When it comes to luxury, why not consider your pets? A VIP suite for your cat or dog within meowing or barking distance of Walt Disney World can be yours for just $76 a night.
Second and third pets sharing a villa get half off.
But there are other add-on charges that can run up your bill such as bottled water: $5. Bedtime stories: $6. Or ice cream breaks: $4.
This is all offered at “Best Friends Pet Care” just across from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
The reason this even comes up is the possibility of enjoying real luxury at Disney.
No way, sure, for most people.
Unlimited money? Many choices
But if you have unlimited money, why not treat not only yourselves…and your family…but also your beloved pets?
Sure, not the case for most of us, but half the fun is seeing what if…
If you’re not really rich, you may not have given this subject a lot of thought. But whatever your income stream, the current is speeding up at Disney.
Just about everyone is spending more money there.
Thirty years ago, when it opened, you could get into the Magic Kingdom for just $18. You know what the price is now.
And it’s costing more all the time. Prices have been increasing at a rate of about eight percent a year, according to people who study these things.
The high end costs are escalating even faster.
Why has this been happening?
One answer from a blogger:
“This (luxury) has become vastly more important to Disney in recent years with the continuing worldwide explosion in the top end of the travel spectrum, both from Americans and the quickly growing upper classes of fast developing countries such as Brazil, China, Russia, India and many other Asian nations.”
Hotel suites at more than $2,000 a night. Fireworks-viewing boat rides for several hundred dollars. Or Disney-style Tommy Bahama shirts for triple-digit prices…
That list can go on and on…You get the idea.
Disney’s luxury orientation was evident recently or last year with the opening of a mouthful (perhaps worthy of the price): The Four Seasons Resort Orlando At Walt Disney World Resort.
Yes, but did not Disney have luxury properties before?
How about the Grand Floridian, for example?
Not really Five-Star certified, say those who judge these things.
First five-star property
This Four Seasons hotel has its very own 18-hole golf course. But so do other hotels.
It also caters to kids. It has special programs for them.
It has a camp area with a large indoor volcano, climbing equipment, slides and more. Disney is also a great baby sitter who reassures you the kids will be taken care of.
The resort has a dedicated “Disney Planning Center” in its lobby, and the hotel has a permanent location for the park’s famous “character breakfasts.” Here, you parents can sign up to have offspring enjoy French toast with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and company, starting the fun before even leaving the lobby. Once guests do leave, they get complimentary transport on a Four Seasons motor coach. When guests buy souvenirs in the theme parks, they can have them delivered back to their hotel. Ho-hum.
Adults have no fear of being neglected, either, though this delivery option touted by the hotel is really nothing new at Disney or other parks.
At Four Seasons, the adults-only pool is called The Oasis, and with good reason. Visitors take uninterrupted laps, drink poolside cocktails, and nap in private cabanas.
The price tag is high
But before going any more into what else it offers, you might want to know the price tag. Basic rooms are advertised as low as $400.
High, but not terrible.
But if you want real luxury such as a nine-bedroom suite or even the President’s Suite, get ready for sticker shock: $12,000 a night. That is twelve thousand, not twelve hundred.
It's long been the advice of every Disney travel guru on the planet that staying at a Disney World property improves your trip a thousand-fold (this is your chance to test that theory).
The $370 million resort has a full-service spa, a golf course, tennis courts, splash zone, family pool, and that adults-only pool.
There’s also…Not once, but twice-daily housekeeping, free high-speed Internet access, free umbrellas, complimentary overnight shoeshine service, cable TV, multi-line telephones, complimentary newspapers and free Bluetooth speakers.
What’s that you say?
These are all familiar things expected at real luxury hotels, right? And most of that can be found elsewhere.
Service sells it
But really high-end hotels emphasize service.
Here, on arrival, guests don’t stand in line to give their credit cards. They are met by valets and greeters in the lobby. They'll often be addressed by their names and escorted to check-in.
Disney says hotel employees will try to accommodate virtually any reasonable request.
The food here at several dining rooms is routinely described as “world class.” With prices to match, of course.
But then there are the real fireworks.
The hotel offers “spectacular vistas over the Magic Kingdom Park’s nightly fireworks display from the comfort of one’s furnished balcony.”
Maybe on a boat? With some wine?
Few know of these views
For some reason, this option is often not known, according to many Disney watchers. There are several choices here but the Grand I Yacht seats up to 18 guests. It leaves from the Grand Floridian. It is stocked with whatever you want for private dining.
Cost: About $550 an hour, depending on time of year, most costly at Christmas) or more than a budget room for one entire night at the least costly room you can get at Four Seasons.
Tours can accommodate 10 people, so you can split the cost to make it closer to a bargain. Some tours have a pre-set agenda while others are cookie cutter.
They let you go backstage and meet with characters. No lines, folks. Your autograph books swill be quickly filled. You can go to the fast pass line as many times as you want. Front row seating at all shows (you have a good chance of being part of the show since you are right in direct sight of the performers).
There are other choices but all boast synchronized sound systems on board so you don’t miss the music.
You probably already know about the VIP tours, which are another elitist way to see the park but a far more economical choice. The cost is roughly $300-$500 with generally a six-hour minimum time.
For those thinking of marriage, same sex or otherwise, the “wedding of one’s dreams” is found here.
Cost? If you have to ask you can’t afford it
Maybe you can't spring for the Four Seasons or another near luxury Disney hotel. But that doesn't mean you can't sample some of their offerings.
For those with less expensive tastes, you can have a valet park your car for $20. Wander around the hotels all you want. For free. And the monorail ride, which kids do love, is free if you buy theme park tickets, of course.
If all or none of this is to your taste or your budget, there are many versions of simple discounted prices. Also, free offers. And there are budget hotels by Disney or private owners that ring the park.
You don’t have to be rich to visit. You just need money.
And if you want to bring those pets and have a lot of money, you can make reservations at www.wde.bestfriendspetcare.com, or call 877-4WDW-PETS. ###