So the week before Christmas, my wife and I did something we've wanted to do for years and years. We took out two boys to DisneyWorld for Christmas vacation.
It was one of those things that we've wanted to do for as long as we had kids. But the time never seemed right. And we never seemed to have the extra money. Well, my older son is ten and his little brother was six (at the time), and I said to my wife, "Listen, if we wait for the 'right time,' we're never gonna do this. And pretty soon, it's gonna be too late."
So we made it a point at the beginning of 2012 to plan and budget for our Disney Christmas. We traded in the 2000 Saturn Sedan for a Mazda 5, with the thought that (1) that old car was on its last legs, and (2) with a newer, more roomy car, we could justify driving 19 hours from Philly to Florida.
And we did. We took off on a Friday, made it down to the South Carolina border by about 1 a.m., and then drove the rest of the way the next morning.
We checked into Disney's Pop Century resort Saturday afternoon, and then we proceeded to have the all-time best Christmas the Guigar family has ever enjoyed. It was seven days and six nights of pure, unadulterated joy.
First of all, if you're every interested in going, the week before Christmas is the before time because it's not a very popular week to visit DisneyWorld. Which is tremendous because the lines and the crowds are almost nonexistent! I think out longest wait was twenty-five minutes. The rides we liked -- like Star Tours -- we rode several times in a row. And the longest we waited for a bus back to the resort was about ten or fifteen minutes.
Pop Century is a wonderful resort. It's very reasonably priced, well-appointed and convenient. In typical Disney manor, you're immersed in the theme. For example, we stayed in the portion of the resort devoted to the 70s. Our building was flanked by three-story 8-track tapes, statues from the Jungle Book, and silhouettes of Disco dancers and mood rings. No matter where you walked, you were struck by an "I remember those!" moment.
Also, my wife researched her butt off and snagged us a quick-service dining plan. See, when you buy a dining plan, you get pre-paid credits for two meals and a snack. Each of us had the meal plan, so we never had to stress out over how much we were spending on food. If you watch the specials and the sales, you can hit a home run like Caroline did, and get your meal plan included into your vacation package for free.
Our days were spent like this. We'd get up and make breakfast. We has a fridge in the room, and we brought a bunch of food with us so we could do breakfasts and snacks easily. We even brought my little Keurig coffee-maker from my studio. Then, we'd catch a bus to the park, spend the better part of the day there, come back in the mid-afternoon to either nap or swim in the pool, rally, grab dinner, and then catch a bus back to a different park than the one we'd done earlier in the day (thanks to our Park Hopper Pass).
All this, and the boys battled Darth Vader.
At the end of the week, the temperatures started to drop (it was 70s and 80s all week) and the crowds started filling up the park. We'd thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but we were ready to hit the road.
I can't remember ever having more fun for Christmas. Not even when I was a kid. It was that good. Caroline and I had a blast. And the kids appreciated it. You have to be a parent to get that last one, but they really, really did.
I told you that so I could tell you this...
All of the Road Trip comics you're seeing on the site? They all came directly from our trip to DisneyWorld. Captain Heroic's reactions to his wife's driving? That's me. 100%. No exaggeration.
It's a wonder she didn't leave me by the side of the road.
More importantly... thank you.
See, when I left my day job last Spring to pursue comics as a full-time occupation, this entire vacation was in jeopardy. I was able to experience that amazing week with my wife and my boys because of the support of readers like you. From buying books and downloads to simply visiting the site every day, you guys have made it possible for me to live my dream.
And to make my family's dreams come true.