I just finished analyzing our trip expenditures and despite the fabulous hospitality and generosity of our friends and the Disney Employee Discount Superpowers, in particular, of Mrs. Gnome - we came in a little over budget. Here's an account of our travels and our spending.
Day 0 - Head to Florida
With $310.80 in tickets purchased in early September behind us, the only other expense was $2.50 in tolls getting from the airport to Chez Gnome. They provided pizza upon our arrival and everything was right with the world because we had both pepperoni AND BBQ chicken pizzas. Total so far: $313.30
Day 1 - Magic Kingdom
Not only did we have free access to the park, we were with true pros. The sherpa of sherpas. We were able to hit the ride highlights, buy a few tchotchkes, eat a reasonably priced lunch (considering) and have a great time without breaking the main bank. We were treated to a great dinner at Ohana that included unlimited meat on a skewer. TG really knows how to pick 'em. Sadly, Mrs. G was called away in the afternoon to attend a work emergency and she was sorely missed during our Polynesian repast. Here's what we spent:
$13.38 lunch & snacks
$27.49 disney doodads (antenna balls, pez dispensers, etc -- $15.87 more spent on gifts for others, but I'm not counting that as "vacation" spending)
$40.87 total spent at Disneyworld -- not too shabby!
Day 2 - Disney Quest
We were treated to breakfast at the diner in downtown Celebration (The Gnomes were working their discounts and coupons something *fierce* - it was a sight to behold) and I had my first ever biscuits and sausage gravy (yum). We walked around the farmer's market and LaLa and I shared a macaroon sold by a French baker. We got the tour of the town, hit a few open houses because we all like that sort of thing, then headed to Disney Quest which is basically a huge "interactive" gaming and arcade type attraction. Aside from experiencing a dream come true (free Galaga - a fantasy since 6th grade) I had the best time on the games we all played together. We squeezed in a final go at Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold and aced it, achieving "Masters of the High Seas" ranking and beating the group before us by 2 pieces of eight (yar!). We took the crew out to Buca di Beppo for dinner to celebrate our newfound mastery and indulge in an overabundance of garlicky Italian yumminess...and shots of Limoncello.
$1.00 - farmer's market macaroon
$145.18 - dinner for 4
Day 3 - Grandparent Visit
Alas, we had to leave the Gnomes and head up to Orange City to visit my grandparents in their new home. They live about an hour north and we arrived in time for lunch. We helped them unpack a few remaining bits and bobs and helped them set up their brand new TV. After they took us out to dinner (insisting we pay got us nowhere) and we spent some time hanging out and watching an episode of House (which will make the Travel Gnome very happy) we headed to our quirky but inexpensive hotel in a nearby...um..."spiritualist camp" (did I mention it was inexpensive?!?).
$56.25 - hotel ...that employs its own mediums... $13.75 under budget though :)
Day 4 - Homeward Bound
We spent some more time with my grandparents in the morning after LaLa had taken some photos of our hotel and surroundings for posterity. I think my grandparents thought we were nuts to stay there but they did seem to be the cheapest bed in the area (and were well rated online). We headed for the airport and then home, incurring all sorts of annoying expenses along the way...
$16.49 - gas to fill up the rental car tank
$0.75 - toll
$136.17 - rental car (reserved a focus, received a 500)
$13.54 - lunch & snacks (and a USA today so I'd have a sudoku to do)
$72.00 - "economy" parking at Logan airport for 3.5 days
$128.00 - check for pet care
Summary - Trip Cost: $923.55 ($23.55 over budget)
We might have been able to save more had we stayed an extra night with the Gnomes and not at the freaky psychic hotel with the really firm bed. My grandparents were only an hour away and they do go to bed early...but...honestly it was nice to see them in the morning for more time. We also could have passed on our few little gazingus pins we bought in the park, but I am now the proud owner of a Nemo antenna topper, and as uncessary a thing as that is...I love it (lucky fin and all). All in all we had a great time and it was worth every penny.