Hi there! Today I’m going to discuss what it’s like to visit Disney World, when you LIVE here! It’s an entirely different experience. There obviously are some things that will always remain the same – seeing the shows, experiencing the attractions, enjoying the many dining options around The World, that magical feeling when you see the Castle. But, there are so many things that we do differently now as well.
Now that we live only 15 minutes from Disney proper, we generally do not visit from open to close. Which is so nice! We can choose to stay for an entire day, or just go for a few hours.
Many times, like today, we will wake up in the morning and say “(Ferb), I know what we’re gonna do today!” And then we make our plans. Today we decided to chill at home, have a later lunch, and then head to Disney World. We’re going to have kind of a leisurely day. We plan to take a stroll along the Boardwalk, walk over to the Beach Club Resort to enjoy some AMAZING ice cream sundaes and shakes at Beaches n Cream, then end our day by taking the boat over to Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic! Later this week, we are going to head to Disney World, and “flip a coin on the fly”. I’m so excited for this adventure. Every time we get to a sign – say “left for Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach, right for Magic Kingdom and Epcot”, we’ll flip a coin until we get to one sign for one park/place to visit! You can’t get more spontaneous than that.
We “hop” parks much more often. This especially comes in handy when the weather isn’t cooperative, or the crowds get a bit much to handle. We will often start the day at a water park, and then head to one of the parks later in the day. If it starts to thunder and rain at Animal Kingdom, then all or most of the outdoor attractions will shut down, so we’ll just hop to Hollywood Studios where nearly all of the attractions are indoors.
It’s CHEAPER! No hotel expenses, we don’t have to eat 3 meals and/or several snacks while we’re there for the day. No airfare or transportation costs! Just a gallon of gas, and a couple tolls. That’s it. So, transportation only costs about $6 each visit.
CHEAP park tickets! As a Florida resident, there are AMAZING deals we can take advantage of.Resident park tickets for the three of us came to about $1800. But if you choose, you can put the cost of a one day park ticket as a deposit, and then pay the rest of it monthly for the rest of the year. And, even though that sounds really expensive, we don’t “vacation” to Disney anymore. Now, it’s our source of entertainment. Think about what you spend to see a movie, go to a concert, out to dinner…it adds up quick!
Annual pass holders get discounts on a LOT of other things as well – food, merchandise, hotel stays, cruises, and so much more. Our parking is FREE! And with our passes we have unlimited access to all the parks, waterparks, DisneyQuest, golf, and Wide World of Sports! So, there you go- that’s all our entertainment for the year.
Food – depending on how long we spend at the parks each visit, we spend as little as NOTHING, or at most the cost of one meal. Which for three of us tends to run from $25 to $80 depending on where we choose to eat. We bring all of our drinks, and some snacks with us – which can save us as much as $50 in one visit. When we visit a water park, we will even bring sandwiches with us, which means it’s a “free” day.
Weather – in the summer especially, a thunderstorm can pop up out of nowhere. So, we purchase disposable $1 ponchos at Target to keep on hand, and use them as needed. But, if the rain lasts for more than 30-60 minutes, we don’t feel bad about cutting our day short. We know we can come back any time we want. When you’re on vacation, you don’t have that luxury.
Souvenirs – we DON’T buy them! I’m not saying never ever, but we tend to only purchase things that are new/rare/only offered during special events. (with the exception of magnets, Tony for some reason, is obsessed with them and wants to buy one every time we visit, so we have quite a collection) We will need a second fridge soon, at this rate.
Crowds – they bother us now!!! They always have, but they REALLY bother us now. And, before moving here, we’d never visited in the summer time. So, it’s bothering us even more. Especially these tour groups. There are hundreds, if not thousands of teens from other parts of the world visiting here right now. And while I try to keep in mind that it is probably their first visit and that they have probably been saving for a very long time to come here, they drive me CRAZY! They will sing every where they go – and LOUDLY. When they go on a ride, they ALL go together. So now all of a sudden you have 100 kids getting in line at once to ride. Which makes the wait time go through the roof! They will actually CUT YOU OFF in line because they are told by their tour leaders that they have to stay together. And, they never speak ANY English. They are rude, and don’t even say excuse me. They just push their way through. We were in line for Spaceship Earth the other day, and there were maybe 10 girls in front of us with matching tee shirts – so I knew they were on tour. All of a sudden about 100 more kids PUSH their way past us. No excuse me, nothing! I’m sorry, but they should wait in line like every one else. Their tour leaders are so disorganized, and inconsiderate. They try to make them all ride together, but I’m sorry, that’s a really stupid idea. Not to mention when getting on something like a roller coaster or Test Track, they WILL be split up, and they won’t get off the ride at the same time. There should just be a meeting place! UGH!!! that’s all I will say about that. I could rant and complain about it all day. So we try to stay “ahead” of those groups as best we can, and when we’ve had enough of the crowds, we go home.
And finally, we don’t go kamikaze through the parks – we stroll, stop to people watch, take our time. We’re in no hurry. There’s no fire. We don’t wait in long lines. If there’s a 90 minute wait for Space Mountain, we go to Buzz Lightyear instead. We tend to only visit our favorite attractions, or some that we haven’t done in a while. It’s so much more relaxing, and a lot less stressful – and for “novice” visitors, my advice is this: YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING IN ONE TRIP!!! In my 19 vacations to Disney World, AND all the visits I’ve made since moving here, we still haven’t done everything. So prioritize. Pick your “must do’s”, anything else you get to do is a bonus! You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you have those expectations of seeing and doing everything at Disney World in one vacation.
Thanks for joining me for my new adventure as a Florida “local”! As the seasons change and all of the special events happen, I will have much more on this topic to share with you I’m sure!
So, for now, remember this:
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney