Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Aborted Trip To Walt Disney World

Back in the spring of 2010, with some good fortune and an influx of cash, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler, the Boy, and me decided to take the plunge a book a trip to Walt Disney World.  Being that a trip to WDW requires a lot of planning, we decided to make the trip over the Christmas holidays some 8 months away from when we started to put this all together.

From reading WDW websites, I already had a lot of information but now it came down to making choices which is far different than planning.  Making a choice becomes a commitment and the one thing you don't want to do when making a trip to WDW, which is some 3000 miles from where we live, is make a wrong choice. A wrong choice is an expensive mistake.

It all starts off with where to stay.  Mrs. DLT and I can plan a weeks vacation to Disneyland at the drop of a hat.  WDW is a different beast with so many choices available beginning with your hotel.  I was good with one of the Port Orleans hotels but Mrs. DLT wanted to stay on the monorail line which limits the choices down to 3. The Contemporary? Too bland. The Polynesian? Too tropical especially at Christmas. So now we are down to the granddaddy of them all - the Grand Floridian.  A stay at the Grand Floridian over the Christmas holidays makes a stay at the Grand Californian seem like a Disney steal. When it came down to it, we were looking at over $900 a night. Going to sleep at  night I was breaking into cold sweats over the thought. It seems that when Mrs. DLT and I have to make a vote and the vote spits - she wins. Its easier that way. It took us a good two or three weeks to make a hotel decision.

Next up, reservations. I knew there were some restaurants that were "must-do's" on my list of things to do. To get a reservation at some of them (Le Cellier for example) you had to make a reservation 180 days in advance. Not 179 days - 180 exactly. And we wanted a Fantasmic dining package and we wanted to see the fireworks from one of the boats and we wanted to see the Candlelight Processional with a dining package and on and on... It got to be overwhelming. It got to be STRESSFULl. The fun was gone. This was work, hard work.

Mrs. DLT finally figured out we needed help and began the process of contacting travel agents. I highly, highly, recommend this to anyone who is a newbie at planning a trip to WDW. Travel agents in general aren't required so much anymore in the days of the internet. People are under the assumption that using a travel agent is expensive. It probably is - for Disney. Disney pays the travel agent fees based on the booking not the traveler. What you do find out however is travel agents like to feel people out to see how serious they are about booking a trip. They do not want to invest a lot of time on someone is kinda, sorta, thinking about making a trip. Mrs. DLT went through a couple of travel agents before she found one she was comfortable working with. We had an awful lot of questions and the agent we finally went with answered all our questions patiently before we committed to anything.

With the travel agent at work, we got all our reservations made as the Christmas season dates opened up. We had quite an agenda, one that would make any WDW Traveler jump for much anticipated joy. But as they say.... the best laid plans......

As a precursor to our WDW, Mrs. DLT and I went down to Disneyland in late September 2010 for a nice week's stay. Had a great trip as I recall (they usually are). But something happened immediately after we returned home. I had a blockage. Tried for weeks to treat with antibiotics and other medications but to no avail. It wouldn't clear and I was staring at surgery. 

On December 22, 2010 the very same day were to land in FLA for our WDW trip of a lifetime, I was on a operating table and a little South African urologist was working over my prostate. For various reasons, a trip to WDW is now off the table for Mrs. DLT and me. That trip we planned in 2010 was actually our third attempt to plan a trip to WDW in the years we have been married. Something has come up each time to derail our plans. 

Any you know what? I'm now good with not making a trip to WDW. The more you study about the place the more you realize that it has more in common with Disneyland than differences. Inside the parks, many of the rides and attractions are much the same just spread out over 4 parks instead of 2. True - WDW is much, much, bigger than the Disneyland Resort and has much more to offer in terms of places to stay and excellent dining but I'm just fine with Disneyland.

And by saving about $15000, bad prostate and all, I was able to sleep much better at night.

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