Liz Gramlich is a huge Disney fan.
In fact, the 28-year-old from Philadelphia loves Disney so much that for her New Year’s Eve in 2022, she made it a goal to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando once a month with her sister.
The couple visited the resort in January, February and March with their latest ‘magical’ adventure booked for April.
Gramlich, who works in inside sales, told Fox News Digital that her regular visits to Disney began in 2020. As COVID-19 hit the U.S., she and her sister began to notice flight prices dropping significantly .
Now, with pandemic restrictions lifted and travel fees on the rise, Gramlich has gotten creative to cover some of the cost.
“Something we bonded over”
Gramlich said she and her sister have visited Disney about a dozen times in the past two years.
“I was like, ‘Why don’t we do this every month?’
In 2020, Gramlich realized that flights to Orlando from Philadelphia were only two hours, so she would fly out for just a one-day visit to the theme park.
For Gramlich, it was her first time at the resort since she was 3 years old.
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“This was brand new for us,” Gramlich told Fox News Digital.
Gramlich said the visits became “a little extra thing to bring a little magic and fun into our lives with everything going on in the world right now.”
“It became something we bonded over,” he added.
In January of this year, Gramlich said she had an idea: “I was like, ‘Why don’t we do this every month?’
Save costs – and earn extra income
When Gramlich and her sister started visiting Disney World in the summer of 2020, the cheapest round-trip flights were $25 from Philadelphia to Orlando.
“It was cheaper than gas for a round trip somewhere,” Gramlich said.
The cost of the flight eventually climbed to about $50 for a round trip, but it was still less expensive than an Uber or Lyft from the airport to one of the Disney World parks, Gramlich said.
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However, as fuel prices have risen, the cost of flights has increased, Gramlich said. For her and her sister’s visit in April, round-trip flights cost $150 each.
“This is staggering compared to what we’ve paid in the past,” Gramlich said. “So we had to adjust to make sure we could cover those costs.”
Gramlich said she plans her monthly visit to Disney based on when the cheapest flights are. In addition, Gramlich donates her plasma – the liquid part of blood without blood cells – up to twice a week, which helps cover her flight and hotel costs.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I can help someone by donating plasma instead of doing something else.’
Depending on when she goes, Gramlich said she makes between $500 and $1,000 a month, which varies based on several factors, including whether there is a shortage in her area.
Gramlich said her clinic doesn’t pay for her plasma, but it does pay for her time. Donating takes about 30 minutes, eight times a month.
At one point, the money Gramlitz received for the plasma donation covered “the entire cost of being able to go to Disney World,” including flights and other expenses.
With the cost of flights rising, her plasma donations still cover much of the trip, but sometimes she needs to save a little extra to cover a longer visit or an upgrade to a luxury resort, she said.
“It was cheaper than gas for a round trip somewhere.”
Plasma donations can benefit adults or children with cancer and people with liver or clotting factor disorders, according to the American Red Cross. It can also help someone suffering from burns, shock, trauma and other medical emergencies, Stanford Children’s Health explains on its website. “Plasma proteins and antibodies are also used in treatments for rare chronic conditions. These include autoimmune disorders and hemophilia,” the website states.
Gramlich is happy that plasma donations could potentially serve a life-saving purpose.
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“When I got down to it, I said, ‘Oh, I can help someone by donating plasma instead of doing something else,'” she said.
She added that her donation center is clear that plasma donation should not be anyone’s main source of income, because there is never a guarantee that you can donate.
For Gramlich, she said she sometimes puts off donating because her heart rate is too high, “because I’m a little nervous,” she said.
Gramlich has other cost-saving methods.
The sisters also had annual passes for a time, which gave them discounts, Gramlich said. However, she added that her annual pass has expired and according to a FOX Business Report As of November, non-Florida residents can no longer obtain annual passes.
She and her sister’s day trips to Disney helped them save on hotels. Now, they’ll stay longer – mostly on weekends – but split their hotel room, which is often at a value resort. They also shared the cost of apportionment, Gramlich said.
“It always keeps you coming back”
Gramlich’s recent visits to Disney World were during the pandemic. He noted how since then, the park has constantly opened or reopened new attractions.
“This was a way to… add some magic to your life.”
“Every time we go, we experience new things,” Gramlich said. “There are always new experiences you find and it becomes your favorite park or your favorite thing to do.”
Some of Gramlich’s recent Disney World favorites include the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride at Hollywood Studios and the Ohana restaurant at the Magic Kingdom for breakfast.
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Gramlich said her monthly visits to Disney World have given her some much-needed relief after a tough few years.
“It’s definitely a great place to be,” Gramlich said. “We’ve been sitting in the pandemic all this time… And this was a way, not to escape, but to add some magic to your life.”
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Gramlich said that even though she’ll be visiting Disney often this year, she doesn’t think she’ll get tired of it.
“Maybe we don’t go that often [as every month] after this year,” he said. “But I always feel like Disney opens up something new and gives you a new experience.”
“On a Disney trip, I never feel like we get to experience everything we want to experience,” he added. “That’s how it always keeps you coming back.”