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scoutie
12-28-2012, 01:52 PM
That it's possible not to spend a ton of money on our six day trip to Disney? We've already bought plane tickets, park tickets, hotel at Port Orleans, and the dining plan. Character meals, autograph books, glow sticks for the parades have already been purchased. Each of my three kids will have a $50 Disney gift card to use in the parks. I know a few things will probably come up (Dole Whips!) but is it possible to not spend much more than has already been spent? Give it to me straight. If I'm being naive, let me know. I'd really rather not dip into my savings, though.


UPDATE: I'm back, and I'm happy to say that I did stick to my budget. The kids actually had a bit of money left over on their cards (they wanted Mickey ears and a toy after the Star Tours experience), but that was all. The dining plan kept them (and myself....I even got a Dole Whip on it!) well fed, with a snack a day on the plan (desserts at lunch and dinner, so they didn't want any sweets).I did end up tipping Mousekeeping $20 over my "$5 a day" original plan, because I felt they really went above and beyond. All of you were right--the tips at dinner (and my nightly wine/margarita) were the most expensive part, but I had budgeted appropriately ahead of time.

So yes! It was possible not to spend a ton of money in the parks. My dd cried when we left, so I think she had a pretty amazing experience without having to spend the extra money! The princess lunch was her favorite part and my eldest son's favorite part was fighting the Dark Side at Hollywood Studios. My toddler's favorite part was taking the bus everywhere, lol!

Jennasis
12-28-2012, 01:53 PM
We don't do souvenirs for the most part. One our 7 day trip last Sept we spent under $100 a day for DH and I on all food and odds and ends. I splurged on day on a new hoodie.

KapBoy77
12-28-2012, 01:56 PM
Only you know who you are. Nobody can really answer that for you.

I know for me I would not go without at least 1000.00 to spend on whatever. I hate having a budget on vacation so I budget way more than what I know I will spend and I usually come back home with extra money.

But I mean that's just me. I know for a fact that my SIL could budget 150.00$ for the whole week and not spend over that.

It's all up to you and your spending/discipline habits.

scoutie
12-28-2012, 01:57 PM
That's reassuring! I'm not big on souvenirs at all, and my kids are good at knowing once their money is spent, it's gone. They won't be whining or begging for more. Since we're doing the dining plan, I shouldn't have to spend much on food, right?

I am disciplined when it comes to money, and won't buy things if its not in my budget. I enjoy splurging on vacation, but the Disney vacation is becoming much more expensive than I had thought. More than we've spent on trips internationally. I won't use credit cards if I can't pay them off the next month. I guess what I was asking if there were things that were going to pop up (extra fees, etc.)

We travel as a family quite often, but reading reviews of Magic Kingdom on TripAdvisor scared me. $$$$$$ was the title of many reviews.

ErinsMommy
12-28-2012, 01:58 PM
all the souvenier stores makes it so tempting to buy buy buy, but you must resist the urge. ;)

mickyzzzzz05
12-28-2012, 02:01 PM
Once our tickets/hotel and dining plan has been purchased we spend VERY little out of pocket. Money for dining tips at table service meals and housekeeping tips comprise the majority of our out of pocket expense. We get a bottle of water with our meal and refill and usually use our snack credit for something to use for breakfast. We do get some bottled water to use in the room and I bring some snack items.

We have shared large counter service meals (at Cosmic Rays and Flame Tree) and used the extra counter service credit for a large breakfast (also shared) several times during the trip.

Good luck and have a great time!

QueenElinor
12-28-2012, 02:03 PM
If you're not a shopper, you'll be fine. My kids also only had a $50 gift cards and if you're clear that that's the absolute limit for them, there should be no problem.

You will need money for tips, both in the restaurants and possibly at the hotel.

Do stay out of the stores. I'm not a shopper, so that part is easy for me. But once you get in there- watch out! Disney makes really cute stuff, even non-shoppers get sucked in pretty easily.

DRDISNEYMD
12-28-2012, 02:06 PM
~You have the dining plan, so you only need to tip! Have fun! :goodvibes

scoutie
12-28-2012, 02:10 PM
Money has been allocated for tips ( former waitress in college!)

Thank you for the input. I've been to Disney twice before, but it's been a long time, and I've never gone with kids.


drdisneymd can you elaborate? ;)

jsgrand0
12-28-2012, 02:10 PM
Like everyone has said....it's the shopping that costs $$$! If you resist that temptation, then no, there shouldn't be too much out of pocket left. The tips are probably the biggest part, or if you want to order an appetizer or get an extra snack. Last year was our FIRST trip, but after 5 days, we hadn't spent much at all, because we hadn't shopped...then we went and did the souvenier shopping at the end of our trip...it added up fast! if you rented a car, you will need gas money, and possibly toll money depending on where you go. We go to walmart and get some snacks/breakfast to keep in the room.

scoutie
12-28-2012, 02:18 PM
I feel better!! I should put a disclaimer to say I do like clothes shopping, fine dining, good wine and the spa. If it's not in the budget, though, I can resist. :rotfl:

Thank you for bringing up tipping. I tip service professionals generously. It is always part of my vacation budget.

lynn46356
12-28-2012, 02:24 PM
We spend little extra. Having the dining plan we pay out of pocket for breakfast and I'm not a big breakfast eater so a pastry or bagel is fine with me. We have also given our son a gift card for spending money for him. That works great. Once its gone the spending is over. We also bring with us extra snacks for the day so we don't have to splurge on more than the one entitled snack we're allowed! I'm sure you can do it. Have FUN!!!!!!!!!!

scoutie
12-28-2012, 02:28 PM
Thanks for weighing in so quickly! I'm very excited! We leave Tuesday. My five year old keeps saying it is her dream come true.

AngieMouse86
12-28-2012, 02:29 PM
Only you know who you are. Nobody can really answer that for you.

I know for me I would not go without at least 1000.00 to spend on whatever. I hate having a budget on vacation so I budget way more than what I know I will spend and I usually come back home with extra money.

But I mean that's just me. I know for a fact that my SIL could budget 150.00$ for the whole week and not spend over that.

It's all up to you and your spending/discipline habits.

I second this. The bolded is my vacation budgeting style as well. If you're good at keeping on track, even the allure of the gift shops shouldn't sway you too much.

Have fun! :goodvibes

Sent from my iPad using DISBoards

wdwlovin'family
12-28-2012, 02:35 PM
I don't think you're naive at all. On our last trip, beyond tips, we spent very little. My kids also had gift cards and when the money was gone, it was gone. Them having their own gift cards was an excellent way of them determining if they *really* wanted something or not. None of us felt deprived at all.

This trip, the kids also have gift cards to spend. I am budgeting more oop because we are doing a cruise as well this time around.

WsPrincess
12-28-2012, 02:40 PM
Our biggest expense both of the last two trips were the tips for the TS meals. Without those we spent almost nothing. 3 adults, 2 kids, Dining plan we spent under $400 for 7 days and that included all the tips for the TS meals. We bought almost nothing that was not a snack credit or wasn't something we had said was a must have (I get a Disney photo album for each year we go so that is a must)

erincon23
12-28-2012, 02:46 PM
DS20 and I went this past October for a long weekend. We didn't have a meal plan. We stayed at Pop. We brought cereal in plastic boxes (so it wouldn't be crushed) and bought juice and milk at the food court for breakfast. We had one table service meal. We each bought one snack during the day, except for the day we each bought a $25 Food and Wine gift card,and split all the items --that let us get a lot. He bought a tshirt, I bought two pins.

When the kids were little, we let them pick one or two souveniers. They don't need the glow sticks. They don't need every tshirt they come across. If you bring granola bars, trail mix, juice boxes, they don't need expensive snacks. I love to shop -- love walking through the shops, and will never deny myself that pleasure, but I've gotten so cheap over the last couple of years that little tempts me.

YES! You certainly can do Disney without going broke. You can do it well, you can have a ton of fun, and you can go home happy that you didn't max out your credit cards, spend every dollar in your pocket, or give in to the whines and cries of your kids. You're not naive -- you're not rich, and you accept that!

DVCMikey
12-28-2012, 03:11 PM
You can be frugal. It all depends upon what you see and what you want to bring home. I say try to set a budget as to what you are willing or can spend and stick with it as best you can. Don't worry about it too much, just enjoy your vacation

Allieran3
12-28-2012, 03:32 PM
We spent about $250.00 for our 10 day trip, it would have been alot less, but we became addicted to pin trading and spent about $150.00 on pin and lanyards. We spend about $10.00 a day on extra food! So it can be done!!

griswalds
12-28-2012, 03:47 PM
Our last trip in Oct '10 (6 days) our family of 4 on QSDP with each kid having a $20 giftcard, we only spent $100 out of pocket. That's back when you got 2 snacks with QSDP so we used alot of those credits to cover our breakfast. We weren't on a strict budget, we found the dining plan was plenty of food and my kids got the few things they wanted so that's just how it worked out. It was one of the best trips we've ever had!

ttintagel
12-28-2012, 03:52 PM
As long as you've got the whole family on board with the plan, and barring emergencies, you should be good to go!

larryz
12-28-2012, 04:16 PM
Just for planning purposes, I'd allocate about $100 per day for incidentals.

Doesn't mean you has to spend it, but that'll give you a hard ceiling. Enjoy!!!

disnut8
12-28-2012, 04:21 PM
My husband and I don't do too much more than the resort since we have annual passes. Our food is usually limited to counter service because we don't want to make plans to be somewhere at a certain time so the dining plan has never been in the mix for us.

When we went with our son and his family, he had already bought his admission (one day short on my recommendation just in case he didn't make it to the parks on his arrival or departure date - he later upgraded by one day), he had his plane tickets (excellent deal on round trip, non-stop from Detroit for $178), and the resort reservation was paid for (thanks mother-in-law!). So all he needed was food money (which is not a problem for the OP), and souvenir money. We took care of the souvenir money with $100 gift cards for the two kids. That was it. If they spent over $500 on the actual trip, I would be extremely surprised.

And we went the same week the OP is going, just last year.

PIRATEGIRL007
12-28-2012, 04:22 PM
It's not naive, its about knowing boundries and sticking to them. You can spend as little or as much as you want. Our kids rarely have more than $100 to spend even on a 10 day trip. When thier money is out, its out. No more no matter how much they have to have it. That works well with DH and I was well. We have went before on a 5 day trip and spent $8 only outside of what we prepaid for (DDP, Tickets, room). It's very possible.

MinnieLovesMickey12
12-28-2012, 05:39 PM
You are in total control of what you spend. If you know on vacation you want some fine dining and good wine and some clothes shopping then whatever you budget yourself to spend is what you will spend.

But if you don't want to spend any more money, DON'T!

On our family trips we give each of the kids $75 and we, the parents, don't usually spend anything.

Last family trip I ended up getting 2 different hoodies bought for me by DH but that is not the norm. We usually don't buy stuff.

If you are on the dining plan and eat 3 meals a day instead of the 2 they give you on the dining plan then you can plan on paying OOP for one meal a day. But if you do a CS breakfast as your OOP meal it should be pretty cheap. $7-$8 per person.

You seem to have all the main big expenses already paid for so any spending you do from here on out will be totally optional spending.

sarahlovesmickey
12-28-2012, 05:46 PM
I don't think that is naive thinking at all. Seems like most expenses are already taken care of! We don't spend a ton on souveniers either. I think they are over priced and we just don't need any more toys or stuffed animals. Once in awhile I will pick up some scrapbooking stuff or a mug or two, but that's it. The kids are usually okay with this as well. We just explain that the trip is a lot of $ and if we don't spend a ton of $ on souvies, then that is $ we can put towards the next trip!

scoutie
12-29-2012, 01:27 PM
Thank you for the input! I appreciate it! these boards have been so helpful.

auprincess
12-29-2012, 01:58 PM
I agree, not naive at all! We aren't overly frugal on vacation, BUT we don't go overboard either. For a weeks trip we usaully only spend a couple hundred dollars out of pocket (we have always had the dining plan) and we come home with plenty of souvineers (TOO many)!

AuroraRosesMom
12-29-2012, 02:13 PM
Honestly, if your goal is to not spend much, it's easier to stick to that plan than you may think. There are times I've gone with a fair amount of money to spend and end up barely spending any of it, as well as sticking to the budget on days we go with very limited spending $$. I find that we are so wrapped up in rides, we end up not shopping much at all. Plus, giving the kid(s) x amount of money and sticking to that really does help a lot. I've also noticed, I tend to want to spend more $$ money at Epcot! So I have to make more of an effort to control myself there. Lol It can definitely be done though. Good luck and have fun!

mrsR123
12-29-2012, 02:31 PM
That it's possible not to spend a ton of money on our six day trip to Disney? We've already bought plane tickets, park tickets, hotel at Port Orleans, and the dining plan. Character meals, autograph books, glow sticks for the parades have already been purchased. Each of my three kids will have a $50 Disney gift card to use in the parks. I know a few things will probably come up (Dole Whips!) but is it possible to not spend much more than has already been spent? Give it to me straight. If I'm being naive, let me know. I'd really rather not dip into my savings, though.

With a dining plan and souvenir money for the kids done, I think you could get out of there pretty cheaply. Use your snack credits for the Dole Whips. :) It just depends on how much stuff you see that you just can't live without...

disneydreamkate
12-29-2012, 02:37 PM
We spend very little money (provided we have the DDP) OOP once we get to WDW. As PPs have mentioned, you will most likely spend more money on tips than anything else. I put my Mousekeeping $ in envelopes before we leave, so even that is taken care of ahead of time. Our kids really don't ask for anything while we are there, and my tradition is to purchase one mug for myself to bring home. I probably spend about $20 on each of them as souvenirs (if that).

Jannephotog
12-29-2012, 02:44 PM
D
They don't need the glow sticks.


Target, dollar bin. Stick in bag. Hand out at parade time. :hyper:

princessallegra
12-29-2012, 02:58 PM
That's reassuring! I'm not big on souvenirs at all, and my kids are good at knowing once their money is spent, it's gone. They won't be whining or begging for more. Since we're doing the dining plan, I shouldn't have to spend much on food, right?

I am disciplined when it comes to money, and won't buy things if its not in my budget. I enjoy splurging on vacation, but the Disney vacation is becoming much more expensive than I had thought. More than we've spent on trips internationally. I won't use credit cards if I can't pay them off the next month. I guess what I was asking if there were things that were going to pop up (extra fees, etc.)

We travel as a family quite often, but reading reviews of Magic Kingdom on TripAdvisor scared me. $$$$$$ was the title of many reviews.

There are theme park reviews on Trip Advisor?! Wow! I had no idea. I take all TA reviews with a huge grain of salt. It sounds like you are all set OP! It must feel great to have everything sorted out. My only suggestion would be to budget some amount daily for unexpected things. You don't have to use it, but that way if something unexpected comes up you are prepared :-) Have a magical trip! How cute your little one saying it's her dream come true!

Atchley
12-29-2012, 04:53 PM
Even though you are on the Dining Plan, don't forget that tips are not included. We usually tip 18-20% and tips usually run us anywhere from $250-$300 depending on the number of table service restaurants in which we dine. Usually you will have to tip bell services if you utilize them on your way in or out and we usually tip mousekeeping everyday if we are in a regular room. (Usually stay DVC.) All of those tips can really add up.
We always budget a bundle for souvenirs and if we come home with extra, *bonus!*

maxiesmom
12-29-2012, 05:00 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with most everyone else. To me, $50 is not much fun money for a week long trip. Especially at a park where everything costs so much! $50 is one hoodie. Or a tee shirt and some candy. Not much.

I was at the parks earlier this month with 3 other adults, and I spent almost $500 even though we were on the dining plan. Most of it went to tips (and twice an alcoholic beverage) and other random stuff. I only purchased 2 tops for myself, and one for my sister.

When a pop costs $3, your money doesn't go very far.

Murron
12-29-2012, 05:40 PM
Just for planning purposes, I'd allocate about $100 per day for incidentals.

Doesn't mean you has to spend it, but that'll give you a hard ceiling. Enjoy!!!
I have to agree with Larryz. I think you have it well covered. But the safety net of $100 per day is reasonable. Don't get caught up in the merchandise! You'll be fine and you'll save money.

MSSANDRA
12-29-2012, 06:08 PM
I agree to at least have a budgeted amount of about 100.00 a day but we spend less and we do not really try to watch what we spend but we are not big on spending just for the sake of spending.

Our last trip was 2 adults, a teen and a five year old. We had the regular DDP, brought some items from home to help cover some breakfasts. Everything was paid before we got there. We only spent extra for tips for meals, a few times for mousekeeping, (we only tip mousekeeping for special request or service beyond the basic), a couple really cheap candy snacks we choose not to use a snack credit on (though we ended up with some left and should have used them), a few low cost food treats for family at home, and a few splurges at the Totoonie gift shop for the little guy:worship:. We really were not trying to make it a budget trip but we really did not need or want anything else and our boys really don't ask for much. I don't think I ever said no to anything that week except the face painting and that was allergy no, not money.

Don't forget travel money for the drive or even food at the airport.

scoutie
12-29-2012, 06:20 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with most everyone else. To me, $50 is not much fun money for a week long trip. Especially at a park where everything costs so much! $50 is one hoodie. Or a tee shirt and some candy. Not much I agree that money can go fast, but we won't be buying candy, snacks or soda. They have plenty of Disney wear, so I'd be surprised if they chose to buy clothing, although they may. I'm guessing they will spend their money on two or three small things (or one big thing) in the Magic Kingdom. Since we're on the dining plan, the kids can have their one treat/snack in the parks, and we're bringing plenty of snacks and water to the parks. I know this makes me the uncool mom, but I hope they will be happy to have all of these new experiences. I've travelled with my kids all over the place, and they're used to getting just one or two souvenirs. The trip is the treat for us this time, and with the year we've had (car repairs, flooded basement--after the trip was booked) I can't really afford to splurge too much this time. I get edgy putting things on credit cards, so we're hoping to stick to a budget. I'm also bringing a few surprises (autograph books, a new princess dress, etc.) for the kids when we get to the resort.

I really hope the kids will have a magical time.

The alcoholic beverages is an excellent point, and had not occurred to me for some reason. I will be needing those, lol!!!

Even though you are on the Dining Plan, don't forget that tips are not included Yes! In a later post, I had expressed how I most definitely had allocated for tipping. I was a former waitress. ;)

We'll be bringing a hundred dollars a day as suggested for incidentals. We have scheduled in one resort day, and we won't be in the parks the day we get there or the day we leave. I feel good about being able to avoid all of the merchandise, though, and if that's the biggest pitfall, I think I'm safe.

I do appreciate everyone's input and hearing the other side. :)

How cute your little one saying it's her dream come true!I hope that it will be every bit as magical as she hopes it will be!

HM
12-29-2012, 07:03 PM
We don't go for souvenirs, so yes, we can spend less than an extra $200 for that length trip with all you've prepaid.

NewmanFamily6
12-29-2012, 07:08 PM
I would say with the dining plan, tickets purchased, a great place to stay, a the children understanding what they have to spend then you are set. As far as I'm concerned all you need is $ for the airport/travel portion. This is how we vacation. We go every year and they know they can save whatever $ throughout the year to spend if that is what they want to do. The snack credits go far for our family. We often allow them to go to the candy store because we have unused snack options.:thumbsup2

auprincess
12-29-2012, 07:19 PM
I replied earlier, but forgot to say, like others have mentioned, tip did take up a nice amount of our money ~ I had planned ahead, looked at menus, and knew around how much to have for each TS meal.

Also, on our last trip, we were there 8 days; I didn't give my 6 and 3 year old a set amount of money, but we spent around $50 for souvineers on each of them and that included a stuffed toy, a princess barbie, and a pin ~ we usually buy them ears, too, but they didn't need new ones for this trip (just the baby did) and I had made autograph books prior to our trip. I don't get t's at WDW ~ they're cute, but too pricey for me. And then my DH got a coffee mug and I got a charm for my chamilia bracelet. Don't forget to check your receipt from CS meals ~ we often had a 20% discount on the bottom of ours and that helped a lot!

AuroraRora
12-29-2012, 07:44 PM
Your little girl sounds so sweet!!

One thing I'd suggest, is don't let your kids spend their $50 right away. Its easy to see something they like and snap it up, then go to the next store and see something better, then something even better in the third store. They mostly have the same things at every park and the popular items in the resort hotel shops too, so if they see something they like there's no need to rush and buy it. You should have no trouble on the last day or two asking them to decide which souvenir they've thought about and liked most, and being able to find it. When I'd go as a kid, I'd try to buy everything I saw that I liked, and I'd have spent all my money before I'd even seen everything. Now I can look at it as an adult, and we always save our shopping for the last few days so I know I've had a chance to check out everything that's available.

geenerbell
12-29-2012, 07:53 PM
I find it hard to help the kids budget their spending money. Especially if they are really wanting something in one of the parks that we won't be visiting again. I know that most things can be found at The World of Disney in DTD but not all things. I give the kids their spending money and then on occasion I'll buy them one thing above and beyond their budget. Usually on the last day of our trip.

eeyoresmom
12-29-2012, 08:20 PM
Be prepared that most attractions exit you into a gift shop! We had the hardest time with DS until we told him he could look at the merchandise there, but we would be buying at the huge World of Disney store toward the end of the vacation. We would take pictures of the merchandise he thought he really wanted on my cell phone so we would remember what he really liked. We would purchase a very few small items on the spot (the gift shop exiting Pirates of the Carribean is pretty cheap!), but he looked forward to getting huge ice cream sundaes at Ghirardelli's at DTD, then shopping at WOD later in the trip. BTW, I don't think he ever bought ANY item we photographed! It all went out the window when we walked in that store!

DanInMN
12-29-2012, 08:45 PM
January will be our first trip with the dining plan, and I'm planning minimal extra spending. I like to walk through stores and look, but have no interest in buying anything. We have too much stuff at home already! On the other hand, my wife... :rotfl:

Avoid renting a car! Rental fee, gas, and tolls add up. On one trip we returned the car a little late and the extra charge was more than the entire week rental was supposed to be!

Sphinx610
12-29-2012, 09:12 PM
Only you know who you are. Nobody can really answer that for you.

I know for me I would not go without at least 1000.00 to spend on whatever. I hate having a budget on vacation so I budget way more than what I know I will spend and I usually come back home with extra money.

But I mean that's just me. I know for a fact that my SIL could budget 150.00$ for the whole week and not spend over that.

It's all up to you and your spending/discipline habits.

I completely agree with this!
There are ways to cut back costs it just depends on what you are willing to do to accomplish that. We brought gift cards and Visa cards that we saved up through the year prior to the trip. Asked family to give us Disney gift cards or Visa cards for birthdays and holidays, etc. We also put away cash here and there. By the time the trip came up we had over $300 in cash and cards to spend! As a family of 4 we only put $400 on our cc the whole week. We did get snacks and drinks delivered to the room from gardengrocer.com and got resort mugs the first day so we had a jump on food and snacking. I ink we only bought snacks 3 times the whole trip. And most of that was pretzels as they are my daughters fav food. And they were shaped like Mickey! Who could resist that? Even with a $4.75 price tag... Haha

Keegansmommy
12-29-2012, 09:19 PM
We are bringing $100 cash with us next week. Our tips will come off from our Disney Visa Rewards and both of our kids have $50 Disney gift cards (that they earned/gifts).

The majority of that will go to lunch at T-Rex. :) We're on the dining plan but will be cheaper just to share an app at T-Rex and let my boys split a meal.

scoutie
12-29-2012, 09:21 PM
Your little girl sounds so sweet!!
Aw, thank you! She has a very sweet disposition! I can't wait to see her face at Cinderella's Royal Table on Wednesday!

Thank you for all of the great tips and suggestions. I didn't think of many things you've mentioned!

Gigantic Ghirardelli's ice cream sundaes, you say? Maybe I am in trouble. :lmao:

rookie78
12-29-2012, 09:37 PM
The things that pop up for us the most is food/drinks. Souvenirs not so much, b/c kids have a certain amount to spend. I think it is more of the little things, a coke here & there, popcorn, or ice cream. Oh, and tips at table service meals, if you have not accounted for those.

PALionKingfan
12-30-2012, 10:26 AM
You have to remember that even though you are on the Dining Plan you still have to pay for the tip. If you don't want any souveneirs then you should not spend anything more other then tip money.

nicki.momof3
12-30-2012, 10:31 AM
It is easy to limit what you purchase - don't go into the store and if you do say "NO".

The one thing you really can't control is tips. You are on the dining plan so you are going to be eating at places that you have to tip - 18% is typical. Unless you stiff all your servers I see no way you can go a week on $100 with the dining plan. Tips will cost more than $100.

nicki.momof3
12-30-2012, 10:35 AM
I would say with the dining plan, tickets purchased, a great place to stay, a the children understanding what they have to spend then you are set. As far as I'm concerned all you need is $ for the airport/travel portion. This is how we vacation. We go every year and they know they can save whatever $ throughout the year to spend if that is what they want to do. The snack credits go far for our family. We often allow them to go to the candy store because we have unused snack options.:thumbsup2

With the dining plan how to you only spend $ at the airport. Don't you tip the servers at TS.

nicki.momof3
12-30-2012, 10:40 AM
It's not naive, its about knowing boundries and sticking to them. You can spend as little or as much as you want. Our kids rarely have more than $100 to spend even on a 10 day trip. When thier money is out, its out. No more no matter how much they have to have it. That works well with DH and I was well. We have went before on a 5 day trip and spent $8 only outside of what we prepaid for (DDP, Tickets, room). It's very possible.

$8 a day for DDP tips - seems like a VERY SMALL tip.

Hopefully
12-30-2012, 11:12 AM
The only other thing I can think of is you may want to budget for some taxi's. I always budget (and don't always use) money for a couple of resort to resort taxis for our evening ADR's.
I know you know that you need to plan for whatever adult beverages you want. They are expensive at Disney.
We also order food from wegoshop.com. I order juice, fruit and breakfast things, We always have a quick breakfast in the room before we head out. Also case(s) of water, soda, beer, wine and snacks. I believe that I save the delivery fee on the cost of the water alone. At $2.50 each it is expensive, but it is important to keep well hydrated in the heat.
Have fun

tinkerbellybutton
12-30-2012, 12:16 PM
After all the rooms, tickets, food has been paid for the only things I can think of that we spend extra money on are for tips, adult beverages, souvenirs, and the occasional taxi.

I set my kids up with a limit, much like you have with the gift card, and once they spend their limit that's it. It's not that hard to do if you set, and keep, those kind of limits at home. My kids limit is usually $100, plus any birthday, Christmas, chore or report card money they have saved specifically for a trip. Sometimes they don't even spend the $100, sometimes they spend it all and a bit of their saved money, but never much more.

I typically like to have $1000 in extra spending money just in case. We don't always spend it all, but there are times we do. Just depends on the trip I guess. But you can absolutely get by with much less if you want/need to.

tinkerbellybutton
12-30-2012, 12:20 PM
The one thing you really can't control is tips. You are on the dining plan so you are going to be eating at places that you have to tip - 18% is typical. Unless you stiff all your servers I see no way you can go a week on $100 with the dining plan. Tips will cost more than $100.

I agree with this. For our family of 4 our tips at any of the TS locations are easily $20-$30 at each meal. If you are there for a full week and eat a TS meal each day you can be looking at close to $200.00 just in tips, maybe more!

SmallWorld71
12-30-2012, 12:43 PM
Lots of good responses.:)A few of things that have helped us stick to budgets in the past:

1) Pressed Pennies - Soooo many attractions exit into a gift shop. When our kids were younger, we let them get pressed pennies at attractions etc... that they really enjoyed. Much cheaper than the stuffed animals they would have wanted. That way, they had a nice little collection showing their favorite things for a small amount of $.

2) Maximize the dining plan:
** you don't have to order everyone a CS meal every time. If we did, we used to end up throwing food away. 3 or 4 meals is generally enough for a family of 5 (although this is changing now that we have teen boys;)) and then we would use the extra CS for breakfast or last day meals or whatever
** you can usually substitute "dessert" - whenever we ate at our resort CS, we would get something like a fruit cup, yogurt, pastry etc... that served as breakfast or a late night snack. With a dessert at TS meals and the included snack, we often didn't want dessert with our CS meals.
** if you eat at your resort CS, use your refillable mug and then take the bottled beverage that comes with the meal back to your room. We would usually get milk or juice to use with breakfast.

3)Bring the incidentals from home - rain ponchos, razors, sunscreen --- whatever you family is likely to need. All available at WDW, but at a higher price.

Honestly, we're not big shoppers so sticking to a souvenir budget isn't very difficult for us.
The big thing, as others mentioned, is the tips. That always runs me more than I think it will, as the food prices are high and I always have had great service and want to tip accordingly.:thumbsup2 I'm not sure if you mentioned how old your kids are, but remember that anyone over 9, will be eating/ tipping adult prices.

1stvisit0909
12-30-2012, 12:55 PM
Our biggest expense both of the last two trips were the tips for the TS meals. Without those we spent almost nothing. 3 adults, 2 kids, Dining plan we spent under $400 for 7 days and that included all the tips for the TS meals. We bought almost nothing that was not a snack credit or wasn't something we had said was a must have (I get a Disney photo album for each year we go so that is a must)

This. My kids had spending money from Christmas, so all I've had to pay for is tips, which has been about $250 on this 8 day trip.

maxiesmom
12-30-2012, 03:55 PM
$8 a day for DDP tips - seems like a VERY SMALL tip.

I'm hoping that is not what that poster meant.:eek: I spent more than that on a tip for one meal!

stindall
12-30-2012, 04:00 PM
With the dining plan how to you only spend $ at the airport. Don't you tip the servers at TS.

I'm hoping that is not what that poster meant.:eek: I spent more than that on a tip for one meal!

They never said they had a dining plan that including TS. If you get the QS one you don't have to tip anyone.

It's not naive, its about knowing boundaries and sticking to them. You can spend as little or as much as you want. Our kids rarely have more than $100 to spend even on a 10 day trip. When thier money is out, its out. No more no matter how much they have to have it. That works well with DH and I was well. We have went before on a 5 day trip and spent $8 only outside of what we prepaid for (DDP, Tickets, room). It's very possible.

::yes:: We rarely choose to buy souvenirs but if we do we set a limit or pick one or two items we really want. (usually photos are our souvenirs.) If there's something you really want but don't want to buy, take a picture. When you get home you can describe it to someone at Disney and purchase it then.

scoutie
12-30-2012, 04:02 PM
I just want to reassure everyone that I am an excellent tipper (always quite a bit over 20%), and have already included tips in my vacation budget. :) In my OP, I was wondering about "surprises" that might come up, that I hadn't anticipated.

After reading about the giant sundaes (and being reminded about alcohol), it looks like I want to add a bit more fun money than I had anticipated. ;)


Everyone has been very helpful! I really appreciate everything!!! :)

JLS
12-30-2012, 07:36 PM
OP, we have been in this situation and found that our biggest extra expenses were alcoholic drinks or other fun (glow cube, etc) drinks not included on the DDP, appetizers not included on the DDP, and tips. When you eat out at that many expensive restaurants, the tips add a decent chunk to your costs. You also will need to spend a lot on bottled water unless you are able to take water into the parks or willing to just refill a bottle in the drinking fountain or ask for water in cups at a drink stand. If you have to buy enough water in the parks for a family to have appropriate hydration that is going to add up quickly. We always buy a case of water on the way to the resort and take those in our park bag.

I would let the kids know that in addition to spending their gifts cards, you could buy them one chosen souvenir item at the end of the trip. Then there would not be an expectation at each gift shop. I definitely think you can limit your spending that way. Its hard to keep in mind at the time, but most of that stuff in the gift shops seems so much more exciting at the time than it does once you get home and it just gets added to the toy piles in kids' rooms.

rznhal
12-30-2012, 10:27 PM
Thanks for weighing in so quickly! I'm very excited! We leave Tuesday. My five year old keeps saying it is her dream come true.

I would say make sure you pack plenty of hoodies, maybe even a hat and gloves for little ones....I remember going once in late november and the cold surprised us....50's isn't that bad at home where we aren't outside all day, but being at the parks (esp. at night) in those temps made for some unplanned trips to the gift shop for sweatshirts, hats, etc.:faint:

Have a great trip!!!

softballmom3
12-30-2012, 10:38 PM
I think it is quite doable to not spend a bunch extra. This is how we were last year and I had purchased gift cards for my kiddos before we went and we were surprised at how little we actually spent while there :). The dining plan was SO much food we weren't ever hungry.

Herfnerd
12-31-2012, 08:46 AM
The only other thing I can think of is you may want to budget for some taxi's.

With all due respect, if one were trying to vacation in WDW frugally, taxi's are more of a luxury item than anything else. Disney transportation is, for the most part, efficient and will get you to your dstination, albeit you will have to budget time to get there.....

DisHmsklMom
12-31-2012, 09:42 AM
For your 5 year old you may want to consider bringing something special to do up her hair for your character dining experiences, there are a number of little girls who have done the boutique wandering around the parks. On my next trip I am planning on bringing a can of glitter hair spray for my daughter along with a fancy ponytail holder, sparkly bobby pins and surprising her with a special hairdo done by me.pixiedust: I also make sure to put in her favorite character shirts in her luggage.
Last visit she was very interested in the face painting and fake tatoos, I am going to look around for a kit I can take with me to do that also.

scoutie
12-31-2012, 12:47 PM
On my next trip I am planning on bringing a can of glitter hair spray for my daughter along with a fancy ponytail holder Love it! Cute idea!

I would say make sure you pack plenty of hoodies, maybe even a hat and gloves for little ones They are packed!

Thanks again! We leave TOMORROW! Now if I can just stop worrying about massive crowds and possible park closures.....

pmaurer74
12-31-2012, 02:03 PM
we only spend a few hundred extra. Some extra meals and some souvenirs. Do not forget about tips for restaurants and baggage.

PlutosUnDr8d
12-31-2012, 03:04 PM
For your 5 year old you may want to consider bringing something special to do up her hair for your character dining experiences, there are a number of little girls who have done the boutique wandering around the parks. On my next trip I am planning on bringing a can of glitter hair spray for my daughter along with a fancy ponytail holder, sparkly bobby pins and surprising her with a special hairdo done by me.pixiedust: I also make sure to put in her favorite character shirts in her luggage.
Last visit she was very interested in the face painting and fake tatoos, I am going to look around for a kit I can take with me to do that also.
Possibly too late for OP, but I saw some adorable Disney "princess" tiaras in the stores after Christmas. . .could complete her 'do!
For DS6, I bring the temporary tattoos (Phineas and Ferb, Cars, etc) for him to wear at the parks.
I second the idea to bring all character T-shirts--he often gets a "Hey, Lightning!" from a CM if he is wearing the Lightning McQueen "face" T-shirt.

Alcoholic beverages (Grey Goose Citron in France:cloud9:) can easily cost $10-$12+ each, so those are a treat!
As one PP said, I find it harder to keep my money in my pocket at Epcot (especially during Food & Wine Festival!).
Tips--as a former waitress & bartender, I tip all service industry people (mousekeeping, bellhop, room service, etc.)

Have a magical trip! 5 is a GREAT age to bring to WDW!:wizard:

Patrickprincess
12-31-2012, 03:26 PM
They never said they had a dining plan that including TS. If you get the QS one you don't have to tip anyone.



::yes:: We rarely choose to buy souvenirs but if we do we set a limit or pick one or two items we really want. (usually photos are our souvenirs.) If there's something you really want but don't want to buy, take a picture. When you get home you can describe it to someone at Disney and purchase it then. I will be going to the world in september and i got free dinning and i've ordered some breakfast things from garden grocer i also got two cases of bottled water. I plan on drinning four bottles a day. As far as souvenirs i wright out a list of what i may like and put that much on a disney gift card. I now i have six that will be reloaded.As far as snacks i don't eat that many. I plan on at least two to three hundred in cash for tips and a starbucks at that airport. I belive having a set amount to spend is a good ideal,it teaches the child in all of us that disney time is speical and also meroies(Sorry for the bad speling) are more inportant that shopping.:wizard::wizard:

scoutie
01-08-2013, 01:19 PM
I'm back, and I'm happy to say that I did stick to my budget. The kids actually had a bit of money left over on their cards (they wanted Mickey ears and a toy after the Star Tours experience), but that was all. The dining plan kept them (and myself....I even got a Dole Whip on it!) well fed, with a snack a day on the plan (desserts at lunch and dinner, so they didn't want any sweets).I did end up tipping Mousekeeping $20 over my "$5 a day" original plan, because I felt they really went above and beyond. All of you were right--the tips at dinner (and my nightly wine/margarita) were the most expensive part, but I had budgeted appropriately ahead of time.

So yes! It was possible not to spend a ton of money in the parks. My dd cried when we left, so I think she had a pretty amazing experience without having to spend the extra money! The princess lunch (pre-paid via dining plan) was her favorite part and my eldest son's favorite part was fighting the Dark Side at Hollywood Studios. My toddler's favorite part was taking the bus everywhere, lol! They all loved swimming and riding the rides, seeing the parades, fireworks and shows. We had a truly magical time!

SmallWorld71
01-08-2013, 03:28 PM
I'm back, and I'm happy to say that I did stick to my budget. The kids actually had a bit of money left over on their cards (they wanted Mickey ears and a toy after the Star Tours experience), but that was all. The dining plan kept them (and myself....I even got a Dole Whip on it!) well fed, with a snack a day on the plan (desserts at lunch and dinner, so they didn't want any sweets).I did end up tipping Mousekeeping $20 over my "$5 a day" original plan, because I felt they really went above and beyond. All of you were right--the tips at dinner (and my nightly wine/margarita) were the most expensive part, but I had budgeted appropriately ahead of time.

So yes! It was possible not to spend a ton of money in the parks. My dd cried when we left, so I think she had a pretty amazing experience without having to spend the extra money! The princess lunch (pre-paid via dining plan) was her favorite part and my eldest son's favorite part was fighting the Dark Side at Hollywood Studios. My toddler's favorite part was taking the bus everywhere, lol! They all loved swimming and riding the rides, seeing the parades, fireworks and shows. We had a truly magical time!

:banana: Glad everything went so well and you were able to stick to your budget!

Funny about your toddler. When DS13 was 2, his two favorite things from the trip were the Safari and the buses. :rotfl:

GreenCntryGirl
01-08-2013, 04:02 PM
It was nice to read you mini trip report. Glad it all worked out for your budget.

1stvisit0909
01-08-2013, 05:24 PM
I'm back, and I'm happy to say that I did stick to my budget. The kids actually had a bit of money left over on their cards (they wanted Mickey ears and a toy after the Star Tours experience), but that was all. The dining plan kept them (and myself....I even got a Dole Whip on it!) well fed, with a snack a day on the plan (desserts at lunch and dinner, so they didn't want any sweets).I did end up tipping Mousekeeping $20 over my "$5 a day" original plan, because I felt they really went above and beyond. All of you were right--the tips at dinner (and my nightly wine/margarita) were the most expensive part, but I had budgeted appropriately ahead of time.

So yes! It was possible not to spend a ton of money in the parks. My dd cried when we left, so I think she had a pretty amazing experience without having to spend the extra money! The princess lunch (pre-paid via dining plan) was her favorite part and my eldest son's favorite part was fighting the Dark Side at Hollywood Studios. My toddler's favorite part was taking the bus everywhere, lol! They all loved swimming and riding the rides, seeing the parades, fireworks and shows. We had a truly magical time!

I'm glad you had a great time!

DRDISNEYMD
01-10-2013, 12:15 PM
I'm back, and I'm happy to say that I did stick to my budget. The kids actually had a bit of money left over on their cards (they wanted Mickey ears and a toy after the Star Tours experience), but that was all. The dining plan kept them (and myself....I even got a Dole Whip on it!) well fed, with a snack a day on the plan (desserts at lunch and dinner, so they didn't want any sweets).I did end up tipping Mousekeeping $20 over my "$5 a day" original plan, because I felt they really went above and beyond. All of you were right--the tips at dinner (and my nightly wine/margarita) were the most expensive part, but I had budgeted appropriately ahead of time.

So yes! It was possible not to spend a ton of money in the parks. My dd cried when we left, so I think she had a pretty amazing experience without having to spend the extra money! The princess lunch (pre-paid via dining plan) was her favorite part and my eldest son's favorite part was fighting the Dark Side at Hollywood Studios. My toddler's favorite part was taking the bus everywhere, lol! They all loved swimming and riding the rides, seeing the parades, fireworks and shows. We had a truly magical time!~Yay! Thanks so much for the update. I'm so glad you had a fabulous time! Now, you know that you're a savvy planner, some people just have it naturally!!! :goodvibes

katmg
01-10-2013, 02:02 PM
Excellent! So glad to hear it went well! I'm hoping that I can accomplish the same thing in 2014!

Go Ask Alice
01-10-2013, 03:07 PM
My husband and I are going to WDW for the first time in May for 14 nights, we've got hotel (POFQ) park tickets, the regular dining plan and a free $100 gift card, our budget allows us to take approx $5200 spending money, after reading this thread that seems excessive! We've never done a holiday like this before, we usually go to cities, we spent 2 weeks in NYC last year and spent over $6000 :/ We're not huge shoppers, although we do like to dine well and will be buying some souvenirs, so now I'm thinking we could leave some of the money we've budgeted in the savings account and perhaps we can both lay off the overtime at work :rotfl: