Thursday, 11 August 2011

Doing Disney on the Platinum Plan

My quest is diligent and never ending in serving you, gentle reader, in the delights that may be awaiting you if you choose to venture to Orlando in 2014.  I'm going on a quest to find the holy grails of Orlando tourism for you.

These guys are still wandering around the outer areas of Fantasyland
In the spirit of exploration for you, I am donning my armour, my running shoes and undertaking the Holy Grail Quest of WDW: The Platinum Plan. This is the motherload of touring. On this plan you pay an extraordinary amount of money (a.k.a. rate rate on a hotel room - AARRGGHHH - WHO PAYS THAT???) and Disney give you access to (almost) every activity, tour, restaurant, show and sport on offer.

On the DISBoards the "Quest" is defined - buy the package for only 1 night. And that's exactly what I've done. I have from check-in time (which I will do at approximately 7am) until midnight of my check out day - about 41 hours in total - to experience as many events as I can manage.

The "Holy Grail" part is getting the most value in activities out of the package over and above what it cost to buy.

To get anywhere near the Holy Grail there can be no wimpy archery lesson, mini golf or casual snack at a cafe. This is hard core touring and eating where the top drawer activities are targeted.

Forget this polite little lobster, it is going to be more like this......
It is not pretty, nor for the faint hearted.

After the jump, let's have a look at a couple of the highlights I have booked



There's been a break out in fluro highlighter pen sales
Disney has one of the world's largest aquariums and I am going to go meet their resident dolphins, have a backstage tour and then do some snorkeling at their "Caribbean coral reef" - all in about 5 hours. You can easily see plenty of the tank exhibits without doing a tour, one part of the tank houses a Nemo themed ride and you can even eat in the Coral Reef Restaurant right up against the glass watching the cousin of your entrée swim past.
I'll have the one on the left - panfried in butter, a few chips, a bit of brocolli
source: allears.net
I'm gonna learn how to ride a Segway! Fort Wilderness is the Disney camp ground and cabin accommodation resort and it is set in the forests from where we get those pesky chipmunks. No no! I mean, THESE  pesky chipmunks. This segway tour uses off road segways to bumble about the forest trails - probably destroying all hope of spotting an armadillo.
(BTW: check out that "camp ground" link. Took me three visits to realise that was someone's campervan and not a commercial motor coach)
Disney marketing strikes - you wouldn't be able to see the contented smiles if they stuck  their faces in the massage table holes
The package offers one treatment of either a massage or facial. Day spas are pretty common at hotels these days, and Disney is no slouch in this regard. They have several high end spas and the resort gyms offer basic massages and facials. All run by Niki Bryan - the queen of spas in Orlando running 17 spas at the big hotels - including the one at the Marriott World Centre, the location of the 2014 ZI Convention.  
These three meals give me the variety of a 'dress-up', a 'roll-my-sleeves-up' and a 'play-up'. 
Character breakfasts offer an unparalleled test for a relationship
and I will do parasailing and jetskiing on Bay Lake, a Magic Kingdom fireworks cruise, a Cirque de Soleil show and a night's stay at the Polynesian Resort.

Other options to choose from include a long list of backstage tours at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot; golf lessons, special seating at the park's shows, horse riding, dining at any restaurant, fishing excusions, bicycle hire, riding shotgun in a NASCAR racing car, scuba diving ....... basically, it would be really hard to not put together a package you'd enjoy. 

Click on the image to embiggen
I do have some words of advice for you though.

Doing a commando style session requires organisation, planning skills and a knowledge of how to get around WDW quickly. All the events have to be timed out and planned so that the travel is minimised. Many of the tours do not take children. And frankly, there is no point if you don't really care for the activities.

So, do I achieve the Holy Grail of bargain shopping? My platinum plan one night will cost me less than half the cost of buying all the elements individually.

When pricing your Platinum Plan, you start with the room rack rate, so the more people you have in the room the greater value you will get out of the deal. Also, look for the most appropriate room rate - there is different pricing at the different resorts and for different times of year.  As to be expected, unlike the price of actual platinum, expect that Disney will increase the price every year.

The clouds have a platinum lining ... for someone in this picture
note: my depiction of WDW room rates may not be accurate
See how I sacrifice myself to serve you?

Photos sourced from wdwinfo.com, allears.net, buildabettermousetrip.com, wdwnews.com and google



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