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Old 03-26-2013, 09:48 PM   #1
waltdavinci
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Trip Planning for 18 Yo..Strict budget.

I am in the early stages of planning a vacation for my 18th birthday. I want to go in either October or November. I could wait and save a bit more and go for Pop Century, But I am thinking, Would it be better just to stay offsite somewhere ? If so where is the nicest and closest budget hotel near Disney ? I am wanting to save as much on lodging as possible. To leave room for souvenirs and as for Flights, I will be driving since it will be cheaper. Just need some tips. Thanks. Oh and can I buy tickets and Dining Plan,etc without Resort tickets, on the Disney website ?
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #2
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You can only get the dining plan as a package, which means staying on site.

You can priceline a hotel and get a nice one for pretty cheap but don't forget to take resort fees into consideration, which many of the hotels charge. We stayed in Celebration 4 years ago for about $50 a night (counting the fees, taxes and resort fees on top of my bid) so you might be able to get something similar. The downside is that you don't know exactly what hotel you'll get until your bid is accepted and it's non refundable.

Also, parking at the parks is pretty steep...I think it's up to $15 a day now so you'll need to consider that in your costs as well.

Check out my signature for ideas on how to eat for $50 a day at Disney (and if you stick with mostly counter service meals, you can do it for even cheaper!) and for $40 as well (although that one is pretty old!)
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:31 AM   #3
Darcy03231
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Before booking any hotel keep in mind that some have a minimum age requirement of 21 and require a major credit card.

We stayed on-site in October one year and with the room discount it was about $85 a night for a value resort. Keep checking the codes and rates boards for discounts.

For meals we save a lot by eating breakfast in the room. We also bring our own water and snacks into the parks with us.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:40 AM   #4
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I would save a bit more and be able to stay on site, it will worth it in the long run. This is a special birthday and you really want to treat yourself, personally I would go this route. The benfits are EMH, Buses, free parking at resorts, and parks, free wifi, being in all the magic is fun, great pools.

If you book all together room, tickets, dinning, will save you some $$, check out when Free dinning, or room only discount are out. This might help.

My DD and her new DH asked for gift cards, leading up to their wedding, for birthdays, Christmas, I tucked them in their Easter basket ect.. They requested, Disney ( they had a mickeymoon) Cracker Barrel, Some fast food, and gas cards, for the drive.

For extra money, you could take some of the clothing, purses / bags, belts that you don't wear or want anymore to Plato's closet, and they pay cash, and what they don't take, you could take to a consignment shop. Garage sale, easy way to make some fast cash. Maybe babysit,or dog walk to add some extra cash to your trip fund. Save all your change., it adds up really fast.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:02 AM   #5
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I suggest you save a bit more and fly.

for starters, you have enough time that you can wait until it's semi-affordable. And you won't have to worry about spending for gas, or for parking, or being in a hotel overnight somewhere, or the food that that overnight will cost you.

Or about falling asleep at the wheel without someone to talk to to distract you.

Your parents will sleep a whole lot better if you fly.

I strongly suggest you stay onsite. Not only is it cheap, but you get access to EMH (extra magic hours offered to on-site visitors, DME (a free ride to and from the airport) the Dining plan, and a few other perks.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waltdavinci View Post
I am in the early stages of planning a vacation for my 18th birthday. I want to go in either October or November. I could wait and save a bit more and go for Pop Century, But I am thinking, Would it be better just to stay offsite somewhere ? If so where is the nicest and closest budget hotel near Disney ? I am wanting to save as much on lodging as possible. To leave room for souvenirs and as for Flights, I will be driving since it will be cheaper. Just need some tips. Thanks. Oh and can I buy tickets and Dining Plan,etc without Resort tickets, on the Disney website ?
Have you calculated the cost of driving yet? It may not be cheaper than flying. Use the gas calculator at http://fuelcostcalculator.aaa.com/ . Don't forget to take any tolls into account. And if you have a long distance to drive, you will need a hotel room on the way down and back.

Don't forget that if you're driving to the parks each day, it's going to cost you $14 to park. Some hotels have free shuttles or they charge a small fee. But then you will have to rely on their schedule. Every convenience has its price.

You will want to check the Orlando Hotels and Attractions board to find opinions on cheap but clean offsite hotels. You don't want to spend a week in a sketchy room just to save a few bucks. And make sure that you know whether they are going to hit you up for a "resort fee" when you check in. They hide those fees really well in the fine print.

There is no minimum check-in age in Florida. The state leaves it up to the hotels and local laws. You can check into a Disney hotel at the age of 18. Some hotels can have a minimum age as high as 25, although they are usually more exclusive and expensive.

The dining plan is not the money-saver that you think it is. You can't get it if you're staying offsite anyway. But if they are offering free dining in the fall and you have a room full of people age 10+, it might be worth considering an onsite stay.

I think your first step should be to decide how much you can realistically save by your birthday and then make your plans around that number. It's possible that you can stay onsite without too much sacrifice. Or you might discover that you need to postpone your trip for a while.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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This Baymont Inn allows people 18 yrs old to stay. There is one on Black Lake Rd that is less than 10 minutes from AK park. Room rates are $60

http://www.baymontinns.com/
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelly F - Ohio
This Baymont Inn allows people 18 yrs old to stay. There is one on Black Lake Rd that is less than 10 minutes from AK park. Room rates are $60

http://www.baymontinns.com/
I like all the ideas you guys have given me.

Baymont sounds good, but now hearing all the perks.it may be better to stay on site and fly. I will keep everyone updated. More tips are needed if you have them.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:27 AM   #9
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How familiar are you with driving in strange cities? I can only think that if you are not quite 18 or barely 18 that you don't really have a lot of experience traveling alone in large strange cities. As a parent, I would feel more comfortable with you staying onsite.

And while the dining plan is not always the best option, if you are on a strict budget it may help to stay on site w/ a package so that everything or almost everything is paid in advance.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:26 PM   #10
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Check out the downtown Disney hotels. Shuttle buses every half hour to the parks. Hilton in DTD has access to EMH. See about a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. The hotels may even have airport shuttles. DTD hotels are true hotels as opposed to the resorts which are actually motels. Inside corridors. We stayed for spring break (college) at the double tree and it was super even better than the poly as far as the actual room went but too large for someone without kids.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #11
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First off, if you stay onsite , there is no fee to park. If you stay offsite you'll need a car even if you fly and you'll pay the parking fee whether it's your car or a rental. So that's really a non factor in the drive vs fly argument, nor is the parents sleeping better notion. I can assure you MY wife would sleep better knowing my kids were NOT on an airplane

Now for the $ factor, it is true that the fewer people in your car, the more economical flying is. If you're going alone, it may be as cheap or cheaper to fly - assuming you stay on site and don't have to rent a car that is, AND assuming you live reasonably close to a major airport and dont have to drive way out of your way to get there. If you're going with several friends, no contest - driving will be much cheaper.

If you do stay offsite, I recommend the 192/I4 area. Very easy access to the parks, particularly from just East of I4.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Your hotel costs will be a bit more than mine but when I went I flew and stayed in All Star Sports. The hotel honestly doesn't matter at our age, just grab Disney's cheapest since we know you'll be in the parks all day and only need it for a shower and a bed!

Keep an eye on Southwest. I live near BWI so that might have made things easier for me but they did their "Gotta Get Away" deal for when I wanted to go. I adjusted my planned trip time and I think my airfare was about $150 with no fee for a suitcase. Much cheaper than multiple tanks of gas and an overnight stay somewhere.

I wouldn't bother with the dining plan. Tip isn't included, you have desserts with every meal and you're locked into using so many credits. I made a TS reservation for most days but I still ate less per day than the plan cost. Do your table service meals if any during lunch, meals are cheaper then and it's almost the same menu.

For breakfast I bought a bunch of single-serve disposable cereal bowls and plastic spoons in my luggage. I bought a quart of milk at the gift shop and a refillable mug and that set me for breakfast all week.

Have fun planning, you're gonna love it!
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:51 PM   #13
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Are you going alone? Would you consider taking a friend and splitting the cost of an onsite value room. Depending on dates, you might even get the free DDP. Have you traveled alone before? As a parent, I admit, I would have my reservations about my just 18 year old DD, driving alone and staying off site in a hotel anywhere, ok...I would freak out but that is just me.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:10 PM   #14
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What fun!! Being a friend and stay on site and enjoy. I would get the DDP for the ease and have fun. Pack snacks and drinks and eat breakfast in your room.
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