Stressed out Disney Virgin - can you check my list - have if forgot anything?

(38 Posts)
feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 11:55:19

Bloody bloody hell, Im going from excitement to stress head in the space of minutes so <breathes> I've come here to ask you lovely MNetters to appraise my list for me and chip in any advice as you see it.

Booking - done and paid for - October: Flying Virgin from Gatwick, Disney transfers, Carribean Beach resort, Dinning Plan inc (counter + table per person daily) Tickets inc for all parks (13 nights)

Upgrade child lap seat thing to normal child ticket (waiting for quote not his one)

Dinner reservations - some done via telephone but not showing on booking - waiting for tech help to open.

Passports - all done paid and received

Esta'a - to do

Prepaid credit card set up but needs loading with more dollars

Cash dollars to do

Travellers cheques to do

Suitcases - to order

Back packs with pacamacs to order

Universal tickets - to do

What suitcases are best there lots half price in debenhams hard or soft? Is tripp alright?

This is our first time abroad in 10 years and with young children. Feeling a bit glum as it is all down to me to sort this out (its part of our arrangement so no LTB mentalists please grin)

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 16-Aug-13 12:14:53

Wow. You sound very organised! October is a long way off.

I have found good suitcases in TKMaxx.

Travellers cheques are a bit useless these day imo. Other ways (to get cash abroad) are better eg using your atm card, or buying prepaid cards.

feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 12:51:20

Thanks Marjorie think we will just use the pre-paid and cash.

Actually nearly had a meltdown last week when I upgraded our dining plan so we could use credits of disney character meals and I couldn't find any to book online. Apparently they should have been done earlier!

I am having a nightmare with on lie stuff, the ESTA website has just kicked me out with a time out - wtf, how am i supped to do a family of four. Its quite faffy but yes necessary.

Forget the travellers cheques; these are old hat and are not used nowadays.

Inform your credit card provider that you will be away for those two weeks in October. They will put a marker on your card accordingly, failure to do that may get your card stopped by the credit card company.

If you have a photocard driving licence take this with you, it is useful for ID purposes (you will likely be asked for photo id at the parks if you are collecting preallocated park tickets).

With regards to the ESTA (and I do hope you are only using the official US government website which is the https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Use NO OTHER) have all the documentation lined up well ahead of time. Do the ESTA applications methodically and recheck each piece of information you type in before confirming.

You will need passport numbers, the accommodation address and the flight number (it will have a dropdown menu for the name of the airline).

You will need your credit card to hand as well because you will need to pay $14 US per application. That's around £9 sterling.

I would also buy a TSA luggage strap for use on each suitcase placed in the hold. The actual suitcase needs to be unlocked on your return from the US incase the TSA decide to inspect it. If it is locked they will bust the lock on the case open (hence the luggage strap to wrap around it, you can lock this one with a three digit code).

When in FL as well go to Walgreens and buy yourself a $10 International Calling card to call your rellies back in the UK. Loads of talk time and costs far less than using a mobile phone.

If you take your mobile with you do turn the data roaming off beforehand.

Do you have any little ones who would want to do this? If so book before hand.

The fireworks at Hollywood studios are brilliant, they do a kind of live version of mickey the sorcerer from fantasia and there are seats for everyone which you don't get at the magic kingdom.

louhan Fri 16-Aug-13 14:26:35

Ooooooooooo how lovely we are off to florida in november and your list helped me thanks
be a couple of time before but first time with dd if you children are both under 6 i would say ditch universal its not for them but do seaworld and 2 have at least 2 days were you say nothing to do day just to recharge you batteries we needed it as adults so think dd will need it to!
Have fun!!

Taz1212 Fri 16-Aug-13 15:45:32

If you do want to bring some travellers cheques with you, Disney will change up to $200 per day at your hotel's reception/concierge desk.

Annebronte Fri 16-Aug-13 17:47:19

Keep an eye on www.easywdw.com for updates on Fastpass situation. They are about to change system so some guests can pre-book ride times to avoid queues. It's a great site for park plans and tips in any case and has a friendly forum where you can post questions. And it's free!

morleylass Fri 16-Aug-13 18:03:21

HI there,

We had our first trip to Florida at Easter and felt exactly the same as you, however everything turned out fine although I checked and re-checked everything many times !!

As you are staying in Disney when you are at Disney Parks you can charge everything to your room..although it is very easy to get carried away! I found this the easiest method of payment.
We also took a pre-paid card, cash and a credit card for emergencies.

I also took copies of my Travel Insurance documents with me.

Also photocopy your Theme Park Tickets so that if you lose them you would have a reasonable chance of getting a replacement. In fact I took a copy of almost everything and kept them all in a separate bag on the journey, then in the safe when there.

When you get your dollars see if you can get small denominations, you tip a lot in the states - including your housekeepers, so you do get through the small notes.

We had one hard suitcase and the others were just soft ones with wheels. This was easy for us as our dc wre 13 and 10 so could pull their own but if yours are little probably won't matter as you will need a trolley.

Make sure you mobile works in the states, and I turned off data roaming so that my phone didn't connect to the internet of download emails. Our hotel had free wifi so I turned wifi on once in the hotel and contacted family via email as it was free, didn't make any calls.

I always do all the trip organising and as dh says, he carries the bags! It is stressful but I get him to help check everything (yes I do a lot of that can you tell!) and as I do all the organising I know that everything is done.

The last thing to do is to enjoy yourself! You're going to Disney, it's fab, I felt like a little kid for much of it and I want to go again,

ML x

feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 19:26:15

Awww thanks, its been lovely to log on and find these replies.

I thought I'd park all that admin stuff and go to town as needed to buy DH a birthday present, my DS has whined like right little monkey all the way round. Im hot tired and bothered.

But...reading these has put a smile on my face. - Like I said not been abroad for over ten years only have v v cheap suitcases from Asda that cost £27 for the lot a few years back that we use for UK holidays where they are only in the boot of the car. Ive nearly hurled at the price of some of the suitcases in House of Fraser today (okay I know its not the cheapest shop but still....)

atila yes thanks I checked ESTA link on moneysaving expert as remember reading something on their once...yes $14. So for spending so far I have got:

Prepaid credit card - a master card one from the post office - you can top this up on line using your usual credit card so can be done out there too.
Cash Dollars - check yes remembered about the tips.
So I will be adding informing credit card company and bank about going.

Thats a great tip re luggage straps - would never have thought about that

I bought a global sim card via website it arrive today - I just got a $15 one. We can go on FB as DM is quite proficcient on that now!

strawberry yes I've done half my bookings I have will update my list soon and see what anyone wants to add as a must do that is missed off. My DD is too young for biddity bobbity ..I have feeling we will go back and we havnt even been yet!

louhan I have one under 6 but my DS will be nearly 8 and we are all quite mad for Harry Potter this is what we are off to Universal for. We spent 5hours at the Pinewood one and felt we'd found 'our new holiday mode' We are buying a 14 day ticket which will allow flexible visiting re tiredness/ques etc. Just not sure how to get from Disney resort to Universal - is it easiest with two kids inc a toddler to get a cab?

annebronte yes I saw the fast pass + on website and its something we would definitely think about buying. We had the qbots at legoland (same idea) and it was great we got on all the rides so much easier. They are currently being trialled as I understand.

morely thats another great tip re photocopying everything. Hmm still think I will get suitcases with four wheels as I want these to last and the kids can grow into them - DS7 can surely manage a four wheeler, and we have to walk from hotel.

Things to add to list

Airport hotel booked, meal, parking
Airport lounge booked (though wished I'd booked the No.1 lounge and the Aspire)

Duty Free - I havnt got a clue whats good for cosmetics etc, I don't want to be passing through missing out on bargains - need to check this and budget for it.

I have bought some trekker style sandal things from Jones today they not a great look really but my god they are like wearing velvet air pads - I thought they'd be good for all the walking. Bit of a panic that I havnt got any linen trousers that fit.

There is too much of panic going on here I'm nearly laughing at myself.

Annebronte Fri 16-Aug-13 21:30:47

Fastpass is FREE! At the moment you put your ticket into the machine at the ride and it gives you a ticket with your return time. You can get your next FP in 2 hours or after the return time, whichever is soonest. In future, you will be able to pre book return times up to 6 months ahead. It's about to be launched. No extra charge for FPs at Disney! Easywdw have a very clear explanation of current system and will answer all your questions.

feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 21:45:52

Thanks anne need to read through carefully!

4yoniD Fri 16-Aug-13 21:57:10

Start keeping an eye out for cheap small toys and bits to dish out on the plane, and in restaurants and queues. I've had success with stickers, little farm animals, little battery-run games etc. Anything new to them.

Travel sick tablets.

Have you checked out The Dibb website?

feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 22:29:24

Oooo yes... I saw an idea about Disney notebooks for them to use as autograph books! I shall keep an eye out in pound shops...

flatmum Fri 16-Aug-13 22:36:48

this is useful!

leavesalmondoutofit Fri 16-Aug-13 22:47:39

We stayed at the Caribean Beach a long time ago. The memories linger on. Disney staff could not be more helpful. Our hard cases were difficult for the gentleman who came to take our suitcases to where we were being picked up as they kept sliding when he piled them on the trolley. These suitcases are now full of Christmas decorations including some we brought back from that trip. You can buy Disney cagoules if you need them. The buses to the various parks are a ride in themselves. People are usually very chatty and the driver will be very welcoming. Dinner at Cinderella's castle was amazing as the children are referred to as princesses etc. Don't miss the shows in the parks they are excellent. Oh and autograph books buy these in the first park you go to or the hotel shop and big pens so that the characters can hold them to sign the book. Be warned Sneezy will wipe his nose on the page as well as signing. There are experiences for adults too if your budget can stand it. My husband loved the behind the scenes tour. He saw Pooh with no head I prefer to believe it is all real. It is isn't it. You have made me all nostalgic you will have an amazing time.

feelingood Fri 16-Aug-13 23:18:31

flatmum pleased, join in with your list if you like.

leaves hi yes I read a few mixed reviews after booking Caribbean and thought about changing to Port Orleans but we got a room with the pirate beds and just thought my DS will love that in itself and it's not the type of holiday to lounge around accommodation really it's more about the entertainment side. (but hey we used to camping!) I also liked it as it has play areas and pools for kids. I understand it can take a while to walk from block to central area too, but that's no biggs for us.

So leaves you saying we better off with soft cases? Ive wondered whether hard cases are at risk of cracking if chucked about, but soft can get ripped? Oh bother...it gonna cost either way.

We are too late for Cinderella castle, I rung up and had the guy check every date/sitting bless him. I have two character breakfasts, two character lunches and one pricess banquet dinner - Ive yet to book Halloween party tickets and pirate/firework cruise.

As guest we have priority for roped area for firework views. Missed out on booking package for candlelit procession.

Gosh how involved it all is the apps, the choices it's amazing.

Continued thanks

leavesalmondoutofit Sat 17-Aug-13 05:29:44

Hi again feelinggood. The hotel is very big but low rise and it never felt felt over busy. We requested a room near the centre. We were lucky and this was accommodated. It was also not far to the bus stop. although there are several around the perimeter of the hotel if I remember. Oh my goodness I did not realise you were going for halloween. My now grown up daughters have been to Disney/Universal at halloween and they had an amazing time.

Taz1212 Sat 17-Aug-13 08:34:40

You'll be there for Food and Wine at Epcot! It's brilliant (and there's also the Eat to the Beat concerts) but I would strongly recommend avoiding Epcot at the weekend because the locals pour in for F&W.

feelingood Sat 17-Aug-13 09:09:11

leaves thanks I might request this to, if I can get through my list of other stuff.

taz we are there the two weeks before half term which some people have said is less busy by comparison. My reasoning is to prioritise the 'core' disney stuff like Magic Kingdom and the new Fantasy Land. If we get to Animal Kingdom fair enough but hey we can see animals back here IYKWIM...oh so eat to the beat, I will have to check that out.

Is it reasonable for me to go off shopping for a day. what would you buy - I've heard North Face coats for kids that sort of thing.

Taz1212 Sat 17-Aug-13 09:53:02

Here's the link to this year's Eat to the Beat concerts: www.disneyfoodblog.com/eat-to-the-beat-concerts/

And here's a link to all of the food and wine booths at Epcot this year: www.disneyfoodblog.com/2013-epcot-food-and-wine-festival-marketplace-booths-menus-and-food-photos/

DH always takes a day out to go shopping at some of the discount outlets. I hate shopping and end up being dragged around but he loves it and comes back with loads- I think he likes Orlando Premium Outlets best.
I tend to stick to a super Walmart and buy all the food you can't get over here!

feelingood Sat 17-Aug-13 10:39:40

taz my DH has just ramped up his excitement level, he is a massive music geek and is now reading through those links. Cheers.

Are you allowed to bring food back with no bother?

feelingood Sat 17-Aug-13 10:59:36

Do you take the maximum luggage allowance?

Intend to take four large suitcases, but with 1.5 empty to bring stuff back from shopping.

But do you also take the maximum cabin suit aces/baggage as this would mean 8 bits of luggage to get around - s this what people do so you can bring lots back?

feelinggood,

What foodstuffs are you intending to bring back?. As long as its not dairy, fruit, fish or meat it should be fine. Things like chocolate and cookies are fine to bring into the UK.

Re the packing lay all the clothes out on the bed. Then leave the room for at least 30 minutes. On return pack just half the clothes you were thinking of taking with you, you won't need as many clothes as you think. Do that for each case.

Do not forget either the VA's weight limit is 23kg per case. If the Disney hotel has laundry facilities make use of them, dirty washing takes up space within cases.

Anything fragile that you buy should be carried as hand luggage on the return journey.

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