It’s a Wrap: Disney Conclusion

Are you bored yet with my Disney updates? C’mon, you can be honest with me. *I* would be bored! It’s the equivalent of sitting through your aunt’s slideshow of the Sequoia National Park (or my sister’s. this, I know.). But trust me: one day YOU may decide to go and if you glean at least one little kernel of wisdom from these past few posts, my job is done.
It’s not a cheap vacation. It averaged out to $750/day which is figuring in a dining plan, plane tickets, resort and park tickets. Laying it out like that seems almost asinine, to be frank. On the other hand, our last vacation was over four years ago. We were due, we deserved it and we would do again. Not next year, mind you, but are already talking about in two years going again.
As for “the next time”, here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts for me to refer back to in 24 months (Note: this list is specifically for us and not to be considered my suggestions for you if you travel to WDW, but heed my warnings!):
DON’T – rent a car. We put on a whopping 40 miles. That was the roundtrip from the airport. The Disney resort would have provided the transportation of not only ourselves but our luggage. Even BACK to the airport! We just checked our bags at the bell hop’s desk.
DON’T – get the dining plan. That alone was $180/day. We probably spent at least another $200/week out of pocket for food stuffs that were not part of the plan. At just one restaurant, our overages were $75 because we each wanted a salad, in addition to the shot of Bailey’s with my cappuccino. Plus, we felt like we spent too much time determining where to get our food next just so we could obligate some part of the plan. “Quick Serve Restaurant” is a misnomer. Aitch would have been happier with simple snacks, like a muffin, banana, milk and a hot dog every day. Doodicus hated the “weird” theme food at many of the places we ate. He just wanted a simple ham and turkey sandwich on white bread.
DON’T – use my credit card at the park. Use my resort key (which also acted as our park pass and dining plan card). We realized too late into the week that if we had just charged any extras to our room, we could have had a much more accurate tally of our expenses instead of me doling out 20 bucks here or 10 dollars there and a credit card over that. Yes, it works in gift shops and food kiosks alike.
DON’T – buy the autograph books. With that being said….FOR SALE: one blue and one pink Disney autograph books. Never opened. Three year old girl too shy to use hers; ten year old boy too cool to use his.
DO – make sure our connecting flight is in the south. I found flights from Omaha connecting in Houston, Chicago, and even Denver. DENVER!! There’s only three months of the entire year one doesn’t have to consider snow in Denver, and I won’t be traveling to the land of Humidity and Swamp in any of those months.
DO – rent a stroller from an outside company. They have them at the park, but they looked uncomfortable and were bulky. The park stroller would have also meant carrying Aitch from the bus stops to the parks and back again. I think that’s where we did our most walking. The stroller we rented was super clean, easy to fold and they even put her name on it.
DO – take an extra pair of flip-flops/shoes to the park. Even my trusty, over-priced Olukais were uncomfortable by the third hour. The Reefs were cheap and unbelievably comfortable for less than $20 and they easily fit in my bag.
DO – remember to wear my hat. I brought two along, but since most mornings were overcast and cool, I wouldn’t think of
it until about two hours later while at the park after the sun had burned away the haze. We went through onlyone can of sun-screen, which was used on lower arms and legs, the backs of necks and the tops of my feet. I got too much sun on my upper chest. I was very disappointed with my carelessness.
DO – take lots of pictures. LOTS and LOTS of pictures. Photo Pass was not worth it. PP is where a Disney photographer takes your picture with the landmarks or characters. To buy ONE digital download, it’s $15. And since we only had 24 photos through PP, most of them “meh”, it was not worth the $200 to buy the DVD.
Other little things I discovered on my trip? Castmembers call all girls “Princess”. I found this oddly disturbing. I don’t recall that
they addressed boys with anything so specific.
I bought a handpainted, silk, Chinese parasol on one of the sunny days I had forgotten a hat. It is beautiful. But it’s nearly impossible to take pictures, track your kid/stroller and hold a parasol. I actually preferred the parasol over the hat, because it didn’t mess up my hair and it let the breeze cool my brow.
The staff at Wetzel’s Pretzl at Downtown Disney was as rude as they get. I stood in line for SEVERAL minutes craving a soft pretzel only to be told, "We don’t accept Disney’s Dining Plan. Duh!" The "duh" was implied. No smile and apologize. Nothing. After several days of castmembers and employees smiling and cordial, I found this almost intolerable. Wetzel’s Pretzel? You can suck it.
Disney World is clean. I didn’t realize at first what was missing as we walked through the park the first day until I saw a castmember swoop out of the shadows with his broom and dustpan and discretely sweep up a couple of pieces of popcorn and glide ninja-like away. There were no straw wrappers, no errant napkins, no abandoned paper cups. Even the bathrooms were impeccable. As impeccable as a public bathroom that sees thousands of people’s butts every week. The counters were wiped dry. There was no soap dribbling into a nasty goo. There were no unflushed toilets. My first visit to the airport bathroom was almost a culture shock after all The Neatness.
Take some down-time. I was advised to, but didn’t. And I regret it. Even if it’s to spend a couple hours at the resort’s pool. Doodicus and Aitch begged us every day to go, but we didn’t. The swimsuits didn’t see the light of day. I just thought since we had these park tickets, then damnit we were going to the parks! A late afternoon sitting under a pool umbrella NOT walking while the kids played to exhaustion would have been a nice treat for everyone. I’ll confess, I have major regrets over that.
I’m glad we went. I’m glad to be home. I’ll be anticipating our next trip.