Recently I visited Walt Disney World. The trip was put together pretty quick as I had no plans what so ever ongoing in July. But the past year has not been so good for me. Actually, I have had a rough for years, but the last year has been the worst. I have been out of work since June 2011. I’ve been on many interviews but nothing was ever offered to me. I have applied to thousands of jobs, with the same results: emails that basically said “thanks but no thanks”, or an interview which ended with “we are interviewing other possible candidates, and will be in touch”, or no return contact at all. Then in August 2014, my mother passed away. Her death was rough on me, I admit. And the last year, with the nonsense (well I call it nonsense, others tell me to let things go because people grieve in different ways) happening here at home, I have felt things taking a toll on me and my sanity.
So one day I call my friend and tell him I have had it here at home and need to get away. He asked me if I felt I needed to move away or just disappear for a few days. I told him I just need to disappear for a few days, do things for myself, go some place where I can have fun and forget the nonsense and stress. He asked where I wanted to go. Where? Well, I had no idea, but yet, I did. I really wanted to get to Florida. Yea, I know, I’m going in December. But still. I just had that itch, that desire to get to Orlando.
I gave it some thought and told him I have a lot of Disney Vacation Club points for 2015 to use. The points I’m using in December were a carryover from 2014. That sealed that. The decision was made: we were going to go to Orlando for a week.
A friend of ours told us not to book a hotel just yet. He was going to check with a friend of his to see if he can get us a room at one of Universal’s Loews Hotels. I was searching the DVC website for hotel availability, while waiting for him to find out from his friend. To my surprise, Saratoga Springs was available, as was BoardWalk. I was shocked to see BoardWalk available since that hotel is insanely popular. Days passed, and needless to say, I couldn’t wait any longer. I talked to my friend who was coming to Orlando with me, and we agreed we should do a split stay, two nights at Saratoga, three nights at BoardWalk. I went ahead and booked a one bedroom at Saratoga Springs, checking in on July 13 and checking out on July 15. I then booked a one bedroom for BoardWalk, checking in on July 15 and checking out on July 18. These hotel reservations were made maybe three weeks prior to check in.
We now had to figure out what to do in Orlando for those several days. At first, I had thought, and we had discussed, going to Universal Studios only. Our plans were centering on Universal because, once again, our friend said he would contact his friend (who failed to get us a room) to see what he could do regarding tickets to the Universal theme parks. Minutes turned to hours. Hours turned to days. No tickets. So my friend and I discussed what would make more sense. I told him the price for a two day park hopper for Universal and the price for a two day park hopper for Disney. I mentioned how, with Universal, we’d have to drive over to the theme parks, pay for parking, and drive back to the resort. And we’d have to do that twice. We continued to compare the prices, and started factoring in gas and parking fees for Universal. The more we talked, the more it looked like Disney was winning out.
In the end, Disney won out. We felt it was much more convenient for us to use the Disney transportation rather than drive. And pricewise, the two weren’t much different. Now the hard part: do we buy park hoppers or just two day base tickets? I suggested we could probably pull off doing two parks in one day. The first decision we needed to make was which night time show we wanted to see. Illuminations is a must, so that was taken off the table. The choice was between Wishes/Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic. Yes, it was a hard choice because I love Fantasmic and the MSEP, but I’m no longer a fan of Wishes. My friend’s mind was pretty made up though. We wanted to see Wishes/MSEP. I didn’t care one way or the other honestly since I’m going back in December, plus I’m getting to see Illuminations. I left the choice to him. Wishes/MSEP was victorious.
While discussing park hopping, my friend had a thought. He asked if we really needed to park hop. I told him no, but there was no other way to see all four parks, unless we bought a four day base ticket. He didn’t want to do that. Neither did I. The idea was to keep this trip as inexpensive as possible. The final decision was two day base ticket, and only two parks. We chose Epcot and Magic Kingdom as the parks we wanted to see the most. And like I said, I didn’t really care much, leaving the choice to him as he isn’t coming back in a few months, and may not be back for another year or two. I went online and bought the tickets from Walt Disney World’s website. I added the tickets to my MDE account and assigned the tickets to the proper individuals. I was now able to pick our Fast Pass options.
I’m not a fan of this My Magic Plus feature. Sure, many Disney fans like it. I don’t. I am not a fan of picking ride times prior to my visit. However, I have used this feature twice now, and have not had an issue either time. My fast pass choices for Epcot: Soarin, Spaceship Earth, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. For Magic Kingdom I selected: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We decided on only Kona Café for breakfast as an ADR, with the thought being we’d eat cheap lunch/dinner at counter service places.
I customized our two sets of magic bands. I took the name Voldemort and gave my friend his requested nickname Joe Cool. For Saratoga Springs, I took blue and gave him gray. For BoardWalk, I took gray and gave him blue. Customization was finished, and within two days, the bands were in the mail and at my door step four days later.
Our plans were finalized. We were set to go. And we were really impressed with ourselves that we were able to put together a trip to WDW so quickly, with plans changing by the minute. I guess that is what happens when you are WDW veterans.
Next up: The Trip.