We planned a Disney Vacation on the cheap. Fly in Saturday, fly out Tuesday. Three-night stay at a mid-level resort. We used the complimentary transportation (by bus and boat). We went in mid-December, when both prices and crowds are lower (we only had to pull the kids from school two days). We hung out at the resort Saturday, hit downtown Disney on Sunday, and one park – the Magic Kingdom – on Monday. You know what my kids' favorite part of the trip was? The resort arcade and shopping at Downtown Disney. Next time, I said, maybe we'll take a vacation to the mall, and give them $400 each to blow. We'll spend a lot less over all, and they'll have just as much fun. That said, we probably wouldn't. We enjoyed the kitchy beauty of Disney, the grown-up drinks poolside, the strolling about. It's a once-in-a-life experience in my opinion; I'm very glad we went, but we wouldn't be back because of the expense and there are other cheaper local fun options.
Maybe what made it less thrilling is that my daughter has never been into princesses, and although my son is Cars-crazed, there was not much Cars-themed when we went, and he has little interest in other Disney movies.
No one does customer service like Disney. A pleasant stay all around. Even though it rained on and off, it didn't keep us from being able to do most things. Even in December, my kids could swim in the pool because it is heated (too cold for us, but we just hung out and drank), and it was certainly uncrowded! Even the Magic Kingdom was fine in the rain because so many of the rides are indoors – we had to take shelter once or twice for a few minutes, but on the whole it did not impede us, and it sure reduced the lines.
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