Friday, February 25, 2011

340. How To Plan A Vacation In 18 Easy Steps

  • Step 1: Discuss with husband projected dollar amount anticipated for this year’s tax refund (based on last year). Have that number in mind as overall budget.
  • Step 2: Deem that your sons (four and seven years old) are the “right age” for Disney World, and choose that as your destination.
  • Step 3: Go on Amazon and order two books: “So You Wanna Go To Disney” and “Mouse Magic.”
  • Step 4: Be vaguely irked when “Mouse Magic” arrives first and you realize that it is not, as you had thought, a book about planning a Disney trip, but instead is Michael Eisner’s autobiography. Read anyway. Be impressed and inspired, and vow to become a CEO of some company, somewhere, sometime in the near future.
  • Step 5: Get out a very official 8½ x 14 pad of paper and start writing down Important Notes about crucial aspects of trip. Write down “invite sister” because you would love to treat her and her husband to a dream vacation (plus she could be a built-in babysitter). Write down “buy new camera” because although yours is quite nice, you will need a better one with multiple lenses and F-stops and apertures and flashes and light meters to record every joyous moment of your vacation. Write down “9 days” because you think this would be the ideal amount of time for your vacation. Write down “no connections” and underline it twice because taking connecting flights is really just for people being cheap.
  • Step 6: Lose patience waiting for other book from Amazon and go online to do initial research. Gasp when you type in “Disney vacation” and Google produces 6,030,000 results.
  • Step 7: Decide that you must stay “on site” at the Disney hotel-that-the-monorail-goes-through. Look at prices.
  • Step 8: Decide not to pay for sister and her husband after all.
  • Step 9: Get frustrated and upset when realizing Things Look Expensive.  Decide current camera is fine. Decide 6 days is plenty of time for a nice vacation. Decide that saving $422 by connecting is not “cheap,” it is smart. 
  • Step 10:  Call Disney's 800 number to find out about package deals.  Talk to Carlie-The-Mousecation-Specialist. Tell her what you want (airfare, hotel, tickets to park) and what your budget is. Tell yourself that the muffled laughter you hear from Carlie is just her being positive and cheery.
  • Step 11: Determine that you don’t really “need” to stay at the monorail hotel. Try not to be offended when Carlie recommends Disney’s budget motel outside of Orlando (“located in nearby Lockhart”). Try not to yell “WHAT?!?” when Carlie informs you the room rate for this property is $219 per night.
  • Step 12: Start doodling on paper $219 x 6, + airfare = ? Realize that you don’t know the exact price of park passes. When Carlie tells you passes cost $75 per person per day, consider leaving husband and possibly one son at home (which son will be determined by a coin toss). Decide instead that a Disney vacation is best, really, as a weekend escape.
  • Step 13: Realize that you did not calculate the cost of meals into your budget. Ask Carlie about meal plans.
  • Step 14: Try not to cry when Carlie tells you the cost of meal plans.  Refrain from saying, "PER PERSON?!?"  Try to realize that Carlie is just doing her job when she tells you that you must book the “Character reservations” to join Mickey Mouse for breakfast a full six months in advance.
  • Step 15: Consider hanging up on Carlie, but instead say politely, “You have been very helpful, Carlie, let me think it over and give you a call back.”
  • Step 16: Go to the kitchen to get yourself a (free) glass of orange juice. Gasp when you notice the ancient refrigerator is leaking water (again) in huge puddles all over the glass shelves inside and ruining your strawberries. 
  • Step 17: Go back to the computer and Google “refrigerator prices.”
  • Step 18: Call the husband at work and tell him where you will go for your vacation: Home Depot.
(“My Orlando Vacation”)


  1. Hey, its Tera!! Ive missed reading!! Just wanted you to know that we rented a private house when we took our boys three years ago. Found them on craigslist. Saved $1400 by doing that!! And probably more because we bought groceries and packed lunches. SO dont give up that dream quite yet!! Also, disney passes on craigslist, too!! Anyway, a new fridge sounds cool too!! <3 home depot!!

  2. Hi Tera!
    Have you missed reading because of my self-imposed computer exile every other day (which is, ahem, not going so well) or because I posted 2 reruns of older posts twice in a row?
    Thank you for the Disney advice, that sounds very smart. We are toying with the idea of Disneyland now (in CA) because it might be simpler (no Epcot, etc) and it is the Disney I grew up with. We'll see!

  3. I had planned to go to Disney one day. Haven't made it yet. Instead, we have a new stove, new washer, new dryer... fridge will probably have to be replaced in the next year. Oh, and my son will be 18 this summer. *sigh*

  4. I've never been to Disney and start to twitch at the thought. So much money. For what, 6 flags with Mickey?

    I'm a scrooge, I know, but you've totally confirmed my fears!

  5. hmmm...maybe we will keep renting after all. because when we find fridge puddles, we just call the landlord so she can spend her vacation money on a new fridge for our house. BTW, our rent check is going to be a day late this month. Thanks for being such a great landlord!

  6. To be honest... Reposts... but understand!! Not everyone is a "Creeper" like me!!

    To everyone else... If it hadn't been for my husband pulling in to port there, while on deployment for a little RnR, we probably wouldn't have gone. Agreed it is so expensive, but we got some pretty good deals. (Our kids (11,5,3 at the time) had such an amazing day at Universal Studios, rather than the 5 days at Disney.)

    BTW... fridge puddles can also be caused by clogged drain tubes.. in that case, it's win win for you and your landlord, especially if she takes YOU along for saving her hundreds of dollars!!

    Happy Days, Ladies!

  7. We stayed at Fort Wilderness once. Monorail
    goes through there.

  8. We took our kids to Disney World for the first time last year, my first time too! We didn't stay in an on-site hotel, drove down and took our car and saved money there. Next time (in like 10 years) we'll do the meal plan, food was expensive in the park!!


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