Magic Kingdom – Castle
Hollywood Studios Entrance Sign
Animal Kingdom Tree
I know many of you who read my blog are also Disney fanatics. I thought I’d share a little bit about my post-Disney vacation blues.
The first time we took a “real” Disney vacation – stayed on property, we had the BEST time ever. We’re not new to Disney, we’ve been annual passholders for going on going on 2 decades, but attending the parks for a day versus staying at a Disney hotel was different. We have stayed at local Orlando hotels in the past and that was not ‘magical’, and for any one who has stayed off property vs. on property would probably tell you the same thing.
On our first real Disney vacation we stayed at Wilderness Lodge, a deluxe resort surrounded by lots of pine trees and nature. Our room had a perfect view of the quiet pool, the weather was gorgeous, and every moment was spent literally at Disney – we never left, we parked our car and that’s where it stayed for the whole time.
The quiet pool at Wilderness Lodge (now closed – for new construction)
I had planned our itinerary in detail, we had a Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, Afternoon Tea at The Grand Floridian, dinner at Artist Point. We walked up and down Main Street, ate gooey cinnamon buns from the Main Street Bakery, we pin traded, rode our favorite rides, bought souvenirs, basically this was the closest experience to what I imagine tourists feel when they come to Walt Disney World. There were a lot of ‘firsts’ in this trip, first time doing a guided tour, first time sleeping and waking up on Disney property, first time eating at some new places, first time swimming in a Disney pool. It was amazing.
But when it came time to go home, I started feeling severely depressed. On the car ride home, I was just plain sad. We live close enough to drive to WDW, this was crazy; I kept telling myself that this was crazy, we had passes, but this was different. Just the hotel cost was pretty high just for 3 nights it was near $800 with our AP discount rate, and that, ladies and gentlemen, made it pretty much out of reach. Plus the additional costs of the tour, meals, etc. We’ve never spent that much (per night) on a hotel room in our lives.
For two days, I was deep in a funk. After two days of stewing, I finally rationalized or realized how we can just go back to stay at Disney. Can you put a price on happiness? No. But I suppose you can assign it a cost and budget for it! I’ll plan another trip, maybe 2 days and that would be less money. I justified it by saying that we never go on vacation ever, and I’m frugal with money anyways, and this would be like staycationing which is a ‘thing’ people do now just to get away from regular daily life.
From the moment I decided to plan another stay, the Disney blues started to clear, I was getting excited about planning a new trip and I realized something that so many Disney Fans out there know from experience – always be planning your next Disney vacation, whether it is this year, next year, or five years from now. This is probably why Disney offer what they call “bounce back” offers, they start to try to sell you your next vacation while you are still at Disney, they offer reduced rates on a follow up trip, perhaps 40% off accommodations. Disney does offer value resort accommodations at Pop Century or All Stars, and Art of Animation, which do cost less than their Deluxe Resorts.
I know that there are people out there right now who plan their imaginary Disney vacations – and that is good too, because just planning it helps. I dream of one day taking a Disney cruise and staying in one of the Disney suites, the Roy or Walt Disney luxury suite. I still get a little tiny bit bluesy from time to time, if I haven’t gone to Disney in a while, just like if you haven’t had your coffee for the day – it feels like something is missing. Sometimes I just wish I could magically teleport to WDW like a wizard or like they do on Star Trek. When I get like this I’ll watch a Disney movie, or we’ll do an Epcot inspired theme night, buy different foods from a certain country (or countries) and watch travel shows like Rick Steves or Rudy Maxa.
I am happy to say that within about a year after our first real Disney vacation (after several staycations that year), that I discovered and researched about Disney Vacation Club, I scoured the internet, read Disney forums, talked to a friend who we met at WDW who was a DVC owner, looked up everything about DVC resales and ultimately we decided to really go for it and buy a used DVC timeshare. The process was relatively easy, there is a waiting period where Disney can opt to buy the contract from under you – Right of First Refusal they call it, but we had no problem with our particular contract purchase, it took about 90 days from day we signed our papers to close the deal. It was a little scary, we have never spent so much money on a luxury item as that in our lives, but I can honestly say without a doubt – it was the best thing we’ve ever bought ourselves and we know that we will continue to use it for the rest of our lives or at least until 2054 when our DVC contract expires. The annual dues are manageable, they offer monthly payments at no interest, and our annual dues are basically the same cost as 3 nights in a Deluxe Resort at regular price, but we can manage to stay and average of 14 nights a year.
Ariel Statue – Beach Club Villas DVC
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
In the end, our Happily Ever After was buying a DVC resale, however cheesy that is, but it is saving us so much money AND we can actually share it with our friends and family and have some really magical memories. I am delighted by Disney Vacation Club, they have special member events during the year, the biggest is probably the Merry Mixer which happens in November/December, last year there were 5 dates available, they throw a two hour private party for the holidays at Epcot, they provide light refreshments and give each family a DVC Christmas Ornament as a keepsake. This year is the 25th anniversary of DVC and they have some new things planned which look like a lot of fun.
DVC Merry Mixer – Pluto and Goofy Photo Op
DVC Merry Mixer
How do you do Disney, do you currently have a Disney vacation planned? Have you ever felt blue after going on a great vacation?