Thursday, May 26, 2016

Disney World 2016

I'm reviving my blog to have a place to talk about our upcoming Disney trip.  I have a record here for all of our other trips, and I want to have this trip recorded too.

But first, let's look at this quote from a blog post I wrote here in 2014 about the Disney trip I was planning then:
"this trip is a once in a lifetime trip for us...I don't see us ever doing a big trip like this again."
So yeah, I totally lied.  At the time, I really thought it would be the only big Disney trip that we took.  And yet, here we are less than two years later, and another big trip will be happening next week!  What can I say?  I just can't stay away for too long.  Disney just calls to me, "Come!  Plan another trip!  Give me all your money!"  And I say, sure!

This trip started when I took a temporary part time job at our church last September filling in as the Children's Pastor while the church was looking to hire someone new.  I took the position, knowing that it would be temporary and knowing that I already had a really full schedule.  I spent the whole school year still teaching 21 private piano students and 3 KiddyKeys classes each week.  Adding 15-20 hours a week at church on top of that, while still taking care of the girls and everything else, was craziness!  I told Daniel when I agreed to do it that we would use the money for something fun!  And something fun ended up being another trip to Disney!

(For the record, nine months later, I am still working in that temporary part time job at church!  I enjoy it, but the schedule is wearing me out and making me feel a little crazy.  If it continues for much longer, I am going to have to plan another fun vacation!!!!)

So, let's talk about our trip.  We decided to make this trip a surprise for our girls!  I can't believe we have kept it a secret for so long, and I am so excited for the surprise to be revealed!  We are leaving next Tuesday after school, which is the day before Audrey gets out of school.  The original plan was to pick up Audrey from school and go straight to Disney from there.  But then I was worried that she might be sad if she missed the last day of school and didn't get to say good-bye to her friends.  So instead, we are going to tell them on Tuesday morning before school.  That way Audrey will be able to  say good-bye to everyone and tell them that she is going to Disney World. 

This will be a 7 night trip with 5 park days.  When I first started planning the trip, I looked at staying off property and only doing 2-3 days in the parks, while maybe taking a side trip to the beach or doing something else fun in Orlando.  But as I began planning, Disney just sucked me in, and it turned into the whole trip being on Disney property.  If we are going to go, might as well go all in, right??

We will stay the first 3 nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village.  I am SO excited about this!  I never thought we would be able to afford to stay in a deluxe Disney resort, as regular price rooms in the summer months start around $400 per night!  However, I rented Disney Vacation Club points (through the DVC Rental Store) and only paid $211 (taxes/fees included) per night for a Studio Villa (standard view, so we won't be able to see animals at our window, but oh well!).  So far, the process of renting the points has been seamless and easy.  I have never even seen Animal Kingdom Lodge before, and I can't wait to get there!

To save a little money and to experience a different Disney resort, we are going to move to a moderate resort, Coronado Springs, next and stay the last 4 nights there.  Daniel's brother and his wife say this is their favorite resort on Disney property, so I'm excited to check it out too.  There was a room discount available through Disney, and I think our price was around $175 per night (after taxes/fees).

On our last trip, we went with the Free Dining deal.  Which was awesome!  We are not getting free dining this time, and it is going to be painful to pay for 7 days worth of food out of pocket.  I thought about just paying for the dining plan so as not to worry about it, but in the end, I just decided to pay out of pocket.  We have a couple of nice meals, and one character meal, scheduled, and then we will try to eat sort of cheaply the rest of the time.  I don't want to eat fast food all the time either, so we'll see.  I'm expecting to spend around $700-$800 on food for the whole 7 day trip. (YIKES!!!!!)

We are missing a few new attractions at Epcot by just a couple of weeks: the new Soarin ride and the new Frozen ride.  But there is still plenty to see and do, and I'm excited to try some new things that we didn't get to do last time!

I'm sure I will have much more to say both before we leave and after we get back.  So if you, like me, are a Disney World fan, stay tuned!