Cheese and Rice, people! Just how many outifts did I freakin’ pack for 7 days in paradise? Let’s see… 5 of us, 4 shorts each, 1 pair of jeans, 8 tops times pi, divided by really, Jack? You needed 10 pair of underwear for a 7 day trip and holy hell, you wore them all???? Mt. Apparel is rumbling. Find immediate shelter. It’s looking pretty grim.
On the bright and Magical side – Disney World is magnificent and I’ll post a few tips for those of you considering it as a vacation destination. Remember, I’m writing this assuming that your financial situation is similar to ours. We’re fortunate and at least one of us is an excellent,dilligent, focused saver. (Hint: Not me.)
If you can swing it:
1) Stay at a resort. We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside ( a “moderate” resort) and it was posh. Good rooms, good pools (2), good service. The food was okay – better than fast food, but not OHMYGOD! It’s a meat party in my mouth good. Plus the bus service, though sometimes crowded, was excellent and mostly punctual.
2) If you’re staying for more than 3 or 4 days and have children of varying ages/interests, spend the money and upgrade to park hoppers. While Jack and the other 2 went on rides neither Olivia and I had an interest in in a park Olivia wasn’t particularly thrilled with (Epcot – but the rest of us loved it), I took Miss Thang and one short monorail ride later hung out at the Magic Kingdom. Fun was had by all. It also came in handy when Magic Kingdom became filled to capacity and we were all “F this. We’re goin’ to HOLLYWOOD and ride the Tower of Terror!” Tickets weren’t wasted and we were able to go where we wanted when we wanted – all for an extra *gulp* $250.
3) Buy the meal plan. It’s not a real “deal,” but for psychological reasons it saved Jack’s vacation. Dining in Disney is not cheap. Let me say that again. DINING IN DISNEY IS NOT CHEAP. We are not picky eaters – more along the line of goats than felines, so we did not dine extravagantly, but there was not one meal after breakfast that cost less than $50 for the 5 of us and most were closer to $100. I KNOW!!! D’ with a side of ‘yamn! However, with the dining plan in place it didn’t hurt as much as it would have had Jack had to whip out the cash after each and every meal, know what I’m sayin’?
Our dining service included 35 snacks, 35 counter services, and 35 sit downs. More than enough because the portions are huge. Jack was all stingy with the snack credits because he wanted to use them for breakfasts (which we did a lot, but sometimes we saved our included sit down deserts for breakfast. Did I mention that the portions are huge?) so at the end of our trip we were using our snack credits to buy edible souvenirs for the folks at home. Only they didn’t make it home because we ate all 11 of them on the plane. Because we’re goats.
3) Fast Passes are your ride fiend’s best buddy. I can’t stress this enough. Get to the park early and get a fast pass for the ride you most want to ride. They do run out of fast passes. If the ticket says your ride time is between 1:12 and 2:12 you can show up any time after 1:12 and sail right on in – mostly. We sometime showed up for our 1:12 ride at 3 or 4 and never had a problem with the ticket expiring. The earliest you can get your *next* fast pass is after 1:12.
4) Seriously, go to The Disney Store in your home state and buy t-shirts and junk there because I spent $30 on a t-shirt I saw at my local discount store for $4.99. I couldn’t help it for 2 reasons: I was caught up in the surreal atmosphere of the resort life and the nearest Target/Walmart is about an hour away with traffic and transfers and car rentals. I really wanted that shirt y’all. So I splurged. Your kids will want souvenirs – buy them before they get there. The mark up on property is incredible.
4) Always ask. There were times during shows (shows that are not to be missed? The Lion King thingy and Finding Nemo – both at Animal Kingdom) when we simply could not see. I grabbed my cutest kid and found the nearest attendant – “Are you sure there’s no room closer? She can’t see.” Each and every time we (all of us) were escorted to the front section. Get over your fear of rejection. Ask. The worst they can say is a sympathetic “no. I’m so sorry.”