Interesting math, huh? Some people would argue that there really is no such thing as a “cheap” Walt Disney World vacation. Personally, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck. But we’ve got to be real! This economy has taken a hit on the best budgets. In an effort to preserve my sanity during the worst winter months, last December I begged Mr. MouseEars to consider an escape to Florida. His argument: we already had a great big vacation booked for the summer. My argument: we could do it on the cheap! His response: show me the numbers. Well, alrighty then…
First stop was transportation! Flying in the dead of winter from the north to the south was quadruple the typical price. Auto Train was a close second. That left driving from New York to Florida. After consulting the experts on the Disboards.com 2000+ mile Rountrip Driver Only thread, this seemed to be our only reasonable choice. Tack on a couple of freebie hotel stays (thanks to our available points on our Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Rewards cards) and driving was the way to go!
Next stop was accommodations in Orlando! By heading down to see family at the front end of our trip, we limited the time we stayed in the Orlando area. That was A-ok! We absolutely love our Florida family J When pricing out hotels, we wound up with an amazing room only rate at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. We had never tried a Value Resort before. How would it compare to our usual Moderate or Deluxe stay? Again, it was back to the Internet. AllEars.Net has terrific room pics and hotel reviews, tripadvisor.com is also a great resource for travel reviews. Of course, the Pop Century posts at Disboards.com were a help, too. We knew the obvious going in and were pleasantly surprised when we got there. It was good fun and perfect for this visit!
Final stop was park tickets! I decided why not make this a trip of firsts. We had never been to Universal Studios before or either of the Disney water parks. Both of which were high on our “to do” list. Remarkably, we are able to score some (almost) free Universal Studios tix via Chase Ultimate Rewards again. (Note: If you lose or misplace tickets you can upgrade existing tickets to multi-day passes, at the park gate. Had we known this…we could have saved big bucks! And the Idiot of the Day Award goes to….ME!) Couldn’t get any deals on the Disney water parks but when I chose just to visit Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and looked at the one day admission gate prices, it seemed pretty reasonable.
Facts in hand, I approached Mr.MouseEars and after some consideration, the deal was done. We then surprised the kids until a couple of weeks before departure, which was great! They were so excited to stay at POP! Typhoon Lagoon was an absolute blast. Loved the giant Surf Pool and snorkeling through the Shark Reef. All this and I still get to look forward to the summer va-cay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
I love Mr. MouseEars and I love Walt Disney World! Now, I need to convince him that a trip to Disneyland is in order…would love to check out the new Little Mermaid attraction, opening on June 3 at Disney California Adventure park!! Check out this video tour of the attraction and interview with original animators of the film courtesy of DisneyParks blog.