What does it mean to be 24 miles away from Walt Disney World? We thought we would share our perspective here. Just a side note: our blog focus has been and will always be the issues surrounding relocation. If you are searching for the latest merchandise displayed at the parks, or the latest news regarding refurbishments, this is not the blog to read. There are several Disney blogs out there that provide that information, and we feel what we have to offer would only duplicate previously published news, and it is not worth our time to write about it nor your time to read it. What keeps us unique is our primary focus on the issues surrounding relocation.
There is something magical about living here as a resident with the knowledge that we can go to Walt Disney World any time we can fit it into our life. We don’t feel the urgency to go to the parks every day, and when at the parks, we are able to stroll about leisurely and not feel harried to fit every single attraction in. As our son noted, he never has to feel sad about leaving Walt Disney World again, and he gets to see “his buddy” (Mickey Mouse) any time he wants.
We chose to purchase premium annual passes to Walt Disney World using the monthly payment plan that is offered to Florida residents. The premium annual pass allows unlimited admission to all four theme parks, complimentary parking ($14 value per visit), 20% discount on merchandise purchased, special offers in regards to resort stays and dining, unlimited access to Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney Quest, and the Water Parks. Disney requires a down payment equal to the admission price of a one day ticket, and then monthly payments of $37.63 per person. Click here for more information.
We keep a box in the laundry room that is dedicated for items that we need when we travel to Disney. We purchased insulated water bottles with a carrying strap from CVS for five dollars each, and it has been the best investment for us. We fill up the bottles with ice water when we leave the house, then place them in a soft sided cooler filled with ice for the drive to Disney, and they really do stay cool for quite awhile once we are in the parks, which is impressive in the Florida heat. The SuperTarget located in Kissimmee (4795 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy) does sell them as well, with Mickey Mouse imprinted on the insulated carrier, for $8.99. This store has an impressive selection of Disney merchandise, and if you have access to a vehicle, we recommend a stop here to check it all out.
As noted in our last post, it takes us approximately an hour to travel to WDW, given the waiting time at traffic lights and traffic in general. Once in the parking lot, it is necessary to board a tram to take us to the front gates, or in the instance of the Magic Kingdom, to the Transportation & Ticket Center, where we will need to board a monorail or a ferry to arrive at the Magic Kingdom.
The Florida heat does not lessen as a resident, unfortunately. We have been told by several people that it does get better, but after chatting with a CM about it, he told us that we will learn to not go to the parks in the summer! Well we certainly doubt that will happen! Though, on that note, we have not yet been to Animal Kingdom park due to the excessive heat. We may brave a trip in the next couple of weeks, but we look forward to being able to explore the park at length when the weather is less blistering.
We typically try not to spend an entire day at any one park. One of our goals while going to Walt Disney World is to try to avoid purchasing food or merchandise items unless it is planned in advance. It is so tempting to stop for lunch or wanting to purchase that unique souvenir, but these items add up very quickly. We have discovered that we really miss the dining plan; not only for the delicious food but also as a way to relax, escape the heat and refresh for the rest of the day’s activities.
However, as a resident we are able to take in a meal at any time of the year. We plan to purchase Tables in Wonderland, which offers a 20% discount on all food and beverage purchases at participating Walt Disney World locations. Annual passholders receive $25 off the purchase price of $100, and we anticipate that it will more than pay for itself over the course of a year. For example, this Friday we have reservations at the Crystal Palace for our daughter’s birthday lunch. The cost is $30.88 per adult, which equals $123.52 before tax and gratuity. Twenty percent off would equal $24.70, bringing the balance down to $98.82: one meal results in recouping a third of the cost! If you mail in an application, it takes approximately two weeks to receive your card, but you may also visit Guest Services at any of the parks or Downtown Disney for immediate purchase.
Does the Disney magic lessen for us because we have continual access to it? No, not at all. If anything, it leads to a deeper appreciation of the vision Walt Disney had, a desire to discover more about the man behind the mouse, and it allows us the ability to experience as much Disney magic as possible.