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[Jan. 23rd, 2013|10:03 am]
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[chesterismyhero]
The month of March = a shit ton of driving for me.

Why? Because I told myself I was going to go to more concerts this year. And I'm taking my kids to Florida for spring break.

But I have a dilemma....

Would you spend $800 for a hotel.....or drive 4 hours round trip each day if it meant FREE food and a FREE place to stay...plus an evening or two for myself?

I'll be driving from Southern Illinois to take the kids to Disney World when they're on spring break. My grandma and my aunt both live just under 2 hours away from Disney. I could split our stay with each, and it means free food, free place to stay, and I can see family that I haven't seen in 2 years...

That being said...I'm also driving from Southern Illinois to St. Louis and back twice (4 hour round trip each time) and to Indianapolis once (8 hour round trip)...one of the St. Louis trips and the Indianapolis trip will happen the week before we leave for Florida.

So...wwyd, tqc?

And yes, I'm going to try to attempt to entice another adult with a completely free trip to go with us ....as long as they help me drive.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: onedotfour
2013-01-23 04:10 pm (UTC)

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if i was driving alone totally, but i really hate being in the car with other people for that long.

+ idk how getting a hotel = no driving
[User Picture]From: faecat
2013-01-23 04:12 pm (UTC)

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Florida has a lot of toll roads, especially around Disney. We stayed an hour away when we went down in November and it really wasn't worth the extra time and toll money and gas money.
[User Picture]From: nynaeve_sedai
2013-01-23 04:13 pm (UTC)

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Ugh. I would hate to do a 2 hour drive after Disney World. I don't know how old your kids are, but if they're younger, then I'd be banking on meltdowns. When I worked there I saw this happen *a lot* (the meltdowns). If they're older than 10 you might be able to push it, but I don't think you'll enjoy yourself. I'd vote, spend the money and enjoy your Disney vacation. See family after or another time. Knowing that you're going on spring break I *really really* think you should think about that hotel.

The park is going to be busy that time of year and so you'll want to get there early. Plus, you'll probably want to see the very awesome night shows. This means a mid-day break will be VERY nice indeed and you'll want someplace to go.



[User Picture]From: chesterismyhero
2013-01-23 04:20 pm (UTC)

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They are 7 and 4. They actually don't mind being in the car.
[User Picture]From: nynaeve_sedai
2013-01-23 04:36 pm (UTC)

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It's not the car trip itself I'd be worried about. I wouldn't trust two hours before and after Disney honestly. From personal experience of what I saw working there, with those ages... you have to remember, you're going to be in a busy park, walking all day, with lots and lots of stimulation (and lots of standing in line). Your children are going to get *tired* and so are you. I can't tell you how many upset/frazzled parents I saw right around 2pm with their children bawling their eyes out (not even kidding - it's my first piece of advice to people planning Disney trips - have a place to rest because you will need it). The parents looked like hell and so did the kids. They had nowhere to go and rest and they ended up missing a lot of fun things because of it. That means you'll cut your days short. If you have a nearby hotel, you can hit the park early, break at the hotel for lunch and a midday rest, and then hit the park for the fun night time activities like the fireworks.

[User Picture]From: heyfashion
2013-01-23 04:46 pm (UTC)

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IA with this. I also worked at disney and a lot of kids tire out mid day and want to take a break back at their hotels and re-enter the park later. Not to mention after probably a long day at the parks, driving 2 hours to get "home" is probably the last thing you wanna do.
[User Picture]From: fullhearts
2013-01-23 06:12 pm (UTC)

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Another former Disney cast member echoing this advice. Please get a hotel nearby. The $800 will be money well spent.
[User Picture]From: sarahonlife
2013-01-23 04:17 pm (UTC)

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That would severely limit your time at Disney each day, so you'd be wasting a large chunk of what you spent on the ticket, in addition to the extra gas money. Stay closer, but find a cheaper hotel! But do take a non-Disney day to drive to see them.

[User Picture]From: gainingvelocity
2013-01-23 04:41 pm (UTC)

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No way. Even being under two hours from Disney, I-4 traffic is going to add more time to that. You're going to be exhausted at the end of the night and sometimes it takes a long time to even get out of the parking lot (Magic Kingdom on New Years and 4th of July can take up to two hours to exit once you're in the car.. Spring Break is super busy too). Besides, staying close to Disney is part of the fun.
[User Picture]From: marievignette
2013-01-23 04:57 pm (UTC)

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i'd drive, as long as i had a reliable car. i love driving.
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2013-01-23 05:12 pm (UTC)

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Nope. It would really kill your enjoyment of being in Disney.
[User Picture]From: hikerpoet
2013-01-23 06:01 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, I wouldn't commute 4 hours a day all week. What I might be tempted to do is spend something like 4 days or at Disney (if they are quite small they don't need as long), then spend the rest of the week with Grandma, doing other touristy things near there. If your aunt is in the complete opposite direction, I'd try to convince her to come meet us at the park or at grandma's one of the days, or in between. That way you can have longer and less stressful Disney days, but still have some savings and see family. Good luck! We're trying to figure out our trip there for next year, so update with what works and what doesn't!
[User Picture]From: chesterismyhero
2013-01-23 06:13 pm (UTC)

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I've been tossing this around for months, trying to figure out the best way to go about it.

I was going to book through Disney for a week with tickets, food, hotel....and it was going to cost about $3k for us to go. I've started pricing things separate and I think that's how I'm going to do it..

Aerith is 4 and she told me she is just interested in seeing the princesses and Cinderella's castle. Xander is up for anything...he's 7.
[User Picture]From: hikerpoet
2013-01-23 06:23 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, my girls will be 2 and 5 when we go next year and we're definitely mostly gonna focus on Magic Kingdom. We'll definitely try to swing going back when they're older, though, and then we'll try to hit just about everything.
[User Picture]From: chesterismyhero
2013-01-23 08:02 pm (UTC)

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I think I decided on one day at the Magic Kingdom, one at the Animal park, and then back to Magic Kingdom...then an afternoon and a full day and a morning with the family.
[User Picture]From: chaostrophy
2013-01-23 06:03 pm (UTC)

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It depends. How much gas would you be saving by getting a hotel, and if it's that close to your family, why wouldn't that just have been the plan from the get go?
I guess the only thing that I'm wondering about is that you said you haven't seen your family in 2+ years and that would give you a chance to spend time with them, but you're trying to get a friend to come along (the helping with the driving part I totally get) but wouldn't that be a little awkward/take away from the time you get with your family AND possibly even put them out? Tbh, it sounds a little like by bringing a friend along for the FREE food/space you may be taking advantage. Unless you already okayed it with them, but you/your friend should really think about pitching in on groceries since 4 extra mouths to feed can cost quite a bit and may be more than they are able to do. ANYWAY, sorry if I got that totally wrong. If everything (and I mean everything) is cleared with your relatives, then go for that. Otherwise, I'd make other arrangements for the 4 of you.
[User Picture]From: chesterismyhero
2013-01-23 06:11 pm (UTC)

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I'd be saving at least $500 if I stayed with them. The hotel is $800 by itself and there's no way I'm going to spend $300 in gas in my car for those 4 days (I get really good gas mileage in my car).

My grandma and my aunt have already ok'd bringing friends along whenever we want to visit...(meaning my sisters and I), because they know if I can't have one of my sisters with me, it is going to be a bitch to make the drive by myself.

I've mentioned to both of them the food thing and they told me that it wasn't necessary to pitch in. They've always been like that. Whenever my aunt would come visit (my grandma moved down 2 years ago..that was the last time I saw my aunt), we would always supply a place to stay and the food for her, my uncle, and my cousin.
[User Picture]From: chaostrophy
2013-01-23 06:18 pm (UTC)

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Then I say stay with them, that sounds like the better (and more cost effective) way.
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2013-01-23 11:51 pm (UTC)

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That's staying in a Disney hotel, right? We stayed in condos right down the street that weren't Disney affiliated. We spent $1200 for a 3 bed, 2 bath for a week during April, so a rate for March would be lower. We also had a kitchen, so that saved us a fair bit in eating expenses. It was also only 15 minutes to or from the parks.
[User Picture]From: snooji
2013-01-23 06:39 pm (UTC)

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Can you afford it? If so, get the hotel. Regularly my SO and I go to Niagara Falls and spend a good $500 for a weekend just in a hotel, even though it's only an hour drive from home. While on vacation, we hate feeling like we have to do something.

Personally, I'd stay at Disney World. You can get really cheap hotels off Disney grounds that are still pretty good if you're worried about cost. Most of them have shuttles to Disney too. Or, stay at a Disney hotel and enjoy the experience. I had the flu at Disney once and honestly, it was still awesome just because of the hotel. Then, spend a day or two with your family.
[User Picture]From: kelj99
2013-01-23 06:43 pm (UTC)

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I'd go the free place to stay route, especially since they would probably really love to help out with the kids and give you a break. A hotel is only nice if you get to enjoy some amenities. I rarely feel rested after a night in a hotel with my son; he tosses and turns and is just generally restless in a strange bed.
[User Picture]From: chesterismyhero
2013-01-23 08:03 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, I'd have to share a bed with one of them...and they both beat the crap out of me in my sleep.
[User Picture]From: zsolarstar
2013-01-24 03:02 am (UTC)

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If it helps, my husband and I found a hotwire deal for a Best Western 2 miles from the entrance of Magic Kingdom for $27/night. ($35 after taxes) This was in January 2009.