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Make our First Walt Disney World Trip Special

by Stephanie

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The Video Transcript

Hi, Dad here with another video Ask Dad. Today’s question comes from Stephanie in Pennsylvania. Her title is Only Trip.

Hi Dad. We are planning our very first and probably only trip to Walt Disney World as a family of five, in 2017. The kids are 18, 10, and 7. My two big questions are, when? We are flexible.

Any time in September, November, or December, other than holidays. What are your number one and number two picks for the dates? We are planning a full week.

Where? I am a big believer in time is money and want to stay at a convenient resort where I don’t have to deal with bus transportation daily with my impatient kids. However, I’m all about saving money. Is the Polynesian really worth the extra cost, or will our experience be just as good staying at the Art of Animation?

I want this trip to be a trip of a lifetime for my family. I’ve been dreaming of this ever since my oldest child was born, seventeen years ago.

Stephanie, those are two great questions, and really they’re pretty easy to answer. The first question, when to go? I talk a lot about when is the best time to visit Disney World. In fact, I’ve got a whole page about the best time to visit Disney World. That’s the title, The Best Time to Visit Disney World. The url’s coming up down here, best time to visit Disney World, with dashes, dot html.

Dad’s Best Time to Visit Disney World page

The best time to visit Disney World is during Christmas at Disney World. It just is the most wonderful time of year. It’s the best time to be at Disney World. The parks are fabulous during Christmas. There’s just no better time of year. The shows, the extras, the Merry Christmas Party, the candlelight processional, it’s just all so just beautiful. For the once in a lifetime experience, Christmastime is the best time to go.

When is the best time to go during the Christmas season? My choice would probably for you be the week after Thanksgiving. That’s kind of the week of the year there’s the lowest crowds, the week during Christmas season there’s the lowest crowds after the Candlelight Procession starts, which happens after Thanksgiving.

The first week of December, the week after Thanksgiving, that’s really the best time, overall the best week of the year to visit. That would be my first choice.

My second choice would probably step back into September, like the third week of September, that week when the Food and Wine Festival starts. That’ll be one of the cheaper weeks. Now, it’ll be hot.

December is not going to get terribly hot. It can get cold, but it’s not going to be hot. Back in September, it’s going to be hot. You’re going to have mid-90s, you’re going to have rain, but you’ve got the cheapest time of year to go. If there’s free dining, you’ll be able to get it at that time.

You’ve got the Food and Wine Festival starting towards that time. I would be careful about the Food and Wine Festival with the kids, and not go on weekend evenings. The locals kind of come out. It kind of not a rough crowd but it just is not a great atmosphere for kids, but it’s a beautiful time. The Food and Wine Festival, if you like your kids to enjoy and learn about other cultures and foods from other cultures, that’s a great time to visit Disney World.

Again, my choice would be the December trip, either, any of those first three weeks in December, the week after Thanksgiving, the next two weeks. You kind of want to miss the Pop Warner week, but any of those weeks in there, around the first to mid part of December are really a good time to visit.

Now, your second question, about the Polynesian versus the Art of Animation, really this is one of those, it really could go either way. I do think for the ultimate experience that you talk about, the Polynesian is the way to go.

At the Polynesian Village you’re going to have the transportation. You can walk over to the transportation ticket center and get the monorail to EPCOT. You can ride the boat over to the Magic Kingdom, take the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. It’s just a really, really convenient way to get to those two parks. You’ll still have to go on buses to Disney Hollywood Studios and to Animal Kingdom, but for the Magic Kingdom and for EPCOT, there is no better resort than the Polynesian, and the experience at the Polynesian is unrivaled, unmatched.

The Grand Floridian, if you’re into that level of service and that level, is really nice, but there’s just no better than the feel of the Polynesian. The island, you can just kind of feel those island breezes wafting through, and it really has the feel of Hawaii. It really does. That would be, if you can spend the five to six hundred dollars a night, that is the ultimate one-time experience, Christmas and the Polynesian Village.

Now, it is very expensive. Stepping down to the Art of Animation, you’re going to be in a Family Suite with five people, or two rooms. Two rooms in the Little Mermaid section, or a Family Suite. The Art of Animation is a beautiful hotel. The themes, the different themes of the different buildings, incredible, incredible. The rooms are well laid out.

One thing, I would caution you though, is there’s only one real bed in the Art of Animation, and the rest are sleepers, so depending on how big your older kids are, they might not be comfortable on a sleeper chair or a sleeper sofa. If they’re … My son at seventeen was six-five and two hundred pounds, an athlete. He would not have been comfortable in a sleeper bed, but if you have smaller children you might be able to get away with the Art of Animation.

You will save a lot of money, no doubt about it, but for the experience, for the transportation, Polynesian, the ultimate one-time experience, absolutely, and that’s what you said was important, that ultimate one-time experience.

Speaking of that, I would highly recommend that you get in touch with our partners over at Destinations to Travel. The url will come up here. There’ll be a little thing you can click on here and go over to our Destination to Travel page. Shannon and her crew, they know Disney World almost as well as I do, and they are really good about helping with these experiences, when you want the ultimate experience, the one-time experience.

Even if you want to save some money, they’re really good at working with you, finding some of those special things, special experiences for your family. Given them a shout. Go over to our page, Destinations to Travel, html. The url’s up here. Fill out the form and talk to one of the agents there. It doesn’t cost you anything, but for first time visitors, for that one of a kind special experience, they’ll be very helpful. They’ll help you set up your My Disney Experience app. They’ll help you set up your Fast Pass, your dining experience. You really need to get in touch with them to help you with your trip.

Dad’s Destinations to Travel page

The bottom line is the ultimate, one of a kind experience would be the week after Thanksgiving in the Polynesian Village Resort. Alternatively, mid-September in the Art of Animation Resort. Both are fine. Any combination of those would be fine, but for the ultimate experience, Polynesian, week after Thanksgiving.

I hope that helps. Thanks for the question, and hope to see you sometime. Thanks, bye bye.


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