by Guest Author
Amanda is a college student, currently pursuing a degree in applied mathematics and statistics. She runs the Disney College Blog, a website that had been originally intended for just college students, where she now writes for all ages and walks of life. Her first trip to Walt Disney World was at age four, and she has been in love with it ever since. You can find her on Twitter (@discollegeblog) or on her blog.
When most people think of the ideal college vacation, they think of something from MTV’s Spring Break. While I suppose there’s nothing wrong with spending a week in Cancun if you’re into that kind of thing, my version of the ideal college vacation is going to Walt Disney World. My first trip to Walt Disney World was when I was four, and I infamously asked my mom, in the middle of the Magic Kingdom no less, if we could go back to our room and color. Since then, I’ve gained a much stronger love of Disney, and now that I’m in college, I can actually go on Disney trips without my parents. Sound impossible? It’s not. It is very feasible to go to Walt Disney World as a college student, get lots done, and not spend a ton if you make sure you do a few things.
First off, know when to go. Avoid Walt Disney World during June, July, and early August if you can. If you can handle the heat, you can visit during your summer vacation much less expensively if you go in May or late August (after the 15th). Also consider going in January, since many schools have winter breaks, and Walt Disney World is in value season. Plus crowds are low! Just keep in mind that the weather in January can be unpredictable.
To save even more money, stay at a value resort. There are some less expensive off-property hotels, but keep in mind that if you’re not traveling with a parent, you likely won’t be old enough to rent a car. If you’re driving to Walt Disney World, then by all means find a great deal offsite, but if not, at a value resort you’ll save money on the room and get to use complimentary Disney transportation. Also, using Disney’s Magical Express, the free bus service from Orlando International Airport to your Disney resort, will save you some money.
Since time is almost as important as money to college students, maximize it by being at the theme parks when they open. Yes, that means waking up at an hour that you probably haven’t seen since high school, but I promise it’s worth it. Coming from the girl who never schedules classes before 11 am, you will be glad that you did it. Especially if you use a touring plan, you will probably ride more things in three hours than the uninformed college students strolling in at noon will ride all day.
In fact, I recommend leaving at noon, especially if you visit during the summer. It will be beyond hot, but you can avoid the hottest part of the day if you take a break after lunchtime. Go back to your room and take a swim, sit out by the pool, or catch up on your much-needed sleep. Then, once you’ve recharged, hit the parks again. You may feel like you can go all day without a break, but trust me and take one. It’s a vacation; you want to have fun and relax, not burn out.
Finally, be a kid. Do things you haven’t done since your age was in the single digits. Run up and hug Mickey Mouse. Ride the rides in Fantasyland. Don’t worry about what the people around you think. They’re all acting like kids too. In this case, you want to act your shoe size. Otherwise you might as well have gone to Cancun! Are you a college student who loves to travel to the World? Let us know in your comments!