For our upcoming Disney trip, things are screwier than they have ever been...I'm driving, my Sister and Brother-In-Law are flying; I'm there for almost nine days, my Sister for eight and my BIL for four; Am and Matt are staying at the Yacht Club for their four days together and then, once he leaves, she's moving to the Beach Club with me; Amber will be riding back with me instead of flying home. Basically, this is the hardest trip I have EVER planned and don't get me started on the argument's we've had over the road trip home already...she wants to get home as quickly as possible, I want to do the same, but with a more comfortable (and scenic route) with maybe a stop or two along the way (places I couldn't stop if I was by myself).
Although me driving might sound more complicated, it actually works out way better in the end. I could fly with them, but I would rather spend 15+ hours in a car versus 2 hours on a plane simply because I can't deal with the TSA. I get too freaked out. Granted when driving I have trouble even stopping for gas, but it's still better for my sanity than flying (and don't get me started on bathroom breaks...those only happen with the gas stops no matter the yellow content of my eyeballs). Driving means I can pack as much as I want (and carry Amber's extra luggage so she doesn't have to pay extra baggage fees), bring snacks and sodas to avoid the expensive grocery stop, and I can drive our purchases home safely instead of relying on shipping them via UPS and having them play "truck football" with the boxes so that they look as though they have been through a war zone.
Technically, Disney World is 13 hours away from here if I go the "straight" way. I HATE the "straight" way. It's long, boring, sometimes scary due to the surroundings...I prefer to go "my own way" (Duran Duran reference!) and have nice views along the way of locations that I'm comfortable with. I like to either go through Chattanooga and down I-75 or go down through Gulfport/Biloxi and across the I-10 to I-75. Whichever way I go down, I go the opposite way back so that I can vary things up. but either way adds a couple of extra hours (hence the 15+ time quote). But, no matter which way I go, stopping for the night along the way is typically not an option for me...I want to get there, THEN stop.
This trip, I decided to go down through Biloxi, simply because I miss it (I think I must have some past-life ties to Biloxi or something, I feel SOOO comfortable there). I won't get to Orlando until 7-8 pm (and that's only if I leave at like 3-4 am). Normally, once I get there, I stay at a Hampton Inn just outside of Ocala (which is about 45 minutes from Disney World) and then drive in the next morning (Am and Matt should get there about 11am). But my usual Hampton Inn had outrageous prices for my night, and I just couldn't justify the expense. I tried various other stops along the way, some closer, some farther out, but I am a creature of habit and it's hard for me to stay in different places, especially when I'm by myself and I've never been there before (which is why I like Hampton Inn's because they are ALL the same).
I guess I should also mention that technically, I don't need to stay an extra night anywhere. Matt is paying for this trip (heaven bless him) and I have a full stay at the Beach Club already paid for. But, because Beach Club is a deluxe (and one of the most expensive), even though it's not my money, I can't justify paying that much just to sleep there for a night. In my mind (whether this is logical or not I can't say), I see it as spending $$$ for a 24 hour experience, even if I'm only in the room for 8 hours. Arriving late at night means I've wasted two-thirds of the day and therefore wasted a huge chunk of change (even if it's not mine). Does that make sense? Besides, arriving late means that they have almost a whole day there without me and my jealous bug can't handle that either. It's just best to find a place to stay for the night, then drive on in the next morning so that we all arrive together (well, if I happen to get there before them, I'm totally cool with that).
I think I've made my feelings clear in the past on how I feel about Value Resorts...I hate them. Going back and re-reading my Art of Animation Resort review and it was a bit more than harsh (and made me sound like an incredible snob). But there is a bit more to the story that I left out. In 2004 (the infamous family trip of 2004), we used a Disney's All-Star Sports Resort bus to get from one park to another (it's not always easy to get from park to park, so you have to use round-abouts sometimes). I had a massive panic attack due to the sensory overload of that resort. There were screaming kids EVERYWHERE, there were huge sports things EVERYWHERE, there were loud colors EVERYWHERE...basically, an Asper's worse nightmare and I've been terrified of value resorts ever since.
The more I considered my options, it all suddenly became clear as to where I needed to stay for the night, and not for the reason you'd think. I started looking at Disney Value Resorts again, despite my fears of them, for the most Asper of reasons...besting my Sister on our resort stay count. Stupid, right? I know, but Asperger's and logic rarely ever go hand-in-hand. It's a very strange way to defeat a fear, but that's how an Asper-brain works...to do something you're scared of, find a reason that's more important (even if that reason defies all sense of rationale and sanity).
She and I don't always go to Disney World together, so we've managed to amass a resort-stay count different from one another. I've always been one-up on her...I've stayed in The Yacht Club, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Port Orleans Riverside without her, whereas she's stayed in The Grand Floridian (or The Indian Burial Ground Resort as I like to call it) and The Boardwalk Inn without me. Granted, we also have different similar counts...I've stayed in Wilderness Lodge 5 times to her 3, she's stayed in Port Orleans French Quarter a couple more times than I have, etc. But this trip is going to even us out with them staying at the Yacht Club, and I hate to admit it, but it's been eating away at me ever since.
So, since my Ocala Hampton Inn was out of the question for financial reasons, this gave me the perfect opportunity to even the playing field (or I guess I should say sway it more in my favor). I started debating all the values, nixing All-Star Sports as an option from the get go (not even my Asper-jealously can overpower my Asper-chicken). Art of Animation was booked, so it got thrown out too (and it wouldn't fix my count issues since we've both already stayed there), leaving All-Star Movies, All-Star Music and Pop Century.
For a brief time, I debated Saratoga Springs, which is a Disney DVC or Disney Vacation Club (Disney's answer to a time share), but since Saratoga is on a deluxe level, the room rate was higher (although not by much with the passholder discount) and I can't justify the extra expense (every dime spent on hotels is a dime less to spend in the parks). Besides, after studying the map and the layout of Saratoga Springs, I wasn't comfortable driving around it like I could be at the simple layout of the values.
Although All-Star Music was a tad bit cheaper, I decided I was still a bit scared of its decor as well. Pop Century was the most terrifying on the outside, but they are famous for a tie-dyed cheesecake and that gave me pause for a while (although I eventually came to my senses and decided the stress wasn't worth a piece of cheesecake). which means that all that was left was All-Star Movies. The more I looked at pictures online (thank goodness for Flickr), I felt it was close enough to Art of Animation that I could handle the decor and the fact that only Preferred Rooms were left, means I will be centrally located close to the main building and don't have too far to wander on my own (even though they did cost a bit extra).
As much as I hate to admit it, my fear of staying at an All-Star Resort is no match to the trill that my resort count total is now swayed back into my favor since I just booked my extra night. Ah, the joys of Asper-dom! Besides, it means that I'll have not one, but two new resort reviews come fall! Now I just have to go through all the mental preparedness steps to psych myself into staying at this very non-Asper friendly resort...happy thoughts!
And, since I mentioned it (and since Duran Duran is tied with Disney in keeping my thoughts happy):
Don't they look like such babies!