I'm so excited! We are going for Thanksgiving. Which kills two birds with one stone (vacation for us... avoiding interpersonal conflict at the family get together for me)
We've been debating this trip for the past year... Mr F's work schedule is so deadline intensive that managing a full week when he can be out of the office.... has been impossible. I think the girls had kind of given up hope at this point. But, they are the perfect ages... Baby still believes in the characters but is finally tall enough to ride the real rides, and Kid is old enough to enjoy the roller coasters but is still willing to go on the little kid rides and wait in line for autographs. So going now will mean we don't have to split up and spend our family vacation in two separate ride lines the whole time! Plus, (serious bonus) Baby is still small enough to pass for a 3 year old... so... guess who doesn't need a park admissions?! (I think God will forgive us) That shaves $300 off our trip... and next year... I don't think we'd be able to pull that off.
I just booked our hotel... and we're... (gulp)... going to drive. Mr F's work benefit is the free car & gas, so we just couldn't get around it when trying to make this trip affordable. Driving for two straight days there and back?! Yeah, I'm not really looking forward to it, but at this point, there is no denying we are a long haul driving kind of family and the kids are used to it. So, we'll make it through. Plus, it saves us the $1200+++ to fly.
We're going back to the same off-site hotel we stayed at a couple years back. It's an all suites hotel, with free parking, really nice pools (including kiddie pool, water slide, and life guard), and it's close to WDW. In fact we found we got to the parks faster driving then we did staying on-site and taking Disney transportation. We're staying at the Caribe Royale, and we totally recommend it. The rooms are massive compared to on-site, and I'd say it's at least as nice as the deluxe level Disney resorts, yet, you can get a one bedroom suite for less than $100/night. We got a corporate deal, but you can easily find reduced rates for this resort, just keep your eyes open. We were shocked at how nice it was, and what you could get for the price, compared with the Disney resorts... however... you need a car to make staying here worthwhile.
We are extremely excited to be going back. We are so happy that Mr F could take the time off, and that we'll have 9 days together just relaxing (well Disney's not exactly relaxing...) and having fun. I can't remember the last time (ever?!) that Mr F took this long of a vacation with us. I think it'll be a great time for the kids.
FYI, So far the trip is running us about $1650 (hotel, WDW parking at parks, WDW admission for 6 days w/ park hopper). Food and motels for our drive & food at the park is not included... I can't remember what we spent last time, but I think we did our food for $400 the whole trip... I'll keep our receipts and let you know. In comparison our WDW hotel quotes had us (even at a moderate resort ... which sucks compared to where we'll be) at around $3000 for this length of stay.