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Old 09-20-2013, 07:04 AM   #1
puffingirl
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Budgeting for extras

We are leaving tomorrow for our first trip!!! One thing we are stumped on is how much money to plan on for extras---souvenirs, OOP food, etc. We are pretty frugal and have planned ahead for a number of things (groceries coming in for breakfast, princess dress coming from home, ponchos already bought). I know I will want to buy a Christmas ornament, our little girl will want some sort of souvenir, and we will need to take a taxi once. We don't plan on doing any other pay experiences, like mini golf or DisneyQuest. Any tips on estimating how much we will likely need for extras and what some of those things are that a first timer wouldn't think of ahead of time? Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:27 AM   #2
eyehartdisney
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Just because you bought the dress ahead of time, don't think you won't necessarily have to buy more... most of the rides and such dump out into souvenir shops, and all the princess dresses have accessories, tiaras, shoes, etc. You dodged a bullet getting the actual dress, but you might have to spring for these things. Expect to pay between 30-50 dollars for a souvenir, I believe the last time I went, the medium sized stuffed animals were 20-30. T-shirts run from 20+, hats 15+. I would highly recommend bringing a roll of quarters and pennies. Many places have penny presses, and you can distract the kid from souvenirs with the hunt for them.

If you are crafty, you can make mickey mouse ears at home with material, a headband, hot glue, and crafting foam. There are instructions all over for them, do a simple google search, these ears can get a heck of a lot fancier than the ones in the parks. The girls and I did them last year and every where we went people asked us where we bought them. I laughed because I made them from scrap jeans that didn't fit anymore, and rhinestones, making all 3 cheaper than one of the disney ones, and it took about 2 hours. Christmas ornaments are not cheap and they tend to be about 25+. If you're looking for the mickey mouse ear balls, skip them. There are instructions online on how to make them, and they look just as good as the real deal.

As far as OOP meals, quick service lunch and dinners run about 10-15 dollars, if you aren't trying too hard to find a good deal. That being said, Disney had *large* portion sizes. We used to buy 2 meals and split it with 3 people, and still had food left over. You might get away with not buying your daughter any food at all, it's entirely possible.

I would recommend springing for some sort of autograph thing, either a pillow case, autograph book (last choice,) picture frame, etc. Remember thick sharpies are best! This year I'm trying shrinky dinks for autographs. I get them signed by the characters, shrink them down, use them for christmas ornaments. I bought a bulk package of 50 pages for 25 off the interwebs, and this is enough to get signatures for all 3 girls.

YMMV, but I've found a trip to the barber shop on mainstreet first thing when we arrives is a great alternative to the BBB (bippity boppity botique.) You can get her hair cut for 15 dollars (on par for most hair cutting places outside of the dis) and she can get disney confetti put in her hair. They offer color gel as well for an additional 5 dollars, but I've never been impressed with it. Looks bad after a few hours. The confetti can stay in for days though, and when it starts looking sad, we stopped into the barber shop again and they sprinkled us up for free. Fair warning that it ends up *everywhere.* There's a reason crafters refer to confetti as a disease that you can't get rid of. At least this stuff is large, as big as my pinkie nail.

I'm not sure about taxis, if you're staying on site, don't forget about Magical Express, you can get a free ride to and from the airport. I think I answered all the questions... if I missed anything lemme know
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
RedHeadedFairy
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Double ditto on bringing your pennies & quarters for pressed pennies. We also found that having a roll of quarters handy is just plain smart - between penny machines, arcades, laundry - we were so happy to have them ready & available.

DD & I also split most meals (& often snacks) because they are just too much at one time. That way we eat more often without every stuffing ourselves silly. Bottled water & sodas run about $3 at a pop, ice cream bars off the carts, pretzels & popcorn run in the $3-7 range.

The previous poster really nailed the details though - you can't avoid gift shops at Disney, they won't let you and most items my DD is interested in average $15-30, but certainly you can find a large range of things much pricier.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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I usually got her t-shirts and princess dresses ahead of time from the Disney Store, and we really had no problem avoiding the gift shops, walk on through. But you can pick up some stuff on sale, or save your shopping for downtown Disney. My daughter and I usually split quick service meals too. But around $50 a day is still a budget and a fun time.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #5
puffingirl
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Wow, I was way off in my estimates. Thank you so much for the detailed info. It really helps with setting realistic expectations. We are doing DDP (free dining!) so our extra food costs should be low.

DD is 6 and way into princesses so I am betting on her wanting something princess related from MK. What at EPCOT should I expect to be a big draw for a little girl to love and really want?
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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Well, Epcot has the Princess M&G meals at Akershus where she can meet 5 or 6 princesses at once. If that is available on the DDP then I'd look into that. (We don't do the dining plan so I know nothing about it )

The merchandise is pretty standard across the parks with concentrations of certain items/themes in areas. Like you'll find pirates stuff everywhere but a heavy concentration of it in the POTC gift shop obviously. Epcot has a unique spin with the countries & a offering a lot of ethnic non-Disney items like hats, collectibles, etc. I think their most unique offering might be the Duffy store, if she's a fan.

Epcot also offers Kidcot free of charge which she may like. She basically gets to pick a Duffy or Agent P cutout & then decorate it a little at a time at each Kidcot station as your travel "Around the World".

One thing that EVERY kid wants are those nighttime light up toys that spin & flash. Once it gets to be the later part of the afternoon, you'll see the Money Carts (as we call them, lol) start rolling out & they are filled with all kinds of sensory overload at $15-25 a pop. (Along with balloons which run $10-15 as well) We got light up toys at our local Disney outlet instead of buying them in the parks & saved a bundle. We also get glow sticks & rings, etc at the Dollar Tree & avoid the Money Carts at all costs.

Kids also really like those Mister fans which are going for $17 in the parks but can be picked up at Walmart for a fraction of that price.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffingirl View Post
We are leaving tomorrow for our first trip!!! One thing we are stumped on is how much money to plan on for extras---souvenirs, OOP food, etc. We are pretty frugal and have planned ahead for a number of things (groceries coming in for breakfast, princess dress coming from home, ponchos already bought). I know I will want to buy a Christmas ornament, our little girl will want some sort of souvenir, and we will need to take a taxi once. We don't plan on doing any other pay experiences, like mini golf or DisneyQuest. Any tips on estimating how much we will likely need for extras and what some of those things are that a first timer wouldn't think of ahead of time? Thanks!
We are pretty frugal as well and our kids surprised the heck out of us on our trips last year. Their grandparents had even given them some money to spend and they came home with most of it! We looked around a few shops but the kids just wanted small souvenirs....like a magnet, ornament, or small stuffed character. Each only spend about $15-$20 during the entire week.

I really think the budget will depend on how much you offer it up to your kids. If you haul them into every shop, sure, they'll probably want a few things. In our case, our kids were happy with rides and all of the other Disney magic that they didn't care too much about bringing things home.

Side note: We did have the dining plan and that helped out quite a bit - if my son wanted a Popsicle or ice cream, I handed him his card and he went off and bought it using one of our snack credits.

Edited to add: One more thing....my kids each had an autograph book and I think that was a HUGE souvenir for them. They loved it and that also seemed to take their minds off of the the "I want...." attitude.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:53 PM   #8
puffingirl
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Great tips! My parents are coming with us and they bought her an autograph book and a couple of Disney things that they found ahead of time to give to her when we are there. I think that will help, as will the snack credit on the DDP.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffingirl View Post
Wow, I was way off in my estimates. Thank you so much for the detailed info. It really helps with setting realistic expectations. We are doing DDP (free dining!) so our extra food costs should be low.

DD is 6 and way into princesses so I am betting on her wanting something princess related from MK. What at EPCOT should I expect to be a big draw for a little girl to love and really want?
My kids know I don't spend money on souvenirs. DH buys them each a pin from every trip they take (around $10/pin or so). Grandma sent money for them to get one thing each last time. This trip they are saving up quarters and pennies to do pressed pennies. If they want souvenirs they need to bring their own money. I guess I'm pretty mean

Don't forget that even with the DDP you still need to tip at the TS restaurants. For our family of 7 that could mean $40-$50 a day for us right there. If you drink alcohol that isn't included either.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:41 PM   #10
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Yes on the dining plan you still need to tip. If you have a party of 6 or more gratuity will automatically be billed to you. If not, you still need to leave a tip on your own. Which if you don't calculate before you leave, could take up a big junk of your spending money!
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:41 PM   #11
disneyismypassion
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I have a question on tipping. What if we are using two separate dining plans. One is a party of three, and the other is four. Will gratuity automatically be added on to both our bills? do they still consider it two separate parties?
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:15 AM   #12
eyehartdisney
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Only if you book a meal and sit together. Any group of 6 or more gets that, I am fairly certain. It has nothing to do with the actual dining plan. But the tip amount is not unreasonable... it's par for the course for disney restaurants.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:46 PM   #13
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My kids get Mickey ears, autograph books with a pen (just dd now) and some kind of light up toy from the cart on arrival night when we watch the parade. We also bring glow sticks from home.

They also get a balloon sometime during the trip. On the way out of MK one night.

They know that during the week they are to look at the gift shops so on our last day they can pick their one big souvenir. I usually Whimp out and get them something extra during the week. Usually a stuffed animal for dd and something "cool" for dd.

We also budget for tips and alcohol. Since we drive we bring a bottle of vodka and have a drink or two on the balcony in the evening.
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:53 PM   #14
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With three children, I tried to keep souvenirs to a reasonable level without having to say 'no' all the time.
Our arrival day, we went to DTD. We all filled a giant Mr. Potato Head to share. I explained that we were not buying anything else until the last day. I offered to photograph anything DS liked and told him he could buy whatever he wanted before we went home. This worked and they each only needed a couple of reminders (both 4 and 3 years old). Our youngest didn't seem to care either way.
I also got autograph books (in the parks) and stuffed animal(bought offsite).
On the last day, they actually kept their choices very limited with my oldest just getting a lightsaber and my daughter choosing two medium stuffed animals. The baby got his own Stitch as well.
I used Disney Visa reward cards and for a family of 5, we only spent about $300 on souvenirs and that included a gift for both of my nephews and a nice frame for my mother.
I brought some light up toys that I got at Walgreens during the Easter clearance and those were used every night in the parks. I think I paid $1.50 each.
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