What Disney expenses will you forgo next time?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by friedela, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

    Nov 15, 2017
    We had our first visit in February and while it was an amazing trip, there are definitely a few things that we won't be spending money on next time around:

    #1) Disney food
    The quality when compared to the cost was SO hard to swallow! We did 1 character meal (CRT) which was a one time thing and I am happy we did it for our first trip, but next time we will pack all of our food and enjoy it much more than shelling out a fortune for lacklustre food. I can't say how delicious a fresh Taco salad was on our last day of Disney, and knowing it only cost about $20 to make was awesome! When I look back on it it seems kind of insane how much time I spent trying to get ADR's and how much WORRY went into not getting the right ones, or if we picked wisely, etc... we still would have had an incredible trip had we not spent one cent on park food!

    #2) Magic bands and skins
    We didn't stay on property so we bought magic bands thinking they would add to the whole experience, but they really didn't at all. They sat in our stroller and didn't get used beyond our first day to get into the park. I can't see the convenience of them if you aren't staying on property but again, I didn't want to miss out on anything and convinced myself we NEEDED them to have a perfect trip! So not the case!

    #3) Souvenirs
    There just isn't anything that Disney is selling that I care to bring home with us. My DD was insistent she wanted to use her entire budget on an Anna dress, it was almost $60 USD which in Canadian dollars at the time was about $80. She wore it once in the park and it's sat in her drawer ever since, lol. Pretty much every souvenir we bought is now collecting dust :worried: That's about $250 down the tubes!

    What about you? What sorts of things will you not shell out for next time? What do you regret spending money on?
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  2. barkley

    barkley DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a

    Apr 6, 2004

    about the only on property food we ever think of as kind of must for us are a few individual food items we can get fairly inexpensively-a couple of dishes at the rose and crown and a trip to the house of blues. this is largely b/c both of dishes we can find either done at or done well anywhere near home. beyond that we mostly eat at places off property-often chain restaurants that we either already have or in preparation sign on as loyalty members for (timing it so those free offers w/initial sign up are in effect during our trip). i just find disney's food overpriced and subpar for the most part.

    magic bands don't appeal to me-can't see the big benefit. i can just as easily carry a card in my pocket.

    as far as souvenirs go-when the kids were younger we would wander through the shops but then either take them to the disney outlet or the nearby walmart b/c they had the bulk of anything the kids wanted and when they saw how much farther their souvenir budget would go there they were happy to get more bang for their buck. i've got some figurines that i regret spending money on in the parks (pins as well) but at least w/the figurines dd recently rediscovered them (in a box i had stored) and was thrilled to take them to decorate her apartment so they are getting a second life.
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  4. brockash

    brockash DIS Veteran

    Jul 16, 2008
    For sure most souvenirs. I just cannot justify the price. I cut down a lot this past trip. $10 for a magnet?? just couldn't do it. Same with mugs.

    Pretty sure we're not going to get photopass next time. One thing we used to really value out of it was the waterpark pics, but they were getting harder and harder to find and then this past year there was not 1 photopass person at either waterpark the whole time we were there. - We go end of Aug/Labor day week each year and apparently they've stopped having photopass ppl at the water parks except for peak summer. That was REALLY disappointing.

    After this trip, we'll also go back to only staying at values and have even started looking offsite. Again the prices are just insane at this point in my opinion.

    Extras/Parties I think we'll significantly cut down. In my opinion the parts especially are just too crowded to be fun and we go during a pretty slow time, but for the first time we Def. won't be doing mnsshp next year and I'm not sure when we'd go back for that.

    Once our kids are fine skipping chatacter meals I dont think we'll do the dining plan either - it's just not worth the cost. Even with character meals I'm not sure it's the best option for us.
    lambdabeta and ramee like this.
  5. OhMari

    OhMari WDW PreTrip and Trip Moderator Moderator

    Apr 23, 2000
    I feel the Dining Plan for me, made me over eat. I know changes have been made, which is good. The only benefit of the dining plan, is having it paid off. One year we paid out of pocket, or a few years we did, and we either broke pretty even, or actually did pay more. Disney food is very expensive, and Disney pretty much has it down to a science how much th average person will spend on food. I have a friend that has 2 teenage boys and they go during free dining and she will upgrade and pay the extra. Her boys devour food. I agree food at Disney is insanely expensive, and not that great. You really need to know where the hidden gems are.
  6. goodeats

    goodeats DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2005
    Next trip at least one of my children will be a Disney Adult, so we will definitely not be doing much, if any, buffet or prix fixe dining where she would be charged as an adult. It just wouldn't be worth it. So no character dining for us. We splurged last trip, and did CRT, Tusker House, Narcoossees, Artist Point, etc and spent an obscene amount on food. I really enjoyed some of the QS places and will do more next trip.

    I will probably do less park days and only 7 nights in a hotel which adds savings next trip.

    While I am intrigued by the EMM or the Disney After Hours event, I'm pretty sure we will never ever pay for a dessert party. The desserts don't even look that great, and I'm just not that into the evening shows. I would rather watch HEA from Big Thunder than see the projections.

    Also, after doing MNSHHP and MVMCP once I will most likely not repeat them unless my children really want to.
  7. StacyStrong

    StacyStrong DIS Veteran

    May 8, 2018
    Usually I don't do any extras. In December I'll be doing MVMCP and TSL EMM. After that, I don't imagine doing extras again for awhile.
  8. jen7233

    jen7233 DIS Veteran

    May 1, 2005
    We are cutting costs on our trip by hotel choice and airline reward miles.

    We will do magic bands and the photopass. I like the magic bands personally, and DH wants the photopass but I could do without it. Dining, that's a tough one but I don't think we do too bad as we don't do many of the $$$ and $$$$ table service or character meals. On the early park mornings I've got a quick breakfast for us, so we don't do the sit down breakfasts.

    Extras/Dessert Parties: We don't do them. I rather have park time than scheduled places to be for an expensive dessert. I know, I'm sure there's great seating and fireworks views, and things like that, I just don't feel like doing it.
  9. Ladyandthepuppies

    Ladyandthepuppies Mouseketeer

    Jul 12, 2017
    I 100% agree about Disney food - it's not good and it's very expensive. We are skipping the dining plan and not eating at as many restaurants. We were very disappointed by the food and it's definitely not worth it to me.

    I'm also skipping park hoppers this time around, I'm not sure if it will be worth it or not. I loved park hopping on our last trip but for a short trip it didn't seem worth the added expense.

    We are staying at the Contemporary but splurged for a castle-view last time. With 2 very little ones, we figured it was our only chance to see the fireworks in MK and the Electrical Water Pageant. And it was really nice to see them, but it was one and done for us. The "castle view" was a letdown. It's pretty tiny, even having prepped myself that it would be small, it was still a bummer.
  10. jodifla

    jodifla WDW lover since 1972

    Jan 19, 2002
    Because we go so much, we had already trimmed out most extras. We have our DVC, cook probably 60 percent of our meals, eating maybe one meal a day out for lunch and skipping some. No souvenirs there -- we get deals elsewhere. We did have the premium pass this year because of the great DVC deal, so we are enjoying the photo pass, waterparks etc. It's a real treat.
    mom2rb, disneybirds and Marionnette like this.
  11. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

    Sep 26, 2009
    Yeah. I've been a lot and for me Disney is a budget mini trip these days. I stay offsite, I eat offsite except for some counter service when I am at one of their parks, and don't buy souvenirs (nothing wrong with those, but just not my thing). I usually go annually, but just for four nights/three days -- a relative visit day (I have relatives who live in both Orlando and Tampa), a day at SeaWorld (lovely park, not that pricey, and one some relatives always have a season past to, so often come along), and a day at one of the Disney Parks (usually the MK). I don't do any of the extras -- special meals, dinner packages, parties - tried too many in the past and think they are overpriced for what is offered. I think the parks are super fun though and offer a good value, even though they are an expensive admission (fun splurge for sure). I've never done photo pass, but then DS who travels with me is a photographer.
  12. shh

    shh DIS Veteran

    Dec 10, 2013
    Do lots of WDW trips and have always stayed onsite at values, but changing to offsite, since the parking charges were added. Hate the new remodeled look and given the new room check policy and daily parking fees, there's just too much value to be had offsite.

    Used to do a party on occasion, but not since they jacked up the prices. I like many of the CS places and have zero interest in cooking on vacation. But never felt the TS meals were worth the cost overall - we usually do one per trip as a treat and eat a few others offsite.
    lambdabeta and brockash like this.
  13. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Sep 29, 2002
    Same here. What I find myself cutting out at this point is things that I actually like and would happily spend on but Disney has raised the price so high that it is ridiculous. For example, I used to treat myself every trip to a caramel apple with nuts. It was the only time or place I would ever get one. But they used to be about $4 not all that long ago. They're now up to well over $6 so I'm out. I enjoy them but I'd rather put that money toward something else.

    We used to have lunch at Crystal Palace every trip because we liked the food and are big Winnie the Pooh fans, but Disney has priced that out of consideration as well. Lunch is now about $50/person I think and we are 3 adults (our daughter is 23). No way in hell are we spending $150+ for lunch.

    Those are just a couple of examples but you get the idea.
    Amy&Dan, neatokimmo, snowwite and 5 others like this.
  14. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

    Dec 15, 2003
    Can't say we'd eliminate anything.
    We don't book a Disney trip until we have the money FOR a Disney trip.
    LizzyS, azdisneylover and Sydney2977 like this.
  15. MaggieBags

    MaggieBags Mouseketeer

    Feb 14, 2009
    Fun topic!

    We'd do the Christmas party again but not Halloween. We are doing an Early Morning Magic this upcoming trip but only because we are going at a very busy time - wouldn't have otherwise.

    Paring down on TS meals. Cha-ching!

    When the kids are older we'll start to stay offsite. It's lovely to be just a boat ride away from bed when they are this little.

    Photopass was a bit of bust for us because my husband never wanted to stop. Only did it once.
  16. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

    Nov 15, 2017
    Same here! We have never gone into debt for a vacation either :) It's not a matter of if we HAVE the money or not, but more about not being willing to spend copious amounts of money on stuff that just isn't worth it. $250 for 1 dinner is obscene. Sure, I have the money saved, but I would rather spend it on another park day somewhere else rather that 1 meal. It's more about determining if the money spent is equal to what you get back in value and for me, those 3 things (Disney food, Magic bands and souvenirs) and just not worth the money IMO.
  17. lambdabeta

    lambdabeta DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2017
    I think the extras are what I would eliminate first. I wouldn't do an EMM. I think they are too expensive for what you get. The dessert parties are also not the greatest value. I haven't been to MNSSHP but I have no desire to go since reading the recent reports about it. MVMCP is also something I don't think is worth the extra money. We went last year and I think it is way to crowded to be able to enjoy it. The food is also another thing I agree with other posters on. It really is expensive for the quality of food you get in most of the restaurants.
  18. dhardawa

    dhardawa DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2007
    Likely staying offsite or renting DVC points.

    Definitely eating less in the parks. We always go during free dining, but I think I can do better offsite and paying for food outside the parks.
    halfpintpeggy likes this.
  19. tasha99

    tasha99 DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 2006
    We go every year or two, though most often to DL. Just got back from a DL trip with my daughter, and for the first time, we had a regular room instead of one with a kitchen. Won't be doing that again---food at DL is good, but costs are high. I'd rather pick a meal or two to have out, but eat the rest in the villa.

    We are selling our WDW DVC points, so in the future, we will be staying offsite and renting a car. That'll be a first for us, but the kids are grown and we'd rather eat in non-Disney restaurants.
  20. adamak

    adamak DIS Veteran

    Aug 7, 2000
    Time. Time for planning. Time at the park. Time to maximize everything. Frankly, being in the park from 8 am till 10 pm is more hectic than work, esp with kids. I am DVC, so we can (kinda) afford to go more often. But we've been conscious about not putting too much effort into the park. It is expensive and draining in a way. So we now go and maybe do the park 1 out of 3 days. Spend the rest of the time laying by the pool.

    Always agreed with the overpriced food, esp character meals. We're totally done with that.
    Amy&Dan, toonaspie and Miss Whimsy like this.
  21. Marionnette

    Marionnette Children see magic because they look for it

    Sep 26, 2009
    1. Disney Food - I agree that it is overpriced and often of less-than-stellar quality. However, when I'm on vacation I don't want to cook, wash dishes or plan menus. So, while we usually eat breakfast in our villa, lunch and dinner are frequently eaten in an onsite restaurant. I don't foresee this changing on future trips. It's a part of vacationing that both my husband and I enjoy. Instead, I do everything I can to reduce the OOP cost (choosing restaurants that offer a TiW, DVC, AP, or Disney Visa discount and buying Disney GCs at a considerable discount).
    2. Magic Bands and Skins - I don't invest in the specialty bands but I did pay for a black MB recently because my son was also in Orlando for a conference and I needed to transfer a 1-day ticket to him so that we could do F&W together for 1 night. Again, I got my 20% AP discount and paid with a discounted Disney GC. I also bought several MB skins from magicyourband, using cash I had earned from a rewards website because they're fun and I like them.
    3. Souvenirs - I won't purchase something just to have something to bring home. But I will buy something I like because I like it and cannot get it at home. Generally, it's a Christmas ornament or t-shirt. I buy gifts for people who look after my house and dogs while we are away. And even though that F&W t-shirt was $37 before any discounts, it was something I could not get elsewhere.
    Now, there are some things I just won't pay for. I tend to stay away from special events like EMM, MNSSHP and MVMCP. Been there, done that, no longer see the value in these. I don't do character dining, but that's because I travel with adults right now. I foresee us returning to character buffets when grandkids come along. I don't do the dining plans (unless it's for a single night) because they don't fit our style. But overall, if it's something I want to do (like Spirit of Aloha in April), I will find every discount I can get and apply it to my purchase. I look at vacations as a splurge to begin with, so every expense is optional. It's why I save, and bargain-hunt and make sure that everything is covered before I head out the door.

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