What’s this? A random pre-trip report out of nowhere? Well yes, that’s exactly what it is actually… Okay so there is a reason for this trip, but we’ll get to that later. I’m working on a project that I haven’t officially/publicly announced yet, and that is the purpose of this trip. I know, I know, secrets don’t make friends, but you’re still reading so I guess we’re still friends? Anyway…
When: November 4 to 7, 2016. Just a short weekend trip to get some things done that I need to work on in Orlando, and go to Food and Wine Festival of course!
Where: The Ramada Gateway… my first time staying offsite and I’m not looking forward to it. The value/moderate rooms at Disney were all booked, presumably due to the Wine and Dine race being that weekend.
Who: Just me! Well sort of. I’m going down there solo, but I’m sure I’ll see some friends along the way once I’m there!
This trip came out when I was making a rough schedule for how much work I’ll need to do for this project to finish it by the deadline I’m trying to meet. In figuring that out, I knew I would need at least one trip to Walt Disney World with this project in mind, and after learning that I would have a long weekend at the beginning of November, I decided to take advantage of that and get a trip in.
The Ramada was absolutely not my first choice for a place to stay, in fact anything on Disney property would have been my first choice. The only hotels available though were deluxe resorts, and I can’t justify the cost of a deluxe for a weekend trip that I’ll hardly be at the resort for.
Since coming to terms with the fact that I would not be staying at a Disney hotel, it seemed like going the cheapest route possible would make the most sense. If it wasn’t going to at least be one of the All Stars then why even bother I guess. I ended up booking the hotel through Priceline’s Express Deals. If you’re not familiar, this is when Priceline gives you a price, number of stars, and location of a hotel for a low price, but does not reveal the name of the property until after you book it. For this trip I requested close to Walt Disney World, and at least 2.5 stars (which I know sounds low, but Priceline considers 2.5 stars to be comparable to a Best Western or Holiday Inn). A deal popped up for $28/night and that’s what I went with. At $28/night, my hotel stay with taxes came in at just about $100 total for 3 nights. Definitely not my first choice, but this technically isn’t as much of a “vacation” as my other trips have been, and I’m not planning on being in the hotel much anyway.
But what ever will you do without the Magical Express? Ugh, I know! I totally feel like a peasant… well not really. I think there is a way to make staying offsite enjoyable, but what I’m doing isn’t it. I think if you have a nicer hotel, and rent a car, or at least don’t mind taking cabs and Uber everywhere, it would be fine. The key point here being that a nicer hotel would be more enjoyable. Maybe the Ramada will prove me wrong, but I have the impression that my usual go-to of All Star Music will be a step up. The $28/night price tag is of course hard to argue with, but then there’s also the fact that I’m going to probably spend close to if not $100 for round trip transportation to/from the airport, which would have been built into the price of my stay at a Disney resort.
I considered renting a car, but since I’m *only* 24 it’s pricier than it should be. Not to pricey that I wouldn’t consider it at all, but according to my calculations taking Uber everywhere should at least break even if not be cheaper. On some of my recent trips, when I’ve been out at night with my friends from the college program I’ve gotten rides back to the hotel, which I’m obviously not expecting but since I might be with friends with cars, I don’t think over-paying to rent a car is the smartest decision. On an unrelated note, this whole “pay a ridiculous surcharge to rent a car when you’re under 25” thing is stupid. Is something going to drastically change between now and 6 months from now that would impact my ability to drive a rental car? So dumb.
Another pre-trip travel thing, for the first time EVER, I am only taking a carry on bag. I’m planning on bring a small tote bag and a back pack on the plane, with no other luggage. I have a lot I need to do on this trip and time is money. I don’t want to be waiting at the airport for checked luggage (since I won’t have the Magical Express to take it back to my room) and I’m not planning on going to the hotel right away. When the plane lands (Delta at 10:30 am) I’m planning on going right to Epcot. And while there are luggage lockers at Epcot, there aren’t any at the other parks, so if I switch parks, or go anywhere else before going to the hotel I would need to spend the time going back to pick up my bag. It doesn’t seem like it’s worth it, so I’m planning on taking on carry on bags, and going from the airport to Epcot where I’ll put the bag with my clothes in it in a locker.
I don’t usually plan which park I’m going to do on which day, but since I need to do certain things I’m going to try to stick to a pretty tight schedule for this trip:
Friday: Land at 10:30 am, go right to Epcot for Food and Wine Festival. If I get through Food and Wine fairly early, I’m planning on going to Animal Kingdom for a little while and getting some work that I need to do out of the way there since it shouldn’t take too long. If Food and Wine takes a while, I’m going to skip Animal Kingdom and go right to Hollywood Studios to catch Fantasmic then do some work over there.
Saturday: Magic Kingdom in the morning/afternoon, and Epcot in the afternoon/evening.
Sunday: Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios in the morning, Magic Kingdom later, and Disney Springs after that if I have time.
Monday: Whichever park I need to spend more time in. I’ll have a couple of hours before my flight, and I’ll most likely end up in Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, but I’ll wait until then to decide.
I think that’s all you need to know for this pre-trip report, except maybe this secret project I’m working on but I promise you’ll find out soon! Don’t forget to follow the blog on social media for live updates! In addition to the links on this site, you can also follow my personal Snapchat: bdicologero.