Colonial Williamsburg for a weekend I think it was and they had an absolute ball, plus they have been to Monticello several times (which led to her adding leicester longwool sheep to her flock) – so next year I’m adding 2 leicester longwool ewe lambs to my flock so I can gauge how well they do as dairy sheep in Oklahoma.
We homeschooled our guys for 19 years, and the best lessons we every had were physics at King Dominion… The boys BEGGED for physics lessons, my husband was great at explain laws of gravity, motion, etc…. centrifugal force, , hydraulics, pulleys, incline plans… work, levers, mph,
once at 10, once in my 30’s. Probably liked it at 10, it was OK for 30. not enough fun rides for me. Most geared toward kids. Went to Universal and one of the other parks in Orlando. Not a fan. I don’t have kids. Choices for beer in Epcot were horrible. There is a reason WDW gets millions of people of year. The rides don’t last long enough for the wait in line. They aren’t missing my dollars.
to other types of vacations and the cost is pretty much the same based on the benefits you receive and with an annual pass to WDW it can actually work out far cheaper in the long run than some trips. Even on a per day pass it can be cheaper than some vacations. When looking at the cost you need to consider EVERYTHING included in the pass, not just the cost of the park admission—which goes down on the per day cost the more days you purchase. Everything but food and souvenirs are free once you are inside the gates. The same cannot be said for many other places. There are also many ways to get discounts on those things.
As for learning things, it depends on how you approach it. There is a LOT to learn at WDW. Here’s a short breakdown of the everyday things you can learn at WDW.
You can learn about other cultures in World Showcase where the cast members (employees) talk to people about their culture and there is a special Kidcot program that is free to help them learn about the countries, how things are done, and various aspects of daily living in that country. Most of the countries in the World showcase also include a travelog or historical film about the country. Two of my favorite countries to visit are China and the American Adventure.
The China pavilion has a wonderful film AND a replica of The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. (info provided by Wikipedia) It is so awe inspiring to see this reproduction.
You want US history, then visit my other favorite pavilion in the World Showcase, that is the American Adventure Pavillion. Here’s a utube video of the animatronic production for your viewing pleasure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrgmubbw1N4 (that’s part one then you link to part two) I love it so much I have ds’ ringer on my cell phone as the “Golden Dream” from this production.
Technology and modern living are the main factors in Epcot and the different pavilions have an individual theme. The Land has a good movie about the circle of life and living with the land. The “ride” there is a boat ride through various gardens of the future to feed EVERYONE around the world through aero and aqua gardening. They serve the food grown there at the restaurants in WDW.
The Living seas or “under the sea” as it is sometimes called starts with a ride based on finding Nemo and then takes you “under the sea into a HUGE aquarium that is truly awe inspiring. There are many hands on exhibits, educational displays made fun and of course a “talk with Crush” which includes some great info at times.
Space ship earth is a ride about the HISTORY of the world.
I could list all the other pavilions but each and every one is a TEACHING facility interwoven with rides and activities that educate.
Animals of the world at the Animal Kingdom, not only seeing the animals but their importance to the balance of nature and their special needs, their habitats and their beauty. As well as interaction with some of them and how they all work together to form the Tree of Life.
The history of the movie industry and how movies are made in Disney Hollywood Studios with back lot tours, animation classes, and much more.
The folk stories of the world are showcased in the Magic Kingdom. Yes they are Disney themed, but Disney didn’t write Rapunzel, or Cinderella, or any of the fairy tales. They just brought them to life for many children around the world. Through those fairy tales children have learned valuable lessons about good vs evil, sharing and being true to yourself.
Also if you want more US history the Hall of Presidents is very educational on the different presidents of our land. Want to make history and find out what a flight to Mars would be like ride the very realistic Mission to Mars (not a good idea for those with motion sickness—barf bags supplies).
Observation powers are tested and improved by in looking for Hidden Mickey’s everywhere.
Each resort has a theme and there is always educational benefits to be learned from reading the various signs and info provided at each one. Historical items are on display in many of the hotel lobbies and just touring the resorts can be VERY educational, not to mention fun. We particularly like going to the Animal Kingdom Lodge after dark and watching the giraffes and other animals on the savannah with the FREE use of the night vision goggles.
Every Christmas season they have Santa’s from all over the world that explain the history of that particular Santa, or lack there of one. These show how while we are different we are all the same.
The Epcot spring flower and garden show has valuable information on gardening naturally for both beauty and food sources. Plus a wonderful butterfly pavilion you can enter and spend time among the beauty of the butterflies and lady bug releases you can participate in for free.
I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg of what there is to learn at WDW. There is more to learning than history and even a lot of history can be learned at Disney World.
Yes, there are rides, and sometimes the lines can be long, but there are ways around those long lines. I never stand in one over 15 minutes and we ride EVERYTHING—well I don’t do space mountain or rock’n roller coaster and I’ve only rode Everest once. But that is not due to lines, but due to the fact I’m a COWARD! And I cannot think of a single ride that is a mere 30 seconds long.
There are street entertainers in every park that include the crowd in their performances—GREAT fun for all, great stage productions, parades that will make anyone’s heart skip a beat. It is a good family atmosphere that includes a strong respect for our military.
WDW takes the best of both worlds, education and entertainment to intertwine them to where children don’t even realize they are learning.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown (both sites)and Yorktown, I’ve been to them all and they were far from free when you include all the same activities you get at WDW the cost is real close. They were of great interest to us not only because we are history enthusiasts, but because we are related to those who settled there. The Joseph Copeland Pewter spoon found at Jamestown belonged to my dh’s ggggg(x however many generations) uncle Joseph Copeland. It is the oldest known artifact from there. My kids were raised up on history sites AND WDW. A well rounded person needs a well rounded upbringing and we made certain our kids got one.
when we stopped there on our way to MD. My sister was planning a trip to WDW but figured that what she would pay for 1 week for her family of 5 was too expensive. For that amount, they could go to MD to visit my mother and 2 sisters for 2 weeks and also make a 3 day trip to Hershey park.
My youngest wants to spend her 18th birthday there, so I’m thinking family reunion next June.
But some of those rides are, well, FUN! And honestly, I don’t think I’d ever HEARD of Colonial Williamsburg until someone mentioned it on this group. I’m pretty sure my parents never heard of it when I was a kid… We have the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village nearby, and I don’t remember ever going as a kid either.
WDW varies a lot in price for different times of year. So, if you decide to go pick a low peak time of year and use a good Disney travel agent. Disney pays them not you. They can help you pick a cheaper time to go and help you find discounts.
I think WDW is one of the most expensive Family vacations ever and the kids learn nothing. Consider Colonial Williamsburg where everything is set in the late 1700’s, People, shops, etc. The kids learn about history and have fun. Yorktown and Jamestown are nearby. This is where our country started and fought for independence.
but we are all humans here and we all suffer from burn out. It’s kind of like when you are on a diet, if you eat nothing but lettuce for a week by the weekend you are so seriously starving for a piece of chocolate you blow the whole diet. So if instead you have a piece of a candy bar during the week, or a small piece of cake you find you can stick to the rest of the diet easier.
I personally am a travel-a-holic and have been on the DR plan for four years now and have traveled to some extent a little each year. Well the first two years we traveled a lot because that was how we were making our income. But we changed how we traveled considerably. We switched over more to staycations (I have a few blog posts on that site about this as well), we don’t go as far etc.
I have a sinking fund for travel. However, that is the LAST fund we fund, so if money is tight it doesn’t get that month’s deposit. If we have a major Murphy hit and need extra cash, that’s the first fund we pull from. Doing it that way makes us really think hard about all our other expenses because we love travel so much.
Right now we are within 6-8 months of being cc debt free and now I’m kicking up a notch on planning and such for our first trip to WDW in what will be at that point 8 years, but ALL money is going into my gazelle feed until we get down to the must make deposits and such. It’s a matter of priorities. What your priority is will be different from mine. Right now I want every penny I own going to Best Buy to get rid of that sucker—Did I mention I hate that bill? But then I’ve already reserved my site at the Ft. Wilderness Campground for my projected celebration trip. After the first of the year I’ll slowly start paying expenses for said trip in cash ahead of time, along with debt payoff. Things like our annual passes (finally after 5 long years of not being able to even think about an annual pass there) will be purchased with part of our gazelle money so we can get discounts on the other parts of our planning. I’ll also be watching for tire sales for the truck and camper—I want new tires all the way around before we leave, tune-up specials etc.
This next two months I’ll be watching the “specials” for dining gift cards where you buy one get a smaller one free for restaurants I know we’ll be eating at on the trip and pay cash for those. All the time keeping my main focus on debt pay off, because the goal is to not only be cc free but to have an absolutely blow out of a trip and all in cash—I have a very large budget laid out for the trip and then of course my debt payoff budget that has a sinking fund for said trip budget in it.
someplace like WDW have VERY young kids, like 3 or 4 years old. In that case, most of us would say to pay off debt first, because the kids are too young to remember the trip *anyway*. But since your kids are older, that makes it more time-sensitive. Dave would say to wait until your on BS 3. I’ll probably be odd man out here, but I think if you can go in 3 years, that’s a good target. Odd – a single guy with no kids of my own agreeing that a family vacation is important…
you don’t do a vacation until Step2 is done. It is a motivational factor to get you more gazelle. I’d say wait for WDW until you are done with Step 2. It’s a great pat on the back for a job well done. There are many discussions in the archives about taking very inexpensive vacations and stay-cations while on Baby Step 2, if you want to stay true to the plan.
We were on Baby Step 2 for 5 1/2 years. My DH works very hard and doesn’t ever take any time off. We are self-employed. So needless to say, we did do some weekend vacations during those 5+ years. All paid in cash/gifts of course, but we needed the break. After $259,000 worth of debt, I’d say we deserved a break.
We are looking forward to our first vacation longer than 4 days since we were married 17 years ago!
We haven’t answered it yet, but we’re trying to negotiate our way through a decision about going to Phoenix for Thanksgiving.
As some folks will recall, my folks moved to PHX a few years ago, which itself created some family upheaval. That meant the whole family was down there except for yours truly. And gosh, we should simply pack up 3-4x a year and go for a visit. When we very pragmatically pointed out that it cost us a small fortune to hire help to keep the farm tended while we were gone, wow did we get a lot of flack for that. So much flack that it contributed to me not speaking to my parents for a few months. Also keep in mind they are definitely not DR fans, and they still don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish since “everyone” has debts and “everyone” has credit cards.
Fast forward several years, and Life brings changes. I had some health issues two years ago which really left their mark emotionally (thankfully not physically), during which time I desperately wished I could have had my folks nearby.But we still weren’t in a position to travel. Then my dad went on dialysis, and has had several health scares since then. So the chances of them coming here slimmed down to “probably not”. When my mom’s best friend died suddenly in March of this year, I felt compelled to fly down to the funeral. I was gone for all of 30hrs and hardly had time to say hello to most of the people I’d grown up with. So I came home and announced to my DH that I very much wanted to return for Mother’s Day. After a fair amount of hard-core negotiating, we paid for me to go down there alone, while DH stayed here to tend the farm. It was wonderful from a “reconnection” and family politics standpoint, but a trainwreck from a farm care and marital relations standpoint. Everything that could have gone wrong, did. So the unspoken deal when I got back was that a LOT needed to change before we traveled again.
Fast foward again to earlier this month, and my dad is continuing to have complications. None of them per se are serious, but they’re happening more frequently. Which has me feeling very compelled to go for a visit for Thanksgiving. I am starting to feel in my heart that we may not have many more Thanksgivings as a whole family. Yet we’re definitely still in BS#2, we definitely still have issues around here that must be dealt with before I or we travel, and we aren’t sure whether we want to have that much money going out, let alone make the herculean effort to get this place whipped into shape in what, three weeks? On the other hand, we just had a massive pork sale and brought in over $1000, which would go a L-O-N-G way towards making the improvements which need to be made. And airfare is as low as I’ve ever seen it. The parents have offered to pay our airfare, so all we need to do is pay for the improvements around here, and the farm sitter. We don’t have a decision made yet, but we’re talking about it. If Dad were younger and healthier, I wouldn’t even be considerating it. But we really don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us. That starts to affect the decision-making petty heavily.
time goes very fast as kids grow up, and it would be a shame for the opportunity not to come till they are more interested in being with their friends instead of mom and dad.
if those of you on baby step 2 include a fund for vacations or do you wait until you’ve paid everything off?
It’s just that we do have our yearly trip to see family every summer, but I also want to take the kids back to Disney World. It is looking like (even with Gazelle style) it is going to take up to 2 years to pay off the credit cards and another two years to pay off the student loans. Would it hurt to budget an extra few dollars a month to this Disney World trip so that it doesn’t end up being 5 plus years before we can go? My kids are 6 and 7 and they know that we are working on saving money so that we can do fun things like this and if it takes too long, they may lose their motivation. I’m thinking that a goal of having enough to go in 2 or 3 years would be the aim. They do know that we have to save up for it because none of it will be going on credit cards.
Or, would that be like going backwards because we don’t have all debt paid off yet?