Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Disney Wisdom

    I am writing this post from Palm Coast, Florida.  We are on to the next leg of our adventure.  We loved Disney, but it was a lot.  Apparently there really is too much of a good thing.  We ended our stay at Epcot, and the kids kept asking when we could go back to the hotel.  They just wanted to play in the pool.  It re-affirms that we are not a go- go family.  We are quite slow paced and the kids were longing for this, who knew?
    I am going to now share my disney wisdom....

  #1  Don't wait until you think you can afford to go to Disney.  For years the kids have begged to go to Disney, and we would tell them "When we win the lottery" followed by ha ha ha.  Then a friend of ours went and told me what it cost for her family of five to go, I could not believe it.  For our family of 6 to stay at the resort for 4 nights, have park tickets for 5 days, and have dinner, lunch/ breakfast and a snack for 4 days, unlimited pop at the resort it cost us $3100.00.  You can book it a year in advance, and make payments all year.  You can lay away for your vacation! 

#2  Stay at the Disney Resort.  No it is not as cheap as staying off site.  The convenience is invaluable.  The attention to detail at the resort is amazing.  Every morning the housekeeper would arrrange the kids toys in a fun way, or make a Mickey Mouse with towels. It was all of the little touches. One morning Elly had a sore eye and was crying, one of the employees ran up with a balloon for her.  In other words they cater to children.  That is a rare thing.  Every day there are tons of activities at the resort for the kids.  In the evenings they showed movies at the pool.  There was no shortage of activities for them to do.
    The other plus is that Disney has it's own transportation system.  There are bus stops in front of the hotel that go to every park, as well as Downtown Disney.  The buses leave every twenty minutes.  You just park your car, and they take care of everything else!

 #3 Purchase the dining plan.  Sure you could save money and bring in your meals, but why would you pack lunches, when for a fraction more you can eat your meals there and not have to cook or clean?  It cost us $300.00 for our dining plan for 6 of us.  That includes one quick serve, and one sit down dining, plus one snack each day.  The sit down meals are the Character meals or nice restaurants.  We found that with the sit down dining, places were reserved, and because of that the restaurant was not as busy as the quick serve places.  Our first sit down meal was at The Crystal Palace.  It was a buffet charater meal.  Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore,and Piglette walked around the restaurant.  At one point there was a parade around the restaurant and the kids were invited to join in.  My kids sooooo loved it.  The buffet line had grown up height and kids size so that the food was at a child's height allowing them to select their own meals.  At the end of the meal they brought us a bill, the total, $200.00.  Our dining plan in one day had paid for it's self.

  #4 Book ahead!  I thought that they were being overly dramatic when they told me that you should reserve 6 months ahead for dining and experiences, they were not.  Rowan had really wanted to take part in the pirate experience, but we could not fit him in.  Elly decided that she would really like to have a tea party with one of the princesses, I called three weeks before we left... completely booked solid.   I booked our sit down dining in November, it was really smart of me.  I booked the other hotels I knew we were going to stay at, and consiequently saved us a lot of money.  I discovered that in Orlando their rates change daily.  I booked our hotel stay at the Four Point Sheridan for the first Sunday of our vacation, I booked it two months ago for $100.00.  That same room cost $150.00 for the Friday of the same week when we inquired Sunday.

   #5  Plan Plan Plan!!!!  We booked our trip last October.  I have been compiling a trip bible that has been invaluable.  I put mapquest directions, important phone numbers, confirmation numbers.  It has been invaluable.

    I really enjoyed Disney and I did not think that I would.  The crowds were terrible, and yet the experience was great.  It is not a cheap vacation, but it was worth every single penny.  I was amazed at every single detail that they look after.  Everyone is super friendly.  The staff all call the little girls "Princess" and the boys "Prince".  There is not a speck of garbage to be seen anywhere.  They have crews out cleaning all the time.  The bathrooms have sinks at little children's heights.  Everything is geared toward children.  It truly is magical.  I have already started planning our vacation back to Disney in two years.  I asked the staff, and they say come in February, not as busy.  I think I will!

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