Planning a Disney trip can be overwhelming, especially your first trip. Of course there are hundreds of guides, books, websites, forums, and blogs–like this one–that can help you. But sometimes that just adds to the overwhelmed feeling. There’s so much information out there, where does one start? It was exactly this question, posed to me by an online friend and fellow blogger, that inspired this new series, Dear Mouse on the Mind.
The secret is simple. To have a magical trip, all you need to do is figure out what is important to you.
Every Disney trip is different. My first trip was for a conference, so my needs were quite different than, say, someone planning a twelve-day visit with fifteen of their family members. My second trip was a mother’s day trip, which looked very different than trip number one. Why? Because different things were important to me. That’s the key–figuring out what is the most important thing for you and then working from there.
And I’m here to help you with the ‘working from there’ part.
Just for you, Mouse on the Mind readers, I’m offering my services of personally-tailored advice based upon your own needs. All you need to do is shoot me an email with a little bit of background information and a few words on what is important to you for your upcoming trip, and I will reply with a post like this one…
Meet the Rogdakis Family!
Our first Dear Mouse on the Mind letter comes from Jennifer Foley Rogdakis, blogger and work-at-home mother who is currently planning her first Disney trip with her husband and, most importantly, her two-year-old son Christian. This will be Christian’s first visit to Walt Disney World–though I’m willing to bet it won’t be his last! Jennifer’s most important things include:
- Somewhere good to eat at or near the resort, as she will likely be spending more time at the resort because of the age of her son.
- Bed size is a bit of a concern, though she’s ok with double beds.
- Something moderately priced.
- Easy transportation to and from the parks.
- Not a long walk to bus or pool.
As you can see from this list, Jennifer is more focused on resort choice than anything else. This is very typical, though of course this may not be your primary concern. As I’ve said, every trip is different, so every trip plan is different. But for now, let’s help Jennifer figure out where to stay.
Based upon her first and last two requests, I’d be inclined to suggest staying at a Deluxe resort. However, budget is always a driving factor in any trip, and Deluxe resorts don’t come cheap. However, because where there’s a will there is always a way, my first bit of advice for Jennifer would be to sign up for the monthly MouseSavers.com newsletter and look for any general public room-only discounts. These can often save lots of money over package deals–in fact, I saved over $400 on a five-night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge on my last non-DVC visit. If Jennifer chooses to do this, I’d suggest looking for a discount to use at the Polynesian or the Contemporary.
However, there’s a very good chance that Jennifer would just like to book a package deal and be done with it. After all, not everyone loves combing the internet for the best deal. Luckily, Jennifer still has some good lodging options in the Moderate price range. Because of her ‘somewhere good to eat’ request along with the ‘not to huge’ request, I’d rule out Caribbean Beach immediately. Yes, the Pirate rooms are fun and the themeing is great, but it is just too large and, in my opinion, lacks a good dinner option.
Coronado Springs would be a good choice for Jennifer, provided she request a room close to a bus stop and close to the pool. However, given her requests, I’d say the best choice for Jennifer would be one of the Port Orleans resorts. They are compact, they offer both counter service and a quality table service restaurant, and the multiple pools are an easy walk from most rooms. While I enjoy the sprawling, peaceful charm of Port Orleans Riverside, Jennifer’s son may really like the super-fun pool at super-compact Port Orleans French Quarter–and the family can always walk over to Riverside to enjoy Boatwrights for dinner one night.
As an additional bonus, Port Orleans offers easy access to Downtown Disney, a destination I’m not sure Jennifer has considered. But it is near the resort and does offer many additional dining options.
So there you have it! Based on Jennifer’s own specific needs and ‘important things’, I’d advise her to seriously consider Port Orleans French Quarter. Of course, I know that Mouse on the Mind readers are also very good at giving advice, so if you have any for Jennifer–or any additional questions for her–please ask or answer in the comments section below. And if you are on Disney planning overwhelmed-mode, shoot me an email and I’ll feature your requests in my next Dear Mouse on the Mind post!
For those of you considering writing your own Dear Mouse on the Mind letter, please know that Jennifer’s list did not come to me all bullet-listed and organized. It was a self-admitted ‘rambling’ email that I read, processed, and then turned into an organized, bulleted list. So send us your questions any way you’d like and I will reply as speedily as possible.