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Old 10-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 472

Wink Need HELP! Please share your WDW $ Saving Tips...

Looking for your best methods of saving money for your Disney trip


Looking for ways to save money at WDW

A few things we've done in the past:
  • Ask for a cup of ice water in the restaurants and kiosks when available.
  • Packed some food... but would LOVE ideas on this!
  • Share meals... like pizza's. They are too much food most times!
But overall, not too much saving... I think we are always spending!
Me, DH, my 4 boys : 12, 10, 5, 3, and my Princess 1 year old!

WDW - Caribbean Beach in 2005
WDW - All Star Movies in 2006
WDW - Polynesian June in 2008
WDW - Wilderness Lodge November of 2008
WDW - All Star Movies July 4th of 2009 YIKES- busy!
WDW - Beach Club in November of 2010
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:22 PM   #2
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1. eat breakfast in our room most days
2. Bring snacks, eat a small c.s. lunch or just snack
3. We do one t.s. A day. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner, and if we do a big meal, we go light on the other one.
4. Alcohol in our room to cut down on costs for nightcaps.
5. Driving down instead of flying (with a cooler of sandwiches)
6. Buying tickets through the yes program (individual enrollment). Saved a ton last time!
8. Bring our keurig, and disposable coffee cups. Fill in the room.

how to save money for the trip?
we try to charge a ton before we go (things we would normally do with cash, and only things we can pay off that month) on our Disney card.
something silly, but I make sure I keep frozen pizzas and other "convenience"meals in the freezer. We all have those nights when we want takeout, but having quick stuff in the freezer for those nights helps!
Offsite once a year 1974- 1989, POP 2009, BW 2010, Contemporary 2011, BLT 2013, Poly 2014
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:56 AM   #3
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Saving change and rewards programs

Disney VISA, surveys and shopping through rewards sites have made our upcoming trip "almost free", LOL.

Flying Southwest on points.
Using non-expiring park hoppers I got free via Marriott rewards back in 2006.
Using over $800 in Disney VISA dollars to cover meals etc.
$50 in Disney gift cards paid for with survey money (goes to PayPal, I use those funds to buy gift cards at Disney store online).

We save change and singles in a giant plastic crayon bank, so that will cover air fees, cab fare, airport parking, etc.

We got 30% off room only code for Polynesian.

I LOVE hearing about all the creative ways people save for and find discounts for WDW.
I'd rather pay The Mouse than a shrink. '84 Offsite. '97 & '98 Port Orleans. '99 Disneyland. '00 Port Orleans. '02 Poly. '03 & '04 CBR. '05 POFQ & CBR. '06 CSR. '08 CBR & Poly. '09 Poly. '10 Poly. '11 celebrated the big 50 at the Poly! '12 FIRST DCL/Polynesian! March '14 First Stay at WL / Oct. '14 Rum Runners at WL / 3/15 Yacht Club
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:01 AM   #4
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Garage sale, craigslist and ebay sales go toward Disney.
Pre-buy souveiners for the litle kids and bring them with you wrapped as "prizes" since they are going to want to buy silly and expensive stuff LOL!
Sept 2011 - Our first family trip - FW Cabins
Sept/Oct 2012 - 2nd family trip - AoA
October 2013 - Offsite @ Regal Palms & Nick Hotel
October 2014 - Offsite @ Regal Palms - LOVED IT!!!
Me DH DS(7) DD(7) DD(5) DD(4)
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lpoeppelman View Post
Looking for your best methods of saving money for your Disney trip


Looking for ways to save money at WDW

A few things we've done in the past:
  • Ask for a cup of ice water in the restaurants and kiosks when available.
  • Packed some food... but would LOVE ideas on this!
  • Share meals... like pizza's. They are too much food most times!
But overall, not too much saving... I think we are always spending!
Two completely different topics! You might want to split it into two threads or do a search for each. because the topics come up at least once a week here!

I'm not a big fan of austerity moves when I'm on vacation. A vacation for me is a respite from the usually day-to-day worries about spending and saving. So, I focus more on getting the best deal on each part of my vacation before I head out the door. And I save money where I can to make the trip possible.

Some things that worked for me:
  1. Opening an ING checking account last year netted a $50 bonus just for doing 3 check card transactions. The account has no minimum balance and no monthly fees. I made $50 just for moving $100 from my ING savings to this checking account.
  2. Opening a Southwest credit card for myself and my husband got us enough bonuses for 5 RT flights. There was an annual fee for the cards but the fees were much lower than the cost of the flights.
  3. Using my Disney Visa for almost all of our household expenses nets $12-$25 in rewards every month. I have the regular Disney Visa, so I don't pay an annual fee.
  4. Answering surveys and clicking bonus emails from Mypoints gets me at least $25 in rewards each year. I use them to get Landry's gift cards and eat at Yak & Yeti in AK for free.
  5. Any rebates or "found money" goes into a separate savings account for vacations.
  6. I save my change in a jar and then take it to TD Bank to be counted for free (that's where I keep an account).
  7. I opened Chase Sapphire card to get 50,000 bonus points (worth about $500). I used their "pay yourself back" feature to use those points to pay for 2 6-day park hoppers that I purchased before the last ticket price increase.

And I finally purchased a small DVC contract on the resale market last spring. After looking at our vacationing habits (always staying deluxe, going at least every other year, etc.), it made sense to take the leap. I wouldn't recommend doing it if you have to finance the purchase. Nor would I have bought directly from Disney. It's not for everyone. And for someone who only wants to get to Disney just once, it isn't even a consideration. But it's something that we figure will work for us.
Opinions, suggestions and comments are based on my own experience and should not be regarded as the absolute and only possible outcome of any situation.
Your mileage may (and probably will) vary.

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Old 10-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #6
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We have done very cheap Disney trips.

SkyAuction.com condo, $149-$249 per week. (I haven't seen the $149 prices in 4 years though!)
Take a backpack cooler into the parks with lunch, snacks and drinks for the day for all 5 of us.
Find coupons for eating out.......99 kids' meals at T-Rex and Rainforest, join Landry's Club for additional discounts.
Go when DH's training is as work covers all gas and some meals (for DH's portion) during the trip.
Get YES tickets

We are leaving Oct. 28 for a 2 week trip. With the costs of the above, our two week trip will cost under $2,000 for tickets, lodging, transportation, food, and it may even be enough to cover dog sitting, it will depend on how much we eat out.


living with 4 boys (dh included)
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #7
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For us, the easiest ways to save on our trips were the obvious ones - we go during free dining or a major sale (we went for 40% off when we went the first time). Of course, this means going during "off season" - Jan/early Feb, and that was fine with us. We took our daughter out of school.

Here's how much we spent:
2010 - 7 days for $3,200 - including Deluxe hotel on site, PH tickets, DDP, airfare, $300 for tips, drinks (alcohol) and souvies
2012 - 11 days for between $3,800 - $4,000 - same as before.

These are the only real "budget-y" things I did for our trip:
brought breakfast foods/snacks. I brought a box or two of pop-tarts. I never allow them at home, so they are a vacation treat in the hotel. I think DD will grow up thinking hotels come with pop-tarts We could have also brought bagels, as our hotel had cream cheese out every morning in the QS dining area with the condiments. We could have also brought bread and made toast, as they also had butter and jelly out.

Shared QS meals. We are not huge eaters, and meals at DW are huge. We usually split 2 QS meals between the three of us. One of us would take DD to find a table and sit and the other would order 2 adult meals and we would share them. There was usually enough that dessert would only get one or two bites to taste, or wrapped up for later. I'm a water drinker, so I'd just throw a slice of lemon in it and I was good with the 2 drinks that came with our meals. This gave us a surplus of QS meals, and in the later days of the vacation, we'd say yes to our urges for "midnight" snacks when we got back from the parks or before going back to our room after the EWP.

did laundry at our hotel halfway through vacation. This saved on luggage, which meant we didn't have to check any bags, which meant we didn't have to PAY to check any bags.

swiped out all our leftover snacks/meals at the end of vacation. We got pkgs of fruit snacks and saltwater taffy to bring back to classmates, teachers, etc. We had like 8 leftover our first trip and 13 on the last day of our last trip. It was crazy how full we were the whole time!!!

As for saving FOR the trip... I dunno. DH handles the finances, and we just decide when we are going to go. We have a bit of disposable income, so I don't worry about it too much - he generally works it into the budget. I will say though, that we live under a rather rigorous budget to begin with (similar to the envelope system) so each cent is well thought out before it gets spent. It's amazing how much we started saving when we stopped spending willy-nilly! All those tiny trips to Target and Starbucks and the boutique toy store really added up to about $200-$400/month of my random spending. Yeah, DD had a few more cute seasonal tops, but really, how many Happy Halloween shirts do you need? (one year, she had over 7 - I was out of control!) But at the time I was buying them, I was thinking "it's only $5!" yeah, but in reality, it ended up being almost $40! See what I mean - it all adds up! Oh, and after Nov 2, Halloween shirts are generally tacky. ugh, I was so dumb and wasteful!

Within my budget ($100/week for groceries, toiletries, and everyday spending like field trips, etc) I try to save each week. It's turned into a little game for me... how little can I spend this week? Each week, I start anew, and when I have about $60-$80, I either don't take the next week's allotment, or I splurge on something for myself or the family. Once, I bought a bunch of new running gear. Another time, I bought the Harry Potter BluRay set of all 8 movies. Another time, I bought Crocs for us all to wear at the pool at WDW.
hops&dreams It's a craft beer/homebrewer thing...

Jan 2010 - Wilderness Lodge. OUR PERFECT TRIP!
Feb 2012 - Wilderness Lodge. Terrific escape from the SuperBowl!

*missing having a ticker... I wanna go back!

Feb 2014 - According to DH, we're going back "next winter," whatever that means. Not specific enough for a ticker... yet!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:10 AM   #8
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I use my Disney rewards card for absolutely everything I can and use the rewards dollars to buy PAP's every other year (this year 3 Pap's cost a bit under $300) We will get 2 14 night vacations out of these, and maybe an extra if a school break shores up with a good AP room discount.

I hold out for the least expensive airfare I can find, sometimes breaking the trip up as one way on two different carriers.

If I want a car I do not get it for length of stay, and I do not get it from the airport. I use Magical Express and since I always go to MK first and never drive to MK, I wait and get the car for use at the other parks. Usually i pick it up at the Dolphin on a day I am going to be at Epcot and then walk over after lunch.

I bring a Brita water pitcher and those collapseable water bottles that weigh almost nothing. I fill up in the room.

I do not get a meal plan unless we are going with relatives that want to eat with characters. I would rather just pay for what I want when I want it and so far it has always been less expensive than a meal plan.

We always have breakfast in the room. We are an on the go family and big breakfasts do not work for us, so I bring cereal and disposable bowls and spoons. A half gallon of milk at the resort is about the same as at the grocery store in FL.

Occasionally we split meals but only if practical. I do not want anyone to "have to have" something they do not want to eat just because I want to save a few dollars. The reality is vacations are expensive, food out is expensive but I am not dictating what people can and will eat, I'd rather put off the vacation or work out a way to save a few more dollars. Since I get paid every two weeks, a few times a year there are three pays in a month, I stash that extra pay since my monthly expenses do not require me to use that money for the household.

I watch my spending through the year and prefer to spend my money on great vacations over other venues such as sporting events, arena shows, etc. DIsney is not the only place we travel, but because I always have a few paychecks on the back burner when other opportunities come up I am able to go...last year it was a week in Hawaii at Easter time that I didn't know I would have the opportunity to go until the week before. A few years ago it was Spain in February. I like having the ability to do those kinds of things as a last minute whim rather than say no and wish I could have gone.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:12 AM   #9
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These are fabulous ideas... my wheels are turning!
Me, DH, my 4 boys : 12, 10, 5, 3, and my Princess 1 year old!

WDW - Caribbean Beach in 2005
WDW - All Star Movies in 2006
WDW - Polynesian June in 2008
WDW - Wilderness Lodge November of 2008
WDW - All Star Movies July 4th of 2009 YIKES- busy!
WDW - Beach Club in November of 2010
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