Ordinarily, I shy away from large corporations whose sole objective is to separate you from your money. I try to aspire to the "Stickin' it to tha man" mentality by refusing to buy into huge money sucks just because the other lemmings are jumping off the cliff in droves. The big exception to this is Disneyworld. We affectionately call it "Dinny-whorl". Yes, that's us in the front seats of the Rockin' Rollercoaster in the pic below. We just had to do it...
Yes, I gladly handed over a couple of paychecks over to a large mouse last month and enjoyed every penny! Two years ago was our first trip. I had felt a bit regretful that I had never taken my child to Disneyworld when she was younger and thought taking a 17 year old would have less luster and child-like magic, but I was wrong. You see, it helps if its participants are just big kids themselves and we fit that bill just fine. We squeal with delight every time we see Cinderella's castle for the first time. If you can go to Disneyworld and not feel like a kid in even a small way, you are made of stone.
We like to go at the beginning of January which is an off season (read: cheaper) but is still decorated for Christmas. The lines are shorter, the lodging is cheaper and we can still fit it during a school Christmas break. We had taken advantage of a "buy 4 nights, get 3 free" deal which was SO worth it. At the end of this post I'll post some helpful tips for enjoying Disneyworld to its fullest.
I was a bit sad at the end of our little vacation. This may be the last vacation we take before she's a married lady! I'd like to tell you, dear reader, that I kept my cool about it, but I did cry the last night we were there. It couldn't be helped.
Tips for a great Disney vacation:
- Go during off season - lines are shorter, rates are cheaper and it's a lot more bang for the buck
- Get the Disney meal plan - We got the deluxe. One counter meal (like fast food), one restaurant meal (yeah, sit-down, cloth napkins and excellent food) and one snack per day. All meals include dessert and we usually boxed them up and ate the for breakfast or a snack later. The plan saves you money and pulls you out of the mindset that you need to get cheap, junk food at the park. We ate lamb, salmon, and steak and not just burgers and hot dogs. You can reserve your restaurant online now. So convenient. Guidebooks usually have a section about which restaurants boast certain Disney characters if you want to guarantee some photo ops with your child and their favorite character
- Stay in the park - maybe a little more expensive, but worth it when you have to factor in rest breaks during the day. Just hop a shuttle bus to your lodging, take a nap then hit the parks again! You won't be in your room very much, so staying at less expensive sites is fine.
- Get park-hopper tickets - These allow you to go from park to park as you feel the need. Bored with one park? Go to another.
- Get a guide book - We're far from having the ill-fated "clipboard-o-fun" setup, but a decent guidebook can give you tips on what you want to see. This year, we used some great iPhone apps which were invaluable. Apps that show what the avg wait time per ride right now, dining menus, GPS enabled maps, parade/event times...etc.
- Get fast passes to the rides you really want to ride early in the day and fill in with other shorter wait rides and shows.