We made it. A trip that was in the planning for over a year has been completed. We stayed at Walt Disney World for eight nights and still left there wondering how we could have missed so much.
Our tour begins here in this gallery... We had been planning on going to Walt Disney World for Christmas 2008. This time of year was not cheap to say the least. When Disney made the announcement that they would offer the dining plan for free in September we moved our reservation. We booked Disney's Pop Century Resort for September 1 - 9. The room was small but it was a bed at night and we were not planning on spending much time there. We did pay for the preferred room so we would be close to the food court and easily able to refill our resort mugs. The theme is pretty in your face at this hotel but it worked. Our kids enjoyed the pool and we enjoyed the price.
We had planned and tried to predict what park we would spend the day at months in advance so we could carefully book our dining reservations. What did we learn on this trip? We don't know jack about planning a trip to Walt Disney World.
From day one we felt like we were behind schedule and running from dining reservation to Fantasmic to Animal Kingdom. While we were planning our dining we were not taking into account the sheer amount of time that it takes to eat at the restaurants. We had not planned enough time into our days to rest.
You can't do it all... As much as we wanted to, we could not fit everything into an eight day vacation. That was our goal. We had not been there with children before this vacation but we had taken our kids to Disneyland many, many times. We thought that they were used to a Disney trip and they would be able to go like the Energizer Bunny. The reality is that we go to Disneyland so often that we take every day there at a more relaxed pace. We don't rush and we never make it a point to race from attraction to attraction. When Disneyland is too crowded we head to DCA or the hotel. We don't plan on rest at Disneyland, it just happens.
Get smart... We paid for the water park and more option for our park tickets. We went to one water park. At over $50 to purchase the option and $40 to buy a one day admission to a water park. Do the math and we gave Disney $10 for nothing. I guess I was having such a good time down there that I felt like I owed them more. I can't say that I didn't get good use out of mine though. I went to the Adventurer's Club one night by myself. That means that my ticket came out with about a $10 savings. My wife's lost $10 and my son lost $16. They don't discount the children's water park and more addition to the ticket. We were going to go to the water park more than once and my wife and I were going to go to the Adventurer's Club together. We didn't. Goes back to the last paragraph I guess.
There was never a truly relaxed day for us. We used this vacation as a learning experience for next time and will be taking the lessons learned and having a much better vacation next year when we go back to Disney World.
Over the next couple weeks there will be a few dining reviews and some more information on a few of the tips we have collected to make your vacation easier.
This is another Disney Blog by a Disney fan who wants to talk about whatever he wants. Disney related, of course.