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Old 05-02-2005, 12:12 PM   #1
GADISNEYGIRL
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How to get to Disney on a budget (Trip Report)

The Road to our (next) Disney Trip, via Myrtle Beach, SC*

*This is not an actual Disney trip report, but it is how we are planning to GO on our next Disney trip. Thought the budget minded among us might be interested!

Cast:
Me, 31, WDW Vet
DH, 33, WDW Vet
DS, 3, WDW Vet

The major topic of discussion in our house is ALWAYS Disney, whether it be remembering past trips, planning future trips, or figuring out how much we have to sell on eBay to *have* a next trip. In the past year, we have been to WDW 6 times. But after our trip in February, something terrible happened. For the first time in our married life (7 years), we had NO days remaining on any Disney pass. How depressing is that! And with tax time coming up in April, there was no Disney trip in sight. For a very long time. Now we were even more depressed. Especially DS, who really doesn't understand the concept of "no money to go to WDW". After all, HE'S never had to pay to get in! (Yet another obstacle~now we have to buy THREE tickets, not just TWO.)

It was the end of March, and we were all at home, thinking about how much we wanted to be planning a WDW trip. The phone rang, DH answered it, and ended up being on the phone for quite a while. Seems that around Christmas, he registered for something at the mall~probably a trip to WDW~anyway, the thing was sponsored by one of those time share companies, so now they had our name and all other vital information. We've always been kind of wary about this sort of thing, and it really sounded too good to be true. They were offering us a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach for $39, and after attending their 90 minute presentation, we would get another weekend trip somewhere (for a refundable deposit of $25), and a 5 day/4 night trip to WDW, complete with 2 one day park passes (also for a $25 refundable deposit). We'd also get a $50 Visa giftcard. That's a lot of stuff, for $39!! So after several phone calls back and forth to these people, with a zillion questions, and getting everything in writing, we agreed to do it. We then started doing a lot of research on the company, and others like them. From all we could tell, we would actually get all they were offering us~the downside was sitting through their extremely high pressure presentation. But hey, we're good at saying NO, and if they want to give us three basically free trips, we'll listen to their spiel!

After a crazy work week, enhanced by *very* bad behavior by two almost brand new computers, I was ready for some time away! We left Thursday afternoon around 1:30, stopped for our standard road trip meal: Krystal. It's cheap, and easy to eat in the car. Nuff said. We FINALLY got to Myrtle Beach around 7, just in time to stop at the information center and get our hotel information. That was a LONG trip. It's 5 hours to Orlando for us, and this wasn't that much further, but it sure felt like it, for some reason. By then we were all starving again, and we were pressed for time, because we didn't want to miss Survivor. So we came up with a brilliant plan of getting some food before going to our hotel. Except that we couldn't find anything that sounded good and wouldn't take too long. We drove all the way to North Myrtle Beach, then turned around. How ridiculous! We're no less hungry, and a LOT further from our hotel than we were! We finally saw something called Southern Market, and thought that might be good. And I'm sure it would have been, had it been open. It was now 8:10, and they closed at 8. It was in a Kroger shopping center, so I sent DH in to buy a bottle of wine (by this time, we deserved it!), and then spotted a Gyro place on the corner. Decided that would work, got two gyro dinner plates (gyro meat, pita bread, and Greek salad) and two large pieces of baklava. No, we weren't starving DS. He wanted a PBJ, which we had with us. Finally got to the hotel. DH went to check in, DS and I stayed in the car. He came out in a pretty timely manner, and in we go.

I wasn't impressed, before we even got IN the place. The doors (standard metal push/pull type) needed painting. Badly. Then we walked in the lobby. Yuck. I was wondering: Are we *that* spoiled by Disney, or is this place really nasty? When we finally found our room, I decided that, although we *may* be spoiled by Disney, this place was really nasty. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't stay there for a couple of nights, but I wasn't thrilled about staying there. Then we did get one lucky break~the President was on, so we still got to see Survivor! After that, we started thinking about bed. Until we pulled the spread/sheets back. Then I thought about packing up and getting out~in a hurry!!! DS had makeup on his pillow cases. That wasn't the bad part. We had dried BLOOD on our sheets. Now I'm not talking blood like someone was murdered...more like a scratched mosquito bite or something. But blood is blood, and if it's on sheets that I'm supposed to sleep on...well, let's just say I won't be sleeping on them. We called the front desk and asked for clean sheets. A man brought a new set up. Guess what was on that one? Well, I'm not positive, but it looked like possibly a poop stain. I'm not sleeping on that, either! Requested clean sheets for a second time. While waiting for those, discovered that there is a much larger blood or poop stain on the underside of the bedspread. By this time, I was feeling so disgusted, I was afraid I was going to be sick. We also discovered that the bathtub wasn't draining. We called for someone to come see about the drain. They never came. Fortunately, it finally drained by itself after about 30 minutes. The second set of sheets arrived. Another poop (?) stain. We had learned to inspect them before the guy left. He took three gross sets of sheets and the offending bedspread and finally brought back a set of sheets that I determined I could sleep on~for ONE night. We were not planning to stay here another night, not after we told this time share company what we thought of the nasty hotel they'd put us up in! DH and I spent a restless night. I was glad for morning to come, so I could get out of that nasty bed. DH and I took showers in ankle deep water, and then we decided to chance breakfast at the hotel restaurant. It was a buffet, how bad could it be? I didn't eat very much, but what I had was edible. Not great, but okay. Then it was off to the presentation.

DS was going to stay in their "nursery", which was a very small room with a lot of cheap toys in it, and a TV with kid friendly videos. They did have some Disney puzzles, like he has at home, so we convinced him to work those while we were at our "meeting". He didn't cry, and I was surprised. There was a window in there that looked right into the room where we were, and I felt better that I could see him. Our rep started off by asking how our first night was. We told him. He was taking notes. Went to talk to his manager, who then came and talked to us, and said they'd find somewhere else for us for the night. They were extremely apologetic. We started feeling a little better. The next thing the rep did was ask what "freebies" we'd been promised. We had all of that in writing, with us, and we showed him. He wrote all of that down, and then got down to his spiel. To tell the truth, it was actually pretty enjoyable. He asked several questions about where we typically vacation, how many days per year, how much $$ per year, then asked about our dream vacations. He then used all of that info to paint us a glorious picture of how fabulous life would be if we owned a time share with them. At some point, the manager came back over and told us he'd gotten us accommodations at Legends. (That meant nothing to us, but he assured us we would be pleased.) At our 90 minute mark, we left to view the time share property. We were enjoying ourselves, so we didn’t say anything about the time being up (and actually, it *can* go 120 minutes). At 120 minutes, were back at the original place. I have to say, the condo we viewed was gorgeous. When we got back, that’s when the price talk began. We felt no pressure. We told him that it was out of our price range, but that we *were* interested in it for the future. He called his manager over (the same guy we’d already talked to about the room), and he gave us a less costly option (still out of our price range), and we told him just what we’d told our rep: we were interested, but it was not an option, financially, at this point. So they called one other guy over, and he gave us another option, that wasn’t actually a buy-in, but a way to rent points, and eventually apply the money to a buy in. Again, told him that is wasn’t feasible at this time. None of it was high pressure at all, and I think, had we told our rep flat out NO, that would have been it. From what we could tell, NONE of the reps were high pressure. Everyone was very nice and friendly, and treated us professionally. We went to get DS from the nursery while the rep got our “freebies” together. We received everything as promised: $50 Visa giftcard, and vouchers for the two vacations. There are some limitations on the trips, but we’re hoping to work around them and our schedule and have a good experience with those. (More details on how that goes in future trip reports.) Note: We willingly went past the 120 minute mark, because we were, in fact, interested. But as we understand it, they cannot keep you past that time, if you desire to leave.

We left the place, and headed back to check out of the nasty, disgusting hotel. The front desk didn’t seem fazed that we were leaving a day early. I can’t tell you how glad I was to get out of that awful dump! Then we struck out to find Legends, which we’d been told was not on the beach, but on a golf course. We weren’t really there for the beach, so we didn’t care. The weather was cool and very windy, and of course the water was freezing, so weren’t planning to spend much time on the beach. We finally saw the sign for Legends, and turned in. We drove and drove and drove… And suddenly we came upon this beautiful golf resort… DH went to check us in, and then we drove around to our condo. Oh. My. Word. This place was FABULOUS!!! It was a 2 BR condo, with huge living/dining area, full kitchen, screened in porch, the works! Beautifully furnished/decorated. I’ve never stayed at a DVC villa, but I feel certain this was at least comparable. The master bedroom/bathroom was about the same size as a room at a deluxe resort (specifically, Boardwalk Inn). We dropped our stuff off, then headed to get some lunch. On the way, passed the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stadium (our rep had told us they had a Braves farm team there). Decided it would be fun to go to a game, so we hopped out and bought tickets for that night. Grabbed Chick Fil A, then did our obligatory beach thing (I LOVE the beach, but I like it when it’s warm! And also, I like the gulf coast beaches much better than the Atlantic beaches). We overpaid for some sand toys, and helped DS build a sand castle. We stuck our fingers in the icy water, then walked out on the pier. That was it for our beach trip! Back to the condo to relax a bit, before heading out for dinner. *We are big foodies, so the food is a large part of our vacation experience. This was a disappointing trip! Nothing was bad, but nothing was spectacular, either. We ended up at a chain (I think) Tex Mex kind of place. The best meal we had the whole weekend was from that little Gyro place.* Then it was off to the stadium! They had a very nice stadium. We spent the first 45 minutes or so (before the game) letting DS play on the playground. He had a blast! Then we settled in to watch the game. Of course we weren’t familiar with any of the players, but it was still fun. We had some conversation with the folks around us, paid waaaay too much for some bottled water and boiled peanuts, and had a great time. I love baseball! Back to the condo, where we did nothing exciting. Watched Whose Line, then we all went to bed.

Slept in on Saturday, then got up and (sadly) packed up to return to The Life of Regular People. For the last 18 hours or so, we had pretended to be a part of The Life of Rich People.  Had breakfast at Shoney’s, stopped by Toys R Us (as promised to DS), picked up a couple of Thomas the Train things (on sale), then started the long drive home. Arrived home about 7:30.

As I said, we haven’t yet nailed down the specifics of the other two vacation offers (I mean, they’ve stated the terms and conditions, but we haven’t figured out how we will work things out with our schedules and what we’re wanting to do), but so far, we’ve been given everything we were promised. Everyone has different experiences with these time share presentations, and we’ve heard from other folks that the company we dealt with is VERY high pressure…but we didn’t find that to be the case at all. Maybe it just depends on the location, and the particular team you’re working with. But for us, this was a great way to get away without breaking the budget, and get back to Disney sooner, and for less money!
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Pre-DS : Many short (offsite) trips prior to 98; Contemporary, Concierge-Honeymoon 06/98; Contemporary 08/00; Off-site 12/00; Trips with DS : All Star Movies 09/03; All Star Movies 04/04; All Star Movies 05/04; Pop Century 09/04; All Star Movies/Pop Century 12/04; All Star Movies/Boardwalk Inn 02/05; Villas at the Wilderness Lodge 07/05; Pop Century Girls' Shopping/Eating Weekend 09/05; Coronado Springs impromptu for-our-sanity trip 11/05; Grand Floridian/MVMCP One Nighter 12/05; 1 night All Star Movies, 10 nights Wilderness Lodge 01/06; PO~Riverside 02/06 With Friends!; Farewell to Jen Weekend~CSR 02/06; Girls' (and Wesley!) Weekend~ASSp 05/06; Anniversary Trip~Contemporary 05/06; Broken Arm Trip~Yacht Club 07/06; Farewell to Cindybration~09/06; Prince Wesley Returns to the World~Riverside 09-10/06; Farewell AP Trip~AKL 01/07; Reunion with a friend~ASSp 02/07; PPP No More Stress Trip~08/07 CSR
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Old 05-02-2005, 12:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report. I'll be interested in how the other trips go.
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Old 05-02-2005, 02:23 PM   #3
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On our last trip to WDW. I had planned on buying our Universal tickets in Orlando. We had family coming in for 5 days and I wasn't sure what they would want to do. They chose the spendier WDW Tickets. We had a blast. After they left, we had more days in Orlando. But I was very low on ticket money...

We were at the shopping center with FA0 Schwarz Toy Store with the gigantic toys around it. There was desk recruiting for time-shares. We told the lady what kind of tickets we wanted and she helped us find the time-share giving way those tickets.

So, we went to one of the newest Orlando Timeshares[one I had read the name of on the DIS before I left.] We went late in the afternoon. No Food was available. The Rep was just back from a 10 day vacation so he was relaxed. He gave us the spiel. We were impressed but like you, There was no way we could have swung it. They were nice. And we got 2 free - adult 3 day tickets, and a reduced rate for Dd's 3 day ticket for universal and IOA.

It was a easy way to get free tickets as we were already there and It help extend the budget.
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:22 PM   #4
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Old 05-02-2005, 06:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GADISNEYGIRL
this place was really nasty. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't stay there for a couple of nights, but I wasn't thrilled about staying there.
This is very typical of Myrtle Beach. I live just a few hours away, and people call it the Redneck Riviera. Only in Myrtle is the "main drag" called O.D. (it's really Ocean Drive, but O.D. is more fitting). If you go just a few miles north or south, you hit some decent places, and Hilton Head, Kiawah, and Fripp are wonderful. But Myrtle Beach itself is a cheap dump.
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Old 05-02-2005, 07:30 PM   #6
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Timeshare

Wow GADISNEYGIRL it sounds like it was a real adventure.

When do you plan to go to Disney, with your timeshare presentation?

Please ad to your post when you go.

I loved reading your experience.

Thanks for sharing.

Patricia
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