This past week I was in Disney World in Orlando, Florida with my family. This was the first big trip for the clan and Disney was the obvious choice. Now that we are back I can reflect on how we structured our trip and what we learned for next time (Yes, we will be going back). Over the next few days I will give my own person review of Disney World, the hotel we stayed at as well as each park we visited and the attractions we did. In all the preparations for our trip we found the best information were not from the corporate webpages but from reviews and blog posts from 'real' people and their experiences. Of course, until you get down there and experience it, it's all up in the air on how things will turn out.Being that this was my first time down there and was 25 years since my wife was there last, it was pretty much a clean slate for the experience. So we hunted for the best package and deals until we found what we wanted. Flights were not included. Lodging, 5 days of park hopper passes, Disney Dining Plus meal plan, and transportation from and to the airport. We were fortunate to pick a week where they had the meal plan deal which covered all our food. The dining plan was not extra but part of the package and was well worth it. It saved us about $100 each dinner and about $60 for lunches, plus it included snacks. Over 5 days that's a big savings. I probably would not do it any other way for how easy and the savings you get. The snacks are over the top and we didn't use them all up. You get a multipurpose card that acts as your hotel key, meal plan debit card, as well as your credit card. The credit card charges was really convenient. When you get the package setup you hook your credit card to your plan then if you want to charge anything to the room you can use your hotel card, you sign the back like your credit cards, and not have to carry around your wallet. Places do ask to see your ID for charges if you write See ID on the back. Very slick.
The travel package took care of all the transportation from and to the airport. As part of the deal your checked baggage is picked up and delivered to your room, you don't have to worry about sitting at the baggage claim, Disney picks them up and gets them to your room. HOWEVER, there is a downside for this service that we discovered. If you fly in to Orlando and arrive in the late afternoon/evening hours, like we did, it may take 3 to 4 hours to get your bags to your room. We arrived in Orlando at 5pm and didn't get our bags to our room until after 9pm and that was after I went to Bell Service to find out where our bags were. A 4 year old that needed to goto bed without pajamas, blanket, stuffed puppy was an issue. If you fly in the morning and hit the parks right away, then yes, the bags will be there when you get back. In the future we won't do the luggage service again, we'll get them ourselves or pack a carry on with bare necessities for the hotel room.
At the end of the trip we got a notice on our door when the bus would be there to take us back to the airport. Couldn't have been easier. We boarded 3 hours ahead of our flight time, after a few more pickups at other hotels we were at the gate an hour ahead of time. No problem.
Since we stayed on the Disney property and only hit the parks on the property the package we got and no rented car worked out great. The price was reasonable, understanding that Disney is not cheap, and we had no issues with the meal plan or any hidden charges.
Like anything shop around for the best deal and be flexible on the week that you choose. Everyone is on a budget but Disney is very special and truly magical. Chances are you are planning your Disney trip many months in advance or longer. Save up and don't try to be too cheap. Enjoy yourself, it's way worth it. They easier you make it for yourself the more enjoyable time you will have.
Next Post my review of the hotel we stayed at, the Disney Wilderness Lodge.
Ene of Line.