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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Friday, October 7, 2011

We're Going Back To The World!

The photo above was the last Photopass photo taken from our July trip to Walt Disney World.  We look happy; satisfied.  It was an incredible Disney vacation that included a 5 night cruise aboard the beautiful Disney Dream and week at Walt Disney World.  It was our 4th Disney cruise and our 8th trip to Walt Disney World.  Our summer vacation was full of memories and fulfilled dreams. 

And, while those summer vacation memories still linger, it was time to look to the future for even more Disney magic.

Mid-September marked the 180 day window for Spring Break in March.  We booked our vacation package for a week at Port Orleans French Quarter at the World.  We even reserved our dining—some new restaurants, such as Cape May Café, are on our agenda, and some old favorites—like ‘Ohana’s.  Whew!  Check that off our list.  Our Spring Break trip still wasn’t real.  We had no idea how we were going to get to Orlando.

The dilemma.  Flights, specifically prices and times.  As seasoned fliers, we know a reasonable price for a flight when we see one.  Our favorite airline, AirTran will stop service to a nearby airport, which featured non-stop flights, in January.  Other nearby airports offered high priced flights with multiple stops.  There was one direct flight offered for an exorbitant price.

I set price alerts on line with both Kayak.com and Airfarewatchdog.com to notify me daily about flight fares for the dates and routes I selected.  I watched diligently, hoping for some relief in the prices.  I did notice a pattern on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of airfares taking a bit of a dip on those days.

Then, I did something unusual.  I planned backwards.  Knowing AirTran is our favorite airline and typically has good prices, I went to their site and checked out the “route map.”  I asked it to search for non-stop flights FROM Orlando.  This gave me a map of what cities/locations might have a direct flight.  Bingo!  Bloomington/Normal, Illinois came up on the map.  Now to search for flights.  Bingo, again!  A reasonably priced direct flight on the dates/times we needed. 

I called my travel agent and she held the flights.  I waited 48 hours, still checking the other prices, then pulled the trigger.  Flights were booked and paid for making our spring break trip even more real!  The times of the direct flight were even better than some of the other times of flights that were available.  Who wants to arrive in Orlando at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night at the beginning of their vacation?

Interesting, when I tell people where we are flying out of, I get a confused look.  Isn’t that far away, etc.?  Actually, no.  It is no further for our family than driving to some of our nearby major metropolitan airports.  And, the airport, has free airport parking for the length of our stay.

Will we need to drive the day before?  Yes.  We will need to reserve a hotel room for the night before our flight and have found two for less than $50.  Add that to free airport parking, a reasonably priced flight, and we are talking about significant savings.

And, what makes me feel even better about making the decision about the flights?  They went up in price today.  Kayak.com is still sending me price alerts (I had canceled the alerts yesterday, but it may take some time for that to register on their system—I’m not a glutton for punishment!)  and the price had gone up by $70 per ticket for the same flight!  Whew! 

Resort booked—check.

Dining ADR’s made—check.

Flights booked—check.

Increased happiness due to a Disney vacation in our future—check.

Countdown started for trip #9—check.

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