On New Year’s Eve, Disney announced “One More Disney Day,” a promotion to celebrate Leap Day. Today Magic Kingdom and Disneyland opened at 6 a.m., and they’ll be staying open for a full 24 hours. For those of us who couldn’t make it to the parks for today’s celebration, Disney offered the One More Disney Day Sweepstakes, giving away a vacation a day from January 1 through February 29, 2012.
Well, have I got exciting news for you!
A Vacationearing reader was one of the winners!
Ashley won a five-day/four-night stay for four people in a deluxe resort, including airfare, Park Hopper tickets, $1000 Disney gift card, and a choice of a $500 shopping spree, photo package, or spa package. Wow! Today we get to hear from Ashley about her experience entering and winning the sweepstakes. Enjoy!
Erica: Welcome to Vacationearing! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Ashley: Hi all! My name is Ashley, and I’m from Northwest Indiana. My husband, Bryan, and I welcomed our first baby girl, Avery LeeAnn, into our family two short years ago. The three of us live with our chocolate lab, Kona, and enjoy all things Disney. My husband’s first time in Walt Disney World was this past September. I’ve enjoyed many trips to WDW, starting back when I was five years old. My husband and I decided to enter the One More Disney Day Sweepstakes—why not, right? And wouldn’t you know…
E: How often did you enter the contest?
A: I entered the contest once per day beginning on January 1, 2012, which is the maximum amount of entries per person. My husband, Bryan, entered once a day as well.
E: Did you enter on the website or via text?
A: We both entered the sweepstakes via text.
E: Did you do anything to help you remember to enter the contest each day? I was trying to enter it every day too, but I kept forgetting! I also found the website to be really temperamental, so I think entering via text was totally the way to go.
A: I agree—I had issues logging on and entering online, which is why we chose text. I actually set an alarm on my cell phone for the same time each day. When I turned the alarm off, my cell phone was already in my hand to send the text. (Otherwise I would have forgotten too!)
E: How and when were you notified that you had won?
A: Disney announced that one winner would be chosen each day from January 1 to February 29, 2012. The official rules stated that the daily winner would be chosen and notified the following day. I won the January 5 drawing, so I was notified on January 6.
Disney hires a third-party company to manage their sweepstakes. I received a call from them on my cell phone (same number from which I sent the text). They identified themselves, asked if I had entered the sweepstakes, and then notified me that I was a potential winner… subject to signing a form stating that I would accept the vacation and getting that form notarized, so they could be sure I wasn’t accepting it on someone else’s behalf.
A few days later, I received a package from them in the mail with additional information regarding the trip, forms that needed to be signed, and directions on how to claim the prize. At that point, I had to send the completed forms back to them and wait for a confirmation phone call. A few short days later, I received a call that they received my signed forms, and everything was in order. “Confirmed winner” is a beautiful thing to see!
E: How did you react when you found out you won?
A: To be honest, I was a bit shocked. I’m a pretty skeptical person, so I thought there had to be a catch somewhere… but, no. As always, Disney does things so well. They followed the official rules to a tee. They are being extremely generous with the travel dates and prizes included in this sweepstakes. They are so helpful and are happy to answer any questions I throw at them.
After the paperwork was confirmed, my husband and I began the exciting talk of where to stay, when to go, etc. We’re just thrilled to go back to Disney and especially to do it at no cost to us. That’s the best way to go!
E: What has the trip-planning process been like?
A: So far the process has been very easy. They contact me in stages for different bits of info. Disney has given out a specific phone number for contest winners to call for questions and to make travel arrangements. We have from June 2012 to June 2013 to travel. It’s been fairly similar to booking a regular Disney stay so far. All final travel plans need to be submitted by March 30, 2012.
At this point, I have a questionnaire to fill out stating my choice of deluxe resort, travel dates, who’s going with, etc. Making these decisions is harder than you may imagine! Do you stay somewhere new or head to an old favorite? Pick the most expensive place to stay or choose based on location? Do you take friends or family? Take someone who loves Disney or someone who’s never been there before?
As of now, we’re planning to take family with us. Our travel dates will be this fall, probably at the end of October. The weather should be wonderful, and we really want to head to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival since we’ve never been able to do that before.
E: Do you have any advice for others for entering Disney sweepstakes?
A: Thinking back, I can’t remember any other contest I’ve ever entered! I just never took the time. When Disney announced they were doing this giveaway I decided there was nothing to lose—just send a text—easy and free.
Of course, I would advise others to be extremely careful when entering any type of contest. Know the official rules, and have them at your fingertips. Also, make sure you are not required pay anything up-front or link the trip to a credit card.
Even though we haven’t taken the trip yet, I’m looking forward to spending time having a blast with my family and being treated like royalty—just the way Disney does it.
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Congratulations again, Ashley! Thanks so much for doing this interview for us!
Whether or not you’re in Walt Disney World or Disneyland today for One More Disney Day, have a magical Leap Day, everyone!