Friday, February 11, 2022

Planning Disney World - a different way

How do you plan a Disney trip or any trip? 

I usually start with deciding the dates because you can't book a flight or hotel room without a date. 

However, sometimes that is not the case. Sometimes you  need to start with knowing what the expenses is going to be first. How much does  plane tickets cost? The hotel. How much are you willing to spend for this trip. How much do you need to save per pay check to afford this trip. How long do you need to save so you will have enough money. Having all these parameters answered will dictate how many days you can enjoy your trip and when. Would it be possible to enjoy it for 2 weeks?  1 week maybe? Or just 3 days.

Yeah, yeah. How much Paid Time Off (PTO) is also a factor but this is assuming you have enough PTOs that's why you are already thinking of planning a trip, in the first place. If that's not the case (ie: you have just used up your last PTO day), then what are you doing still reading this? Shouldn't you be working? Shoo!

Kidding aside.

Assuming you do already know that you have, say, 12 number of days to take a vacation, the next thing to do is to list down all the expenses for the maximum days you are willing to take. Yes, maximum. Remember, this is just planning. It is not a contract. It is not set in stone yet. We can still daydream/wish/hope/pray/call on to our fairy godmother.

For our example, let's say you have 12 days available PTOs, my list will look something like this:

1. Transpo. Like airport shuttle or rental car, uber/lyft, plane fare, train fare, cab fare, bus fare, parking. You get my drift? 
2. Hotel for 6 nights in Disney. You can try browsing for medium-ranged hotel like Caribbean, Swan or Dolphin resorts. Or if you want to really dream, scout for the high end resorts. I heard the Disney Polynesian resort is really nice. Start there then work your way down the resorts ladder. Art of Animation is a value resort (lowest end) but they are really nice! and they have a skyliner as your mode of transpo and a bus.
3. Hotel for 3 nights in Universal Studios (includes 1 night stay for when going to Space Shuttle, because you really don't want to switch hotel for just 1 night and pack/unpack again).
4.I usually allot 2 days for travelling. One day each way, in case of delays and what nots.
5. I also usually allot 1 day of vacation from my vacation (yes, there is such a thing, and you should do can thank me later, lol).
6. Food for 11 days (i did not include the #5 item).
4. Activity expenses (ie: park tickets, park hopper, memory maker, genie+, unlimited express pass if you're not staying at a universal resort, etc.)
5. Trip Insurance
6. Incidentals like souvenirs, gas money, cocktail-champagne-wine money, etc.


My list above is my my "dream" Disney World trip. My "if money isn't a problem" planning. Why not. Have some fun. Day dreaming is free. Planning is so stressful that you owe it to yourself to do anything you can to make it fun.

If you look at my first draft, it consisted of 6 days in Disney World, 2 days in Universal Studios, 1 day at Space Shuttle station (I've been there once and it's really cool). I have been to Disney World in 2005 and it was a whirlwind and I do not want that to happen again. Specially with 2 little children in tow. 


Second, I calculated the hotel for 2 nights in Universal Studios (we prefer the Universal Studios resorts because of the perks, I'll tackle this in my Universal Studios blog), the park tickets, the park-to-park (you need this if you want to take the Hogwarts Express Train) and food. Then I did the same for Disney World.


Once you have them all at hand, that's when you decide if you can afford it. If not, then you take off some days or choose the next hotel from the "hotel awesomeness ladder".

Below is what ours ended up with. We decided to do 5 days and we skipped the trip to the Space Shuttle. 
Take note that below did not include our transportation to and from Pennsylvania to Florida. I will write a separate blog about that because we decided to take an Auto Train instead of flying and that was a very interesting experience.

list down all your expenses first to get a feel of what you are getting into

There you go.
Do you think this is the plan style for you?
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all Disney planning. So just do whatever makes sense to you.
What I have here is just to give you a different perspective.

Enjoy your Disney planning!