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Old 09-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
dja14
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help me budget our trip

I am thinking we have two basic choices for our trip next year. We can only go the first two weeks of September because of job change. I cannot decide which would really be cheaper with more value, all things considered. We are a family of 5, kids will be 16, 13, 11

Option one- camping at Ft wilderness, getting Yes tickets, and going one day to universal, a few down days, maybe one at beach. We live 13-14 hours away so we would need to stop on way down for a night and kids have grown so much I will have to buy bigger tent plus some other things.

Option two-Riverside, hope for free food deal, buy one day ticket and then yes program. Could drive straight through. we could stay offsite the first couple days to go to universal and the beach

If free dining is offered can I just buy one day ticket and do a ten night stay w/free dining?

I need it to be as inexpensive as I can get it but I am worried about weather being hot and rainy. And one child is type 1 diabetic so while we can cook meals ourselves I will have to have the money for him to eat when he needs to at the park anyway (I figured at least once a day, maybe twice somedays and then we could cook at site the other times)

We have been before about 5 years ago. SO the kids know what is available and have started suggesting things we try to budget in if we can. A couple sit downs are on the list and I would like to do the halloween party. My kids are big eaters now too (the 11 yr old is the smallest and she is 5 1/2 ft, other are 6ft and close to 6)

I really am not sure what to think here, is the free food that much of a value?

I have lurked a long time and I figured the budget board was the place to go for dollar stretching advice

Thank you
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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If you mean camp in a tent I can't imagine doing that in Florida in Sept. I'd bank on free dining or another discount if I were you, or rent DvC points, or stay at a DTD resort. No way for camping...but that's just me.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:49 PM   #3
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My understanding is that you must now by TWO day passes to get the "free" dining.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
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A couple of things... PP is correct in that everyone on the reservation must purchase a two day base ticket in order to get free dining. Secondly, the Halloween party will not be going on during the first week of Sept., so if that is important to you, you will need to go the second week. I would stay in a resort with free dining. It should be offered for that time period (it has for been offered during that time for several year now). If you need to push the trip back a bit to save up a bit more money, I would do that over tent camping, but that is just me.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:46 PM   #5
dja14
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We will be there 2 weeks so I am pretty sure the yes program and halloween party will be going on the second week ( I know it sounds weird to be worrying about saving money when we are going for two weeks, but that is why I want to save ) 2 of my kids are autistic and sometimes we can only stay in the parks for a few hours and they do better the longer we are some place, so we go less often for longer.

Anyway, my son suggested the place we stayed offsite last time and I think it might be cheaper than camping, all things considered (which really pleased my husband who doesn't care about being onsite but cares a lot about not being hot and wet It is really close too, took us about 5-10 minutes to get to AK and that area.

On to planning other fun stuff! Thanks for your help, it has been so long since we last were there a lot has changed so I know I'll have more questions
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:13 AM   #6
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dja14 View Post
We will be there 2 weeks so I am pretty sure the yes program and halloween party will be going on the second week ( I know it sounds weird to be worrying about saving money when we are going for two weeks, but that is why I want to save ) 2 of my kids are autistic and sometimes we can only stay in the parks for a few hours and they do better the longer we are some place, so we go less often for longer.

Anyway, my son suggested the place we stayed offsite last time and I think it might be cheaper than camping, all things considered (which really pleased my husband who doesn't care about being onsite but cares a lot about not being hot and wet It is really close too, took us about 5-10 minutes to get to AK and that area.

On to planning other fun stuff! Thanks for your help, it has been so long since we last were there a lot has changed so I know I'll have more questions
I'm glad that you decided against tent camping in September. It's hurricane season and even if Orlando isn't in the path of a storm, you can still get lots of wind and rain when a hurricane even comes near Florida.

Have you considered renting a vacation home for your trip? If I were planning a 2-week trip, I would want a full kitchen so that I could do some cooking on the non-park days. By having breakfast there, cooking a few dinners and maybe freezing a few water bottles for the parks, you'll save a nice chunk of money. Plus, a vacation home will give you room to spread out and enjoy a little privacy.

Definitely look into the YES program for tickets but do not count on it. Disney has been know to pull programs like that with very little notice. Or they may change the terms of use. In any event, the best course of action is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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I just posted some probable changes to YES program tickets...only participating kids will be allowed to purchase the discounted tickets, no adults or siblings. That will definitely impact what you pay for tickets. I was at Disney over Labor Day, and the Halloween Party did start the next week (the second week of Sept.), so you could plan for that the second week. If you are seasoned campers, you could definitely camp for part of your trip...Fort Wilderness has lots of visitors in Sept., many of them in tents. Just bring fans and plan for rain. But if you need to purchase or upgrade your equipment that may not be the cheapest way to go. If you go with free dining you will have to purchase five 2-day base tickets for a cost of almost $900, plus full price for 2 value rooms or 1 deluxe room. Disney now charges more for Fri. and Sat. nights, so keep that in mind when planning your non-Disney excursions. You could hold out for a discount of 20-25% on value rooms, and book a room-only reservation, adding tickets and food separately. Your best option may be one you have not considered...rent DVC points. DVC will allow 5 guests in a 1-bedroom, which has a full kitchen. At 21 points per night for weeknights at Old Key West, the cost to rent points would be in the neighborhood of $250 per night...about the same as 2 non-discounted value rooms, with the added bonus of the kitchen. You could also rent 2 studios for 20 points (10 pts.x2) a night, but the rooms do not connect, and they just have a kitchenette in each room. Since you are a party of only 5, I would go with the 1-bedroom. This option is not available for more than 5 people. Cooking breakfast in the room and a few dinners will save quite a bit on food for 5 people. If you travel to Disney on Saturday (spending Sat. night on the road), you would check-in on Sunday. If planning a day at Universal, you could check-out on Friday or Sat. night, spend a nioght or two closer to Universal , then check back into OKW on Sunday. My husband will not move/change hotels, unless we are staying on-property at Universal for the Front-of-the-line access, but I personally would do it if I saved $100 a night!
You have plenty of time to consider all options. Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:38 AM   #8
dja14
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I did see that about the possible changes. I don't really see how that would work since they require an adult to be with the student but I was already preparing for a back up plan. All my kids want to take a class and they are such a span of ages they can't all go to the same ones so maybe it will still work out. We really wanted to do homeschool days but I am pretty sure the dates for that will not work for us next year.

I am also looking at offsite condos too. Last time we stayed offsite and it was just as fast to get to the parks as when we had stayed onsite I think.

Worst case I guess we will either wait longer or go somewhere else. That's just not what I want to do
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