OMG! The ticket to Orlando was only $168 round-trip from Dallas on American Airlines which was definitely a sale and a half. I thought that I might actually take that offer at first and started digging around in to various things around Orlando that I either had never done or simply hadn't done in a while. The last time I was in town was for a sales convention at Disneyworld and that one came with all the trimmings - air fare, accommodations at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, theme nights and all the swag I could carry in a plastic bag! This time, however, the dime was mine so staying just outside the resort might work just as well.
Not having any kids in tow and thinking it just a tad creepy to be a single adult/kid at heart alone in the Magic Kingdom I looked for other enticements and found it in the newly announced "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios. Now for a muggle like me that was interesting indeed, to walk around what amounts to an enchanted version of the Cotswolds capped off with a medieval castle. Here came the first dose of reality: since this attraction was part of Universal Studios it was not covered by the Disney Day Pass program.
Ahhh, say most of the naive tourists who travel to Central Florida's two premier playgrounds. A two day pass with unlimited entry to any of the Disney parks ran a cool $200 which I figured to use at the Hollywood Studios and either Epcot or the Animal Kingdom, all three being new to me. Hogwarts and Harry Potter was another $80 for one day.
Time to ponder: a rough three hundred smackers to walk around in the hot sun, gob-smacked by the prices and the humidity. What did Cliff Huxtable say to Theo in that episode about how to manage money? "You haven't EATEN yet!"
Eat nothing, I still had to book a car to get around for the week, $200, and the hotel right outside the resorts was suddenly turning in to some "cozy and convenient" job out near the airport. I have friends in Tampa but, if they agreed to put me up, that 90-minute haul each way was really turning this cheap plane ticket in to an adventure of the first order. Oh, and I get to trade the cost of the hotel for the price of gas at the pump, woo-hoo!
What started out as an exciting idea to spend a week in Florida relaxing and acting like a kid again came down to earth in the most adult kind of way. Looking at all the things I wanted to do which wasn't a lot by any means still turned a $170 plane ticket in to a weeklong vacation for one person heading north of $1200 all told. And I still hadn't eaten yet!
Ten miles south of me in suburban Dallas is Six Flags over Texas. Fifty bucks gets me in for the day. And I haven't been there in a while either.