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Thread: Disney under $1500?
01-21-2011, 02:55 PM #1
Disney under $1500?
We live in SC and was given a task by mywife to see if we could do it all for 1500. It looks to be maybe 450 miles. We have a car that gets maybe 25mpg. We have 2 kids ages 4 and 7. Is this possible? We may have access to a time share in Kissimmee to cut costs by a large margin. Where do I start?
01-21-2011, 03:02 PM #2
01-21-2011, 03:06 PM #3
pack your own food. Set a strict budget for souveniers. Take a disposeable cheap camera. I dunno what else to tell ya. Myabe some of the villagers that have been there before can offer some suggestions. good luck!
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01-21-2011, 03:08 PM #4
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I haven't been to Disney since I was in the 7th grade so I have no idea how much it costs but I would think there are plenty of ways to get the overall cost down.
if you could get an efficiency and make and or pack alot of your food that would help.
Do you camp? that might add a bit of adventure to your adventure and bring your lodging bill down significantly.
01-21-2011, 03:51 PM #5
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We do Disney every Christmas for a week to ten days and after we rent a car ($325) and pay for animal boarding ($1000) our trips run us between $4000-$6000. But, keep in mind we choose to go during Christmas, the most expensive week of the year. We do not pack our own food, eating Disney's delicious food is part of it for us. But, we do get room/food/ticket discounts at Disney. Com. You have to click on "Parks and Travel" choose Disney World and then click on "Special Discounts and offers". Disney is constantly offering some kind of special.
Go to Disney.com and check out some of their specials. Right now the only deal they are offering is a room discount at select Disney resorts. In a few months they will offer the Disney Dining Package for free with a non discounted room and ticket package. That is truly your best bet.
Tickets get more expensive if you add the Park Hopper option. This option is the best thing and really worth the money to most people. It allows you you to visit more than one park a day. However, if you are trying to Disney on a strict budget then this is one option you can live without.
I do not recommend staying off-site. When you decide to stay in a non-Disney hotel/resort/house/etc...you then need to keep in mind you will be using lots of gas to get to and from the parks. You will have to pay $15/day to park to go to Disney parks and you will not be able to take advantage of Disney's Extra Magical Hours since those are only offered to resort guests. Disney ranks their resorts in levels, Value, Moderate and Deluxe. Value is their least expensive resort and quite honestly, is probably the best option for younger kids. They have the All-Star Music, All-Star Sport, All-Star Movies and Pop Century. As with everything Disney they are absolutely adorable resorts with lots of extras. Pop Century is the best of the Values. When you stay at a Disney resort, they offer transportation to all Disney parks. The three All-Star values share a series of buses whereas Pop Century has it's own. Thus, you have a much shorter wait time. But, you never wait more than 20 minutes for a bus to begin with. Disney transportation also includes the monorail, the 2 ferry boats and another little boat. All of which are an attraction in themselves.
We drive 476 miles one way from our front door to the Disney archway entrance. Gas normally runs us in the $200-$250 range, depending on the current prices.
A few websites that may help are allears.net, mousesavers.com, disboards.com. Each has it's own good points in helping plan a Disney trip.
At the different websites, check out the various pictures of the different resorts. Also, check out the prices of the resorts and keep in mind that if you choose to stay off-site, add $15/day to the price of your room to account for the price of parking (which if you are a Disney resort guest and you choose to drive instead of taking Disney transportation, you do not have to pay.)
Disney food - kid's meals run in the $5 range and are actually quite filling. The nugget meal, for example includes nuggets, two side items (like grapes, fries, apple sauce) and a drink (bottled water, juice, milk). Many times I get a kid's meal and am full. Also , the adult meals include a good bit of food and can be easily split. They will give you an extra plate if you ask and a cup of water at no charge. If you do a character meal, then you are looking at some money. Our last trip we did 10 of them and they ranged in price from $100/4 adults to $180/4 adults. But, we also upgraded to a better dining plan and our meals were included in our trip cost, with the exception of the tip.
Buy glow sticks at the Dollar Tree before you go.
Buy a small scrapbook and over sized pen for autographs ahead of time, too. The characters need the over sized pen, regular ones are hard for them to sign with. Take a picture of each kid with each character. Leave the page right next to each character's signature blank and once you get the photos developed, place the picture that goes along with each signature on the blank page next to it.
Buy Photopass before you leave. For $100 you will have all of your photos the Disney Photopass photographers take on a disc and copyrights to them. If you wait to get it once you arrive the price goes up to $150. Photopass pictures are the way to go. It is the best $100 we spend.
Last edited by Neeley; 01-21-2011 at 04:04 PM.
01-21-2011, 04:26 PM #6
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Just checked the Disney website under their special discounts and offers. They have recently added a new offer that may be perfect for you. It is called "Kids Stay and Play Free". When you book a 4 night/5day, non-discounted room and ticket package between February 17 and October 1 for two adults, then two kids ages 3-9 stay and play free (their park tickets are free).
I checked the price of this promotion at Pop Century and it would be $1170 for your room and tickets. These are base tickets, but you can always add the Park Hopper option. The only other thing you would have to pay for if you took advantage of this promotion would be food, gas and any incidentals. If you just purchase tickets and no room, the tickets alone for the four of you will cost $902/5 days and $882/4 days.
01-21-2011, 05:42 PM #7
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I agree with Neeley's comments. I've found that most economies in Disney are economies of scale; in other words, the more you are willing to open your wallet, the better the "deal". They are quite masterful at separating people from their money.
I am also inclined to advise staying on Disney property. You can ask to have a mini-fridge put in the room, where you can keep breakfast and lunch supplies. Dinner won't be too bad if you stick with food courts and counter service. A timeshare can be great, because it usually includes a kitchen, but you will get very tired of driving back and forth for a meal every time someone gets hungry. It's important to remember that you pay a lot for park admissions, so time is money in Disneyworld. (On that note, I have a comment on character meals. If you go at a time of year when the parks are crowded, and your kids absolutely must meet certain characters, the waiting in time can run into hours, which could be better spent touring the parks. It might be worth the investment to go to a character breakfast ...the cheapest meal of the day... to get your audience with the characters without wasting a lot of time. If you do this, be sure to get advance reservations and call Disney Dining to find out which characters will be there.)
I think the deal that Neeley suggested sounds great. I believe that she found it on the DIS boards, at Disney World - The Largest Unofficial On-Line Guide to Disney World, Walt Disney World, where you will find a wealth of information and opinions about every aspect of WDW. I have also found Bob Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to be extremely helpful in helping us to make the most of our time and money.
Have a wonderful time!
01-21-2011, 05:58 PM #8
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We've gone to Disney every year for the past few years. The value resorts (I think there are 4 total...Pop Century as was mentioned above, and 3 more) will be your best bet for on-site lodging. We always stay onsite, to minimize travel time once we reach Disney, but we've never stayed in the Values. I hear they're nice though.
I usually buy my tickets through Undercover Tourist, from a link on mousesavers.com. They have the best prices I've found on legitimate park tickets. I've never gotten the value out of park hoppers...up until our last trip, I bought them every time and we might park hop one day out of 5, so not worth the extra cost for us. I just did a bit more upfront planning and went with regular tix last time, and it was nice to save the money.
You can cut down on food costs if you bring along some breakfast foods that you can eat in your room before heading to the parks, along with snacks to carry into the parks. We always bring in apples, granola bars and trail mix to snack on while we're at the parks....a great way to pass the time while waiting in line! We take our stainless steel water bottles and refill them from the drinking fountains as necessary.
We often do character meals, and breakfast is the way to go on those if you're trying to save money.
If you're not opposed to camping, Fort Wilderness is a nice option. They have not only campsite, but also cabins, and there are free kids' activities at the Fort all day long, plus a free campfire and singalong at night, and great viewing of the MK fireworks from the Fort beach.
Disney is my favorite place on earth---I'm happy for you that you're going, and I wish I were, too!
01-21-2011, 06:55 PM #9
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We went to Disney about 3 yrs ago. We chose to stay off site so we could get away "from it all" for a few hours a day. My son was almost 4 yrs old and we just discovered he had Asperger's Syndrome. So the calming effect of getting away from Disney helped our whole family. We stayed at Seralago Hotel and Suites Main Gate East. The room had a living room, kitchen , bathroom and separate bed room w/ two queen beds. There was a pull out sofa in the living room and a Murphy bed. We got free hot breakfast buffet every morning for all 4 of us. We were able to fill up in the mornings and pack a snack for inside Disney. Then at lunch we came back to the room for lunch and a short nap. The hotel had a free shuttle. We were able to make simple meals in the room too. The hotel had a free movie theater for kids , two swimming pools w/ live music entertainment and a poolside bar for adults.
At the time the hotel was $79/night.
I looked it up today, because we may be going back and found that it has gone up to about $100/night. But we had such a good time there that we always said we would go back to the same hotel.
I'm not sure where you love but Allegiant Air has a special running for Orlando flights and vacation packages. I just priced a round trip ticket for 4, 4 nights 5 days lodging, tickets to Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa and a Boggy Creek airboat ride and a rent a car for $1537.00. I did this online at Discount Flights and Vacation Packages | Travel Is Our Deal | Airfare & Hotel Packages from Allegiant. I have not booked yet, because it seems to good to be true - I will call in person first to see. But $1537.00 is great, we would just have to budget for food and souveniers.
Good Luck. With patience and persistence you can find some really good deals. Dont forget to check out tripadvisor.com.
Oh yeah, there are camp grounds in Orlando that you can camp at or rent a cabin.
01-21-2011, 07:03 PM #10
I go every year in October. My cost for staying at Boardwalk with 3 teenagers is just over $3000. I also recommend disboards.com
01-21-2011, 07:46 PM #11
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If you decide to Disney and expand your budget to include a moderate or Deluxe Disney resort, I would suggest you stay away from Coronado Springs. It is geared more towards conventions and businessmen and less towards families. The year we stayed there was the worst. I would stay in a value long before I would ever do Coronado Springs again. Port Orleans french Quarter, Riverside and Caribbean Beach resorts are all nice. As far as the deluxe resorts go, The Contemporary is our all time favorite. But honestly, you will never go wrong in any of the deluxe resorts. We love each and every one. The Grand Floridian is beautiful. Even if we are staying somewhere else, we like to make a trip by there just to look around. Animal Kingdom Lodge is another that is worth just going by to look around.
01-21-2011, 08:20 PM #12
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Love Disney!!!! Realistically I don't see how you can do this trip for $1500 but if you're willing to spend a bit more then like everyone else I recommend staying onsite...their transportation system is great btw! We enjoy staying at the All Sports Resort.
01-23-2011, 10:06 AM #13
I vaguely remember Disney also had a hotel on their site where Military families could stay for free or very little. So if you are in the military you should look into it. I do not remember the hotels name but the family used to go there until it was only for military families.
01-23-2011, 01:11 PM #14
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01-23-2011, 05:59 PM #15
We go to Disney quite a bit. I'd highly recommend mousesavers.com and allearsnet.com in helping to plan the trip.
When are you thinking about going?
I'd recommend staying on-property for several reasons. The first is that you can take advantage of the extra magic hours. The second is that you can get room, ticket, and dining packages. I read somewhere that Disney extended their free dining offer through September 2011, but I can't remember where I read that, but it'd be worth asking if you call to make reservations.
Buy your own water and carry it with you. We usually go to walmart/sams club/target/costco and buy a case of water and bring it with us. You can bring it into the parks, no problems. Also, we bring in our own snacks. They don't want you bringing in a cooler, but throw it in a backpack, and you're good!
Buy breakfast items and eat most of your breakfasts in the room. We've found that breakfast is probably one of the most expensive meals at Disney for what you get. We've been known to bring cereal, breakfast bars, and poptarts. Anything that's "easy".
Anyone can order a child's meal (at least from counter service restaurants). I've had my fair share of kid's meals to cut down on the amount of food. Also, if the kid's meal comes in special packaging (some places put them in plastic lunch boxes), ask them to do it without the packaging, it'll be about $1 cheaper.
For family pictures, someone suggested buying the photopass before you go. Even better, give the photopass photographer your camera. They'll take a couple with their camera, but they also will take pics with yours. Some of theirs will be a little more fun than what ends up on your camera, but that has to do with their ability to add special touches. Honestly, the last time we bought the photopass pics was in 2008. If you do decide to pre-buy, make sure to get as many pictures done as possible.
There's soooo much to do at Disney without going into the parks. The hotels, in and of themselves, are amazing to visit. Downtown Disney is a lot of fun to visit (and I love lunch at Earl of Sandwich). Then, of course, there are the pools at the hotel.
Sometimes AAA has deals on tickets/hotels. If you do a package, it can't be combined; but if not, definitely ask.
Now you have me wanting to go back. <sigh>
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