Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vacation Conundrum

Vacation Conundrum

            I have an interesting vacation conundrum. Do I buy a timeshare just 8 miles from Disney or do I opt to pay more to stay on Disney property?
            What needs to be considered is the obvious savings on lodging and potential savings on food (that can be substantial) outweighed by the added expense of car rental, parking fees, travel time and the loss of potential savings on dining plans. Savings can also be eaten up by other ground travel expenses if you choose to do a cruise after your stay at the timeshare and park.
            Let me talk a little more about the savings. Obviously a timeshare can save you on your hotel room. Now consider this. If you’re staying in a timeshare where you have a kitchen you can stop in a market and purchase groceries that are less expensive off Disney property. You can have breakfast before going to the Park, pack snacks to take with you and even pack a picnic lunch and/or dinner. This can be a substantial savings when you consider the cost of dining in Disney parks. Even a standard bottle of soda or water costs $3.25 in the parks. It’s a significant savings to bring your own food and drink.
            Staying at a timeshare off Disney property can also make it much more convenient to go to other local entertainment destinations or even to the market. Think of it this way, when you stay on Disney property you are in a 47 square-mile area. If you call a taxi to take you someplace they have to come into that huge area to pick you up and then drive you out of that area to get you where you want to go. Your taxi ride will be quite costly!
            If you stay on Walt Disney World property and purchase a ticket package you are often eligible to buy a discounted dining plan. This reportedly can save you as much as 33% on meals and snacks. Also Disney has a fantastic ground transportation package should purchase when you stay on property. They only time you have to touch your luggage during your travels is at your home airport. You check your luggage in when boarding the plane to go to Disney World and Disney picks it up for you at the Orlando airport and takes it to your hotel along with you. When time comes to go home Disney takes your luggage from your room and checks it in at the airport when they take you back to the airport.
            Another convenience to staying on property at Disney World is the time savings. You wake up in the morning walk to the bus stop, Monorail station or boat dock and board your transportation to the Park of your choice.
            If you stay off property (including timeshares) you have your drive from your hotel or timeshare then you have to choose which Park to go to and if you are planning on going to more than one Park in one day you have to consider where you park your car. If you park your car at the Park you start your day at and use the Disney transportation system to go to next Park you’ll have to ride the Disney transportation system back to where your car is parked. Then you have the drive back to your hotel. This can obviously take more time out of your day and staying on property than just using the Disney transportation system.
            One of the greatest disadvantages is staying off site is missing out on the Disney magic and simple Disney touches you get staying at a Disney resort. No Mickey shaped towelgami, Mickey themed toiletry packages or fantastic over the top Disney service.
            This is a decision that each family needs to make for themselves. For some each penny saved is worth the loss of Disney touch you receive at the Disney hotels and the inconvenience of driving every day. For others they can’t think of staying anywhere but Disney. They dream of finding Disney towelgami and enjoying the magic touches you receive at a Disney resort.
            For me and simply comes down to a balance. If the savings is significant enough to outweigh the loss of the Disney touches and the inconvenience I will do it. But the savings has to be significant. In truth I’d rather stay on property and soak in the Disney magic, it’s worth a little more to do that. But when I can save $50, $60 or each day I have to consider it.

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