We're going to Disney World (again)

posted by Jeff | Thursday, October 4, 2012, 10:36 PM | comments: 2

We decided that it was finally time to take a vacation without Simon, now that he's headed toward the age of 3. Plus Nana and Papa said they would watch him, and they did a good job with Simon's cousins. We love him dearly, and we've toted him all over the country, but it was time for team Puzzoni to engage in some adult shenanigans, free of goldfish crackers and PBS Kids. So where did that lead us? Walt Disney World, of course.

It wasn't our first thought. If you want to truly enter an adult world, naturally Las Vegas comes to mind. I've been there with Diana only once (in 2008, I think), at the trailing end of a conference. I got a crazy sinus infection from a powdered pepper spill at the Paris breakfast buffet, and got very sick, very quickly, so that sucked. I did some pricing, and there are a lot of great rooms out there that are very cheap.

Then, all at once, I saw a Facebook friend mention she booked WDW, and we got a flyer in the mail promising 30% off for certain dates, and I had to check it out. When you look at a package there with theme park tickets and the dining plan, and compare it to hotel, food and entertainment (and gambling) in Vegas, what I call "classy" Vegas, the truth is that there isn't much cost advantage to Vegas.

So to up the ante (in Las Vegas parlance), I priced Disney at a deluxe resort. In the last six years, I've been there four times, and I stayed in Pop Century each time. It was the newest hotel of the value resorts, and for the amount of time spent there, more than adequate. This time, because grown-ups only trips will likely be rare, I wanted to stay in a nicer location, as close to Epcot as possible given the great dining (and potentially drinking) there. Beach Club in particular appealed to me, as a place where you could walk to the Off Kilter stage in five minutes.

Beach Club it is, for four nights. While I wouldn't characterize it as cheap, the overall package was about $1,300 less than the last time I priced it without any discounts. Disney math is hard, but I think the room rate probably works out to less than $250/night after tax, if you're assuming that the theme park tickets and dining plan are the regular listed amounts (ticket discounting is pretty rare). The listed rate is $385 per night, so I'll take that, given the fantastic location. The biggest win on these packages is always the dining plan, because at $51 per person, per night, your total food cost tends to be north of $75, which includes a table service meal with dessert, a counter service meal with dessert, and one "snack" item, which for us was often an ice cream novelty or popcorn, typically.

We haven't been to WDW in three years, and Diana was pregnant at the time, so I had to do Space Mountain and the like solo. We did Universal Orlando almost two years ago, with Simon, which ended up being a lot of fun because of my pal Kara tagging along, a solid parent swap system, relatively small crowds and the hotel proximity. It's definitely time to go back, and we desperately need some quality "us" time. Given how much fun we had in our pre-parenthood days, this definitely makes more sense. We're not the pin-trading, mouse ear-wearing types, but we sure have a good time there. With the Christmas stuff in place, perhaps a Segway tour, and maybe another shot at drink-around-the-world, this could be an epic trip.


Pooh, October 6, 2012, 5:39 AM #

Not sure what you're looking for in your hotel at WDW but if kids running through the lobby with bathing suits, screaming soaking wet is your thing then the Beach Club is perfect for you. If you are looking for a quiet hotel while still being able to use the Beach Clubs amenities then I'd consider going next door to the Yacht Club.

Stayed at Beach Club this summer and it was a disaster for my tastes. Besides the Grand Floridian, the Yacht Club is by far the best hotel on property imo.

Have a nice time regardless.

Jeff, October 6, 2012, 11:43 PM #

I'm not particularly concerned about WDW and kids, because none of them are mine. :)

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