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Old 06-01-2009, 08:59 AM   #31
Debbie Jean
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Originally Posted by Tweevil View Post
I didn't catch when you were thinking about going but here is my quote (copy and paste below)


Check-in: Saturday, October 3, 2009

Check-out: Thursday, October 8, 2009
5 nights/ 6 days
1 Adult, 3 Juniors, ages 17, 14 & 10

Disney's Pop Century Resort
1 Standard Room
2 Double Beds

All Rooms are Non-Smoking
Magic Your Way 5-Day Base Theme Park Tickets
NO Hopping

NO Water Parks, Fun & More
Tickets expire 14 days after first use
Disney’s FREE Basic Dining Plan Included
Total Price: $1517.58 tax included

I am doing a rental from Enterprise which gives you unlimited mileage and I believe you can get a car for this time frame for arount $500.00. I am not sure how much gas is in your area but mine was about $200 round trip.

When I went in the spring we packed food and man was it overkill. There was so much on the dining plan that we had surplus food to snack on. I think total I spent out of pocket was maybe $200 for souvies and other stuff.

I know this is a bit over the $2000 but it is onsite, includes food, gives you a car so you can kick around town if you want to and is a package. I want to be on vacation too so I go with the onsite packages so I can relax too.

Hope this helps and keep us updated with what you find out.
Have a GREAT time!

**Edited: I just saw you wanted to go in January 2009 - I will keep my fingers crossed that they do Free dining - it really is nice on the budget**
From OP's first post: "We are planning to go January 23 - 30, 2010"

Unfortunately, free dining is extremely unlikely at that time. I agree, though, that the cheapest way to do Disney is being flexible in the times you can go so you can take advantage of promotions which have been awesome recently... the 3 for 4 and the free dining in particular.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:11 AM   #32
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I drove down to Miami from Maryland in a 7 year old car with 125K miles on it (about 1/3 of those miles were NYC driving miles, so we are talking HEAVY usage). It was fine both ways. However, if your cars are so old and unreliable that they can't make it to Orlando and back (heck, Charlotte is not that far), I would suggest getting a new(er), reliable car. A vacation can wait, but you should not be driving a car you feel is unsafe.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:40 AM   #33
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I did $1800 bucks for 7 days with plane tickets and car rental. Is it easy? No. can it be done..yes.

#1 you are going at a more quiet time of the year. Bargains can be had. Your best bet is to go to Priceline or Hotwire and check a few time a week. Priceline can give you a better deal but you never know where you will end up. A suite hotel with breakfast will save you a lot of money. Car rentals will have to be a last minute thing in order to get a good price. The good thing is you can reserve and if you find a better price you can cancel the old reservation.

Plane fare is what is gonna get you. but even that can be done if you check daily. Kayak, Orbitz etc. think about flying out of a different airport for a better deal. I have 3 to choose from and I get lucky by driving a few more miles to snag a bargain. Airtran, Southwest, Jet Blue will have the best prices. But sometimes the bigger carriers run specials too. You have to check them all.

I will say that if you are willing to stay at a Value resort at Disney you really can save money. you won't need to rent a car either. Packages are cheaper to buy rather than buying individual components. Plus if you put a deposit on it now, you can pay on it monthly.

If you dead set on staying offsite I suggest looking at VRBO (Vacation Rentals by owner) or looking for specials on Expedia which gives discounts when you book, flights, car and hotel together. You have some work ahead of you. TravelZoo is good for hotel bargains too.

It's going to take some work on your part but I think $6000 is way too high. I'm staying at A Deluxe with free dining, Park hopper 7 day ticks/Water Park, airfare for less than $3100 total. this is a splurge Trip!!! Normally I am cheap. I get 4 star hotels on Priceline Regularly for less than $90 a night. I've gotten rental cars for $10 a day on Priceline too. I like cheap but I'm also a hotel snob, so anyway I can do it!!!
Jane in Williamsburg, VA


2006 POR, 2004 AllStar Music, June 2002: Disneyland, CA Resort , 2001 Portofino Bay at Universal Florida, 2000-1990 Various Offsite Hotels.

Wilderness Lodge 8/22-8/29 For My Son's B-Day!!!!
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:51 PM   #34
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wOW $200 rt from MI! it is a 18 hr drive each way from indiana and with gas and food for us plus having 2 stop halfway overnight at a cheap hotel (50.00 or less)it would cost us around 800.00 if gas didnt go above 2.50/gl. We got airfare out of Detroit (mom lives there) for 3 passengers at 109.00 pp (145 with taxes) for a total of 436.oo for R/T on Northwest. Direct flight down 2 1/2 hours. The key to getting good airfare is to keep checking. I use the major sites (orbitz, cheaptickets,travocity, cheapotickets)to check airfare then whoever is showing the cheapest flight i go directly to their sites and they are usually a little bit cheaper still. There are a couple of windows to avoid booking in where the prices go up like most of the time the tickets showed 109 but at one point they jumped to 190 for the same flight (pretax). Even during regular times of the year you can add dining to vacation package (39.99 per adult 10.99 per child) this will usually save you money still. That is for Table service meals. You can also do a quickservice/counterservice meal plan that is like 29.99 per adult and like 8.99 for children not so sure about those prices but very close. Check out those plans because they include quite a bit of food for the price but again you have to stay in the disney resorts even a value. You have lots and lots of options including maybe a little bit shorter stay
09 ASMu 1st Visit! Grandma came too! Free dining 2010 POR 2nd Visit! Grandma is along for the ride! Free dining! 03/05-09/2012 POLY here we come!! We love Disney and Grandma does too! No dining plan and we loved it! DoubleTree DTD: 3/10-3/15/13 The whole gang! Best Trip yet! First Cruise: 1/6-1/10/14 Disney Magic. 2nd Cruise: 10/23-10/28/15 Disney Magic.
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:02 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by princessjane View Post
Packages are cheaper to buy rather than buying individual components.
This is not necessarily true, although it can be. Buying a package requires buying tickets through Disney, while several ticket brokers have them cheaper. You can get a AAA discount on the room by calling Disney directly. To get a AAA discount on a package, you have to book through AAA. In the absence of any additional special offers, it would be cheaper to get the AAA discount on the room and buy tickets through a broker, unless you want the dining plan. (AAA also offers ticket discounts, but the choice of tickets might be more limited if you want to purchase them at your local AAA office.) You must purchase a package to get the dining plan.

Disney does tend to release package discounts before room-only discounts, and sometimes the package deals can be excellent. But it is worth pricing out as a package and as individual components - one is not always cheaper. A 40% off room only PIN might be a better discount than free dining if you stay at a Deluxe resort (depending on the number of adults and kids in your group), but free dining is generally the better deal if you stay at a value resort. The 4/3 deal is a great deal if you are staying deluxe, but you might do better with a room only PIN if you stay at a value resort since you can get discounts on tickets other places.

OP, package discounts for January are typically released in late October or ealry November. Room-only discounts can vary widely depending whether or not you get a PIN or wait for a general release. I'd request a planning DVD, register at disney.com, ask to be notified via e-mail of specials, etc. Whatever it takes to increase your chance of getting a deal. Most PINs sem to be sent by e-mail these days - make sure Disney has your e-mail address. Pin codes can be either room only or package deals - it depends what Disney is offering.

Cancellation policies differ for room-only versus package. A package has a $200 deposit at time of booking, must be paid in full at 45 days, and is subject to penalties if cancelled within 45 days. A room-only reservation requires a one night deposit and the balance paid at check-in. Room-only reservations can be cancelled with no penalty 6 or more days in advance.

If you choose to reserve offsite, check the cancellation policies. You may want to purchase trip insurance depending on cancellation penalties.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by kcsmom76 View Post
Also my son is 13 and is too big for all things precious about Disney.
I don't think this is true!
My first trip was when I was 13. Then I always dreamed about going back. Finally once I got my first good job it was the first place I went. Four years later my DH and I went back and have been going back every year since. My DH claims although he's not 'into' the planning as much as me he LOVES DISNEY as much as me. And his first trip was with me when he was 24yo.

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Old 06-01-2009, 03:20 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by 4HppyCamprs View Post
wOW $200 rt from MI! it is a 18 hr drive each way from indiana and with gas and food for us plus having 2 stop halfway overnight at a cheap hotel (50.00 or less)it would cost us around 800.00 if gas didnt go above 2.50/gl. We got airfare out of Detroit (mom lives there) for 3 passengers at 109.00 pp (145 with taxes) for a total of 436.oo for R/T on Northwest.
Yes! We do it for $200 rt give or take depending on the price of gas. It's about 1000 miles. WE get about 25 miles/gallon highway. So, we'll need about 80 gallons of gas round trip. 80 x $2.50 = $200. We stay with my sister in northern GA - so no hotel. I pack our food for the trip - breakfast bars, hard boiled eggs for breakfast; cup-a-noodles for lunch; lots of fruit for snacks. We're at my sis's for dinner. The next day, we do the exact thing and we're at Disney for dinner. I do the same thing for the way home.

Last time we went, gas was really cheap - we were finding it for $1.40!! Our last trip was SUPER cheap. But, once we were really dinged - remember last September? We had to fill up once at $5/gallon because everyone else was out of gas! That was an expensive trip! But, I think it averages around $2.50 when we travel.

So, with a family of 6, it is MUCH cheaper for us to drive!

OP - if you choose to drive, you'd have only 8 hours - 480 miles or so? If you get 25 mpg highway, you'd need about 40 gallons of gas round trip. That would cost you about $100 round trip. Bring your food to eat in the car on the way down - you should only need lunch if you eat breakfast at home. Dinner is at Disney.
Jennifer, Disney-lovin' homeschooling mama to
DS (18), DS (16), DS (13), and finally!! a princess DD (8)

Last edited by Jennifer in MI; 06-01-2009 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #38
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I read the thread but didn't see if they decided to drive and rent at home for the trip. I hope they drive from home as it makes the best sense.

We do this all the time to save wear and tear on our own cars (DH's is brand new, mine is 14 years old) for our weekend trips to Palm Sprins, etc.

We rent locally and use AAA for the insurance part. Our policy covers rentals so we don't have to pay extra for rental insurance. Then, we scout AAA and the Entertainment book, and online coupon codes and we get great deals on car rentals. My best so far was a convertible for $12 a day. I currently am in the market for a convertible for our Hawaii trip for 12 days and I started at $751 and am now down to $441. I believe I can get this even cheaper, so I work at it.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:05 PM   #39
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I suggest you get a DIsney Visa card if you can. Not sure if they'll have this for your dates, but last year in Dec. the VIsa offer was 30% off rooms plus free dining. You never know what could be offered to you.
Our Family DH Me DD17 DD13, DC 18 RIP, DC 2
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:14 PM   #40
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Everyone has there own ways to save on Disney vacations

here are mine.

1. go off season. Even though Jan can be off season, you have to watch out for Presidents weekend/week. BAD time to go crowds and higher prices. weather is divine then of course

2. stay on site for the perks. It's a family vacation, you can do it without that private bedroom. You will all be so exhausted you will not even care if everyone else in your room is snoring loudly! speaking from experience here. no need to rent a car, use Disney transportation. LOVE. IT.

your kiddos are old enough to keep on moving and you will appreciate the late EMH combined with early EMH as well as an afternoon swim break. best of both worlds once kiddos reach those ages.

3. guess I will join those urging you to drive. your own vehicle. so many trips in 10-12 year old cars you can't imagine. interstate drving is easy on the vehicle. flying, while nice, is a huge luxury we don't choose often.

if you could swing a trip during free dining, with kiddos your ages you will make out like a bandit. it is tons of food, great rest for tired feet and so easy to think about and plan for, no worrying about carrying cash around and spending to much, etc. LOVE FREE DINING "kids, go grab a snack while mommmy rest on this bench"

Things I won't do on a Dsiney vacation. Stay off site, cook anything, make my own beds, laundry, Hey! it's Moms vacation too!

Like I said, everyone has a different idea of what vacation is and what sacrifices are worth it.

I bet you can stay on site and still come in under $2K if you are felxible with dates!

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Old 06-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by kileybeth View Post

Things I won't do on a Dsiney vacation. Stay off site, cook anything, make my own beds, laundry, Hey! it's Moms vacation too!
A-MEN!!!! I am so excited to worry about "nothing"!!!!!!!
Me, Jenn DH, Shamus DD7, Madilynn DS(Jan '14)
My First Trip - December 2006 - Old Key West (went as a nanny) / Our First Family Trip - December 2009 - Caribbean Beach Resort
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Girls Trip Round Two - September 2012 - Pop Century Resort / Introducing Oli to the Magic - February 2015 - Pop Century Resort

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Old 06-01-2009, 04:33 PM   #42
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We're driving down in December from Winston-Salem. So I agree with the others. Drive down, either with your own car or renting one in Charlotte.

Me 35yo DH 35yo DS 9yo DS 5yo Furbaby 1yo

November/December 2009: Animal Kingdom Lodge September 2006: Tokyo Disneyland September 2004: All-Star Music May & September 2003: All-Star Movies December 2001: Wilderness Lodge (honeymoon) June 1997, June 1987, & June 1982: Off-site
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:07 PM   #43
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Book two nights at the Travelodge Suites Savannah Pooler. (or equivilent)

Two Queens non-smoking-Advance Purchase $63.18/nite(total) Expedia Special Rate
For Friday 1/22 and Friday 1/29

Hotwire has a 3.5 star Condo for $461.57 total, for 1/23-1/29

Then buy 4 Annual Passes, 3 adult and 1 child, using a 10% discount coupon
Total $1744

1st trip total lodging + passes = $2,333
Just add gas and meals. Meals in the condo are the biggest way you can save on food expense.
Use the AP for free parking (saves $12/day)
Use the AP discounts for food and merchandise
Feel free to park hop all you want.

Now, the beauty of this plan is that you can return any time in a year for only lodging, gas & food. If you use Priceline, you can get 3* rooms for about $35/night.

For the trip itself, I'd also recommend the following:

About a month before your trip, have your car throughly inspected, in preparation for any repairs that may be needed. Fix what is needed. This isn't a vacation expense. This is a health and safety expense that's good to do anyways, but the timing is long enough ahead to order parts or handle any signficant issues that are discovered, so it doesn't kill your trip.

Start making fresh ice and bagging it in Zip locks at the beginning of the week.

Get Packed and ready to go on Wednesday, of everything except cold food.

Get a full nights rest on Thursday.

Leave on Friday, as soon as possible, such as driving immediately after work

Drive to Savannah, Georgia.

Stay at the Travelodge Suites Savannah Pooler. (or equivilent)
Leave on Saturday Morning
Drive to Orlando.

Plan to get the annual passes after you get checked into the hotel and settled.
Pack your Daypacks and Cooler with snacks. drinks, and ice
Then feel free to enjoy what's left of the first day without feeling like you're wasting a ticket day.
On the day of departure, you can also go for a half day in the morning before you head back to Savannah for the night.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:42 PM   #44
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Thank you all for the wonderful advice and encouragement about driving down.

I am not worried about the amount of time it takes as I am about how my car will handle it, and with 13 year old long legs it could be pretty trying for him. I think I need to do more research on getting a rental van with unlimited miles on it. That way ds will have a row of seating and dd will too. That way, hopefully they won't fight too much.

I also have another question. It is probably a stupid question, but I really don't know the answer. If we stay on site, we would have transportation to the Disney Parks, but what about the other parks like Islands of Adventure, Universal, Wet-N-Wild, Aquatica, and Sea World? Do they provide transportation to these parks also??
Dh 38 Me 32 DS 13 DD 8

Planning 1st Disney Trip for my dd. Planning on going January 23 - 30, 2010!!!
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:04 PM   #45
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Have you looked into Allegiant Airlines at GSP? You are only an hour from that airport, we fly for $59 bucks each way!

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