Posted on September 23, 2016
It’s a small world after all
We are counting down to our last family trip for awhile: a week at Disney World. Of course, because I love surprises, we aren’t telling the kids until Saturday morning at 6am. Our flight leaves at 9am.
I know that the anticipation of a trip is usually the best part (which is why taking more trips of a shorter duration makes people happier) but when you are traveling with kids, mum is the word. Why? Because even worse than the “are we there yet?” comments from the back seat on a road trip, is the “how many more days?” comments. I know my kids, and they would badger me relentlessly daily with their excitement. Besides, a selfish part of me is looking forward to video taping their reaction when I tell them they are leaving TODAY! RIGHT NOW!
Given that Mr. Tucker has never, EVER been to Disney I ended up spending more than I would have (last time it was $2k for three of us – flying on points) booking a fancier hotel. Still, we did manage to snag a good deal anyway, we just ended up being beholden to a fluctuating dollar that pushed my overall costs up past my budget. BUT…Mr. Tucker is a card-carrying introvert who gets incredibly frustrated in crowds and who happens to not be a huge fan of the Disney machine. Even though Disney has it down to a science and moves hundreds of thousands of people daily as efficiently as possible, I did want to minimize his exposure. So I ended up booking a more central hotel instead of booking at a budget hotel.
The key for Canadians to book a Disney trip with minimal fuss is to watch for the deals that come up in May for travel in September. If you are willing to take your kids out of school for a week, you can save yourself money and enjoy reduced crowds. It’s also the time of year for Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party, if you are a Halloween fan. Typically, you can get park tickets, a meal plan, and hotel for about $750 per person, which isn’t bad. We always fly on points, but if you are a Canadian living near the US border, you can save substantially by flying from a US city (Ogdensburg, NY recently had a $49 US deal, which really can’t be beat).
I know that there are travel hackers that can nickel and dime a Disney trip to much lower levels than this but I was unfamiliar with that process until recently. Also, since I spent most of this year in various degrees of immobility, I also didn’t have a lot of time. It’s also the reason why I went through a travel agent this time. I still got the same deal I saw online but she did all the work (including booking the fast passes and character dining). I loved doing it myself the last time but with illness + a full time job this summer, I felt it was best to get an expert on the job to ensure we got the experiences we wanted. She also was able to spend time switching everything around so accommodate the fact I will be in a wheelchair this time around. So all in all, it was a smart choice this time.
The reason we chose Disney this year is because the kids have been saving their money for a while. I also think with the eldest being nine next spring, this may be the last chance we have where she will enjoy the full magical experience at Disney.
On the Sprout’s birthday this year she said to her grandmother, “Oh Nana, I hoped for my birthday I could go to Disney with my Daddy.” When the eldest got money from the Tooth Fairy she put it in her “Save” jar and announced, “I am saving that for next year when we save enough to go back to Disney!” They both spent the summer periodically measuring themselves to see if they were tall enough for Rockin’ Rollercoaster. Imagine their surprise this Saturday morning. I seriously can’t wait, and even the curmudgeon Mr. Tucker has said, “I am getting excited for this weekend.”
Of course, travel is out next year as we double-down our savings efforts to reach $50 000 before December 21st, 2017. We may do a camping weekend or a jaunt to an inexpensive cottage with friends (think: wood structure propped up by toothpicks, near water) but anything fancier is way out of the budget. So in light of that, I am looking forward to this last hurrah for 2016.