Planning our first trip!


Our family is planning our first WDW trip this September. It’s even bigger because it’s our first big trip. We’ve previously never been farther than Vegas (a 4 hour drive) for 3 days. We’re planning to stop in Tallahassee to visit my Mother-In-Law, then a couple days at Nick Hotel with a visit to Universal Studios. Then, 5 days at Disney. I’m planning to stay at the Orleans. We’re on a strict budget, but wanna make the best of it.

Anyhoo, is there any word of the free Dining Plan? There’s 5 of us, my oldest is 19, so 3 adults. Feeding at Disney can be expensive, so a dining plan is a must. But nearly $2500 for 5 is just too much.


How exciting for your first family trip to be at WDW. September is a great time to go because of the low crowds, but be aware, will still be nasty hot. That being said, we always take a break mid-day back to the resort for some pool time. If you don’t end up with the free dining, you can still keep on budget with a little planning, and bring food from home. We always eat breakfast in the room. Not only saves you money, but gives you the freedom to go straight to the parks and the rides, while everyone else is waiting in line to get food, etc. So, enjoy the parks in the morning, go back to POFQ for a mid-day swim, eat lunch in the room, go back to the parks later after the break and enjoy a meal out for dinner.

Hope you have a wonderful time!


I would also eat breakfast in the room. We do,but also pick 1 or 2 character breakfasts that we want to go to. I would just budget 2 or 3 nice dinners and leave the rest to counter service. You can budget well with planning. I chosee how many sit down meal we will go to and go from there. There are a few must do’s and then the rest is CS. Hope that helps.


Hi…you are getting two rooms at POFQ right? You will not be very comfortable in a room at POFQ with all 5 of you…3 being adults…in one room. Have you priced out two rooms at the value resorts?

Also, it’s my understanding that with free dining, the rooms are not discounted at the same time…I haven’t priced out the difference for 5, but for the two of us that go, the discounted room can outweighs the free dining…

If you are driving, you can definitely do some shopping at the local store to stock up on breakfast…POFQ have small refrigerators…they don’t hold a lot but can save you money.

If this is your first visit, I definitely recommend you do some research and reading…there are lots of guidebooks out there…we all have our preferences here but I have found the Unofficial guide to WDW helpful even though I have been many times before…also the website Allears has good pictures reviews and floor plans for hotel rooms…

Have fun planning…


You won’t see or hear anything about FREE dining until later February, early March. If it’s not free, there will be a great discount of some kind that month as September is value season.


Welcome to MouseBuzz - you must be very excited to be planning your first trip!:happy:

WDW is a very expensive place, no matter how you cut it, but there still are lots of little ways to save money. I agree with eating breakfast in the room. As you are driving you’ll be able to buy groceries before checking in and every resort room has a refridgerator. Heck, you can even throw a toaster in the car.

I, too, am wondering if you are getting two rooms? Port Orleans isn’t designed for 5 people per room - in fact, I don’t think it’s allowed at all.

As for free dining - maybe Dana will be along to read this thread and give you some advice as to when it might be in effect. If you have more questions, please feel free to ask - someone here always has the answer. And we’re nice. Not like some Disney Boards.


Welcome to Mousebuzz and congratulations on your first trip! A great site to look at menus all over the “World” is AllEars.Net - The Unofficial Disney Vacation Planning Guide - Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. You can then add up what it would cost OOP and compare it to the DDP. We always eat breakfast in the room and we always get the DDP. Eating in the room saves alot of time. We love to answer questions so don’t be afraid to ask away!


Riverside can take 5… but it sounds very crowded!


Correct, as usual, Miss Andrea. For some reason I assumed they were talking about the French Quarter…


Me too…sorry…but I still believe with 3 adults and 2 children it will be crowded…


Doesn’t the child have to be under 5 - or something like that? Anyway - it’s still very small for 5 people!


I don’t know if POR has an age limit for the fifth person or not, but I can guarantee that the pull-out trundle bed is very, very small and would fit a kid, but not an adult. Fortunately, kids think it’s cool, so they enjoy the little mattress!

Anyway, I wanted to add that if you are looking to save $ on your dining, it sure can be done at WDW. May I ask if you will have a car? If you have one, there are even more ways to save on food.

The POR food court has some incredible breakfast cinnamon rolls that are easily large enough for two people at breakfast. And if you invest in refillable cups, you will save a lot of $ that way, by getting coffee and drinks whenever you like. POR is one of the best places to use the cups, as the machines are readily available.

The food court also has a ton of lunch and dinner options – I can’t say enough about the food court here, because it is the best of all the hotel food courts on property and you will definitely find ways to have your meals at great prices. There also is pizza delivery at good prices too, so you can dine in-room if you like.

From POR, you can also take the boat to DTD/Marketplace, where there is Earl of Sandwich and Pollo Campero for delicious food and good prices. Plus, the boat ride is a great way to get to dinner, right?


…we stay at POFQ with 2 adults—and that’s enough for me…I remember when the three of us used to stay in a moderate room, and were tripping all over each other. Even though Riverside allows a 5 as a child, it still would be way too crowded for me. Just my personal opinion…


patience is a virtue with these things but if you have hard dates and are flying when you see a fare you can afford,take it…my sister in law is trying to join us in april and the cheapest flight from Boston is 550…and on upward and hardly any non stops…some itineraries are 7 1/2 hours…when the free dining comes in weigh all the other options you know better your eating habits,when you get free dining you lose any room promotions and other types of packages so make sure you do a hard comparison on which is better for you,going for the first time is very exciting ,you will love it,also the group here on mousebuzz will be more than glad to answer any and all questions believe me…congrats


My family sleeps 5 in one room at POR, and our kids are 17, 15 and 13. That being said, we spend very little time in the room together because we are mostly at the parks and enjoying the rest of the resort. Also, my son, who is the one who takes the trundle, says, “I sleep out on an icy field under a tarp for my winter campout with Boy Scouts, Mom. This trundle bed is comfortable in comparison.” My daughters would not be so happy on that bed.

We plan to go DDP-less this next trip because we are going in June and, because of the size of the meals, plan to split alot of meals. There is a chicken pasta meal at POR that I was only able to eat 1/3 of the last time we were there (Sept. 2011). There was free dining and the portions were so big that we ended up leaving 4 meals and several snacks unused. I agree with others, that even if there is no free dining, you can do several things to keep costs down, like bring your own snacks and breakfasts and sharing meals.

It was still hot when we went in September, but not nearly as hot as it was in the summer when we went. We were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable we found the weather, having been there at the end of June a couple of times. We never needed a sweatshirt, but the evenings were a perfect temperature to be walking back from the bus at night.

Have a marvelous time planning your trip! For me, planning is half the fun!


It was still hot when we went in September, but not nearly as hot as it was in the summer when we went. We were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable we found the weather, having been there at the end of June a couple of times. [/QUOTE]

Alligator Bayou stays nice and cool during the summer, doesn’t it? I think it’s the trees all around the buildings and the little creeks and so forth. Lots of shade and seriously exciting for little kids to explore. Lots of real lizards and all that! POR in general is very, very shady. I think after a hot day at the parks, POR is perfect.


Mousebuzz is the place to be. All the wonderful people on here helped me tremendously planning my first trip. SO, ask away:pirate:


once again the people on mousebuzz are here to help and enlighten,so ask away someone will always have an intelligent answer…wow first trip …for me to WDW was over 20 years ago…and 39 trips later here we are…still learning all the time


I would do breakfast in the room like others have listed. One must do if you are there when the Mickey not so scary halloween party is going on but that is a must do hard ticket event. and welcome to Mousebuzz


See - I wouldn’t spend any money on the “extras”. There hasn’t been any that have overwhelmed me and made me think “wow! I’m so glad I spent the money on that!” The parade of MNSSHP was good. The fireworks were cool - but worth the extra cash? No.