Okay, usually Mock Gatherings are focused on staying under a certain budget, but I am going to blow that a little for this one. Arguments have been made that people use their vacation time in order to go out to a Jedi Gathering, so they should have an aspect of fun. So this Mock Gathering, is going to be coming at this from a reverse position, a vacation spot, still kept as cheap as possible yet more expensive than usual, tailored to the Jedi.
Why Disney? Well, I am there now. This week is Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida; and Opie and I have headed down early in order to visit the Disney parks and Universal. Since Star Wars is now Disney, I thought it would be fun, especially since it is an easy side trip for people who attend celebrations. I will have to do a Disneyland one eventually, for when Celebration is back in Anaheim, but that can wait two years.
To start, accommodations. Rather than search for an AirBnB location, I am just going to go with putting us into one of the Disney Budget hotels. True, there is no private meeting area, but they provide free parking to guests, free parking at the park if you are a guest, and free shuttles to and from the parks. Plus they have the cafeterias on site that accept the dining plan if people want to go that route. The rates vary, typically around $175/night, I just got one in April for $152/night though. Like going to a convention, you can choose whether you want the privacy and just have one or two people in the room, which would drive up the cost, or if you want to split the room four ways to save money and double up on the beds (I have even gone there with five and had one on the floor).
Park tickets can also vary. Only doing the four main parks, if you do one per day there is currently a deal for $279+tax, which is a great deal…who knows if that would be available when this hypothetical trip is planned though. Normally, a four day ticket, one park per day, is $350. Say you wanted to do only two days, two parks a day, a two day ticket with park hopper is $259. Obviously there are plenty of variations on this. In addition to the four main parks, there are two water parks. Each park is $57-62 (depending on blackout dates). Of course a person could go on this trip and decide to opt out of certain parks, so this would be very subjective in price. Now, things for Jedi per park.
If you have never been to Disney World…this is the park with the castle. This park is definitely more for just being a big kid…more for fun than anything else. You could spin the Buzz Lightyear ride or Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade as target practice, you could test your intestinal fortitude on the spinning teacups, or claim the Jungle Cruise and its a Small World as cultural exposure. But this park is really just for the magic.
If you have never been to Disney World…this is the park with the giant Mickey wizard hat. This one is probably the most appealing for Jedi as Star Wars fans, currently housing the Star Tours ride, Jedi Academy training (for kids), and Star Wars Launch Bay store. The rides also tend to be a bit more adult oriented as well, with the Rock’n’Roll Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror, so for those who have fears of such rides, could be a good opportunity to test them.
If you have never been to Disney World…this is the park with the giant silver ball. Around the World in one day…sort of. Epcot usually gets the shaft by people, as it does not boast many rides. But it does have eleven pavilions from around the world (ten plus the US), so this is the park with the most culture. The park was also designed to be a community of the future, so there are several attractions about the environment and sustainability, including greenhouses that provide most of the food for the park.
Another cultural stop, Animal Kingdoms biggest attractions are the animals. African Elephants, Butterflies, Giraffes, Gorillas, Hippopotamuses, Lions, Okapis, Rhinos, Tamarins, Tigers, and even some dinosaur based attractions. This is a good park for learning about wildlife.
The tropical themed of the two water parks, evidently currently being refurbished. There are your standard waterpark slides, a wave pool, great for practice at staying afloat, and when I was there at least, you could swim with sharks. I did it…I was terrified…that is why I did it. There are also surfing lessons, though those are extra and afterhours I believe.
Blizzard Beach is a winter themed water park, and the only Disney park I have never been to. From what I understand, pretty much your standard water park.
Obviously each park has several food options, but the one thing to touch on is the Dining Plan. There are three main options:
- Quick Service – Including 2 quick-service meals and 2 snacks per day. As well as a refillable drink mug eligible for refills at self-service and quick-service beverage locations.
- Standard Plan – Including 1 Table service meal, 1 Quick Service Meal, and 2 snacks per day, plus refillable mug.
- Deluxe Plan – Including 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, as well as refillable mug.