Keeping Costs Down

Discussion in 'Disney for Adults and Solo Travelers' started by disneyophile, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. disneyophile

    disneyophile Earning My Ears

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    I'm considering different options for traveling solo in fall 2019: Cruise versus WDW versus using a VRBO studio vacation rental near a beach somewhere.

    I am wondering what tips WDW solo travelers have to keep their WDW trip costs down that does not include finding a friend to share accommodation costs. Also, I do not want to stay off-site. As a former frequent WDW traveler with friends and family, I now find myself without travel companions but still have the desire to go.

    Thank you for your suggestions.
     
  2. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    Well, check out the Value properties first. Pop Century is very convenient and usually inexpensive, though if you want to save a little more, the All-Stars work too and are pretty similar from a room quality and amenities standpoint (I really only prefer Pop because of the location and bus situation).

    You can also save money with food. Try to do quick service and snacks more than full meals. You can also pack your own or bring some easy things for breakfast, like granola bars.

    That's all I can think of. The fact is, WDW is just plain expensive, so I know every little bit helps. I hope that you have a fun solo trip!
     
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  4. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

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    Actually the most effective way I've found to minimize costs is to stay offsite, which you've said you don't want to do. Even with a rental car, it ends up being cheaper for me. And many of the offsite hotels include breakfast at no extra charge.

    For those who will visit for enough days in a year to make it worthwhile, other ways to lower costs are to get an annual pass, and maybe a Tables in Wonderland card.

    Another way to minimize costs of an onsite stay is to search what times of the year have the lowest rates, and go whenever it's the cheapest. If your circumstances allow you to do this, it can be a significant savings. For example, September is one of the cheapest times, but it's very humid then, and there is a risk of hurricanes. If you're willing to put up with that, it will probably save you money.

    Having some of your meals at offsite restaurants can also save money, but if you don't want to stay offsite then I'm guessing you don't want to eat offsite, either.

    Another way I save money is that I don't do any Dessert Parties.

    Even if you're staying in your own room, you can meet up with other Dis'ers at restaurants. If you both want the same entree or dessert, you can split the item, split the cost, and save money that way. I plan to be there in late October/early November 2019. A friend may be hanging out with me most of that time. @disneyophile, if your trip overlaps with mine, I'd be glad to meet up at a restaurant sometime that works with everyone's schedule.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
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  5. MikeNamez

    MikeNamez Mouseketeer

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    DaisyDuck001 had some good suggestions like finding the lowest rates if your schedule can accommodate that. I do this yearly and try to shoot for the off times, September or February. Also having an annual pass for food and room discounts is very helpful if you can justify, but that would probably only have value if you take 2 or 3 small trips a year or 1 long one.

    I'm never really in the room so I try to stay at a value unless I feel like splurging a little. Staying off property is something I would never do as having the Magical Express to/from the resort and bus transportation while on property also alleviates some unnecessary costs. I also like to drink a lot so staying "on campus" is a must, but who doesn't love being king of the bus at Midnight coming from Disney Springs, am I right! LOL

    The other two things are to share the room with friends which is always a giant money saver. This isn't always an option so my number one way to cut costs is having the Southwest Rewards CC. I've had the card for about 5 or 6 years and it was the best choice I've ever made because I haven't paid for a flight in that amount of time either. From Rhode Island direct to Orlando is typically $250-$350 dollars.

    One other thing to think about if you are flying down is to mix and match your flights which i also do sometimes. When searching flights dont always look at round trip, sometimes a one way can say you some money. The leg down on Southwest may be a good rate but Jetblue could have a cheaper one on the way back so compare a round trip with some one ways from different airlines.
     
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  6. krum

    krum Mouseketeer

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    Always take advantage of resort discounts. Stay at a cheap moderate or value resort. Avoid Victoria and Alberts at all cost!
     
  7. goofyernmost

    goofyernmost Aged to Perfection

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    I was going to suggest offsite staying, but, you ruled that out, so unless you skip meals there are not a lot of ways to save a significant amount of money onsite. So save up, if you enjoy the experience, cost should mean nothing. But, there are other ways to save literally thousands but it does require offsite accommodations.
     
  8. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    I stay at all star and can norms get a room for under just at 100 a night

    Also I bring my own food you can do like a meal a day you bring with you also Sam club has discounted gift card I think Costco and target dose too
     
  9. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    I pack food I can eat in the room (especially breakfast and snacks) and stay at a value resort. You can save a ton on food if you’re not a big eater. Also, I don’t do any extra-cost attractions/parties/etc as a base ticket (no park hopper) keeps me very entertained. The only thing I would spring extra for is a hard ticket event (Halloween party/Christmas party) for an otherwise non park day as these are worth every penny. I Love doing a hard-ticket event on my day of arrival.

    Budget Board here has tons of tips, https://www.disboards.com/forums/budget-board.22/

    I’ve never done a cruise but they seem really expensive and I’d probably be bored because I love rides!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  10. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    I was looking at offsite places and I was scared away by the reviews on the cheaper ones.
     
  11. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

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    Some of the cheapest offsite places may indeed be not what you want. However, there are also mid-range offsite places where you can get a larger room and more of certain amenities than you would likely get onsite. The same amount of money will buy you more space and services offsite than onsite. For quite a while I was staying onsite because I liked the theming of the rooms, but now as each hotel is refurbished, the room theming is being almost completely removed. For me, this makes staying offsite appealing, as I can get the same unthemed room for way less money offsite than onsite.
     
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  12. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Yeah, the room costs on-site are getting higher too it seems. And now that they charge for parking every night at the resort it makes it even more expensive for people that aren’t big fans of Disney park buses.

    When I do Disney I try to be out of my room as much as possible doing fun stuff. All I need is a clean, bug-free place to sleep, shower and wi-fi. I do appreciate a mini fridge, but could easily live without it for the right price.

    For people who like spreading out in large spaces with extra amenities like mini kitchens, offsite is a much better value than similar properties onsite.
     
  13. RedK

    RedK Mouseketeer

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    It's a little thing, but I usually eat instant oatmeal for breakfast. The coffee makers in the room can produce hot water, perfect for the oatmeal. That saves me $10-25 per day, and it's easier for me to eat some quick oatmeal and get to the park on my schedule rather than doing even a quickserve.
     
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  14. goofyernmost

    goofyernmost Aged to Perfection

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    I've stayed in a large number of those places and since I only use them as a base of operation, I have never been disappointed and have never paid over $60 per night in any of them. Are they the degree of theme that you find onsite, no, of course not, but, since I don't use it for entertainment the theme is of no importance to me. The one time I stayed on site I don't remember ever seeing any of the theme when my eyes were closed and I was asleep. I also go in mid to late February when prices are generally lower. I have never had a place that wasn't clean, they had more space in the room and free parking (important now). I could walk to a number of restaurants close to the hotels because, it is a tourist area and they are everywhere and even when I had to get in the car to go, it was simple and didn't take long at all. I try to stay in the 3 star ones when I can. As with anything we can be disappointed, but, that can be caused by expectations that were to high, or not prioritizing the reasons for what we do choose. And one has to take my word for it. You can get to any park as quickly, if not quicker, then waiting for a bus going to or coming from the resorts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  15. loves to dive

    loves to dive DIS Veteran

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    I travel solo a lot, to WDW and other places as well. I find when I'm solo I don't really eat a lot, I'm not a big eater to start with and often when I'm by myself I'll just grab a snack instead of a meal. I do split stays with a couple of nights in a value or moderate then move over to Swan/Dolphin, that helps cut some costs down for lodging and you get the best of both worlds. I never pay rack rate for a room. As I said, I rarely eat a big meal but I'm not a fan of bringing my food from home, I'm on vacation after all. My meals are normally:
    For breakfast I'll either go to the food court at the resort and get a kid's breakfast, if I'm staying at a moderate or a deluxe, I make coffee in my room and get the bottled water with the meal. If I don't go to the food court, I usually get some sort of pastry in the parks, they all have them or I'll get a yogurt at the resort.
    For lunch it really depends on my mood and where I am when I get hungry. If I'm there during F&G or F&W, I'll just eat at the booths at Epcot. Any other time I'll either get a kid's meal at QS and save the fruit for later because the sandwich is usually plenty for me or I'll get some sort of snack other than a sweet. I love the fried rice at Yak and Yeti QS at AK and it's considered a snack.
    For supper if I'm eating at TS I'll usually just get an appetizer and maybe a salad or an appetizer and a dessert. I like to eat at lounges and just get small plates as well.

    I don't snack between meals very often so it's just the three meals. I do drive down so I have what I call driving food for the car, things like trail mix and fruit and that goes in my room in case I want something late at night. I don't drink soft drinks, just my cup of coffee in the morning and water the rest of the day with a refreshing adult beverage thrown in every now and again.

    I don't buy things to take home in the parks but that is just because I go often but even if I'm somewhere else I rarely buy things, I just don't need things to have to clean.

    I have an AP which helps with discounts on merchandise and food and I also have a TIW card this year. I don't always have one but my son was with me in May and it's pretty common for us to spend $150 on a single meal so it paid for itself for this year.
     
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  16. NYIrunDisney

    NYIrunDisney Mouseketeer

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    The value resorts are very affordable and nice. We've only ever stayed there because we're hardly ever in the room. We also like to order groceries from the Garden Grocer who will deliver what you order to your hotel. That will save you LOTS of money on food and beverages.
     
  17. Wild4Walt

    Wild4Walt DIS Veteran

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    I've gone both onsite and offsite solo trips and I recommend staying onsite. Resorts offsite may be lower in price BUT offsite you'll need a shuttle/uber/taxi to/from the resort. Offsite transportation to the parks can also be limited.

    The nice thing about traveling solo is you can book the lowest price airfare and not have to worry about getting buy in from another traveler. That can save a few bucks here and there.

    Using ME back and forth saves rental car or uber rates.

    Book your resort now, but check back often for specials ( they run every few months ) to possibly get a lower price on the hotel.

    How many days are you looking at doing? I usually do at least 5 days ( one for each park and one pool day ).

    Pool at the resort vs. going to a water park.

    QS for sure but I usually would do at least 1 nice TS as a treat for myself.
     
  18. kwdw

    kwdw DIS Veteran

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    To keep on-site stays at WDW costs down (assuming plane travel in this response):

    1) Pick the cheapest value resort at the time of year you can go. If you have flexibility - check for cheapest weeks. Avoid Friday and Saturday nights as those are higher if its a short trip. Stay on top of when discounts are released.
    2) There are a lot of food options you can bring with you - even on an airplane.
    3) Buy a case of water at the resort. Last I heard - those were significantly cheaper than the parks.
    4) Buy only a base ticket.
    5) Use DME and Disney's free transportation only. No rentals, ubers, etc.
    6) Define your budget for "stuff" before you leave and stick to it.

    Note that I typically plan one TS meal per day. One meal with food I brought with me and otherwise - a snack or a QS meal.
     
  19. YawningDodo

    YawningDodo DIS Veteran

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    Keeping costs down on a cruise versus on WDW really depends mostly on whether your heart is set on a Disney cruise or if you're considering other cruise lines. I've only ever cruised with Disney; I went solo and I had a fantastic time...but it's a very pricey option. DCL's solo supplement is a full 200% (meaning you're paying the same for just yourself as it would cost two passengers to sail!), plus DCL's fares are very inflated compared to other cruise lines to start with. You can kind of keep cruise costs down by limiting how much extra food and drink you buy (food and drinks are included; alcohol is not) and by not booking port adventures (I didn't do any on my cruise and didn't feel like I was missing out, but if you want to do any guided tours or activities in port it'll cost you), but for the most part a cruise is a set-cost vacation, and that set cost is high for a solo traveler. I did the math and figured out that it was actually cheaper for me to do WDW than to go on a Disney cruise for my 2020 trip.

    As for WDW, a huge one is finding resort discounts. I recommend going to MouseSavers and digging around in their WDW section; they have a ton of information available. Not only do they have historic prices for each resort at different times of year, they have information on which kinds of discounts have been offered for each resort in recent years, and information on when those discounts have become available. Nothing's set in stone, of course, but you can use all of that to pick a time of year that's most likely to see a discount and know in advance what time of year you can expect to see the relevant discount go live. I'd still guess high when budgeting, since there's never any guarantee you'll get what's been offered in the past, but it can be a huge advantage all the same. Also, if one of the discounts you're eyeing is Free Dining, be sure to do the math on that and make sure it's really the best discount for you (it's super tempting and I've always kind of wanted to have my dining paid for that way, but it's not always the best deal!). Especially as a solo traveler with lower overall food costs you'll probably benefit more from a room discount.
     
  20. Ginger03

    Ginger03 Mouseketeer

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    If you can go when Disney offers free dining, that’s a big discount even for a single person. Even if you don’t take full advantage and buy the most expensive meals, it’s often more than the 15-20% hotel discount. To save more money, check in on a Sunday and out on a Friday as weekends are more expensive.

    I followed the first part of my advice, but not the second. Off in a couple of weeks to Pop with QSDP for a week long vacation. A friend is joining me for half the time. Lots of snack credits for Food and Wine booths!
     
  21. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

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    Another way I save money is that when I first arrive, I buy a case of water, and use that during the trip to cut down on the high prices of buying one bottle at a time onsite. If you're renting a car, you can stop on the way in from the airport to buy the water. If no car, you can order a case of water from a grocery delivery service, and have it delivered to your resort. Even buying a case of water from your resort gift shop is probably cheaper than buying individual bottles onsite. (However, the cases sold onsite that I've seen are smaller bottles and fewer number of bottles, and pricier than offsite, so for me, buying the case of water at the resort would be the last resort.)
     

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