I just returned from Disney World vacation in Orlando, Florida. When I got back, I felt exhausted. Should a vacation be this tiring? I had everything planned out, how to get from point A to point B, what to do first and last, and how to get there. I even followed Unclutterer’s packing tips to ensure I didn’t miss anything. Still, there were times when I felt I was just wasting time and energy during the vacation. So where did I go wrong?
It started with our trip to the airport from home. My wife and I were told that my 3 year old daughter had to be on a toddler’s car seat during the van shuttle rides. Even though it is the law in California, most shuttle drivers don’t care. Ours certainly didn’t care. When we got to Florida, the same thing happened; the taxis and shuttle drivers didn’t care about the car seat. So we wasted the energy to lug around a car seat that we hardly used.
Then there was the airplane ride. It took about 8 hours to travel from California to Florida, including a transit stop in Dallas Fort Worth Airport. We could’ve saved about 3 hours if we flew non-stop, but that would cost us an additional $200 per person ($600 for the 3 of us). When we arrived in Orlando, it was 11 PM Florida time. We were tired but couldn’t sleep until 3 AM because of jet lag.
To save money, I opted not to rent a car since it would cost us $100 per day (including gas, parking, and insurance). Instead, we used the “free” shuttle service from the hotel to Disney World for 3 days. We discovered the pickup and return schedules were awful. Morning pickup was as early 7:40 AM which meant we had to wake up at 7 AM every day. Who wakes up at 7 AM during their vacation? On the first day, we were going to visit Disney World’s Animal Kingdom first, but we missed the shuttle at 7:40 AM because the driver decided to leave 10 minutes early! We had to wait until the next ride at 11 AM, so we pretty much changed our plan and went to EPCOT first. We got to EPCOT close to noon, so half of our day were wasted by sitting and waiting around. We did have a long breakfast buffet at Ponderosa, which was interesting in its own unique way.
The adventure didn’t stop with going to Disney World. Coming back from the parks was as grueling as getting there. The last schedule to return was set at 9:15 PM from Magic Kingdom. They warned us not to be late, so we made sure we got there at least 10 minutes before. We didn’t want to miss the shuttle and the possibility of paying $40 for a one-way taxi ride back to the hotel. So we would miss the parade and fireworks. No matter how well we timed it, we had to fight the crowds to get to the exit and we still ended up sprinting to the parking lot; only to find the shuttle was late! Oh well!
With the money we saved, we figured it was worth to spend that extra dollar eating in the theme parks. We spent, among other things, $7 for a small pizza, $5 for a hot dog and fries, $2 for a Popsicle, $2 for soda. Another words, we paid double the price for food! We thought that was convenient. We didn’t have to exit the park to eat. Except in some places, during lunch, the lines were at least 30 minutes long just to order the food!
So, all in all, we both agreed this was a great experience. Will I take my family to go back there in the near future? I doubt it. We’re just happy to be home again!
Note to self:
- Vacation is not all relaxing and comfortable.
- Vacation is expensive.
- Save more money for the conveniences.
- Patience is required.