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MO Nurse
09-14-2008, 07:13 PM
We are a family of 5 staying March 3-14. We are currently booked at POR with the dining plan. My husband is having a heart attack about how much this is costing us and wants to either cut things down or cancel the trip all together. I know we can drop the dining plan and only eat at a couple restaurants we really want to do. How else can we make this trip on a budget and still have a good time and not worry about money. I am more concerned with the food and feeding 5 people daily at least 2 meals. I am considering staying onsite 7 days and offsite the rest of the trip but I don't want to do this if I can keep from it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

luvmikids
09-14-2008, 07:19 PM
we are also a family of 5 and we stay on site but without the dining plan. Unless you are all big eaters we did not spend nearly as much money on food as the cost of the dining plan. We try to do 2 character meals and eat at the parks and our hotel. I think my kids wasted more food than they actually ate. My kids are picky so the food court at POR worked out. good luck I will sprinkle some pixie dust for ya:wizard:

brymolmom
09-14-2008, 07:36 PM
Just make sure to pack one suitcase with food and you should be fine with the 2 meals/day (or order from gardengrocer). Eat breakfast in your room - bagels, muffins, and a few snacks from the food court (donuts, milk, juice). Also, share cs meals - especially if you bring some 'snacks' with you and order ice water for your drinks - you can stretch many c/s meals - 2 meals per 3 people in many cases.

One other huge saver - do you have park hopping on your tickets? If you want to save some $ it is not at all necessary and with a party that size will save you a small bundle.

I would give everyone their 'spending money' for a day or for the whole trip and let them know - when it's gone, it's gone. A trip to WDW is gift/luxury enough without spending hundreds more on souveniers.

Ellester
09-14-2008, 08:03 PM
Eating breakfast in the room is definitely a cost saver. If your kids are adult age by Disney standards (10 or older) it makes much more sense to drop the dining plan. If they are under 10, it may be a different story. Keep in mind that once you have your tickets, pretty much all entertainment is paid for. When we go to the beach or somewhere else on vacation, it ends up not being that much cheaper than Disney once you add in what you pay a la carte for. We don't pay for hoppers, that can save quite a bit. You could also look at how many park days you want. You'll be there 11 days, so you may only need a 7 or 8 day park pass and spend a few down days relaxing at the pool, Downtown Disney, or whatever.

blessedby3
09-14-2008, 08:09 PM
We are a family of 6 and have gone many times to WDW and have never used the dining plan. I would never pay for it as we can come out much cheaper by ordering and splitting meals between us. We always eat breakfast in the room except for one day when we go to Ohanas. On that day we are so stuffed that we dont eat lunch. The days we eat breakfast in the room we also take snacks into the parks and let the kids snack whenever they want. We then eat a late lunch/early dinner at a counter service place. We split things because the portions are so large. We also only order a couple of large drinks and split them or get water instead. On other nights we will head back to the room and order pizza from Papa Johns or Dominos. A very cheap meal. We just dont do any TS-especially for dinner as its more expensive.

ilovemyjj
09-14-2008, 08:29 PM
well, first of all my 1st thought why POR? why not all star resorts?? Second of all especially with kids, i think the dining plan is too much food! You can bring or have shipped depending on weather your driving or flying..food form the green grocer, or bring it with you. Especially breakfast. My family is not big bfast people..so we bring bowls, spoons, a box of cereal, we buy a pint of milk in the store at the hotel. PLus we get soda, or 12 pks for the hotel room, so we never get drinks, we bring a cooler and keep it fresh with ice form the hotel..its free.. we bring granola bars, raisins, juice boxes, trail mix..pop tarts.
Believe me there are many ways to do Disney cheap, but still have fun!!
I also have a family of 5, and i know how hard it is!
Talk to the other DIS'rs, i know they got tons of more ideas!!

JackJack08
09-14-2008, 08:41 PM
well, first of all my 1st thought why POR? why not all star resorts?? Second of all especially with kids, i think the dining plan is too much food! You can bring or have shipped depending on weather your driving or flying..food form the green grocer, or bring it with you. Especially breakfast. My family is not big bfast people..so we bring bowls, spoons, a box of cereal, we buy a pint of milk in the store at the hotel. PLus we get soda, or 12 pks for the hotel room, so we never get drinks, we bring a cooler and keep it fresh with ice form the hotel..its free.. we bring granola bars, raisins, juice boxes, trail mix..pop tarts.
Believe me there are many ways to do Disney cheap, but still have fun!!
I also have a family of 5, and i know how hard it is!
Talk to the other DIS'rs, i know they got tons of more ideas!!

I also second the all star. No need for a moderate really.
We actually took sandwiches with us as well to the parks. Use buns instead of bread and it works great. Small cooler pack put in with it, to keep everything cool. Fill up the backpack with these and a few snacks and you will be good to go. Take the kids to Downtown Disney a couple of times, to go to Goofy's for an awesome/inexpensive treat. (Build your own...so much fun!!) Then, they have something to look forward to as well. Snacking at all of the parks can be a HUGE budget breaker. We didn't even do any character meals. There is too much to do and see, that the kids didn't even want to stop for an hour to hour and a half for a sit down meal.

MickeyMomOfThree
09-14-2008, 08:47 PM
We do Disney on a budget as well. Our first trip was the best (We spent $1000, we split the cost of the room, went a week before our daughter turned 3, only 2 nice meals, that sort of thing.) We do, however do the dining plan. This is my hubby's doing. I could eat out of my bag and here and there kids meals, he says we live on a budget all year we aren't going to do it at Disney, so as far as food goes, I probably am not going to be too much help. I will say though that pleanty of the meals can be shared, and they give you free water anytime you ask.
We never get hopper tickets, it is unnecessary for the large pricetag.
We go for 8 nights but only go in the parks 5 days. There are so many things to do without going in the parks.
If you do want to do a character meal, do a late breakfast. It is the same characters for a lot less money and you won't need to eat again for hours.
We stay value, always have, might want to check out the ASM-suites. I am not sure on the price. We too need 2 rooms (3 kids) but grandma and grandpa have been kind enough to go with us every trip and pay for the extra room. I don't know if there would be a huge price difference, but every little bit helps.
If you don't already have one, get the Disney Visa and charge everything you would normally pay for and then send them that money at the end of the month. Use the reward dollars to help pay for the trip.
I don't know where you live but we drive (from Western NY). Flights can be a killer for a larger family. The trip ca actually be fun.
I am sure there is more, but that is some of what we do to keep costs don.
Hope it helps and you get to go....

StephMK
09-14-2008, 08:57 PM
How old are your kids & are you completely set on staying onsite? I can just hear the *gasps* but we've done both (off & POR) & I will never stay onsite again unless it's in a suite or adjoining rooms. It's just not relaxing with 3 kids in a room & very tall DH.

Our visit offsite was in a 3 bedroom timeshare & that's where I want to stay when we go back. If you're there for 11 days, will you really be ok sleeping everyone in the same room that long? I liked having a kitchen, separate seating area besides the beds, etc. Plus a great deal on a rental car & eating offsite.

Just another idea but if you're set on staying onsite, breakfast in the room would definitely help. And making the biggest meal lunch w/CS for dinner.

deedeetoo
09-14-2008, 08:57 PM
You can't put five people in an AllStar unless one is under 3. The OP doesn't mention how old her kids are, but if they are all over 3 then POR is probably her least expensive choice on site.

I agree with dropping the dining plan. We did it once and enjoyed it but it was a big splurge. You also way overeat and considering how long you are going for, I think you will be so sick of food by the end that you will regret it.

You also don't mention how you are getting to WDW. If you will have a car, then its easy to hit a supermarket for breakfast and snack items after you get to Orlando. Also going off site for dinners will still get you a nice sit down dinner experience but will cost much less than eating at WDW.

You could definitely save a lot by staying offsite but that would be a different type of vacation. Its up to you to decide what you really want and what you can afford.

sskem96
09-14-2008, 08:59 PM
First of all, how old are the kids in your party? If the youngest is under 3, you could switch to a value resort. Also, watch for discount codes. It's possible that a code could come out for your dates that would save you a bundle since you're staying for so many nights. If only an AP discount is available, you could get an AP for one of the adults in your party if the discount would more than make up the difference in admission cost. Another option would be to stay offsite someplace like Buena Vista Suites that would be much cheaper and include breakfast.

As far as food, if you stay onsite, I think the dining plan would be worth it if all your kids are under 10. The price is so much more once they turn 10, and if you eat mostly counter service, they can still order off the kids menu (I do!) or share meals.

You could also consider cutting a couple days off the vacation to save a few hundred dollars. I usually figure that once we fork out the cash for the airfare we might as well stay a while, but that was staying at Pop Century with an AP rate of $69. When you're at a moderate resort and feeding 5 people, each day adds up quite a bit.

I always pack a suitcase with cereal, snacks, paper plates, etc. so we can eat breakfast in the room and have a snack before bed without spending a fortune at the food court.

Take laundry detergent and dryer sheets so you don't have to pack too many clothes. Since it's a long trip, if you don't do laundry while you're there you'll likely end up with more than one bag per person and incur extra luggage fees with the airline.

amandaraye
09-14-2008, 09:02 PM
We are a family of 5 staying March 3-14. We are currently booked at POR with the dining plan. My husband is having a heart attack about how much this is costing us and wants to either cut things down or cancel the trip all together. I know we can drop the dining plan and only eat at a couple restaurants we really want to do. How else can we make this trip on a budget and still have a good time and not worry about money. I am more concerned with the food and feeding 5 people daily at least 2 meals. I am considering staying onsite 7 days and offsite the rest of the trip but I don't want to do this if I can keep from it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

First of all...are you married to my husband? Seirously, as you can see in my siggy he's really not looking forward to our trip in April and thinks its all a terrible waste of money.

Seriously, though. I have done a LOT of research to assure him we're getting the most bang for our buck. Here are some things I took into consideration.

1. We're flying Tuesday to Tuesday to save on airfare. We're staying in a value resort so minimize lodging.
2. We are arriving in Disney the day before our DDs 3rd birthday so we can take advantage of her being two (Disney's poilcy is the child is the age they were when they arrive for the entire trip).
3. We're doing the basic dining plan. (I actually printed out about 40 menus from many of the WDW restaurants and had my family "order" from them and added it up and it turned out to be more economical for us to do dining.)
4. I'm bringing quick-to-eat breackfasts for morning for those who wants something to munch on before we head out.
5. Instead of spending lots of extra money in the parks, I'm going to do some free things there to make it extra special. I'm going to alert the hotel we're celebrating birthdays so they get a free birthday card and greeting. My kids will wear free birthday buttons at the parks to make their days more special. I'm going to have the customized menus at Coral Reef and if the divers are available I'll have them hold a sign for my family. Things that are free but will add entertainment value.

I hope your DH (and mine) comes areound and feels the magic right along with you! :hug:

imthatgirl
09-14-2008, 09:02 PM
a great way to save money is to rent a car and eat off property.

bartleby1
09-14-2008, 09:03 PM
well, first of all my 1st thought why POR? why not all star resorts??

I also second the all star. No need for a moderate really.


I don't think that the OP stated her kids ages, but if the youngest is 3 or older, they cannot stay at a value resort (unless they do a family suite which would be more expensive than POR).

I would drop the dining plan if you are looking to save money. Counter service lunch or dinner usually ran our family around $35/$40. Sometimes we grabbed a pizza at POR food court which was less, although I don't remember the amount. We drove down so we had a car to go offsite a few times for dinner and stopped at the supermarket for water, snacks, soda, and breakfast foods. You will have a small fridge but we also kept a cooler full of ice in our room, loaded with drinks. Breakfast in the room is a huge time saver and money saver. If you won't have a car, consider placing an order through on of the local grocers that are often talked about on here. I think gardengrocer is one of them? I've never done it, but I'm sure it will help save.

Also, if you drop the dining plan, you might be able to change your ressie to a room only and order your tickets through a discount broker like undercovertourist.com. Many dissers have used them, as well as myself, and have been very happy with them. If you sign up for the mousesavers.com newsletter and order thru the link in the newsletter that comes out on the 15th of the month, it will save you even a little more. I would also consider dropping the parkhopping option if you really need to save. With the length of your trip and some planning, you can do the parks without hopping. A 10 day non hopping ticket will save you money.

SIMMSMOUSE
09-14-2008, 09:57 PM
I know this is probably not an option but change you dates if possible. I am pretty sure that is not value season. I just saw a rate of 59 dollars a night at a value resort from 9/28-10/11. You could get two rooms at a value for what you will pay for a mod at that time. I just came back after getting the free dining promotion during Labor day week and it was great. I have also paid for the dining plan and thought it was worth it. My DD is 8 now and will be 9 in April so 2009 will be the last year for her at the child rates "bummer". So in the future we will have to think about wheteher the Dining plan is worth it next time we go. Also Mousesavers is great for info and specials about offsite hotels and tickets. I subscribe to the newsletter just to get the special link to undercovertourist.com for discount tickets. If your kids are all under 10 I think the dining plan is worth it. If not who knows. Check the websites frequently to find out about all the specials. I also agree you can save $200 by not park hopping.princess:

kileybeth
09-14-2008, 10:01 PM
You CAN do this. I love onsite and you will too and your husband will definitely get the whole immersion/convenience factor once it is all said and done. Just keep up the planning.

I LOVE that you are going for 12 nights. Plenty of time for relaxing and fitting in a little of everything that is already included. No need for lots of extras that simply add $$.

And really? What husband ( I know there are some!) loves spending money anyway on things he can't play with later?

We would love to hear your kids ages. And yes, POR-AB is the least expensive on site for family of 5.

As sad as I am to say it, do cut the dining plan out BUT still make a plan. You can take food into the parks with you. Disney's unofficial policy and we have done it for years. (we generally take hearty snacks for lunch and eat a bigger dinner) Lots of your food budget is in drinks. We find the refillable mugs to be a good deal but we drink lots of soda. Every other thing we drink is carried in (bottle water/can soda/capri suns) from outside the "World". Split meals. Disney gives huge portions. We always split counter service and often table service too. Save your money for the character meals you really want to do. Or a nice "date night" dinner if that works.

Collect pressed pennies. With so much time your kids will love that and it is ubber cheap to do ($.50 plus the penny) Do the mask in EPcot. Free framable 8.5x11 at end when you get all your stamps. My kids love going back and seeing all the comments on them. Spend a little on a hidden mickey book and make that a fun free activity. Ride Disney transport everywhere and see lots of really cool places (other resorts, all the downtown stuff) Save your souvie buying for the end and spend a few hours at World of Disney before you leave. Unless something is specific to a park/resort you can get it later. (and you can always call merchandising once you get home an dorder anything you regret not getting) Sometimes just waiting a day or two for a treasure changes my kids minds (and mine!) and they are onto the next thing.

since POR is your resort? You get to use both resorts pools and amenities (POFQ as well) Go over and collect mardi grau beads for free a few times. Make sure to eat a bignet for me. ($3.99 for 6 and great snack to share) .

hhhmmm, I could go on but make sure you are putting ALL your change in a jar between now and then, you will be amazed at how much it is.

Make a plan, this can work! We are a family of 6 normally (7 at the moment, college DS home again) so I know about cutting corners and making it work!

Keep us updated!

MO Nurse
09-15-2008, 08:11 PM
Sorry I didn't give enough information. My kids are 13, 13, and 16 so POR is the cheapest onsite. We are not doing park hopping because we want to take our time in each park and this is my DH first visit in over 20 years. I plan to buy my soda because no place on property sells Dr. Pepper and that's what I drink. I also plan to have a box of food items shipped down prior to our arrival. We were planning to do Seaworld and Universal Studios which we have cut out. We are flying and our dates aren't flexible. We are arriving on Tuesday March 3 and will return home Saturday March 14. We added an extra day because it was cheaper to fly home on the Saturday 14 as opposed to the Friday 13th. Airtran has our dates for $1185 r/t for the 5 of us and that is a great rate.

I am researching staying at Bonnet Creek which sits right next to Caribean Beach Resort for 4 nights and then stay 7 nights at POR. I really hate this idea because I want to stay on property for the convenience and of course EMH. The kids and I stayed offsite this past March at a hotel and we hated it. The free shuttle to the parks was horendous to say the least. Thank you all for your suggestions. I guess I will keep planning and trying to find ways to cut back and still have a great vacation.

bartleby1
09-15-2008, 08:40 PM
It sounds like you have done a lot of good budgeting and planning already. Personally, I would really try to stick with POR for the entire stay. I hate spending a day or night of my vacation packing and unpacking. I've never priced out bonnet creek but I can't imagine it being cheap enough to make the move worthwhile. Although, I have heard good things about Bonnet Creek too.

Skipping Seaworld and Universal sounds like a good plan. As much as I love Seaworld, one day cost us a small fortune the last time we went. You will have plenty to keep you busy at the disney parks.

Do you currently have any kind of discount at POR or are you paying rack rate? I don't know what kinds of discounts or codes are generally offered for that time of year, but you can probably get an AAA discount if nothing else is available. Even if you are not current members, it may be worth it to join just for the discount. I know that they gave 20% off rack rate for August.

Since all 5 of you are considered adults for the dining plan, I would definitely consider dropping it if budget is really a concern. You could still have a few nice meals, but food is probably the easiest place to cut from if you don't mind eating counterservice and food court meals.

chrisw127
09-15-2008, 09:15 PM
Have you considered the Ft. Wilderness cabins? They have a full kitchen and plenty of room for a family of five. The only downside is that you'll probably need a car, although if you have your groceries delivered, you don't even need to worry about that.

You might also think about giving the kids a few Disney dollars as stocking stuffers, ect. That way, they can "save" for their souveniers.

lucigo
09-15-2008, 09:21 PM
Sorry I didn't give enough information. My kids are 13, 13, and 16 so POR is the cheapest onsite. We are not doing park hopping because we want to take our time in each park and this is my DH first visit in over 20 years. I plan to buy my soda because no place on property sells Dr. Pepper and that's what I drink. I also plan to have a box of food items shipped down prior to our arrival. We were planning to do Seaworld and Universal Studios which we have cut out. We are flying and our dates aren't flexible. We are arriving on Tuesday March 3 and will return home Saturday March 14. We added an extra day because it was cheaper to fly home on the Saturday 14 as opposed to the Friday 13th. Airtran has our dates for $1185 r/t for the 5 of us and that is a great rate.

I am researching staying at Bonnet Creek which sits right next to Caribean Beach Resort for 4 nights and then stay 7 nights at POR. I really hate this idea because I want to stay on property for the convenience and of course EMH. The kids and I stayed offsite this past March at a hotel and we hated it. The free shuttle to the parks was horendous to say the least. Thank you all for your suggestions. I guess I will keep planning and trying to find ways to cut back and still have a great vacation.

12 nights with 3 teenagers in one room, you are brave! I'm not going to be any help here, but I say keep the dining plan (because I know what its like feeding teenagers) and get 2 rooms at Pop instead!

fakereadhed
09-15-2008, 09:24 PM
Do you currently have any kind of discount at POR or are you paying rack rate? I don't know what kinds of discounts or codes are generally offered for that time of year, but you can probably get an AAA discount if nothing else is available. Even if you are not current members, it may be worth it to join just for the discount. I know that they gave 20% off rack rate for August.

Since all 5 of you are considered adults for the dining plan, I would definitely consider dropping it if budget is really a concern. You could still have a few nice meals, but food is probably the easiest place to cut from if you don't mind eating counterservice and food court meals.

These are the things I was going to suggest. Also, if you are skipping Sea World you won't need a rental car if you are flying into MCO. If your kids are big eaters-teenage boys ;)-you might want to keep the dining plan. If they are picky eaters, they can get nuggets/mac and cheese in a CS kids meal for $5 that comes with a drink. My teen girls are picky, light eaters so that is what they like. If you don't need a package for the dining plan, can you save some $ buying tickets from Undercovertourist.com? You can get an extra discount by signing up for the mousesavers.com newsletter.

powellrj
09-15-2008, 09:41 PM
You are a brave person trying to stay in a moderate with 3 teenagers and 2 adults for 12 days. I won't even stay with our 2 teens anymore! We now get off-site condos so we can have more room to spread out.

You could get a 4 bedroom home with a private pool for less than you are going to pay for a moderate and you could have a kitchen for breakfasts and snacks, your own pool and laundry and lots of TVs and bathrooms!

Belle1962
09-16-2008, 07:48 AM
OP: Thanks for the update on your kids ages. I agree with other posters that you may want to consider two rooms at a Value (Pop is coooolll) or off site would be good. Don't let the one experience with a hotel off site color your perception of off site. I try t warn people who come to me for advice about relying on hotel shuttles and to be very careful when choosing on offsite hotel. When I travel with my son, DIL, and grandson I prefer the space of a condo or rental home. My grandson loves having his own private pool at the house!!!!

With 11 days do you really need to take advantage of the EMH? Look at the rides that are open during EMH and decide if they are really a good value for your money? If there are only 3 or 4 things your kids want to do at them are they really worth it? We have found that stayong offsite and avoiding the EMH park of the day, even in June and Spring Break, we can do it all without large crowds bugging us.

The money you save by renting a house and eating meals in could eaily go toward SW or Universal. What we do is rent a Universal hotel for ONE NIGHT. This gives you two days of express access (fastpass) to the Universal parks. We pre check in at 8:00 am the first day, get our room key--which gives you the express access--and hit one park. The next day we check out at 8:00 am, eithre check our luggage or put it in the car and then hit the second pakr--still with your room key for the express access. With the ages of your kids, expecially if they like the thrill/bigger ridees they will think you are the coolest parent in the world for figuring this out and giving them express access to all of the rides for two whole days!!!

If you stay onsite then price out the meals--with teenagers I think the dining plan--while costly upfront could save you $$$ in the long run. You don't have to add the dining plan until about 5 days before your trip if you are worried about the full cost being due 45 days beforehand.

crisi
09-16-2008, 08:47 AM
1. Switch seasons - March is more expensive and more crowded.
2. Drop the dining plan - eat as many of your own meals as you can. Eat offsite and coupon offsite. Grocery stop.
3. Get a condo offsite, you'll have more room and it will end up cheaper
4. Go for fewer days - if you go in a less crowded season, you can go for fewer days and still see a lot at a slower pace.

(On thing I would add is park hopping - if you get to a park and discover that its crowded - especially if you want to stay onsite to use EMH - the parks get really crowded on an EMH day at the EMH park - you can hop to a less crowded park, enjoy yourself easier, get more done and have a much more relaxing time. Or I'd stay offsite and avoid EMH parks complete, scheduling your trip around where EMH isn't. The one thing I absolutely would never do is stay onsite to use EMH and not have hopping).

zoie101
09-16-2008, 08:51 AM
We are a family of 6 and have gone many times to WDW and have never used the dining plan. I would never pay for it as we can come out much cheaper by ordering and splitting meals between us. We always eat breakfast in the room except for one day when we go to Ohanas. On that day we are so stuffed that we dont eat lunch. The days we eat breakfast in the room we also take snacks into the parks and let the kids snack whenever they want. We then eat a late lunch/early dinner at a counter service place. We split things because the portions are so large. We also only order a couple of large drinks and split them or get water instead. On other nights we will head back to the room and order pizza from Papa Johns or Dominos. A very cheap meal. We just dont do any TS-especially for dinner as its more expensive.

do they deliver to the hotel?
I have a few GCs from the script program from school I could use!
that would be a way to stretch out the dining plan! down graded form Deluxe to regular,
I hate the feeling that I am running fom resturant to resturant:dance3:

familyoffive
09-16-2008, 09:04 AM
Great idea about the cabins: kitchen, grill, more space, onsite.

Offsite, look at the Marriott Timeshares for rentals, the pools are great and most have onsite activities.

Otherwise, look at Marriott Village or the Hotel Plaza Blvd. properties for rates and booking 2 rooms.

We could not do 1 bathroom with a family of 5.

oeshpdog2
09-16-2008, 09:19 AM
We are a family of 5 staying March 3-14. We are currently booked at POR with the dining plan. My husband is having a heart attack about how much this is costing us and wants to either cut things down or cancel the trip all together. I know we can drop the dining plan and only eat at a couple restaurants we really want to do. How else can we make this trip on a budget and still have a good time and not worry about money. I am more concerned with the food and feeding 5 people daily at least 2 meals. I am considering staying onsite 7 days and offsite the rest of the trip but I don't want to do this if I can keep from it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
My suggestion is to stay on site at a value resort. Make sure you get a fridge in the room. There are companies that will deliver groceries to your room. Plan out some breakfasts and snacks in your room and even maybe some lunches.

You will be able to stay offisite cheaper (room cost wise), but try to stay on site if you can. Flying in is so easy when you are onsite. DME makes it flawless (99%) of the time. You get off the plane...head for your bus...check in and head to a park.

If you rent a car...add in the cost of renting the car and parking every day if you stay offsite. Also...even if you are not renting a car...most resorts around there (offsite) will not offer free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and it will cost you over $100 roundtrip for the shuttle service.

So...in summary...you can cancel the DDP, stay onsite in a Value, and plan out meals and costs in advance and you will cut down greatly on the budget. Then maximize your park time since to make your husband see a better value by utilizing the extra magic hours, which you can only do if you are onsite.

I know families of 4 on very tight budgets and they make it work onsite just for the benefits of being on Disney property. Your cost will also go down greatly if you cut down on the amount of days. Just my thoughts.

Rylee
09-16-2008, 11:50 AM
Sorry I didn't give enough information. My kids are 13, 13, and 16 so POR is the cheapest onsite. We are not doing park hopping because we want to take our time in each park and this is my DH first visit in over 20 years. I plan to buy my soda because no place on property sells Dr. Pepper and that's what I drink. I also plan to have a box of food items shipped down prior to our arrival. We were planning to do Seaworld and Universal Studios which we have cut out. We are flying and our dates aren't flexible. We are arriving on Tuesday March 3 and will return home Saturday March 14. We added an extra day because it was cheaper to fly home on the Saturday 14 as opposed to the Friday 13th. Airtran has our dates for $1185 r/t for the 5 of us and that is a great rate.

I am researching staying at Bonnet Creek which sits right next to Caribean Beach Resort for 4 nights and then stay 7 nights at POR. I really hate this idea because I want to stay on property for the convenience and of course EMH. The kids and I stayed offsite this past March at a hotel and we hated it. The free shuttle to the parks was horendous to say the least. Thank you all for your suggestions. I guess I will keep planning and trying to find ways to cut back and still have a great vacation.

I have a suggestion...

Book 2 separate reservations...both at POR.

On the 1st reservation...
book a package with the Dining Plan for X number of days, (6 or 7 nights, like your above suggestion) BUT, still purchase 10 - 12 days tickets (whatever you had originally planned) so you'll receive the "length of stay discount on tickets.

For the 2nd reservation, book room only. You'll still be on property, for convenience and can still take advantage of EMH, but can save the cost of the dining plan and just eat Counter Service.

If this idea will works for you...
*be sure to book the package with the DP for the first part of your trip... it will not be cost effective to book it the other way around, since you must purchase tickets to get the DP.
*Also, make any Table Service ADR's for the first part of your trip.
*Have the reservations linked together and request to not change rooms if possible.

The above idea...
keeps you on-site for the convenience and perks
allows you to use ME, both ways
allows you to use WDW transportation, no need for a rental car
allows you to use the DP for a few days.


Other thoughts...

Since all your children are over 3, POR is your cheapest option, and it is a great resort... very relaxing. Just be sure to put in a building request if you want to be near the main building and pools. The resort is HUGE!

As for the DP, we love it, and if your children are good eaters... I'd say keep it, BUT if your children are picky eaters... you could go without it. If you decide to go without it, but still want to have a couple of Table Service meals, schedule the meals for lunch... it's cheaper and a nice break from the heat and crowds. Also, share a few meals... example - order 5 burgers, but only 3 fries, etc.

Do you have AAA? This far out, you could probably book at an AAA rate. You don't need it at the time of booking, which means you could purchase it just prior to your trip, and possibly use the same 1 year subscription for another trip...:yay: ... plus there are all the other benefits of AAA.

Watch for other discount codes to be released. I think the one that has been released in the past, for your dates, has been an offer for a free upgrade for the Hopper and Water Park options.

HeatherC
09-16-2008, 02:29 PM
I'm going to be the lone dissenter here and suggest Bonnet Creek again. It is beautiful and so are the villas. Very upscale, great landscaping, pools, etc. and it is right next to Caribbean Beach Resort. You are pretty much onsite, but it's not owned by Disney.

12 days is an awfully long time to live in a hotel room...particularly with teenagers. This would give you 2 large bedrooms, large soaking tub, washer/dryer, full kitchen, dining room and living room and 3 tvs.

Have groceries delivered ahead of time for breakfast and some quick dinners (ie rotisserie chicken and salad, etc.).

You will save so much money, have so much more room and dh will truly get to relax.

We stayed there last year and will again for 11 days in February. We are paying about $100 a night...taxes included. I can't see how POR would be cheaper than that.

I honestly don't think you would be disappointed. You may truly never want to stay in a regular hotel room again.

You can check out rentals at www.myresortnetwork.com or even book direct with wyndhambonnetcreek.com.

Something to consider.

Have an awesome trip!

oeshpdog2
09-16-2008, 02:39 PM
I'm going to be the lone dissenter here and suggest Bonnet Creek again. It is beautiful and so are the villas. Very upscale, great landscaping, pools, etc. and it is right next to Caribbean Beach Resort. You are pretty much onsite, but it's not owned by Disney.

12 days is an awfully long time to live in a hotel room...particularly with teenagers. This would give you 2 large bedrooms, large soaking tub, washer/dryer, full kitchen, dining room and living room and 3 tvs.

Have groceries delivered ahead of time for breakfast and some quick dinners (ie rotisserie chicken and salad, etc.).

You will save so much money, have so much more room and dh will truly get to relax.

We stayed there last year and will again for 11 days in February. We are paying about $100 a night...taxes included. I can't see how POR would be cheaper than that.

I honestly don't think you would be disappointed. You may truly never want to stay in a regular hotel room again.

You can check out rentals at www.myresortnetwork.com or even book direct with wyndhambonnetcreek.com.

Something to consider.

Have an awesome trip!
Does Bonnet Creek offer free shuttle from OIA? I am assuming they have free transportation to the resorts?

I guess the question is...do you want to be onsite or off. There are pros and cons of both. For us...it will always be on for the added benefits that have been mentioned on here. One benefit that we finally utilized a bunch on our last trip was having items shipped back to our resort so we didn't have to carry bags around the park. Hard to put a dollar amount sometimes on benefits, but you miss out on some if you are offsite.

HeatherC
09-16-2008, 03:31 PM
Bonnet Creek does actually have a scheduled shuttle that I've heard runs pretty much on time. We usually have a car (just prefer it that way), so I've never had to use it.

But it really is wonderful to have all that extra space and room for people to have a little breathing room at the end of a long day. Nice to be able to sit at a table or lounge on a couch and not have to be on a bed if you know what I mean. You can go in your bedroom take a bath and unwind, and kids can do the same in theirs.

Because it is "practically" onsite, it won't take any longer to get to/from the parks than any of the Disney hotels.

Also thought because OP's kids are older, the theming may not matter so much as it might to younger children. 13 year olds can get moody and need space...and so do mom and dad! LOL!

Sure it will be awesome no matter where they stay.

lntsmom
09-16-2008, 04:04 PM
Call and ask about specials at the values. The PIN that came out a week or so ago provided a room, dining, and park admission for $63 a day! Even if you can't get that deal, the room price should be significantly lower than at the moderates.

Then, if you can spare a suitcase, pack breakfast and lunch options for your trip. Cereal, powdered milk, donuts, cheese crackers, granola bars, chips, individually packaged fruit and applesauce (be sure to put it in a freezer bag, just in case), crackers, peanutbutter, etc. If you plan ahead you could easily take all the food you need for 2 meals a day. Don't forget paper plates, bowls, and cups and plastic spoons. It won't be gourmet, but it's cheaper than ordering from a supermarket or eating at the restaurants.

If you do a character meal, do breakfast. Don't feel as if you have to have table service. There's plenty of good food to grab as you go. Don't let the boards here make you think you'll be missing a true Disney experience if you do counter service.

Plan to severely limit souvenir shopping. I spent a grand total of $8 on myself...for a magnetic picture frame set. I could have limited my boys to one t-shirt each without a whole lot of complaint.

Know that tips are just that...tips. Don't feel pressured by Disney to add extravagant tips to meals. There were a couple of places where the service wasn't even adequate...you bet I didn't tip 18% or 20% there! If you stay on site, don't feel pressured to tip the maids. I know a lot of people here do, but it's right in the Disney info that they don't expect you to do that.

My one question would be: why 12 days? If money is an issue, that is where I'd start. You don't have to do EVERYTHING your first trip. Disney isn't a competition...except in the minds of some folk who, in my opinion, lack the common sense that God gave to doorknobs. If 7 days would help your hubby relax, cut back on the length of your trip. To be honest, I've found that with young kids a shorter stay allows them to make more memories and enjoy the trip more. The longer the trip, the more the days and experiences get muddled together. My advice would be, if you have a child under 3, book a week at one of the All Star Resorts.

Here's hoping you can figure out a way to do a trip that works for everyone!

kileybeth
09-16-2008, 04:12 PM
wow! Glad I am not the OP for once! You have gotten some awesome advice I was just checking back in to see what I might learn from your experience! :rotfl:

Gotta give Rylee the ultimate :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 b/c we surely must be twins seperated at birth. She always says what I would have said!

The whole bonnet creeek option/house with it's own pool and lots of space is always intrigueing to me as well but it always comes down to a few things for me.

I do not want a kitchen or the thought of preparing a meal on vacation! I do not want to make beds on vacation and finally I do not want to have a house to pick up or laundry to fold on vacation.

Yup, one room is crowded (can anyone say POR-AB with 6? baby was just under 3 at the time) but it is vacation for heavens sake. You know, time to be together instead of everyone running their own seperate ways? We do split up but always come back together at some point.

Also, I get the whole convenience of the DDP but dollar for dollar I do think you can do as well on your own. Unless, you do want a table service meal each and everyday that is. Then the DDP might make it a break even deal. Keep running the numbers on that one and get the kids involved. I know my teens sometimes surprise me with what they actually want/don't want.

Cost of rental car is going to add to staying off site but compare it to taxi ride to/from off site places you end up doing. LOVE the one night at Universal for two days of access to perks idea.

Please do keep us updated on what it looks like. Sure do understand keeping the DH a happy camper though. Also have a 16 and 13 year old right now so can relater to that but my other 2 at home are 5 and 3! :scared1: oh and 21 at home again.

12 days not moving around and not park hopping just relaxing the whole time and enjoying all Disney has to offer sounds incredible to me. . .

crisi
09-16-2008, 08:36 PM
Does Bonnet Creek offer free shuttle from OIA? I am assuming they have free transportation to the resorts?

I guess the question is...do you want to be onsite or off. There are pros and cons of both. For us...it will always be on for the added benefits that have been mentioned on here. One benefit that we finally utilized a bunch on our last trip was having items shipped back to our resort so we didn't have to carry bags around the park. Hard to put a dollar amount sometimes on benefits, but you miss out on some if you are offsite.

If you don't stay onsite, Disney will ship your packages to the front of the parks - if you stay long enough for it to reach home - then you can pick them up as you are leaving, which saves having to haul them around.

They also ship your stuff home for a fairly reasonable rate, which we've used several times as well.

If you are staying onsite to use the resort delivery, you need to do your shopping earlier in the trip - not later. It takes a day to reach the resorts, so they won't send it over if its the day before you check out. Its a nice benefit (though I MUCH preferred it when they dropped it right in your room - that was a nicer perk - now you have to pick it up in the resort gift shop.)

Rylee
09-17-2008, 08:10 AM
wow! Glad I am not the OP for once! You have gotten some awesome advice I was just checking back in to see what I might learn from your experience! :rotfl:

Gotta give Rylee the ultimate :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 b/c we surely must be twins seperated at birth. She always says what I would have said!

The whole bonnet creeek option/house with it's own pool and lots of space is always intrigueing to me as well but it always comes down to a few things for me.

I do not want a kitchen or the thought of preparing a meal on vacation! I do not want to make beds on vacation and finally I do not want to have a house to pick up or laundry to fold on vacation.

Yup, one room is crowded (can anyone say POR-AB with 6? baby was just under 3 at the time) but it is vacation for heavens sake. You know, time to be together instead of everyone running their own seperate ways? We do split up but always come back together at some point.

Also, I get the whole convenience of the DDP but dollar for dollar I do think you can do as well on your own. Unless, you do want a table service meal each and everyday that is. Then the DDP might make it a break even deal. Keep running the numbers on that one and get the kids involved. I know my teens sometimes surprise me with what they actually want/don't want.

Cost of rental car is going to add to staying off site but compare it to taxi ride to/from off site places you end up doing. LOVE the one night at Universal for two days of access to perks idea.

Please do keep us updated on what it looks like. Sure do understand keeping the DH a happy camper though. Also have a 16 and 13 year old right now so can relater to that but my other 2 at home are 5 and 3! :scared1: oh and 21 at home again.

12 days not moving around and not park hopping just relaxing the whole time and enjoying all Disney has to offer sounds incredible to me. . .


Gotta give Rylee the ultimate :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 b/c we surely must be twins seperated at birth. She always says what I would have said!

TWINS? I'm beginning to think we're the same person! :rotfl:

The whole bonnet creeek option/house with it's own pool and lots of space is always intrigueing to me as well but it always comes down to a few things for me.

We have our own rooms at home, and a pool in the back yard... I actually like being all together on vacation. I'm usually the last one to bed, and there is something very peaceful in being surrounded by my family.

I do not want a kitchen or the thought of preparing a meal on vacation! I do not want to make beds on vacation and finally I do not want to have a house to pick up or laundry to fold on vacation.

Totally agree!

Please do keep us updated on what it looks like. Sure do understand keeping the DH a happy camper though. Also have a 16 and 13 year old right now so can relater to that but my other 2 at home are 5 and 3! :scared1: oh and 21 at home again.

Our kids are 7, 10, 17, 23, & 27! That's right, not a typo, 20 years apart... bought diapers and went on college visits in the same week! (Although, I don't have to worry about DH at Disney, park commando that he is.)

12 days not moving around and not park hopping just relaxing the whole time and enjoying all Disney has to offer sounds incredible to me.

Just returned from a 12 day, on-site, no hopping, WDW vacation. 8/22 - 9/2. We even managed a couple of "resort days" before my park commando DH flew down on the 24th. He's a singer and had a gig on the 23rd, so the kids and I flew down without him. The kids and I had an opportunity to relax... until Dad showed up! :rotfl:

MO Nurse
09-17-2008, 07:01 PM
Thank you all for all your suggestions; I have written many down and DH finally sat still long enough to discuss things with me today. I think DH and I have come to an agreement. We are still going 11 nights and we are doing the dining plan because our kids are pretty big eaters. We aren't doing Seaworld or Universal and we have decreased the amount we are taking for souveniers. We have looked at airfare and can get $87.00 one way from Delta. We flew Delta this past March and thought they were great. Thanks again everyone!:cool1:

Ellester
09-17-2008, 07:11 PM
Thank you all for all your suggestions; I have written many down and DH finally sat still long enough to discuss things with me today. I think DH and I have come to an agreement. We are still going 11 nights and we are doing the dining plan because our kids are pretty big eaters. We aren't doing Seaworld or Universal and we have decreased the amount we are taking for souveniers. We have looked at airfare and can get $87.00 one way from Delta. We flew Delta this past March and thought they were great. Thanks again everyone!:cool1:

What a great airfare! I think you'll be happy sticking with the DP since your kids are big eaters. We were full the whole trip! ;) Have a wonderful trip!

kileybeth
09-19-2008, 01:07 AM
Yeah for agreements with the DH! Sounds like a plan and what you don't go and see and do (offsite) you will never miss. Great rate on Delta. Do we know where you will stay yet? on site I guess for DDP yes? woo-hoo!

Look at my ticker!!!!!! I should be in bed!

oh! and a shout out to Rylee one more time for being as completely insane as I am and having all these little Disney nuts! Mine are actually DS26, DS21,
DS16, DD13, DS5 and DD3 right now! The 26 year old is married and taking our grandson to Disney for vacations now too! The college grad is making me nuts after being on his own for so long and the normal routine of 2 teens and 2 toodlers never seemed so easy!

MO Nurse
09-19-2008, 07:46 PM
Wow! I wish I was leaving tomorrow. Have a wonderful time. :goodvibes