Some deep thoughts from Profmatt


#1

I’m partly writing this for my own benefit — as a way of thinking out loud. But I welcome any (nice!) thoughts anyone might have.

There are two things stopping me from committing to planning a WDW / UOR trip for next year: money, and my dog.

I make pretty good money and, being single, I have no dependents so I have a fair amount of disposable income. But during the last few years a combination of a decades-long addiction to Apple products and a newly-found addiction to Orlando theme parks have led to some overspending. It’s fine. I have a chunk of credit card debt, but it’s all at 0% and I have a plan to pay it off, which I’m doing. It’ll be gone in a year and a half. Simultaneously I’m putting money into a couple of savings accounts.

Other than when I go to Florida, my dog and I are together 24/7. I never go anywhere without him. If a venue isn’t dog-friendly, I don’t go there. I haven’t been to the cinema — except at UOR (!) — for years. I don’t go to restaurants. No doubt this is unhealthy and I’m sure I could train my dog to survive without me, but it’s not really about that. I don’t have any family, I don’t have any close friends, so he is my world. And I’m his. And I think the fact that I can say #metoo goes some way to explain why I’m overprotective of an innocent, vulnerable little creature.

But I want to go back to Orlando. I was going to write a whole bit about why, but I think you all probably get it! The current plan is to wait until Calvin, who’s eight, has passed on. That’s likely to be in about four years time.

At the risk of sounding like a spoilt child — that’s too long to wait. What I mean by that is this. One of the things I struggle with is finding an answer to the question “what’s the point of being alive?” I’m not saying I have a bad life. No doubt many would be jealous of it. But don’t we all need something to look forward to?

I’ve got some vacations scheduled: trips to country cottages and woodland cabins that Calvin and I will take together. But I’m mostly not really looking forward to them. They provide a change of scene but, other than that, I’m not sure what the point of them is. Well, the next one is in early November — in the UK we have a thing called Bonfire Night and it means lots of fireworks and Calvin is terrified of them. So we’re going to a cottage in the middle of nowhere to escape from them. Then a couple of nights away in a hotel at Christmas because, well, it’s Christmas and it would be kinda sad if I just stayed at home alone.

Then my 50th birthday in April — I’ve booked an especially luxurious cabin in the woods, complete with hot-tub and sauna and huge-screen TV — and I already have a nice bottle of champagne in the fridge to mark the occasion.

And then next summer I have a trip to a lochside cabin in Scotland. It’s a long drive and I’m not as excited about it as I should be.

I mostly enjoy my work. Some of it is a grind. Some I’d do anyway if I were a millionaire. Some I’d ditch if I didn’t want / need the money. But I do ask myself “what’s the point of this?” Pay off the debt. Build up the savings. And then four short — ! — years later a trip to Orlando in an attempt to mask my then grief at losing my dog.

It’s not a very motivating prospect, to be honest.

So last night — not for the first time since I got back from Orlando in early July — I started thinking again about the feasibility of a trip.

My initial instinct was to go minimal in terms of cost. I want to stay on-property for the FPP and transport advantages, and general convenience. Ten nights at an All-Star is £1,200. A fourteen day ticket is £400. A side-trip to UOR would cost, say, £300. A cheap flight would be £800. We’re talking probably £3,500 all-in, including food, airport hotel in the UK and so on. Maybe it’d balloon to £4,000.

But then I looked at photos of the All-Stars and I read reviews and I just thought I’d feel depressed staying at one. They’re just not me.

Next up in cost was Caribbean Beach, but there’ll be building work going on there next summer and that put me off.

Which brings us to Port Orleans. Hmm. I dunno. Those rooms aren’t really calling me. So that means AKL. Lots of people like it. But the location isn’t great: it’s a lot of Disney busses.

And so we end up at Beach Club. Killer location. A nine night stay — I figure that’s a reasonable minimum — is £3,600. Wow. That’s triple the cost of an All-Star. Though the price does include the regular DDP and a $100 gift card. Add in tickets, flights, and so on . . . we’re talking, say, £6,000.

Hmm. Can I afford that? Well, I could find the money. It’s not an impossible trip. But is it an irresponsible one?

What about Calvin? The people who looked after him the previous two times did an OK job, I guess. I’m pretty sure they accidentally hit him on the head with a heavy ball during my trip this year and I don’t think they fed him the best food. But he survived. And I’ve got eight months to find an alternative if necessary.

What about the trip itself? What would the plan be?

If I did nine nights at BC I’d work it like this. Arrival day and departure day would be Epcot/DHS. Very straightforward. That leaves eight days. I figure two MK, two AK, two UOR, one Epcot, one Disney Springs or maybe a water park (perhaps even Stormalong Bay).

No extras. No dessert parties. No Disney After Hours. No Wild Africa Treks. I’ve done all that stuff. With two days at each park (except DHS) and FPPs at 60+9, surely I’m covered for rides. I’ve seen HEA three times — I’m not going to fight for a spot or wait for an hour to see it again. And I’m not doing a dessert party. But wouldn’t that be a great time to get in line for primo rides? Will IllumiNations be a thing next summer? But whatever there is, it should be easy enough to find a spot. Or an FPP. Fantasmic isn’t difficult to get into. I don’t care about ROL or the Star Wars firework show.

For a couple of hundred extra I can upgrade from regular DDP to deluxe — that brings signature restaurants into play. I figure one big breakfast and an early evening signature dinner every day and I’ll be good. Plus I’ll have those snack credits: a Frappuccino and a churro or Mickey bar sound good. Restaurant-wise I really want to try some places I’ve never been. Lots to tick off the list!

Well, it’s obvious I want to do this. I’d say the primary thing holding me back is money. I need to look at my spreadsheets.

Does anyone have any helpful comments or suggestions?


#2

I, also, have two very codependent dogs that I am loathe to leave. The younger is resilient and he managed a few days stay in a boarding facility just fine. But my old girl is more sensitive, and the three days in boarding were an unhappy stressful ordeal for her. I can’t / won’t put her through that again.

I have adult children close by who came by the house to feed / walk / love on the dogs during a recent trip. That worked out well for the dogs, but was a bit of an imposition on the boys. Our upcoming trip to WDW is only four days and the boys will be caring for the dogs again. Any longer than that might be too much of an imposition and I should hire a professional, but having a stranger in our home is something we are very uncomfortable with.

I have a very demanding job that is difficult to be away from for any extended time and cannot be done remotely. Two week vacation? Maybe when I retire. I do envy you Brits and your generous vacation days. If you’re trying to budget yourself and not suffer the pup too much, every two years seems a reasonable interval.


#3

Do you have anything like this near you?
https://www.waggingtailsuk.co.uk

If you have the funds to do it and will not get into debt that you can’t manage, book a trip. You only live once and, as you say, everyone needs something to look forward to.


#4

Potential game changer: POP CENTURY

I’ve just seen they’ve remodelled all the rooms. I like them. OK, so the location isn’t as good as BC. But it’s significantly cheaper. Room, tickets and regular DDP is £2,262 compared with £3,999 for BC. For nine nights.


#5

So, I understand completely what you are saying. I agree with @Twynyrodyn - you only live once, and everyone needs something to look forward to.

I’m supposing that taking your dog overseas with you is too problematic?


#6

We will be staying at Pop Century this Christmas for two nights before moving to AKL. It looks like a great place! We got ours through MVT at a great discount. I’m excited about it.

I’m thinking the dining plan is an even better idea now with the recent increase of food prices.


#7

I’m going to come at this a different angle. I’m a pretty frugal person. I also like to travel. We have not been to Disney as much as some people on here, but my family loves going. The only debt we have right now is paying off an iPhone 7, which we bought after iPhone 8’s came out, and our mortgage. We drive older vehicles. We have 3 kids. One is getting orthodontic work done, they have extra curricular activities, etc. We have no pets. We have a modest house.

That being said, we would love to go back to Disney more often. We just got a pin code and I looked up the costs. We have never stayed deluxe. Only value or moderate (because we have 5 people). Even All Star movies (which is being refurbished like Pop’s rooms) is way over what I would want to pay if we went next year. We just don’t do tons of extras. You only live once, but I know that I don’t want a bunch of debt constantly hanging over me and I don’t want to keep accumulating more and more. We may want to go to Disney World, but I know that I have to take care of the needs of myself and my family. We plan on going in 2020, if the funds look like they will be available. I consider us lucky that we can even think about going again in a couple of years. Next year, we are doing a smaller scale vacation, a road trip to DC and the beach. We plan on having a great time and enjoying our trip.

Just wanted to put this out there because I am sure there will be plenty of people on here that will give you every reason to go to Disney when you want to. This is kind of a different point of view.


#8

We could afford to stay at delux resorts but since my next trips are short with minimal time at resort, I am staying at Pop. The rooms look very nice. I am a little worried that DH will not like the outside decor but at a significantly reduced price tag it is worth it.
You could consider moving to Orlando with Calivin and get a job at WDW. I’m sure you would make an excellent CM! Or be a food blogger and have to eat at all of the restaurants for the good of your work!


#9

:joy::joy::joy:


#10

These are designed to tempt. You have your priorities right. A holiday is not worth long term debt and worry.


#11

The CM idea is hilarious. But this is a good idea.


#12

OK. This might actually be happening.

I just found an AMAZING flight price: Premium Economy outbound, Upper Class inbound, £1,200.

Pop Century 11 nights, tickets and regular dining plan, £2,500.

That’s £100 cheaper than 9 nights at BC with no flight.


#13

But you like food and signature restaurants!


#14

THIS^


#15

That is an incredible price!


#16

The Premium outbound, Upper Class inbound involves a change in Atlanta on the way home. It’s £1,142.

Or, I could get Premium both ways, direct, for £822.

Thoughts, anyone?

Also, Pop Century with deluxe dining plan is £2,819.

So Premium/Upper Class + Deluxe dining is almost exactly £4,000 for 11 nights. (Which is the cost of nine nights at BC with regular dining plan and no flights.)


#17

Atlanta is a big airport and you are adding another potential risk of a flight delay into the equation.


#18

There’s a two hour layover. Or there’s an option with a slightly longer one.


#19

I prefer as few flights as possible. At least, with a direct flight, you know that once the aeroplane has taken off, you can make a reasonably safe guess at when it will arrive. Why add in another risk of delay? Also, with a direct flight, even if you are less comfortable, there is a possibility of undisturbed sleep. What is the flight time difference? Will you have to clear customs and airport security in Atlanta? Isn’t that one of your ‘dislikes’?


#20

The Premium/Premium option actually has three plus points: (1) cheaper (2) direct (3) more flexible choice of dates — specifically I can shorten the holiday by a day and make an increased saving there. For a total saving of around £600. So one extra night and the flight home in Upper Class is another £600. Difficult to justify, especially with the layover complication.