Trip Coach: November 27, 2007
Mary Waring of mousesavers.com answered your questions on Disney vacations in Orlando and Anaheim.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.: I am planning to be in L.A. between Christmas and New Year's this winter. I would like to visit Disneyland, but worry about the massive crowds that would be there that week. Is there a preferable day for a less hectic visit? Thanks!
Mary Waring: That's the busiest week of the year at Disneyland, with the parks filling to capacity on many days. Christmas Day and December 31 will be the worst, but the whole week is pretty much a zoo. If you're staying through January 1, that day will be significantly less crowded than the prior week. If you decide to go, be sure to get there at park opening, so you'll have some hope of getting on the rides!
Algonquin, Ill.: We are planning a trip to Disney World in March. We want to also visit Universal so we will be splitting our 10-14 day stay between the two. We love Disney and have stayed many times on site. I am wondering what deals might be available for a family of 3 at the resorts which would allow for 2 queen size beds. My guys are tall and the double beds just don't work. We would love to stay at the higher-end resorts but get a great deal as well. Time frame is March 6-20. Any deals??? How do you get uprgraded? Has never happened to us in all of our 12+ times there.
Mary Waring: If you want to stay at a Disney resort, you'll need to spring for a Deluxe hotel. The Value and Moderate resorts only offer double beds, except in their expensive suites. The two least expensive Deluxe hotels are Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge—both offer Queen beds.
You might also look into renting a studio at a Disney Vacation Club resort (aka a Disney Deluxe Villa resort). They have Queen beds. The best prices for those are at Old Key West or Saratoga Springs Resort.
Your time frame is during Peak Season, so discounts are hard to come by. Currently there is a discounted vacation package that runs through March 15, so if you're willing to split your stay, you could book March 6-15 on that package and save some money.
Upgrades are very rare at Disney resorts and really just a matter of luck.
Buffalo, N.Y.: Hi, Mary. We are a family of 12 (includes 6 children ages 3 to 11) traveling to Moorpark, CA for a 5/10/08 wedding. We plan on arriving in CA about a week early (on 5/4) and leaving CA on 5/12 and want to visit Disneyland & Universal Studios. I read all your transportation tips from airports to Disneyland, but would like some cost effective advice to make traveling between all locations as easy as possible. Should we fly into SNA first and visit Disneyland first(thought we could do this in 2 days) and then onto Universal (can we do this in 1 day?) and then onto Moorpark. What type of transportation could get us all (with luggage) between Disney & Universal and do you have any recommendations on where to stay near Universal? Are there places to rent vehicles near Disney &/or Universal to get us to Moorpark?
Arranging this trip for everyone sounds like a planning nightmare. Should we just give in and let a travel agent handle all the arrangements?
Mary Waring: I would recommend using a travel agent for this. As a veteran planner of family reunions, I can tell you it's a thankless task. Having a travel agent as a central point of contact really simplifies things—everyone in the group can just deal with the agent.
The least costly solution to your transportation issues would be to rent two minivans. It's going to cost you a fortune and take a lot of time to use public transportation between all those points. Consider flying into SNA and departing from an airport near Moorpark (LAX or Burbank, I would guess—I'm not very familiar with that location). It's often the same price to fly into one airport and out of another within Southern California, instead of buying a round-trip to one airport.
Two days at Disneyland and one day at Universal would be adequate. An additional day at Disneyland would be ideal if you really want to see everything at both parks.
Mary Waring: Thank you all for your great questions. If I wasn't able to get to yours, please be sure to visit MouseSavers.com for hundreds of pages of information about how to save money on Disney vacations. You may also want to sign up for the free MouseSavers Newsletter, which is delivered by e-mail once a month. Enjoy your planning!