[WDW120] Considering a 4-month Disneyworld vacation!


#1

After planning six major WDW trips over nearly two decades “encumbered” with kids vacation times and my allowable time off, I’m about to retire and be a lot less encumbered. My wife, being the saint that she is, is allowing me to plan a post-retirement ultimate vacation, a multi-month WDW trip! We have a “DS21DS”, a 21-year-old son with Down Syndrome that will be joining us. It is still a magical place for him, so this will be amazing for him too. My other two now-working kids are understandably jealous.

As an avid liner, I already know how to really pack things into a trip. Our trips have usually been 10 days and I fill them up completely, packing in as much as possible following all the good advice from “the book” and given here. Maximum fun per hour, sleep later. Those class of trips I think I have pretty well figured out. This will be a very different trip though, hence looking for some suggestions from long trip liners. For once we will have LOTS of time, so it will be something new to us, WDW and relaxing! There probably are some roses to stop and smell in between rides, we just never slowed down to look.

Pretty much all options are open. The core concept I am thinking of is:
- Sept 1 – Dec 31 2018. Still want low crowds, so this seems best time overall. Yes, I created a spreadsheet with 7 day, 30 day, and 90 day moving averages of crowd levels for a year! 
- Find a short term apartment rental, ideally in Celebration, but open to someplace else.
- Get annual passes for WDW, Universal, and KSC (It will be mostly WDW, but like the other two too)
- Probably a “recon trip” to check out said apartments earlier in the year.

This clearly isn’t a low budget trip, but I still like to be efficient. The short term rental seems the best option but open to other suggestions. By mostly eating “at home”, I believe baseline food costs won’t be much above normal non-vacation costs. We will drive from the mountain west instead of fly, so will have a car. With those core assumptions it is looking to be “only” double the cost of a 10-day trip with most savings related to lodging and food. Reality will likely be a bit higher!

My primer question for the “long trip” experts is what extra things do you like to do when you have a lot of time and not packing in rides? Some things I’m thinking of:
- Get every liner award there is “just because”. Yes, even for IASW.
- Finally see every parade (was prime time for rides normally), and pretty much every side show there is too.
- Finally go see the water parks. More a September option than December.
- Pick my son’s favorite ride and loop it for as long as he can tolerate or the park closes (even odds in my opinion!)
- Wander the lobby and grounds of every WDW hotel.
- Go on every behind the scenes tour of even remote interest.
- Maybe try for the “every Magic Kingdom ride in a day” award realizing it is very tough.

We’ll be doing a lot of non-WDW stuff too, but I figure for starters concentrate on WDW. My general hope is to get to the parks for at least 90 of the 120 days.

I’m holding off on tactical questions, better to start with high level questions first.


#2

We have spent 3 mos in the Disney area for the past 7 winters. This year we bought a home and plan 5 months. Honestly, we do not go to theme parks more than 3-4 times per week. We have AP's to WDW , UOR, & Sea World. I love the flexibility of going for a few hours without feeling pressured to wait in lines and "do it all." When I want to walk, it's a lot more interesting to walk through AK than around the neighborhood! I take my book to Kidani and sit on the balcony in a rocking chair overlooking the Savannah. On crummy days I take my book to GF and enjoy the music & atmosphere. We don't eat many meals in the parks because frankly better food can be bought off-site for less. Truly every morning I wake up and ask myself, "What fun thing should I do today?" There is so much to do within 90 minutes of WDW! I think you will love your time there.


#3

I don't know if this would even be a possibility, either financially or logistically, especially with DS. But what I would dream of doing in your situation would be to try and stay at every resort, just for a night even.

Even one night could give you the best part of 2 days to explore each one, although as @snowdiz said you don't need to stay to immerse yourself at each one. And with an AP, you might be able to get a discount to help with the deluxe prices!


#4

Wow! I love this idea! I might just have to add this to my bucket list!


#5

One "bucket list" type thing to consider is to stay at least one night in every resort. You can often find last minute super deals using Priceline/Hotwire and also by renting DVC points.


#6

As I just got an email with all the activities going on at POFQ while we'll be there, you could certainly enjoy all of those at the various resorts!


#7

Snowdiz:

Great advice, thanks! Fully agree is isn't going to be every day at the parts, I am working on the list of other fun stuff too. I do expect to enjoy taking it slower and at least noticing the roses and hopefully stopping to smell them too. I like your idea of maybe doing more than just seeing some hotels just to see them, but also as a day-trip destination.

will


#8

Nickysyme and brklinck:
Yea, that might be a pretty big budget-buster, but something very fun to think about. Made for a good conversation with my DW this evening. Outside one very enjoyable stay at the Contemporary as part of a split stay, we've only ever stayed at value resorts. Maybe not visit all the hotels, but could at least consider a few.

will


#9

Here are just a few things we have loved to do in the area: (1) Drive to Cocoa Beach. We park at the Hilton and spend the day on the beach and on their super deck area. A tiki bar has good lunches and drinks and it's great to have a convenient washroom. (2). Drive to St Pete Beach. Allow about 1 1//2 hours drive due to bridge traffic. The sand is beautiful. The Dolphin Inn has a fun beach bar with decent food. (3) Winter Park is a pretty town with many nice shops and outdoor dining. A nearby lake offers fun boat rides to see lakefront houses. Rollins College is there, besides 2 museums. (4) Blue Springs State Park to view manatees (5) Bok Tower Gardens (6) Sarasota is only about 2 hours away, Ft Myers 3 hours. (7) Arnold Palmer Golf Classic in March. (8) Spring training games (9) Golf at a variety of courses. Etc Etc Etc.


#10

I don't have any suggestions, but wanted to say what a cool idea!
The planning part to me would be almost as fun as the trip...


#11

Snowdiz:
Cocoa beach is definitely on the list, but hadn't gotten into thinking where yet. Thanks for the suggestions. We have some family reasons to drive up to Palm Coast. We get ads for St Peter/Clearwater on NPR, so are at least aware of it, but good to hear specific recommendations.

will


#12

JJT:
:slight_smile: Yea, For the earlier trips I got a full years worth of entertainment doing the planning in addition to the week of actual time in the parks. It truly is as much fun planning as executing. This is going to be very different though. I am not trying to cram as much as I can into 10-ish days. I (naturally) already have dates noted for when to start ADRs and FPPs, but if the intent is to take it easy not sure how much to do way ahead of time. That is the real reason for this post, how do the experienced long-trip folk do this kind of planning?

will


#13

Are you planning to spend any time down in the Keys? DH and I spent 4 days in Key West on one trip, a while ago now but I would still love to go and explore some of the others one time.

Too far to drive there and back though, it would need a base down there to do it properly.


#14

First - WOW - completly jealous!
I have never done a long trip like this - but a couple of things that I have always wanted to do, but didn't have enough time for.
Find as many of the 'extras' that you can - things like the phone booth in the candy store at MK, the Wish book at Pinochio village haus, sitting next to Goofy and have him talk to you, I have seen some on here, but also internet searches will give you a ton.
I am a huge fan of characters, so that is something I would do - see all of them! :slight_smile:
The 'Atmosphere' things, like Dappers Dans, Divine, etc.
Yes to ALL the shows :slight_smile:
All the magic shots & animated magic shots - you can find them on-line, but WDW photo has a facebook page also.
I would also do SotMK and the perry the platypus mission,
If I had unlimited time, these are the things that I would do :slight_smile:


#15

Nickysyme:

No, not planning on going that far south. Besides Cape Canaveral and maybe St. Petersburg, maybe Palm Coast for a day trip for family. The running joke with friends here is that my idea of expanding my sights is just acknowledging there is something in Florida outside the parks. With DME, I haven't even bothered with a rental car until finally returning to USF the last trip to see Harry Potter world! :slight_smile:

will


#16

ajcraw102:

Some very good suggestions, I'm cutting and pasting those into my spreadsheet. Thanks.
Will have to look up the phone booth, never heard of that.
Also, can you please help me with SoTMK? Still getting used to the short hand.

Very happy the annual pass comes with Photopass. We got that for the first time on our last trip. I was skeptical if it would be worth it or not and with hindsight wish I had signed up for it for on many of the earlier trips. I am the family photographer, so this last trip was the first one with me in any pictures! Not to mention better pictures.

will


#17

SotMK = Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom http://wdwprepschool.com/how-sorcerers-of-the-magic-kingdom-works/

I would try to use every form of transportation at the parks/resorts, especially as part of your resort hopping. Get to Disney Springs, take the boat over to POR/FQ. Boat from MK to Wilderness Lodge. There are "sleigh" rides at Ft. Wilderness in December. Ride the Main Street Vehicles (this has been on my list for a while, but I always get caught up in making the most of the early morning touring!