Vacation Planning That Makes “Cents”

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Recently, I read an article on another site that asked the question, “Does Disney Ever Help with Low Income Families Visit Disney World?” (their wording, not mine).  Of course, I knew the answer to the question being asked, but as a Disney NUT, I was curious how this question was to be answered.  The response was, as I expected, “no,” Disney does not offer any specific service to assist low-income families with their Walt Disney vacation.  What I did not expect, was the alternative suggested by the author.  The writer went on to suggest that a person’s best approach would be to finance their vacation; either through your personal bank or a credit card.

No…  Let me say again, No…

A Walt Disney World vacation is an absolute amazing experience that you and your family will treasure for years to come.  What you don’t want to do, especially if you are on a limited income, is to have the expense of that vacation follow you home for years to come too.  I am a big believer that everyone NEEDS a vacation.  We all need that opportunity to allow our personal batteries to recharge while we reconnect with our loved ones.  However, financing your vacation, at what can be ridiculous interest rates is not the way to go (as of the writing of this article, the Disney® Visa by Chase® has a 16.24% interest rate, ouch).

Let me offer you an alternative, and one of the great benefits of working with a Disney Travel Agent like the folks here at ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE TRAVEL, LLC (AIOT TRAVEL).  A good agent will listen and get to know you.  Many of us take pride in developing personal relationships with our clients while working with you to plan that memorable vacation.  That’s what we do, we work for you, and that includes understanding your financial situation.

BLT Door

We know when Disney typically releases their deals and can help plan accordingly.  Are you worried that there may not be a discounted offer when you’re ready to book?  Book anyways, many times Disney will announce these discounts up to 4 months ahead of time.  Your AIOT TRAVEL Consultant is constantly checking for these great offers and will automatically apply them to your vacation when they can.

If you find yourself struggling with the idea of how you will pay for your Disney vacation, let’s talk!  We can help you plan your vacation several months or years in advance.  Did you know that Disney prices are available up to 499 days in advance; that’s almost a year and a half of saving!  If you can put away $100.00 a month for 16 months, you’d have $1,600.00; $150.00 a month would equal $2,400, and $200 a month…  Well, that would give you $3,200.00 to put towards your dream Disney vacation.  Hey, this is just putting money in a sock drawer, I’m not even going to discuss compounding interest! 😉

Your AIOT TRAVEL Consultant will also help you budget out and plan how much you will need to save to meet Disney’s “Paid in Full” deadline (typically 45 Days prior to arrival).

BLT Room

Not a natural saver???  That’s OK.  Many direct deposit companies will allow you to set up an allotment that allows a portion of your paycheck to go into a designated account.

Afraid of having easy access to and spending the money, Disney can help with that!

Disney now offers the “Disney Vacation Account (DVA)!”  This tool, operated by Disney, is an online savings plan that can help you save for your Disney vacation.  When you’re ready to book, your AIOT TRAVEL, Independent Travel Consultant will book your reservation and then provide you with a confirmation number.  All you will need to do is contact DVA and they will deduct the money directly from the account.  Your AIOT TRAVEL Consultant will handle all other arrangements for you beyond that.

So please, take the time to contact an AIOT TRAVEL Consultant.  Our time is free and many times we can save you money.

-Rob Edwards

rob@adventureisouttheretravel.com

Running in the Castaway Cay 5k

Disney Cruise Line has leased their own island from the Bahamian government.  Various aspects of Castaway Cay definitely deserve their own posts, but I will only mention that the island is my wife’s favorite vacation spot now that we have children.  The focus of this post is the Castaway Cay 5k.  My wife and I traveled without our children aboard the Disney Magic in early March 2016.  This opportunity allowed us to experience a LOT of things we were unable to on our previous two cruises.

Before jumping into my discussion about the Castaway Cay 5k, I would like to share a bit more about my relationship with running.  The Castaway Cay 5k is truly for ANYONE.  It doesn’t matter if you walk, jog, or run the race.  I witnessed people running a very impressive pace and some folks casually walking and taking in the beautiful Bahamian scenery.  I run, but I do not consider myself a runner.  This doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.  I run six days a week; usually four to six miles at a time.  I do this more for alone time/therapy rather than the fitness.  I do not consider myself a runner because, up until our recent Disney Cruise, I have never participated in an organized run.  Honestly, I would not have done it without the persistence of my lovely wife.  Now, she thinks she has a shot at turning me into a runner.

Registering for the Castaway Cay 5k was extremely simple.  We needed to go to Guest Services for a couple of issues, and were not sure where registration for the race was.  We had thought registration was either at Guest Services or Port Adventures.  The cast member was able to register us for the race within seconds.  When you register, the cast member will give entrants a ticket for participation.  Here is the first thing to keep in mind if you are interested in participating in the race:  Register before the day of the race.  There were people turned away the morning of the 5k for not pre-registering.  123 people were registered for the race.  Another thing to remember is participation in the Castaway Cay 5k is included in your cruise fare!  You read that correctly.  This is a runDisney event that is free!  If you have looked into pricing for runDisney races and challenges, you know how expensive partaking in those events are.  I consider the Castaway Cay 5k an opportunity to maximize the tremendous value of a Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Participants (and some of their family members) met in Fathoms before the race.  There is a brief presentation about the island and course for the 5k.  A map of the race is provided to each participant and projected on a large screen.  The course is discussed, but several people did not follow the course during our run.  See the map of Castaway Cay 5k below.

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Map of runDisney Castaway Cay 5k. Getting there (and back) is half the fun!

As you can see, the beginning of the race is near the middle of the island.  Prepare yourself for a nice walk, which is about a mile long.  The cast members jokingly called this a bonus mile.  I feel like it was actually a nice walk, as I have always taken the tram to the beaches.  It was nice to slowly take in some of the island.  Also, there are some terrific photo opportunities along the walk.  The race is loosely organized.  Once it seems like everyone is near the starting point, the timer is started and the race begins.  The course begins on a bike path and moves on to the runway.  During the pre-race presentation, the hosts emphasized staying on the side of the runway multiple times.  After participating in the race, I understand the need to do so.  I need to preface my next comments with I rarely have criticisms of Disney and generally trust their brand and process for distributing their entertainment.  But, Disney has some intense and sometimes distracted drivers for the trams and golf carts.  I don’t know how much it would cost to provide hands-free technology to each driver, but I’m sure it would be a minimal and necessary investment.  That being said, I personally followed directions and had no negative interactions with said vehicles.  However, I witnessed an interesting interaction.  After the runway, racers turn into a bike path loop.  The loop is kind of neat during the first trip.  A lookout tower is located near the back of the loop.  I have never been to the top of the tower, but I have read and heard that there are good views from there.  I guess that’s an excuse to return???  After one complete loop, participants turn right to head toward Serenity Bay.  At the entrance of the bike path loop, there is a drink station setup.  Cold water is available.  If I remember correctly, the station was not established on my entry of the loop but fully functioning when I came out of the loop.  Serenity Bay is at the opposite end of the island as the ship.  Racers turn around near the end of the runway and repeat the course in reverse.  I found the loop to be much more monotonous the second time around.  It is probably my fault as I was beginning to push my pace a bit and just kept thinking about how BIG that bike path loop is.  Again, the water station is setup at the entry/exit to the bike path loop, which participants pass four times.  In typical Disney fashion, there is a shop with runDisney merchandise near the end of the course.  There are Castaway Cay 5k specific items.  They are unique.  If you are a collector, you may want to check it out.

I ran with my cinch sack on.  Don’t make that mistake.  I ended up running with my right hand on the strings for the entire run!

Please email me if you are interested to know how my run went!  justin@adventureisouttheretravel.com (I thought I did well for my first organized run.)

Justin Eggenberger, Co-Owner of Adventure is Out There Travel, LLC

Family Vacation

Have you ever thought about vacationing with your entire family?  Last summer, my husband and I went on vacation with our two adult children and their spouses and their children.  What a great way to create heart-warming memories!1st day on ship

We were fortunate enough to go on the Disney Dream for 5 nights and experience a

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Tequila Tasting Setup

“double dip”.  We went to Castaway Cay, Nassau, back to

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Watching the Sunrise

Castaway Cay, day at sea, and back to port.  While on the ship, some of the adults had spa treatments, went to a tequila tasting, ran on the running deck (Deck 4), enjoyed a tour of the galley, and just took time to relax alone.

 

The kids went to the kids club, swam with family, spent time

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Finishing 5k

with grandparents and cousins, and saw Disney characters & Princesses.  We all saw several of the shows offered on the ship.  While on the island, one of the adults ran the 5K and one went snorkeling.

 

After our delightful and memorable cruise, we all went to Walt Disney World for 5 nights.  We stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort.  It was so nice to be able to hop on the Monorail to get to the Magic Kingdom and also Epcot.  In addition, there were Monorail stops at the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary, and the Ticket & Transportation Center.

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Cousins Playing in the Sand

This was convenient to reach the parks, of course, and dinners & shopping at the Contemporary and Grand Floridian.  The Monorail isn’t the only transportation guests can use.  We also took advantage of the water transportation and the bus system.

Thanks to great pre-trip planning, we were all able to do & see everything we wanted.  Some days, Papa & Grandma went with daughter & family, while on other days we went with son & family.  Most nights we all had dinner together.   It was a nice way for everyone to have their own experiences and then meet to talk about them in the evening.  Papa & Grandma were fortunate enough to have visited WDW several times in the past.  This time, went on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour.  This tour took us on a behind the scenes look at WDW and gave us insight into the planning and layout of WDW.  If you have the time, I recommend this tour.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  Here is a photo of me while I
was waiting for the Magical Express to give us a ride to the airport for our flight home.

goodbye vacation

Claudia Eggenberger

Co-Owner/Agent Adventure Is Out There Travel, LLC