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Old 02-21-2013, 02:16 AM   #106
MissAndrea
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Originally Posted by Tormania View Post
I do wonder how some of you are doing Disney for only $2000 or so. For our small family of 3 airfare alone is at least $1000. If we drove it would be 16 hrs each way and a total of over $700 in gas so flying is a no brainer. Tickets for the 3 of us is another $1000 (8 day parkhoppers).
We are a family of 3, we have a 20ish hour drive, and we pay between $450-500 for gas...and we drive a SUV! $700 seems like a lot for only a 16 hour drive We've never been able to find flights for less than the price of driving. We primarily use our Disney Visa for everything (pay it off every month) except when Discover is offering 5%, then we will use the Discover card. We use our Discover rewards to cash in on Shell gas gift cards which brings our driving/gas total down even further. We usually have 2 $75 cards for a trip.

As far as tickets go, we don't get park hopper. I'm probably in the minority but we all hated them! We got AP's last year (since we were going 3 times in a 12 month period) and park hoppers were included. To each their own but since we don't like them, we save a lot by not getting hoppers.

We've gotten free dining twice which helped out a lot for those trips!

I'm with everyone else on the negative comments from friends. It irritates me when people ask why we go so much. What the heck does it matter to them?? It's not their vacation!! It's not their money!! I don't get it. I've also helped MANY people on their trips but luckily haven't had any of them come back complaining. Many of them don't even end up going (that I know of...just based on never seeing it on FB). I helped one of my best friends and she said everything I told her helped tremendously. If nothing else, at least one person followed my advice. On the other hand, I have seen friends who have never asked for my advice complain about crowds. What the heck do they expect when they go on Christmas?! Thank goodness for the disboards!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:49 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by floydfamily4 View Post
I was wondering the same thing about the $2k When we went 4 years ago with the 4 of us we spent about 3.5k staying off site with cheap flights from houston. I am planning a trip for Sept and it looks like it will be around 3k staying at POP but I can't seem to get it much lower than that and we already have the adult tix
I have AP's to both WDW and Universal. Universal gives a great discount for renewals (just $170.00/year to renew), so I always renew my AP with them. (Plus my Universal AP expires in early May and I always go down there in May anyway.) Disney's renewal discount is not as great, so I always let my current AP expire, then get a new one on my next trip. I have several one day park tickets I have accumulated over the years, that I've had to buy to use one promotion or another, so I always use one of those tickets to get into the parks the first day, then immediately go to guest services and have the CM bridge the price to a new AP. I use my Disney VISA for everything during the year and so always have alot of Reward points, that I trade in to pay for the AP each year. (I also use any left over Disney gift cards that I may have left from the previous trip). Before each trip, I figure what the current gate price is for a one day ticket and how much I have left on any left over Disney gift cards from the previous trip. I then figure the current price for an AP and have just the difference (in nearest round figures) transferred to a Disney Rewards card. I don't think I've paid more the $7.00 cash for an AP in over five years. The only thing I ever pay is just the little odd amount left over after applying the price of the one day ticket, amount left over on any gift card, and the even amount I transferred to a Disney Rewards Card (one year my AP cost me a whopping .72 and one year it cost me $1.32 cash lol).

I always get a couple of Disney gift cards before each trip to cover any meals I eat in the parks, gratuities, and any souvineers I might find. I always have money left on a card after each trip though, that I can then use for another trip or to apply to my next AP. I love going knowing that the trip is basically prepaid and I love coming home with money left over.

I am currently booked in a one bedroom villa at Wyndham Bonnet Creek for $89.60 per night (for ten nights) through Vacation Strategies. Staying at BC, I can get alot more space, in a nicer resort, for alot less money, and still be physically onsite and closer to alot of the parks than some of the onsite hotels are. With my AP, I get free parking, so it doesn't matter where I stay.

Last May a rental car was around $100.00 and this past Sept we paid $125.00, so I'm still figuring on less than $200.00 for a rental car.

Round trip airfare was around $250.00.

We'll be eating breakfast in the villa, CS in the parks for most lunches, and will do most dinners offsite, where we can get better food for alot less money. (We do have one dinner ADR for BoG though.)

I go to WDW 4-6 times a year, so seldom find any souvineers down there I want anymore. We have eaten at just about every single TS restaurant down there and at most many times, so the onsite restaurants don't thrill us anymore. We'd rather try new (and always pretty much cheaper) offsite restaurants. There are tons of nice restaurants right around Disney.

Disney doesn't have to be expensive. I refuse to skimp on vacation, but can't see wasting money either.

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Old 02-21-2013, 06:18 AM   #108
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These stories are cracking me up

I've tried to help people, but they sort of act like I'm nutso so I keep my planning obsession to myself (most of the time). I guess I am a bit nutso, I have our Spring Break park days planned out in detail, in order (yes, OK, down to the minute - at least for those ever important first two hours). I did mention to someone at work that I did this and she said - you need to relax and consider what will happen if your plans don't work - to which I replied that I have back up plans - and back up-back up plans. I think she thinks I'm insane.

Truth is, we are going an extremely crowded week (I'm a teacher - we used to go at better times but I'm back at work full time and options are very limited) but we will have a BLAST! I asked each of my kiddos to list their top three for each park - we will hit those and the rest is gravy. I LOVE planning - its a relaxing little hobby for me. Plus I adore it when my family is impressed at the parks - Wow, mom - How did you know about all this cool stuff???? It will be crowded when we go, but everyone's been forewarned and we have breaks and downtime planned. Its all in the attitude, baby!

As far as keeping costs down - I do extreme budget trips although with our family of five - 4 Disney "adults" (Me, DH, DS14, DS10) and one child (DS3) - its not quite as low as it once was. For this trip I rented a Windsor Hills Condo for $880 - my parents are also staying there with us - so pretty economical for 7 people; Buying UT tickets for $1300 (5 Day MYW). We are driving 17 hours (hopefully straight thru) - about $350 for gas. We'll use our regular grocery $ that week for breakfast foods, sandwich/salad stuff, a couple of cheap pizzas/out meals and snacks/water for the parks. I have $300 in Disney cards saved for in park counter service meals (one per park day) plus an envelope full of snack money for Mickey bars, popcorn and other in-park treats ($120). We've done TS and character meals in the past and enjoyed it - but this time we are going a little cheaper. Its OK with my kids - the bigger guys still talk about the gourmet picnic (packed by me!) we enjoyed on Tom Sawyer island in 2008 We'll be repeating that tradition this trip. Kids are bringing their own Christmas/ b-day money for souvenirs. Its all about making it special and it doesn't have to be extravagant... there is so much magic to be found at WDW ! So this trip is under $3000 - not bad for a full week of fun for a family of 5 (w/ 5 park days). Considering that people in my area pay $2000-3000+ to rent a shore house (JUST the house ) for a week, I consider WDW to be quite the value for my money
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:39 AM   #109
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As for how we do it on the cheap:

1) we use leftover travel funds from SWA price drops- almost never have to pay OOP for flights
2) we pack our own snacks and PBJ
3) we have friends who are able to access significant resort discounts
4) we plan so we have 3 trips in a 365 day period so we can take advantage of APs. It comes out to about $25/day for tickets per person.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:55 AM   #110
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I pay cash for the trips (Or credit card and immediately pay it off. That is for the protection of paying by Credit Card. I've used everything from Amtrak points to flying out of Metro DC instead of BWI. I take breakfast with me every day in my baggage to enjoy nicer meals later on in the day. I buy one special souvenir and that's it. Those are the ways I do Disney once a year for about $1,000. I also live on the east coast, so I have more travel options though.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:22 AM   #111
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Why does going to Disney have such a stigma? Geez.
Jealousy.... the green eyed monster!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:29 AM   #112
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Thanks for all the savings tips, I know that is not what this thread started out for but I got some good tips.
I had an offer for Disney CC but did not take it because it had a yearly fee, I think now I will, it will help with future trips!!
Leaving in 2 days & praying for good weather to travel in & at Disney World!
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:52 AM   #113
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This is all so true!! My brother goes when visiting his FIL during school breaks. He will take the kids for one day. He gets back and complains:
It was crowded (yup spring break)
It was expensive (sure when you do one day at a time!)

He refuses to go again.
Oh well one less family in line in front of me
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:27 AM   #114
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I don't have many people criticizing my trips to Disney. There are a few who don't care for it themselves but they've gracefully bowed out and made room for others. My family tend to be the worst planners so I help them out. Most expensive for us is airfare and tickets. We don't eat out much and bring snacks. DVC makes it a much more enjoyable experience for the family.

I visit several times a year and use an annual pass. So I don't need to do anything on a particular day. I just go with the flow. It's very relaxing. Unless I get greedy and want to do to much in a day.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:41 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by 2012bella13 View Post
Thanks for all the savings tips, I know that is not what this thread started out for but I got some good tips.
I had an offer for Disney CC but did not take it because it had a yearly fee, I think now I will, it will help with future trips!!
Leaving in 2 days & praying for good weather to travel in & at Disney World!
I hesitated at first too, but honestly I earned double the cost of the fee in rewards in the 1st month of using the card. We use it for every single living expense (gas, groceries, dining, utilities, insurances, you name it) & pay it off monthly. We accumulate the rewards until we have enough for AP for the 3 of us. With that expense taken care of, the rest of it becomes super-affordable. We plan for the off-season, pack snacks, & do all the stuff like garage sales like I mentioned in my previous post.

After all that, last Oct we went for 6 days, 3 people during F&W & than again in Dec for 4 days & brought my niece.... I'm pretty positive our total OOP was around $1500 all told. 2 months later, we've got enough pts to cover a day & a half of meals so we've decided to surprise the kids & go up for Sat/Sun & stay offsite. (Rooms are super cheap this week) It's like a secret Disney-vacation only fund. It works for us!
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:54 AM   #116
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My husband hears the same thing at work. All the guys think he's crazy for going to Disney 1-2 times a year. They all hate it because its so crowded, hot and expensive....not a single one of these guys has visited during the off-season! They all go during the summer! Duh!!!! It's a whole new experience going in September when you can ride Space Mountain five times...IN A ROW...IN AN HOUR!! You totally get your money's worth!
Some people can only go during certain times of the year, especially if they have school aged children or children very active in school and activities (sports, practices, dance, cheerleading, academic clubs, etc). But even then, there are some deals to be had during the summer. You just have to look harder.

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I'm going next year. I'm also a huge disney nut but can you help me with some of these? My ear is hear to listen and take the advice

2. was to expensive
ME: did you do what I suggested to pop a pin code? What is this?
BBB: Uuuuuh.. No I got busy
Me: Well did you, check the special offer page before you booked online? Can you please direct me?
BBF: Uuuuh.. I forgot
Me: Well did you call an ask?
BBF:The wait on the phone was to long.. Me: how long BBF: 5 min..
I think by "pop a pin code" she may mean trying to get a pin code by going to the Disney website and requesting info. If you sign up for their newsletters, save a vacation plan, request the planning dvds you can usually get into "the system" so that you get discount pin codes either mailed or emailed to you based on your preferred time of travel. I've done this before and usually gotten a pin code to use for something...our room, or tix, photopass, etc. My advice would be to sign up for everything through Disney that you can...the more interaction you have with them the better your chances of getting a discount code.

Also, you can check on Disney's website for current promotions so I think that's what OP means by checking the special offers page. You can also do this on the DIS.

Some people just don't get it and never will. You gotta let it go and do what you enjoy. Life's too short to worry about the haters!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:04 AM   #117
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For those posters pining to perceive the proper path to pop a pin, please peruse these posts.
Previous post was "practically perfect"
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:06 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by floydfamily4 View Post
I was wondering the same thing about the $2k When we went 4 years ago with the 4 of us we spent about 3.5k staying off site with cheap flights from houston. I am planning a trip for Sept and it looks like it will be around 3k staying at POP but I can't seem to get it much lower than that and we already have the adult tix
To answer the 2k question...

We don't do dining points or airfare miles or anything along those lines... We pay cash/debit for everything. We go in Sept or January (offseason), and we used free dining which helped us save. But, for instance, our September/October trip last year:

Airfare via Southwest MHT to MCO and back, $270 round trip. We left mid-week, when fares are lowest, used the "Wanna Get Away" fares, and we took first out and last back, the lowest cost flights of the day.

6 nights at Pop, free dining, but we upgraded to the regular DDP from the CS, and that cost a little under $1700, including tickets with hoppers. Without the dining upgrade, the price would have been around $1400 if I remember right. When we did an All-Star trip, that was even cheaper, but I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

When we got there, we stayed on the DDP and used all credits and left with nothing in the way of unspent credits (seems obvious, but...). For extra snacks, we brought stuff from home that we just got at WalMart. We spent no money at the airport or anything beyond tips on-site, tips came out to around $200-$250. We didn't go shopping while we were there, we're not big shoppers. We spent maybe $100.

So...

$270
$1700
$200
$100
$2270

I just did a quick pricing of next October, no discounts or deals up yet, but as-is, the price is $2100. Add $300 for airfare and it's still $2400. I suspect that there will be a deal somewhere between now and then that'll bring the price down to something which will only be a little more then what we're spending now. Our luxury is the better DDP, but if we were to drop to CS, that brings our price down to $1875, we wouldn't worry about tips, so our trip would still be, with airfare, about what it was before.

This time around, we're going to save a ton of money though... We got the Disney credit card, we pay all our bills with it (and just pay it off while it's interest-free so we keep a zero balance), and will use the credits towards next year's January trip. And I fill out surveys online that I can exchange for Southwest Miles and that's earned me about 5k worth of miles, so that's a HUGE help.

Right now I'm crunching numbers to see if an AP and DVC will save us more, now that free dining is a thing of the past. Honestly, free dining was the only thing that kept me from buying a DVC, now I'm thinking it's the way to go now that free dining is gone.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:17 AM   #119
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this trip for my bday, will be the 4th in a 12mo span, and each trip, we have found ways to cut costs, while still having a very wonderful time.

1) we stay in values,they are decent and from 60-80(FL resident) per night and we mainly only sleep @ the resort.We are not pool loungers, b/c we live 10mins from the Gulf of Mexico
2)Seasonal passes, b/c we would never go mid-summer or at "peak times"
3)We can make it there on a full tank of gas
4)Our DS3 doesn't like to sit still for very long, so we only do 2-3 TS
5)We buy gift cards from Target(5% redcard discount) every 2 weeks the months between trips


The last 2 trips with resort,shopping,dining,gas and our DD10 shopping spree's @ Little MissMatched, we have spent under $1000 each trip, and that is what we are budgeting for this upcoming trip.I am by no means the frugal one(that's my wifes job) but when it comes to Disney trips, she lets me handle it all when she sees what we spend as opposed to what her co-workers spend in 1 trip
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:20 AM   #120
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Thanks to those that posted how they can do Disney for close to the $2000 amount. My estimate on gas was too high (did some quick math and it would be closer to the $400 amount but time=money so flying is still a better option for us). We use our DISC card for everything, therefore we can redeem rewards for more things than just Disney as we are not in the crowd of going to Disney every year, or even every other year. For us park hoppers make since and over 7-8 days the price increase in negligible IMHO. And we wanted to go in early Dec to get to see all the Xmas decorations as enjoy cooler weather and lower crowds so we would not be in the position to go at the cheapest times of the year.

But I've done all the prep-work, knew the budget going in and we can still swing it without problems. And to make it cheaper, we'll probably be using the FIL's airline miles so technically the airfare will be free for us so there is $1000-1200 savings right there.
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