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We (a family of four - DH, DD age 18, DS age 16 and me) have been going every December 16-26 since 2001. We typically staying at a moderate level resort, with Park Hopper passes and spend roughly $3500 on our room/ticket/food package. Now, keep in mind the time of year we do our trip is the most expensive time. It is when Disney charges the most for rooms and the restaurants within the parks and on Disney property up their charges. You can look up and see which dates Disney considers "Peak", Holiday" "value", etc...as far as pricing on their rooms. One week will be a peak week and the next a value.

I always book straight through Disney, taking advantage of their Free Dining plans. This alone saves our family well over $1000.

I am no help on flights. We are only 500 miles from Disney so we just drive there. 7 hours, $200 in gas round trip and we are good to go.

Some people will say to stay off-site to save money. However, you have to keep in mind if you saty off-site you cannot get the free dining if it is offered, you have to pay to park ($15/day) and you cannot take advantage of Disney's Extra Magical Hours. My uncle is the GM of a major resort/convention center hotel in the center of Orlando. He will give us his two room Presidential suite the entire length of our stay for free and we still stay on Disney property. You lose a lot of the magic if you stay off-site.

DisBoards.com
AllEars.net
MouseForLess.com
MousePlanet.com
MouseSavers.com

These are just a few places to start looking.
 

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I live about an hour away from Disney and have not been in years. Hope you have a great trip and find some great deals like the OP have suggested.

My bil and sil just went about a month ago and got some kind of speed passes they sounded great. Don't know how much extra they cost but seemed like they would be worth it. Maybe someone here has experience with them and will chime in on if they really are worth it.

Again have fun planning your Disney trip.
 

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My bil and sil just went about a month ago and got some kind of speed passes they sounded great. Don't know how much extra they cost but seemed like they would be worth it. Maybe someone here has experience with them and will chime in on if they really are worth it.
What your BIL and SIL got are called Fast Passes. They are free. You take your park ticket, slide it in a kiosk at the attraction and it spits out a pass with a time for you to return to the attraction When you return you enter the attraction through a separate line, cutting your "in line time" down tremendously. Fast Pass is only available at select attractions and each ticket can only have a certain number of fast passes (one to two within a certain amount of time) on it at any given time.
 
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imho....dont stay on property...the food is just awful...dont care about the savings, cost...yucko......look for flights on tues or wed late evening...10 - 11pm...on kayak....we got flights out of yngstwn for 300 ea...awesome deal for thnksgvng wknd....direct also...

do your research on trip advisor and other sites...you can work it all out
 

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If you are military look at Shades of Green. It's a Disney resort and is right next to the Polynesian. I am staying there with my DH and DD the week after Thanksgiving. There are also park hopper tickets available for military for $138 for 4 days. It was a killer deal for us. Our entire vacation including airfare is only $1500.

I was thrilled to death!!
 

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Thanks, nodmicks, they had exactly what I was looking for... a thread about what others would not miss when visiting and a thread about our off-site condo. We're heading there for a week starting Saturday!!! Can hardly wait, getting very excited for daily warm weather and fun!
 

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Great advice here. If flying, Disney resort (no need for a car), and possibility of a dining deal. Driving - cheap hotels or, even better, timeshare rental (kitchen, more space, pool). I plan our Disney trips to a crazy level - and save a bunch of time and money! Disboard, mousesavers, disney sites. Also, and this seems counter-frugal - consider subscribing to Tourguidemike. We did this for a spring break trip. Didn't wait more than 10 minutes, ever! When everyone else is going to a certain park; "Mike" sends their people somewhere else. Our trips was a game for us. We were very frugal with our time. Fastpass rocks too!
-Liz
 
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