Disney Dreaming: Where to Lay Our Heads?

The last time I went to Disney World, I was 23, newly married (it was our honeymoon), and completely clueless.

We chose Disney World because neither of us drank much (I didn’t pick up that habit until I got into advertising), so Cancun seemed pointless. Cruises seemed too expensive (yep, I actually thought a cruise was more expensive than Disney World). Plus, I’d never been before. And we both loved Disney.

So I got online and booked a package with a Disney vacation planner, found some cheap airline tickets, and we were ready to go!

We didn’t do much research. Didn’t have any sort of plan. We just got up each morning, wandered to whatever resort we felt like going to, and got on whatever rides looked good. We ate when we wanted to, where we wanted to, without ever thinking of getting a reservation.

It was lovely and carefree.

This fall, we’ll be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and I’d like to go back. But life has gotten a lot more complicated. And budgets? Well, they’ve gotten a lot tighter.

That means pulling off that seemingly carefree vacation is going to be a lot tougher.

But I’m always up for a challenge.

In my dreams, we stay at the Animal Kingdom Jambo House. Why? Well, because of this:

giraffe at Animal Kingdom LodgeHow awesome would it be to drink your morning coffee while watching giraffes stroll by? The correct answer here is very.

But my budget runs to $5 bottles of wine, not $500 a night hotel rooms. Which is why, if we want to stay on the Disney World grounds, our view will probably look a little more like this:

pop century resort

This is the Pop Century Resort, a “value accommodation” at Disney World. Which still isn’t cheap. Especially since you have no kitchen, microwave, or even a frigging coffee maker.

No, to afford that, we’d have to stay somewhere outside of the resort. Some sort of condo resort, with kitchens, separate bedrooms, and things like this:

Pirate pool at Lake Buena Vista resort.

That’s a pirate ship sailing in the middle of a pool at the Lake Buena Vista Resort. And I’m not going to lie, I kind of want to play on that.

So where should we sleep? I don’t know. Internet, I know you’re smarter than me. What do you think?

Disney photos courtesy of The Best of Walt Disney World via Flickr.

6 Comments on Disney Dreaming: Where to Lay Our Heads?

  1. Rebecca
    March 1, 2013 at 10:34 am (3 years ago)

    The DisBoards? Have you checked those out? It’s just an online community of people who are planing their trip or who have already gone. It took me awhile to find my way around but once I figured it out, I learned a few helpful tips.

    I know a guy who stayed at ESPN? on the Disney grounds and he only paid $3K for the whole trip. I can’t remember the details but it was pretty sweet (meal plan, multipark/hopper tickets / a whole week) It was him, his wife, two children but one was only a baby, and grandma.

    • Amber
      March 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the hint! I found the boards and the app! A girl could really get sucked into all this Disney stuff.

  2. Tami
    March 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Amber,

    The last time we went to Orlando was on a bit of a last minute trip so we stayed outside of the resort area on International Drive. Most of the hotels have free shuttles to the parks, breakfast and coffee in the rooms :).


    • Amber
      March 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm (3 years ago)

      See? Coffee in the room. That’s what I’m talking about. Seems like basic courtesy, right?

  3. YO
    March 2, 2013 at 10:20 am (3 years ago)

    The ship looks fun, but I think you should rethink staying at Disney – if you hit them right, you can do magic your way which includes room, park passes and meal plan. The meal plan lets you have snack (breakfast/counter service (lunch) and dinners – which can include character meals not to mention eating at restaurants (i.e.. wolfgang puck, etc.). You can use it in the parks or at the resort. We found the dining plan paid for itself and then some as we totaled what our checks would have been if we didn’t use the dining plan.

    We pack granola bars/snack stuff to help with snacks in between and bring tea bags/ mix, etc. though we usually don’t get to them since the dining plan keeps us full. There are microwaves in the food areas you can use. Disney Food Blog and Disney Mom Boards have great tips on saving $ even if you don’t have kids.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • Amber
      March 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the advice! I’m keeping my options open…I really would rather stay at Disney World somewhere!


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