I'm a disney newbie, planning a trip for my family in January of 2014. It will be me, my husband, my son who will be 7 and my daughter who will be 6. Looking to have a really magical trip on a budget, but still get to see as much as possible. Will probably be 6 days 5 nights the week of MLK day next January. After browsing around the disney site, I thought I knew sort of what I wanted to do UNTIL I started reading the travel books for Disney. Now I'm totally overwhelmed by the staggering amount of information and choices. I need to start budgeting and figuring things out now in order to make this a reality, but I'm starting to go numb from the amount of choices, LOL. Thinking we will probably want to stay in a value resort, not sure yet if we'll be driving from PA or flying. That's as far as I get.
*Value Resort recommendation? We won't be spending a ton of time there, mostly will be at the parks, but need a good, clean, fun place for the kids that has enough room for all 4 of us to sleep. We will likely spend some 'down' time there the first day/night though - especially if we drive.
*Is the dining plan really a good value, or not so much? We were looking at the regular plan, since it looks like we could then do a few character meals? Are all character meals 2 meal credits, or only the more 'fancy' ones like Cinderella's castle? We would likely do the princess lunch at Epcot and one other like Chef Mickeys. Otherwise, we are flexible about food - we're not food snobs. We will probably bring breakfast bars, etc. from home for breakfast each day.
*We will probably spend 4, maybe 5 days visiting the parks. Do I need to do the park hopper? My concern is, if we want to see all 4 parks, what if the kids don't like one park as much as the others and are begging to go back to a different one? I can see them wanting to spend more than 1 day at MK, but I also want to see all 4 parks. But the cost of a park hopper seems significant, and then if we don't use it...
Those are my MAJOR questions at this point, and I feel like most of them are crucial to figure out before I start booking. Plus so many of these options affect my budget/price and I need to start saving now! Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.