Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Category — k. Special Circumstances at Walt Disney World

Large Family Lower-Priced Options at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: LARGE FAMILIES LOOKING FOR DISNEY WORLD VALUE PRICING

This page recommends Walt Disney World accommodations for large families seeking lower prices, sorted by family size.

See this page for an introduction to Large Families at Walt Disney World.

(For staying off-site, see this.)

Disney World Lower Priced Large Family Recommendations from yourfirstvisit.net

Click on the image above to see the recommendations below in chart form.

The chart also includes additional information—for example, number of bathrooms, nature of any kitchen facilities, and total square feet.

As always, with one exception, when more than one similar option is available, recommendations are made based on appeal to kids and transportation convenience. The exception is advice regarding Old Key West–which is not the most kid appealing of the DVC resorts, but is the least expensive!

All prices are for the 2015 Fall price season.  See this for when to go to Walt Disney World. Prices will be higher during most other parts of the year, but in similar proportions. See this for price seasons at Walt Disney World.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LARGE FAMILIES SEEKING VALUE PRICING

Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Basic Recommendation: Families with 4 people or fewer: Standard (Little Mermaid) room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. For 4 people, you will pay $38 per person per night.

5 people: Best choice= Art of Animation Family Suite, $68/person/night.
Family Suite Floor Plan Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
You get two baths, a private bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a microwave and mini-fridge, and a couple of living areas with couches and tables that convert into sleeping space for 4 more people.

Five Person Queen Room Floor Plan Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
The next best choice is one of the new five person rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which hold four in two queen beds plus a fifth person in a small (~64 inch by ~30 inch) fold-down bed, for $42/person/night. This option is not recommended for first-time visitors, as while Caribbean Beach has the highest kid appeal among the moderates, it is not as kid-appealing as Art of Animation, and is inconvenient.

The next best choice is the Alligator Bayou section of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, which hold four in two queen beds plus a fifth person in a small (~66 inch by ~31 inch) fold-down bed, for $42/person/night. This option is not recommended for first-time visitors, as the resort not nearly as kid-appealing as Art of Animation. The resort is less kid-appealing than Caribbean Beach, and Caribbean Beach rooms have a better arrangement of drawer space.

Disney's The Cabins at Fort Wilderness - Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net
The final option is a 6-person Cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort. This option is not recommended for first-time visitors, as it is very inconvenient, and not nearly as kid-appealing as Art of Animation. The cost is $76/person/night. You get a full kitchen and two sleeping spaces. One sleeps 4 in a full bed and bunk beds–the bunk beds are 70″ long. The second sleeping space is in the combined living room/dining room/kitchen, where a full bed folds down from the wall.

6 people: Best Choice:   Art of Animation Family Suite $57/person/night. See above for details.

Next best choice–a cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, for $63/person/per night. See above–not recommended for first time visitors.

7 people: there are no good options for value pricing at this family or party size—or for 8 people either. You can try for connecting Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, with no guarantees. Your cost for these will be $43/person/night.

Your best choice to guarantee you will all be in the same space is harder to pull off.

It requires renting enough points (NOT reserving this villa from the WDW website—this will cost MUCH more) from a current Disney Vacation Club owner to get a Two Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.  You can rent points from Disney Vacation Club members on websites like SellMyTimeshareNOW.com, a sponsor of this site. See this page for how to do so.

Two Bedroom Villa Floor Plan Disney's Old Key West Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Success will get you a great space for $62-72/person/night. Disney’s Old Key West Resort is neither kid appealing nor convenient, but is the cheapest of the DVC resorts, and thus, when paid for using rented points, the only one that comes even close to the Value pricing range.

For your money you will get two bedrooms, one with a king that sleeps two, and one with two queens that sleeps 4. In addition, you get a huge (compared to other DVC resorts) kitchen/dining/living room combination with a sleeper sofa that sleeps two more and a fold-out chair that sleeps a ninth person.

8 people: See “7 people.” Two (perhaps) connecting Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation: $38/person/per night. Rented points for a Two Bedroom Villa at Old Key West: $54-63/person/night

9 people: Rented points for a Two Bedroom Villa at Old Key West: $48-56/person/night.

Otherwise, your only choices are rooms that don’t connect. One option is to rent two Family Suites at Art of Animation.  These may be a hike apart–even if they are in the same section. Two suites will cost $75/person/night for a party of 9.

Less expensive, but possibly leading to some family jealousy, is renting both a Family Suite and a regular Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation. (The Lion King suites are closest to the Little Mermaid section.) Both together will cost $54 per person per night.

10 people: No value-priced options guarantee you will all be in the same space.  Two Family Suites at Art of Animation will cost $68/person/night. A Family Suite and a regular Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation will cost $49/person/night.

11 people: No good options that put your party all in one room at value pricing. Your best bet is to rent two Family Suites at Art of Animation. Cost $62/person/night

12 People: As in 11 people, rent two Family Suites at Art of Animation. $57/person/night.

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October 27, 2014   10 Comments

Sleeping Space Options and Bed Types at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

 WALT DISNEY WORLD BEDS AND SLEEPING SPACES

Larger families simply seeking the best Walt Disney World resort option for their family size should see

However, many families figuring out where to stay at Walt Disney World are concerned not only with the capacity of rooms but also bed sizes, and how beds are distributed among rooms.

This way, Aunt Eileen isn’t forced to sleep in a bunk bed, in the same room as her nephew…unless that’s the plan going in!

Bed Types by Sleeping Space 10-14 from yourfirstvisit.net

Click the graphic for details on beds and sleeping spaces in the various larger room options at the Walt Disney World Resort. The details include room type, price class, and descriptions of each sleeping area. (“DVC” means Disney Vacation Club Resort–see this for more on the DVC resorts.)

Note that more data about room types–such as baths, kitchens, and square footage–is available in the links for large families above, and reviews with even more can be found from the links on this page.

Example floor plans tied to the details in the graphic are below.

EXAMPLE WALT DISNEY WORLD FLOOR PLANS

Four person DVC Studio floor plan.

BoardWalk Villas example.

Disney's BoardWalk Villas Studio Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net

One sleeping area. A queen and a pull-out couch all in one space. Similar Studios are at the Beach Club and Saratoga Springs.   Bay Lake Tower Studios sleep 4 on similar beds in much less space. Four person Studios at Old Key West have two queens, no couch, more space.

Four person DVC One Bedroom Villa floor plan.

Beach Club Villas example.

One Bedroom Villa Floor Plan Beach Club Villas from yourfirstvisit.net

Two sleeping areas. One king in a private bedroom, and a fold-out full couch in a second space, the shared living/dining/kitchen area. Similar spaces are at the BoardWalk Villas, the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, and Saratoga Springs.

Five Person DVC Studio floor plan.

Villas at the Wilderness Lodge example.

Floor Plan Studio The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge from yourfirstvisit.net

One sleeping area. Queens, pull-out couch, and fold-down bed, all in one space. Similar sleeping arrangements are in the Studios at the Villas at the Grand Floridian.

Five person DVC One Bedroom Villa floor plan.

Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village example.

One Bedroom Villa Floor Plan Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net
Two sleeping areas. As in 4-person villa above, but also with a fold-out chair added to the shared space. Note also the second bath.

(Available in Bay Lake Tower, most Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, and in Old Key West villas. Grand Floridian Villas also sleep five, the fifth on a fold-down shorter bed)

Five person room, Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou Section.

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou Standard 5 Person Room Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net (1280x919)

One sleeping area. Two queen beds and one 66″ x 31″ fold-down bed in one space.

Five person room, Caribbean Beach example.

Five Person Queen Room Floor Plan Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
One sleeping area. Two queen beds and one 64″ x 30″ fold-down bed in one space. Expected to be bookable for 5 soon.

Six person Family Suites at All-Star Music floor plan.

Family Suite Floor Plan Disney's All-Star Music Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
Two sleeping areas. One queen in a private room, one fold-out full couch, one fold out single chair, and one fold-out ottoman in another space. The ottoman bed is uncomfortable for taller or heavier kids.

Note the two baths.

Six Person Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort floor plan.

Family Suite Floor Plan Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
Two sleeping areas. One queen in a private room, one full fold-out couch, and one near full Murphy bed.

Note the two baths.

Six person Cabin at Fort Wilderness Resort floor plan.

Disney's The Cabins at Fort Wilderness - Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net
Two sleeping areas. One full and two 70″ bunk beds in a private room. One pull-down full “Murphy bed” in shared living/ dining/ kitchen space.

The couch in the shared space is long enough for most kids, and still usable as a bed when the Murphy bed is down, presenting the option of having three people in each of the sleeping spaces.

A few cabins have a pull-out full couch instead of the Murphy bed, eliminating this option.

Eight person DVC Two Bedroom Villa floor plan.

Villas at the Wilderness Lodge example.

Floor Plan Two Bedroom Villa The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge from yourfirstvisit.net

Three sleeping areas: One king in a private space; two queens, or a queen and a fold-out full couch, in a second private space, and a fold-out full couch in the shared living/dining/kitchen space.

Nine person DVC Two Bedroom Villa floor plan.

Bay Lake Tower example.

Floor Plan Two Bedroom Villa Bay Lake Tower from yourfirstvisit.net
Three sleeping areas: as in Eight Person Two-Bedroom above, but with a fold-out chair added to the shared space. Note also the third bathroom.

(Nine person spaces are also available in Bay Lake Tower, most Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, and at Old Key West. Grand Floridian villas also sleep 9, but replace the chair bed with a shorter fold-down bed. Third bath only in BLT and AKL-Kidani Village )

Nine person DVC Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villa floor plan.

Floor Plan Disney's Treehouse Villas from yourfirstvisit.net
Four sleeping areas: One queen in a private space; another queen in a private space; two 70″ bunk beds in a private space; a fold-out full couch and a fold-out single chair in the shared living/dining/kitchen space.

Twelve person DVC Grand Villa floorplan.

Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House example.

Disney's Jambo House Grand Villa floor plan from yourfirstvisit.net
Four to five sleeping areas. One king in a private space; two queens in a private space; two queens in another private space; one or two fold-out full couches in shared living space. (At the Grand Floridian, the fold-out couch is in the media room, with its own door.)

Note that although you can sum to 14 sleeping spots in some Grand Villas, WDW will sell MagicBands, tickets, meal plans, and linens only for up to 12 people. Twelve person Grand Villas of various floor plans are at all the DVC resorts except Wilderness Lodge and the Beach Club.

See also Erin Foster’s post on TouringPlans.com.

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October 26, 2014   2 Comments

Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Renewed For Another Year

My friend Steve Bell has once again broken the news that Disney’s Armed Forces Salute has been renewed for another Federal fiscal year–through September 2015!

The full scoop is on Steve’s page here and its links.

Note particularly the “Important Considerations and Expected Issues” discussion right under the saluting Mickey.  None of this is ever as easy as it should be, especially for those targeting trips in October..or 2015…

While Steve is the official Military moderator of yourfirstvisit.net, don’t post questions here–he’ll be going crazy the next few days working with questions on his own site and his facebook page.

Instead, help keep Steve sane and check out the comments already asked and answered on Steve’s page here!

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July 21, 2014   No Comments

Still No Word on Disney Armed Forces Salute Extension

Update July 21, 2014: the Armed Forces Salute has been renewed for another year!

Disney’s Armed Forces Salute–often called the “Military Salute”–is one of the best deals out there, offering really low-priced four day tickets and also steep room rate discounts for eligible families and their friends.

The Armed Forces Salute is not a permanent feature of the landscape, but rather a response to the recession. The past few years, Disney has made it available during the Federal fiscal year, and has announced it before the fiscal year at various dates.  This year, it’s expected to be renewed again, with the announcement sometime in July.

Nothing is certain until–and if–the renewal happens.

I suspect that the timing is at least partially linked to Disney’s setting and announcing its 2015 resort prices–as Disney can’t fully analyze the deal until it knows the basis from which the discounts will be taken, and until 2015 prices are announced, rooms for then can’t be booked at the correct prices (they can be booked at the incorrect prices, then trued up later).

The past two years Disney has announced the prices for the upcoming year the second Wednesday in July.

There’s nothing magical to this–but it’s also true that with much of Disney business issues, the only sensible way to predict things is to predict for this year what they did last year. That would put the 2015 resort price announcement on July 9, and the Armed Forces Salute Announcement after that.

The best way to keep up with this–and everything else military for central Florida–is to check MilitaryDisneyTips.com and its blog, and in particular to sign up for its newsletter (add your email to the big blue form on the right side of this page).

Steve of MilitaryDisneyTips.com
Run by my friend Steve Bell–that’s him on the right–MilitaryDisneyTips covers the gamut of military-related opportunities at Disney World and the rest of the central Florida theme parks, with a particular focus on available deals.

A tireless advocate for US forces, Steve has built a special relationship with Disney around these issues–and thus is likely to be the first to be notified when–if–the Armed Forces salute is renewed. Sign up for his newsletter and you’ll be among the first to find out what’s happening with the salute!

Steve covers lots of other related stuff, too, and has published a great e-book on Shades of Green.

As you can tell, I think the world of Steve and his contributions.  While we could have added tons of sites and links to our book, we tried to keep The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit as short as possible–but even so, we do refer in it to exactly two other Disney sites: Mousesavers.com and MilitaryDisneyTips.com, because no good guidebook can be complete without those two!

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July 1, 2014   No Comments

Landmark Eligibility Info for Military Discounts

Military Disney Discount Eligibility from Steve BellMy friend Steve Bell, writer of MilitaryDisneyTips.com, has published a new Military Discount Finder. (That’s Steve in the white T-shirt, at our joint meet-up at the Magic Kingdom in November.)

This tool helps resolve the most complex part of Disney World (and other Orlando-area) discounts for military folk–who is eligible for what.

Steve and I answer on this site hundreds of questions on this topic–there’s two today–and he gets thousands more on his own site.  His new finder will help people get eligibility questions answered much faster!

If you have military ties, or have friends with military ties, check it out!

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March 24, 2014   1 Comment

Veterans Day 2013

(This is mostly a repeat from last year, as all my favorite vets have stayed the same…)

On this Veterans Day, just a note to thank all of those who have put their lives at risk so that the rest of us can be free.

Dad off the Korean Coast on DE 361
My favorite veteran is my dad, career Navy–that’s him above during the Korean War.

Amy Girl's Dad with 3rd Marine Division Buddies in the Pacific
Next favorite is my wife’s dad–that’s him above, on the right, during World War II. That hand was wounded on Tarawa.

After him, my next favorite is my sister’s husband, who served with the riverine Navy in Vietnam.

Steve from MilitaryDisneyTips.com

And another favorite is Steve (above) from MilitaryDisneyTips.com, a retired Air Force First Shirt who does a great job keeping military families up to date on great Disney World deals and other important info.

Steve and I will be meeting our fan(s) at the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday.

And all the millions of the rest of you are my favorites too!  Thank you for your service, and God bless! Wherever you are, and whatever you do, my gratitude goes with you.

LINKS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

November 11, 2013   No Comments