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bigdisneygroup 10-22-2009 12:56 PM

How cheaply could my budget minded disfriends do this trip?
Hi, just looking for some suggestions after seeing akamadforthemouses post re: the $1600 challenge.:goodvibes A little background: I would like to take the family to disney next August for a belated Christmas present i.e. they won't get gifts other than that for Christmas this year. :santa: THere are my dh, me, dd 20, ds 19, dd 17, dd 17, dd 16, ds 15, dd 13, dd 11, ds 10, ds 8, dd 6, dd 4 and dd 2. I was thinking along the lines of a two weekish trip with lots of disney included but I'm open for other suggestions as well. On site, off site, camping on site? Food? Eating in parks - out of parks? Tickets 10 day, less? water parks or no? Probably not hoppers - too many people to hop. :rotfl: I've spent hours and hours looking and figuring and then thought of all of you. Any info, plans, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. TIA.
Now I'm off to do some :laundy: while you all help me figure this out. :laughing:

Smile4Me 10-22-2009 01:11 PM

With the amount of people you would like to take I would definitely look into Grand Gatherings!

punkin 10-22-2009 01:25 PM

Is that 13 kids? Wow, bless your heart!

OK, I cannot imagine staying onsite with that many people. It would cost a fortune. I suggest you look into renting a house. 4 bedrooms would be the bare minimum, but there are bigger houses out there that will fit 15 no problem. I would also minimize park days for logistic reasons and to have lots of pool time at the house. out of two weeks, I would do 6 park days (2MK, 2Epcot, 1DS, 1AK).

Justsyd2 10-22-2009 01:27 PM

I would see about renting a vacation home off property to save the most amount of money on lodging, and add to the savings by being able to have meals at the vacation home.

Darcy03231 10-22-2009 01:31 PM

A couple of years ago we did a two week trip with 9 people. I definitely found it was more economical to stay offsite and rent two cars (we had four adults and 5 children).

Are you driving or flying? If driving and don't have to rent a car I would definitely stay in a vacation villa with a private pool. We loved having our own pool, especially in August.

I also found we saved a lot of money by eating meals in. We usually had a big breakfast, snacked in the parks, went back the rental house in the early afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner, swim, rest, ect. and then went back to the parks at night. Since it was hot no one really wanted much to eat in the parks. It was mostly ice cream and drinks.

Have a great trip!

bigdisneygroup 10-22-2009 02:57 PM

Yup, that's 13 children! ;) Thanks for all the great suggestions so far. I'll definitely start leaning more towards the vacation homes and I was hoping to get in on the give a day, get a day promo. You don't have to stay on site to do that, do you? Thanks again everyone.

Our 2 Princesses 10-22-2009 03:10 PM

I would pack lots of snacks and/or lunches to bring in the parks with you. It especially helps the little ones when standing in long lines to have their favorite snack. We bring granola bars, Disney fruit snacks, Pringles, etc. Hope you have a great trip with your family and have lots of fun planning!! :)

DisKate 10-22-2009 03:17 PM

Just to point out, and I'm not totally familiar with the numbers, but I believe that once you get to 5 or 6 day tickets the cost to get more is really low, so you might as well get the 10 days if its not much more then the 6 (though with 13 children+2 adults, it may rack up the $$$)

hsmamato2 10-22-2009 03:20 PM

with 13 kids...I don't know how you pay for *anything* !:thumbsup2 wow- I'd say go off season,rent an offsite home big enough for all of you- eat breakfast at home, budget all food carefully,the tix will cost you the most,and other than the one free day each,you can't change that too much. probably drive there too....pack snacks for the kiddos to take with them- have them save their own souvie money till you go- look online for lots of printable coupons etc for cheap orlando restaurants to eat dinner nightly

neatokimmo 10-23-2009 12:19 AM

Can you go during free dining? These number aren't exact but:

Rooms would be $400 X 14 = 5600
Tickets (10 day with water parks) = 3800
------------------------- 9400

This sounds like a huge number but it does include all your food. We did a 14 day trip and it was fantastic!

By staying on property, you'll save transportation hassles that could occur by having multiple vehicles.

You can save some money by booking the three dinner shows where tip is included. We shared a few meals in order to make up for the two TS credits being used. For $45 pp pd... I think that is pretty good for room, food and Disney tickets.

robinb 10-23-2009 12:59 AM

If you were to stay on-site you would need a minimum of 4 rooms with 15 people. You and your hubby could share a room and your kids could share 3 rooms. The baby does not "count" toward a head count in the room and she can sleep in the pack n play. If you go during free dining (usually late August) as neatokimmo suggests you would have to pay rack rate for your room. The cheapest rooms are at the Value resorts and the go for about $90 or $101 with tax. You say you want to say 14 nights, so your per room charge would be $1400 (or $404 per night) or $5645 for your room and food. I believe that the value resorts now get the Quick Service DDP, so you would have all counter service meals but it also includes a refillable mug per person. You can still eat breakfast at your hotel. We would keep a cooler for milk and juice (and beer ;)) and then eat cereal in the room.

Park passes are going to be your biggest expense as you have 11 Disney Adults and 3 Disney Kids. The baby is free. If you go with a 10-day base pass you will pay $2838 for the "adults" and $669 for the kids for a total of $3507. Adding the Water Parks and More option is a flat $55 per person more.

Since your park pass costs are fixed, your savings will come from where your stay and how you eat. If you can find a vacation home with that will sleep 14 people for less than $400 per night then you will have to access the amount of money you would spend on food per day and calculate your break even point. I'm sure that you have a good handle on how much you spend on groceries now (btw, you should include your weekly grocery budget into your vacation budget since you're not spending it cooking at home). In addition, if you're not driving yourself to WDW an off-site house will require you to rent 3 cars for that many people (or a 15 pax van). That's a LOT per week ... expect to pay about $175ish per car per week so that's an extra $1000 in rental car or $75 per day :scared1:.

aka-mad4themouse 10-23-2009 09:32 AM

Offsite is definitely the way to go for a family of that size. You're going to want to have areas where you can gather together as well as places to go for privacy and time away from each other.

Here's an example of the kind of vacation home that you can expect to find in the Orlando area:

Both houses sleeps 14 and the rate on these 6-bedroom homes runs $240/night during "high season". You will not be able to find onsite accommodations for 15 people for that kind of rate! And there are many, many properties in the Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista area that are just like this one. So do a web search and check them out.

For tickets, there's the "Give a Day, Get a Day" promotion, which would get everyone over the age of 6 the opportunity to get a 1-day/1-park ticket for free in exchange for a day of volunteer service. Check out the details here:
The nice thing about these tickets is that they are upgradeable to any number of days that you wish to add. So you basically get an $84 discount off of all adult multiday passes and $72 off of all the children's multiday passes. You cannot get that kind of a discount from the ticket resellers.

In order to qualify for free parking and some dining discounts, you might want to consider buying APs for a couple of the adults in the group instead of multiday passes. The above-mentioned "Give a Day" pass can also be upgraded to an AP. Check here for a list of AP discounts and benefits:

Feeding a crowd like that is going to be a challenge. Having a full kitchen will help to keep the costs within reason. Plan to do breakfast at the house every morning. I would also make it a point to also do dinner there as much as possible even if it's frozen lasagna instead of homemade. Bring snacks into the parks to fend off hunger while waiting in long lines and have everyone carry their own refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. Fill them at the water fountains or get a cup of free ice water at one of the counter service restaurants. Packing lunches will help with the cost of dining but you can also share some CS meals between family members.

One final note about traveling as a group: Sometimes it's not a bad idea to split up every once in a while. It can be a nightmare trying to keep a large group together all day, especially when the ages vary as much as those in your group. You might want to make touring plans that include 2 or 3 groups going their own way and then meeting up at a predetermined location for parades or a meal.

MickeyMomOfThree 10-23-2009 10:08 AM

WOW! I just have to say you are my inspiration for today. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the laundry for my family of 5 on a good day, but we had a plumbing issue we just got resolved and have a lot of catching up to do today. I was feeling overwhelmed by it all, but then I read this, and you are doing laundry for 15. :scared1: So, I am using you to motivate myself.

I wish you luck in taking your family. I don't know anything about planning for big groups so I am of no help, but good luck and have a great trip, I can only imagine how memorable it will be for all of you.

Now, off to start my own pile of laundry... :laundy:

Belle5 10-23-2009 10:16 AM

I am so happy you are planning this trip for your big family! I just helped a friend with ten children (2 sets of twins) plan their trip for this December during free dining. Two of their adult children cannot go, so there are only ten of them going. You would just need to do what they did plus one extra room. They are staying in two rooms at POR. Alligator Bayou allows five to a room if one of the children is nine or under. (There is a trundle bed) They are staying for eight nights with free dining and non-hopping park passes. You could do the same plus one other room next Aug/Sept during free dining. It is such a treat for parents of a big group to have a break from cooking and to have all transportation covered, as well. We only have six children and when we fly into Orlando (or wherever we vacation) we always rent two cars. Staying off-site would cost me $28 a day in parking--with three cars that would be $42 a day just to park!!! (We have found it to be a lot less expensive to rent two cars through Priceline than to pay for a large rental van) If you already have a fifteen passenger van that you will be driving to Florida, then you would only have to worry about $14 a day to park should you stay off-site. If you really need to go inexpensive, try booking two timeshare resorts through Skyauction for two weeks.

Happy planning! You are going to have so much fun!:thumbsup2

Editing to add: I searched your previous posts and noticed you were driving a big van and looking into camping in FW. Just and FYI--if I remember correctly, tent campers are not eligible for free dining. If you were thinking of three cabins, that would be different.

bigdisneygroup 10-23-2009 11:28 AM

Thanks - you are all just great!! I knew that I could count on everyone for some great suggestions. I am taking note of all of them.

Thanks to those who took the time to run some numbers for me, as well.

As far as camping goes, I didn't think that free dining would be included, unfortunately. My main concern with then is the heat. We have an a/c pop up but that wouldn't fit all of us.

At the moment, we are definitely planning on driving down.

MickeyMomofThree - It made me feel good that I might have been someone's inspiration. :) There are times it's tough, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it for the world. :lovestruc

Madforthemouse - as far as the give a day, get a day promo - I thought that somewhere I had read that only eight people per household could participate - do you happen to know if that is correct? I am definitely going to check in the AP passes for my husband and myself - just maybe we could sneak away a day or two on our own sometime? ;)

I'm off now to check out the links you all were so kind to send me. :surfweb:

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