Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WE’RE GOING BACK!!!! Prolog 1

Walt Disney World here we come, well of course by the time you read this we will be back from there.  Sorry, about that, but I find it’s better to run posts about when we are traveling after the fact for safety’s sake. 

Anyway, I’m actually typing this post on 4/4/2014.  We are 48 days out from our departure date for WDW and I’ve got so much going on I’m starting to get really excited.

While we’ve always traveled on a shoestring budget to WDW, and everywhere else, this trip we are traveling strictly on a cash basis, so it’s exciting, but a little scary too.
We made our reservations MONTHS ago for Ft. Wilderness campground starting on Memorial Day 2014.   

Every other time we’ve ever gone I’ve done all the leg work on trying to get the best deals, making reservations and such, but this time I decided to let Naomi- Maclearn-at the Magic for Less Travel agency do it for me.  Why this time?  Because now I can get my “room only” reservations I prefer through them, where before I had to book them directly through Disney.  A vast improvement for certain.

Naomi is a gem, and should you want to book, please give her my name, Charolett Jan Patterson –yes I do get a reward for recommendations—honest disclosure here.  But that’s not why I say use Naomi.  She found a discount on our campsite for us I would have probably missed and it cut our 10 day trip cost down by over $400. 
Not only that but she was very, very good at keeping us up to date for ADR dates (Advanced Dining Reservations), Fast Pass + and Magic Band information, refurbishment dates, park hours and so much more.  Things I normally would have had to spend hours and hours doing, she took care of.  She was also VERY patient with me.

So if you decide to book a trip, please consider The Magic For Less Travel Agency and especially Naomi.  BTW they charge no fee to do all this work for you.
So when we first chose our dates we chose that time for specific reasons.

The first was we were suppose to be credit card debt free by then.  That has not came to pass, while we are close Murphy has hit us with over $7000 worth of truck repairs, some vision issues and other little things like the IRS wanting a chunk of money for the 2013 taxes, so our snowball has slowed way down, but it is still rolling.  In fact by the time you read this we should be 1-2 debts closer to being debt free.  So life is still good in that category. 

The second was a way to get MORE vacation time for our vacation.  My guys had rolled over their vacation from the previous year to some extent and would need to take that rolled over time by a certain date.  By taking those hours on to the Memorial Weekend we got an extra day for vacation.  Who couldn’t use an extra day at Walt Disney World?

Since they only work half days on Fridays normally we decided that would be our first day of vacation, so that combined with weekends and holiday time would give us 19 days to enjoy ourselves.  How sweet is that?  Even better it left us more time to go back between this Memorial Day and 2015 Memorial Day to take full advantage of our annual passes. 

So back in the July of 2013 we booked this vacation and despite all Murphy threw at us we persevered on to a tremendous vacation to Walt Disney World for the first time in eight years!  It’s been a looooong wait.

As soon as we decided we were going I started my lists of lists.  I was determined this trip would be well organized, fun, and completely paid for in cash, at the lowest possible cost, without spoiling the fun. 

One of my lists was on things we wanted to do/buy before the trip.  Things like the truck repair—which went way past the $1,000 we had budgeted for, to new shoes all the way around purchased early enough we could break them in and walk comfortably at the park, two pairs each.

Then we started watching the sales, picking up non-perishable items like paper plates and plastic silverware (no one wants to do dishes on vacation) after holidays.  It doesn’t matter that we are going on Memorial weekend and we will be drinking out of Christmas disposable cups that were purchased at 75% off in January, it is like Christmas in May/June to us going on the trip right?

As time grew closer I watched sales for foods for the camper, bug spray, sunblocker etc.   Stocking up as I went for the trip.

We each evaluated our wardrobes and determined exactly what we would need to dress comfortably and nicely.  We were strict in our evaluations and only purchased what we really needed as inexpensively as possible.  We finished that shopping up today.  I’m pretty proud of us for being that prepared this far out.
Another thing I’ve been doing in the winter months is DEEP cleaning the house.  The plan is to leave it clean so we can come home to it truly clean.  It also helps me not be so tired when we leave because all the hard stuff will already been done before that last week of packing.

Since we are now just under 7 weeks out from our departure date preparation for the trip is really kicking into high gear.  Thus the reason for starting this series of posts. 
Like I said today we finished up our clothing shopping.  We also got the part in to fix our ECV (Electric Convenience Vehicle) while none of us are dependent on the ECV I have developed knee and back problems that make long periods of walking almost impossible for me without a lot of pain.  My men suggested we get the ECV out of storage recently for a short trip to Silver Dollar City and we discovered the scooter had problems, as you have already read about (if not, go here).
Even that repair turned out to be done on a shoestring.  It needed two new rear caster wheels and all the quotes I got locally were for nearly $60 a wheel plus another $10-$15 each for shipping, plus of course the labor by the shop.  
By scouring the web we found a company Monster Mobility, that sold the exact wheels we needed for $56 for the pair and only $10 for shipping!  We ordered them on Monday and had them by Friday.  Great service, original parts and a perfect fit.
The wheels came today and it took my husband less than 10 minutes to install them.  So my horse has new shoes.  We’ll test run it later this weekend most likely. 
The first of the WDW trip food was packed today too.  Just a box of Rice Krispie Treats, but they are a traditional item for our trips.  Many times I will make them myself, but our local Sam’s Club had them on a great special and they were individually wrapped.  The expiration date is far past our trip date.  So a box was purchased and packed. 
Once at the park a few of those treats will go into either my belt bag or the backpack we will put on the back of the ECV, for the pennies I paid for them today we will have a good treat, that would have cost a high price in the parks.  Granted they won’t look like Mickey Mouse heads, but they will taste just as good. We’d rather save the cash on something like that to spend on other things while there.
I have spent the last couple of days working on a countdown calendar that is just a little bit different and I will post on it complete with what materials I used and how it was made in the next installment of this saga.

In the meantime, here are some articles I've written in the past on traveling to Walt Disney World and other places on a shoestring.  Please note, while I may mention saving cash back bonuses on credit cards in these old posts, we don't do it.  We stopped using credit cards in 2009 and have never regretted it.  We've saved far more in interest than the cash back rewards ever gave us.



Jan who is so excited to be headed to Walt Disney World again after eight long years in OK

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