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

TwoMisfits

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
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! :)

I know you've already made changes to this...but I would also encourage the 1 day MK pass and 3 day Universal ticket with no Express Pass. Since you'd be down to one MK day and 1 MNSSHP, you'd save about $550 just on the Disney tickets, $210 on the Express Passes, and $100+ for the Fantasmic Dinner Package...and you'd only be adding on about $150 tops for the Universal extra days...that's half of your husband's savings and a good compromise - 2 days of MK and 3 days of Universal for HP lovers should make an amazing trip...

And if it was refundable, I'd get rid of the 2 photo packs and bring my own camera...and now you're close to $1k in savings...
 

momof2gr8kids

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
I would stay all nights in the villa. Not sure if it's available for the whole time anymore. Plus the longer you stay, might work out cheaper per night. Will be a pain packing up and moving that many times. TBH not sure where you are staying but that seems high for 5 nights in a villa during Oct.

Then do just a day trip to the beach. Cut out one of your MK days since you have the party. Or do only the party to get your Disney fix. Cut out trex lunch and grab some groceries and rest up at villa after travelling so you can make the most out of your time at the party.

Get longer base tickets for Universal - I see Undercover Tourist has buy 2 days get 2 free. Would be $485 for the 3 of you. That's 4 days of parks. Much more enjoyable and leisurely seeing it that way than cramming it all in one day IMO (especially a Saturday...) Plus if you are going more days, I'd cut out the character breakfast since you will most likely have an opportunity to meet the characters in the park if you have more time. Only thing you can't do with base tickets is ride the Hogwarts express train to the other park. Not worth the added expense IMO. Don't tell your son it's there... lol

Cut out BOG breakfast or dinner. You don't need to go twice in the same day to get the castle experience. Eat BF in your condo to save time and $$.

Take your own pics and save on memory maker, etc. (Buy a selfie stick.. LOL JK.. hate those things..and they are banned at Disney anyways)

Yes, you can cut the 1500 from your budget and still have a fabulous trip!
 

Accident

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
I didn't see this recommended but the Disney Visa Card offers discounts for just about everything at Disney, especially food and tickets. It might be cheaper to get the card and shift around where your staying, getting tickets, etc and use the visa card to drop the prices lower than your current discounts. I've never run the price differences of doing it this way but might be worth your time. Also when are you going? there's some interesting 30% off rooms (which I think can couple with the disney visa discount) right now.

There is also a discussion where some people just got a new southwest credit card and it came with enough points their flights are free.
 

ruadisneyfan2

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2006
I didn't see this recommended but the Disney Visa Card offers discounts for just about everything at Disney, especially food and tickets. It might be cheaper to get the card and shift around where your staying, getting tickets, etc and use the visa card to drop the prices lower than your current discounts. I've never run the price differences of doing it this way but might be worth your time. Also when are you going? there's some interesting 30% off rooms (which I think can couple with the disney visa discount) right now.

There is also a discussion where some people just got a new southwest credit card and it came with enough points their flights are free.

OP already put a deposit on the villa and booked flights.

OP, personally I would skip the beach at look into staying onsite at Universal. If you can get there early in the am, even if your room isn't ready, you can get unlimited Express pass with your room key for the day you check in and the day of check out until park closing. So for 1 night's hotel stay you get 2 full days of unlimited Express line access. When you buy a separate Express Pass it's only good for 1 ride per attraction. With your room key you can go again and again. My boys could do Men in Black at least 3x before being ready to move on. lol.
Perhaps you could change the dates of the villa stay so that you don't lose money but move them so that you could stay onsite at US when they have availability. This may open a whole new can of worms but we usually get 1 AP to US/IOA to qualify for APH rates at their onsite hotels. That alone knocks like $100/nt off their onsite hotels.
Also sign up for US email specials. We just got a post card for 40% off which made it cheaper than the APH rate for our Sept trip.

We also love the Hyatt for late arrivals and early morning flights. It's uber convenient and the only ones recommending you to deal with the shuttle are likely people who have never stayed there. Once you try it, you will gladly pay extra to skip the shuttles. Esp if your son is like mine and would usually leave something behind on the shuttles such as Nintendo DS, etc. :headache:
Keep it simple; you're on vacation. :cloud9: It shouldn't be more stressful than work!

I can understand wanting to fit in some beach time since you don't live near either coast but I would limit the "splits" to just one. Trying to do beach + WDW + US/IOA is a lot to cram in one week.
 
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barkley

DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
Joined
Apr 6, 2004
as far as any hassles w/rental car and dropping it off if you stay at the non airport hotel-we've done it w/dh dropping me and the kids at the hotel we are checking into (and leaving the luggage w/us), then he drives to the airport rental car location to drop off the car and take the hotel shuttle back. no huge hassle. i'll admit that we have also stayed at the airport hyatt but we do that when we want to save money by taking what tends to be a less expensive mid afternoon or early evening flight and pay the less expensive day rate (gives us the use of one of the rooms at the hotel for several hours-I want to say we've used one for up to 6) so we check out of wherever we've stayed the night before, gone to the airport (dropped off car/checked in early for flights) then relaxed in the hotel room (dh tends to nap, I tend to shower and the kids would either watch tv or use the roof pool-we just had to make sure we brought zip lock bags for their swimsuits or some quarters for a quick run in the hyatt dryers).
 

xlsm

Snow White
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Is there no way to cancel your offsite house? I know you've already put down a deposit, is it not refundable? If you stayed value at Disney, you wouldn't need a car rental, you could use the ME from the airport and Disney transportation. Use Uber to get you back and forth to Universal.

Just a thought.
 

disneylove69

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Get an economy car, drop express pass at Universal if you can since you won't need it. I would do 1 day passes at universal since it is very doable. Get a cheaper hotel for the night before flight if you need to stay at a hotel. Does the hotel offer a park and stay program? Buy food for breakfast, snacks, etc at Wal-mart or Target since you will get better prices. Cancel both Breakfast at BOG and Trex lunch. Not $1500 but closer.
 

sk!mom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2000
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) Try bidding on Priceline and Hotwire to see if this could be less. Also check Budget- They are always cheaper than Alamo for me.
Rental villa $800 for 5 nights (already put down a dp) Consider staying onsite at both to eliminate parking fees.
Beach Hotel (Alden Suites) on St. Pete beach 2 nights $284.93 (also already put down deposit) Priceline and Hotwire here too.
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) I would do Universal first or last and stay onsite one night. This would eliminate the $210. If HP is your main Universal goal then the early entry perk is more important than express pass.
MCO Hyatt hotel night before flight $216 Priceline and Hotwire- airport hotels have always been some of my best bidding deals.
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) Cut Fantasmic package- I've never needed it in the summer crowds so I can't imagine you would in October. Don't line up super early, there always seem to be plenty of good seats.
10/15 - breakfast at BOG, CS lunch, dinner at BOG
10/16 - breakfast at BOG, CS lunch and Rainforest Cafe dinner at DD Skip Rainforst Cafe- it's an overpriced chain. Eat at Puck Express or Earl of Sandwich.
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 Skip Planet Hollywood- another overpriced chain.


As others have said, I can't see cutting that much unless you cut Universal or Disney. It gets expensive to buy short ticket options at both. They give you a deal if you commit to staying at one or the other.
 
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mylittlebuttercup

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Cancel all breakfasts. You have a rental car, so you can go to the grocery store and buy bananas and cereal and stuff. If you don't want to do this, at least cut some of your BOG reservations. I really like it, but three times is a bit much.

Also, since you have a rental car, stop and buy snacks and put them in your park bag. This will save you a lot over buying snacks in park.

Nix the airport hotel. Find somewhere cheaper.

Don't do Fantasmic dinner package at Mama Melrose's. The food there is absolutely awful, in my opinion, and you can often get decent seating at Fantasmic without doing the package.
 
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mylittlebuttercup

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
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.

I personally like 8 AM ADRs at the park, but they are absolutely not necessary. And recently there have been reports that it doesn't necessarily guarantee you getting to 7DMT any more quickly. Also, you may not realize this, but you still need to get there early even if you have the Fantasmic package, although I believe you get to go straight to your seats versus standing up in line. But either way you lose time. Finally, BOG isn't actually a character meal, so they don't guarantee the Beast at dinner. He is usually there (he was at ours), but you can't count on it.
 

ruadisneyfan2

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2006
Is there no way to cancel your offsite house? I know you've already put down a deposit, is it not refundable? If you stayed value at Disney, you wouldn't need a car rental, you could use the ME from the airport and Disney transportation. Use Uber to get you back and forth to Universal.

Just a thought.

I like this idea. OP made it sound like she would lose $ to cancel but it sure would save a lot of incidental spending such as gas, tolls, parking fees at any parks. That's at least $100 right there.

With them flying SWA, they can check 6 bags for free. So fill one or two with a couple boxes of cereal, some granola bars for snacks, bagels, some butter/cream cheese, a few instant oatmeal packets, disposable bowls & utensils, a case of bottled water. There's a lot you can pack from home to have a decent breakfast in the room. Just buy some milk onsite. I also find that eating in the room saves time since the kids can eat while I shower then I eat while they get ready.

I personally wouldn't spend ANY extra $ to see Fastasmic. It's a good show, don't get me wrong, but we walked in 30 mins prior over a holiday weekend (MLK) and had great seats right down in front where it seemed no one wanted to sit. There is a little bit of spray from the fountains but not so much that we couldn't use a camera or we'd actually get wet like the splash zone with Shamu. We enjoyed it.
 
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ruadisneyfan2

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2006
Also I'm a fan of Hotwire and if you go this route, keep in mind that Priceline only guarantees bedding for 2 guests. Sure you could request 2 beds once you know what hotel you get but keep in mind they don't HAVE to accommodate 3 guests. I think even with Hyatt when I search directly on their website for 3 it offers a king bed room. Just something to consider. At least HW lets you search for rooms that hold 4 and will only display hotels that will. It will also let you narrow down certain amenities such as airport shuttle so you don't end up at a place that doesn't offer one.
It used to be easy to "see" the Hyatt on Hotwire back when they displayed the TripAdvisor rating. It was the only 4* in the MCO area with a 4.5 rating on TA. If you'd search for 2-3 guests, the 4* being offered was the Marriott Renaissance. You had to enter 4 guests (2 adults/2 kids) for the Hyatt to display.
Since they stopped showing the TA rating there's no guarantee of course but if you want to save and are willing to take a chance that would be next closest way to try for the Hyatt and save $.
 

disneylove69

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Thrifty has a midsize $30 cheaper if you pay now. Not much unless it's an every penny counts thing.
 

AmyAnne

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
Make sure that you are actually going to ride the rides that the Universal Express pass works for. It's definitely not a general front-of-the-line pass. For the old HP section, I think it's only good for one attraction. (Don't know about the new section; we haven't been since it opened.) If I remember correctly, the Express pass is mostly good for the big thrill rides -- Hulk and Spiderman and maybe a few others.
 

DawnM

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
The more I am thinking about this, the more I agree with dumping Universal. We didn't even attempt Universal until our kids were tall enough to ride most of the rides. It just wasn't worth it to us.

If you dump Universal, you could add some more Disney days and it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
 

scottmel

<font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina
Joined
Jul 28, 2002
If that is the trip you want keep it. I usually go on a spree around this house every few months and make A LOT of money from ebay or craigs list etc. DH wanted a 1500.00 tv from Costco last week. I said sure but let's see what we can get rid of to help fund that (rather than saying you don't NEED a new tv yours is only 2 years old!!) and I sold an amazing amount of stuff from an already clutter free home to pretty much cover the TV. I tend to do that than take a cheaper way out b/c when I settle for less I am never happy. Used toys around the house? Gold jewelry? Anything???
 

scottmel

<font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina
Joined
Jul 28, 2002
And also, if your son is not a HUGE potter fan, Universal isn't so worth it if I am guessing his age to be young....We do universal every june while at WDW and I don't care for the park but I LOVE potter so I tend to enjoy that part of it but we stay one night on site for the FOTL passes but wouldn't pay for them...
 


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