Making Disney Cheapier

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by umaangel00, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. umaangel00

    umaangel00 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2005
    What are your tips for making your vacation cheapier?
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  3. smellyann

    smellyann Mouseketeer

    May 4, 2006

    We only get and do *meaningful* things. Whatever that means for you. ;)
  4. Mad4Dizne

    Mad4Dizne DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2003
    another good one is to prepurchase your theme park tickets/from a reputable dealer/website/this can easily save you $20+ per person; Another would be to not eat every meal in the parks...I'm not a big advocate of staying off-site, I know alot of people are and that is great, but we have had a few bad off-site experiences. I would much rather get off-season rates at Pop or the All-Stars (value resorts), use Magic Express (free transportation to and from the airport--when you stay on property) and get the meal plan (great value and don't have to worry what your meals/snacks cost)--the meal plan is NOT essential and you can save alot by ordering pizza delivery to your room for dinner,and bringing breakfast/snack items with you for instance.
    A trip to Disney is no doubt an expense, but you certainly can save by using a few tips.
    If you don't have it already the Unofficial Guide (book) is WONDERFUL!!!!
    Have A Great Trip
  5. Hedy

    Hedy <font color=blue>I'm <s>22</s> 27 and I still kind

    Mar 14, 2006
    CS for lunch.
  6. powellrj

    powellrj DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2003
    read the DIS boards. I have saved a fortune reading the great tips found here. There are hundreds of them! Visit all the different boards because each one will have different ideas for you.
  7. KristiKelly

    KristiKelly <font color=red>DIS Veteran<br><font color=purple>

    Mar 18, 2003
    If you plan on going once a year, buy annual passes. The cost is a little more but we get 2 weeks (actually 16 days) out of them. Also, with the annual passes you can buy the Disney Dining Experience card, we paid $50 for it but it saves you 20% at most WDW restaurants and is also good for a year. We bought AP's and the Disney Dining Card for our trip last Sept., we own DVC so when we go back this coming Sept. all we'll have to pay for will be our food (-20% :thumbsup2 ), souvenirs and either air fare or gas to drive from NC. We also eat most breakfasts in our room.

    If you register with you can earn points for gift cards to different places. One place is RainForest Cafe. I have an account for DH & myself. When we go back to WDW we will have 2 gift cards for total $50. This will almost pay for a meal there.

    Before buying into DVC, we always traveled during value season (still do for the low crowds) and watched for codes.
  8. aka-mad4themouse

    aka-mad4themouse <font color="blue">Budget Board Co-Host</font>

    Dec 14, 2004
    1. 10-day Base tickets (no-expiry), purchased from a ticketbroker. Adding park hopping and w/p fun to a ticket drives the cost up considerably. You can have a very enjoyable vacation visiting just one park each day and skipping waterparks, DQ and PI.

    2. Never pay for something that you can get for free. Free ME from the airport instead of a towncar, shuttle bus or rental, free dining plan, free airfare thru FF miles, free Disney Rewards Dollars from Disney VISA, free Disney Dollars from rewards programs (just got $25 from Creationsrewards yesterday!).

    3. Use whatever connections that you have to bring the cost of the room down. Know a CM? Take them up on their offer to get you a room at the CM rate. Have AAA? Book using the discount. Got an AP? Are you a FL Resident? You can find room-only discounts most of the year. Know a DVC member who might rent their points to you at a reasonable rate? Go for it!

    4. Breakfast in the room can be healthier and quicker than in the food court or a restaurant. It's cheaper, too. A bowl of cereal, skim milk and fresh fruit eaten in shifts as everyone showers and dresses not only saves time and money, it's healthier than a stack of pancakes or a breakfast sandwich.

    5. Paying $2.50 for bottled water is one of the biggest rackets going. Bring a filtered water bottle with you into the parks and refill with free ice from any of the snack vendors or CS restaurants. Brita Fill & Go bottles are hard to find but I did see a similar product called Pure Water 2Go or from Water .

    6. Be flexible. Change your dates. Change your resort. Change your itinerary. If there's a less expensive way to do it by switching from one resort to another, arriving a day or two later or earlier, or by reducing the number of park days, then do it to shave the cost.

    7. Limit the souvenir purchases. It's so easy to go overboard with the souvies. Disney knows what they're doing when every attraction exits into a store with appropriately themed merchandise. Put on the blinders and move your crowd along.

    8. Character dining is fun but expensive. It would be one of the first things to go from my budget if I had to make choices. There are plenty of opportunites to meet the characters in the parks and outside of the character dining locations.

    9. Don't charge anything that you can't pay for when the bill arrives. The interest rate will kill off any savings you got. It's no fun paying for a vacation a year after you've taken it.
  9. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

    Sep 29, 2002
    1. Stay offsite. The accomodations are bigger, nicer, better equipped and way cheaper.

    2. Eat breakfast in your room.

    3. Drink tap water. Restaurants will happily give you all the free water and ice you want.

    4. Do character meals at lunch instead of dinner. Pretty much same food but cheaper.

    5. Buy 10-day non-expiring tickets. Use a few days for one trip and save the rest for a future trip.

    6. Drive instead of fly if you live within 1000 miles or so.

    7. Pack some light snacks when you go to the parks.

    8. Visit the Disney outlets.
  10. rae662000

    rae662000 DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2005
    Plan Plan Plan.....

    The further out you start planning, the more money you save. I am a do-it-yourself kind of person, so I plan all aspects of my trip via discounts and what is most important on this trip. I have signed up at survey websites, this month alone I have banked $32. Save all change, use online savings accounts, reward programs are another, pennies do add up. Take advantage of any special deals and discounts. Any unplanned savings or unexpected money goes into the fund. Over time it adds up. I plan my vacation 12-18 months out and work everyday at the savings.
  11. Cinderella Fan

    Cinderella Fan Disney Bride!! December 2006

    Sep 28, 2005
    We use our Disney Visa card for everything. That way, we do have some rewards dollars for character meals and souveniers. We also save change. We put all of our chage at the end of the day in a jar, and at the end of the week, we also put all of our $1s. So far this month, I have $40 in ones.... Then at the end of the month, we put the money into a high yield Money Market account....

    The best way to make a Disney vacation cheaper is to PLAN, as another posster said. If you plan ahead, you know what you want to do, what is important to you, and you have the ability to pay over time. We leave in 2 weeks, and our room, the *surprise* Segway tour, and the cabana at the GF are already paid for... All we have to pay while we are there is food and souveniers, which we have $145 on our rewards card for...
  12. tpayne

    tpayne <font color=teal>I still get fuzzy feelings with t

    Mar 2, 2006
    I've seen the article from saying you can do Disney for 2 adults and 2 children for a thousand dollars. Has anyone done that with 3 adults and no children? We've been before and money was not a problem but I'm ready to go again and money is tight. How much could 1 adult do Disney for if sharing with others on gas, food. room, etc.? If I could just do 2 of the parks, I'd be ok. :woohoo: pixiedust: :genie: :thanks:
  13. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

    Sep 29, 2002
    I don't see how this is possible unless you don't go into the parks much because the ticket prices alone would eat up much of the $1,000. We eat pretty cheaply when we go averaging $20/person/day, so that would be $80/day for 4 people, or $560 for a week. An offsite condo through SkyAuction is $260/week - nothing onsite is that cheap. That's over $800 just for food and room. Add in tickets, even discounted, and you are well over $1,000.

    How did Mousesavers break down that $1,000?
  14. aka-mad4themouse

    aka-mad4themouse <font color="blue">Budget Board Co-Host</font>

    Dec 14, 2004
    The MouseSavers article is from last year. The budget was for 2 adults/2 children, 3 night hotel stay, driving to Orlando and going to WDW on 2-day MYW hoppers.

    Included in the budget:
    • $100 for gas
    • $150 for food & snacks
    • $607 for tickets
    • $100 for a Priceline hotel (for the 3 nights)
    • and $16 for parking (2 days @ $8/day)

    In 2006, the ticket prices, hotel and food would be slightly more. And $100 in gas would get me as far as South Carolina.

    tpayne, you might want to post your question in a new thread. You'll probably get more responses that way.
  15. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

    Sep 29, 2002
    No wonder. I didn't see how it would be possible for a week.
  16. jbdreamer

    jbdreamer DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2005
    Eat breakfast in room
    Bring snacks from home
    Bring water bottles from home
    Get free ice water from CS stands to refill
    Split Meals - many are large enough for 2 people
    Limit Souviners - Choose just one or two must haves
  17. EthansMom

    EthansMom <font color=red>spare yourself from asking me to d

    Jul 13, 2003
    I pretty much agree with everything Disneysteve said, but will reiterate:

    Drive instead of fly.

    Stay at a Value or stay offsite. If you stay someplace offsite with a kitchen, you can further save money by making a run to the grocery store for breakfast items.

    Get the MYW tix without Plusses or Hopping priviledges. It is less expensive to add another day to your MYW tix, than to spend a separate day at another park. Unless you get a special deal, it will be less expensive to get a 4 day ticket to WDW than to get a 3 day ticket to WDW and a 1 day ticket to Sea World, for instance.

    Do not plan on doing stuff that costs extra -- Cirque de Soleil, fishing, the park tours, etc. Instead, do stuff that is already included in the price of your admission.

    Eat breakfast in your room. If you want to eat someplace pricier, like a Character Meal, eat that at lunch, when it is less expensive. Eat counter service for dinner. Consider sharing meals, asking for a cup of ice water (free), and/or order a child's meal for an adult (possible only at counter service places).

    Set a budget for souvenirs. We limit ourselves to $75 per adult and $50 per child. That gets DH and I each a new sweatshirt and one or two toys for each of the kids. You could easily spend much less than that on souvenirs. If you don't go in the stores, you won't spend much money.

    Need to rent a stroller? Consider buying one at Walmart in Orlando, instead. On our last trip, we took our own stroller for DD1, but wanted one for DS4 also. Stroller rental was around $8/day. We bought an umbrella stroller at Walmart for $10 and left it in our hotel room when we left. It wasn't the fanciest stroller, but it worked just fine and we were able to fold it up and hang it off DD's stroller when DS wanted to walk.
  18. Katieplus4

    Katieplus4 Earning My Ears

    May 21, 2006
    :lovestruc We buy water in the park and then refill the bottles with tap water and use Hi-C or somekind of drink mixes to make a flavored drink.

    Eat your big meal at lunch time, it is almost always cheaper

    We fill a suitcase with snacks and then use it to take home souvenirs

    Buy one souvenir a day

    rent a locker and keep snacks, coats, etc.- so you wont have to buy- it has saved us when we needed ponchos or coat for 6 people, would have been a ton to buy

    Dining plan- allows you to see all character meals for a fraction of the cost and you can share meals however you want

    eat an early in room breakfast- we bring indiv cereal( kids love it) and buy milk
    we bring our own plastic spoons and cups, harder to spill with a big cup than a bowl

    buy trinkets at the disney store before you leave- the spinning light up things are much cheaper and you don't feel guilty

    Use a retractable big sharpie for Autographs- no need to keep up with pen caps

    Keep a running list of what you've spent that way you can choose to go crazy or rein yourself in at any point. Especially if you are charging it all.
  19. sammielynn

    sammielynn DIS Veteran

    Mar 10, 2005
    Make friends with someone that works at the parks. They not only can get you rooms for a fraction of the cost but can get you free admission :thumbsup2 Also they get a good discount on souviners in the park. I think 25%.


    Apr 6, 2005
    Minimal keepsakes. Our children have to purchase them and extra snacks with their own money. We have been pushing Disney Dollars for Christmas, Easter and Birthday gifts, so they usually each have about 30-40 Disney dollars. It is amazing how some things just aren't as important to purchase when they are paying themselves.

    I also try to keep our food budget for the week close to what we would have spent at home. Eating out can get expensive for a family of 5 not to mention that it sometimes is not the healthiest menu to eat nonstop. We usually do splurge and do 1 character meal, but I know we will be eliminating that soon since 2 of my children are already considered adults and the cost adds up pretty fast.

    Right now we are into an annual pass kick, but if we weren't I'd highly recommend getting the maximum number of days and options with no expiration that gives you the lowest cost per day if you plan on traveling to Disney at any time in the future.

    Take advantage of anything that is low cost or included in the tickets that you purchased. Since we purchased annual passes, our tickets for the parks were already paid for. When my daughter mentioned a trip to Seaworld, we told her we would do it on a different trip. Dropping over $200 for 5 of us to see Seaworld when we already had money invested in Disney tickets was not something we wanted to do.

    You also don't have to focus on the parks. I know people will be there for 7 days and get 7 days worth of park tickets. However, there can be Disney magic without even entering the parks. Some of the resorts have boat rides to Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney occasionally has free shows. The campfire at Fort Wilderness. Most resorts are magical just to walk around and we have never seen them during the holidays.

    Also, people will get tickets to the water parks and not even take advantage of their resort pools which can be pretty nice and which are free. In addition to the pools, most resorts have a slew of activites.

    These are just some things we do.
  21. madison66

    madison66 Mouseketeer

    Oct 23, 2000

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