For as long as I can remember, my dream was to go to Disney World. I didn’t get there as a child, but when I was 22 and graduating from college, I decided it was time. Instead of going to our graduation, my now-husband and I packed up the car and drove 21 hours straight to Orlando. We were exhausted, hungry, and cranky when we got there, but we made it and it was fabulous. We stayed off-property because I didn’t yet know about the wonders of Disney Resorts, but we had the trip-of-a-lifetime and we vowed to go back again.
We’ve been back every year since, except for one, for a total of 9 visits. We drive every time, but after that first time, we learned to stay overnight along the way and break it up into a two-day trip. After a little trial-and-error, we found Florence, SC is the perfect halfway point, and we actually look forward to the trip now. We do 10 hours the first day and 7 the second.
We’ve stayed off-property (once), at Pop Century (7 times), at Port Orleans Riverside (once), and at the Polynesian (once, plus a one-night splurge in 2009). In 2010, we did a split stay between the Holiday Inn Downtown Disney and Pop. During this most recent trip, we stayed club level at the Poly and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stay anywhere else!
We’ve done one park per day, from opening until close; all four parks in one day; Typhoon Lagoon; a park in the morning, an afternoon nap, and a park at night; or, we’ve slept in and wandered into a park around dinner time. We don’t have kids, so we can go with the flow and do what we want, when we want.
I was even a Disney Vacation Specialist for a little while (graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge and everything!), but I’m not a good salesperson so that didn’t last long. I love to plan our trips, though, and I am happy to help with other people’s vacations as well!
I’m hoping to expand this section and post more about our trips, some tips, etc., but for now here are some links to previous Disney-related posts: