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Old 05-26-2009, 08:34 AM   #46
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I would second the suggestion to rent DVC points and stay at a deluxe. Maybe consider staying at the Boardwalk or Beach Club? That gives you walking access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. We prefer these two hotels to the Contemporary, but if you really want to stay on the monorail, rent points from someone to stay at the Bay lake Towers. You would see a significant savings here by staying Sun-Fri. Plus, you can get away with paying less for food because you will have a kitchenette in a studio. We are DVC members and this allows us to go about once a year.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:36 AM   #47
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We do Disney every yr and have since 1999. We purchased DVC back then and whenever we price out another vacation, Disney always ends up being cheaper. Our home base is BWV, so we do stay luxury and the past 4 or 5 yrs we have always had a Boardwalk view.

I know OP said that they liked the monorail resorts because of the wheelchair, but the Epcot resorts are just as good. We can walk to Epcot and DS. What we like to do is walk through Epcot and take the monorail to MK. So, technically the only resort that we would have to take a bus to is AK and we usually drive there. Just another thought for ya!

We usually vacation the end of June (when the kids get out of school) or the end of August. We have also thrown in a December trip before too. On our end of August trip, we buy APs so when we come down the following yr in June, we don't have to buy passes. June is our cheap trip (accomodations already pd for as is our passes!)

We do purchase the dining plan, basic, but this was our method of eating before the dining plan existed, so now it is actually cheaper for us with the fixed price.

We also have to fly down (dh won't drive from NJ.) We can usually get air tickets for around $600 for our family of 4. We do rent a car and I try my best to get a cheap full-size rental. We like the luxury of driving from the airport and stopping at a store. Also, that we can drive to some parks and DTD if we choose. Our trips are usually 8 or 9 nights, but due to fact that we are travelling with family and the dates are not exactly what we wanted, our upcoming trip is only 7 nights.

I know that their are ways that we could cut out even more if we wanted to, but this is what works for us. We do pay cash for everything and enjoy going home. Dh coaches a soccer team that he gets paid for and that is usually our spending money and our dining plan money. We buy the plane tickets as early as possible and will either use our tax return or my bonus money. We do not allocate money on a monthly basis, but we know when we usually have chunks come in and I then put some of that aside.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:02 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by delmar411 View Post
well most ppl don't take a deluxe vacation every year. They take budget-moderate vacations. Our family of 6 doesn't cost $3500 for 10days at WDW so it's all about where you choose to spend your dollars and whether you are willing to find a good deal or not.

You don't need to do deluxe dining. You don't need to be on the monorail. You don't need to stay at a deluxe hotel or at least get some discounted rooms if you do want to stay there. You can price out better ticket ticket options. Etc...

OP, I know that you have a special circumstances with your DH in the wheelchair but the way to be able to go more than once a year is to cut back to a cheaper resort. It would mean that you would have to use the bus system ... my mom uses an ECV at WDW so I know what a PITB it is . Another thing to consider is to get Annual Passes. Not only do you get discounts but you can also get an extra trip out of them if you book a trip within the last month of the passes. If you do it right, you can get 3 trips out of them . Lastly, you can have your cake and eat it too. If you plan on going to WDW once a year or more often you are good candidates for the Disney Vacation Club. They just opened up a new resort on the monorail over at the Contemporary and they have two existing resorts over in the Epcot area at the Beach Club and at Boardwalk. The studios accommodations would probably be fine for you and the pull-out couch (instead of a 2nd bed in the room) will give your DH more room to move around. Look at the DVC resale market for better deals than buying direct from Disney.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:45 AM   #49
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I don't mean to sound rude, and I hope I don't get flamed....but my suggestion is you don't go every year. Or cut way back on resort. Or even better, cut way back on resort and still don't go every year.

You asked the question as if we can all afford that every year and we can't. SOmetimes we just can't have everythign we want. If your parents idea of a vacation was 2 days at KingsDominion, perhaps that is because it was what they could afford?

You guys are still babes, your priority should be saving. Take a great Disney vaation every other, or every third. I understand your DH's issue with the wheelchair, but using a wheel chair doesn't slow you down on the busses at Disney anymore than is slows down everyone else on the bus waiting for the wheelchair to be loaded. (my nephew is in a wheelchair - and we stay at the values). I mean, we all don't love the busses, and we all rather have the ease and speed of the monorail - but we all can't afford it. Much less afford it AND save on top of it. Even when we stay at a value without DN, we still have to wait for wheelchairs to be loaded, so it is still less timely for us, but it is what we can afford, so that is what we do.

My DH is VERY established in his career, we are much older than you, and we still don't take deluxe disney vacations. We still save. We have 4 kids, and save for college and our retirement, but we only spend on vacations what is left over after we fully fund those accounts. If I thought we were entitled to a deluxe vacation, we could afford it twice or three times a year if that was my priority over saving. but why, when we can have a value or moderate vacation every couple years and a cheaper trip inbetween and still save?

Your not entitled to anything. Ofcourse it is what you want, we all want the nice stuff, but if you can't comfortably afford it and if you have to be financially unwise to pay for it, you shouldn't. Bottom line. It's called life.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:00 AM   #50
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We have gone the past two years in a row and are leaving again in 9 days. We use some of our Income Tax and I also ChaCha. We save change and I quit doing some of the extra stuff like Concerts and going out to eat so much. I really think this will be our last year and then are going to take one off. There are other things that I really want and would like to go but I keep getting out voted.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:02 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by delmar411 View Post
well most ppl don't take a deluxe vacation every year. They take budget-moderate vacations. Our family of 6 doesn't cost $3500 for 10days at WDW so it's all about where you choose to spend your dollars and whether you are willing to find a good deal or not.

You don't need to do deluxe dining. You don't need to be on the monorail. You don't need to stay at a deluxe hotel or at least get some discounted rooms if you do want to stay there. You can price out better ticket ticket options. Etc...

I couldn't afford a vacation like the one the OP described every year at her age. We stayed offsite or in a value resort, got non-hopping tickets and ate cheaply at CS restaurants or offsite.

Now that I have a dozen years on the OP, we have now bought into DVC which allows us to take multiple trips a year. We never get DxDDP (although it sounds wonderful!) but the past few trips we have gotten DDP and maximize that plan as much as possible (we sell on ebay, Amazon and Craigslist for our DDP and tip money). We still have snacks and breakfast in our room.

I agree that the buses ARE a pain - especially for someone in an ECV - but even if you stay at the Poly you still need to take them to DHS and DAK. Is it possible, OP, to rent an accessible van in Orlando? You could save a TON of money by staying offsite or by cutting down your dining plan.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:17 AM   #52
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We have a family of 5 so we can't stay on property cheaply. So, we stay off-site in a skyauction condo for $28/night including tax.

We eat most of our own food.

We often buy APs and go several times per year OR do homeschool days (we homeschool.)

We drive.

This year we have five full weeks (plus we add on an additional 3 days to each week we can do it based on DH's schedule at work) this year, APs, and with all lodging, tickets, gas, food, and dog sitting, we are still only paying around $5,000 for the entire thing. Then we won't go at all for 12-18 months and then will "overdo" it again. So, it comes to about $2,000 per year that way, but for far longer than most do it.


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Old 05-26-2009, 10:30 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by uncspin View Post
How do you do it??
DH and I are late 20s/early 30s with no kids. We love going to WDW but sometimes the money just gets to me. I guess part of it is because I didn't go on "nice" vacations as a kid - my parents' idea of a vacation was going to Kings Dominion for 2 days....
Shades of Green is a major factor in my decision-making. When you look at the numbers, it is a MK deluxe resort (in the same neighborhood as the Polynesian), but yet costs about 75% less than other on-property resorts in its' class.

That said, my Disney vacations actually cost less than those in other parts of the country...
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:34 AM   #54
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I understand the challenges of traveling with a wheelchair. The buses are a pain, especially during busier times.

Have you every considered renting a wheelchair accessible minivan? It will run you about $700 for a week, but you could easily make that up, and more, staying at a value resort. For example, say you catch a deal and get the Poly for $275/night. You total for the week with tax would be about $2100. If you get a sale rate at Pop of $89/night, your total would be closer to $700 for the week. Even if you add in the cost of the van, you're still coming out $700 ahead.

Otherwise, there are some other options. You could:

--stay at WL, which is cheaper and still has boat access to MK.
--stay at the lower tier rooms at the Contemporary
--rent points at the new DVC at the Contemporary
--wait and save up for the Poly
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #55
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We used to budget our trips very carefully. When I was first working (in early 20's and taking trips with DMom (who was just out of school herself with little $) we would look for deals, stay offsite if needed, and our splurge trip was BWI one year. We looked for every way to save $ on the trips to afford every year.

Then, when DH and I started taking DNiece and DNephew, again, it was how to save every penny. First, we'd stay at Swan or Dolphin. I below to the Starwood rewards program (for Westin, Sheraton hotels). The Swan and Dolphin are Westin and Sheraton hotels. You can still walk/take the boat to Epcot and DHS, and bus to AK and MK. If you have Starwood points, I've gotten rates for as low as $69/nite using half points/half cash. Even if you don't belong to Starwood, rates can still be low with advance planning. It's not quite the same as staying on site, but still a very good compromise.

As we had a bit more $, I then rented DVC and then we were able to save to buy DVC (and pay in full - I would not finance a vacation purchase, esp. in current economy). Now, we own at BWV and BLT and I have the best of both worlds (in my view at least) with easy access to 3 of 4 parks.

Anyway, the reality is I've taken at least 1 (sometimes 3) Disney vacations per year since my early 20's, but the type of vacation has changed greatly over time. I couldn't have everything to start... (now, DS at only 2 will be so spolied by his Disney trips, but that's another story).
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:22 AM   #56
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We do not go every year and we almost never stay deluxe. I have never stayed at the Poly or the Contemp. I stayed at AKL twice when I got amazing annual pass deals and at the Dolphin once when it cam up on priceline ($70 per night!!!). We don't do dining packages (but I do price them out occasionally, just to see if it makes sense). I never spend as much money for a family of 4 as OP does for 2.

Oh, BTW, We have a very nice income (that helps too).
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:27 AM   #57

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When I was OP's age, I went to WDW about 4 times a year...BUT, I stayed in cheap hotels on International Drive and I used my Florida resident pass, which was like $99, and I drove.

I think very few people that age would try to have that kind of vacation every year.

Two things to shave a lot of the cost off are to get AP's and do two trips on one year, and to NOT get the deluxe DDP. Also if you drive, you shave a lot of the cost right there.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:34 AM   #58
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Up until last year we always went during value season and only stayed at values. Then we bought DVC (resale) so we could go every year and have nicer, bigger accomodations. DH is military so we get a good discount on tickets there. And, so far, I have always been able to get great deals on our airfare. Check out the DVC boards and you'll learn a lot. There is even a thread that lists what people have been able to get points for on the resale market.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:38 AM   #59
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There are two answers.

The "how can" and the "how to". I'm not sure which one the OP wants an answer to.

Our last trip cost us $700 oop. Four days at Saratoga Springs over april vacation. Most of the cost was food.

The "how can" part is more personal. We keep track of every penny, we know what goes out and what comes in. We save for retirement and the kids' education. We don't have revolving debt. We look at what we have extra, and we plan a vacation at Disney around it. We have a paid for DVC. We drive cheap, reliable, paid for vehicles. We both worked full time and went to school full time all through our twenties to get the education we wanted at a price we could afford(very few disney trips then!). Had kids later so I could afford to stay home.

We've taken two vacations to Disney so far this year and out of pocket for both of them has been under 2k total. We have two more planned, one should cost us about 600 and one about 1500. So, out of pocket for the year is around 4-5k with four trips. That's probably one big trip for normal people.

Disney makes us happy, so that's where our disposable income goes. If basketball tickets or cruises or skiing in aspen or powerful cars made us happy, we'd put the EXTRA money there, instead.

The big secret, I think, is learning how to slow down your spending every month so there IS extra money-that's been the challenge for me. But challenges are good, and the reward is Disney!
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:44 AM   #60
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We tried to go every year for a while, but we built up so much debt that we didn't get to go back for almost six years. Now, we plan to go every two or three years. We love Disney, but we will never put our finances behind the eight ball for vacations again.
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