Help us plan our magical day!
April 29, 2007 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Help me (very quickly) plan a Disney vacation.

My best friend just accepted a job out of state, and he will be gone for a month. We just decided (last night) to celebrate our last few days together by having an impromptu trip to Disney world!

We will be driving there Monday morning (from Georgia) and getting into Orlando around 1. We want to spend the rest of the day there and sleep at a hotel that night. We could drive back in the morning.

He is interested in seeing the Animal Kingdom and I am interested in seeing Epcot. We are also both mildly interested in seeing MGM but we know thats pushing it since we only have one day. We would like to get the parkhopper tickets, but are hesitant because they are so expensive and we are only there for a day.

So, my questions:

1. Any secrets to getting discount tickets?
2. Can we buy tickets at the door?
3. What should we definitly, without a doubt not miss in Animal Kingdom and Epcot?
4. Great places to eat? ( We both love Italian and Japanese)
4. Anything else you might think is useful!

We are pretty open about how we are going to spend our day in Disney, so help us out!
posted by thebrokenmuse to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Get yourself one of those books that break Disney into common English, like Disney On a Dime ( I don't know if that one is any good, but it is an example). There are a whole slew of books like that. They have a great deal of info to get around some of the headache parts of dealing with Disney.

I can't remember the one that friends had used, but it was a great help on the fly.
posted by lampshade at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2007

Best answer: If either of you belong to AAA or Costco, both offer discounted tickets to their members.
posted by jamaro at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you! That is very, very helpful! I am a member of AAA.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 2:28 PM on April 29, 2007

I highly recommend the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, which contains, among other things, information on which attractions are busiest at which parts of the day. Helps on minimizing your time standing in line.

You could probably spend a whole day in any of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, without running out of stuff to do. And that's a full day, while you're only starting at 1. I think there's slightly less in MGM, and haven't been to Animal Kingdom. If you hop parks, you'll miss some stuff in both parks. But if you won't get to come back for a long time, maybe you want to do that.
posted by grouse at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice guys! While I really appriciate the book reccomendations, I don't really have the time to go out and buy a book since we are going to leave tomorrow! I guess I should have made that a little more clear. Sorry!
posted by thebrokenmuse at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2007

I just got back from Orlando last week. To be honest, I thought Epcot was a pretty big snoozer. Everyone had told us to go on Soarin' so that was the first thing we headed to, and I thought it was a complete let-down. I kept waiting for it to get EXCITING and it never did. Test Track was pretty much the only ride we'd bother riding again there.

We didn't go in Animal Kingdom, but I could see Expedition Everest from the road and it looked awesome. I've heard that's a must-see.

I think Animal Kingdom and MGM would be the best way to spend your day. MGM is the smallest of the parks IIRC, but the Tower of Terror is better than anything at Epcot. If you want to see pictures and recommendations from our trip, they're on my site here.
posted by web-goddess at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2007

Best answer: In my previous AskMe on the subject, there's one piece of advice that really sticks in my mind--go to the left.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2007

Animal Kingdom definitely doesn't need a whole day. Expedition Everest is a lot of fun, and Animal Kingdom is a cool park, there just isn't as much there. It's only open until 5, so you can do that one in the morning, and head over to Epcot after.

Epcot is one of my favorite parks. Soarin' is amazing! I know a lot of people think The Land is lame, but I consider it awesome. And the lines are usually short because it's educational.

Look at what is at each park and decide what you definitely don't want to miss. Don't forget about FastPasses! I'd suggest grabbing a FastPass for Everest as soon as you get to Animal Kingdom and then visit the rest of the park while you wait for your time. Same with Epcot and Soarin.

Both parks are definitely do-able, just make a plan ahead of time.
posted by Becko at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2007

I haven't been, but some friends of mine were just telling me that when they took their kids last year, they used Tour Guide Mike for WDW and felt like it really helped them improve their line waiting:ride ratio.
posted by not that girl at 3:25 PM on April 29, 2007

At epcot, make lunch or dinner reservations at Alfredo's in Italy.

Order the fettuccine, and the Caesar salad. You will be full, satisfied, and in heaven.

Absolute heaven.
posted by othersomethings at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2007

Epcot is my favorite park, but that depends on how much you enjoy what it has to offer.

This is a good site for planning. I've been using it a lot lately. I'll be heading down to Disney World next month, actually.

The thing about Epcot is the opening hours for the park's two main sections are staggered by two hours. Innoventions is open from about 9-7pm and World Showcase is open until 9pm. Animal Kingdom closes earliest out of all the parks, closing at around 7 this time of year. You probably want to start seeing things here first. And get a Fastpass!

Some advice:

Heading for a full meal might take an hour or so out of your park time, which, if you're starting around 1pm, won't be that long, especially if you hop parks. You might want to grab a quick lunch from one of the counter service or snack counters in the park.

An alternative to an in-park sit-down dining experience is one at Downtown Disney. It's open later than the parks are, and there's no admission. There are a nice selection of restaurants available there.

Menus for restaurants as well as park info is available on that site I linked to.

Enjoy yourselves.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:35 PM on April 29, 2007

If you like Italian food, Alfredo's in Epcot Center is good, but you may also want to try the Portobello Yacht Club in the Downtown Disney marketplace area. Really, I think about that restaurant far too often.

The Japan pavilion in Epcot Center is, in my opinion, worth the trip into Epcot Center alone, but the food is only so-so. They have a fast-food option which really is no better than the food you can get at any Japanese restaurant in any food court in a mall, and then they have a Benihana-type grill on the upper level. The food there is a little better, but really not that unique and it is far too overpriced. And, between you and me, I have never eaten there without getting a severe stomach ache, if you know what I'm saying.

As cmgonzalez mentioned above, the All Ears website is the best for looking at menus and getting an idea about prices.

Also, I really don't care for Animal Kingdom. I think that Epcot Center appeals to adults more than the Animal Kingdom does. Everything in Animal Kingdom seems so new and flashy to me, but Epcot has a bit of a sort of vintage appeal to it. Also, you cannot miss Spaceship Earth, if it is open. Disney is changing a lot of these rides that tried to show us what the future would look like because they were becoming dated, but I think that is where all of its charm lies. There is also a very cool pavilion called The Land in Epcot. The tile mosaic out front is such a work of art! It amazes me every time I see it and think about all the work that went into it. Inside the pavilion, there is a new ride called Soarin', which is kind of neat, but there is an older ride called Living with the Land. It is just a boat tour on which you learn about farming, but it is wonderful! I am not someone who is like, all about farms, but this ride is so enlightening. You can also see where they grow hydroponic vegetables for use at the restaurants in Epcot. I love The Land pavilion.

Also, a warning: I am not a person who gets motion sickness, and I can handle thrill rides just fine, but this new Mission: Space ride at Epcot is hell. I felt so ill after riding that thing, and it stayed with me all day. And it was really uninteresting. And if you are the type to get motion sickness, I would advise you to avoid Body Wars in the Wonders of Life pavilion as well. Just trust me. It is not worth it.

Also, Disney has these busses for hotel guests that travel between parks and Downtown Disney. If you do get that park hopper pass, it may be easier for you take the busses around for free so you don't have to find and pay for parking each time. The bus system is super-easy to use, and they never check your ID to see if you are a hotel guest or not, I guess because they don't really care. They know you are there to spend some dough anyway.

Hmm. I have spent a lot of time in Disneyworld, and if I were going again, but I could only choose one park, it would be Epcot, hands-down. Animal Kingdom does not compare.
posted by foxinthesnow at 8:52 PM on April 29, 2007

Also, MGM is much better than Animal Kingdom, and there is a little boat you can take between Epcot and MGM. It is near the France pavilion. Of course, you do need the hopper pass to get in, but the boat is a nicer ride than the bus.
posted by foxinthesnow at 8:57 PM on April 29, 2007

If all you have is from 1pm on, I suggest MGM. Ride the movies!
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:06 AM on April 30, 2007

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