I’ve been talking about our trip to Orlando since around March and last week I didn’t post anything except in image that mentions Disney. I hope that was a big enough clue that we were on our trip! We don’t announce our trips ahead of time because yo
u may be psycho and try to steal all of my stuff. I hope that if you’re obsessed with me and crazy enough to want my second hand furniture, you’re also obsessed enough to know that my house wasn’t vacant. Regardless, it wasn’t your business that we were gone.
Now it is. It’s all your business and I’m going to talk about it ALL WEEK PLUS SOME!
Today we are just talking about the basics. The rest of the days we will be discussing each park we attended. If you don’t care about Disney or Universal, feel free to skip all of these posts. If you care, read! And feel free to add your two cents in the comments of any of these posts.
Saturday: We flew into Orlando, checked into our hotel, and went to Downtown Disney for dinner.
Sunday: Disney’s MGM Hollywood Studios
Monday: Universal Studios
Wednesday: Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
Thursday: Magic Kingdom
Friday: CVS’ Minute Clinic and our hotel
At the beginning of the year we opened a Southwest Airlines credit card. We don’t use credit cards often, just for gas and our EZ Tag. Since we both commute on a toll road each day, it’s actually a good bit of money so we like to earn rewards. When you get the card and make your first purchase, you get a bunch of free miles credited to your account, about the equivalent of two free round trip tickets. So we used these miles to buy our tickets, making our flight cost $10. (There was a $5 fee on each round trip ticket.)
We decided to rent a car instead of using the buses and taxis. We heard mixed feelings from people about this but it was 100% the best choice. Details below. We used Southwest.com to rent our car. We got it from Saturday to Saturday for only $112. NOT BAD, MY FRIENDS! I don’t know how much taxis cost but it can’t be much less than that! Plus it’s so convenient to have a car. We used Payless… some no-name company. We didn’t have any issues with them, but several people on our bus back to the airport were complaining that this is the worst car rental company they’ve ever dealt with. We chose the cheapest option and ended up with some 4 door sedan that was just fine.
We drove to the Universal parks and parked in their lots for a mere $15. HA. Pocket change. I don’t think there is another option of Universal and even if there was, this was easy and convenient and what’s another $15 on top of what you’re already spending?!?
For the Disney parks, we decided not to use their parking lots. Those parks are more crowded and, let’s face it, most of them are on some sort of Disney crack… we don’t need to be driving around them. Instead we parked at Downtown Disney (for free), took the bus to
Port Orleans Resort, and then transferred to the bus we needed. It’s not the quickest route but it’s free, easy, and free. Really though, if you’re the type that wants to be at the park the second it opens and then get back to your hotel quickly, this may not be the best option for you. For us? Great. We were relaxed the whole trip so this worked for us.
We didn’t stay on site. We aren’t millionaires. I used Expedia to fine a good deal and then read EVERY SINGLE REVIEW about that hotel until we committed to it. We ended up at the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites in Buena Vista. The rate we got was something like $72/night but with fees and stuff, it ended up about $84/night. NOT BAD. I highly recommend this place. When we go back to Disney sometime in the future, we will be staying there again. They had a continental breakfast that was well stocked and had quite a few options. There was enough seating and the only line was for the waffle machines AS USUAL. The location was fantastic. Not too close to the parks ($$$) but not far at all.
Tickets and other expenses:
I bought us 4 day passes to the Disney parks (without the Park Hopper option) and 2 day passes to Universal. We knew we wanted to do the 3 main Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood) and the 2 Universal parks. We weren’t sure what we’d do on Friday, either go to Animal Kingdom or repeat our favorite park. Buying a 4 day pass isn’t much more than buying a 3 day pass, so I went ahead and bought it. If we chose to repeat a Universal park, we wouldn’t lose that much on the Disney tickets. In total, our tickets were a little over $700.
I started tucking cash away when we decided to go to Disney. I tend to get cranky about spending money, so I wanted to have ALL cash for food and souvenirs. I budgeted $100 per day, knowing that some days we’d come well under that and some days (Harry Potter) we’d go over. We ended up having $200 leftover at the end of the week. Keep in mind that we didn’t splurge on a ton of food and Disney junk. We only got a few souvenirs and none of them were very expensive. We didn’t eat at any of the “nice” restaurants at any of the parks. Instead we chose counter service for lunch and either counter service or off-site restaurants for dinner.
I think that is it for the overview. If I missed something or you have specific questions, let me know!
This is my Disney Bound picture that we took on the (free) bus to the park.