Who would have thought that this family above (AKA my family) would be planning their sixth visit to Disney World in just under a 3 year span. This was our very first visit to Disney World. Trying to fit this once in a lifetime trip, into a one income budget, was a task. We knew that we would only be able to afford this trip once (or so we thought, ha ha ha). Trying to stick to a very tight budget was our priority. We even stayed off property (Yikes, I know). There was no Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Character Meals or Park Hoppers for this family. Our trip consisted of 5 nights in a nearby townhouse and 3 day base tickets. My kids weren’t interested in all the extra’s and I just couldn’t justify the costs for them. Needless to say, we were bit by the Disney bug. Not only were we in love with Disney, but we found out that the memories we made on this trip were the best memories of any vacation. It was then, that we knew, Disney World had became a part of our lives.
Just shy of a year later, we returned to our favorite place. This time we stayed on property and spent 7 nights. We still did not extend our budget to any of the extra’s (Pirates League, Park Hoppers, Dining Plan, etc). We still made new memories and experienced many firsts during this trip. We went to all 4 theme parks, met characters we did not see on our first trip. We did however splurge in our own way. This trip started my collection of Disney pins. We decorated our resort window for the very first time. This was so much fun. Oh and to top it off, this trip was a split stay. We actually stayed at two different resorts. Pop Century and Port Orleans French Quarter. Our love for Disney grew fonder and our desire to do and experience more grew as well. Mind you we were still a one income family, but finding the funds to feel the magic we feel at Disney World, has become a priority for this family.
Five Disney World trips and one Disney Cruise later we have come to realize what is important to our family. Our family has grown and changed so much over the years and this has made how we plan and what we experience during our visits, very different than that very first trip. We have become a family who takes multiple trips in one year. This budget minded Mommy now knows the value and magic behind the “extra’s”. Seeing the look on my children’s faces when they were getting made over at Pirates League was more than worth the price. Watching the amazement in my son’s eyes as we watched the Once Upon Christmastime Parade pass us by during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, was worth the price. My family has gone from a stripped down, bare bones Disney World vacation to a family that stopped putting a dollar sign onto everything and making our time together, the magical moments at the top of our list when we are planning our next trip.
Our upcoming trip in May 2013, we will experience many new firsts. Star Wars Weekend, another split stay at resorts we have yet to stay at and more dining experiences we can share together as a family.
No matter how big the price tag, what makes your Disney vacation special, is the ones you spend it with and the moments you make together while you are there.