high costs in march but I'm not sure of the refurb impacts. But Coronado & CB seem to have the best prices.

    Long lead up to ask - is there a resort you would recommend?
    Any other advice would be welcome too.
    TIA
    ~Stacey

  2. #2
    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    Will they have a car? Maybe an off site place would be better so they can escape from all things Disney. And have easier access to a wider variety of restaurants. They could also venture out to different non-corporate places.

    Also, is Harry Potter stuff at Universal important to them? They may want to plan a day there since it may be the only time they take a trip to Orlando—especially after they go for spring break season.
    Brandi

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    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolarookie View Post
    Will they have a car? Maybe an off site place would be better so they can escape from all things Disney. And have easier access to a wider variety of restaurants. They could also venture out to different non-corporate places.

    Also, is Harry Potter stuff at Universal important to them? They may want to plan a day there since it may be the only time they take a trip to Orlando—especially after they go for spring break season.
    They're open to renting a car. But they're really worried he'll hate it so much that she'll be touring with the kids a lot on her own.
    They (now) are planning 1 day at universal (park to park) just for HP.
    ~Stacey

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    Senior Member Merida's Twin's Avatar
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    We enjoyed our stay at Coronado this past May. It was during construction but it didn't bother us. The majority of the construction should be done by then. The rooms were nicely redone and barely have any Disney theming (which the husband may like). Multiple bus stops are one thing to consider if they don't like crowds . They may want to pay for a preferred room. That will get them closer to the main building and the first bus stop.

    Check out Vegandisneyworld.com. it's a really good site for Vegan food options at WDW. Also, there are a surprising number of vegan options in the parks now. Dole whip and Mickey pretzels are vegan (that's non-dairy butter on the pretzel) And a few places offer vegan options on the regular menu; Casey's has a vegan dog for example.

  5. #5
    he's right
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    Suggest they use a travel agent for the big decisions (where to stay, etc.) and tell them Josh's book knows more than you do about the rest. Say "I know what I would like but I don't know what you would like" a lot.

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    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnoble View Post
    Suggest they use a travel agent for the big decisions (where to stay, etc.) and tell them Josh's book knows more than you do about the rest. Say "I know what I would like but I don't know what you would like" a lot.
    I agree, given your friend’s reluctance, I would not be comfortable helping them plan. There are a lot of awesome travel agents that can tailor a trip to suit their needs.
    Brandi

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    he's right
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    For example, I tend to try to keep each individual trip relatively inexpensive, because I know I am going back. If a family is instead thinking about this as a once-and-done visit, they might approach things very differently (e.g. would really prefer a Deluxe resort, etc.) A travel agent will be good at helping them to understand what their goals are, and plan accordingly.

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    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    I agree a travel agent might be helpful here... it would at least give them another person besides you to offer advice, taking some of the pressure off.

    I also agree with you that onsite is best. Whether they rent a car or not, if they are onsite, Dad can head out and mom and kids are free to stay. Or dad can join late, or they can split up. We stayed at Coronado last March during the week before Easter. Coronado was wonderful! There were lots of people in dress clothes there for conventions, but the buses/pool/food court were not crowded, since so many people there are not there for the parks. We did not mind the multiple bus stops at all, but we generally stay at resorts where that is the norm.

    My other suggestions would be to make sure that if dad is going on this trip to share the magic with his daughters, he needs to remember why he is there and focus on that. But the family can also tour accordingly. My husband hates crowds too. We don't do parades. The only parade we've ever watched at Disney was our kids marching with their high school band at MK, and we didn't even stay for the actual parade after. We don't feel like we are missing anything. And we generally do one night time show per trip. Which has always been Wishes/HEA. We've been to WDW six times, and I've never seen any of the other night time shows. That's just what works for us. Also-- bonus for Coronado: You can see fireworks from the resort. That new tower is going to have fantastic fireworks views, but we watched them from around the lake. Not the same as watching in the parks, but no crowds. And no waiting for a bus at park close.

    And research food options-- have an ADR every day for one nice vegan-friendly meal, and know what the QS options are. Or even do two ADRs a day if that's easier with the vegan thing. We made the effort to go to Sanaa for a late lunch on our last trip (I think that's vegan friendly) and it was definitely worth the effort to get there. So doing research and being willing to go to the places that will provide good meals is worth the time.
    June 2011 Poly, May 2013 POR, June 2015 CBR, June 2017 POR, March 2018 CSR, June 2018 POR

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    I have planned for (and traveled with) two trips with people who fit a very similar description. One we stayed onsite at AKL the other off site at Windsor Hills and I have to say the WH trip went much much better. The trip at AKL had two major issues that were very hard to get around and that was the food or I should say lack of food options and the buses. Our time in the parks was great and not stressful due to Josh's plans and my view that less is more and doing just enough to get a flavor of each park without total overload. WH is super convenient for driving and we did multiple trips back and forth and it is honestly twice as fast as using the buses on site. And it opens up all the options for buying, preparing food or eating at non-Disney and getting away from it all.

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    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Another thought about staying off site and transportation, what about renting 2 cars? I know it is higher cost to rent and park 2 cars. But likely the room plus 2 car rentals would be less costly than an on site room. And would still give the family more control over crowds, transportation time, restaurant choice. And with 2 cars dad can always leave parks early or come late depending on how things are going and his tolerance level.

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    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Ahh, I didn’t think about a kitchen. I HATE to cook on vacation, but I’m not a vegan. A vegan might appreciate having a kitchen more than I do.

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    Senior Member QueenBee's Avatar
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    I'd recommend French Quarter. It's a small resort so it's not overly crowded, and feels fairly open. They'd have the option of doing the boat to Disney Springs, which is a really nice, relaxing ride, especially in the AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnoble View Post
    For example, I tend to try to keep each individual trip relatively inexpensive, because I know I am going back. If a family is instead thinking about this as a once-and-done visit, they might approach things very differently (e.g. would really prefer a Deluxe resort, etc.) A travel agent will be good at helping them to understand what their goals are, and plan accordingly.

    Echo bnoble's post - big picture. Then back out of the room on your tip toes like Sully. If dad is looking to make this one and done, easy, let everyone go big, while keeping it simple enough for him to dip out, a deluxe would add the “value” of a resort/extra amenities where he (they) could spend time relaxing/playing/doing nothing outside of the parks. Though this wouldn't be as valuable a choice if economy is important. You could certainly help point them in the direction of must do's/don't miss/skip it easily/maybe-if-you-can-without-sacrificing-everyone's-wellness, but with the specific dietary and personality parameters, I'd also defer to a professional so your friendship/professional relationships don't take a hit.
    Last edited by kristenb; 11-25-2018 at 02:11 AM.

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    Senior Member Alcachofa's Avatar
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    Another couple of thoughts:

    Sell it as a "once in a lifetime, blowout trip". That might make it more palatable for the vegan. And with the ages of the kids, that would make sense.

    Wyndham Bonnet Creek or Windsor Hills is a good idea; with Uber/Lyft now, leaving someone behind (with adult supervision) is not really a big deal at all. Even with the costs of renting a car, a few Lyft rides would not be a budget breaker. And certainly the space you get offsite, for FAR less money, will help that part of the equation. And maybe the vegan will be happier for not putting more money in Disney's pocket.

    However, if they can budget for a deluxe, though, it's probably a good idea. This doesn't sound like a "let's do a moderate this time" type of trip. But the cost difference between a deluxe and WBC, for example, is huge.

    And, as others have said, after these and other "big picture" tips, back slowly out the room and run.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristenb View Post
    Then back out of the room on your tip toes like Sully.

    Wow. Lots of great advice everyone. They are working with a TA but still felt overwhelmed.
    I did bring up the idea of WH with the kitchen / combo of rental & Uber for transportation. They are convinced onsite is the way to go though. I've suggested POFQ, POR, AKL, WL or Coronado. Showed them pictures. They are also going to try to book one of the lower crowd weeks for Feb instead of the busier March week they were looking at. So hopefully that will help too. They are looking at this as one & done but have a decent budget so that helps.

    Ill send them the vegan WDW link too. Thanks!!
    Ill keep you posted as the planning progresses
    ~Stacey

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    I'll throw in a plug for the cabins at Fort Wilderness. My husband likes Disney, but finds crowds in general exhausting. He absolutely loved the cabins. A couple of times where he was just done in the parks but my older kids were not he just went back and relaxed in the cabin while we finished up. We had a car, so he could take the car back and I would take the bus or vice versa.
    I know some people find the internal bus system at Fort Wilderness problematic, but we never had an issue or we just walked cause we enjoyed the quiet walk through the grounds. The cabins really do feel somewhat isolated from everything else, but you still get the advantages of Disney transportation and we enjoyed the Chip and Dale campfire sing a long. We did use the kitchen for breakfast and about half the dinners.
    Disneyland '76, '82, '88, '89, '90, '94 - WDW offsite '99 - WDW PORFQ Sept. 2008 - WDW Ft. W Cabins Dec. 2011 - WDW BC Sept. 2013 - WDW CB/Poly Sept. 2015

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    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    I was asked for an update on whether this trip went forward- it did, very successfully! In no small part because of the advice here.
    They ended up going in Feb for 10 days, staying in POFQ and against my advice got the dining plan. Instead of backing away, I wrote them out an itinerary using my trusty spreadsheet and helped them plan their meals & FPs. The vegan wdw link was helpful for planning and easing his worries about dining. In the end the dad relaxed his vegan diet & opted for vegetarian part of the time, mostly at QS. But he said it was his choice for a broader range of options, he didn't feel roped into it.

    They ended up following my plans (really Josh's plans) as if they were gospel, and had a fabulous time.
    The dad was even totally into it. I knew things were ok when they texted me a selfie with the fireworks at the end of day 1 with a note that said "we did everything!" I knew they were having a great time when the dad texted me a picture day 2 of him & Chewie and he was grinning ear to ear.
    It was really rewarding helping them & now I have a good reference when I apply for my plaid vest
    ~Stacey

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    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Glad it all worked out! Thanks for the update!
    June 2011 Poly, May 2013 POR, June 2015 CBR, June 2017 POR, March 2018 CSR, June 2018 POR

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    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    That's awesome! Just goes to show you that good planning can make even the most non-Disney person a fan!
    Jill & Hannah

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    Senior Member BSS's Avatar
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    I'm so glad it went well! Ahead of our first family Disney trip in 2005, DH was convinced he was going to hate everything and be miserable, but he did it for me and the kids. Half way through the trip, he was looking at bounceback offers and APs.

    I think people often convince themselves of a narrative about WDW that turns out to be totally different than what they actually experience.
    Jen

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    Senior Member hizouse's Avatar
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    Love hearing the follow-up report. So great when everything works out! I was not too dissimilar to the dad (or BSS's DH) on my first trip in 2010, and now here I am reading easywdw forums.

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