Disney Vacation Cost $$$

Jessiemendez1

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 22, 2015
So I love reading how other people budgeted/paid for their trips. Such as gift card deals, swag bucks, miles etc

And we all go in with a budget on how much we will spend - BUT how close do we actually stay to our budgets?

I usually bring home all my receipts to see where exactly I dropped all that $.

Anyone else post budget their trip to see if they were close at all?
 

bnf0522

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 21, 2019
Yes we do! Helps me set up our budget for our next trip...especially since we try to buy discounted gift cards at Sams' Club or BJ's Warehouse.
 

HerRoyalHighness

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
NOPE... I end up spending way to much at amazon for "trip stuff" that never gets put in the budget lol. If I looked at the receipts... we would prolly never go.
I just bought a bunch of those sun umbrellas!

Overall...I only really look at the cost of the hotel, tickets and airfare/car rental. We approach our money with such a purpose the rest of the year that we...don't want to stress about, mainly food, while on vacation. We don't really do the expensive sit downs and don't feel the need to buy lots of souvenirs. Now I HAVE stalked our hotel points and have had about 20 different rental car reservations that I've rebooked. Every $ counts on that stuff because I hate to pay any more than I have to.
 
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babyready

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
After years of not staying on budget, I started paying better attention. There were some areas that just kept getting us.

For Disney, I usually estimate what we will spend and put it on gift cards. That helps by letting me know where we are at with spending as we go. I usually budget plenty, so I like knowing where I am at and not stressing about it while there.

I have saved receipts and gone back to see where the spending was for other trips. I always find it really helpful and better prepares me for future trip budgets. Like, I finally had to admit that we were never budgeting enough for food!
 

smwisc

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
So I love reading how other people budgeted/paid for their trips. Such as gift card deals, swag bucks, miles etc

And we all go in with a budget on how much we will spend - BUT how close do we actually stay to our budgets?

I usually bring home all my receipts to see where exactly I dropped all that $.

Anyone else post budget their trip to see if they were close at all?
I do. In my budget spreadsheet, there are columns for projected and actual, plus a column where I keep track of whether I've transferred the funds from our vacation account to checking. I do that as I go along for the big pre-trip expenses, then after I check our credit card transactions to get the rest. I don't keep receipts, so I might occasionally miss whether something was food or souvenir, and I don't worry about incidental expenses before the trip like ponchos or whatever. But by and large I usually come pretty close.
 

Meglen

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
I just bought a bunch of those sun umbrellas!

Overall...I only really look at the cost of the hotel, tickets and airfare/car rental. We approach our money with such a purpose the rest of the year that we...don't want to stress about, mainly food, while on vacation. We don't really do the expensive sit downs and don't feel the need to buy lots of souvenirs. Now I HAVE stalked our hotel points and have had about 20 different rental car reservations that I've rebooked. Every $ counts on that stuff because I hate to pay any more than I have to.
Same, we use airline points, disney rewards and gifts cards. I tend to calculate the cost of food daily and add TS and some extra for snacks so by the time we go everything is accounted for other than souvenirs and any extra TS we grab. So the budget is there before we go so I can have enough GC and points to cover most if not all costs.
 

MrsPete

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
I'm usually under budget. Yes, seriously. We do most of our spending ahead of time; that is, housing and tickets. Transportation is easy to estimate pretty accurately. We're very good about bringing sale-purchased sunscreen, Tylenol, and so forth from home. We don't do souvenirs, and we tend to over-estimate our food budget.
 

lsutigers03

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
The total for my most recent trip was $8,500. The tickets were $2,300 (4 six day park hoppers), the resort was $1,300 (8 nights a Copper Creek. This was so cheap because we rented DVC points from a family friend. This allowed to spend a lot more on dining and souvenirs.), and the food and souvenirs was around $4,900. We spent a ton on food and souvenirs for a few reasons. The first was because we were able to get our room for very cheap. Also I spend most of my life trying to stay on budget and eat cheap so when I go to Disney I bring a ton of discounted gift cards and I don't worry about what I spend. My wife and I have two young kids so we do a lot of character dining which gets expensive. On this trip the top three meals (CRT, Artist Point, and Space 220) cost over $1,000 on their own. We also did a Magic Kingdom dessert party and I bought my son a dark saber which was pretty pricey. There was a lot of other dining and souvenirs to get us up to our total. Now that we're back it's time to seek out gift card deals and build up the stash again because for our next trip my wife wants to do a Disney cruise.
 

Marionnette

Children see magic because they look for it
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
I always go with good intentions that I will keep careful track of not just how much we spend but what we spend it on. I always fall short of success.

I buy discounted Disney GCs all year to pay for food and incidentals. The room is paid for with DVC points. Airfare is covered with CC points. I have a folder full of tickets that were purchased before date-based pricing went into effect. Those are all costs that are easily tracked.

We usually rent a car and that will probably be paid for OOP, although we do have "pay yourself back" CC points to cover it. Even though it is reserved far in advance, gasoline, parking (at our Universal hotel) and tolls are variables that I tend to underestimate every time.

Then there's grocery delivery, offsite dining, snacks in the airport and the inevitable purchase that my husband will make with cash and toss the receipts.

I promise myself that I'll do better next time. And I am improving but there's a tiny part of me that doesn't want to know how much it all costs.
 

disneyfan123

He got my hubbies steak once
Joined
Oct 3, 2007
I kept exact figures on our spending for our last trip in March/April. First time I’ve done that, but it was good to know exactly what we spent of food, souvenirs, etc.

We were able to come in under budget as we bought a direct DVC contract and used our new blue card to get discounts on food and shopping; I just need to ignore the massive hole in our savings account!
 

mistysue

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 26, 2009
We do everything as room charge to help us keep track.
This last trip we actually came in under budget by a few hundred which was nice.
 

DCLMP

Travel bug
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
If your trip is months away I would plan on spending a lot more than you think you might be spending if were today.
 

Marionnette

Children see magic because they look for it
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
Seems like it, but they don't seem to be huge discounts.
How big of a discount do you want? 5%? 10%? 25%?

If you follow the thread carefully and have the time to work on accumulating discounted GCs, the savings can be worthwhile. But if you're looking for a quick and easy way to amass large quantities of GCs at half the face value, then you're out of luck.
 

bnf0522

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 21, 2019
We've found that the security from buying discounted gift cards from BJ's Warehouse (free one-day online pass) or Sam's Club are the only ones we feel comfortable using. Tried to buy a discounted gift card from Raise.com and Disney said it wasn't a legit gift card....we got our money back from Raise.com but it wasn't worth the hassle.

We have started accumulating Bing Rewards (free to get) and once we get enough, we get a $25 Wal-Mart gift card. Since that's where I buy groceries, I get a $25 Disney GC with my groceries purchase and use the $25 Wal-Mart card to pay on the bill....then the Disney GC was free.

Hope this helps! Love hearing how everybody saves money for their trips...We've gotten lots of great ideas and tips from these forums! :)
 








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