Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Rosarum, Jan 10, 2019.
We always stay in a condo with a full kitchen
I totally get this! Many people would much rather save up for the exact trip they want rather than cut things out in order to go sooner. (My family has done both at different times, and I think both ways of thinking are valid.)
Between hitting quote and getting to the end, I see the OP already explained, but I was also going to say the question sounded more like "tell me what has changed" than "help me save". But I know there are a lot of options at Disney that I don't know much about, so all ideas are great to hear!
We stayed at POP a couple of years ago and really liked it. It wasn't "fancy" but it was fun!
We are only a group of three, so I haven't needed to ask, but I've heard that faxing room requests works best, so if you want to get two rooms next to each other, try that.
If you are serious about the credit card idea, there is a Disney Visa through Chase. You rack up points, then call and they transfer that money to a rewards card that you can spend at the parks, resorts, etc. (There are also some character photo perks and a 10% discount on Disney retail purchases over $50 and at a few restaurants when you use the credit card there.) But obviously sign up with caution, and stick to a plan!! I use mine for groceries, etc. and then pay it off every month. (We also payed our trip balance with it - but again, we had saved that money in an account first, so it was right there to pay the bill before here was any interest charge: that's key!) Between the trip we took about two years ago and the one we just took, I earned about $400 in points.
If this is a dream of everyone in the family, get them involved in the saving! When we wanted to stay at a deluxe instead of our usual value or moderate, we started a savings jar. We all threw loose change in it, but we also got creative with other ways to add to it. (For example, if DS asked to stop for fast food, I might offer to make sandwiches and throw X amount n the Disney fund instead, or if we made friendly bets on things, the loser would put X amount into the jar.) Before it got tempting to dip into it, I would deposit it into a dedicated savings account (or you could just make payments toward your booked trip).
Good luck, and have a great time!!
FYI - there is a whole thread for POP lovers if you want to check it out. We love POP, even better than some of the Deluxe resorts. We managed to get four rooms in a row for our group when we went. Love the pools and the food court. Just a thought.
I did have some qualms about a sofa bed, knowing that generally speaking, a sofa bed isn't very comfortable. My line of thinking was that my DS8 probably wouldn't have too many issues. He's a little fella and doesn't have any problems sleeping anywhere. For the older three, they could rotate the bed/sofa bed if it's uncomfortable so that no one person is stuck on it.
The two value rooms is probably what I will end up going with, just because the cost seems pretty standard throughout most of the value resorts, and they shouldn't be too difficult to get (they don't have to be adjoining or even next to each other since the kids don't need any kind of babysitting). It'll make it easier for planning and figuring out the budget.
The total budget is somewhat flexible and not any exact number yet. It's kind of like, let's see how much money I can save up in a year. DS19 and my kind-of adoptive son have no problems contributing, but that will likely be a small amount here and there. I was able to save $12k last year for a down payment on a house, so I know I can come up with a decent sum of money, but I'm not trying to scrimp as much as I did last year. My initial calculations for room/tickets/travel/food/spending is about $8k, which is doable, but stretching it. Rooms/tickets I'd like to keep around (under) $5k, and I'll need the rest for travel and food, unless I can get a deal like Play, Stay, Dine or some other discount offer. If I could get a discount on a package or a dining plan, that would give me some wiggle room (making it easier to hit the savings goal -- or upgrading to a moderate resort, or maybe even adding another day or two if the saving is going well). Anything more than $8k for complete and total cost of the trip is not doable, or will have to take two years. Getting the total cost to about $6k would assure that I could get there this time next year (but playing with the numbers, for the trip we want, that's far-fetched). It's still in the very early planning stages, but as a group discussing it, the general consensus is PH's and on-site. We don't need to eat fancy or at sit downs, and we aren't big breakfast eaters, so there could be extra money in the food budget. But I remember getting hot dogs, fries, and drinks and it costing $50-60, and that was years ago, so I don't want to under-guess the cost of food. It would be terrible to get there and be short on food money!
We're driving, from NC. It's about 750 miles each way. 1500 miles round trip, plus any driving around the parks or sight seeing we do. I don't know what the gas cost would end up being, or how much gas will be a gallon, so I'm just saying $500 for travel. $300/day for food, which should be fine for mostly QS, with a couple of sit down meals. Six days in the park, because we generally just go home on check out day, but we will still hit fast food on the way down and the way back. We won't need much in the way of souvenirs or other spending. But I know everyone will want a t-shirt and maybe some other little trinket, so maybe $400? That's $3k. Does that sound right to others here?
As for the gift cards, getting stuck with Disney gift cards if something went wrong did cross my mind. I'm still weighing the pros and cons. But keeping an eye out and picking up a couple here or there wouldn't be the end of the world either. I'm just trying to get it worked out in my head, and I guess I'm thinking out loud.
Thank you so much for the support! We haven't been to WDW in years, and we likely won't go back for a number of years after this trip. It will probably be DS19's last big family vacation with us. If PH's and on-site makes them happy, then I want to at least try to make it work. It's still very early in the planning stages, and six months from now, I may have to re-evaluate everything, but for now, this is what I'm trying to do. For now, it's possible, but not definite. Little tips and tricks, like if I could get the Stay, Play, and Dine and save about $8-900 could make a huge difference in making this trip happen.
One plus about 2 value rooms, if someone wants to sleep and others want to stay up a while, you can gather in one room to watch tv, talk, play games, etc before going to bed. I’m a night owl. I like to sit up and read, surf the internet, snack, etc, before I go to sleep.
Also, if you charge things to your room, any other left over gift cards can be used to pay towards those charges.
I say just book ur trip for 2020 and go, u never know whats going happen or change, 2021 is not guaranteed. It seems money is def not an issue as ur goin with some expensive options, so dont wait, book ur trip and have fun...as far as food expense goes, i think its def cheaper to pay as u eat unless u plan on fine dinning every single day ur there. If u plan on having the entire family sit down and eat at the fine dine together every night and during the day u might save with dinning plan, otherwise u can pick a couple nights to fine dine and then just snack and eat counter food cheaper out of pocket. There is also services that will go pick-up snacks and groceries for u and deliver to u rite there onsite. U could then bring small snacks with u to snack on through out the day to help keep cost down and then ice water is free at all the parks so no need to carry bottle water or pay for it, u can get free cup of ice water at almost every place that has food n drink.
I agree, especially with older kids who might want to split up, you probably won’t all be ready to eat st the same time. If you want the older kids to contribute, tell them they can buy their own snacks and such while they are off doing their thing. Those things add up quick.
@Rosarum : so to help you estimate the costs of food, you can look at the menus at allearsnet.com
If your family members are big soda drinkers (or coffee or iced tea from the soda machines), consider a refillable mug (good only at resorts, not the parks). You don't need one for each member of the family (they can share) Also consider having canned soda delivered to the resort (Amazon Prime or Amazon Prime Now if you're a member) - which you can bring into the parks when you eat at counter (quick) service restaurants - just ask for a cup of ice. You can cut down on snacks cost by having snacks delivered (shipped) to your rooms too. If you like popcorn, get the refillable popcorn bucket. It's $10-15 with one serving, but then each additional serving is $1-2 and if you're there for 1-2 weeks and eat popcorn daily, you'll definitely save.
If you're iced water drinkers, you can get free iced water at any counter service (or table service) restaurant. Some people don't like the taste of Florida water, but it tasted fine to me (I'm from CA). You can also order bottled water to be delivered if you don't like the taste of FL water.
If you end up going on site, consider running the numbers on getting just yourself an annual pass. You would get memory make included (so that's $160) but more importantly, it includes park parking. Plus you get 20% off on most purchased items and a lot of food venues too (and room discounts).
Join us in the I Love Credit Card thread on this budget board - and we can help you with points too.
***slowly raises hand*** whispers quietly... "Galaxy's Edge"...
(Seriously no one mentioned that elephant in the room... you are talking about the time literally a month after the most anticipated change to the parks ever. If you are even considering January 2020 book now. Let's be honest- there are not going to be discounts- I mean- I know- that's just my opinion but why would they discount anything? Plus throw in Marathon weekend and MLKJr. weekend)
A rewards CC is one way to earn some extras, though the Disney card doesn't usually give as much bang for the buck as some of the other Chase cards. As long as you pay off your balance every month, you can build up quite a nice little nest egg putting your normal purchases on the card. I encourage you to look at the Credit Card thread for some possibilities.
Also check out the Disney Gift Card thread. Many people are able to get GCs for 10%-20% off or more. At the low end, buying at Target using the Red Card (credit or debit) gives you a 5% discount, which adds up. If you've converted your money into Disney GCs, it becomes money you can't really spend on something else, which makes it a default Disney Savings Account.
I agree with PPs that you should not count on AK value studios, because even for a 2011 trip, you probably won't get them. And @thiabelle is right in thinking you will probably not see room discounts for Jan 2010, either because of the opening of the new Star Wars land. There might be some, just because so many families still won't take their kids out of school at that time, but the discounts are likely to be much smaller than in previous years, and the room availability will be low.
If you THINK you MIGHT want to do January 2010, book 2 value rooms now. You will only have to pay a deposit for one night (so the cost of 2 nights), and that will be fully refundable up to a week before your scheduled trip. That gives you plenty of time to save up for the actual cost of the rooms and park tickets. If you need to cancel and postpone, it will be easy to do so.
I'll have to second this one. Don't expect any discounts during this time. And book now!
- A number of people are suggesting off-site, and -- yes -- it is unquestionably cheaper. I've done on-site, and I've done off-site. While both were enjoyable, they were quite different trips. Off-site is great for family time, lazy breakfasts, evenings playing board games ... but on-site is best if your goal is lots of park time. Since you have two young adults, Disney's transportation would likely be a big deal for you.
- I have young adult kids too, and I understand the concept of wanting to "do this right" since it's probably a last family vacation. Hopefully it won't actually be "last" ... but it'll probably be last for a while since your young adult kids will be focused on school /early career for the next decade or so.
- At the same time, it's hard to do a budget trip AND "do this right", meaning do everything. Something may need to bend, and I'd suggest making it the peanut-butter-sandwiches-in-the-room. I suggest you decide that breakfast will be in the room each day AND you'll bring plenty of granola bars, etc. rather than buying any snacks at the park. I'd also skip souvenirs; they typically end up as yard sale fodder the next summer anyway. These three small things -- breakfast, snacks, souvenirs -- can add up to financial "breathing room" in other areas that mean more for the trip.
- I'm not a big fan of the Disney meal plan. As someone else said, nothing's ever actually "free", so likely you'd pay a premium for the rooms. Also, if you're spending lots of time on sit-down meals, you're riding fewer rides. Have you defined your priorities for this trip?
- You said speak to you like you're a child ... I suggest you break things into pieces. Choose your room SOON, reserve it, and put down a deposit. A couple months out, buy your tickets from one of the authorized online sellers.
- I suggest you figure out how much you're likely to need, how much that means per paycheck, and have that amount directly deposited into a savings account ... a savings account at a bank separate from your usual bank, a savings account for which you have no ATM card. Make it slightly difficult to get to this money. This make-it-automatic system is better than gimicks like coin jars, etc.
If you stay on site, no need to get an AP for free theme park parking because you will get it included as a benefit to staying on property (but you'll need to pay go park at the resort)
Definitely look at the menus and run the numbers for the dining plan. I do it every trip and it never saves us money (unless we do the DDP and do a character meal every day).
Oh, wow. Okay, see these are things I don't know since I haven't been keeping up with the Disney Universe. I was planning on avoiding MKL weekend. I don't know when the Marathon is. And I only briefly heard something about the Star Wars thing opening sometime this year, but I didn't know the opening would be so close to my hopeful trip. That could be a monkey wrench. I guess I'd better get this planning turned into action sometime real soon.
I'll have to look into when marathon weekend is and be prepared for no discounts. Thanks for pointing it out.
-Lots of park time is the goal, as well as everyone being able to get to where they want/need to be without much of a hassle, so Disney transportation is really nice in that aspect.
-Yes, I agree. Hopefully it's not "the last ever" but I know that things will likely be very different in the future.
-We aren't big breakfast eaters, so pop tarts or cereal bars will probably be something we do anyway. When I said no PB&J in the room, I just meant that many years ago, in this forum, there were many posters who were planning on doing things like feeding their family of 5 ramen noodles every night for dinner. I refuse to try to feed 6 people on a $62 budget for 7 days. Cutting corners, like eating some muffins in the room before we head to the park, that's cool. Keeping an eye out for some kind of dining discount, sure thing. But making grilled cheeses by candlelight is not going to happen, lol.
-In my research in the past, I've always steered away from the dining plan, because it didn't add up in my favor. I haven't calculated it recently, but I'm guessing it hasn't changed much. I always felt like Disney is making some money for the convenience of not having to worry about food budgets and having it paid for in advance.
-In my initial post, that's what I was thinking about doing -- booking some rooms now, paying into it, adding some tickets later (through an authorized retailer, if it was easy enough to pair up with MDE), with the safety net of rescheduling. But I see that if I use an authorized retailer, it might not be so easy to reschedule that, although I don't really know how easy or difficult that is.
-The saving is the hardest part, simply because I'm a seasonal worker. I still work now, but it's a tourist place, so my income is affected this time of year. I have about 8 months to save up what I need, with 3-4 of those months being able to save bigger amounts of money. I'm not an hourly employee with a regular paycheck, so it's a little harder.
Thanks so much for the tips! I will take this into consideration, and my first step is to try to get a plan in place and rooms booked!
I would start a paper plan... The ultimate trip... and the budget...
Then start running the numbers and run them some more and more...
I would look at AoA for a family suite, it sleeps 6 comfortably, has 2 bathroom, 2 tv's plus is has a door that can be closed, so if you want some privacy or have a sleeping baby in a pack and play you can close the door... plus a kitcheny kinda area for snacks, microwave ,is nice for warm up something and fridge to keep drinks and such in...plus there is room for the stroller if you have one... and keep a check on what 2 rooms at a value would be... I would look at the dinning plan to see if it would work for your family... Take into consideration events like a run Disney or some type of festival is going on... this will effect the rates...
See what the rates for room, PH tickets, and dinning packages - are right now, then realize that there will be rate increase's. I'm not sure on the percent that they go up each year... If someone else has an idea... Please chime in... ( If you want park hoppers just get them)
I would go the gift card route, buying gift cards that you can get a deal on and save them... Like at the warehouse stores, or target that offer discounts on them...
Ask for Disney or Visa gift cards for your birthday, anniversary, Christmas and save them for you trip, you can use to spend on the trip itself or while you are there for meal, drinks, and souvenir's.
If you are traveling by car, don't forget to include gas, stopping for meals and such along the way...
If you are flying don't forget parking at the airport, or cost of getting to and from the airport to home, as well as food and drink in the airport... You never know when flying if you are going to have a lengthy layover that is not planned and have to get a meal...even fast food will be costly... plus drinks liked bottled water, or soda... another thing when flying if you have a baggage fee don't forget to add this into the budget... with 6 people that can get costly... but there are 6 of you... 6 carry-on's plus personal items... get creative...I have a friend that has a larger family than you... 8 in all... and they normally only check 2 bags and everything else gets carried on and personal items... and one of the bags if full of snacks and the other is whatever... she send her family into the park and she does the laundry... sit at the pool enjoys a adults beverage or two... reads and relaxs... poor thing needs a nap after all that laundry... she is a sneaky one...
Start a travel box or Disney box - to put in things that you will need for the trip - create a list for every section Air/travel - Room - Parks... things like earbuds or headphone for everyone, neck pillows depending on how long the flight is and if they are necessary... backpack, cross-body, poncho's/rain-jackets - Don't wait till the last minute to get everything...
Spend time on the board looking at menus, figuring out if the dinning plan is going to work for your family... If you are wanting to have some TS meal and character......run the numbers and then keep running them...
Get the whole family involved in the planning, and focused for saving for the trip... cutting out thing like stopping for fast food - eating out - whatever ... it goes in the Disney fund, have a garage sale, all the proceed go to the Disney fund... when the whole family is involved it makes it easier to save... you could even create some type of poster so that everyone can see how much you have saved, and working together is fun as well they are learning money management, and when you hit your goal... it will be almost time to pack...
For me you might want to push it to 2 years out that way you can save more and possibly do more and have some extra spending money for the trip... and even maybe a surprise for your family... like a dessert party or a hard ticket event, or a back stage tour...
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