Well, we survived our theme park adventures relatively unscathed. Quinn has a bit of a cold he picked up as a souvenir, along with the small tower of maps, used tickets and a Disney-esque handbook and completed passport. He wore his new Mickey Mouse shirt yesterday and absolutely rocked it. Good boy, good trip, good memories.
The past couple of times we’ve gone to Orlando, we’ve rented an offsite condo. If you’re on a budget, it truly is the way to go, in my opinion. For just under $400 we had a one bedroom, second story unit in a resort approximately 15 minutes from Disney World. There was a nice pool area, washer and dryer in the unit, a full kitchen and sleeping accommodations for 4. I’ve been lucky using Craigslist for this sort of thing but, of course, I always check reviews and feedback before committing. This experience was really positive and I wouldn’t hesitate to book it again.
During past visits to Disney, I remember being put off by the expense of food and merchandise. I don’t really know what’s changed (perhaps traveling with only 1 child rather than 3?), but things didn’t seem too outrageously priced to me this time around. We generally ate breakfast at “home” and went with a late lunch at whichever park we happened to be in. I usually got a decent salad for about $8 and Quinn dominated chicken tenders wherever we went. We actually had a sit down meal in “China” while in Epcot and that was our biggest indulgence at $53, sans alcohol. The quality of the food was better than decent but less than stellar. I think Disney knows their market.
Here’s the thing about Disney – it pretty damn expensive. Two days of park hopping set me back nearly $500 and that was with Quinn still considered a child at nine-years of age. But…once you’re in, there are no additional charges for entertainment or rides. We went to Universal for a day and their “fast pass” system comes with a hefty additional fee, while Disney’s is included with your admission. The employees/ cast members were, with only one exception (yeah, you Ms. Norway), were helpful and friendly, the bathrooms were clean and well stocked and there were plenty of spots to escape the heat of the day. I do think they should consider a new attraction, though, something I’m calling the Cat Napper. The way I envision it is a boat ride a la It’s a Small World, but silent and dark with individual reclining seats and eye masks scented with lavender. It will last 20 minutes and will only be available to adults 25+. Build that, Disney World, and I won’t hesitate to come back again in August.