Because I travel a lot for work, I rack up points with different airlines and hotel chains. Respectively, my favorites are Southwest and Hilton. For the latter, I received a call from Hilton’s time-share division about an offer. Typically, I wouldn’t even answer unknown calls, but the number came up as a Florida number and I mistakenly thought it was one of my co-workers, who had a Florida-based mobile number.
The salesperson must have caught me in a happy-go-lucky mood, because I agreed to set up a vacation at a Hilton for an extremely low rate, in exchange for listening to a time-share spiel. I picked Orlando at the Hilton on the Disney property, and timed it to coincide with my cousin’s wedding in Florida.
Quick confession: I LOVE Disney. Yes, the princess movie themes go against everything I believe in, the company’s immense revenues are sickening, and the child stars Disney shows have spawned are crimes again humanity. But still. The Disney parks are my happy place. And because I hadn’t been since I was 18, neither of my children nor my husband had ever been to Disney, and we all had to travel to Florida in March anyway, it was an easy sell.
To prep, I found some of the cool Disney documentaries on Netflix and watched them with Maya. These documentaries may be nothing more that Disney propaganda, but I dare you to watch them and not get excited about visiting.
I also spent the five months leading up to the trip planning. Specifically, I wanted to figure out the food situation. Spending three nights in a hotel and our days at theme parks screamed “expensive food” to me.
Fortunately, there are entire blogs devoted to dining at Disney and options for food. Through these, I was happy to learn that you can bring food into the parks, so we loaded up our bags with the essentials: bread, PB&J, granola bars, raisins and instant oatmeal. Little hotel hack with the oatmeal: Brew hot water in your in-room coffee maker to make it if you don’t have a microwave.
|No Gideon's were harmed in the making of this photo|
|The basics: Kindle, coffee, peanut butter|
We also made reservations ahead of time for the obligatory character breakfast. We picked Ohana at the Polynesian. The food is OK, but it’s really all about the experience. They had a kids’ parade through the restaurant, which Maya loved.
The characters also visit your table repeatedly. Jane was obsessed with their shiny noses.
|Oh my god! It's the Big Cheese.|
|Must. Touch. Nose.|
|So many noses. Not enough time.|
|I said noses, not roses. MORE NOSES.|
Finally, I planned out our itinerary. I’ll go into the actual trip details in the next post:
Fly in, travel to hotel
Settle into hotel, pool time
Dinner at Downtown Disney (walking distance from hotel)
Morning getting time-share pitch
Afternoon at Planet Hollywood