Woman donates plasma every week to pay for Disney trips
- Liz Gramlich aims to visit Disney World every month of 2022.
- She said she funded her trips by donating plasma twice a week, which brought her hundreds of dollars.
- Gramlich told Insider how she makes Disney affordable and what she does at theme parks.
You don’t have to live in Florida to be a Disney World regular.
Ask Liz Gramlich, a 28-year-old theme park fan who lives in Pennsylvania. She has visited the Orlando, Florida destination about 15 times since the summer of 2020, and plans to return at least once a month throughout 2022.
She also discovered an unconventional way to fund her monthly vacation: donating plasma twice a week.
Speaking to Insider, Gramlich said she’s always been a fan of Disney movies and visited Disney World once as a child.
So, in the summer of 2020, Gramlich was curious when Disney World would reopen for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic began. She decided to look into flights between Pennsylvania and Florida, she said, and found Frontier tickets cost $20 at the time.
Inspired by the low ticket prices and living close to the airport, Gramlich then had the idea of visiting Disney World for just one day.
“We used to visit Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, which is about a two-hour drive away,” she said. “We wouldn’t be staying home – we would be going home that night. So what’s the difference?”
It wasn’t until December 2021, however, that she considered visiting Disney World even more frequently.
She had intended to meet her sister at the theme park for a day trip that month, but ran into trouble when her flight had to make an emergency landing. She called her brother, who had already arrived at Disney World from Baltimore, and the two decided to stay for the weekend so they could still enjoy the theme park together.
Although their trip didn’t go as they originally planned, it sparked an idea for Gramlich that would change the course of his 2022 travel plans.
“I was like, ‘We love doing this so much and we’re so at Disney now, so why not make it our New Year’s resolution to do something fun and go to Disney once a month for the rest of the year?'” she said.
Gramlich holds a Disney World annual pass, so buying theme park tickets wouldn’t be a problem. But she always knew she would need to fund airfare, food, hotel stays and other aspects of her future travels.
“I was already donating plasma from time to time, but I didn’t realize how much money I was making from those donations,” she said. “I realized it benefited us in a way where we could enjoy doing something we love, while helping others.”
Gramlich says she typically earns between $750 and $1,250 a month from donating plasma, which she does twice a week. That money, she told Insider, almost entirely covers her monthly trips to Disney, except for some souvenirs.
As Insider previously reported, plasma can be donated up to twice a week, as the human body replenishes fluid within 48 hours. The procedure is safe as long as you are in good health and do not donate more often than you are allowed to, according to people who have started donating plasma to earn extra money.
In addition to donating plasma, Gramlich said she’s found other ways to cut the cost of her trips to Disney. She plans to take short two-day trips, stay at Disney World discount resorts, and split the cost of her hotel with her sister.
“Our plan has been to stay at All-Star or Pop Century hotels,” she said. “We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort in December and loved it, but we think if we’re only staying the night, how much time are we really spending in this room?”
And even after spending so much time in the parks over the past few months, Gramlich says she still finds new things to do on every trip.
“When we started this, we were all about the rides — we wanted to make sure we got on every one of them,” she said. “But now we’ve done them all, so it’s all about new experiences,” like the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, which Gramlich plans to visit in March.
But she also makes time for “little experiences” that you might overlook if you only visit Disney World occasionally.
“Some days we walk around and walk around and look at the park,” she said. “One of our favorite things to do is sit in front of the castle and have breakfast on the central grass.”
“After a number of visits, you see it as, what haven’t we done yet? Let’s try something new,” Gramlich said.