Disney World On The Cheap

 10 Days for $1,000 a person including airfare? Definitely!

INTRODUCTION

Disney World On The Cheap? Really!

I am not a true Disney expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am good at making every vacation dollar count.  The tips in this booklet are focused on saving money – getting the most fun for the least dough.

My goal here is to give you the basic tools to create a vacation that not only fits your budget, but leaves everyone in your family happy and ready to do it again next year. This means being informed not only on money-saving tricks, but also some insider information that will help you make the most of your time in the parks, and help you avoid lines and hassles.

You probably already know that the key to saving money, no matter what you are trying to accomplish, is to do your homework. Like a big test, students who study reap the most rewards! Whether it’s clipping coupons for your weekly trip to the grocery store, or planning a once in a lifetime vacation for your family.  Even if you aren’t pinching pennies, wouldn’t it be nice to have some money left over in the vacation account, allowing for an extra week of fun somewhere else? Or use it to splurge on a really special once-in-a-lifetime activity during your stay?

Sure, sometimes it makes sense to pay the price and stay at a higher quality resort, or spend a bit more on your airline tickets so you don’t have to deal with an hours-long layover, but making informed decisions on these things still makes sense. I always try to balance time and money. If something saves me mere pennies and takes an hour, it’s not a deal. What I try to do is make smart decisions to stretch our vacation dollars while still experiencing everything that we feel is worthwhile and makes us happy. Planning time is usually time well spent since it not only shows you ways to save money, but can lead you to discoveries of those hidden gems that the average vacationer misses.

If you really are committed to providing your family with a wonderful vacation without tapping into your savings or resorting to credit cards, you’ll need to commit to spending a decent chunk of time planning and searching for deals, and then have a bit of willpower while you are on vacation. So, are you ready to save?

Where To Start – How about some fun facts?

~ Walt Disney World is the most visited attraction in the world – in….the….world.  Wow.  Every year, over 40 million people visit the mouse.
~ Attendance for each park in 2012:  Magic Kingdom 17.5 million, EPCOT 11 million, Hollywood Studios 9.9 million, Animal Kingdom 9.9 million.
~ Luckily the place takes up nearly 40 square miles, so everyone’s not crammed together.
~ It takes 20 minutes to drive from the Park entrance to Magic Kingdom.
~ There are about 30,400 hotel rooms on Disney Property, and they are typically at 80% or higher occupancy.
~ There are 33 resorts and hotels located on the Walt Disney World property. Of those, more than 25 are owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company.

Help! There’s Too Many Options!

For most people, planning their first Disney World trip can become overwhelming. There is a strong desire to simply turn it over to a travel agent and hope for the best. However, for the budget-minded traveler, options are our friend at Disney World.  Choosing the right time to go and the right way to tour, means cheaper prices and relatively crowd-free parks.

Disney planning can be overwhelming, but it’s so worth it. Most people don’t plan.  If you do, you will be ahead of the curve.

Cheap Disney Vacation? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Well, cheap is relative. It’s not as cheap as staying home and doing nothing or tent camping at a local park, but compared to other inclusive-type resort vacations, the cost can be very inexpensive. Also, because of how Disney packages their product, it’s possible to save on the “big four” expenditures: Hotel, Park Tickets, Airline Tickets, and Food.

When the two of us go, it’s usually for 9 or 10 days.  I try to keep our total expenditure to around $2,000 for everything.  We’re not tightwads, but we do want to take more than one vacation a year, so we’re ‘minimalist’ vacationers.  We focus on the things that make us happy, and try not to fall into money traps that can ruin a budget (like buying soda and bottled water at sporting events).

Save These Links

The first saving step is easy, save these links for easy access by making a Disney World file in your browser’s Bookmarks, and add all these to that file:

General Links:

Official site for Disney World http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Categorized info on anything Disney http://www.wdwinfo.com

General Disney World Planning:

Crowd Calendars and best planning resource on the web, for free!  http://www.easywdw.com

Disney discounts, resorts, car rentals, etc. (sign up for their monthly newsletter) http://www.Mousesavers.com

Disney discounts for holders of: Tables in Wonderland, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Disney Visa. http://www.mouseperks.com/

Specific Park Planning:

Park Maps http://www.willCAD.org

Rehab and closure information for attractions and resorts http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

Entertainment schedules updated regularly and available for your smartphone http://www.wdwent.com

Character meet schedules and information http://kennythepirate.com/

Ride wait times, updated instantly (save to your smartphone for use in the parks) http://www.easywdw.com/waits/

Dining:

Menus http://www.allears.net

Dining Plan Calculator to determine if Dining Plan will save you money http://www.dadsguidetowdw.com/walt-disney-world-dining-plan.html

Transportation:

In-Park Transportation Calculator (how to get from Point A to Point B, decently accurate) http://www.ourlaughingplace.com

Car Rental Discount Notifications http://www.autoslash.com/ (Car Rental discount notifications)

Bing Travel – Check their Travel Predictor and use their email alerts for flight prices http://www.bing.com/travel/?cid=homenav&FORM=Z9LH5

Yapta – tracks flight prices and notifies you via email or text http://www.yapta.com/

Off-Site Resorts:

Hotwire – hotel discounter http://www.hotwire.com

Priceline – Name Your Own Price http://www.priceline.com

Priceline Tips – how to get the most from Priceline http://www.betterbidding.com/index.php?showforum=3

Wyndham Bonnet Creek – Condos for rent off-site http://www.wyndhambonnetcreek.com/

Windsor Hills – rental homes near WDW http://www.windsorhillsrent.com

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