Friday, April 20, 2012

Keep Calm, and Go to Disneyland

Keep Calm

This year, the universe has decided that it will teach me to be more flexible, and overcome obstacles with positive thought and determination. My normal hyper-planned and strategized methods have been tossed to the wind and I’m learning the true meaning of the word flexible. There’s no time for me to be a control freak, when plans keep changing and finances are unstable.  So, you may wonder, how on earth are we going to Disneyland in less than a month!?

After finding out that I didn’t need to be in WDW in June for a wedding, I decided that we would take our family vacation in Disneyland. So, knowing that I had to use the DVC point we had moved, in early February I booked our airline tickets and a room at Disney’s Grand Californian. By the end of the month I realized that I had booked one less hotel nights than I needed, and scrambled to find a room for Saturday Night. $800 later and we had an add on at the Disneyland Hotel.

Before the end of March, my husband had lost his job. How on earth do six people go to Disneyland with no income? Could we change the plans again and just reschedule? Nope, it would cost $900 simply to change the airline tickets, another week went by and we were within 30 days, no travel would mean losing a years worth of DVC points. So I decide that we’re going no matter what, after all, we had a hotel room and the airfare was paid.

Even with hotel and airfare taken care of, I still needed to figure out how to make other aspects of vacation work. A stroke of luck in Mid-April! My husband found an interim job, but that means he wouldn’t be going to Disneyland either. Two less people, cuts the budget in 1/3 straight off the top.
  • I was able to whittle away at the food budget by deciding that we would only eat at counter service. That saves close to half what I had planned on spending right there. Aprox $700.
  • Counter service breakfasts for $35 a day? No way, we’ll be having bagels, doughnuts, fresh fruit and the like delivered from the grocery store down the road. The savings will be about $100.
  • More cuts… we’re saving $40 a day simply by deciding that we won’t drink pop, another $240 off of the needed funds. Can you believe that? It’s probably the most shocking budgeting discovery I’ve made.
  • We also gave up one park day and bought 3 day tickets instead of 4 day… another $100 saved. Oh no, I’ll have to lay by the pool and sit in the hot tub. Yea, I don’t really expect any pity there.
  • Forget extra housekeeping services, we’ll do dishes and make our own beds. Savings about $150.
  • Online discounts made out park tickets, and ground transfers less on the California side. I called our hometown limo provider, and they gave me $40 off our car to the airport, just because I asked.
  • No checked bags! I told the kids that we’ll be packing super light. A washer/dryer in the Villa means we can still be fresh & clean even with fewer clothes. $10 for detergent is much better than $200 in airline baggage fees.
  • Having free internet connection in the Villa also means that I’ll be able to do my full work week while away, so we won’t lose any additional money by me being gone.
So I’m cooking, cleaning, and working while we’re going to be in Anaheim.  I’m not entirely sure that this qualifies as a vacation. I think I’m thinking of it more as a temporary relocation to one of my favorite places on the planet. After all, Disney after work and a theme park view during the day is way better than being depressed at home from canceling the whole trip.

Life happens, and it can be hard to roll with it. Lord knows that I am not really known for my ability to “roll with it”, but I’m learning. Man am I learning…

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