We've been putting off this trip for a while now. As anxious as my husband and I were to see our children be dazzled by the wonder of all things Disney World we really wanted our children to remember it! With kids being almost 7, 4.5 and 20 months we realized our older two were nearing a prime age at which the "magic" would really be there for them and we decided to go for it, even knowing another trip may be needed down the road for our youngest to create some memories.
I began to add of the cost of our yearly trip to the southern Gulf of Florida or the Outer Banks of North Carolina and realized the numbers just weren't that far apart after adding everything up. I was shocked by what that same amount of money could get us at Disney World.
We are frugal vacationers, and unfortunately that takes a little bit away from the enjoyment of the trip but it makes it more affordable. When we vacation we rarely dine out, usually once for dinner during the week and then obviously during the trip to and from we stop for meals here and there whether driving or flying. All that being said our costs tend of be on the lower side of average.
Devils advocate here for a second... Yes you could vacation for less by snipping money here and there, or by choosing a sub prime vacation rental home with a less desirable location, yes, yes, yes. However, in our family's experience we usually spend money on a nicer, more desirable location and save by not dining out every day and by cooking in our rental for most if not all meals. Based on our experiences over the years this is how it breaks down. *Note there is a range for certain items as cost can vary significantly here.
A few additional notes on more ways to Save!
- Want $200+ in free money for your trip? sign up for a Chase Disney Visa and get a $200 Disney gift card just by spending $500 in your first 90 days of having the card! Its really simple, plus you can keep earning points towards your vacation as you continue to use the card! Click here to apply!
- This card also offer 6 months of 0% financing for Disney Travel expenses, allowing you to pay for your trip over time if you choose.
- Once you book you can pay your trip off slowly using gift cards. If you purchase your gift cards at Target using a RedCard you save 5% off of the value. $100 in gift cards there will only cost $95.
- You could opt not to do a dining plan and possibly save money by being cautious about what you buy in park, by bringing snacks you purchase from outside or by sharing meals while on site. Our choice to add a dining plan was due to the fact that we wanted to pay for the trip all at once and not worry about skimping here and there and just enjoy ourselves and our children without worrying about every swipe of our credit card or how much each meal costs. Also choosing to utilize Quick Service dining options over table service will save you money on tips!
- Check benefits from credit cards you may have, you may be able to purchase Disney Gift Cards or book your flights at no cost! We had saved enough credit card points on one of ours to completely cover the cost of all of our flights to Orlando.
- Get someone on your side! If you book through the Disney Website they aren't going to call you if a promotion comes up that applies to your travel dates!! Work with a travel agent, they help guide you to choose the best option for you and work to find you savings wherever possible. She saved us nearly $500 by following up with us after we booked our vacation! The services are FREE! Small Earth Travel a local mom run business specializes in Disney travel and is offering an exclusive room credit to anyone who mentions Lehigh Valley Find and Go Seek when they inquire about pricing
Maybe this isn't your feeling, and for those of you that don't feel this way while on vacation with the family at the beach I commend you and ask you forward all tips on how to enjoy such a vacation promptly! I need to know how its done.
So now for the Aha! If I'm spending all of this time and all of this money and putting forth all of this effort to go on "vacation" shouldn't it actually feel like a vacation?! After all the price break downs and cost comparisons something began to stand out. There was something REALLY different between the two vacations I had just priced out. One involved my managing a house/condo by doing dishes, sweeping sand from the floor 12 times a day, making beds and cooking 2-3 meals a day and the other didn't require any of those things! The second option (our Disney vacation) included meals each day that would be served, prepared and cleaned up for us, housekeeping services and every ounce of entertainment a kid could possibly want! For the relatively minimal price difference between the two options we decided to try the option that actually gives me a break from my day to day life!