Monday, April 11, 2011

Unfolding Disney

I love Disney World!!  We went as a family for the first time in 2008.  My cousin, Keith, helped me plan the trip because he has been there probably a dozen times and is very knowledgeable about where to get information, what sorts of things we should do and see, etc.  As I planned the trip, I came to the realization that you need to have a degree to plan a trip to Disney.  To help me just a little bit more, I booked our trip through Small World Vacations.  This was extremely helpful for a first time trip.  I also obtained a great deal of information from websites like  They have photos of resorts, maps, restaurant guides, prices, menus, a section with tips from other Disney-goers, etc.  Discounts and information can also be found at  This site has discounts on park tickets as well.

While there in 2008, we didn't spend all the money we had taken with us, so we went to an informational meeting with Disney Vacation Club.  We were on our way to the airport, so a meeting that was supposed to take 2 hours took 45 minutes, including us signing paperwork and handing over a deposit equal to the money we had left over.  The special they were running that year for folks who signed up was a free year's worth of points.  DVC operates on a point system.  The least amount of points you can initially buy is 160.  This is what we get each year.  The time of year you decide to go to Disney, the length of your stay, and the resort in which you stay determines the amount of points you will use, and you can bank points for the next year and borrow points from the next year.  So, you could potentially use 3 years' worth of points in one stay.  This makes for a very nice vacation.

Upon signing up, we received 320 points.  So, we decided to take my cousin and his family with us the next year as a thank you for helping us so much with our first trip.  We stayed at the Beach Club Villas right behind Epcot at my cousin's request.  It was a good choice!

Last year, we used our points to go to Disneyland in California.  Now we can say, "Been there, done that," and we never have to go back.  In my opinion, Disneyland pales significantly in comparison to Disney World. We only spent one day at the 2 parks they have in California.  There were some interesting things there that aren't at Disney World, but they don't make it worth going back, ever.  I think I could spend weeks at The World and never get bored.  I truly feel like a kid there.  I can have fun and just relax.  Those commercials where the adult turns into a kid are true!

This year, we are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at the request of my children.  I was able to snag a savanna view room so that we can actually look out our window and see safari animals.

View of lodge from the swimming pool
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of
I am sure I will have many more posts about Disney as I get ready for our trip.  I will try to post some things that I've learned along the way that may help others if they are planning a trip to The World sometime soon.

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