Believe it or not, there is another way to experience the magic of Walt
Disney World – one that can come without the months of planning, the fortune in
costs, and the week of missed work. The solution, my friends, is the day trip.
Or, for those of you Disney-philes in need of a slightly larger fix, why not try
a mini-vacation consisting of a weekend, or maybe just a couple days? This
getaway tactic is a great idea for minimizing your money spent and time lost,
and is much too often overlooked by most casual vacationers.
Why most vacationers rule out the short trip is pretty easy to understand. I
tend to think it has to do with a set of “rules” we just kind of made up for
ourselves. Previous family vacations, grand stories from friends and relatives,
or just force of habit in general seem to be the biggest causes for why we often
follow these nonexistent “rules” when planning our vacations. To see exactly
what I mean, why donÂ´t we play a little game here? ItÂ´s okay, you can play along
at home, kids. Go ahead and keep track of just how many of the following you
have at one time believed to be an unwritten “rule” of staying at Disney.
1) All WDW vacations must be discussed, planned, booked, reserved, etched in
stone, sealed with a kiss, and wrapped up with a large bow and a “Do not open
’til Xmas” tag stuck on the front, no later than eight months in advance,
earlier if possible. This gives you something to look forward to and count down
to over the next year or two.
2) All WDW vacations must begin on a Saturday and last through the following
Sunday. An eight-night minimum stay exists at all on-property Disney resorts.
Should you decide to try and leave one night too soon, you shall experience the
mighty wrath of Chernabog as he summons your soul to live with him forever in
the bowels of Bald Mountain.
3) Once arriving on property and checking in at your previously chosen Deluxe
or Moderate resort (“What the heck is this `ValueÂ´ thing I keep hearing about,
anyway?”), one must proceed directly to the Magic Kingdom. Not EPCOT. Not
Downtown Disney. You cannot even stop for a late lunch. Proceed directly to the
Magic Kingdom. Do not pass go, and do not pick up $200. And once youÂ´re there,
you sure as heck better be smiling, gosh darn-it… youÂ´re in Walt Disney World!So
go buy a balloon with ears on it, and be happy about it…or else!!!
4) Any food you attempt to bring with you into the parks will be confiscated
by the Happiest Security on Earth and used to keep the hungry, hungry
tree-hippos at the Jungle Cruise well fed so they will stop attacking passing
airplanes. All breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, desserts, drinks,
samplings, or sips from the Cinderella water fountain must be bought and paid
for with every nickel, dime, and penny in your pockets.
5) If you are caught walking out of any of the parks or shopping locales with
fewer than three large yellow, black, and red plastic shopping bags, your exit
turnstile or door will lock up indefinitely until you return to the store and
purchase the prerequisite number of souvenirs and gifts for you and your valued,
err… I mean loved, ones.
6) The sum of all funds spent on each WDW vacation must be equal to or
greater than 322 trillion, zillion dollars and twelve cents …or your entire life
savings, whichever is greater. Otherwise you canÂ´t possibly expect to have a
decent time at Disney. So start saving early. (This is why you need to book so
far in advance!)
These are just the first few to pop into my head. The list could probably go
on and on with all sorts of these “rules”, but I think you get the general idea.
But regardless of whether or not you have ever believed any of those to be true,
IÂ´m willing to bet that you have certainly followed one (or most) of them on
your most recent Walt Disney World vacation.
I myself used to be the type who firmly believed that anything less than a
full week in Disney was a pathetic shortcoming, and wasnÂ´t even worth the time
and money that went into it. But with as busy as we are nowadays, and with the
cost of long, extended stays reaching higher to the skies than the peaks of
Expedition Everest, our lifestyles often wont permit this kind of vacation,
except for maybe once a year if youÂ´re one of the lucky ones.
But have you ever put any thought into taking your usual method of vacation
planning, and turning it inside out? Why not try planning your trip around your
life, rather than your life around your trip? I realize that most of you are not
local to the central Florida area, and so spur of the moment “Oh I have a day
off – LetÂ´s go to Disney!” trips are pretty much out of the question, but that
doesnÂ´t prevent you from finding other ways to justify a quick trip to the
For example, some of you travel frequently for business, or to visit family,
or for various other reasons. I know a gentleman who despite living and working
in Connecticut, travels to Orlando at least twice a year for trade shows and
similar such events related to his business. He usually sneaks in a stay of two
or three days with the mouse on at least one of those trips, and often brings
with him one or more of his children to celebrate special occasions such as
birthdays or special achievements. But even if your business schedule doesnÂ´t
allow for trips to Orlando, or your personal schedule just isnÂ´t quite as
accommodating, youÂ´re bound to find an excuse to stop by for a day or two
somehow. Just keep a big mouse ear open for opportunity.
In part 2 weÂ´ll look at the shortest of Disney visits: the day trip!