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Old 09-23-2012, 11:56 PM   #1
joshswif
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Budgeting for a great Disney Vacation this time next year!

So, while I've been a member of this site for awhile, I'm not a huge poster, although I AM a big WDW fan. My husband surprised me and our two DD's (who were 7 and 11mo at the time) back in June. We were there for 5 nights and 6 days, but spent one day at Sea World. While I do adore my husband for being so thoughtful, I am much more of a planner and knew we would miss out on some things, just simply due to the fact that I have researched more about WDW than him. However, he did a GREAT job planning most of it! I've convinced him to go back this time next year with my whole family...so I of course want to start budgeting and planning NOW!.

Now, I'm seriously in need of some kind of crash course in searching these threads here on the DIS. I KNOW this place has all of the information that I need. I just get caught up in the trip report threads

But now its time to crack down. I came to this thread hoping to find out how all of you loyal WDW goers budget for all of this! I have a year, but I really want to get this most "bang for my buck." So...first off, I'm hoping that I've come to the right thread to ask this question. If not...I sincerely apologize for the time wasted! But...if so...then please let me in on some great tips!
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:55 AM   #2
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I pretty much squirrelled away any excess money I had (at least $20-40), took a portion of my tax return, etc. and I'm heading into this years trip with everything paid for plus $1000 cash

You might want to check this thread posted by Cirrius out:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....errerid=227557

It talks about how his family saved up for the trip of their dreams. Probably more relevant to you.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:53 AM   #3
WantToGoNow
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We will be going back next October. I have already started taking so much out of each paycheck and putting it into savings for our trip. I have 3 paychecks in October so one of those will go back as well as any income tax return that's left over after we put back enough for our medical deductible and a new mattress. By the time we go, the trip will be paid off and we should have more than enough for extras while we are there.

When you say all of your family, are you meaning your immediate or extended family. My only suggestion if you are travelling with other families is not to try to stay together all the time. We did that once and it was the worst trip we've ever had. The last 3 days we split up just meeting for lunch or dinner and it was much better. You have to remember that each family has different touring styles - some like to get up early and go, others like to take their time in the morning and stay out later (or not), some like to spend more time at 1-2 parks and others like to see them all. Unfortunately, we were told to plan it all because they had never been there and the other family couldn't get moving in the am, wouldn't go out in the rain, didn't like staying out late at night and the dh wanted to spend every day at the MK.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:13 AM   #4
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Thanks! I do mean my extended family. So funny that you mention expecting us to split up. When we first decided to do the trip, that's the very first thing I said! DH and I worked very well together on this trip, but we had plans and for the most part, we stuck to them! Our only hiccup was having to work around tropical storm Debbie. But I'm a rope drop kind of girl, so I have to let everyone know that ahead of time!
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:25 AM   #5
3angelsmom
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The other pp's gave you ideas about saving for WDW, but I also want to mention reducing the cost. Read the Budget Board religiously and you will find all kinds of budget-reducing tips. And I don't mean eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day There are lots of threads about purchasing WDW and restaurant gift cards at less than face value, reduced cost park tickets, etc. Mousesavers has been a great resource too.

Have a magical trip!
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshswif View Post
Thanks! I do mean my extended family. So funny that you mention expecting us to split up. When we first decided to do the trip, that's the very first thing I said! DH and I worked very well together on this trip, but we had plans and for the most part, we stuck to them! Our only hiccup was having to work around tropical storm Debbie. But I'm a rope drop kind of girl, so I have to let everyone know that ahead of time!
Good luck! We took my parents last year and although we had a good time, we vowed never to take them anywhere again. Maybe it's just my parents , but they do not know how to stop being parents. Lecturing me about different things we were doing on the trip, or running off to spend time with my sister that lives less than a mile from them and not spending time with DD who they never see. I understand that it was their vacation too, but the reason I was footing the bill was so they would spend time with DD. Also, I am almost 40 years old, not 15. I do not need a lecture about things and at this stage you are not going to change me. Sorry, I digress! My point is that unless you have a really good relationship with your extended family, any trip involving family can be difficult. Vacations bring out both the best and worst in people!
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:06 AM   #7
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshswif View Post
So, while I've been a member of this site for awhile, I'm not a huge poster, although I AM a big WDW fan. My husband surprised me and our two DD's (who were 7 and 11mo at the time) back in June. We were there for 5 nights and 6 days, but spent one day at Sea World. While I do adore my husband for being so thoughtful, I am much more of a planner and knew we would miss out on some things, just simply due to the fact that I have researched more about WDW than him. However, he did a GREAT job planning most of it! I've convinced him to go back this time next year with my whole family...so I of course want to start budgeting and planning NOW!.

Now, I'm seriously in need of some kind of crash course in searching these threads here on the DIS. I KNOW this place has all of the information that I need. I just get caught up in the trip report threads

But now its time to crack down. I came to this thread hoping to find out how all of you loyal WDW goers budget for all of this! I have a year, but I really want to get this most "bang for my buck." So...first off, I'm hoping that I've come to the right thread to ask this question. If not...I sincerely apologize for the time wasted! But...if so...then please let me in on some great tips!
I ask my self 2 questions:
  • How much is this going to cost?
  • How am I going to pay for it?

Without knowing the answer to #1, you cannot budget for your trip. The answer to #2 will let you know whether you can even afford to do it.

Sometimes the answer to #2 is pretty complicated. I use a lot of rewards to make my Disney trips more affordable. I have:
  • Airline miles through Southwest's Rapid Rewards program.
  • Credit card rewards from Disney, Chase Sapphire, Citibank Thank You, American Express Hilton Honors and Diner's Club
  • Online rewards programs that pay in cash back or gift cards.
  • Refunds from various sources that are paid in cash or Visa gift cards.

When I'm in the early stages of trip planning, I look at what I already have in the form of those rewards. If I need more airline miles, I'll shift my attention to ways that will increase those mile quickly. If I don't need another Landry's gift card for dinner at Yak & Yeti, I'll do my online shopping at ebates instead of Mypoints so that I get cash back instead. And if a certain program is offering bonus points for eating at a certain place or using their card to make purchases in specific categories, I work that angle. All of that goes to reduce my OOP costs.

The other thing I do at the beginning is to divide the projected cost of the trip (minus whatever rewards I already have) by the number of months remaining until I leave. That gives me an idea of how much I have to either earn or save each month. Every once in a while, that number is just unrealistic. I'm not the type to eat rice & beans for 51 weeks just so I can get free dining for one week. So, I either cut back on the extravagance of my planned trip or I postpone it so that I have more time to save.

Then, I start saving that money in an account that is specific to Disney. It might be $10/week or it might be $500/month. It all depends on what we have planned and how much time we have to accomplish it.

Now, here's the difference between myself and a lot of posters here. I refuse to compromise my lifestyle in order to go to Disney. So, I don't cut back on the heat, eat cheap food or turn the cable off in order to save for one week with Mickey. I totally understand people who make those cuts in order to make ends meet and if I were in a situation where it was either feed the kids or pay the cable bill, you can bet that the kids would eat first. But missing Fox News in favor of watching Stacey do the "must do's" on resort TV is not happening in this house.

I also do not sell everything that is not nailed down in order to go see Mickey. It's a wonderful way to make money for vacation or whatever but eventually you run out of stuff to sell.

So, my strategy is to look for every bargain and discount for the trip that I possibly can. Room-only discount or DVC rental? I'm on it! Discount tickets from Undercovertourist or by begging my brother (a Siemens employe) to buy them for me at work? Yep, I've done it! Mixing a business trip with a visit to the Mouse? Check! Southwest Ding! fares? Great! Every little discount means that I don't need to save as much in the long run.

However you decide to make your trip a reality, I wish you luck. It can be a challenge to get it all paid for before you step out the front door but with planning and compromise, you can do it!
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
tzeitel
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Have you joined any reward sites? Lots of us here are on several, some give out cash while others give out gift cards.

I do MyPoints and have gift cards for Yak & Yeti at AK (also can be used at Rainforest Cafe and TRex). I also do Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks. I got a $50 check from ID a couple of weeks ago (took about 4 months to get that amount but I only click on emails) and SB gives Amazon cards which I use for pretty much everything - got new sandals, camera case and a couple of little toys for the trip.

I also got gift cards for Wolfgang Puck's on the Costco site - they are 20% off. We are doing the QSDP this trip and I am using this card and the Y&Y for the couple of TS dinners we have planned.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:05 PM   #9
joshswif
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeitel
Have you joined any reward sites? Lots of us here are on several, some give out cash while others give out gift cards.

I do MyPoints and have gift cards for Yak & Yeti at AK (also can be used at Rainforest Cafe and TRex). I also do Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks. I got a $50 check from ID a couple of weeks ago (took about 4 months to get that amount but I only click on emails) and SB gives Amazon cards which I use for pretty much everything - got new sandals, camera case and a couple of little toys for the trip.

I also got gift cards for Wolfgang Puck's on the Costco site - they are 20% off. We are doing the QSDP this trip and I am using this card and the Y&Y for the couple of TS dinners we have planned.
I haven't joined any reward sites! I definitely need to look into them! Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
joshswif
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marionnette
I ask my self 2 questions:
[*]How much is this going to cost?[*]How am I going to pay for it?


Without knowing the answer to #1, you cannot budget for your trip. The answer to #2 will let you know whether you can even afford to do it.

Sometimes the answer to #2 is pretty complicated. I use a lot of rewards to make my Disney trips more affordable. I have:
[*]Airline miles through Southwest's Rapid Rewards program.[*]Credit card rewards from Disney, Chase Sapphire, Citibank Thank You, American Express Hilton Honors and Diner's Club[*]Online rewards programs that pay in cash back or gift cards.[*]Refunds from various sources that are paid in cash or Visa gift cards.


When I'm in the early stages of trip planning, I look at what I already have in the form of those rewards. If I need more airline miles, I'll shift my attention to ways that will increase those mile quickly. If I don't need another Landry's gift card for dinner at Yak & Yeti, I'll do my online shopping at ebates instead of Mypoints so that I get cash back instead. And if a certain program is offering bonus points for eating at a certain place or using their card to make purchases in specific categories, I work that angle. All of that goes to reduce my OOP costs.

The other thing I do at the beginning is to divide the projected cost of the trip (minus whatever rewards I already have) by the number of months remaining until I leave. That gives me an idea of how much I have to either earn or save each month. Every once in a while, that number is just unrealistic. I'm not the type to eat rice & beans for 51 weeks just so I can get free dining for one week. So, I either cut back on the extravagance of my planned trip or I postpone it so that I have more time to save.

Then, I start saving that money in an account that is specific to Disney. It might be $10/week or it might be $500/month. It all depends on what we have planned and how much time we have to accomplish it.

Now, here's the difference between myself and a lot of posters here. I refuse to compromise my lifestyle in order to go to Disney. So, I don't cut back on the heat, eat cheap food or turn the cable off in order to save for one week with Mickey. I totally understand people who make those cuts in order to make ends meet and if I were in a situation where it was either feed the kids or pay the cable bill, you can bet that the kids would eat first. But missing Fox News in favor of watching Stacey do the "must do's" on resort TV is not happening in this house.

I also do not sell everything that is not nailed down in order to go see Mickey. It's a wonderful way to make money for vacation or whatever but eventually you run out of stuff to sell.

So, my strategy is to look for every bargain and discount for the trip that I possibly can. Room-only discount or DVC rental? I'm on it! Discount tickets from Undercovertourist or by begging my brother (a Siemens employe) to buy them for me at work? Yep, I've done it! Mixing a business trip with a visit to the Mouse? Check! Southwest Ding! fares? Great! Every little discount means that I don't need to save as much in the long run.

However you decide to make your trip a reality, I wish you luck. It can be a challenge to get it all paid for before you step out the front door but with planning and compromise, you can do it!
I love your strategy!! I completely agree with you. While I do ADORE Disney, I also love our lifestyle. We're not big spenders anyways, so the things we have, we use. I am not willing to go without cable, and I too cannot survive off of rice and beans! That would just make me cranky, lol! But you gave great advice and I really appreciate it!
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
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If I were you - to get started, I would go to the Disney Website and price out some different scenarios. Price out a value, moderate and deluxe to see the different in costs. Look at what basic tickets will cost and tickets with Park Hoppers. I make spreadsheets and put the different info in them to see the cost differences and what works for your family.

We use to stay at Value Resorts when the kids were little (and I had not found the Dis yet) then found out about renting DVC point and have stayed at the Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge for not much more than a Value resort. Also - price out out staying offsite at places like Bonnet Creek. Have not stayed there but there is a huge thread on it and it gets really good reviews.

Then price out transportation (driving, flying) and after you get all those costs you can concentrate on looking at menus and figuring out dining costs.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:20 PM   #12
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Look into the YES Program - kids will learn something and you'll save on tickets
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #13
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If you have family and friends who enjoy giving gift cards for holidays and birthdays, ask for Disney gift cards. We are going in November and started planning a year ago, so anyone who asked what I wanted I said Disney gift cards. Then when DD's 2nd birthday rolled around and she had every toy and piece of clothing she could possibly need, I would tell people her size (for the people who like to give an actual gift and shop on sale) or suggest a Disney gift card. I also had my sister get her some warm weather clothing in the next size since November it will be chilly in Jersey but warm in Disney.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssawka View Post
Good luck! We took my parents last year and although we had a good time, we vowed never to take them anywhere again. Maybe it's just my parents , but they do not know how to stop being parents. Lecturing me about different things we were doing on the trip, or running off to spend time with my sister that lives less than a mile from them and not spending time with DD who they never see. I understand that it was their vacation too, but the reason I was footing the bill was so they would spend time with DD. Also, I am almost 40 years old, not 15. I do not need a lecture about things and at this stage you are not going to change me. Sorry, I digress! My point is that unless you have a really good relationship with your extended family, any trip involving family can be difficult. Vacations bring out both the best and worst in people!
I'm with you on this. You better REALLY LOVE you extended family if you plan on taking them. I have 2 experiences, one good, one bad.

In Dec 2008, we took my cousin, her sister and 3 children with DH and I, we stayed at AKL, my cousin and family stayed at Pop for the kids, we had a great time, my husband and cousin bickered a bit, but nothing too bad (well, one bit of an evening was bad). For the most part, we met for meals and then pretty much went our separate ways, because the kids wanted to do things DH and I didn't. We did some rides together and the Christmas Party. We stayed a couple of days longer than they did, and my cousin's oldest child stayed on a couple of days with Dh and I and we had a great time.

This June, we took DH's mother and step-father (their first trip) and stayed in 2 rooms at Pop and it was the most miserable trip I could have possibly taken, I thought I was in heck. Surprisingly, I managed to keep my mouth shut, at least in front of the in-laws. My MIL wanted to "boss" everybody around and then pout if things didn't go her way. She kept hitting DH on the back of the head, I don't know how I managed not to snap at that. DH and I pick at each other sometimes, that made her mad. She just really went out of her way to be a witch. Dh doesn't even talk to her since this happened, it really put major strain on an already stressed relationship and she doesn't see what she's done.

My mom went with us a good many times and we had a great time, but my mom was completely different than my in-laws, unfortunately she passed away.

I would really think twice about adding extra family.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:00 AM   #15
sqlben
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Well I use software

I use Boachsoft Finance 2012 in budgeting for vacations and other things. I create budgets using the budget center in the software. After creating the budgets I create savings goals from the savings center. It schedules virtual transfers out of my account until the goal is complete. I can track the goal easily. I would recommend this method.
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