Thursday, June 25, 2015

Disney World and the Middle Class

A few weeks ago, Washington Post ran an article about how theme parks like Disney have left the middle class behind. I think that is completely untrue and I wanted to share some thoughts about that.

We are a middle class family. Both Todd and I have to work, but we own our house and we manage to be able to afford vacations and weekend conventions. This includes Disney World.

Now, we can't go to Disney World every year, that would be too expensive. But every two to three years, yes, that's completely doable for us.

Magic Kingdom - 1986
In the Washington Post article, it states that when Disney World opened in 1971, it cost $3.50 to enter the park. It neglects to mention that entering the park is all that $3.50 got you. You had to buy ticket books in order to actually ride any of the rides.

Prices for tickets do go up every year. It's something those of us in the Disney fandom expect, but it seems to outage people who don't know anything about Disney. If you really want to go to Disney, you can if you save.

There are tons of time shares all over Orlando and a lot of those time shares will give you free theme park tickets if you sit through their presentation. You can also save a ton of money by staying in a hotel off of Disney's property.

As kids, neither Todd nor I had ever stayed on Disney's property so we decided to stay on property for our honeymoon. We were hooked, especially since we had the dining plan as well. I'm a big fan of having just about everything paid for, and just having
Animal Kingdom - 2013
money for tips and souvenirs.

Disney does have a lot of high end resorts that cost tons a night. But they also have quite a few value resorts where the rooms are only about $100 a night. In fact, the newest resort is a value that mostly has family suites which make it more affordable for families with more than two kids.

If you go on an off time of the year, you can also get room discounts or even free dining. You may have to move to a different resort but it can save a big chuck of money.

Tickets are cheaper if you buy more than one day at a time, and the dining plan is great if you have a young kid who wants to do a lot of character meals.

If you are middle class, and you really want to go to Disney World or any other theme parks, you can. You may have to stay off site, you may have to stay at a value resort, you may have to sit through a time share presentation, but it's completely do-able.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Online Friends are Just Friends

Today I'm grieving a friend who passed away suddenly yesterday. I never met her in person, but she was still a wonderful and dear friend. I met her on a forum that started for a very special kind of perfume, but over the years it became such more. Even though I had never met Kathy in person, we had been friends over a decade.

When I was a kid, I never had a lot of friends. I've always been an introvert and being a geek didn't help matters. Now that I'm older, I don't get out a lot. In part because of my chronic pain but in part because I'm still an introvert.

But the internet gives us the ability to be able to make friends all over the world. Even though I may never met most of my online friends in person, they are still my friends. We share our lives and our issues thanks to social media. Online friends share in our triumphs and help with our issues by giving advice. Even though I didn't get a lot of visitors in the hospital last year, my online friends were there in the internet.

Today my little slice of the internet is mourning our loss. Kathy was our friend and her sudden passing is shocking and sad. But I'm thankful for all my friends, online and off, because they bring joy to my life.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Old Fashioned Summer

When I was a kid, there was not a lot of structure to our summers. I didn't go to day camp until I was in middle school and even then it was just a week, like VBS. Most of my summer involved just playing.

I remember playing in the forest behind my neighbor's house, pretending we were in Herself the Elf's kingdom. I remember riding my bike with my sister and our friends to the church (because for some reason there was a church right in the middle of our otherwise residential neighborhood). We would do races on our bikes, play cops and robbers and make up stories that the church was a castle.

There would be reading in the shade and playing with toys in the cool basement when it got too hot. We'd run through the sprinklers and just have fun. This seems to be an oddity these days.

Seemingly, a lot of kids have a lot of scheduled activities during the summer now. Camp and lessons seem to abound. But Emily is having a very old fashioned summer.

She's been spending her days playing outside with the little girl next door and other kids in the neighborhood. Usually by the time she gets in at night she smells like dirt and sweat which is actually not unpleasant - it sends me back to my own childhood.

Later in the summer she will go to our church's version of VBS. And she will be taking a week's worth swimming lessons but mostly she'll be playing outside, making up stories, getting dirty and just having fun.