The Accidental Vacation

A month ago, I logged into Travelocity and saw that plane flights to Florida were cheap. Real cheap. Like we could all get down there for $800. I've been itching to visit my family down there.  

When I told my mom that we were planning on going down to Florida, she said, "you can't go to Florida and not go to Disney World."

"Uh, yes, we can."

"Laura, you have to go. The children will love it."

So, mom talked us into going to Disney World for two days, too.

Disney World isn't really my thing. I know that some people love it and even go there without kids. I met some people who went there on their honeymoon. To each to their own. It does confuse me, though, why someone would go to a Fake France at Epcot Center, when one can go to Real France for less money and get better food. 

ArticleLarge Actually, my dream vacation would be to go on a tour of ramen restaurants in Japan. Gotta love that there are ramen bloggers. (Check out the video.)

I'm sure we'll have a great time at Disney World. I mean, you've got to have a pretty huge stick up your ass not to have a good time at Disney World. I do have a couple of permanently snobby friends who not be able to dislodge the stick. I'm sure we'll get sucked into the madness the moment we get there.

Fares By the time we coordinated the dates with my cousins and assured that we had enough funds for the trip, it was two weeks later. The prices of plane trips had doubled.

Buying airplane tickets is like speculating on the stock market. The prices fluctuate wildly. I suppose if we traveled more often, I would have recognized that the $800 fare that I found four weeks ago was spectacular and snapped it up immediately. Instead, it's going to cost us quite a bit more.

My Uncle Naren watches the air flights constantly. He's like a travel day trader. He and my aunt followed their kids down to Florida a few years ago, but aren't quite at home there. My uncle is retired and hasn't gotten into the Florida life style. He would prefer to be in Atlantic City anchored to a slot machine. So, he finds insane plane flights and comes back up here all the time. He found $50 tickets last month. I should have hired him to find us a good deal, too.

Now we're printing out maps of the Magic Kingdom, figuring out travel time from West Palm Beach to Orlando, and finding bathing suits. It should be fun.

10 thoughts on “The Accidental Vacation

  1. It does confuse me, though, why someone would go to a Fake France at Epcot Center, when one can go to Real France for less money and get better food.
    When I was about to go to France (my first trip to Europe) many years ago, with a friend in college, several people asked us if we were going to go to Euro-Disney. I always hoped they were kidding, but they never were.
    As for Disneyworld, I’m told that they now have a system where you can essentially have a reservation for rides and don’t really have to wait in time. It sounds wonderful to me.

  2. “As for Disneyworld, I’m told that they now have a system where you can essentially have a reservation for rides and don’t really have to wait in time. It sounds wonderful to me.”
    I believe they also still have a nice special needs system, too.
    http://likeashark.blogspot.com/2008/08/post.html
    If you get to the bottom of the post, you’ll see an explanation of how it works. Drama Mama’s daughter is a tween.

  3. The four of us are going to SF for about $900 in March. Now that the kids are old enough to travel without making me crazy, I basically haunt the travel sites for deals. I also have no problem taking the kids out of school to avoid high-cost travel times (obviously).
    We did Disney about 2 years ago and had a blast.

  4. We are Expats and would love to travel to the US for the summer break. It’s really hard to get good prices for a family of six, though. My husband is self-employed and most of his work is short-term and always very sudden, so we can’t really buy plane tickets months in advance. Yes, even in expensive time slots you can make great deals if you hunt around – but not if you have to buy six tickets, sadly.
    My in-laws live in Florida and we visit them about every two to three years. Disney World is a total no-no for me. I worked as a “Cultural Representative” at Epcot Center oh-so-many years ago, and somehow, those scars have yet to heal…

  5. I was totally anti-Disney until we took the kids there a few years ago – I figured you had to do it at least once, so I sucked it up. It was a really good time. In fact, I can’t wait to take them back. Second, as for traveling with kids, which can be SUPER expensive, with your location, you should really look a home exchange (we use homeexchange.com). We’ve done several now (Niagara Falls, London and Paris), and it is great on so many levels. First, you’re not paying for lodging. Second, you have access to a kitchen so you can cook meals. And finally, you’re in a neighborhood rather than in a tourist bubble. Can’t beat it. Some people are weirded out by others living in their home for a while, but I have no problem with that.

  6. I went to Disneyworld as a kid – loved it. When I got older we wanted to take the kids (we have two daughters who were both very into the ‘Princess’ stuff at the time). We actually surprised them and didn’t tell them we were going until the night before and we literally thought their heads were going to explode.
    As an adult I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it as much and to be fair, there were some aspects that had lost their charm. But then there were others I appreciated more, like the cleanliness, the efficency and even the fascinating marketing aspects of it. The Disney corp is really an amazing machine. I also still loved a lot of the rides and enjoyed the new ones, still thought EPCOT was wonderfully geeky in just the right way, and had a blast, especially observing my kids.
    A few recommendations:
    – Take advantage of the Fast Passes. Get one, go hit a couple other rides that don’t offer them and then go use your pass. It’s a must if you ride Space Mountain. The other rides that offer them can sometimes be cruised to without.
    – My nephew is not autistic but has some ADD-type issues. My sister got him a book which lists all of the ‘hidden Mickeys’ which are all over Disney World. My sister said it kept him interested when there were moments he needed to be patient.
    – If you’re pressed for time, skip the Animal Kingdom. It’s extremely disappointing. We pictured a zoo or safari atmosphere. There’s really not a lot of real animals there and it wasn’t worth the half day we spent there.
    – MGM has a wonderful building that is often over-looked which is dedicated to animation. You can do all sorts of inter-active stuff involving cartoon characters and animation. The best part is an animation studio where you sit in a big lecture hall and a real Disney animator shows you how to draw a Disney character. Everyone has a pencil and paper and it’s a free souvenir. It was a huge hit with our kids.
    – EPCOT has something called the Cool Zone which you will have to ask directions to because it’s a bit hidden. They have free samples of sodas from all over the world. It’s a lot of fun if you don’t mind your kids gettng a little amped up on sugar and the sticky floors.
    – Spaceship Earth – the big golf ball at EPCOT – it’s the most peaceful ride in the park. I love it. It’s nerdy and my kids think it’s boring but it’s air-conditioned, takes about 10 minutes and the calm, soothing naration and music will put you back in that ‘happy place’ before you head back out into the craziness.
    – Don’t get sucked into the pins and lanyards. It’s a major money-drain.
    – If your kids want to meet all the Disney characters, go to EPCOT forst thing in the morning and wait over by the garden with all the memory plaques. A British-style double decker bus will pull up and they will all jump off at once. They will also sign autographs and pose for pictures.
    – The Aerosmith ride is the best roller coaster in the park – if you like those kinds of things.
    – Last thing: The Haunted Mansion rules. It’s delightfully cheesy. Go at night if you can. Put one of your boys in a car with each of the parents and watch their faces when the ghost gets in the car with them at the end. It’s priceless.

  7. I’m one of those people who hates Disney world (and, yes, we took the kids to Disney Paris, on the grounds that you are required to take your kids there at least once, and we might as well do it in Europe). But, it’s not because I’m a snob; it’s the sensory overload.
    Looking forward to the report back.

  8. I thought I would hate Disney but I liked it. They spent the last few years figuring out girls, and now are back to working on boys. I found the meal plan helpful.
    I was the most disappointed in Magic Kingdom, which still has several areas in need of updating and the worst food. My daughter, age 7, loved the Kim Possible interactive detective stuff at EPCOT. She wanted to do them all.
    My family loved Animal Kingdom and I was surprised at how seamlessly the park integrated cultural and environmental themes without doing any “myth of the empty continent” stuff (ya hear me, Jungle Cruise!) If you have a big party (more than 8) you can qualify for something called “grand gatherings.” One of them is a dinner and evening safari at Animal Kingdom. It was the highlight of our trip.
    Hollywood studios was least interesting to us, but it does have the very cool 3D Toy story ride. It doesn’t quite have a concept yet to hold it together.

  9. Thanks, guys, for all the tips. They’ve all been copied and pasted to our Florida file. I need to come up with a game plan for us, and this helped a lot.

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