How do you afford multiple trips?

DisneyMama811

🇨🇦 Disney Dreamin'
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
 

Carol_

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
1. Hunt for discounts on value resorts using Priceline or Expedia, hotel tonight, travel agents, et cetera
2. Consider staying off property in an Airbnb or go to redweek and rent someone’s timeshare.
3. Eat off property sometimes.
4. Pack your own snacks like gummies.
5. Drink water.
6. Only eat one signature dining meal per day
7. Only reserve 4 park days at most
8. Pick up some Disney Gift Cards at Sam’s Club or Target (using their credit card) and pay for your room with them... and everything else at Disney.
9. Read the budget board suggestions about how to save and budget by not eating out, breaking up with Starbucks, making smarter financial decisions generally.
 
Last edited:

lalariner

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
We use credit card points to fly and stay at the Swan and Dolphin (we have a marriott rewards card). We also are DVC members but save our points for bigger trips with extended family.
 

ruadisneyfan2

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2006
We use a credit card that earns rewards so we rarely pay to fly (from Philadelphia). That saves a huge chunk. If we have a later flight in, let's say after work, we use credit card points to book the hotel inside MCO which is great for late arrivals. We wake up well rested in FL and ready to play instead of waking up at 3am for an early flight. We have tried that too and we're all cranky and snippy at each other by late afternoon.
We used to be able to book Disney hotels using Chase points but they stopped being part of that. God-forbid Disney allows people to find an alternate, legit way to fund a trip besides cash.

When our kids were little, dh would work overtime to be able to pay for vacations.
 

Wendysofftoneverland

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
We use discounts or stay at the campground, pack snacks, 4 or less park days per year, limit souvenirs (a lot of times we come home and buy end of year clearance shirts on shopdisney for less than $10), always drive instead of fly (we live in Southeast US), and still have 1 kid under 3 that doesn't need a ticket. If we do a character breakfast, we do it on a nonpark day and spend the rest of the day at the resort or riding Disney transportation. 1 day might be just resort and Disney Springs. So a 5 day trip might only have 2 park days, but we still feel immersed in the magic.
 

boop0524

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
We are fortunate enough to live within driving distance and not have kids. So those two things help us tremendously. However we have also saved a ton of money by staying offsite. No matter how great the bubble is, I just can’t justify the cost difference. Disney hotel prices are insanely high, but that’s just my opinion!! :cool1:

Anywho... imo food is where you can really be flexible and save money. We bring our own groceries and stay in a timeshare condo with a full kitchen. So we almost always do breakfast and coffee in the room. In the parks, I bring my own water and get cups of water (free) vs bottles ($). Drinks can be a big unnecessary expense. Lunches can sometimes be a simple Mickey pretzel vs a full meal if you’re not a big eater. Or if you’re up for it, pack a quick sandwich. Maybe you could pick one meal to eat in the park then do the rest outside, either cook it or grab something less expensive. Orlando has so many food options.

I travel with Disney gift cards that I bought at a discounted rate (Target, Sams) and use those throughout the trip for meals and snacks, merch, etc. It helps me keep track of what I’ve spent and is in itself a small savings. If you have a trip planned down the road, you can buy a gift card here and there or add them to your gift wish lists


Another thing to think about if you’re trying to save money on a trip and know you’ll be back in the future is what parks do you really want to see right now? Is it truly all 4 or would you be just as happy spending a couple days in the park and the rest of the time at Disney Springs and other places in Florida? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to check every box when you may not need to!
 
  • Wendysofftoneverland

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2017
    I forgot to mention, also we use credit card reward points, rarely go on weekends, and travel in off-times, like weekdays in January. We've also done timeshare tours a couple of times for discounted lodging or gift cards.

    As for saving tips, I would suggest aiming for a Sunday through Thursday trip. One of the boards here offers tips on Hotwire and Priceline deals, and sometimes you will find a good deal on a Disney Springs hotel with shuttle to the parks. If you are feeling adventurous, Ft. Wilderness has tent sites for less than $100 a night. Or if you aren't limited to summers and holidays, sometimes you can find a good deal on a Disney value resort. The All-Star resorts are within walking distance to a McDonalds. I have also brought breakfast and sandwich supplies to the hotel room (there is a fridge but no microwave). Sometimes in the parks we will order 2 big meals at a restaurant for 3 people to share. We try to spend less than $2K not counting the travel to and from Florida.
     
    Last edited:

    BadPinkTink

    Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

    savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
    I'm a solo traveler from Ireland and before Covid I visited California and Disneyland every year.

    My outgoings are very different to yours, I just have to pay for myself and I put money aside every month. My annual trip costs me about $4000, thats transatlantic flights, hotels for 12 days, food and transport, Disneyland tickets and spending money.
     
  • ENJDisneyFan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2016
    A lot depends on your income level and how you like to do Disney. We are a family that goes yearly and stay at a moderate resort. We don't really "save up" for the trip, we are fortunate enough to have the disposable income to take a big vacation every year as well as a few smaller trips to other destinations. There are plenty of ways to do Disney on a budget though....staying offsite is a big one (especially to save on food costs), using CC points to save on flights and offsite hotels, driving vs flying, etc.
     

    IceSkatingPrincess

    Forever mourning the loss of SpectroMagic
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2013
    We are fortunate to have an income level that allows us to travel and we don't have kids. We also prioritize nice vacations and spend accordingly in other areas. Additionally we fly almost exclusively on points which cuts down costs.
     

    Kitty & Covs Covs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2019
    I think once you start going more regularly (even every other year) you don’t look at the trip the same...that is, it’s easier to cut corners to make the trip affordable without feeling like you’re missing out on things. An earlier poster outlined a great list, but for us it means staying in a value hotel (or moderate right now because so many values are closed), doing less park days at a time (2 park days, 1 pool day, 2 travel days, for example), bringing our own snacks, and flying super budget airlines with close to no baggage. We can usually keep the trip under $2k this way, which is a lot but not prohibitive once a year or every other year.

    I am jealous of the posters who are like “11 days in WDW!!” but we’re just never going to be those people if only because of school, PTO, and other obligations. So I don’t even think about how much that would cost, ha.
     

    ucf_knight

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2017
    We live in Florida, have AP’s and use cc points to stay at swan/dolphin or stay at other resorts on property that have a full kitchen to make meals in the room. Disney is actually a pretty affordable vacation for us when we compare it to flying somewhere, renting a car, paying for excursions/sightseeing and eating out 3 meals a day.
     

    holden

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2005
    DH and I have visited WDW since we've been married. In the beginning we were on a very tight budget. This was back in 1995 (hello castle cake!). We...

    1. stayed in a rented timeshare offsite
    2. brought our own lunch into the parks each day (PBJ sandwiches, etc.)
    3. ate dinner offsite at chain restaurants
    4. used miles for airfare
    5. didn't buy anything extra like souvenirs
    6. visited during "off" times (like the first week of January)
     

    Meglen

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2016
    Use my disney visa to pay for everything. At the moment we have over 1k points for our upcoming trip. This will pay for all our food and souvenirs. I signed up for a jetblue card and got 50k points and than purchased our disney tickets with that card and got a 20k bonus which just payed for all our flights. Rented dvc points and got 6 days akl for about 2500.
     

    Marionnette

    Children see magic because they look for it
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2009
    1. We purchased DVC. Since we go yearly (or more frequently) and prefer the deluxe resort complexes, it just made sense for us.
    2. We buy annual passes. We use them for 2-3 trips during the year that they’re valid and make the last visit during the final week that the passes are active. We don’t renew. We take a year off and buy new APs when we return. As DVC owners, we can purchase the gold AP for much less than the cost of a regular AP.
    3. We cook in our villa. Breakfast every morning. Lunches on non-park days and one or two dinners. Much cheaper than eating out.
    4. We use credit card rewards points to pay for airfare and car rentals. We have a small business and almost all overhead goes on the card.
    5. I purchase Disney GCs to pay for incidentals and some meals. I look for deals that get me around 10% off the face value.
    6. Vacation money is a line item in our budget. It’s a lot easier to spend the money when you have earmarked it for that purpose. It’s much harder when you’re choosing between vacationing and purchasing new living room furniture.
    But having said all of that, it comes down to having an upper middle class income and no debts. If we had a mortgage, car payments, student loans and credit card debt it would be impossible to achieve the above.
     

    Forevermarypoppins

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2015
    booking at times w/ a discount
    getting free dining
    getting deals w/gift cards
    a savings acct strictly for vacations
    Giving up many things, unseen but known to me. (=$saved)
     

    ShazzySteph

    Is it time to plan another trip yet?
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2020
    My husband and I are in our mid-thirties. He works in web development and I'm a supervisor for account servicing. We're fortunate to have enough disposable income so that we can take a trip each year (sometimes to Disney, but not always). Candidly, our combined income has nearly doubled in the 10 years we have been together. That said, much of our day to day spending hasn't changed in those 10 years (aside from paying a bonkers amount for childcare the last 4 years). Our life isn't frivolous. Our home is smaller than most of our friends and our corresponding mortgage payment is also much smaller.

    I recognize we are fortunate. Traveling and spending time together as a family are very important to us so we prioritize those things in our budget.
     

    Connect

    TODAY'S HEADLINES


















    Top