Cheapest trip without feeling like it is

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Mickeyflower, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Starbritt

    Starbritt Earning My Ears

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    My family of 6 are going January 28-Feb 2 with 4 park days and I believe our grand total will be about $3500! $1800 for tickets(I could have gotten a better deal with the magic your way ticket but we went through disney yes program), $650 for a 4 bedroom house 7 miles from Disney, $300 in gas (driving from TX), $80 for parking, and $600 for food (breakfast at the house, packing snacks and waters, QS lunch and dinner.) The kids have Christmas money for spending money, and we have been saving change all year to use as our spending money. I think it's going to be awesome and it is extremely reasonable for 6 people at Disney!
     
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  2. fifthdimensiondweller

    fifthdimensiondweller Mouseketeer

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    If you are, I'd consider a trip in either January (minus Martin Luther King weekend), early February. late August, or September. Less crowds and prices tend to be lower too (but not always so price out several different sets of dates!)

    Love this, absolutely true for me as well. Back when my husband and I were dating, we went to WDW for two weeks (also did Universal, SeaWorld, and Kennedy Space Center). We stayed at my mom's time share to save money, and while it was a great resort, like you, I learned that there are just certain things I will not go cheap on, and vacations is one of them. I'd much rather go less often and do everything we want as opposed to going much more often and having to skimp. There's also a lot of things in our everyday lives that we'd rather not have or do so that we can afford to travel to some sort of Disney destination about once a year.

    OP, since you're planning your trip out relatively far in advance, you may want to start some sort of savings plan. If you use a credit card, you may want to see if your offers airline mile rewards (or if you'd be interested in opening one that does- but beware, you must pay your balance off in full each month or else the interest you pay will quickly outweigh any cash back rewards). If you do not like to use credit cards, as a pp said, switching to a cash only budget (no debit cards, just pull out cash when you need to buy something) and using the $5 savings plan is also a great way to save.

    All Star Sports is my husband's favorite value resort- so great choice! If you aren't already, sign up for Disney World's emails so you will get an email if/when they offer deals for your time frame. The dining plan isn't usually a good value for most people, so like someone else said, if you happen to go when they offer a choice between free dining and a room only discount, I'd take the room discount unless you are someone who orders appetizers, sodas, desserts, etc with every meal.

    Definitely pack snacks (and alcohol, if you desire) in your checked bags and bring them with you for snacks. My husband and I find that eating a small breakfast at the food court (often sharing a platter), then bringing granola bars and other snacks in the parks can sustain us until around 4, when we have a large dinner.

    Table service meals can quickly get expensive, but perhaps if you follow advice of previous posters and ask for Disney gift cards from friends and family for holidays and birthdays, you could swing a few. The nice thing about Disney is on their own website they have many menus WITH prices posted, so you can see what's in your budget ahead of time. If you can't find it on Disney's website, a quick google search can help you find some prices. The buffets usually don't have prices listed, but they are very expensive, FYI.

    A few of our favorite budget friendly TS meals are The Plaza in MK, Kona Cafe at the Polynesian for breakfast (famous for their Tonga Toast), and Sci Fi Dine in Theater in Hollywood Studios. (But remember- "budget friendly" at Disney is different than budget friendly in the real world).

    Crossing my fingers for ya!
     
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  3. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    If you're looking at going in September-November you may be eligible for the "free dining" promotion which is a great discount. It's usually offered between late August through December with some blackout dates. The promo usually comes out in the spring, so look for it between April and May of 2018.
     
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  5. mco65

    mco65 DIS Veteran

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    Just returned from probably the MOST expensive trip but i think i always feel that way as soon as I return.
    For one, we were there 8 days and that is the longest we have ever stayed, typically we are in and out in 6 so those 2 extra days make a big difference in just food alone.

    It was a good trip, busy as heck but still a good trip. We hit every rope drop but only stayed till park close on 2 of those days.. my wife is slowing down.. sorta.. She did go back out to Disney Springs our last night there... just because!
     
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  6. DisneyEater

    DisneyEater Mouseketeer

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    Don't have to answer this on the forum, but how is your credit score? With so much time between now and then, credit cards could save you a ton on flights, hotels, and even tickets. I think there is a post in this forum called I love credit cards or something like that. Look into it. It can really save you a ton.
     
  7. kreckl

    kreckl DIS Veteran

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    I would 2nd the credit card option. Before our last trip, I got the Southwest Visa. By spending $2000 ( I think) in 3 months, I got 50,000 free points. Since we were going to WDW, I purchased our tickets on the card, and after a few other expenses we were able to get free flights home for 4 people.
     
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  8. Eighty8Keys

    Eighty8Keys DIS Veteran

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    That's what I was going to suggest. We live in Oregon too and are leaving for our trip in 12 days. DS and I just started exploring the world of credit card sign-up bonuses. Alaska and American air miles are enabling both of us to fly first class round trip for under $25 each. Makes a very long day of travel much more bearable. The rest of our trip is mostly paid for with discounted gift cards. We plan to upgrade to AP's this trip so we can make a second trip 11-1/2 months out. We currently have enough credit card points to cover coach flights and and two Disney value resort rooms for 8 nights. I tend to look a each component of my trip and figure out to save as much money as I can for it without making too much of a sacrifice.
     
  9. MinnieSweetheart

    MinnieSweetheart DIS Veteran

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    I haven't read other responses, but I would NOT recommend cutting ticket days and for good reason. Once you hit 4 days in the park, the cost to add a day goes down dramatically. So the incremental cost to go a 5th day is only $15. Even if you are only there in the afternoon, I am willing to bet that you would get $15 of value out of going to the parks. What would you do instead? Would that likely cost you close to $15? I'm willing to bet unless you were just going to stay in your hotel (which might be your vacation style) that you would get 15 dollars of enjoyment out of half a day in a park. If I dropped any days, it would be departure day.

    Our trips for two paid adults because our children aren't yet 3 have been around $3000 each. We have stayed on site and off site and have loved all the trips. I prefer off site hotels most of the time because Disney is so expensive and it's not always the best service. We really liked the homewood suites by Universal and had a decent time staying at the Hilton Vacation club near Sea World. Depending on the time of year, you might actually get a great rate at the Waldorf. I've seen them around $200 a night which is high for Orlando, but not compared to on site.

    We also feel like we get the most bang for our buck by focusing on the parks and all the included entertainment. We aren't very "wow'd" by the resorts to be honest, so we've never had the urge to go "resort hopping." We have done a water park one time and that was nice. That can be another way to get a lot of bang for your buck. To add the water parks is $64 and then you can go to a water park or mini golf the same number of days as is on your ticket.

    We usually eat a big breakfast and then have snacks during the day unless our daughter is verging on a meltdown and then a big dinner. We like to do Disney restaurants, but before kids we would also eat off site a lot. We NEVER do the dining plan, because our most expensive days buffet for breakfast and buffet for dinner with a snack or two are around $80 a piece and you lose the flexibility with the dining plan. Plus many days we don't do buffet breakfast and we do "snacks" around epcot for dinner one night.
     
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  10. WDWNY

    WDWNY Mouseketeer

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    My trip in last january. 5 days at All Star Sports. Stayed with a friend who is a cast member, so she got 60% off the room. Came out to $206 for the 5 days and we split it so $103 a person. She's local obviously so she bought a case of water and brought it over. Flight was $168 round trip, nonstop and I had a gift card that covered it. I did buy an annual pass for that trip (platinum, $800 I think) but I went 5 times using it so about $160 for park tickets? Food we just got quick service the entire trip and mostly kids meals so I didn't spend more than $200. So around $600 for 5 days!
     
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  11. Disneylover99

    Disneylover99 DIS Veteran

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    I would stay at Pop the last week of August. It's value season with lower crowds, and you may have a shot at free dining if it's offered this year.
     
  12. andyw715

    andyw715 Mouseketeer

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    Looking back at my spreadsheet for our trip (Nov 2015), we spent $4000 for 4 (2 adult/2 kids) (7 day parkhopper, mem maker, pop century, free meal (quick service) upgraded to regular plan).

    The above expense included driving from NC (gas, food, hotel - which we really could have drove through instead of staying). At the parks we spent $450 - half of that was because we found an opening at Cinderella Castle for lunch and used 8 table meals...so we paid cash for Akershus breakfast.


    We went to seaworld and discovery cove this Thanksgiving and stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort - Waterpark for 5 days and it cost $334. A 2 bedroom suite. If you don't mind a family-centric hotel, this could be an option to save some money. They do have ashuttle that goes to Epcot.
     
  13. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

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    usually preferred is closer to buses,etc. I never pay for those, as I don't mind walking a bit farther to save $$$- I like the allstars in that all 3 are close to each other, so we can walk/visit the others easily,to enjoy the decor of each.
     
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  14. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    I agree. OP, here is a website with the preferred buildings in the All Star resorts: http://allears.net/acc/as_layout.htm .

    If your BF is a big hockey fan you may want to select All Star Movies and request the Mighty Ducks section.
     
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  15. wilkeliza

    wilkeliza DIS Veteran

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    If you want budget with out it feeling budget then go ahead and stay on property at a value but do not stay preferred. To me there is little difference for 2 healthy adults between preferred and standard that makes it worth the extra costs per a night.

    Get photopass if you really want all the photos of rides and such but if you don't care about ride photos just bring your own camera (or use your phone) and ask photopass CMs or any CM to take your photo with that. Even at meet and greats they will take your photo on your own device.

    Bring a backpack (or larger purse) with you to the parks each day and put snacks you both enjoy in it. Still allow yourself to buy a mickey bar or dole whip or whatever but having snacks will cut down on the oh I'm hungry and that smells delicious quick decision buys. Those add up.

    Bring a water bottle and fill it up! You can fill at the water fountains or ask for cups of water at any quick service location and fill it up with those cups. A water bottle will save you quite a bit since bottles are now $3.

    Don't get sucked into the extras. You can have a perfectly fine and amazing trip with out dessert parties, priority seating dinning, character meals, early morning hours (or whatever that upcharge is called) or any of that. All of that extra stuff is nice and can add ot the enjoyment but I have never felt like our trips with out all that were bad or "cheap feeling" trips.

    If you are staying on property do not rent a car. The bus system in Disney is more than sufficient to get around and if you want to go offsite once or twice you'll save by just using Uber.
     
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  16. crazylady

    crazylady Mouseketeer

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    Check out mousesavers.com, too. I learned alot of cost cutting measures from them too.
     
  17. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    Value resort. Base park tickets, no hoppers. Did you know you can bring food into the parks, you don't have to buy what they have? Pack a small cooler and whatever food you like (which you can bring with you from home) and a couple of refillable water bottles. Make sandwiches, bring hummus and crackers and veggies or granola, fruit.
     
  18. Hikergirl

    Hikergirl DIS Veteran

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    Op you mentioned in your first post that you wanted to avoid the scorching heat. Just an FYI in case you didn't know September will be scorching, but crowds will be on the low side unless you are visiting Epcot during F&W.

    I would keep an eye out for discounts, I can't remember when I booked mine and dh's Sept trip but I got a great deal on a deluxe resort. I think your budget is totally doable even staying onsite.
     
  19. smiths02

    smiths02 DIS Veteran

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    For me, personally, the cheapest trip without feeling cheap would be staying on-site in a value resort, no park hoppers, and an amount for food similar to DDP cost (I wouldn't get the DDP, I would just want that amount so I could have a sit meals etc). So if I were budgeting, I would look at the time of year I want to go and see 2017 prices for a package that would include those things. Then factor in likely transportation costs.

    Other people have other suggestions on cutting costs. I'm just saying what I would do to plan a realistic budget.

    It's true you don't need tickets on departure and arrival days, but if you plan your departure and arrival days for an early flight in and late flight out, the ticket cost increase is not that much. One way to save money would be to stay fewer nights but get in some park time on arrival and departure days.

    Granted this was back in 2003, but DH and I had a good trip just the two of us in 4 nights. We drove down and saw fireworks in MK our first night, we did a day each at AK, MK, Epcot, and then DHS/MGM on departure day.
     
  20. MinnieSweetheart

    MinnieSweetheart DIS Veteran

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    The perspectives are so different to me. To me, staying in a value feels cheap. Maybe because we usually stay in a higher caliber of hotel, but we prefer to spend the same money off site and get a much nicer hotel.

    The only time we stay on site is when it saves us money. Since you have to fly, it very well might.

    I also recommend not getting a preferred room if you don't mind walking a bit it will save you around 15-40 dollars a night depending on season.
     
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  21. Mickeyflower

    Mickeyflower I find that The Dis is my happy place frequently

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    I would love to be able to stay in a 4 star hotel. The only time I've been to WDW I stayed at the Beach Club with a water view. My life has changed DRASTICALLY since then. Long term unemployment due to the recession, loss of loved ones, zero savings or cushions now. I'm just excited at the prospect of a possible WDW vacation in 2 years. Yes we're geographically closer to DLR, but we want to visit WDW. We'll be super happy just being there, as long as we're not in a hotel that feels like the rates are hourly.

    Now that I know what a preferred room is, definitely NOT going to get one. We'd prefer away from the pool and food courts hoping they are quieter.
     
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