Looking for help to make this trip a reality

gottalovepluto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
This sounds like a once in a lifetime type trip for y'all so I can see why you want to stay on-site. I'm not going to try to dissuade you on that, I love being in the Disney bubble! I will chime in and agree drop the PHs. I like PH when I'm traveling with all who are 21+ as we like to dine in EP in the evenings and do other parks during the day but if I had kids and teens I think I could stick to one park/day and it wouldn't crimp our trip.
 

gottalovepluto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
As for not eating pb&j in-room, I totally understand that. But it is sensible to eat some meals in-room. We are light breakfast eaters, so we usually eat breakfast in our room before we head out. It isn't fancy, usually a protein shake for me and cereal or frozen waffles for DH and DD, but it fills us up and saves the $35-40/ day we would spend at a quick service for breakfast or the $100 we would spend at a sit down. We also typically have an evening or 2 that we spend at our resort and just have a frozen pizza, publix subs, or salad for dinner. We aren't huge eaters, so having too many sit down theme park meals is not a fun vacation for us, but I know for other families the dining is the highlight of the trip, so it really just depends on your style.
How do you cook frozen food in your hotel room? How do you even keep it frozen? ....Unless you're in a dvc type room I guess?
 

Rosarum

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
OP here! Thank you all so very much for the replies and advice! There are so many people I want to reply to, but that would take forever. And a few options I hadn't considered before, so thanks for that.

This isn't a once in a lifetime type of trip, as all of my children have been to WDW before, even though the youngest doesn't really remember. However, this will probably be the last Disney trip we take as a complete family before the older kids start living their own lives. That's why I am trying for 2020, but will take 2021 if I have to. There's DS19, DS14, DS8, and a kind-of adopted son that lives with us who is a legal adult.

While I appreciate the recommendations of staying in a rental house/condo, we really do want to stay on-site. The last time we went, we stayed in a wonderful rental house, and although the house was beautiful with a great pool and we saved a lot of money, we didn't enjoy that vacation as much as the previous times when we stayed on property. For us, that magical Disney bubble is real. So for this last family trip, we want to stay on-site.

I also did think about and look into the DVC rental points, which is a great option! That was my initial plan, but given my particular situation, I don't think it'll work out for us, unless I completely give up the 2020 idea and push it to 2021. You have to have the money upfront for the points, which I could have in a few months, but that could lead to other sticky situations. For instance, they recommend booking pretty far in advance, so there could be some hiccups if I wait too long. Also, they don't really do cancellations, so for that option, I'd have to give up the hope of 2020.

The Park Hopper thing. While I understand completely that I could save $4-500 by ditching the Hoppers, I don't really want to. In the grand scheme of things, those few hundred dollars isn't going to make or break the trip. We like the flexibility and freedom it will offer, especially since everyone except the 8 year old is old enough to go and do things on their own. Plus, we tend to do a park during the day and go to MK every night. We enjoy coming down the waterfall of Splash Mountain while the fireworks are going off. We like it when the lines are short because everyone is watching the parade or fireworks, and then take their small children back to their hotel rooms. It's something we enjoy, and going to MK at night is one of my husband's favorite things, so I don't want to give that up for a few hundred bucks.

I'm going to look into the Bonnet Creek thing, which I'm unfamiliar with. Honestly though, I think my safest bet is to plan for 2021, and if the saving goes really well, I shouldn't have a problem booking a couple of value rooms for Jan 2020 even in late fall. You all know how it is though! You get thinking about a Disney trip, and you get all googly-eyed, trying to think of all the different options to get you there. Thanks again for all the advice and help!
 
  • Happy814

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    January is during Play, Stay, and Dine. In general, I don't find the dining plan is a good value, but we went once during Play Stay and Dine and I was able to make the dining plan work to our benefit (i'm a little obsessive and do all the math!). I've never done this, so maybe someone with more experience could chime in, but what about doing two value rooms (Pop!) and having one room upgrade the Play, Stay, Dine offer to deluxe dining so those credits could be shared?

    Then, you could save up by buying discounted Disney cards.
     

    robinb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    Thank you for more information.

    If you were to rent DVC, you would have to get a 2-BR for 6 people. 1-BRs only sleep 4-5 people. 2BRs are about $3700-$4700 per week which is probably out of your price range. I would stick with the Value resorts since you categorically don't want to stay offsite to save money. Here is a chart of historical discounts: https://www.mousesavers.com/historical-information-on-walt-disney-world-resort-discounts/#codetrends . Be aware the discounts on value resorts are on the low end (only 15-20%) and Art of Animation (especially the Little Mermaid section) is often not included. Rack rate during "value" season at All Star Music would be $1750 for 2 rooms (https://www.mousesavers.com/2019-all-star-music-room-rates-season-dates/) or one of the suites ... check the link to match up your dates with when you DH can get time off. Prices get jacked up for Marathon and MLK weekends. The 'Play Stay and Dine" special would probably be your best bet if it's offered next year. This thread mentions its approximately a 40% discount on the Quick Service Dining Plan https://www.disboards.com/threads/stay-play-dine-2019-calculation-thread.3708403/ . the QSDP is about $53 per Disney Adult and $24 per Disney Child or $289 per day for your crew. The Play Stay & Dine discount would bring that down to $174 which is not bad considering most QS meals are between $12-$15 each for just the food (no drinks).
     

    Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    January is during Play, Stay, and Dine. In general, I don't find the dining plan is a good value, but we went once during Play Stay and Dine and I was able to make the dining plan work to our benefit (i'm a little obsessive and do all the math!). I've never done this, so maybe someone with more experience could chime in, but what about doing two value rooms (Pop!) and having one room upgrade the Play, Stay, Dine offer to deluxe dining so those credits could be shared?

    Then, you could save up by buying discounted Disney cards.
    I'm unfamiliar with the Play, Stay, and Dine. In fact, I've never done the dining plan before. I've looked into it just a little, but I'm not interested in the lowest cost counter service one, and the others seem to be pretty pricey. To be fair though, all the food at WDW is overpriced so dining plan or out of pocket, it's expensive to eat there! What's this Play, Stay, and Dine thing? Is that like free dining? Because it would be awesome if I could get some kind of deal to cut the food/spending costs, and I could make my possible 2020 trip a definite 2020 trip!

    Tell me more! And about the upgrade to deluxe, too.
     

    robinb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    I wanted to make this a separate post ...

    I am feeling a bit of a disconnect in your posts. You ask to "Please help me make this happen" but then you shoot down all the money saving suggestions made to you, including skipping park hoppers saying that the extra $520 (the difference I just calculated for a week of PHs) won't "break the bank". Is Splash Mountain every night during fireworks really worth $75 per night?!? I get it. We all have our priorities and onsite in January only with PHs are yours. Unfortunately, filling those requirements doesn't leave a whole lot of fat to trim.
     
  • Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    Thank you for more information.

    If you were to rent DVC, you would have to get a 2-BR for 6 people. 1-BRs only sleep 4-5 people. 2BRs are about $3700-$4700 per week which is probably out of your price range. I would stick with the Value resorts since you categorically don't want to stay offsite to save money. the QSDP is about $53 per Disney Adult and $24 per Disney Child or $289 per day for your crew. The Play Stay & Dine discount would bring that down to $174 which is not bad considering most QS meals are between $12-$15 each for just the food (no drinks).
    So much information and links to go with it! (Sorry, I had to edit my quote of you, since I don't have enough posts to include links.) Thanks, you're awesome! I think I still get mousesavers newsletters in an old, ancient email. I'll have to sign up with an updated email to get the latest info. And I'll be looking into those links.

    I made an interesting discovery about renting the DVC points. While renting a 2 bedroom generally does run between $3-5k, I noticed that in January 2020, a value AKL Studio is only about $900. Two of those would easily sleep 6 of us. The three oldest in one studio, with my DH, myself, and DS8 in the other. So that's only $1800 (plus some fees, I'm sure), and that's actually on par with two value rooms. But again, that has to be booked pretty far in advance (they say 11 months), and there's no safety net to reschedule. If I have to push to 2021, that will probably be the route I take.

    As for the Stay, Play, and Dine, I'm definitely going to look into what that is, when they offer it, how likely they are to offer it again. I was budgeting about $300 per day for food, with a little extra in case we wanted to do one or two nice, sit down meals. That's a huge chunk of change, but since there are so many of us, and since Disney food is so expensive.... But if I could reduce that by over $120/day, that would make a huge difference in the total cost.

    I am also thinking about getting one of those points/cash back credit cards. I don't use credit cards at all (got in trouble with them when I was much younger), but I'm thinking that if I could do it properly, I could earn at least a few hundred dollars in points or cash back to go towards the trip. I also need to figure out these discount gift cards that I've seen people posting about.
     

    Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    I wanted to make this a separate post ...

    I am feeling a bit of a disconnect in your posts. You ask to "Please help me make this happen" but then you shoot down all the money saving suggestions made to you, including skipping park hoppers saying that the extra $520 (the difference I just calculated for a week of PHs) won't "break the bank". Is Splash Mountain every night during fireworks really worth $75 per night?!? I get it. We all have our priorities and onsite in January only with PHs are yours. Unfortunately, filling those requirements doesn't leave a whole lot of fat to trim.
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to make it seem like I was shooting things down. Yes, I was asking for advice to make this trip happen. It is all very uncertain right now, with a million thoughts and possibilities going through my head, so I may come off a little spastic.

    My main reason for the post, and the biggest question I had was about the cancellation policies, and hoping for advice like yours about the Play, Stay, and Dine information that I had no idea about. Also, the Bonnet Creek thing someone else mentioned. Let me explain my line of thinking so you'll understand my logic a little more.

    My husband and I tend to be the people that if we were to put money in a savings account earmarked for WDW, we might decide once we get a bit of money saved, we might want to do something else instead. So I came up with this possible plan that if I booked the vacation, I could send Disney that money instead of holding onto it myself. I don't have it, I don't see it, I can't really spend it. Sort of like a Disney Savings Account that I don't have immediate access to. And if things didn't go as planned, and I didn't quite make the goal, I could just delay it for a year. I guess the biggest thing I was asking, can I do that? Would that work without too many problems?
     

    robinb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    I made an interesting discovery about renting the DVC points. While renting a 2 bedroom generally does run between $3-5k, I noticed that in January 2020, a value AKL Studio is only about $900. Two of those would easily sleep 6 of us. The three oldest in one studio, with my DH, myself, and DS8 in the other. So that's only $1800 (plus some fees, I'm sure), and that's actually on par with two value rooms. But again, that has to be booked pretty far in advance (they say 11 months), and there's no safety net to reschedule. If I have to push to 2021, that will probably be the route I take.
    I'm a DVC member and own at AKV. An AKV Value studio is nearly impossible to get. They get snapped up at the 11-month DVC booking window. Right now they are TEN days available in the entirety of the next 11 months.
     

    robinb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to make it seem like I was shooting things down. Yes, I was asking for advice to make this trip happen. It is all very uncertain right now, with a million thoughts and possibilities going through my head, so I may come off a little spastic.

    My main reason for the post, and the biggest question I had was about the cancellation policies, and hoping for advice like yours about the Play, Stay, and Dine information that I had no idea about. Also, the Bonnet Creek thing someone else mentioned. Let me explain my line of thinking so you'll understand my logic a little more.

    My husband and I tend to be the people that if we were to put money in a savings account earmarked for WDW, we might decide once we get a bit of money saved, we might want to do something else instead. So I came up with this possible plan that if I booked the vacation, I could send Disney that money instead of holding onto it myself. I don't have it, I don't see it, I can't really spend it. Sort of like a Disney Savings Account that I don't have immediate access to. And if things didn't go as planned, and I didn't quite make the goal, I could just delay it for a year. I guess the biggest thing I was asking, can I do that? Would that work without too many problems?
    Many people do exactly what you're talking about doing and it works for them. I'm not 100% sure but I think you can always upgrade and your money will be applied to the upgrade (other DISers, please correct me if I'm wrong). So, you can start your "savings" plan now with 1 night (room only) and start contributing to The Mouse. Worst case, they will refund your money and you can reapply it later. IIRC refunds are made to the method of payment so keep your Disney Gift cards in a file once you use them in case you need them later.

    There is a ginormous thread on finding deals on Disney Gift Cards:
    https://www.disboards.com/threads/disney-gift-card-deals.2941964/page-1813#post-60069227

    Things change in the GC world petty quickly so it would be best to only read the last 10-20 pages.
     
  • ThistleMae

    Falling More in Love Every Year!
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2015
    We've always gone with a large combined family with kids and grandkids. The least expensive way to stay onsite with a family of more than five is to book two value rooms. We enjoy Pop Century and with the new Gondolas, that will add another layer of transportation we can use, which will be nice. We have gone during free dining and we've bought the dining plan. It really depends on how you eat, and where you eat to figure out that value. In recent times we've given up eating at the different resorts for dinner because it always seems to interfere with our FP+ times, especially because we book dinning first, then when FP+ opens we have to work around our reservations and it never seems to work out exactly right. So we have decided to eat more counter service, or at some of our favorite lunch places in Epcot and eat lighter at night. This decision has decreased our food budget. If you really want to go and stay on site and get PH, which we always get, you'll figure out how to do it exactly the way you want. Best of Luck!
     

    siren0119

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2018
    In terms of the dining plan, there are good websites out there to help you figure out whether a DP is worth it for you. The QS plan on this year's rates is $53 per person per night for adults and $24 per child (age 3-9) per night - for your group, that works out to a cost of $290 per day for 2 quick service meals and 2 snacks per day. If you think you'd spend more than that, then the QS plan plus paying for a couple of sit down meals makes sense. Free dining is never really free, if the dining plan is free that means that there are no discounts on the rooms. But sometimes the cost works out in your favor.
     

    Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    I'm a DVC member and own at AKV. An AKV Value studio is nearly impossible to get. They get snapped up at the 11-month DVC booking window. Right now they are TEN days available in the entirety of the next 11 months.
    Yes, I've read that they can be difficult to get, which is why I said it would have to be 2021 instead. I would need cash in hand and all my ducks in a row, and a bit of luck.

    But, if I did that, the stay, play, dine option would be off the table, correct? So staying in two value rooms and saving 8-900 on the food budget would work out way cheaper.

    Again, I want to apologize if I made you or anyone else feel unappreciated. Any miscommunication was totally my fault. I guess the title was misleading, as i didn't mean to help make A Disney trip possible, as in getting me there by any means necessary, but more along the lines of making this particular trip possible. Again, thank you for the time and tips you've given.
     

    Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    We've always gone with a large combined family with kids and grandkids. The least expensive way to stay onsite with a family of more than five is to book two value rooms. We enjoy Pop Century and with the new Gondolas, that will add another layer of transportation we can use, which will be nice. We have gone during free dining and we've bought the dining plan. It really depends on how you eat, and where you eat to figure out that value. In recent times we've given up eating at the different resorts for dinner because it always seems to interfere with our FP+ times, especially because we book dinning first, then when FP+ opens we have to work around our reservations and it never seems to work out exactly right. So we have decided to eat more counter service, or at some of our favorite lunch places in Epcot and eat lighter at night. This decision has decreased our food budget. If you really want to go and stay on site and get PH, which we always get, you'll figure out how to do it exactly the way you want. Best of Luck!
    We've never stayed at POP, but people really seem to like it. I have no idea about gondolas, but they sound interesting. Thanks for rooting me on!
     

    Rosarum

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2019
    In terms of the dining plan, there are good websites out there to help you figure out whether a DP is worth it for you. The QS plan on this year's rates is $53 per person per night for adults and $24 per child (age 3-9) per night - for your group, that works out to a cost of $290 per day for 2 quick service meals and 2 snacks per day. If you think you'd spend more than that, then the QS plan plus paying for a couple of sit down meals makes sense. Free dining is never really free, if the dining plan is free that means that there are no discounts on the rooms. But sometimes the cost works out in your favor.
    I've never done a dining plan, as it just seems expensive, but again, I've never priced it out. I've never gone when there was free or discounted dining, so this is all new to me. It's definitely something I need to research better though!
     

    siren0119

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2018
    Yes, I've read that they can be difficult to get, which is why I said it would have to be 2021 instead. I would need cash in hand and all my ducks in a row, and a bit of luck.

    But, if I did that, the stay, play, dine option would be off the table, correct? So staying in two value rooms and saving 8-900 on the food budget would work out way cheaper.

    Again, I want to apologize if I made you or anyone else feel unappreciated. Any miscommunication was totally my fault. I guess the title was misleading, as i didn't mean to help make A Disney trip possible, as in getting me there by any means necessary, but more along the lines of making this particular trip possible. Again, thank you for the time and tips you've given.
    They aren't just difficult to get - they are nearly impossible. We have tossed around the idea of buying DVC and were initially thrilled at the idea that the value studios at AKV are so low in points, thinking we could do a low point contract and be able to still go with some frequency. But the reality is there are only 8 dedicated value studios in all of AKV, 18 total when you count the studio-1BR combinations that can be turned into a 2br. as a PP had mentioned, the people who own points at AKV have those values fully booked at 11 months out, shortly after bookings open. And January is during prime DVC season, the regular hotels are off season but that's when the timeshare owners like to come down.

    realistically, if you were going to look at renting points, you would be better served to look at two higher category studios, or a 2br DVC rental. There is at least some availability in those categories.
     

    Happy814

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    I'm unfamiliar with the Play, Stay, and Dine. In fact, I've never done the dining plan before. I've looked into it just a little, but I'm not interested in the lowest cost counter service one, and the others seem to be pretty pricey. To be fair though, all the food at WDW is overpriced so dining plan or out of pocket, it's expensive to eat there! What's this Play, Stay, and Dine thing? Is that like free dining? Because it would be awesome if I could get some kind of deal to cut the food/spending costs, and I could make my possible 2020 trip a definite 2020 trip!

    Tell me more! And about the upgrade to deluxe, too.
    Play Stay Dine is a promotion that is usually offered during Jan/Feb/March. It involves a discounted dining/room/ticket package. You can head over to the Disney Resorts board and check under the Resorts Discounts sub-board, i'm pretty sure there's a thread on there from prior year that breaks out the value of the PSD offer.

    You could book two adults and the 8 year old on the PSD in a value room and pay to upgrade your dining to deluxe. With the deluxe, you get 3 table credits per day (includes an app, entree, dessert, drink) and the credits aren't differentiated between adults and children. You could book the other three adults on a room only discount also in a value. You can use the excess amount of credits to pay for meals for the three that aren't on the dining plan. You would have to do the math to make sure that it would work.
     

    starry_solo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2010
    Play Stay Dine is a promotion that is usually offered during Jan/Feb/March. It involves a discounted dining/room/ticket package. You can head over to the Disney Resorts board and check under the Resorts Discounts sub-board, i'm pretty sure there's a thread on there from prior year that breaks out the value of the PSD offer.

    You could book two adults and the 8 year old on the PSD in a value room and pay to upgrade your dining to deluxe. With the deluxe, you get 3 table credits per day (includes an app, entree, dessert, drink) and the credits aren't differentiated between adults and children. You could book the other three adults on a room only discount also in a value. You can use the excess amount of credits to pay for meals for the three that aren't on the dining plan. You would have to do the math to make sure that it would work.
    Except you might not be able to use the credits for the other people that aren't on the dining plan. There have been reports (on other portions of the board) that some restaurants aren't letting you do that (table service). They scan the magic band and know exactly how many people are in the room. Counter service is a different animal though....

    @Rosarum : if you look at renting DVCs, remember to look at standard studios or above (savannah) for Animal Kingdom. It is extremely unlikely that someone will have a value studio to rent since they are extremely impossible to get to, unless the owner is "walking" and at that point, they would likely want a premium for the time it takes them to walk the reservation. Plus, you would have to consider it a non-refundable reservation, payable 11 months in advance (some owners might be willing to take payment plans, but many are not). The other thing with DVC villas are that, other than Old Key West (OKW), there is only one queen bed and one sofa bed. So, someone would be relegated to sleeping on the sofa bed for the duration of the trip. Some people find the sofa bed to be uncomfortable.

    You should probably look at two value rooms.

    What is your budget?

    You could save by purchasing discounted Disney gift cards, but then you've tied up all your funds into money that can only be spent at Disney. If something happens and you cancel the trip, you're stuck with thousands of dollars in Disney gift cards.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News




    Top