First Time Family Going Columbus Day Week Oct. 10-17 - So many questions

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Joined: 07/22/2015
Posts: 10
First Time Family Going Columbus Day Week Oct. 10-17 - So many questions

Let me just say my wife and I have been planning this trip more than we planned our wedding! laugh

Our first trip to Walt Disney World is coming soon, but not without some heartburn and life lessons along the way.

We've decided to stay at Pop Century, sounds amazing, not too thrilled about sharing the two double beds with a 9 year-old and a 3 year-old.

We got all our ADR's in, but now it looks like our touring plans we subscribed to have changed and now some days are expecting to be much busier than we've originally thought.

I wish I could switch them around, but no luck getting those ADR's switched!

My major grief is getting those fast passes secured and finding a way to pay for it....

That's right, we are in the middle of the window of not qualifying for the free dining plan. And of course, our preferred room at POP was not available to get that discount I've been hounding the website for months now looking for some shred of a discount. I called Disney and asked if they could help, no luck, they told me what I see on the screen, they see the same thing. They did tell me to keep checking back as more room could become available. Great...another thing to obsess about. lol

So, I have a few questions:

  • We are arriving Sat. Oct. 10, won't get into the park until 3 or 4 p.m. We are going to walk into a magical mad house. How should we spend the first few hours there? What fast passes do you recommend for someone walking in late to the game?
  • If my wife opens a disney account, and I link her through the friends and family, then can she on a separate computer also get fast passes for us at the same time, knocking down the turn around time. I mean, it seems like you only have a few minutes to lay claim to your whole trip!
  • Last question, We plan to be at rope drop every morning, what time do we need to be at the bus stop from Pop Century, waiting for the bus?
  • We are signed up for the Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood & Vine. Is H&V really as gross as the reviews say? And what time do we realistically need to get in line for the VIP seating?

Thanks for reading, looking forward to making some friends!

Eric mickey

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MrHub's picture
Joined: 10/29/2009
Posts: 9502

First of all welcome to WDWFG! Second, sit back and take a deep breath. If you keep going the way it sounds you are, you may ruin your vacation before you even get there. It's not as bad as you make it out, believe me. On your 60 mark just be on after midnight and make your fast passes. It's not as bad as people have apparently told you. Yes your wife can have an account and yes she can probably be on at the same time as you and make FP selections on different days than you are doing.

On your first day, make your fast passes for a time after you will be arriving at the MK. People are coming and going there all day long. It will be busier because you booked your vacation on a holiday weekend, but it's not Christmas Day! Calm down and enjoy yourself.

You still won't be able to make some FP's like for the parade and fireworks, they only open up at 30 days out. Meet & greet FP's, there are a little harder to get sometimes.

Regarding rope drop, the Magic Kingdom is really the only park that has a rope drop show anymore. Check the park hours for each day in the MDE and see what they are and go from there. Don't try and schedule your day minute by minute or you will burn you and your family out.

Joined: 10/29/2009
Posts: 1905

yay yay yay
For your first family trip!!! Now we just have to get you to relax and enjoy it. Just the fact that you have researched some and knew to make your ADR's and are preparing for your fast passes put you ahead of some first time visitors.

There is no real need to stress over making your fast passes. You will not need two of you making them. Most of them are not all that hard to get as long as you are doing it on the 60 day mark. As far as how you spend your first day, that is entirely up to you. I would suggest you check the park hours for your arrival day. Magic Kingdom will be running their MNSSHP some nights during your stay. On those nights it will close at 7:00.

You will also need to check the park hours to see what time each park opens each day and whether or not there are EMH. Rope drop starts about 10-15 minutes before the parks open.

I can not help you with how good or bad Hollywood and Vine is as we have never tried it. I will say however, do not let other peoples opinions stop you from trying something you want to try. Remember everyone has different tastes and expectations. As far as how early you need to get in line for Fantasmic, that too will depend on if there are two shows that night or just one and which show you plan on attending. If there is only one or you are going to the first one the earlier you get there the better. Honestly, I do not see all that much difference in any of the seats.

JMed's picture
Joined: 02/16/2014
Posts: 3849

welcome and banana banana banana for your first family trip!

I agree with Mr Hub and Scrappy, relax. Take a deep breath. It is all going to come together the way it needs to. FOr a first time trip (even a 5th or 6th or even100th trip) everything may not go as planned. But if you play it smart and not over do yourselves it will be awesome no matter what.

I missed our 60 day mark this time, only by a day but still. I was waiting on the ok to get my hubby's AP and as soon as he gave the ok, I jumped on it. I was sweating it but I got every thing I wanted. There are the things that are a FP must but if you plan accordingly and watch My Disney Experience app for wait times, you can get a lot in.

Pop is wonderful. We have stayed there a couple of times. Yeah, double beds are tight but they are comfy and the theming of the resort is great. Everything Pop has some great options for dining also. We had a few meals there our last trip.

We try to arrive at MK about 35-40 minutes before the posted opening time. I've not taken the bus to the parks as we always drive and like to have our car where we are. MK is the best park for Rope Drop. Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios only made an announcement over the speakers a few minutes before letting people in. Epcot does shoot off streamers but it's nothing worth getting up extra early for.

We have not been to H&V either. I don't like buffets as a general rule of thumb. But I am going to try Boma for breakfast in a few weeks, keeping my fingers crossed.

Keep us posted about plans and ask all the questions you need!


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EmFord's picture
Joined: 02/12/2014
Posts: 414

As said before.. RELAX! We have been on Columbus Day week and it really isn't as bad as it seems. Yes, the weekend before and Monday might be bad, but really the rest of the week will be smooth sailing, with some super low crowds. October is my absolute favorite time to visit so you are already winning there. There are so many things to do and the decorations are super magical. (I'm pretty jealous of you already that you'll be there since this is going to be my first fall missing it in years)... ANYWAY, just take it easy, when it comes to fastpasses on your first day I would go do whatever your family wants to do the most. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still the newest ride in MK so I would recommend that if thats your first park -- it should be, seeing the castle first really is fantastic. And if you don't get your first picks the first time around KEEP TRYING! On our last trip, I was on everyday just seeing if things opened up and they did up to a week before our actual trip.

As for POP! you'll love it! I actually miss it when we stay at other resorts and my boyfriend requests we make a pit stop at the food court for Chicken Alfredo Pasta - he's obsessed.

You're going to have a great time. Most important thing is to stick to a loose plan but still go with the flow. Disney World is something that you can't really imagine until you've been there. But once you're in you're hooked. mickey


alicemouse's picture
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2832

Welcome, coveye!

yay First trips are so exciting!!

Tip for booking FP: Book hard-to-get choices for later in your stay to get the best choice of times. Since each guest staying on property is able to book FP for their start date +10 days, other guests will already have access to the times available for some of your trip days before your window opens up. Another tip if you can't get an attraction or time that you want, check back around the 30-day mark. There is a theory out there that Disney drops additional FP into the system when booking opens for offsite guests and AP holders. This mainly applies to Anna/Elsa, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Mania, and Soarin'.

Don't let Touring Plans changes scare you too much. They tout their accuracy, but depending on how you tour the parks and where you happen to be at any given point in time, their predictions can seem to be anywhere from right-on-the-money to couldn't-hit-the-broad-side-of-a-barn.

Pop is a really cool resort. Since it's your first trip, I bet that you will spend the bulk of your time at the parks, but if you have a chance, take a stroll over to the Art of Animation resort just to look at the buildings. They're amazing. Also, Pop and AoA have some of my favorite gift shops on property.

We've eaten at H&V once and it was for Star Wars weekend, so I know that there are some variations in the food. We thought it was pretty good. They had a wide variety and I'd say that I enjoyed about 95% of the things that I tried.

I would keep one planner for MyDisneyExperience. We had a technical glitch when DH and I tried to connect our accounts that took hours on the phone with Disney tech support to solve. These glitches are becoming fewer and farther between, but it's not worth tempting fate for a 10 second advantage in getting your FP.

As for what FP to get, choose whatever appeals to you. Here are my personal favorite FP selections for MK to maximize the benefit of having FP+:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Peter Pan's Flight
Winnie the Pooh
Buzz Lightyear
Big Thunder Mountain (if after 11am)
Splash Mountain (if 11am-8pm)
Space Mountain (if after 11am)
Pirates (if 12pm-6pm)
Haunted Mansion (if 12pm-8pm)

Don't try to see it all in one trip. If you have a blast, you'll be back and it will leave you something new to explore. If you don't enjoy yourself, it won't matter that you never got to ride the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. So try not to stress too much and just have fun. Enjoy the wonder and excitement on your kids' faces and just soak in the magic!!

Good luck & have a great trip! mickey


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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

NikkiMouse's picture
Joined: 02/19/2015
Posts: 526

welcome Like everyone else said, breathe and try to relax. You are going to have a fantastic time even with some crowds. You will be in Disney!!!!

Make your FP selections for after 6 or so to give yourself some breathing room. As far as choices, you have to decide what you really want to experience the first day, but I would recommend:

Anna/Elsa (if that is something that interests you. The lines for the meet and greet are crazy without it!)
Space Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (wait times can be plus 2 hours)
Peter Pan's Flight

As for Pop, you will love it! It is my favorite and my daughter just loves the theme and all the larger than life decorations (think 3 story Big Wheel yay ) Pop does not share a bus with anyone, so that makes getting everywhere pretty quick, but MK is the furthest out from Pop, so I would plan to arrive at the bus stop for the first one out to assure that you get there with plenty of time.

The most important thing is to have a blast. It is such a magical place that once you get there all the other worries will melt away. Having said that, it is great to have a plan. For me, Disney is not the type of trip that I can just wing. While I like to relax on vacation, I love knowing I have all my plans in one place and know where/when my FP and ADRs are. In doing that, I always make sure that there is time to just sit by the pool and hit Downtown Disney.


BarbaraB's picture
Joined: 03/13/2014
Posts: 402

Hi and welcome ! I don't know if anyone's told you this yet, but take a deep breath and relax. biggrin As of right now, MK is open until 10:00pm on Oct 10th (park hours are ALWAYS subject to change). That'll give you plenty of time to explore the park your first night. I agree with NikkiMouse...make your FPs for after 6:00 to allow for unplanned delays and what-not.

Buses to the park start 45 minutes before park opening. If you want to make rope drop, I would suggest getting the first bus out.

Keep checking for ADRs. You never know...something might open up.

Make sure you head over to the "Introduce Yourself" forum and tell us a little about your self.Just click here.


~ Barb ~

JoAnn C's picture
Joined: 05/20/2011
Posts: 6757

Ditto what others have said - relax

Don't sweat the fast passes. For my most recent trip which was just this month, I didn't make my fast passes until a week after my 60 day window opened. I got two for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, two for Peter Pan's Flight, one each for Soarin' and Toy Story Midway Mania.

Pop Century is great. I stayed there four times. 3 of the 4 times I stayed in standard room in the 50s or 60s section. They weren't that far from the main building. The one time I paid extra for preferred I didn't think it was worth it. It wasn't that much closer than some of the standard rooms I had.

I ate at H&V once. I didn't think it was that bad.


Ms.Mouse's picture
Joined: 12/31/2013
Posts: 358

I think everything said about FP's is right on the money. I am trying the Touring Plans this trip for the first time and when I was working it out , I was able to go onto MDE and change some of my FP's around to work better. So if you find that is an issue when planning then know that changes can be made without too much sacrifice.

We have stayed at Pop and loved it muchlove We were in a standard room with a view of the lake.... beautiful, quiet... there were even bunnies running around.

We have also done the Fantastic package at H& was good that night.... service was excellent..... dessert line was always backed up. I am pretty sure we just got to Fantasmic 15-20 minutes early and we had great seats.

You are going at a great time.... have fun and enjoy all the magic mickey

Joined: 07/22/2015
Posts: 10

Thank you so much for your kind words and also for being the first to respond. Yes, we are calming down. We're fortunate that we've done so much planning. I know that it will work out in our best intentions.

I also want to thank everyone who circled the wagons, so to speak, to calm me down. I get you all must have been there before.

I am sooo looking forward to these new Disney friends and all the wonderful information they have to give!

Thanks again!


75 Day Till Our First Walt Disney World Vacation!

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