DH wants me to cut budget by $1500??!!

Marshmelo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
I apologize, this is LONG! I'm pretty sure there is no way possible to cut this much, but hoping for some ideas on how/where I can save some. I thought I had done a pretty good job budgeting and getting good rates, but want to make sure. It will be the two of us and our 7yo DS. So, here is a rundown on our costs and stay details:

Air: $786 RT on Southwest (already paid for) fly out IND morning 10/13, back morning 10/21 direct flights
Car: $155 for midsize Alamo for p/u noon on 10/13, return 4pm 10/20 (I keep an eye to see if rate drops)
Rental villa $800 for 5 nights (already put down a dp)
Beach Hotel (Alden Suites) on St. Pete beach 2 nights $284.93 (also already put down deposit)
3 day base park tix $835 (from my local AAA) for MK 2 full days and HS 1 day
Universal Studios 1 day 2 park tix $445 (also from AAA) (+$210 for express passes)
MCO Hyatt hotel night before flight $216
parking at theme parks: $85
parking at our local airport $81
Food $800 (no idea if I'm in the ballpark or not on this one)
MNSSHP tix $231 (already purchased), doing this arrival day
I also have already purchased memory maker and the universal photo pass

For food:
10/13 - Trex lunch after flight lands, counter service dinner at MNSSHP
10/14 - HS: lunch at Sci Fi, dinner at Mama Melrose (Fantasmic package)
10/15 - breakfast at BOG, CS lunch, dinner at BOG
10/16 - breakfast at BOG, CS lunch and Rainforest Cafe dinner at DD
10/17 - breakfast Universal character breakfast, CS lunch and CS dinner (Monsters Cafe, Thunder Falls)
10/18 and 10/19 we will be at St. Pete Beach
10/20 - lunch at Planet Hollywood, dinner ? maybe at hotel or airport
Also would probably allow one purchased snack a day in the parks. We plan to use Brita bottles and get free ice water.

All that being said, the only places to save that I can find are the $210 for express passes at Universal, but I almost see that as necessary being as we have only 1 day to do both parks there. The other area would be to not stay at the Hyatt inside the airport and instead stay at the Holiday Inn with the shuttle to the airport which would save $110 but would be more of a hassle because we would still want to return the rental car on the 20th so we would have to get a shuttle from the airport to the Holiday Inn and then again back to the airport to catch our flight the next morning. I've even looked at changing our flight to leave on the 20th (it was much cheaper to leave on the 21st when I booked, and still is, but if that goes down I can change that for no fee and save the hotel cost.) Again, no major savings though.

Just want to make sure I'm not missing something! Also, is my $800 estimated for food in the ballpark or not enough??

Oh, and I have purchased the Orlando Entertainment book when it was $7 to use at least the Rainforest and Planet Hollywood coupons.

Thanks! :)
 

teller80

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
I'm not understanding. Was your DH not involved in the original plan? is my math right that he now wants you to cut the budget by 30%?

If it were me, I'd cut out Universal and stay at a less expensive hotel.
 

Pembo

OH-IO
Joined
Aug 19, 1999
I would drop those table service meals and eat counter service. You won't need the express passes if you get there early and prioritize your rides at Universal. Or drop Universal all together. Keep watching your car rental rates, you should be able to get a better deal and maybe keep it until the day you leave. Then you could find a really cheap hotel for your last night. I don't see $1500 unless you cut back on park tickets and skimp on meals.
 

Marshmelo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
He was just asking if I could because now that he knows the final expenses are coming up soon, he is getting stressed. That doesn't mean I HAVE to, he just wondered. As far as Universal, I really want to keep that..I know it's a huge chunk, but I love it and my DS loves Harry Potter (already has a GC to get a wand) and Minions (already paid for the breakfast and photo pass as well). This is his first trip there so I really want him to experience Universal.

Thanks for the meal calculator Heidi!
 
  • Marshmelo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2003
    I can see maybe cutting out one of the BOG breakfasts, but I got 8am both days and thought it would be a big benefit to get into the park early... and at dinner you get to meet the Beast.... I was planning on us sharing at least for breakfasts, but maybe I should cut out the breakfasts. Is it *that* big a deal to have an 8am adr in the park? Worth it or not? I could cut out Mama Melrose's. I was just doing it for the Fantasmic benefit so we wouldn't have to stand and wait forever just to get seats. Maybe that isn't worth it either?? I really want to do Sci Fi though. We will probably do some sharing there as well.
     

    FairestOfThemAll37

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    I'd say the infamous triangle of cost, quality, and speed (convenience in this case) applies here.

    You can't have all three. So in order to save money you're going to have to cut quality or convenience.

    Based on your responses it doesn't sound like you want to cut either of those. You're going to be hard pressed to really gain much by canceling a couple of breakfasts. If it's save whatever you can this will help, but small corners in what you've listed won't amount to $1500.

    Good luck!
     

    Alexle2007

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2013
    Depending on what days you are going to Universal, they could be slow (during the week) and Express Pass may not be necessary. The Harry Potter rides are not included in Express Pass either. We have always stayed onsite at a Universal hotel and the Express Pass is included. While it is a nice perk for most rides there was very little wait.
     
  • deide71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2005
    Since you are going to the Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom I don't think you need 2 more days there. Also, Hollywood Studios is pretty lacking in attractions now. If you cut your Disney tickets down from Three days to one that would save you $500.

    3 day park to park tickets at Universal run about 210 apiece so if you skip express pass you could get 3 days at Universal for what you are paying for one day with Express Pass, and not feel so rushed. Also, Express Pass is not good for the Harry Potter ride at IOA or Gringotts ride at the studios.

    Maybe you could skip the beach hotel and stay onsite at Cabana Bay at Universal instead, you would get early entry into the parks that way.

    As for airport hotels, use Hotwire to find a cheap hotel with a shuttle, you can definitely save money there, or look into extending your rental car one more day.
     
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    Dizlvr

    Registered
    Joined
    May 20, 2015
    I'm guessing your dh has never actually planned a vacation lol. You can cut some TS meals, and if you are set on Universal cut the express pass. I don't know what time your flight is or how far you are from the airport but do you need to spend the night in a hotel the night before. I don't think you can cut $1500 but it looks like you have room to save something.
     

    Marshmelo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2003
    Depending on what days you are going to Universal, they could be slow (during the week) and Express Pass may not be necessary. The Harry Potter rides are not included in Express Pass either. We have always stayed onsite at a Universal hotel and the Express Pass is included. While it is a nice perk for most rides there was very little wait.
    Unfortunately it's a Saturday we are going.
     

    ozliz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2013
    I agree with previous posters. You cannot cut $1500 from the budget. You can go through and make smaller cuts which may add up to a fraction of that but this would be at the expense of convenience and quality... all of which can make a more stressful experience. What to you value more, having a more relaxing and easy trip or the small $ that you can save?
     

    Majesty1919

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2010
    The lowest cost that I've found until now for Amusement park tickets wasn't AAA but *****************.com. I'm still looking even further. Give that a try. For food, I'm using $50 per person per day based on the recommendation of another Dis member. I'm also exploring the idea of a grocery service for supplement some meals i.e.; cereal for breakfast if you have access to fridge.
     

    mi*vida*loca

    Collect memories, not things
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2008
    The only way I see that happening is if you cut universal and the beach out of your vacation completely. Then cutting out one day at Disney and only getting two day park tickets.

    How do you cut 1/3 of your expenses? That's a big amount on short notice.

    If we had to cut $1500 on our trip we would have to cut down on days. We are doing 10 nights so I would cut down to 7 nights. I would save from hotel, food and small amount on tickets.
     

    Marshmelo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2003
    The lowest cost that I've found until now for Amusement park tickets wasn't AAA but *****************.com. I'm still looking even further. Give that a try. For food, I'm using $50 per person per day based on the recommendation of another Dis member. I'm also exploring the idea of a grocery service for supplement some meals i.e.; cereal for breakfast if you have access to fridge.
    I checked ***************** and my local aaa office prices were actually lower. They vary by aaa locations.
     

    3angelsmom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2011
    Couple of suggestions, but like the pp's said, they won't amount to 30%
    - I agree with pp's there are cheaper alternatives to the MCO Hyatt; or try booking that at a lower rate (Orbitz, etc. going through a cash back portal first)
    - Try PreFlight or similar for cheaper off-site airport parking. This ended up working out better for us at 2 different airports - significantly cheaper and shuttles were much faster than the economy lots
    - Forget breakfast ADR's or a grocery service. Pack cereal, or oatmeal etc (Southwest allows 2 free bags)
    - Buy discount Disney gift cards for Disney meals. And if you haven't already bought park tickets, see if buying them directly from Disney purchased with discount gift cards is cheaper. Think out of the box for this. I.e., my Discover card currently gives me double cash back (10%) at Home Improvement stores. Add a $10 off $50 purchase coupon, and I can purchase a $50 Disney gift card at Lowe's for ~$32.
    - Look at the menus to get an idea of what you'll be eating and how much it will cost so you know if you're over or under budget. Also, don't forget you won't be home buying groceries that week so that money is "saved"
    - Costco has great rental car rates; and try Mousesavers for codes
    - I assume your deposit is non-refundable? But if not, keep looking at on-site Universal hotel rates. I think they all include express pass except Cabana Bay? We never stay Club Level but one year in November we got a crazy low rate for Portofino Bay Club level. Breakfast and snacks in the club. I think it was 2 months out the price dropped.
    Good luck!
     


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