I’ve been to wdw many times over the years although I think only 4 or 5 trips in the last 20 years. The most recent trip was early December 2017. We mostly have stayed on site, usually at a value resort ( once at POR ). The past few trips I used Touring Plans to plan out our days and was mostly pleased with the results. We enjoyed doing the work ahead of time, making our choices, and following the plan, making adjustments on the fly as we were forced to.
The family consists of my wife, 17 yr Son (turning 18 on 2/2), 9 yr Son (He has Cerebral Palsy and so we will be bringing his big kid stroller and getting an accessibility pass to use it as a wheelchair), 8 yr Son, and 2 yr Foster Daughter who has been with us since birth. It’ll be her first trip! and Me.
With changes over the past several years, and rising costs, we honestly werent sure we would be able (or willing) to spend the amount of money required to do something close to what we used to do. However, friends of ours have offered us a week at their bluegreen timeshare in Orlando for a week Jan 30 - Feb 6 to take our oldest son to USF and IOA for his 18th bday. We also have a Disney Visa we’ve been accumulating reward dollars on for several years, as well as a couple of family members who have donated their unused reward dollars to the cause, as well. So a combined Disney/Universal trip became a no-brainer. We were thinking we would add a Disney portion of the trip, doing basically what we could do with the reward dollars and gift cards we have at our disposal - around $3175, so that the only real out of pocket portion of the trip would be the Universal tickets as well as food and purchases there. But now I’m having trouble trying to wrap my head around how to best use that pile of Disney money.
So the dates we are staying at Bluegreen are locked in and we think we will purchase Universal’s buy 2 days get 2 free deal. We are planning to go to Universal parks Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sun. Taking Saturday off. Wed would be planned to be a sleep in some and go lazily stroll about the parks enjoying the Harry Potter stuff and only squeezing in what rides work out easily, if any, so It would be intended to be a bit of a break day too.
That leaves Monday and Thursday as Disney days. We are thinking we’d do Magic Kingdom Mon. and HS Thurs. That much we think is set unless someone thinks another configuration would be a significantly better strategy.
What I would love to do is book POR for Sat 1/29 - Mon 1/30, add going to Epcot on Sunday and buy Genie+ for MK and HS. Unfortunately, I estimate doing that would leave us about $280 for food and any other necessities on the 3 Disney days. I dont think we can make that work very comfortably.
Before the choices let me ask a few questions:
- If we stay on site Saturday and Sunday and bought 3 day tickets planning to use one of the days on Friday after we’ve moved off property, would we still be considered on site guests and be eligible to book Genie+ and ILL at 7:00 as well as take advantage of EE?
- Is it still worth paying for Genie+ if you are staying off site?
- Should our 9 yr old having alternate entrance access and being in a “wheelchair” effect the decision to purchase Genie+?
- Is there any chance of purchasing ILL for SDMT, ROTR, or Guardians if we are off site?
Depending on answers to those questions, and then tough priority decisions, I think we have the following options:
A. Book an off site hotel for the first two nights and have more “Disney Money.” That probably would result in spending about $120 -$200 out of pocket. Might have enough to do a character lunch at Garden Grill (which we loved when our boys were younger) and I went ahead and booked for Sunday just in case.
B. Stay on site (probably just Sunday night in this scenario) but only do 2 day ticket doing MK and HS and then have plenty of money for better dining options and extra things. Garden grill is of course out in this scenario but might be able to do a different Character meal at MK, HS, or at a resort on Saturday.
C. Stay on site first two days, do all 3 parks, do all the Genie+/ILL we can and just spend another couple of hundred out of pocket if we need to for in park spending. Dont know that we would have enough money for a character meal going this route.
D. Stay on site first two days, do all 3 parks, but skip Genie+ and have that cost to help the dining money go farther.
Any other ideas?
What are your thoughts and advice wise and experienced Lines folks?