There’s no such thing as a free vacation. Unless you’re a kid, that is, and your parents are paying for the whole thing. But since I won this trip, or at least part of it, we were curious to know how much we were spending on our “free vacation.” We were careful to write down every purchase, keep every reciept; from the tiniest $2.50 churro to the most expensive hotel costs, we kept track (actually Ryan did, in his PDA). Would you like to know the grand total?

Well, it cost us $1266.21 to take the family (7 of us, mind you) to Disneyland. Not free by any means, but pretty good for 5 days.

Here’s the breakdown:

$267.33 Gas
$317.79 Food
$575.68 Hotel (one night in St. George on the way down, two nights in Aneheim)/ Disney Passes
$105.41 Misc (Valet / Parking / Souveniers)

Things we didn’t pay for would be: 4 adult 3 day passes to the park, and two nights in the Disney’s Grand California Hotel.

And why do we do it, my friends? Why do we drive for 11 hours with 5 kids in the car, turning my clean car into nothing more than a large garbage can for wrappers and empty water bottles? Why do we haul our kids around the parks through the drizzling rain, trying to catch as many rides as we possibly can?

To see their excitement when a Disney Character stops to talk to them when they have a free moment. To see their faces light up when they get to talk to Crush the turtle. To hear them say, “This was so much fun. Thanks for bringing me, Mom.”