Going to Disney in October and need help with planning!

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Joined: 05/13/2013
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Going to Disney in October and need help with planning!

Hi all,
I'm a newbie here and planning to take my first trip as an adult to Disney in October (17-21). I am specifically going for the Food and Wine Festival and need lots of help with planning! biggrin

I will be going with 2 other friends, we're all in our 20s-30s. The only thing that is set right now is the date and where we're staying. We'll be staying at Saratoga Springs for now, but if something opens up at the Beach Club then we'll be staying there. If possible, I'm looking to do the trip as budget friendly/cost effective as possible. We got an excellent deal at Saratoga Springs because my co-worker has the DVC and hooked me up. Let's just say we each will be paying less than $50/night to stay in a 1 bedroom villa. Can't really beat that. Because we've saved so much money on lodging, we're willing to spend a little more in other areas, but not break the bank. So with that said, where do I begin?

1. The plan is to get to Orlando Thursday, Oct. 17 in the early afternoon. I want to go to the F&WF early on Friday. I've heard a lot of the locals go on weekends, so I am hoping Friday is an ok day to go.

2. Where do you get discount park tickets? I've heard that Undercover Tourist has the best deals. Is this true? We definitely want to do Epcot (Food and Wine Festival) and Animal Kingdom. I think it also makes sense to do the MK too. Is it too much to do 3 theme parks in a weekend? My friend mentioned something about a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Is this something adults can do or is it more for the kids?

3. Food! I know it's all about the food, but I read where you have to make dining reservations 180 days out? Can someone tell me about the dining reservations, etc.? I'd also appreciate some restaurant suggestions. They don't have to be all 5 star restaurants, but a few reasonably priced suggestions would be greatly appreciated too.

4. What other cool things should we squeeze in? My friends and I have a wide variety of interests. We enjoy hanging out by the pool enjoying cocktails as well as music, dancing, shopping, performing arts, tours, etc. Maybe we can venture to Downtown Disney one night? What is that area like?

5. We don't plan on getting a rental car. Will we be ok without one?

6. Any other budget friendly tips and ideas?

Thanks a lot for the help. Can't wait to read the responses! Smile

MrHub's picture
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Joined: 10/29/2009
Posts: 9464

Well first off let me welcome you to WDWForGrownups! welcome we have a great little community here and am sure we can help you out.

Your staying at a great resort. SSR is our home DVC resort and we love it when we stay there. It's right across from Down Town Disney and just a boat ride away. There is also a great restaurant on site at SSR called The Turf Club! Highly recommend this if you want to eat close to your resort. Also , here is a great site with all the menus, some may not be up to date, but usually they are pretty good. Just explore.

Now discount park tickets. We always buy direct from Disney. You risk getting ripped off and being denied entry to the parks. I recommend buying them straight from Disney. We have never bought from undercover tourist, maybe someone else could help you with that.

ADR's - you can make them online on the Disney web site or by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE. just go to the Disney web site and start looking fast! Your not there for a long trip, so I would reccomend making reservations relevant to what park or location you will be in. Recommendations, wow, California Grill when it opens, Kona, Turf Club, The Wave, Ohana's, Flying Fish, Yatchsman, Cape May Cafe, Rose & Crown, Earl of sandwich and a ton more. You really have to check the restaurants and see what you like. Everyone is different.

MNSSHP is great and it's for everyone, not just kids, but it's and extra ticket, about $60 I think. Your still a week from Halloween when you go, it may not be really busy, but you'll have some crowds. Get dressed In costume and enjoy!

carlsbaddrew's picture
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Joined: 03/11/2013
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$50 a night? Score for you my friend.

I'd suggest the 5 day pass for tickets. It starts at $289. It goes up if you want to add the ability to "HOP" (attend 2 or more different parks on the same day), and it's another increase if you want to add an option to attend the water parks.

I hear that cheaper tickets can be found here http://www.wdwinfo.com.

FYI... ADR's are NOT needed for the F&W festival kiosks.

*I'm guessing you and your buds are going to enjoy a few adult beverages. Take a quick cab ride and pick up alcohol at a non-disney grocery store or gas station. Disney resorts sell beer/wine/booze in bulk on most resort properties, but it's VERY expensive. Think around $40.00 for a 24 pack of crappy domestic canned beer / $16.00 for a small 750ml sleeve of non premium Vodka/rum/whiskey/etc.

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WDWfanatic's picture
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Joined: 01/18/2013
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undercovertourist.com is a reputable company from what I have read. I just had my parents buy their tickets the day before the prices went up at WDW. if you act fast, you may still be able to get your tickets, at the old price, from their inventory. I have not heard anything BAD or shady about their tickets.

To get even cheaper tickets at undercovertourist.com, go to mousesavers.com. Once there go to Walt Disney World, then discounted tickets and then Undercover Tourist. These rates are cheaper than just going to undercovertourist.com directly. If you want to see the price difference, go to undercovertourist.com first and check it out. THEN go through mousesavers.com. It may only be $5 or so, but every penny counts as far as I am concerned.

My favorite places to eat at WDW are Ohana and Biergarten. BUT, Biergarten is in Germany at EPCOT. If you are going to be eating at F&W all day, it may not be a good dining option for you. Ohana is at the Polynesian resort. I am just not too sure how budget friendly either of these restaurants are. These are just 2 that we ALWAYS book, every trip, no matter what.

You will be just fine without a rental car. Disney transportation is great and all part of the fun, for us anyway.

Saratoga Springs is our home resort also. We like it a lot!

Friday may get a little busy, especially as it gets closer to dinner time.

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Hi and welcome!

What a great deal on your Saratoga Springs resort! I wouldn't hold my breath for an Epcot hotel (Beach Club) to open up during F&WF, but you may get lucky! If not, you are in a wonderful resort right now and I'm sure you guys will love it!

1) Weekends (nights especially) are insane at F&WF, but as long as you go in with realistic expectations and don't mind waiting in line, you'll be ok. We went around that same time last year and arrived on a Friday as well and while it was very busy and very crazy (lots of drunk locals!), I didn't mind it to much because I had already set myself up for the crowds being insane. One tip I can think of is if you see a long line for a booth, double check that there is not a second, shorter line on the other side of the booth before getting in line. There were several times where we saw an insanely long line at the Canada booth, but we walked over to the other side where there were also registers setup and we only had 3 or 4 people in front of us.

2) I've never used Undercover Tourist so can't help you there, though I've heard it's pretty reputable.

3) Some people may disagree with me, but I wouldn't recommend making any ADRs on your Epcot days and just snack around the World instead. There are SO may booths to hit during F&WF that we didn't eat at any restaurants at Epcot at all (and in fact used our Park Hopper option on our tickets to hop back over to Epcot for a few more meals when we were at other parks). If you are planning on an AK day, though, I very much recommend an ADR at Yak & Yeti. Delicious!

4) If you guys are into performing arts, La Nouba would be a fun option, especially since you're so close to Downtown Disney! Cocktails on the Poly beach while watching Wishes is always fantastic, as well.

5) If you're coming in from MCO and are planning on staying on property your whole trip, I don't see the need for a rental car as you can take ME to and from the airport and all of the parks/resorts

6) If you're planning on hitting up a lot of F&WF booths, I would recommend getting one of the F&WF gift cards. They sell them at the F&WF kiosks and welcome center and you can put any amount you want on them, plus they come on a little bracelet so you aren't having to dig for your wallet while carrying a bunch of various snacks and drinks. It really helped us monitor our spending when we were there, too.

Hope that helps!

crazycatperson's picture
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Joined: 09/19/2011
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Welcome! And here are my suggestions and comments on previous suggestions:

1. I suggest also going to Epcot Thursday evening. Weekends are the most crowded at the Food and Wine Festival, so going both Thursday evening and all day Friday will give you more time at the food booths.

2. And I agree with the suggestion that you get 5-day tickets. The price isn't that much more than a 3-day pass would be, and it gives you the ability to hit Epcot Thursday evening and Monday morning. (If your flight leaves too early Monday to fit a park visit in, try a 4-day ticket. It's still more economical per day.) I also agree with buying tickets directly from Disney. Nobody has tickets that are discounted all that much. We've never bought tickets from anyone but Disney.

3. You don't have to make dining reservations 180 days out unless you want to eat at the most popular restaurants. Plenty of restaurants will have availability right up to the day you want to eat there, and many of them are just as good as the popular places (sometimes better). But if you want reasonably priced, consider counter-service restaurants. Many of them are reasonably good and much cheaper than table-service at Disney (not that anyplace at Disney World is cheap).

As for restaurant suggestions, it's hard to make them without knowing what kind of food you and your friends like. We like Restaurant Marrakesh, Biergarten, and Teppan Edo (table service) and Sunshine Seasons (counter service) at Epcot; Columbia Harbor House counter service at MK (never done table service there); Yak and Yeti counter service at AK (never done table service there, either); and ABC Commissary and Pizza Planet counter service at DHS (done Sci-Fi Drive In table service but can't recommend it). For resort dining we like Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Ohana at the Polynesian, Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club, and Olivia's at Old Key West.

And if you and your friends don't mind sharing your Food and Wine Festival dishes, you'll be able to try a lot more things. Even the smallest offerings are usually good for three bites. So share things to try them, and then get more of the things you like best.

4. If I were taking a long weekend at WDW, I would want to spend all my time at the parks. That's not a lot of time and there's SOOOO much to see and do. Especially with the Food and Wine Festival going on!

5. You'll be fine without a car.

6. Other budget-friendly tips: if you have room in your luggage, pack some breakfast items like granola bars, or pack cereal and buy milk down there. Even at the prices the resort gift shop will charge you for milk, it's still cheaper than eating even a counter service breakfast.

If you don't want to take a cab off property to buy some alcohol, buy a bottle of wine (or three) at one of the Epcot World Showcase pavilions. The Germany, Italy, and France pavilions all have great choices. You'll pay more than you would at an offsite liquor store, but less than you would to buy drinks by the glass, and not paying cab fare should more than make up the difference in the price of a bottle of wine.

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Joined: 05/20/2013
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Both my mom & I have bought tickets from Undercover Tourist without any problems. They're one of very few authorized discount ticket sellers for Disney. The price you see listed for the ticket includes any sales tax & shipping (other sellers including Disney add tax & shipping after you've added the item to the shopping cart) & they're very quick to ship orders. They ship in very plain packaging & the company name for the return address which is a Florida address is not Undercover Tourist. That plain packaging does help insure that your tickets get to you & aren't stolen since the package doesn't have anything on it that indicates there is anything of value in it. However, it would be very easy to assume it's junk mail & throw it out if you don't pay attention to the return address & open anything that has a Florida return address.

DisneyDee27's picture
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if possible I would ask your friend if you can get the dining plan added to the villa. We use our snack credits to enjoy the food at the F & W fest or put money on gift cards,so you can swipe and go and stay on budget.
Add my name to a very satisfied Undercover Tourist user. I bought Disney and UniStu tickets from them and had no issues or problems. They are the only Disney sanctioned reseller.
If you are doing MNSSHP you can skip the magic kingdom during the day and hit the other 3 parks. You'll be able to enjoy the MK, during MNSSHP rides are open, there's a great parade (two runs) and awesome fireworks. Very little wait for attractions and free (well...theoretically speaking) candy!. Totally worth it in my opinion. I think it's more fun for the adults and adults are encouraged to dress up and trick or treat. awesome
The 50's Prime Time Cafe (DHS) is a great spot and easy on the wallet. The food is tasty and filling, The Davids, and Christian are fantastic bartenders too!
I'm a big fan of Winnie the Pooh, so I never miss a chance to dine at the Crystal Palace in the MK. You aren't going to want a huge meal in Epcot, snacking around the World Showcase will be plenty filling.
I enjoy Tuskerhouse (AK) although it can get loud. If you can swing it catch a bus over to the AKL and eat at Sanaa or Boma.
As young adults I'm pretty sure you're going to want to hit Epcot a couple of times. You need a couple of full days to really enjoy the F&W.
Have a great time!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Great suggestions from everyone! I just wanted to say "Hi!" and Welcome to the boards!

Nancy D's picture
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Joined: 05/29/2012
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Welcome to WDW for Grownups!

I hope you'll stop by on the main board and intro yourself to everyone so you can get a proper welcome from EVERYBODY!

Undercover Tourist is GREAT. We've used them many times for both Disney and Universal, and are getting ready to buy our Sea World Tickets from them. Shipping is fast and free, and as someone else said comes in a nondescript package so that no one thinks of snitching them from your mailbox! Great idea going through Mousesavers to purchase. Just sign up for their e-newsletter.

A great resource for all things F&W is Disney Food Blog. They have got it COVERED when it comes to ALL things F&W, including what's likely to be at which kiosk and which kiosks will be there this year, along with the different seminars that will be going on (at an extra cost) if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Karlipants's picture
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Spld_1 wrote:

Let's just say we each will be paying less than $50/night to stay in a 1 bedroom villa.

Awesome!

1. The plan is to get to Orlando Thursday, Oct. 17 in the early afternoon. I want to go to the F&WF early on Friday. I've heard a lot of the locals go on weekends, so I am hoping Friday is an ok day to go.

never been during FW but the others above did a great job answering this question

2. Where do you get discount park tickets? I've heard that Undercover Tourist has the best deals. Is this true?

Add me to the Undercover Tourist list! We used them on our last trip and were very satisfied with the transaction! The great thing about them is that they include tax and shipping in their price... So if you look at the price difference between buying from disney and undercover tourist, it's about a $25 or more savings per ticket... Which is a pretty hefty savings in my opinion. Undercover Tourist is great. I wouldn't trust any other resale of disney tickets.

We definitely want to do Epcot (Food and Wine Festival) and Animal Kingdom. I think it also makes sense to do the MK too. Is it too much to do 3 theme parks in a weekend?

Absolutely not! You could do 2 one day and 1 another Smile

My friend mentioned something about a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Is this something adults can do or is it more for the kids?

From what I have read on this board, MNSSHP is fun for people of all ages

4. What other cool things should we squeeze in? My friends and I have a wide variety of interests. We enjoy hanging out by the pool enjoying cocktails as well as music, dancing, shopping, performing arts, tours, etc. Maybe we can venture to Downtown Disney one night? What is that area like?

[b]You could check out the boardwalk one night, and hang at Jellyrolls where they have dueling pianos and play pop songs allllll night long (by request)... Then maybe hop over to the dance hall that's right next door.

Or you could head over to the Port Orleans resorts and go to River Roost Lounge one of the nights that Yeeha Bob Jackson is preforming. He is a comedian/pianist and after watching videos on youtube, I am convinced I need to make it a priority to see him.

Also a really fun bar to go to is the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Resort. They have delicious drinks inside a giant pineapple called Lapu Lapu. I tried one my last trip there, and ended up going back for another later in the trip.[/b]

5. We don't plan on getting a rental car. Will we be ok without one?

Yep, busses to and from the resorts and parks

6. Any other budget friendly tips and ideas?

You can bring your own food into any of the parks (except for EPCOT because you're going to the FW fest Wink). And you can also bring bottles of water... Which will save you quite a bit

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