Thursday, November 6, 2008

Planning My Vaction = Full Time Job

It's no secret: I love to research new things. It's pretty much how I make my living as well as a passion of mine. If a friend of mine mentions they are interested in say, badminton, odds are I will go home and learn all I can learn about badminton that night. It's a little dorky but it's how I am. Research helps me plan my life, something I am fond of doing, even in the abstract. I don't like being unprepared, especially when I travel. It's a comfort zone thing partly but also because vacations are so precious to me that I want to make sure I tailor my experience to best fit my wants/needs. Boyfriend took me on an awesome vacation last year and I spent months beforehand researching the best restaurants/itinerary in travel guides and on online discussion groups.

Unemployment woes aside, we are going to Orlando in January. The air tickets will be free and the hotel stay is already paid for (at a deep discount). Provided we attend a 90 minute resort lecture - "no pressure" - we will also receive two tickets to the theme park of our choice. Now the only question is, what to do?!

As I mentioned before, I have been to Orlando many times but not in the past decade. Some things never change (though sadly Captain Nemo has been retired) but I have a fairly good idea of what to expect. There is so much to do and only four days in which to do it! So, I have, of course, begun brainstorming ideas.

One great web site I have found is which lists ways to save on all things Disney and allows visitors to post their tips and reviews. It seems like if you plan ahead, you should never have to pay the full gate price for park tickets. Their web site led me to the Disney web site where you can customize a map full of the things you want to see at any given park. Unfortunately after ten minutes playing around with the Epcot map I had selected 90% of the park and just gave up (oops).

I definitely want to visit Universal Studios for at least one day of our trip. A quick visit to their web site alerted me to their Meal Deals where you can prepay for your food and eat as much as you want all day long for about $20. You can only get one entree at a time and are limited to the lower end restaurants but this still may be a good deal. I'm not so sure we'll go with that option but I definitely like the all-you-can-drink soft drink cup for $8.99. I know, I know, you think I should drink water instead of soda but I'm a lost cause. And besides, I get SO THIRSTY when I'm walking around all day. Besides, me and Boyfriend can share it.

So, what have I learned after devoting almost two hours of trip-planning? I need more time! There's so many things I want to do/see/play with in Orlando.

But here's my list so far:

Epcot - whole day
Universal Studios - whole day

I love both of those parks and know there's enough to keep up occupied for a whole day in both of them. I know you can get the parkhopper passes and do multiple parks in a day but I have other ideas for the rest of the trip. Here's hoping we can do everything we want without paying a fortune. Still need to get past the all-important holiday season first (ugh).


Miss M said...

I'm a crazy planner too, love to pour over maps and plan routes, decide what sites to see....some people like to just go and figure it out there. What can I say I'm a dork. I worry I'll miss something I really want to see and then regret it later. I haven't been to disneyworld since I was 12 but it sounds like you are on the right track. Have fun.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, I'm going for a business trip in about 10 days, and my friend is out their so we plan on hitting Universal studios as well, but as for the pop, your so thirsty because pop is really NOT quenching your thirst!! lol but it's a vacation, so c'est la vie!

Shtinkykat said...

Great choice! I LOVE D-World and Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure. I highly recommend The Unofficial Guide to D-world. It gives you great advice re: how to reduce your line waiting time, best restaurants, etc.

QL girl said...

I love planning, but I've learned that it sours my experiences...because nothing EVER goes according to plan while on vacation! lol.

That being SOON as you go into Epcot go get a FastPass for Soaring. Its got SUPER long lines, and the fast passes run out quickly. Secondly, definitely visit the exhibit (I forgot where it is, but I believe its near the entrance) where they have the different sodas. You can get a little cup and walk around refilling it with different sodas from around the world (don't drink the Italian one though, its kind of nasty, hehe). We went there a bunch of times throughout our visit and didn't spend a dime on soda. (I did have my refillable water bottle though).

I LOVE Universal Studios (Islands of Adventure), but I don't think I'll be going again until The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens!! (Or maybe I will....we'll see, hehe).

Oh, one last warning....Orlando water can sometimes taste bad, so instead of paying for water or soda I bought those individual packs of crystal light that you pour into a water bottle. It was enough to mask the flavor and was still pretty cheap.

Have fun!

Sallie's Niece said...

Thanks for the tips, I'll be checking out that book from the library!

And I am also anxiously awaiting the opening of Harry Potter World as well.

Jim ~ said...

Since you mentioned Epcot I recommend you do Sorin', Test Track, and Mission: SPACE. Those FastPasses can be useful to get on rides much quicker while you use your waiting time to do other rides, then you come back to it. Keep in mind though you can only get them every 2 hours, so if you space out your day I think you can get quite a bit done. There is a place in Epcot where you can try Coke from different places in the world, so if you're a fan of pop go check it out (free too).

I've never been to Universal Studios so can't help you there. Have fun on your trip though.