Disney resolutions

Friday, January 04, 2008

I’m not usually the type to make New Year’s Resolutions. After all, if something is really all that important, why wait until December 31 to really make a commitment? But there’s something about the coming of the new year that brings about a reflective mood. What did we learn over the past year, and what do we want to bring with us into the future? And you know, making these resolutions public can be a useful tool in bringing them to fruition, even if only because of our fear of public shaming otherwise. So, in that spirit, here are a few resolutions I’d like to make, specific to my Disney Parks planning and travels:

I hereby resolve to attend MouseFest 2008. This one I learned the hard way, sitting around the office wishing I were crashing through the gates to Spaceship Earth with my buddies instead. And I’m not sure how easy it’s gonna be to get there in 08 either . . . but nobody said all our resolutions had to be gimmes, right? I hereby resolve to face up to the guilty-mom feelings that say I shouldn’t go without my kid, to set aside the vacation time, to book the frequent-flier-miles ticket as soon as the airlines allow.

I hereby resolve to plan a totally sweet Disney trip with my kid, to assuage the mom-guilt noted above. I can’t take my kid to MouseFest because it would be really really bad to take him out of school (just trust me on this), so a Star Wars Weekend would be my way of making that up to him in advance. And um, yeah, there’s also the fact that I’ve been a Star Wars geek since 1977, so maybe I just might wanna see those Stormtroopers on the roofs at the Studios. But there’s also the possibility of a trip to Disneyland over the summer, which would re-unite him with one of his BFFs who just moved out of state. And what’s more awesome than your mom letting you take one of your best buds with you to Disneyland? So either way, I think I’m good . . . plus, the Disneyland trip would help me with my next resolution too:

I hereby resolve not to fall into an Orlando-only rut. I love Walt Disney World, but hey now people, it’s not the only Disney Park worth visiting. Disneyland was where I fell for Disney in the first place, and it’s not all that much harder a trip, all things considered. Sure, it’s a longer flight from the East coast, but getting around Disneyland is much easier than getting around Walt Disney World, by scales of magnitude, and the park admissions are cheaper too. I love rolling out of bed at 7:30am, and still being at the main turnstiles well before rope drop. I love spending a week at Disneyland without once setting foot in a shuttle bus, monorail, or car, and still being able to save tons of bucks by eating offsite at cheapo restaurants. And I love love love the Electrical Parade and the Matterhorn. (Truly, I love a lot of things about Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Tokyo too . . . but the budget doesn’t really support getting back there anytime soon, especially with the US dollar being so weak right now.)

I hereby resolve to resist the Disney Dining Plan. I’ve done the math, and I know it doesn’t work for us, especially since they took away the appetizers and the included gratuity. But the damn thing’s just so enticing. Last August during the “Free Dining” promotion, the math actually worked in our favor (we booked at a Value resort), and I totally grooved on not worrying about how much things cost, trying Le Cellier for the first time, and letting my son have all the desserts he wanted. But with the new changes to the Dining Plan, and with the fact that we’re both pretty light eaters, even the Free Dining wouldn’t have been a good deal for us if the gratuity hadn’t been included, even including the fancier restaurants we tried. So I resolve to listen to the bottom line.

I hereby resolve to do the math to determine which kind of Park admission to buy. This is a very cheaty resolution. I am a geek, I always do the math! Last year, the math said that a Walt Disney World Annual Pass was our best bet, so I did what the numbers told me. And the little perks, much like the Dining Plan, have an emotional enticement that’s hard to resist. Woo hoo, we can buy special merchandise! Get invitations to early soft-openings! Get the Mickey Monitor, sometimes with special coupons! But again, the bottom line for us is that the Annual Pass perks don’t add up to enough to justify the purchase. Since we’re Value Resort types, our AAA discount has been about as good as the AP discount, and our Disney Visa gets us some of the same shopping discounts as the AP. So, when we plan our next trip, whether to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, I’ll do the math again, carefully.

I hereby resolve not to book a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland – yet. It is tempting indeed. I actually visited Disneyland Paris for the first time just 11 days before HK Disneyland opened, and for those 11 blessed days I had been to every Disney Resort on earth. (Full disclosure: While I’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland Resort, I didn’t visit DisneySea.) So there’s a real temptation to book a trip now, just to regain a few bragging rights. But when I review how few attractions are currently operating there, and consider that a trip to Hong Kong might well be a once-in-a-lifetime venture, I figure I’d better wait. After all, if I hold out long enough maybe I’ll even be able to hit the much-rumored Shanghai Disneyland too.

Got any resolutions to share? Feel free to email me . . . or to publicly shame me if I don’t live up to mine!