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April 12th, 2013

A Wee Vacation

I’m just back from a brief, ad-hoc Disney World trip.   This week was going to be a stay-at-home vacation. I’m helping finance a place to live for my niece for her last semester at college, so until July I have no money for big vacation trips.   But pity me not.   I have no kids of my own so it isn’t like I’m mortgaging the house to put any through school.   I’m just helping out.   So this was going to be a staycation but I made the fatal mistake of checking the weather in Florida and then I was off. Spring was darn cold here in Charm City.

I had to do it on the cheap.   But I had some advantages.   First, I have an annual pass.   So I didn’t need to have spare cash for tickets into the parks.   Then, passholders get discount offers.   So I hit the Disney web site and looked in the passholder’s section to see if there were any specials.   There were.   I got a really nice price on one of their “value hotels” for three nights.   Then I had just over a hundred bucks worth of reward points on my Disney card, which paid for half my eats and drinks in the parks for two and a half days.   Then I had accumulated enough Holiday Inn reward points for one free night, so that helped out with motel charges on the trip down and back.

And then…there is my Mercedes diesel.   Here’s a few notes from my trip computer, plus fuel chits. This was from Baltimore City to Walt Disney World and back.

Miles: 1980
Hours (actually driving the car): 32.34
MPH (average): 61
MPG (average): 40.1

That’s a tad over forty miles per gallon in a mid-sized German luxury sedan, and this trip my trip computer registered the best mileage ever, on the stretch from Baltimore to Richmond, Virginia: 44.9. Once I got on the higher speed limit stretches of I-95 my mileage went down a tad. But still. Forty miles per gallon in a car as big and nice as a Mercedes-Benz ‘E’ class is not bad.

Total cost of diesel fuel: $195.57. That’s the highway trip plus farting around in Disney World. The annual pass gets you free parking at all the parks, so having the car with me means I can go when and where I want and it’s not an extra expense. I started out from Baltimore on a full tank. Just over the South Carolina border is Dillon. In Dillon they have the best prices on diesel on I-95 between Baltimore and Key West. Half a tank gets me from Baltimore to Dillon. Another 2/3 tank gets me to Disney World. There are reasonably priced Hess stations in the park, one of which (the one on the way out of Magic Kingdom) sells diesel. So I fill up before coming back, hit Dillon again, and that gets me home.

Even though you don’t have to stop as often for fuel, when it’s bug season you still have to pull up to the pumps just as often to clean off your windshield. But that’s fine because it’s good to take a break. I have a Flying-J loyalty card that gets me breaks on coffee and snacks. So whenever I have to make a Clean The Glass stop I refill my coffee mug and hit the bathrooms, which are usually cleaner at the Flying-J travel plazas than the highway rest stops are.

So a short trip to Walt Disney World was do-able.   And now that I’m back and all the housework I’d been planning to do with my stay-at-home vacation is still staring me in the face it was worth it.   Sometime later this summer, after my niece graduates, I’ll do a longer stay at a nicer in park hotel.   It’ll be dead of summer then…just right for fun in the water parks.

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