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Old 10-30-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
Rubygoose
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Cheap Cheap Cheap! Disney on a dime PTR

*UPDATE: Our trip is set for Aug. 21st to 28th, 2014! So, you can just forget about all of the December talk in the first couple pages of this ptr.

So excited to be writing a pre-trip report! Our trip is in the VERY early stages of planning, and over a year away. But I had so much fun writing my TR from our summer trip, so I thought I might as well get started early. I'm planning to include all of the savings strategies that I'll be using, and hopefully that won't seem too tacky. I love to save money and it's very costly to travel anywhere from Vancouver Island, but my goal is to do this trip using "points", "miles" and any other little bonuses I can gather. I'm not quite setting a budget yet, rather my goal is to keep the entire trip under $3000, including airfare for 4, hotel and park tickets. Lets see if I can do it!
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Pretrip report and budgeting strategies Aug 2014 http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3193168
Trip Report from July 2013 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3160807


Last edited by Rubygoose; 04-09-2014 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
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Hi! I'm on board!!
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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Hi! I'm on board!!
Welcome!
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Trip Report from July 2013 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3160807

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Old 10-30-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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Introduction

The who, what, where, when why and how of this trip:

Who: taking this trip will be my family: K-BAG (Kati, Bryan, Annalise and Gavin)

Kati- that's me.

I'm a Mom and substitute teacher. Silvermist gave me the title of "craft fairy" after seeing the autograph books and hats I made for the kids in July. I enjoy crocheting and have started up a blog http://katididcrochet.blogspot.ca/ (that I often ignore) along with my (equally ignored) facebook page http://www.facebook.com/KatiDidCrochet.

Bryan- my hubby of 9 years. He loves Disneyland, the Canucks and Star Wars.


Annalise, a.k.a Annie, aka Annie Roo, aka the reason we buy travel medical insurance - Loves Minnie mouse and princesses and can't wait to be tall enough to ride california screamin'.


Gavin, aka The Goose- more cautious than his sister, but was brave enough to ride all the 40" rides. He loves the fab 5 and is getting interested in Star Wars. Oh, and he loves flirting with the ladies!


What: this will be a budget friendly, air miles, companion fare inspired trip.

Where: we'll probably drive and take a ferry from Victoria to Seattle, then fly out of Seattle, since it's so expensive to fly from Victoria. We really like the John Wayne Airport compared to LAX, so we'll hopefully get a direct flight from Seattle to SNA. We will stay offsite, probably across the street at Ramada Maingate, BWPPI, or Fairfield Inn. However, Disney sent me a pincode for this December to stay onsite, so maybe they'll send up another one. We'll do 3 days in DL and DCA. We'd also like to fit in Lego Land and maybe San Diego Zoo. (I originally wanted to go back to SeaWorld, but Bryan and I watched "Blackfish" so now I don't want to give SeaWorld any of my money.)

When: December 2014. Not sure exact dates, but probably after Christmas. We could go before, but this would mean either taking the kids out of school and missing their Christmas Concert, or spending Christmas day away from home. So, we'll likely go Dec. 26th or there abouts.

Why: because we love Disneyland! Also, because we have 2 companion fares with Alaska Airlines that expire Feb. 3rd. So, we'll book our flight as soon as the dates we want appear and before Feb 3rd. Also because I've been racking up airmiles and will hopefully have enough points for at least 2 3-day park hoppers.

How: still figuring all that out! Gavin loves to watch Special Agent Oso on the Disney Jr. Channel (so glad to have that channel here in Canada!) Oso always has 3 Special Steps to complete his assignment, so my 3 special steps are... Step 1: Get a bunch of credit cards. Step 2: spend a lot of money and earn a lot of airmiles. Step 3: Go to Disneyland!

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Pretrip report and budgeting strategies Aug 2014 http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3193168
Trip Report from July 2013 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3160807


Last edited by Rubygoose; 10-30-2013 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:50 PM   #5
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I love to budget, even when we don't have to! I am planning our first trip to CA, and probably our only trip to DL, for March 2014, so I'm definitely in on this PTR! Your kids are precious!
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rnorwo1 View Post
I love to budget, even when we don't have to! I am planning our first trip to CA, and probably our only trip to DL, for March 2014, so I'm definitely in on this PTR! Your kids are precious!
Welcome! I'm hoping to use this PTR as a place to share budgeting ideas. March should be a good time to visit, but it might be busy with the spring break crowds starting. We thought our first trip to DL was a once in a life time trip, but we've be a total of 3 times now!
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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I'm all about the budget. We are big on staying at Desert inn and Suites because it is right next to the entrance and has great prices. Definitely helps the budget
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:11 AM   #8
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Step 1: Get a bunch of credit cards

Step 1: Get a bunch of credit cards

DH and I are pretty both pretty good with money. Credit cards scare us a little bit, so we always pay them off right away. Neither of us are comfortable living beyond our means, so we are too terrified to go into debt. But after discovering all of the perks that different cards offer, we jumped on them.

In January of this year, I was chatting with a friend who is a retired teacher and she was telling me all about her upcoming trip to Hawaii and how her husband was flying round trip for $100. I begged her to tell me more! It is so expensive to fly out of Victoria, and we often end up taking the ferry to Vancouver to fly from there, which isn't cheap either. She explained that she has an Alaska Airlines Master Card which gives her one $100companion fare each year when she pays full price. So as soon as I got home, I looked into the card and applied for it. Not only did they offer the companion fare, but they also offered 25,000 bonus miles and no annual fee. So, Bryan and I both applied and in about 2 weeks we received our cards. We then used our combined 50,000 miles to book 4 one way trips from SNA to Victoria on July 23rd 2013 (you can read all about our July trip in my TR. The link's in my signature.) Our return trip cost us 12,500 miles + $5 for each of us. I'm not sure why it was only +$5 to come home, since it was +$45 in the other direction. So, now we were excited! DH starts saying "We're actually going to Disneyland again!" and then I reminded him, "Um... we're coming home from Disneyland. We haven't actually booked our flight TO Disneyland yet!" A week later, we found a reasonable flight with Air Canada, which was nowhere near as exciting as flying 2 adults and 2 children home for $20.

About 2 weeks after receiving our cards and redeeming all of our bonus points, we each got a letter in the mail from Alaska Airlines Master Card. The letter stated that there was a "technical error" on the website when we applied for our cards. The error was that there is a $75 annual fee for this card, not "no annual fee" as was listed on the website. The letter apologized for this error and said the fee would be waved for this year. DH and I jumped for joy at getting our 50,000 bonus points for free, and I was so glad that I had clicked onto that website on the right day!

Since we used our points for our July trip, we couldn't also use our companion fares. We still have those in our Alaska Airlines mileage plan accounts, and I'm pretty sure they are independent from the credit card (which I'm going to cancel soon. Too many cards in wallet are making me nervous!) So, the plan is, we'll use companion fares for the kids and DH and I will pay full fare. We've flown to Disneyland on several different airlines now, and I enjoy flying with Alaska Airlines. I like West Jet a tiny bit more because of the TV's in the seat backs, but until they offer a 'kids fly free" program (like the one we took advantage of in 2012) we'll stick with Alaska Air. A couple months ago, Alaska Airlines Master Card offered DH a "gold card" with 10,000 bonus miles and no fees this year, so he said "yes please!" So, I think we'll be sticking with Alaska Air for a little while now!


After reading on the Canadian side of the DIS about people using air miles to purchase park hoppers, I was more than a little intrigued! I kept getting junk mail from Air Miles addressed to the lady who used to live in my house, so I finally applied for an air miles points card. After a couple months, I accumulated a grand total of 7 air miles. Man, it was going to take me a long time to get to Disneyland at this rate! So, I looked into getting a BMO Airmiles card. No annual fee (an so far that's not a "technical error") and 500 bonus air miles for charging $200 before Oct 31st. So, DH and I each signed up and started using that as our dominant credit card. I'm going to cancel the Alaska Airlines card now, as long as they'll let me keep the companion code. Recently, Air Miles had a banner on their website offering their American Express card with 1,200 bonus miles, so DH and I are in the process of applying for that one too! We'll spend enough to get the bonus and then cancel the card next year when we have to pay the annual fee. With a 3day disneyland park hopper costing 2,160 miles for adults, we already have enough miles for 1 of us to get a free park hopper! By next winter, we'll have enough miles at least 2 adults 3-day hoppers, and maybe enough to get one of the kids passes for free (and then they other kid can stay home with Grandma and feed the cat! I joked that I'd go to Disneyland by myself without them and they both freaked out!)

I'd love to get the Chase Disney Visa, but so far, Canadians can't apply for it. Probably all for the best, as my wallet will burst at the seams with all of the plastic in it!


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Pretrip report and budgeting strategies Aug 2014 http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3193168
Trip Report from July 2013 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3160807

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Old 11-03-2013, 12:20 AM   #9
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I'm all about the budget. We are big on staying at Desert inn and Suites because it is right next to the entrance and has great prices. Definitely helps the budget
Desert Inn and Suites is on my list of hotels to look into for this trip. We won't book a hotel until much closer to the trip, though. It's just the airfare that we need to take care of before our codes expire. So fare we're thinking of BWPPI, Ramada Maingate, Tropicana and Dessert Inn. DH really wants to stay onsite again, but I don't think we'll be able to afford the DLH again, and we won't be using the pool in Dec, so there's not much point to splurge on the DLH like we did in July.

Tell me more about Desert Inn! I'm guessing location and price are the big selling features. Do they have free breakfast? Free parking? Comfortable beds?
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:23 AM   #10
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We have stayed at Desert Inn & Suites twice. It's a very no-frills place. Rooms were clean, but old and ran down looking. They did have continental breakfast for no charge, so that's a plus. Also, they have a rooftop deck where you can view the fireworks and the Disney fireworks music plays.

Parking was not free (maybe $10-15/night... I can't remember). Beds were comfortable enough, but not big, plush comfy beds.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
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If you don't mind not being within walking distance we love the Ayre's hotel in Anaheim. It is a beautiful place to stay, ranked number 1 on tripadvisor.com, and they have the best free breakfast.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #12
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If you don't mind not being within walking distance we love the Ayre's hotel in Anaheim. It is a beautiful place to stay, ranked number 1 on tripadvisor.com, and they have the best free breakfast.
I looked into Ayre's a while ago (while reading your TR I think!) and although it looks lovely, it's a bit too far away. I like being right across the street, but then you do give up the quality a little bit by staying at the motels on Harbour.

Last night I started browsing on Home Away to see what the vacation rentals in the area charge, and they're pretty reasonable. It looks like a lot of people rent out the 2 or 3 br condos off Walnut for around $240 a night during the time we're looking at. So, that might be an option.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #13
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I looked into Ayre's a while ago (while reading your TR I think!) and although it looks lovely, it's a bit too far away. I like being right across the street, but then you do give up the quality a little bit by staying at the motels on Harbour.

Last night I started browsing on Home Away to see what the vacation rentals in the area charge, and they're pretty reasonable. It looks like a lot of people rent out the 2 or 3 br condos off Walnut for around $240 a night during the time we're looking at. So, that might be an option.

I thought I would never like to stay away from the action like the Ayre's but I found that it made for a more relaxed time away from the parks. I have thought about renting a house but I am always afraid to rent something like that. Call it California cynicism.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:49 PM   #14
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I thought I would never like to stay away from the action like the Ayre's but I found that it made for a more relaxed time away from the parks. I have thought about renting a house but I am always afraid to rent something like that. Call it California cynicism.
We've rented a house before, when we travel with other families. It's nice to get a big house and split the cost. We've done this on Saltspring Island (not far from us here in Victoria) and in Seattle. I like using HomeAway, so it's a bit more secure than renting privately. I like the idea of paying the same amount for a condo as for a 2 queen room at the Fairfield Inn. We wouldn't get a free breakfast, but we'd get free parking, and we'd have a full kitchen to make our own breakfast. I'm still toying with the idea of doing a split stay and sneaking in at least one night at DLH.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:32 PM   #15
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We've rented a house before, when we travel with other families. It's nice to get a big house and split the cost. We've done this on Saltspring Island (not far from us here in Victoria) and in Seattle. I like using HomeAway, so it's a bit more secure than renting privately. I like the idea of paying the same amount for a condo as for a 2 queen room at the Fairfield Inn. We wouldn't get a free breakfast, but we'd get free parking, and we'd have a full kitchen to make our own breakfast. I'm still toying with the idea of doing a split stay and sneaking in at least one night at DLH.


I do not under any circumstance want to stay somewhere I can cook. That is not my idea about vacation. We went camping for years and although it is fun it is not really a vacation for me.
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