Friday, May 09, 2008

Destination Disney -- Disney on a Budget

There are money-saving tips and tricks, even at Walt Disney World. What are they? Do you have secrets to share? In what ways does your family save money? Where can you cut back?

I don't have much to contribute to this discussion, but I did learn a few things in the course of my PR/Press weekend at Disney that I can pass on:
  • There are affordable on-site properties. At less than $100 a night, the All-Star hotels also offer all the advantages of being on site (Magic Hours, transportation, Disney magic).
  • The longer you stay, the more affordable your park tickets become. If you take a week-long vacation, your per-day price is going to be much less than a shorter trip.
  • This isn't so much budget as value, but what I kept hearing over and over again was to enjoy your vacation. Don't run yourself ragged every day, because you are thinking about the money that you are spending on park tickets. Focus on the overall experience.
I can offer a few general tips for budget travel:
  • Figure out your budget (for food, souvenirs, etc) and use cash. You are much less likely to overspend.
  • To cure your children of that affliction that seems to strike in every souvenir shop (which is a part of any trip we've taken), give them responsibility over their budget. Figure out how much you would spend on extras, and give it to them. When I did that with my nine-year-old last summer, it saved a lot of fighting, debating, and begging.
  • I know that some people won't buy into this, but I read this somewhere, specifically about a Disney vacation. The mom bought a lot of Disney items--T-shirts, hats, figurines--before her trip (at a discount store). She gave her children one "souvenir" each night of their vacation.

Next week's topic is Disney Hotels and Resorts. Tell us specifics--where do you stay? Why do you choose to stay there? Are there any non-Disney owned properties that you would recommend? If you've stayed in several properties, I would love to read a run-down of each of them.

People did link up throughout the week last week, so if you didn't read through all of the entries about Planning Your Trip, you might want to check back. Thank you all for linking up and sharing your experiences in the comments. The posts are full of websites, books, and planning strategies that will benefit each of us in future planning.

Last week I offered up a prize, and the winner is Lisa (Goldeelox) from Life, Love & Craziness. She's currently planning a Disney honeymoon and wedding, so I hope that I can offer her something from amazon to make it even more special.

If you would like to share your tips for Disney on a Budget (and I hope you do), please link up to the specific post on your blog, or leave some of your favorite tips or a favorite money saving experience in the comments.


Dana said...

Hi Jennifer,
Great tips, I didn't put it on mine, but we have done that (stock up on sale items at the Disney store and then act like we got them on the vacation!!) Our oldest is about old enough to wise up to that, but she is also old enough to handle her money :)

thanks for hosting this!!!

Katrina said...

Again, I'm looking forward to everyone's tips. I was one of those people who thought staying on the Disney property would be way too pricey, until a friend informed me that there was a huge range of prices and we could find a room to fit whatever budget we had.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

You are so right about the value resorts. They are very reasonable (and fun). Plus, you don't have to worry about any transportation. They transport you to and from the airport and between all the parks for free. That is very convenient!

oh amanda said...

Got mine up! You have some great tips. Mine are all just made up from my adventures...I don't think I'm as savvy as the rest of you! :)

Lisa (Goldeelox9) said...

I won I won! I never win! I will be playing along this week too! I am the budget queen!

goldeelox9 said...

I won I won! I never win! I will be playing along this week to! I am the budget queen!

Anonymous said...

When our family went we worked with a travel agent (because we were too chicken to do it on our own). He got us a great deal on a room with a garden view of the lagoon. Our issue is having 5 in the family. A lot of the discount hotels only let you have 4 in a room. We just had fun each day and made sure we all came back with a shirt and something fun too.
-martha the roommate

Julie said...

Great tips, I'm glad to hear that the people you met on your trip were aware and had ideas for saving money. I have my post up (almost forgot it was Friday lol) and look forward to seeing everyone's contribution.

Kristenc said...

Lots of good ideas here. I just added a link to my blog. Thanks for hosting the Carnival, Jennifer!

HipWriterMama said...

One of these days, we'll make it to Disney. Thanks for the great tips!

Happy Mother's Day!