Disney World (For Free!)

PictureI planned to go to Orlando with my mom during Super Bowl weekend, but she ditched me at the last minute to go to Houston with her bae. #trifling Instead, I booked an Airbnb and car rental a few days before my flight departed, and just planned to wing it. I usually relied on public transportation and Uber when I traveled, but the cost of a round trip from the airport to the Disney area exceeded the cost of a rental. So I used the benefits in my Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get a rental car, and made my way to Lake Buena Vista.

My Airbnb was in a quiet gated community where most of the residents were Disney World employees. I had never been to Disney as a child, and had no true interest as an adult. I imagined it would be this crowded place filled with privileged kids screaming and running everywhere. That wasn’t my idea of a good time, and I certainly didn’t think it would be the most magical place on earth.

My hostess and her boyfriend both worked at Disney as singers, and they were both so warm and welcoming. The boyfriend had a complimentary ticket to Disney World and offered it to me. Of course, I accepted his offer. How could I turn down a free ticket to Disney World? Sure, I didn’t think I would enjoy myself, but I didn’t know that for sure! This was the perfect opportunity to discover if it was as magical as everyone said it was. The complimentary ticket was a Park Hopper pass, meaning I could go to all of the Disney parks that day if I chose. The retail value of this ticket? $165! It felt like I beat the system by getting it for free.

I began making a plan for the day, and decided to only visit two parks – Epcot during the day and Magic Kingdom in the evening. I arrived at Epcot just a bit after 10 AM. Parking was $20 for the day and allowed access to parking lots of all parks. The entrance gates were already crowded at Epcot when I arrived, but I had mentally prepared for the long lines the night before. I glanced around at the crowd of people, and was surprised to see mostly adult couples and only a few strollers here and there.

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