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View Full Version : Our budget tips for this year's summer trip


Tiger926
06-27-2009, 10:30 AM
We have been on a very good budget the past 5 months (paid off van 9 months early), so we wanted to keep that up with our yearly summer trip to WDW. My DH is an emotional spender and struggles greatly, but he has been doing very well with our new budget - I am very proud of him!

So, this trip we have implemented several tips and strategies to save money, so I wanted to share in the hopes that they might help others.

Here they are:

DVC - We go for long trips (11-13 nights) as it's cheaper on gas and hotels on way down, to go for 1 trip. We get DVC APs and use them for 2 trips - great savings! As DVC members, we get discounts for dining, shopping and recreation, that we haven't really utilized before. This trip, we are doing so, and this will save a bit of money on food. We also didn't fall victim to the summer room only rates, and used our points to book our extra night - we figured that we already have given Disney enough money, so why give them more? We just adjusted our nights accordingly, and no extra cash out of our pocket!

Food - This is a biggie for us - we have literally a million spreadsheets! We usually eat 2 TS meals per day as we have low blood sugar, plus, we don't eat fast food, nor snack on junk foods or drink pop. We can't drink Orlando water, so we need to drink bottled/filtered water. So, since we are taking scheduled midday breaks, we will be bringing frozen water/juice boxes with us throughout the day, and this will save on buying water.

This year, we gave a really good attempt at trying to make eating/cooking in our villa work, but since we love to do split stays, we forsee problems. We've dealt with food wastage and food storage issues before, so while the kids are younger, it's easier, believe it or not to eat out. Plus, our baby is free, and our DD is still a child, so for now, we are doing it this way. We are giving the QS plan a good try this trip, as it's cheaper for us to use a CS for breakfast and dinner, and then pay out of pocket with our discounts, for a TS meal for lunch. We have also added the Deluxe Dining Plan for our 2 night weekend stay at BCV and spread that out over 3 days - this takes care of our character meals! This new plan of QS, DxDP, OOP and a few breakfasts in our room, is our cheapest plan yet! We are excited to give the better CS places a try, as our baby does not sit very long (our DD can sit for hours in restaurants). We only order what we can eat, and drink mostly water, with some juice or milk. We usually share desserts as well, or get fruit. This new plan will give us all of the snacks, water and meals we need, while saving us a bunch of money over using TIW or DxDP. So, for those who are interested, look at QS plan, and supplement that with OOP or eating in room, and the savings are there as you'll have all of the snacks and beverages you'll need too! Both our kids are very good eaters, so we need to have lots of snacks and beverages for hot Orlando July!

Photopass - We used Photopass last year for the CD and the photo session, but we weren't that impressed. We are amateur photographers and I'm a scrapbooker, so we have excellent cameras and take better photos than the Photopass photogs. It did allow me to be in photos, but we can work that out for this year. Photopass prices have gone up to ridiculous amounts this year, so that is another savings for us in not buying it this year.

Gift Baskets - We always get Disney Florist baskets of some type, as it's a tradition for us. Again, prices have gone up, and the selection is not that great. We have purchased a lot of Disney Florist merchandise over the past 6 years, so we are not doing that anymore. Instead, we got a bunch of merchandise for sale on DisneyShopping.com and we will put together in our own baskets for kids, once they are asleep, and leave them out for a morning surprise!

Souveniers - Much of Disney's products are not good quality at all anymore. So, we have told our DD (our baby is too young to understand as he's just turning 2), that she has earned a Disney Gift Card and she can choose some items to purchase. Last trip, we hardly purchased anything, so this won't be that hard. Plus, the kids are getting some great stuff in their baskets from Disney Shopping - beach towels, short sets, shirts, toys and books. Both DH and I are on the same page here, so that's a relief!

Transportation - We always drive down, so we have our own van, but this trip, just like last, we have carefully chosen our resorts to be near the parks - Boardwalk and Beach Club will allow us to park our car for 8 nights, and take Disney transport to 3 parks. The last 5 nights, we'll be at Old Key West and we will then visit Downtown Disney (ferry boat) and drive to AK - which you have to drive to no matter where you stay. We don't go offsite for shopping or eating, as we find this wastes time, money and energy, so not much extra gas for us.

Basically, we have cut out several things that we always do, tried some new things, and modified others. We are also using the AP Pass Along Savings Card and free birthday gift card for DH's birthday. More savings!

To all those going on trips, I wish you a good and healthy budget. We have opened our eyes up to new possibilities this year, in order to save money, after many trips of doing the same old, same old, and so we are excited to see how it all will work out! Lots of good tips on here too, so good luck to all!

Thanks, Tiger :)

scanmom
06-27-2009, 12:49 PM
it sounds like you have a good plan that will work for you! That's great!. But, it would not work for a lot of people... a lot of the basis is having a DVC membership, and utilizing those discounts. And many people would not stay in a deluxe resort if they were trying to take a budget trip. I am glad you have found a way for your family to have the trip you want for less money! I love saving on a trip!

Tiger926
06-27-2009, 01:49 PM
it sounds like you have a good plan that will work for you! That's great!. But, it would not work for a lot of people... a lot of the basis is having a DVC membership, and utilizing those discounts. And many people would not stay in a deluxe resort if they were trying to take a budget trip. I am glad you have found a way for your family to have the trip you want for less money! I love saving on a trip!

Thanks. I disagree that this is only conducive for people who are DVC members though - not partaking in budget busters like Photopass, extra souveniers and gift baskets, are good tips for anyone, IMHO.

I always find it funny what people's idea of a budget is - for some it means that you are doing something on a bare bones amount, and for others like us, it means watching your expenses. Our total cost for this vacation is less than people staying at a moderate resort for less days. :thumbsup2 That is a budget success, as far as I'm concerned!

We are excited to save money on some of the above budget busters! There are always great tips on this board for people on all different kinds of budgets, so for us, we are saving money over what we normally spend.

Thanks, Tiger :)

antshelby
06-27-2009, 04:50 PM
I think you did an awesome job in cutting expenses. I have also done the florist thing and think I will try the Disney store merchandise this year. Kids just love getting anything while they are there.

scanmom
06-27-2009, 05:47 PM
not saying that none of your tips would save money, or that you are not doing a budget trip. I just meant that some of the things you are doing to save money are not available to all... neither is AAA, but I have used it to save $'s! And what is a budget trip for you might be a splurge trip for others! I just wanted to say that, since I looked at your post to try to get some more ideas to save cash, and wanted to point this out so that some other people reading this wouldn't think that a Disney trip will always cost that much. More for newbies, actually! I think your ideas are great!

SunnieRN
06-27-2009, 08:05 PM
I loved the QS plan in April. Make sure and have a breakfast at Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD. They have fantastic waffles with fruit and whipped creme, omelets that were really good and I think a breakfast pizza, that we didn't try. There is no kids menu at breakfast so they get the same choices! At dinner the childs pizza seemed as large as the adult version. Great food! Plenty to share if you want to and then you could have extra credits for a lunch one day!
I hope you have a wonderful trip!! Have you considered starting or joining a photopass share group? It's an option to cut the cost but still have pictures with all of you in them!!:goodvibes

MinnieForMe
06-27-2009, 08:46 PM
If you want to get in a picture just ask the photopass photographer to use your camera. They gladly do it. Of course, if you have a high end camera you probably don't want anyone touching it. LOL!

Have a great trip!

Tiger926
06-28-2009, 08:18 AM
not saying that none of your tips would save money, or that you are not doing a budget trip. I just meant that some of the things you are doing to save money are not available to all... neither is AAA, but I have used it to save $'s! And what is a budget trip for you might be a splurge trip for others! I just wanted to say that, since I looked at your post to try to get some more ideas to save cash, and wanted to point this out so that some other people reading this wouldn't think that a Disney trip will always cost that much. More for newbies, actually! I think your ideas are great!

Thanks - I totally agree with you on the cost of a trip. We have always "splurged" on Disney as it literally is our only splurge. We only travel to WDW, and that's why we purchased DVC - we would never have been able to afford those rooms without it. It does save us money over accommodations, and like I mentioned, we've done the math a million times (DH is a banker), and our total cost of vacation this year is a little bit less than a MYW package at a moderate for less days, much smaller rooms and less ticket options. We have now come to realize that Disney can be done a million different ways, and families can make memories on the smallest of budgets, as well as on the largest of budgets. It's not about how much $ you spend, but how you spend your time together! After having been so many times, we believe that there is something for everyone's budget. Thanks for the good wishes!

I loved the QS plan in April. Make sure and have a breakfast at Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD. They have fantastic waffles with fruit and whipped creme, omelets that were really good and I think a breakfast pizza, that we didn't try. There is no kids menu at breakfast so they get the same choices! At dinner the childs pizza seemed as large as the adult version. Great food! Plenty to share if you want to and then you could have extra credits for a lunch one day!
I hope you have a wonderful trip!! Have you considered starting or joining a photopass share group? It's an option to cut the cost but still have pictures with all of you in them!!:goodvibes

We have done the numbers with our million spreadsheets - LOL! and it will save us money as it will take care of our snacks as well. We prefer TS meals, but our baby won't sit still for too long (we were at a wedding last night, and oh boy!), so we are going to eat at the 'better' CS places that we've tried before: Wolfgang Puck Express, Earl of Sandwich, Cosmic Rays, Pepper Market, Tangeriene Cafe and Sunshine Seasons. The food at most of these places, is like TS food, and so we are looking forward to saving time, money and energy in not being at so many ADRs. We normally have been doing DxDP, and so this is going to allow our very busy toddler to run around and play more, but still allow us to sit and get a rest. We are a bit worried about the hot July sun, as that is another reason we like TS meals so much, but we are anxious to work it out!

Photopass - Thanks for the tip. I am not interested in doing a Photopass Share. We made do before Photopass CDs, so we will this trip too!

If you want to get in a picture just ask the photopass photographer to use your camera. They gladly do it. Of course, if you have a high end camera you probably don't want anyone touching it. LOL! Have a great trip!

Thanks - this is what we did before Photopass, so I'm sure it will be just fine! Thanks for that reminder - photos are extremely important to us, so we just bought a small tripod, and this will help too!

Thanks to all for your kind words and other tips to share! I read on this board everyday, but don't post much, so thanks for the great tips and wishes!

Happy trips to all, Tiger :)