View Full Version : Ever disappointed with a budget trip?

11-04-2004, 01:53 PM
Here's the reason I ask the question, we have taken DS to DL on a spendy trip in April. We save and scrimped and garage saled our way to a fabulous vacation at DL. (Stayed at Embassy Suites South - loved it!)

We are going December and, while it will be more on the budget side, we'll still be doing most if not all of what we did in April. I'll have less of a spending budget, but that's no biggie since we're not buying gifts for friends this time and since DS doesn't really need souvies. (Staying at Residence Inn - not quite as nice as ES, but basically the same deal - and sharing the suite with parents).

BUT if we were to go again anytime in the next year or so, it would REALLY have to be a budget trip. I'm talking no suite rooms. Cheap hotel, possibly no rental car (or only for a couple of days). Minimal spending money. No trips to the outlet store. Definitely no character meals (although I don't know that we'd miss it).

SO, my fear is that we/I will be disappointed because we'll have to cut back. While we don't go all out like others do, we do like to stay in a nice hotel and eat what and when we like. I'm just not sure my family is ready for pop-tarts in the room and sharing meals at the park.

Have any of you experienced budget-trip let-down?

(I hope I don't offend anyone who has mastered the budget trip and I hope I don't sound like a snob because we are just simple, middle-class people trying to enjoy the magic as often as possible).

Just wondering...::yes::

11-04-2004, 02:10 PM
I would not be willing to stay offsite without a car so I understand part of what you are saying.

However, some of the budget ideas have to be considered in regards to your family. Do they already eat everything on thier plate... if so sharing meals won't work.

I have done budget (Days Inn) and luxury (YC/BC) and enjoyed both.

11-04-2004, 02:25 PM
I've never taken a truely budget trip myself, but for what it's worth...

I think a truely "cheap" trip would be easier for your family to swallow if you could stay on-site at Disney. You can often get one of the All-Star resorts for $50-$60 per night with a code, and you can't do much better than that off site, anyway. This way you have 27/7 Disney magic and MUCH better transportation options. Many of the off-site shuttles only run 3 or 4 times a day, so you have to make your schedule match up with the bus schedule, and you may not always want to do that.

Sharing meals for kids shouldn't be an issue, just get the adult meals instead, if you think 2 kids sharing a kids meal wouldn't give them enough food. My mom and I split adult counter service meals several times and had plenty of food. You could also have them split the meal and order and extra side, the side would still be less than another full meal.

Also, maybe try to budget one extravagant event, like a big sit down meal (with or without charactors). That will give everyone something to look forward to (besides the trip itself).

With some careful planning, you should all have a great time and still not break the bank!

11-04-2004, 02:56 PM
Budget trips are great fun. My last true one was a 10/11 day trip in Dec. 2002. We had a 7 day PHP for WDW and a 5 day consect. pass for US. I pricelined my way into a hotel offsite for the entire trip (we were about 1 mile or less from AK. As I drove I found that my vehicle was wonderful in that I didn't have to wait for the hotel's bus service which only ran a few times per day. The hotel, although not the greatest was nice enough and had several amentities (refrigerator, safe, iron/board, hair dryer, pools, hottub, rest, bar) which we did enjoy and we got to see several fireworks shows going off at Disney everynight from the hotel. Total for hotel for the entire trip including movies and a few drinks was around $430 I believe and for the length of time and the fact in were in AK backyard, I think I had a GREAT trip.

Do what you need to do and you'll enjoy any vacation at Disney, be it offsite or on.

Just a side note - you may want to visit Skyauction for Silverlake condo/property. This is also in AK backyard, couldn't get closer to Disney if you tried. People win bids off of Skyauction for this property for $300 plus a bit more for an entire week (2 bedroom condo unit and most reviews I've read are good - I passed this property plenty heading to Disney and they are clean and recently built). However, staying there you would need to rent a vehicle but could do that using priceline.

11-04-2004, 03:02 PM
My budget trips tend to be very fun. They tend to be very spur of the moment "if this all can worlk out we will go tommorrow" kind of trips. No expectations, no schedule. Just go and have fun. No build up leading to missed opportunities. Just a constant feeling like "holy crap, how did I pull this off?"

11-04-2004, 03:20 PM
My budget trip was one of the most fun ever. DD(4), DS(15 mos), and I left DH at home, so that saved us a ton on food. We'd been doing a LOT of character meals in the past because DH always gets more than our money's worth at the buffets. I didn't want to omit character dining altogether for DD's sake, so this time we just did the Ice Cream Social.

It was a surprise trip for the kids, which helped cut down on any disappointment DD might have felt. Without a lot of time to think about spending money on souveniers, she was excited enough just being there and we didn't have many "gimmes" at all. I did let her spend her Disney Dollars that she had been saving, and she did a good job staying on budget. In fact we still have one DD left.

I actually had fun not splurging this time. We were able to just focus on being together at WDW, and took full advantage of every (free) thing the parks had to offer while we were there. Odds are really good that when you get there, you will be paying more attention to what you are doing than what you're missing. Enjoy planning your trips!

11-04-2004, 03:44 PM
Just ask your kids, " Would you like to go to Disney on a cheap budget, not getting every perk we are used to, or would you like to stay home?" I bet I know what their answer will be ! lol:rolleyes1 I bet they will be ...:bounce: :Pinkbounc :bounce: :Pinkbounc :bounce: :Pinkbounc Any questions? Just kidding!;) Go and have some fun!

sweet maxine
11-04-2004, 03:51 PM
I love a budget trip!

I took a very budget minded trip in September of this year, and probably will always remember that one! I had a condo at CPGV for $249 for the week, stayed a night at Pop Century on Reward Dollars, stayed a night on HHonors points, rented a car for around $200 for 11 days, and used my restaurant.com certificates for a few meals. Mom and I ate lunch on one VKL voucher at the Rainforest Cafe in AK one day, and had too much food! We ate at Cici's for lunch one day with a BOGO coupon from my Entertainment book, and even had a really cheap lunch while shopping at the Costco in Orlando (gotta love those very berry sundaes!). We only ate a good meal once a day, otherwise we snacked in our condo, and had bagels (from Costco) and yogurt for breakfast. My AP got us in the parking lots at Disney free, and I had days left over on hoppers from our trip earlier this summer.

I think the thing I enjoyed most was just the satisfaction I had from knowing I had just as much fun, while doing it on the cheap.

I forgot to add....I had also gotten a really good deal on airfare with Southwest ($49 each way), and a very special friend let me park my car at her house instead of at the airport.

11-04-2004, 03:52 PM
We just returned from what for us was a budget trip on November 1st. We wanted to visit WDW during MNSSHP but didn't see how it was possible after 12 days there this past August.

Well, when $49 one way airfare from Boston to MCO came up on JetBlue, I bit! We already had annual passes and I was able to get an A/P rate on POR -- which I fell in love with, BTW. I felt the tickets for MNSSHP were a bargain for five very special hours at the park.

Tiffany gave us a grocery stop at Publix and we bought a six pack of water, a box of cereal and one of oatmeal, as well as a bag of pretzels. We bought 2 mugs at the food court and shared beverages by using the glasses in the room.

We made no PS in advance of the trip. Our plan was to share my last 7 Q&C vouchers and also share samples at the Food and Wine Festival. Once we arrived, we ended up making PS at Boatwright's for breakfast --cheaper than lunch or dinner -- and at 50's Prime Time for lunch where DH and I shared the fried chicken and DS and DD each had a kid's meal.

I bought very few souvenirs -- only the pins from MNSSHP and the FWF. Each child bought a stuffed character from the Muppet Store at Disney Studios with their own allowance.

I did not feel deprived at all (just tired!). After totaling everything up, and including the kennel fee and transportation to and from both airports, I'm still around $2,000 for four people for 5 days.

11-04-2004, 03:53 PM
I've regretted, not taking a budget trip, but cutting corners on a not budget trip.

We cruised last year. My first instinct was to fly in the night before and stay the night at AKL. Eat at Boma (not one of my favorite places, but still nice), swim in the pool. Next morning, have a character breakfast at Cape May before driving to the port.

The $240 room fee (no code available) scared me. As well as the additional costs of renting a car over just taking a towncar to the port.

So we stayed at the Radisson out at the Cape for $100. Which is an ok hotel, but I regret not following my original plan.

11-04-2004, 04:52 PM
IMHO, planning a budget trip is much more of a challenge (scouring the web for discounts etc--thank goodness for the DIS!) than putting together a non-budget trip. Fortunately, I enjoy the challenge, LOL! Because I hunt for good deals, we are able to stay longer and do more than we would if we paid full price (if we could afford to go at all, which I doubt!). Besides, if we don't try to "do it all" in one trip, we'll always have a reason to go back!

Personally, I feel that attitude has a lot to do with how much one enjoys a budget trip...if we go into it worrying that we'll feel deprived, we do. If we can just be happy that we are able to go to WDW, and let the "magic" happen, we'll always have a good trip.

11-04-2004, 06:21 PM
We're the opposite. We'd feel let down if we didn't budget. For me it's become a big game to see just how cheap we can go and still have a wonderful time.

I guess it comes down to what's important to you while on vacation.

If you know what you like, don't go for any big changes if you think you may not enjoy yourself while you're there.
Any money you save won't be worth it. The point is to have a good time! :)

11-04-2004, 07:25 PM
We've gone all out and we also did a "budget" trip because signature had a great flight sale. We found a great new condo for cheap, rented a car and ate cheaper breakies, snacks in the park and then a good supper off site. It was nice not to waste so much time in the stores because we already bought our souvineers last trip. I went to www.Ibidusa.com and ended up with some great deals on restaurants. mini-golf, Wonder works, etc. We had a great time and it was nice to come home and know we didn't break the bank. With the great condo deals you can get now, you can go "budget" and never know it, lol

11-05-2004, 01:06 AM
I have always had budget trips; @ WDW, I would NEVER go cheap on the hotel again. I want themeing!! I want Mickey in my room. I always want a car.

I spent 10 days at A S M - Jazz. We didn't even get the Mickey soap till the 8th day[it was a good thing I brought bath soap!] there. That was the only Themed thing in the room to let you know you were at WDW.

I have done budget trips; @ DL and I would stay at any hotel on Harbor between Katella and Ball Road. Theming isn't the big thing at DL being in walking distance IS!! Because transportation isn't good. I always want a car.

11-05-2004, 07:47 AM
All of my trips have been budget trips! It's the only way we can afford to go. I would rather be on a budget and spend 10 days than not be on a budget and spend 4.

11-05-2004, 11:53 AM
I don't know how not to budget, if that makes sense. It's just the way I live. I try to get the best deal on what I want, and don't deprive myself of much. But, I don't have champagne tastes. I enjoy staying on site at the AS Movies. I enjoy a few character meals and feel like the counter service meals with the Q&Cs and one meal with the VKLs is a great treat. We always get APs and try to use them over two years/two trips. For our last trip (9/04), for 10 nights, for DD2, DD11, DH, and I, it cost about 1600 for airfare, AS Movies, AP, and rental car (we had credit for one plane ticket, and reused our APs from our last trip). I bought a bunch of meal vouchers, restaraunt.com certs, and a few coupons for food. I shopped a lot at the Disney Store's summer clearance. I got a great deal on our rental car from Alamo. I did do a lot of planning & a lot of work getting the costs as low as possible, but I enjoy it. We did two character breakfasts (with the vouchers), a character dinner, and a character lunch. I don't feel I missed much by not staying at a moderate or a deluxe resort, nor do I mind eating a lot of counter service (I don't think I could eat at the food court every day, though). Would I like to stay at a nicer hotel and eat gourmet meals each day I am at WDW? Of course, if I had the $ to burn or someone else was paying. I don't think I mind going budget enough to pay for it now, though. So, I budget without it feeling too much like I'm budgeting. If this is the way I have to vacation in order to go once a year, I'm happy as a clam!

11-05-2004, 03:16 PM
We have had trips at both extremes--from Grand Floridian and eating at whatever Epcot restaurant we wanted to 4 people in the All Star Music eating PB&J in the room for most meals--and we have LOVED every trip. If you manage everone's expectations beforehand, I think it works fine.

I agree though that staying onsite is key if you are not renting a car.

11-05-2004, 03:57 PM
Boy you guys have sure made me feel better and more optimistic about planning a real budget trip. I think it's very true that you can enjoy any sized budget trip if you prepare everyone in advance and adjust your expectations realistically.

It's good to know that there are a lot of people out there who sometimes splurge and sometimes scrimp to go to Disney. Add us to that list!

I really appreciate your responses. ::yes:: Let's keep them coming!

Thanks again! :wave2:

wide awake
11-05-2004, 08:30 PM
I think DL and WDW are two completely different trips. I've never known anyone to make a big deal about staying offsite at DL...and if you're within walking distance who needs a car? There are also lots of cheap places to eat in the area around the main gate. As for character breakfasts and souvenirs...who buys this stuff more than once unless your children vary widely in age ? I love a luxury hotel, and great meals, but to me DL is for the park...if I want a luxury hotel and fabulous meals I'd rather go to London or Florence. It is the same thing when we go to Hawaii...the point isn't the food...it is the beach, the different cultures, the history, and the attitude. And lets face it, a real Hawaiian meal is a plate lunch for $6. We really try to base our budget on the point of the trip, what the destination is known for...you can spend a ton of money anywhere you vacation, but that doesn't mean you've had an authentic experience.

11-06-2004, 08:03 PM
I'm wondering why anybody would want to get lodging on Disney property while going to the Park.?

Let me explain:
We,re going for an 8 day trip to Orlando in Feb-March 2005
We travel from Canada: 2 adults-2 children
Cheapest airfare from Canada so far is 290$us ea. return

If I am going to the park from 8AM to 10PM for 4 days, would my money be better spend on staying off-site while i am visiting the different site on a 4 day hopper + and THEN enjoy all the facilities of the Disney Properties ( health spa, etc) while staying on site for the next 4 days?

Just a thought.



11-07-2004, 12:12 AM
I just got back from WDW & if I had to judge it purely on budgeting issues, I would say ... that it depends! I budget to allow myself to enjoy things I REALLY want, like staying on-property instead of off, while sacrificing things I don't care about, like sitdown or character meals. Budgeting is a means to an end for me. I don't enjoy the search for codes that some DISers do. I do it because it allows me to have the things I do care about.

This trip taught me a lot, though. It was my 1st trip being really broke (been underemployed for over a year) & I share these thoughts with you just to give you an idea of the types of decisions I made & their fallout. They may apply to you or not, but I hope it helps you decide what to do.

I realized that quite a lot of my usual fun was negatively affected because I didn't have the money to waste on silly souvenirs. I am not a window-shopper -- if I'm going to shop it's going to be for things I want & can afford. I enjoy the shops, but decided not to go into many simply because I knew I couldn't afford it. That was disappointing but better than getting depressed at what I couldn't afford or, worse, buying those things.

I chose to share my room w/ a friend -- travelling w/ her was a disaster. I would rather have paid the bill on my own.

I bought Crystal Light individual packets & a portable Brita bottle -- saved a bit there because I like to keep hydrated (avoids migraines.) That was worth being a bit thrifty because I don't care whether I'm drinking Crystal Light or Diet Coke -- unless I do, at which time I buy the Diet Coke.

Have a great time!!

11-07-2004, 12:57 AM
Oooooh people, its not about the money. Its about time spent with loved ones, sharing joyful experiences.

Because of that, I would MUCH rather have several budget trips to WDW then just one or two deluxe trips. And we travel so much all year that ALL have to be budgeted and carefully planned. But thats half the fun!

We always choose value - moderates regardless where we travel....because that allows us to take MANY vacations. And i don't think we miss a thing by limiting how much we spend to *sleep*. We're not there to sleep, or even hang out in the room. So regardless where we sleep, or what we eat, ALL our vacations together are LUXURY.....we have the best time in the parks together, eat great food together (even if not the most expensive) still buy some sort of souvenirs together......and we're together creating priceless memories!

Now THAT is a LUXURY and the BEST value of all!!! So regardless of what we pay, we are RICH in the shared experience as a family. We are BLESSED!!!

11-07-2004, 02:49 AM
danield very good questions. It all depends on what is important to you. Do you enjoy driving to the parks, taking that travel time, will you have to rent a car or will you rely on the off site hotels transportation (which is not always convenient)? Do you want to arrive at your hotel to the disney magic, be surounded by disney 24/7, have great and frequent transporation services to the parks, have your packages sent back to your resort so you don't have to carry them around, have the ability to go back to your room for an hour or so to freshen/rest/swim in the middle of the day, have access to extra early morning park time for resort guests only, and e-ride nights at MK? Can you guess what my answer is! ;)

Figment's friends
11-07-2004, 01:55 PM
I don't know about DL but at WDW I much prefer staying onsite.

Please checkout my thread at Cooking, scrapbooking and crafts. I'm talking about fundraisers and need some ideas.

I always think of Disney as sharing magic with loved ones.:teeth:

11-07-2004, 02:58 PM
Every trip we have made has been unique and wonderful and our budgets ones are no exception. We just returne from 16 days there and with that length of trip we had to cut back a few places. What we did was do the things that we really wanted to do and searched for cheaper options otherwise. We ate at H&V, Crystal Palace and a few of our all time favorites but we also had children's hot dog meals at Pinocchio, generously added to from the toppings bar, at off site a whole bunch and tried out resataurants that we do not have back home and such. It sort of made us hunt for things that we had not really noticed before. We absoluely love eating at the China counter serve and would again, budget or not.

Go with a sense of adventure and come home with memories.


11-07-2004, 06:37 PM
Depending on how old your DS is, I'd explain ahead of time that this trip will be a little bit different....however you plan to cut back. It will still be fun, just different from the last trip.

Enjoy your trip, that's the important thing!


11-08-2004, 02:24 PM
I thought I would just add my 2 cents.

I just booked a budjet trip for Feb 05. I feel really bad if I don't get discounts...the more money I save the more time I can spend.

We are staying for 6 nights and with Canadian Money at Par. I was able to get POP for 8 people for just over 60 US/day/person. this inculdes hotel and Lenght of Stay pass.

We will be staying off site the first night (arrive late) then going over early in the am to start the Disney Magic.

We will be buy grocery's off site for breakfast (some) and snacks, share lunch orders, take our own water in and then fill up (nd add crystal light). We are doing a character dinner and going to 50's prime time, Japan and Fort Wildnerness for dinners.

At Fort Wildnerness they have a campfire and movie each night (no charge for Disney guests), we then plan on watching the water parade from the beach.

Whole trip including transportation, lodging, food and admission for 8 (7 adults, 1 child) is under $ 4500 US. That is just over $50 per person/day.

It might be budget but we still will be busy with Disney activities. There are lots of different things to do at Disney that don't cost a lot if you look hard enough.

11-08-2004, 04:55 PM
eyeoretoo, is the movie and campfire free to all Disney guests or just the ones who are staying at Fort Wilderness? Sounds like something fun for our grandkids but would not want to intrude where we should not.

A suggestion, if you can get a good rate on property it is well worth it to stay there the night before also as it gives you a head start on the Disney magic by not taking up time during the day to check in, unpack etc. We figured this one out after a half dozen or more trips. We check in the day before, get all settled in and take in some out of park experiences.

the more money I save the more time I can spend.

This is my mantra. Just finished a 16 day trip. Time makes any vacation better IMHO.


sweet maxine
11-08-2004, 05:37 PM
I called Fort Wilderness directly to ask about the campfire program yesterday, as we will be staying offsite in a condo until we check into the POFQ. I asked if it was for just FW guests, Disney resort guests, or just anyone, and I was told that anyone can attend the FW campfire program. We have stayed in the cabins at FW the last two summers and always love to go to the campfire program and make s'mores. I was happy to find out that we can still enjoy that treat even though we will be staying somewhere nearby. We usually end up buying a few things at the campfire, especially the roasting sticks, but it is a cheap and fun evening that the kids will enjoy.

11-08-2004, 06:01 PM
I believe a budget trip to DL is much different than one to WDW.

Staying onsite (or even in a suite at an off site) is just not as important.
It's easy to find a nice hotel within walking distance to DL that is affordable.
I typically get Entertainment rate at $45 a night for the Howard Johnson's (a very clean and comfy hotel with EXCELLENT staff) or even Priceline bids of $40 a night.
Never felt like we cut any corners on any of our trips.
The one time we did stay onsite (bought APs and got $99 a night for DLH) and did a character breakfast was kinda fun but I don't miss it on the other times we have gone low budget. (McDonald's, snacks from home, split meals)
Our most memorable meal was a brunch of fresh fruit and nuts (from local fruit stand) in the picnic grounds area.. it was fun!

The only thing we spend money on are pins.. and last trip we had enough traders (bought from ebay) that we bought maybe three pins total.

Soak up the atmosphere more ( people watch, slow down and notice the little things) , go to the shows, do the quieter rides that you have skipped in the past.. you might just like the budget version more!!

11-08-2004, 06:23 PM
sweet maxine, thanks for the info. This would be great one evening when MK closes early. Eat at Trail's End and then go to the movies.

Soak up the atmosphere more ( people watch, slow down and notice the little things) , go to the shows, do the quieter rides that you have skipped in the past.. you might just like the budget version more!!

funnygarcia, never a truer word was spoken. We did so many 'little' things that we had never had time to do before. It is more fun to do a budget trip when you do not 'have' to though. If it is worth it we do it and if not, we don't. Is all in how you look at it. We live in a huge old house with crystal chandilier and wide staircases and such and I actally find it relaxing to be in a small motel room with few possessions. Only time I see the room is when I wake up and for a bit before I go to sleep so I do not care. Only time I mind is when I am walking for the buses and then, for a brief moment, I might wish I were staying at whatever resort is first in line but I get over it when I get home and check how much money we spent. LOL


11-09-2004, 12:56 AM
Rockin_Rep, we're right there with you! We love to travel and our life style has worked out (dh self-employed, we are homeschooling now) that we can travel quite a bit. Our finances are still limited, so I LOVE seeing what I can do to contribute, as in getting codes, good ressies, vouchers, sell on ebay, etc...

Our whole family is used to our style and we all love it. We have sooo much fun together - we bought a 30' Travel Trailer and love travelling together. It is so much more economical this way (saving on food alone!) and we have such a good time!:earsboy:

11-09-2004, 10:27 AM

The reason we won't be staying the night before is because you can only get package deals (hotel and passes) at the Canadian money at Par Deal.

The extra night would cost everyone approx $ 50 US. The Motel 6 just down the road is $40/room. We will be arriving late and won't be able to use the park passes.

I will have to look into seeing if I can find a deal for room only for one night. Any one know the cost of one night at POP for Feb 1?

11-09-2004, 01:41 PM
I just wanted to throw in our experiences. We do Disney on an extremely tight budget. Fortunately we live very close so we don't have to worry about air fare and such! In our experience it has never mattered what the budget was. Our dd4 has never thought that she missed out on anything, of course that could vary with age. We buy cheap suveniers, take snacks and drinks in, eat off property, whatever we have to in order to go to Disney and it has never left us feeling deprived. Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions.