Disney Our Way - Final Thoughts

Walt Disney World is an excellent place to take a vacation. Winning that vacation is even better. Yes, we will have to pay taxes on the value of our trip, but it was worth it to us and we can afford it. While we could have done things a lot cheaper than we did, we knew several months in advance that we were going and put all *extra* money in a special bank account we called our Disney fund for just this purpose. This included the money I got from taking surveys, cash wins including one for $500, our state income tax return (federal return we had earmarked for other things), and our change jars. Also hubby finds money on the ground a lot at work and in parking lots and those pennies really add up. Added to the $500 gift card that was part of my prize package, and the fact that Ki and her group had their own spending money as did my brother and his girls, we had a nice hefty sum and we really didn't want to have to worry about scrimping or keeping to a budget.
The most wonderful thing about Disney is the atmosphere. Everyone who works there is friendly and helpful and smiling. They don't call it the happiest place on earth for nothing. Naturally with this many people, we had our moments, but we got over them quickly. I would go back in a heartbeat, all of us would. I had heard that Disney was overrated, too commercial, too crowded, blah blah blah. It's NOT. April was a great time to go weather wise as most kids are in school- sure the one day was cold but overall very pleasant, but it WAS crowded on the weekends. Not unbearably so, but I definitely prefer the weekdays.
Something very cool- if you are staying at one of the resorts you can have them put your credit or debit card on the room card and use that at all the parks. You can have it on just one card or all of them or just some of them. Devon LOVED wielding the power. It is very easy to just hand it over and most everywhere but a few snack vendors take it. A couple of times, though, the machines were down in the gift shops and I was glad I had my debit card with me. The hotel will print a copy of your charges once a day for you if you ask and a final tally on check out day.
Part of our prize included a 50 minute spa and 50 minute facial for each of us, but due to various circumstances we cancelled that and all in all I am glad we did since we didn't have enough time to do near what we wanted and I can get those anywhere.
Disney does this neat thing where they have TONS and I mean literally gazillions of pins that the kids (and some adults) like to trade. The best way to go about this is if you know in advance, buy a batch off of ebay or somewhere cheap. We didn't so did the next best thing- got a starter set that has the ribbon and some cheaper ones to trade. Well, the employees that have them have to trade with the kids and I forget which but the ones who wear a certain color ribbon have to trade with anyone. As part of our prize, we got 2 pins that were only made for the winners- there were 10 grand prize winners from the contest I entered through Georgia Pacific. Several employees remarked how rare they were and worth collecting. We of course kept those- well Keeks has one put back for the little guy. However the few dollars here few dollars there can really add up faster than you think.
Another very cool thing- in the hotels and gift shops and around and about there are machines that will press a penny or quarter with a Disney image. They cost anywhere from 50 cents to I think $1.50 was the highest one we saw. The machines we saw all had different images. We knew ahead of time and had taken a stack of both pennies and quarters for this purpose. This is especially nice if you want to give someone a little token and don't have much or want to spend even $5 or 10 dollars. They also have books to keep them in for collecting purposes.
We had all brought sneakers for our comfy shoe days, but... only a couple pairs of socks each. BIG mistake as we needed to at least part of the time wear them every day. Luckily for us we had the money and a handy dandy gift shop to buy a few multi-packs. We could have done laundry at the hotel but hello, vacationing here, sure don't want to waste time with that.
We had my brother get us some (winning) lottery tix in Florida as there is no lottery here in Arkansas. Unfortunately, he skipped the part about the winning and we lost, but we sent him some more $ to get us more. A wish and a dream and a $3 ticket is all it takes to change many lives, right. Can't win if we don't try.
We have decided if we ever go back to Disney World on our own dime to stay at the Polynesian if at all possible. Not that we wouldn't love staying at the Boardwalk Inn again, but because it was so amazing looking when we went for our Luau. We didn't have a lot of time to really explore there but it was just beautiful with lush tropical plants and everything. They also had a couple of really nice looking gift shops we didn't get to.
While we were at one of the deluxe resorts- they have I think budget, moderate and deluxe- I don't think I would go and not stay at one of the on property resorts. It was just so convenient with transportation and such and of course the perks didn't hurt a bit. Oh, and make sure if you leave a tip to leave it marked Mousekeeping... or housekeeping. They won't touch a dime that isn't marked.
Everything and I do mean everything was clean and neat. They don't miss a trick when it comes to thinking of the guests comfort at WDW.
While we had gotten a lot of useful information beforehand, some of it was very different that what we found. Most everyone says that things are disgustingly expensive and we just didn't find that at all. I mean, they were talking about shipping water on ahead and stuff. The large bottles of Dasani were only $2., smaller I think maybe $1.25- not positive because we didn't get those. Yes, I could get it cheaper if I got generic or on sale with coupons, but I'm at a resort for goodness sakes, and I didn't think it was out of line at all. I was expecting it to be $4 or $5 from what I had read.
There is nothing, though, like experiencing it yourself, and I highly recommend it if you get the chance. Disney Rocks!!!
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