I’m back! And I’m feeling awesomely relaxed and ready the talk about my trip:
We left for Disney (via car- we decided to drive, as GF has an airplane phobia) on Thursday July 9th @ 8PM. The weekend prior, GF had stocked up on a ton of snacks, fruits, veggies and deli meat to make subs. We grabbed a large cooler from GF’s mom and filled it with pasta salad, fruit salad, subs (1 each for both of us for breakfast) a pack of bottled water, some fruit flavored waters and apple sauce. We filled the backseat of our car with our bags and all the other snacks.
A couple weeks before we left, GF and I came to a pretty reasonable deal- for the actual drives, she would pay for whatever food we needed (at the time, I figured this would be gas station fare) and I would pay for all the gas. I have to give it to GF, she saved a TON of money couponing, finding deals, and putting together the food for the cooler. As for the gas, there was really nothing I could do. The costs for gas on the way down came to $172.12. The costs for the drive up haven’t come in yet (why to gas stations take forever to debit your account?), but I’m assuming they’ll be roughly the same as the drive down. And then once we were in the parks, we’d (roughly) split costs as we’d go.
I would be lying if I said the ride down wasn’t tough (the ride up was even tougher), but having the food packed and ready to go made it a whole lot easier. The fruit salad didn’t last long (we ate it within a couple hours of leaving), followed by the pasta salad. Unfortunately, when it came time for breakfast, the ice in the cooler had melted and completely water logged our subs (which we wrapped in Saran wrap, not thinking about the ice water), so we stopped into McDonald’s to hold us over until we got to Orlando, which was at 1PM the next day.
I want to talk a lot about costs while we were there since they’re so intimately tied to everything we did. The biggest costs in any vacation were already covered for us:
- My parents are in the Disney Vacation Club, so the room was covered in their membership
- The Disney Dining Plan (their form of a meal plan, which covered 1 snack, 1 counter service meal and 1 table service meal each day of your trip) and the Disney Park tickets were covered by my parents. This is something that has eaten way at me since they told me they would pay for it. Originally, I wasn’t going to go on vacation with the family, as I wanted to be “a grown up” and pay my own way if I could, but of course, with the debt payoff plan, I couldn’t afford it and wasn’t going to burden my parents with having to pay our way. They convinced to come by saying they would handle the big expenses in order to have the family together and be able to celebrate my new nephew and their 1st grandchild together. Do I regret saying yes to going? Kind of (for not paying for it myself), but not really. We (and the family) had a fantastic time and I know my parents don’t begrudge me for paying for us, plus I know I’ll be able to get them back one of these days.
We probably could have got by with not paying anything else, but that wasn’t the point of my month off and going on vacation- I ended up spending $358.82 and GF spent $125.00. (Note- GF actually spent about the same as me but for a good part of our time in Disney, I only brought my wallet with me so she wouldn’t have to carry hers. Hence, a number of her purchases went onto my debit card and she gave me the $125.00 for the purchases she made on it). This is actually a whole lot less than I thought I would spend. Here’s the breakdown of how we spent the money:
- $91.13 was spent on food outside of the dining plan. This included a lunch I got for GF and I in Orlando prior to getting to the resort. For those of you who never tried- I’m enamored with Sweet Tomatoes, which is a salad buffet/vegetarian chain. GF loves salads, so I wanted to take her here since we don’t have any within 1,000 miles of here.
- $123.47 was spent on booze- either for myself, GF, someone in the group, or the group as a whole.
- $148.64 was spent on gifts for people other than us
- $120.58 was spent on souvenirs for ourselves. What this consisted of was a Terror of Tower themed Clue game (we love board games, especially on weekend nights), a hanging 3-tiered picture frame and some glassware and coffee mugs (I like to collect coffee mugs).
The vacation was amazing and was worth every penny, especially to see family I haven’t seen in some time. It made me contemplate the potential of buying into the DVC, myself, when the time comes (many years down the road).
As for the drive up- it was long and tiring. We left the resort around noon on Thursday July 16th and didn’t get into Erie until 1 PM the following day. I have to be honest- I didn’t take anyone’s advice for the drive back. 1) We didn’t stop at a supermarket to get any food for our cooler 2) We didn’t stop over night at a hotel. Looking back, it was pretty dumb not to do these things, but we really wanted to have dinner in Savannah, GA to get a look at the city and I didn’t want to spend the money on a hotel, when I could sleep in my own bed if we pushed through the night. We ended up sleeping in my car for 3 hours around midnight to get some rest, which may have only made us feel worse. If and when we make this trip again, I’ll definitely have these mistakes in the back of my mind.
If anyone wants more specifics on our trip- where and what parks went to, how we battled the heat, how we tackled the large crowds, etc… feel free to ask me in the comments!