We’re gearing up to embark on our first ever Disney trip as a family, so I’m thrilled staff writer Lauren is sharing her tips on going to Disney on a budget.
I love Disney. I admit it. I love (most) of their movies, I love wandering around the local Disney Store. Most of all, I LOVE going to Walt Disney World (WDW). They really know how to take care of their guests, the parks are fun if you come prepared and expecting to have some waits, the atmosphere is just happy, joyful, something I love to be a part of.
We’ve gone to Disney more times than I care to share, and my daughter has been often enough that she knows what to expect, and that if we don’t get everything done, it’s ok, because we’ll always be going back.
This Spring Break we are going to spend some time in WDW. For the first time though, I’m really trying to stick to a budget. Since it’s just my daughter and me, it’ll be cheaper than if my husband came along. I gave myself a budget of $1,000, not including airfare, and I’m pretty proud of myself for how we’ve so far ended up. Here’s how we are doing it.
We are staying in one of the All-Star Resorts. I have stayed in a non-disney (off property) hotel before. There were two shuttles in the morning, and two in the afternoon. Staying On Property means you can use Disney Transportation, which are big busses that come every 20 mins or so. That alone is worth staying in a Disney Hotel. The All-Stars are motel-like, which isn’t my favorite, but we don’t spend much time in the hotel, so it really doesn’t matter!
This is the first time I’ve ever used the Dining Plan. Everyone I’ve talked to who has used it say it’s worth it. We get one sit down meal, one counter meal and one snack every day. Most breakfast foods (muffins, croissants) count as a snack, so our plan is to pick one up in the evening to eat in the morning. I’m also bringing peanut butter crackers, and other easily carried snack foods. I’ll let you know how it goes!
My daughter’s school has an earlier spring break than most schools, and a longer break (17 days!) we were able to play with the timing of our trip. We called WDW directly and the person who helped us helped us figure out the best time to go during our break. If you’re willing to play with your schedule a little, Disney is always running some great deals that are worth taking advantage of!
My daughter and I have talked about what we’re going to be buying when we’re at Disney World. She’s saving her money to get something from the glass blower in Magic Kingdom. We usually get a pair of socks. Often there are lots of other expenses, but we’re just going to enjoy it this year. She gets that. Thank goodness. I hope I can restrain myself thoughâ€¦.
Other things you can do if you want to try to stick to a budget is making a few different calls. AAA often has great deals for members. Twice it was cheaper to go through them, once it wasn’t. Always check if you’re a member!
You can also get great tips from websites like Passporter.com.
The final budget
When all was said and done, our trip is costing us $1059. That’s a 4 night stay, with 3 days in the parks, no park hopper (so one park per day) and the Deluxe Dining plan.
We’re flying Southwest, who we always fly with if we can, because they are usually the cheapest, and they don’t have a luggage charge. (note: this was written prior to recent news about Southwest planes)
I’ll let you all know how we did when we’re done! Do you have any tips for going to Disney World?
This is a post by staff writer Lauren James. Lauren spends most of her time either taking care of children or working on making her home a happier, more simple and earth friendly place. You can find more of her writing and musings at RaisingRoots.com.