Land After Sea
Our February/March 2015 vacation was divided into two parts: land and sea. You may have already been reading about the first part—our Disney Cruise to the Bahamas—in the trip report entitled It’s All Happening: When You Wish Upon a Bright Star, Bright Star, Bright Star, Your Dreams of Jimmy Come True, but I’m chomping at the bit to get started talking about the land portion.
It was our first trip to Walt Disney World since May 2012 (which you can read about in Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish). Even odder, we had lived out our entire time as Disneyland locals in between the last WDW trip and this one. So our mindsets and our life circumstances were very different from the last time we had set foot in Orlando.
We first started planning the land portion of this vacation in mid-September 2014. Knowing that our 10-year anniversary of being together would be coming up on March 5th, we thought that Walt Disney World would be the perfect place to spend it. So we started to do some research into dates and rates.
We kept hearing about people renting DVC points and staying at some of the resorts that would normally be way out of our grasp without spending an arm and a leg, so we looked into our options. We settled on The DVC Rental Store for two reasons. First, we were able to check dates without putting down a deposit. And second, we would be able to pay for our full reservation in two installments rather than needing to have a lump sum ready several months in advance.
The inquiry process was actually really easy. We played around with dates and resorts a little bit until we found options that worked for us. We knew that we wanted to do a split stay so that we could experience a couple different DVC properties. We also knew that we wanted at least one of those resorts to be walkable to one (or more) of the theme parks. For the other half of the trip, we were less worried about convenience and more interested in something really well themed.
For the resort in the vicinity of the parks, it came down to a choice between Bay Lake Tower and the Boardwalk Villas. After deliberating quite a bit, we finally decided that having the Magic Kingdom close by was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up, so we opted for Bay Lake.
For the other one, we didn’t have to think too hard. We inquired about the Villas at Wilderness Lodge and found availability immediately. Since that property is incredibly unique and someplace we’d wanted to stay, the decision was made.
The only hiccup about any of our plans was that a Standard View Room at Bay Lake Tower was only available for three of our four nights. So we had to book an extra reservation in a Lake View Room at Bay Lake Tower on our first night (March 2nd) before moving to a Standard View Room from March 3rd-6th. Then our Villas at Wilderness Lodge reservation spanned from March 6th-9th.
Even then, our vacation plans weren’t quite over because we were going to check out Universal’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley (and return to the original Hogsmeade version) after leaving Walt Disney World. So we booked one night (March 9th) at Universal Studios’ Cabana Bay Resort.
And those were our extravagant plans. The vacation included some splurges we’d never spent money on before, but we decided that our celebration was worth it. And honestly, the DVC rooms only came out to a little over $200 per night, which isn’t too bad when you consider the cost of staying Deluxe at Disney.
Now, even though I’m still in the middle of the Disney Cruise report, get ready to skip ahead a couple days and follow along with our exciting Walt Disney World vacation! As Tracy kept saying at random times throughout the trip, “What a time to be alive!”