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Pre-Trip A Perfectly Premature Pre-Trip Report: How I Plan To "Use It Or Lose It" in August 2023

We last visited WDW in August 2021 in the last blessed days of standby-only lines, and honestly, my family isn't champing at the bit to hurry back given the added complexities of Genie+ and the effect of lightning lanes on wait times, etc. but we have some "souvenirs" we want to use before our son hits his senior year, when college visits will become our main travel objective, and money will be tighter than ever.

Specifically (skip the rest of this paragraph if you're not interested in the minutiae), when we planned our August 2021 visit, we'd booked a room-and-ticket package at the Polynesian (with a "2 ticket days free" special offer), which we ended up canceling in favor of the Dolphin and third-party vendor tickets, once it became plain that the then-ongoing Poly construction projects and monorail station weren't going to be remotely finished by the time of our visit. We saved several hundred dollars by doing so, but ended up with $3,500 in the form of refunded Disney gift cards (purchased with a warehouse club/credit card discount of 9%) we'd used to pay for the package, plus an extra $300 in gift cards left over from what we'd bought to cover food and souvenirs, but didn't end up needing. In addition, we received some travel bank funds from our airline due to issues with seatback screens on the flight over, and were issued 2-day complimentary parkhopper tickets from WDW after a Boo Bash debacle. All of this has just been burning a hole in our figurative pockets for the past 13 months.

So to make a short story long, the upcoming trip is shaking out as follows:

Dates: Sat., 8/12-Fri., 8/18, 2023 (threading in between volleyball camp, and volleyball preseason, for our teens, and hopefully taking advantage of the little crowd dip that occurs when Florida kids head back to school). Yes, we know it will be hot and possibly very rainy, but we've done it before and didn't mind.

Traveling party: Me, DH, and our son (will be 17) and daughter (will be 15)

Transportation: BUF-MCO, direct flights with upgraded seats, FREE using JetBlue credit card rewards points and travel bank funds

Ground transportation: undecided, probably rideshare, definitely won't be renting/parking a car

Hotel(s): 3 nights at Yacht Club (garden view, rack rate of $1,908 after taxes and fees, paid for with Disney GC), followed by 3 nights in a DVC Resort Studio at the Grand Floridian ($1,200 out of pocket, on DVC points rented through David's Vacation Rentals -- half the cost of booking through Disney at the $800/night+ rack rate). [Photo of the GF Resort Studio below.] We've never stayed at either of these resorts before, and are looking forward to something new! Indeed, we'd never even considered the Grand Floridian before, given how expensive it is and how outdated and blah the in-room theming seemed to us, but we were really charmed by the Mary Poppins decor in the new resort studios. The layout of each -- 2 queens + daybed, with a full dresser -- is also perfect for our family configuration, and far preferable to anything with foldout sofas or undersized-under-TV-Murphys.

1210ZP_0036KP_JRoh-16x9.jpg


Tickets: To supplement the complimentary 2-day parkhoppers we already have (which cannot be upgraded or extended), we purchased four 3-day parkhoppers from an authorized reseller for $1,790 (saving about $200 over the Disney online price).

Itinerary: Due to "flight schedule insecurity," we won't plan on visits to any parks on our arrival or departure half-days. We'll have a nice dinner in Disney Springs, maybe visit an Escape Room, and perhaps enjoy the pools at our resorts. We'll visit the parks for the 5 days in between, hopefully with the chance to use extra evening hours if Disney extends them.

Dining: I expect we'll average 5 TS or Lounge visits, 8-10 CS, and a few snacks, during the week, at an average cost of about $200-$250 per day (depending on restaurant choices, which we haven't made yet). Whatever we spend on dining and/or souvenirs will be more than covered by the Disney gift cards we already have, plus the extra $200 or so we've racked up in Disney VISA rewards over the past couple years.

Variables: The Yacht Club rack rate is way over what I'm comfortable actually paying. If the Yacht Club isn't eventually discounted for our dates as part of the usual summer room-only offer (which wouldn't likely come out until around April), and cheaper standard rooms can be had at Boardwalk or Beach Club at that time - we'll change to the cheaper resort for those first 3 nights. Under ordinary circumstances, we'd simply shift to Caribbean Beach, and still be close to HS/EPCOT, but we're worried about weather-related Skyliner closures during that time of year (which happened a lot the last time we came in August, which was prone to thunderstorms and high winds: fortunately, it didn't impact us as we were at the Dolphin and could walk to HS and EPCOT even in a monsoon), and besides, we've got to use up these gift cards on something!

Budget: We've already spent just under $3K out of pocket on supplemental tickets and the 3 nights at GF on rented DVC points. We'll have some other minor expenditures for rideshares, tips, and perhaps an escape room, but there will be no other appreciable out-of-pocket expenses for this trip. Everything else will be covered by Disney gift cards and rewards dollars, with a few hundred dollars' worth left to spare. (I could have used them all up simply by purchasing the tickets directly from Disney instead of a reseller, but I just couldn't stomach overpaying for them given the $200+ difference.) Since I fully expect this will be our "last night in the nursery," in the sense that it will be our last trip to WDW as a family of four before the kids are off to college and all points beyond, and possibly our last trip onsite, I'm praying that it will be a wonderful one!

Stay tuned for inevitable flight schedule changes, hotel discounts and/or switches, weather-related changes, and angsty second-guessing of the plan-in-my-head! ;)

Thoughts, questions, and other feedback are more than welcome. It just feels good to get the plan sketched out in black and white.
 
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Tiggerish

Resident Redhead
Premium Member
I love your trip.reports and look.forward to the next 10? (it'll be October in two days, so we'll go.with 10) months of posts.

But first, I need to pick your brain. We are doing a similar "last hurrah" big family trip with my SIL before her nest empties, and she chose "in between Christmas and New Years" this year, with the notion of being in Epcot on NYE. I think she's lost her mind, but I love my husband and have chosen not to die on this hill. So my first question for you is, what is this third party reseller of tickets? The SIL and her brother (the aforementioned well-loved husband) were shocked, absolutely shocked, when I emailed them screen-capped ticket prices for that week.

Our air travel (LGA-MCO) is booked with JetBlue, and they have something called Paisly that offers discounted tickets, just curious to see if we can do better. JetBlue program is maybe $20 savings.

Sorry for the derailment, and apologies for the very odd punctuation. My Kindle has a mind of its own, and no clue about the rules of grammar. Normally its autocorrect is wildly inappropriate as well, but I've kept an eye on that this evening.

The "new" Yacht Club rooms are totally awesome, but I agree about the room rate. Personally, I don't really care for the Beach Club, but if it's cheaper, I can get behind that move. I do love the Boardwalk.

Im.honestly stunned at the amount of Disney credit you've accumulated, and applaud your plans to spend it down. Coincidentally, we will be staying in a new GF Resort studio for our December trip, so.if I can do any recon for you, just let me know.
 
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Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I love your trip.reports and look.forward to the next 10? (it'll be October in two days, so we'll go.with 10) months of posts.

But first, I need to pick your brain. We are doing a similar "last hurrah" big family trip with my SIL before her nest empties, and she chose "in between Christmas and New Years" this year, with the notion of being in Epcot on NYE. I think she's lost her mind, but I love my husband and have chosen not to die on this hill. So my first question for you is, what is this third party reseller of tickets? The SIL and her brother (the aforementioned wells loved husband) were shocked, absolutely shocked, when I emailed them screen-capped ticket prices for that week.

Our air travel (LGA-MCO) is booked with JetBlue, and they have something called Paisly that offers discounted tickets, just curious to see if we can do better. JetBlue program is maybe $20 savings.
There are several authorized resellers, including Undercover Tourist, and Boardwalk Ticketing, both of which we've used successfully many times in the past.

I always use the touringplans ticket finder tool to find the best deal. It will not only run your dates, but will compare tickets across a few different reputable resellers, and with different start dates (that would still be valid for the dates of your trip), to figure out your cheapest option: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/ticket-calculator

I highly recommend it! If the tool requires a subscriber login or is otherwise not accessible, send me your info. (# nights, arrival date, # adults/kids, and ticket type) and I can run it for you and send the results.

Thanks for the recon offer! I'd love to know your thoughts on room requests when you get back, especially if you have an opinion of which of the standard view (pool-facing) rooms are the quietest. At present, I'm planning to request the third or fourth-floor turret rooms, if available: otherwise, any higher-floor room with a balcony.
 
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Tiggerish

Resident Redhead
Premium Member
There are several authorized resellers, including Undercover Tourist, and Boardwalk Ticketing, both of which we've used successfully many times in the past.

I always use the touringplans ticket finder tool to find the best deal. It will not only run your dates, but will compare tickets across a few different reputable resellers, and with different start dates (that would still be valid for the dates of your trip), to figure out your cheapest option: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/ticket-calculator
I'be
I highly recommend it! If the tool requires a subscriber login or is otherwise not accessible, send me your info. (# nights, arrival date, # adults/kids, and ticket type) and I can run it for you and send the results.

Thanks for the recon offer! I'd love to know your thoughts on room requests when you get back, especially if you have an opinion of which of the standard view (pool-facing) rooms are the quietest. At present, I'm planning to request the third or fourth-floor turret rooms, if available: otherwise, any higher-floor room with a balcony.
Thanks, girlfriend. I've been doing some research, and JetBlue only offers 3 day park tix. The link you provided works, and may be our best bet. Vacation shouldn't be this hard.
 

Tiggerish

Resident Redhead
Premium Member
Just wanted to.pop.back in here to say thanks very much for the discount ticket options you provided.

Because my SIL waited until 19 Nov to make plans for a trip starting 28 Dec, we went with Undercover Tourist because they would email the tix immediately. Boardwalk was cheaper, but only offered tix by mail.

I think I should get some credit for not.killing her when she complained about the lack of park res options, and I said that I'd tried at least 3x to get her time & attention to plan this trip while explaining the "new way to do WDW", and she wailed " you should've made me listen".

And sadly, I will be unable to provide feedback on GF villas, we had to cancel our trip this weekend because of a death in the family.
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
We saved several hundred dollars by doing so, but ended up with $3,500 in the form of refunded Disney gift cards
Isn't it hilarious that while we KNOW we spent the money on the gift cards, when you have them to use later it's like free money.
(I would make a horrible accountant)! 🤣
Looking forward to following along on your adventures. I tend to LOL at some of your antics!
 

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