I was thinking I could give this post the title “Disney, Take Two” since it was our second family vacation to Disney. But we didn’t really take TWO, you see. We took THREE. Yep, all three kids. I guess technically, we took all three kids the last time as well, but I was pregnant with the youngest, so he was easy to keep up with.
Somehow, we survived this trip with a preteen who has a tendency to be melodramatic (as I imagine most adolescent girls are), a happy-go-lucky girl who was ready to ride every roller coaster in the parks, and a wild, rambunctious 2-year-old. And we did it without a stroller. Yes, we’re a little nuts. We made a pact that we would not spend 15 dollars per day on a stroller when we were already spending so much on tickets and the occasional snack inside the parks (the hassle of pushing a stroller around the miles we’d walk was not appealing).
Even without a stroller, the youngest was usually patient in lines.
The last time we went to Disney, we put the entire vacation on a credit card. We had just found out we were expecting baby #3, and we figured our plans to go in 2008 were out the window with a newborn in tow. So we bit the bullet, and put the entire thing on plastic. We stayed on the Disney Resort, ate in all the parks with their meal plan option, and felt like royalty. Our first trip to Disney was 4 days and 3 nights. Of course, it took us many more months than that to pay off the credit card, but we didn’t regret it. Disney does give you red carpet treatment, even in their value resorts. We left wanting more, and we knew we’d return.
This time we did things differently. Being debt free now, we saved for several months to pay for the entire vacation with cash. We spent two days in Magic Kingdom, three at Hollywood Studios, and one at Animal Kingdom. We paid cash in advance for our tickets, stayed at a more luxurious 2-bedroom condo off the resort, and ate dinners mostly at restaurants outside of Disney, had sandwiches from our cooler for lunch (which we went back to the parking lot to eat on certain days), and ate one lunch in a Disney park. We were able to stay a full 7 days this time (with two extra days at a different hotel both on the way to Orlando and on the way back). Our vacation was double the time, with an extra kid, but our cost was not doubled at all. Though I am not a fan of paying for the parking (which if we’d stayed on the Disney premises would have been waived), we still did not spend as much per day, even though we had an extra person.
Next time we go, we want to make sure of two things. First, we’ll go later in the year, during the slow season for Disney. And second, we will wait a few more years until the youngest grows one more foot. He was able at the age of 2 to ride Goofy’s Barnstormer rollercoaster and loved it, but I’m sure his sisters will be ready to get him on more thrill rides next time.