Trip Coach: July 10, 2007
Liliane Opsomer and Bob Sehlinger, co-authors of 'The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids,' answered your questions on Orlando vacations.
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: Hi and welcome! Bob and Liliane here to talk about Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and vacationing in Orlando. Two things you need to know: (1) We don't always agree, and (2) English is not our native language. (Liliane is Belgian and does very well in English but can also answer in German, French, or Dutch as you prefer. Bob speaks Southern and y'all know the challenges that presents.) OK, let's rock and roll!
Carson City, Nev.: I am planning a High School graduation trip for my daughter in June 2008. There will four of us going, myself, my daughter, 17, and two other teenagers, 16 and 15. My question is about the "Disney Dining" option you can select. We want to stay at a Value Property and I thought it would be better to do the dining option as well. Can you tell me your opinion on this subject. Thank you!
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: Having a teenager myself (going on 17) I know how much a teenager can eat and it is very important to keep them fed--for your own sanity. So, three teenagers and a food plan is the way to go. Plan ahead though. Research the restaurants and where you will be for the main meals (dinner). Do not use the sit-down points for a breakfast or for restaurants that have just junk food. Go for the big steaks or the buffet places if the teens are more picky eaters. We always look at the menu of the restaurants we are interested in (allearsnet.com) when we start planning our trip and make advance reservations.
Wickford, R.I.: We are traveling with a large family group (23 people) for Thanksgiving. Kids range in age from 4-16. Any suggestions for group activities we can do together? We are staying outside Disney but close by.
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: Yikes! 23 people! I'd like a table for 23, please. We've seen touring groups with three times that number touring the parks together but it's not very efficient, particularly over Thanksgiving with its heavy crowds. We'd recommend Cirque du Soleil and maybe one of the Orlando area dinner theaters. Miniature golf is also an option.
Milwaukee, Wis.: Going to Orlando with my 10-year-old son, October 23-31. Is there a "valid" website for discounted tickets to Disney, SeaWorld and Universal?
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: Check out mousesavers.com for latest special offers. Very often undercovertourist.com has the best prices. As for Universal and SeaWorld, go directly to their websites for best deals.
West Milford, N.J.: I am traveling in August with my 7-year-old daughter to Orlando for 3 nights/4 days. We just went to Orlando in April and spent a day in the Magic Kingdom and split a day between Animal Kingdom and Epcot, so we could skip those to do other things in Orlando. I thought I'd like to take her to a water park, but not for a whole day. While she could easily have fun all day at a water park, it is difficult because she has Diabetes and wears an insulin pump. I can detach the pump while she's getting wet, but if it detached for too long, her blood glucose gets too high later in the day. Other considerations I'd like to keep in mind are staying relatively cool, and the availability of food/drink at the attraction. I prefer not to have to carry around a lot of snacks, and drinks get hot. But if she needs a snack because of low blood sugar, I need to be able to get her food or juice pretty fast (I had a problem with some of the lines for food at Disney). Can you make some recommendations for an itinerary that keep those special considerations in mind?
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: A visit to the water parks is really not ideal if you are worried about staying relatively cool. On busy days the lines for food and drinks will also be long. If you go to a water park, I suggest you rise early and make it a half day. A cooler & ice packs for food and drinks would give you peace of mind. Also, if you have a line anywhere in the parks, talk to any cast member. Disney is very attentive to guests with special needs.
Massapequa, N.Y.: What hotels on Disney property can accommodate 2 adults and 4 kids?
Liliane Opsomer/Bob Sehlinger: Disney Vacation Club properties like Old Key West, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas, etc. Also, the rental cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground.