There is something odd about WDW. Is it a drug? A cult? Mass delusion?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve spent more on vacations in the last two years (four WDW trips) than I ever have before. For sure, they’ve been amazing. But my one-off trip of a lifetime wasn’t enough. I wanted more and more. I currently have three trips booked: for December, June and October.
I’ve realised I need to start making compromises. I’m going to do two trips a year. With a budget of about $5,000 each. But major savings I’ve decided I have to make are: no more business class flights (the horror!) and six nights rather than nine on any one trip.
Strangely I’ve only recently consciously realised just how expensive WDW is. Because much of the pricing is in dollars, I don’t take it seriously. It’s like Monopoly money to me. And, of course, much of it you can spend by tapping your magic band — my father used to say that you should always pay for everything in physical cash because then you feel the pain of handing it over.
Last year WDW added hotel parking charges. There was outrage, but I didn’t care because I don’t drive in Florida (and the charges don’t apply to UK guests anyway). But now they’re going after dessert party patrons and suddenly my outrage meter is screeching alerts at me. They’re increasing the price by about 20%. The Tomorrowland Terrace HEA party is going up to $99. Even I’m starting to think, “wow, that’s expensive — maybe I should look at other options.” Of course, that might be the point. The laws of economics suggest you keep increasing the price until the level of demand falls to the level of supply. I guess that’s what’s happening here.
I’m even wondering about staying off-property again. I was lucky to stay for free at a friend’s house during my first trip. Sure, it was an Uber ride away from WDW, but it was also a wonderfully tranquil haven. Being in the bubble is great, but sometimes it’s nice to escape it. When I look at what you can rent and how much you pay for it, suddenly the off-property people are looking like the smart ones.
And if I’m going to stay off-property, suddenly buying packages no longer seems obvious. UOR annual passes aren’t that expensive. But why pay twice for any given day (if I have a 14 day WDW ticket — the minimum you can buy in the UK — and I spend one of my days in UOR, I’m paying for both resorts but only going to one.) Maybe I just buy day tickets to WDW, supplemented by party tickets or DAH tickets. Or just do DAH and parties. Spend the day time at UOR with my cheap annual pass. That might make more sense financially. (I recently wondered about buying a WDW annual pass. Oh, how I laughed when I saw the price. It makes no sense for me at all.)
My previous trips have been characterised by vigorous use of up-charge items. But surely there’s a line. How much do they have to increase DAH to before I think, “hmm, maybe not.” Or even, “hmm, that’s just not in my budget — I can’t afford it.”
How price sensitive are you? How disciplined are you with the budget? Are you beginning to feel squeezed?