How should I go about planning Disney?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Microcell, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Microcell

    Microcell <font color=red>No, no,no, those red signs with th

    Mar 17, 2004
    My Dh is traveling alot so he is earning a free flight and, if it is the right way to go, a free hotel for Orlando- a Mariott on I drive or somewhere else even. I think he also has rewards and we could have a free or really cheap car too. It should be free for five nights I am thinking next spring or so. That makes me think Disney should be more affordable with only having to pay for three air flights, food and tickets to WDW.

    My question is, would staying off site really save us money, or are all the good deals better to do with hotel included? I love staying onsite, but if it is enough of a savings, we could go earlier than my three year rule! :banana:
  2. stahshee

    stahshee wheres my Camero?

    Feb 5, 2005
    I would get what ever you could for free! :cheer2:
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  4. jeepgirl30

    jeepgirl30 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2003
    While "free" sounds good you have to consider the extras you don't get with off site.

    On site you have free transportation. You don't have to worry about paying for parking. Personally, I hate driving on vacation. Part of vacation is the luxury of being transported where I need to go. I don't want to worry about directions, parking, etc.

    If you go in Sept you can get free dining with your package. That can be a huge savings.

    My parents took us when we were younger and stayed off site. The whole trip is a blur because my mom is CHEAP. Not budget minded, cheap. We stayed really far away and only had 2 days in the parks. The only things I really remember are space mountain and long long waits to get to the park. Everyone was tired and grumpy.

    I've gone several times as an adult and will only stay onsite.

    You'll get both sides of the coin here!
  5. Microcell

    Microcell <font color=red>No, no,no, those red signs with th

    Mar 17, 2004
    If given the choice of on or off site, I would choose onsite, I just wonder if we can make it a doable trip with off site.
  6. Juliah

    Juliah DIS Veteran

    Mar 6, 2004
    Could you compromise and stay off site the first part of the trip, then spend the last couple of nights on site for a treat?
  7. aka-mad4themouse

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

    Dec 14, 2004
    I would start by figuring out how your freebies can be applied to the trip. You have one free airfare but what about the other 3? Is there a way to pay for any of the other 3 using some sort of freebie (credit card points, free companion tickets, etc.)?

    Staying onsite is nice but there's no way that you can get cheaper than free. If your DH's hotel points are with Marriott, then you won't be able to use them onsite. A split stay would be nice but it would entail renting a car or paying for a taxi to move between resorts. If I were trying to do this as inexpensively as possible, I would opt for the offsite resort. If his rewards points are flexible (like AmEx or Diner's Club points), then you might be able to use them for a stay at the Swan or Dolphin by transferring points into a Starwood Preferred Guest account.

    If you get started with rewards programs, you might be able to add to your freebies by getting Marriott Cheques to pay for meals or room charges at a Marriott resort. is a pretty reliable program that's been around for years. They offer a $25 Marriott Cheque for 3250 pts. You can check their redemption area to see all of the other rewards that they offer, like Rainforest Café GCs. is another one that is very reliable and sends their rewards quickly. Disney Dollars are among the various rewards that they offer. You can redeem for as little as $5.00 on Disney Dollars for 1100 pts. Hey, every little bit helps! Another rewards site that is catching on is They also offer Disney Dollars as a redemption option but you need to earn $20 before you can cash out. And don't forget! You don't have to use it for college savings and you don't have to shop thru their site to earn cash. Just register your frequent buyer cards and your credit cards. Whenever you shop and use the registered cards at participating stores, your account gets credited accordingly. Painlessly easy to do and the pennies add up over time.

    If you have the time to waste, there are always free tickets to be had just by sitting thru a timeshare presentation. It's not something that I would prefer to do while on vacation but if it meant the difference between going or not going, I'd do it. Another possibility is to use those Marriott Rewards points to get passes. Right now, it takes 50,000 for a child's 4-day hopper (a $213 value) and 55,000 for an adult 4-day hopper (a $250 value). Otherwise, you best ticket prices would be thru one of the reputable online ticketbrokers.

    And don't forget to start a change jar! That change jar can yield quite a bit of money if you're disciplined about feeding it. You can designate those funds to help pay for meals, souvenirs or anything else in your budget.

    Have fun trying to figure out how to maximize those rewards into a Disney vacation. I think that it can be done. You may not go for free but you can certainly cut the costs dramatically!
  8. dizagain

    dizagain DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2004
    Hi! We've stayed off-site at Marriott Village in Lake Buena Vista and we would definitely stay there again! Look into it - the village includes a Marriott Courtyard, Springfield Suites, and a Fairfield Inn I believe. We stayed at the Suites and got a great deal...I found that when I checked into booking it always seemed the prices were lower on Sundays. There is a food court, store, free breakfast, and the pools are very nice. The Suites had an outdoor bar and a hair-wrap station. We were usually parked in the WDW parking lot within 10 minutes or less.

    I think if you have free Marriott points you should go that route. We've stayed on-site as well and sure, we liked it better, but free is always best in my book! Have fun planning! :)
  9. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Sep 29, 2002
    There is also a very nice Residence Inn in Lake Buena Vista on Marbella Palm Court. That's a great option if you need a little more space.

    Personally, we prefer to stay offsite so I'd go that route.

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