“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you”
– Walt Disney
I’ll admit it, I am a kid by heart. Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, I was alive to remember the Disney Renaissance era that started with The Little Mermaid and then continued to other classics like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Because of my love for Disney movies when I was younger, I’ve always wanted to go to Disney World, and still do!
So Mike and I decided to save up some money to go to Disney World. We’ve cut back on going out to eat a lot, started finding activities to do at home like more video games at home and board games, and even set a budget when we do go out with our friends in terms of food and drinks. Due to my anxiety with crowds, we decided to go the last week of January in 2017 to enjoy Disney World while it was the least crowded.
If you don’t know, Disney World is a pretty good chunk of change that one will spend on this vacation. A round estimate for Mike and I are the following:
- Plane tickets: $356 per person for a round trip from Newark International Airport to Orlando International Airport.
- Disney tickets: $420 per person for a 7 day park hopper package (and it was on sale from ParkSavers.com. A normal 7 day Park Hopper admission can cost you $473 per person.)
- 7 night hotel accommodations at Disney’s Pop Century Resort: $975 all together due to a discount our travel advisor found for us.
- 2 day base tickets to Universal Orlando: $210 per person
- Total: $1,473.50 per person.
Now this does not include any “extras” like food (we decided not to do the dining plan due to Mike’s strict diet being a vegetarian and the fact I do not eat a lot sometimes.), souvenirs (you need to go home with a pair of Mickey Mouse Ears!), Uber/Lyft rides to and from the hotel to the Universal Parks, and the Uber/Lyft rides going back and forth from Jersey to our own homes. So we’ve spent an estimated $2,500 per person give or take.
However, looking at these numbers all at once, that can give you a heart attack. Also my anxiety tends to gets worse when it comes to being in debt or when i happen to spend a lot of money in general. So a couple of days before the trip, I started to feel anxious and even gotten sick to my stomach at work over the prices and the finances. I kept on thinking to myself, “What if I get into more debt over this?” or “What if I loose my job when I come back and I can’t go back to work?” The last one was a silly question I’ve asked, but we’ve all been there when we over-react on certain things.
However, with Mike being an amazing boyfriend, he held my hand through the whole thing. He reminded me EVERYDAY till we left that I deserved this vacation and I’ve worked hard on this vacation. Also he also kept on reminding me that everything will be okay in the end. And his pep talks started to work once we stepped foot onto Disney Property.
One of the top sights he wanted to see while we were there was in Disney Animal Kingdom. For a 27 year old, he still loves dinosaurs and loves to learn more about these per-historic creatures. Lucky, Animal Kingdom had an area called Dino-Land USA and I kid you not, we’ve spent hours in this section of the area. He went on every dinosaur ride from the big major DINOSAUR ride, where he could name every dinosaur that was in the attraction, to the Primeval Whirl that looks like a kid’s ride, but the way it swings you and spins you, I was fortunate enough I didn’t eat before hand! And of course, while we were at Dino-Land USA, we had to take part in all of the carnival ride games that they’ve provided for us as well as stop in every souvenir shop the had there.
The other highlight of our trip was the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. Since Mike is a roller coaster enthusiast, he loved the Everest ride and kept on wanting to go again.
However one of my most favorite moments was meeting the “characters”. Not just from Animal Kingdom, but from the other parks like Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom. Russel, being one of my most favorite character from the movie Up, appreciated my quotes and knowledge of his Wilderness Explorer and wanted to help me look for the “snipe”. Other characters we’ve met and enjoyed was both Anna and Elsa from Frozen, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and my most favorite hug-gable character – Chewbacca from Star Wars. Now what’s amazing is that no matter what you do or how hard you try, none of the characters ever loose their character and charm. Sometimes, even as an adult, you wonder if they could REALLY be the characters from the movies that we’ve all watched and enjoyed. Now don’t be silly, I know! Elsa is really in Norway controlling the snow!
Besides the attractions and characters, Mike and I ate REALLY well in the theme parks. He’s a very picky vegetarian, even tells some people he’s allergic to onions since he just doesn’t like the texture of onions, and this man had at least 4 meals thought the day. The cast members were so accommodating and wonderful.
I could go more and more into details of what we did for that week, who we’ve seen and what wonderful adventures we’ve had, but then I’ll be rambling!
I finally gotten the bill from my credit card company for the whole trip. Let’s just say the amount I’ve spent there could have used as a small down payment for a car loan. However, because of all the fun I’ve had and the food and those once in a lifetime moments I’ve had, I didn’t have an anxiety attack about it. Not a single one. I reminded myself how HARD I’ve worked to get to where I am and to get to the point where I could pay most of that credit card bill off.
So was this expensive? Sure it was. Could I have chosen another destination to help my anxiety and depression? Sure. But did I have a wonderful time and do I want to go back again? You bet! And yes, Mike and I are planning on another “Disney” vacation, but this one might be a tad different than the one we’ve went to back then. More details in the future… perhaps.