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View Full Version : Financially... Fun... Can ANYTHING COMPARE To WDW?


SelfEmployedDebtFree
04-13-2008, 07:49 PM
We've taken 11 trips to WDW in the past 5 years. Every year it goes up in price here and there. (IE since last year weekends now cost more). All those little price secrets seem to be getting snuffed out by Disney's Financial dept (whoever they are).
I had fully planned to not do another WDW trip for several years. I wanted to do a beach trip. It was partly because it's getting more expensive, and partly because I've done it so much.

Here's my conclusion:

With APs, if we go 3 trips (May 2008, Sept 2008, and May 2009) we can get out (using AP discounts) for just under $3300 TOTAL for all 3 trips for a family of 4.
Thats about $1100 per trip (after the APs) not including food (which we carry in in May... "free" DDP in Sept).
I can't seem to find ANY vacation that compares in price. I'm trying!!! I really was getting burnt out on Disney!!! (sorry... it happens) I can't seem to find ANY vacation that makes all 4 of us happy for anywhere near as close of price. Beach resorts are at least twice the price per night, and to find a resort that compares to WDW as far as activities for the children, its more like 3 times the price per night.
(DH DW DS10 & DD5, and DS10 has Autism and a VERY short temper and attention span.)

Does anyone know of any other options before I buy these APs???

I'm a bit burnt out on WDW, but once I've eliminated all the other vacation destinations, I'm sure the flame for Mickey will rekindle.

My wife has her heart set on another trip to WDW. I can't seem to see any other option that compares. I'm considering: the cleanliness and decor of WDWs resorts, the activities, the pool, the resort activities, the parks, etc.
We just can't seem to find anything else in driving distance to NC that will come close, for the price.

Input?

Aliceacc
04-14-2008, 05:34 AM
You could probably find a reasonably priced cruise for a comparable price. Bermuda is one of my favorites, and prices (admittedly for a small interior cabin) start at about $800 per person and go up from there. (But remember: that includes meals and entertainment.)


But nowhere will you be able to beat $1100 per trip.

Darcy03231
04-14-2008, 06:05 AM
Here's another recommendation for a cruise. My kids love them!

eliza61
04-14-2008, 07:20 AM
Beach trips along the Eastern Shore are outrageously expensive. We are going to Ocean City MD this year for a week (7/19) the condo is ~271/night (1900). Now it is ocean front but I'm comparing apples to apples (since we go deluxe at disney, I compared "deluxe" at the shore). Food is just as expensive as Disney and if you go to the arcade you are definitely dropping a bundle.
If you go to the Beach at the Jersey shore you have to pay to "SIT" on the beach. You have to buy some thing called a beach tag. (I boycott Jersey beaches for this reason).

We do go other places (grand canyon is one of our dream vacations) but dollar for dollar, Disney is a great value.

mommy-on-the-move
04-14-2008, 07:25 AM
I have to say I'm in England and if you leave out the cost of the air fare (which is huuuge) we'd struggle to find a family vacation with all day every day entertainment, access to swimming facilities etc for the price. We pay around $1200 for a week in a small chalet by the beach here in England and our 2 weeks in disney is $1260 for the room, park tickets work out pretty reasonable too when i compare it to what we'd spend getting into individual exhibits & parks like we normally do in a week at the beach.

Although the cost seems high we would struggle to find a holiday to compare at the cost (if we didn't have to fly half way around the world to get there!)

twinspluscade
04-14-2008, 07:54 AM
This might not be what you're looking for, but what about a trip to one of the National Parks? The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. are just gorgeous places to visit, and are relatively cheap. Really the only thing you have to pay for is food and lodging and gas, and the $20/car entrance fee.

Or....what about doing a Universal/IOA/SeaWorld trip instead of a Disney trip? Cost-wise it would be about the same, but just a change of scenery. Go for four nights, and stay off-site to save $$.

Or....what about taking a trip to Williamsburg, VA?

Or....a Florida "nature" trip--tour the Everglades area. Get a hotel there at Everglades City (relatively cheap) and then drive to the beach for a day or two.

Or.....visit the Smoky Mountains.

Or....do a beach vacation, but find a hotel a block or two away from the beach. Find a non-touristy area for more savings. Stay at Kure Beach or someplace like that (lodging for under $200/night)

jenne
04-14-2008, 08:24 AM
I have taken a few family vacations to Washington, DC, and have always loved them. There is SO MUCH to see and everything is relatively close together. The best thing is that most of the attractions are free! If you can drive there, you will save on airfare, eat breakfast in your room, you should be able to put together a reasonably priced trip.

PrincessRora
04-14-2008, 08:35 AM
I'd have to say a cruise would definitely be worth the money. My parents have taken my brother and on 16 as we were growing up. We loved it. We've never been on Disney Cruise line though. The kids program on Carnival Cruise line is amazing though. My brother and I never wanted to leave it. they also have a water slide. But Royal Carribbean has stuff like a rock climbing wall and an iceskating rink (but parents must come and sign a waiver each time your child wants to do it). If you're beach people, go to the Easter Carribean. Wonderful beaches. The Western is good for doing tours and water sports (ziplining, horseback riding, climbing waterfalls, etc.)

bzzymom
04-14-2008, 08:59 AM
3 trips for 3300 is an awesome deal. But, maybe a disney cruise would make your wife and kids happy and it would be only one trip to Florida. The price of gas is going up, so the total out of pocket cost is going to be higher than that. It is just an idea. Personally, I never get tired of going to WDW.

mom2aredhead
04-14-2008, 09:12 AM
Beach trips along the Eastern Shore are outrageously expensive. We are going to Ocean City MD this year for a week (7/19) the condo is ~271/night (1900). Now it is ocean front but I'm comparing apples to apples (since we go deluxe at disney, I compared "deluxe" at the shore). Food is just as expensive as Disney and if you go to the arcade you are definitely dropping a bundle.
If you go to the Beach at the Jersey shore you have to pay to "SIT" on the beach. You have to buy some thing called a beach tag. (I boycott Jersey beaches for this reason).

We do go other places (grand canyon is one of our dream vacations) but dollar for dollar, Disney is a great value.

We were going to go to Wildwood Crest this year - late June or early July. (No beach tag required btw - one of the few free beaches left in the state.) The rooms on average were about $240 per night. I was able to take advantage of one of the codes here, so our room at AKL is $164/night - it's May vs July, but given the choice, I'd rather May in FL anyway. We had enough Continental and American Express miles to fly on points, and food is about the same both places. Yes, we needed park tix, but for the amount of entertainment/recreation we're getting for not much more than a week at the beach, we chose to do WDW again.
I'm lucky that I am close enough to the NJ beaches to do several day trips throughout the year, so it almost seemed like a waste to me to pay that much money just to be able to sleep there.

SelfEmployedDebtFree
04-14-2008, 09:39 AM
Wow! Great replies!!!

mom2aredhead... How'd you get AKL for that price? Can you drop me a link to the code website? (Mousesavers? We go there a lot looking for codes.)

We considered a night or 2 at a moderate then back to the pop, but thats a bit of moving around, so we're unsure.
As far as the rest...
We checked on cruises. For the price, WDW was better by far.
We checked on Cancun, and a few others mentioned. Never really considered a national park... Thats a thought. We considered the Universal/Sea World trip... but decided against it. We might do it in a couple years though. It was the best idea other than WDW. We discussed Washington DC too. I've been there once. I loved it. My mom just got back and she was saying that it was great, but we should wait till the kids are a little older, that my DD5 was too young. Either way, I've been warned about the traffic in DC. I have roadrage REALLY bad!!!:furious: :furious: :furious: :furious: Not sure thats a good idea driving there.:thumbsup2 We even considered a train drive to DC. Looks like we're still heading for WDW, but keep the ideas coming!!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to know whats being posted. Theres a LOT of people reading this one. I wonder how many of those are subscribed.;)

chrisw127
04-14-2008, 09:51 AM
A few years ago we took a trip to the Canadian Rockies. We flew into Alberta and the parks were just a few hours away (rented a car). We stayed a few days in cabins up in Jasper (emaculate, by the way) then we went to Lake Louise. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Even if you are not keen on hiking, the walking trails are just gorgeous, some ending up at little tea houses where you can have lunch. The hotel was amazing (overlooking the lake, although lots of other well-priced accomodations). Finally, we went to Banff. I wasn't as crazy about Banff, but it too was amazing and if I hadn't been spoiled by the other two places, I would have not compared it less favorably.

Really, I think this area is a hidden gem. Although not so "hidden" that you don't have access to great restaurants and shopping.

If your wife loves Wilderness Lodge, she will be over the moon over the lodges in the Canadian Rockies. And you don't have to stay there to enjoy them. They have lots of things to do for day guests.

(oops . . . just realized you said driving distance from NC. Um, Washington DC? Appalachian trail in MD & VA?)

I lived in DC for a few years. I think a five year old would be fine there. I've taken my son (when he was younger than that) to the Smithsonian many times. The trains alone really kept him occupied. I would, however, maybe consider not going during the summer. DC is famous for it's humidity and the crowds will be a little overwhelming (although nothing like WDW in the summer). Your wife might enjoy exploring Arlington for it's shops and restaurants and of course, DC has Georgetown (not to be missed) and Dupont Circle, which has cute little stores. Also, keep in mind Baltimore has an incredible acquarium and lots of interesting places to eat and shop in the Inner Harbor. And if you want to get out of the city, Annapolis is only an hour or so away and is beautiful. You don't really need to drive in DC much at all, as the Metro is extremely clean and efficient and safe.

mom2aredhead
04-14-2008, 09:53 AM
Wow! Great replies!!!

mom2aredhead... How'd you get AKL for that price? Can you drop me a link to the code website? (Mousesavers? We go there a lot looking for codes.)



Here you go...it was posted right here on the Dis...

http://www.wdwinfo.com/discounts/discounts-resorts.htm#room

We booked a standard view. We've been lucky our past 3 trips at AKL and have been upgraded (for free) to savannah view rooms. I know the upgrades are happening much less frequently now, but we'll see next month if we can make it 4 in a row. If not, we're fine staying in a standard room and going down the hall to see the animals as opposed to outside our balcony. But it never hurts to ask.

In December there was a room discount code here and I paid $149/night for the first 5 nights of our trip, and the last few it went up to $164. (Early December - we were home around the 19th). Just keep checking the discount tab above and subscribe to the "Code Watch" threads for whichever month you think you may go.

vellamint
04-14-2008, 12:34 PM
No I dont think so :lovestruc

Janet Hill
04-14-2008, 12:36 PM
You're very close to some great cheap vacations. The mountains are a wonderful and relaxing vacation. We've been to Disney 4 times this past year (had to max out those APs) and now we're ready for a calmer vacation. A couple of years ago we spent a week in Banner Elk, NC and this year we are headed to a resort in the mountains of TN. Of course to enjoy this type of vacation, you have to enjoy the outdoors and a bit of solitude.

budbeerlady
04-14-2008, 12:44 PM
Good luck, we just blew $950 for a weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge. I said to Dh, that was over 1/2 of our Florida budget, we should have just gone there again even though it was Spring Break.

JeremyGNJ
04-14-2008, 12:48 PM
I think you're looking at the equation wrong. You're "forcing" 3 vacations into one price. But that is not an accident, Disney makes it "seem" like a value on purpose.....cause they know you spend more money on food and other "stuff".

Don't focus on doing 3 vacations. Just plan one....maybe slightly longer....that will be as good as 2 trips to Disney.

When you talk about a resort like Beaches, you're not comparing Apples to Apples. Beaches is an all inclusive resort.....all food and liquor is included!!!! (now re-run those prices, hehe) Most of their activities are included as well, and while it's not running around and doing rides, there's a whole world of "different pleasures" out there.

JeremyGNJ
04-14-2008, 12:51 PM
I think you're looking at the equation wrong. You're "forcing" 3 vacations into one price. But that is not an accident, Disney makes it "seem" like a value on purpose.....cause they know you spend more money on food and other "stuff".

Don't focus on doing 3 vacations. Just plan one....maybe slightly longer....that will be as good as 2 trips to Disney.

When you talk about a resort like Beaches, you're not comparing Apples to Apples. Beaches is an all inclusive resort.....all food and liquor is included!!!! (now re-run those prices, hehe) Most of their activities are included as well, and while it's not running around and doing rides, there's a whole world of "different pleasures" out there.

I just re-read your post, and you meant generic "beach" resort. Which is a whole different thing (and WAY overpriced in my opinion).

Based on the fact that you drive to WDW, it gives WDW a BIG advantage to other vacations, because you're not used to paying for airfare.

However, you should really look into an all inclusive Caribbean resort. On the surface the prices looks real expensive, but you can find discount codes if you hunt online, and then factor out the food prices, and it's really a pretty good deal.

WDWorBUST
04-14-2008, 01:10 PM
No suggestions, but I can sympathize....every time I start looking at "other" vacations we end up back at Disney because of price. Granted we LOVE it - but if nothing else Disney definitely gives you the most bang for your buck. Good luck!!

memorykeeper
04-14-2008, 01:43 PM
How about Branson MO. We spent a week there last July and it was great. We went to the beach $4, toured a fish hatchery (free) took a wine tour (free) cruised the strip (free) and visited Silver Dollar city a kind of Six Flags type park. We loved it and it was cheap.

SelfEmployedDebtFree
04-16-2008, 11:26 PM
:rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: We just booked for free dining in Sept.:rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2:
We're booking for next month also, and then next May.
What can I say... The wife and kids win again. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE WDW, and now that Its all done, I'm starting to get excited. At WDW, we bring in our food (Sept is free dining.. thats different). So food is really not a factor.
Years ago (on a different user ID) I posted several threads about popular WDW foods to carry in. I compiled them all into a list. The list has since disappeared, but I remember many of them.
Some ppl say its a drag to carry in food, but really, its not. Its FUN shopping for park friendly foods. The grocery store gals/guys all LOVE helping you out on your search. Then when you load them, its just one suitcase. So theres only one suitcase extra to take. Then we always take the stroller anyways... so a collapsable cooler fits fine on the bottom. Sometimes we don't need it.
Either way, we are taking the cooler, so we have a free fridge in the room. Its a piece of cake.
We just weren't able to find anything we could all agree on other than Disney. And watching Enchanted tonight confirmed our choice!!! We're booked and paid for Sept, and plan to book May this Sunday.

Thanks for the ideas though!!! We do little mini-vacations between trips, so who knows.

cancer_survivor_06
04-17-2008, 12:54 AM
there is a post on the budget board right now for Great Wolf Lodge and during apr may and june you can stay for 99 dollars a night at the one in Williamsburg the water park might be a fun thing for you all to do.

bambam007
04-17-2008, 10:42 AM
I looked at several options b-4 booking Disney. My ds is special (doesn't go to other adults and so on).
Last year we rented a beach house in Puerto Rico for the month. We went off season for a month and only paid $1,500 for a house with a fenced in yard. Not too many activities, however, we went to beaches, hiked some hidden waterfalls, bought fresh fish from the fishermen.

Did you look at the Tyler Resort in NH or VT. Look into it and give this a call about caring for your special needs child. That was our second choice for this year. The only problem is you don't eat dinner together, ever!
kids eat with the other kids.