Sometimes there's a kind of gut punch feeling when you get your Disney vacation quote. Maybe it's because financially, it was a hard year. (Or two.) It could be the fact that Disney never seems to get cheaper. Whatever the reason, it's possible you wonder, "Well, can we do it? Should we do it?"
I've talked before about not going into debt for a Disney vacation. I've also talked about ways to get FREE Disney money! You know I'm all about enjoying the same magic, but for less!
But what do you do, when year after year, the price goes up, and you aren't sure you are getting the same value? Let's talk about the four elements of a Disney trip. Hotels, food, souvenirs, and tickets. How can we cut costs but still enjoy ourselves?
Without a doubt, hotels can be the most expensive part of your trip! Part of that is because if you are a family of five or more, to stay on property, you'll need a suite or else two rooms. That REALLY adds up. But, let's be honest. Staying on property is pretty expensive. With less perks now for those who do stay on property, you might just be able to save a LOT of money by looking for a resort elsewhere.
The amazing thing about Disney, is there are tons of resorts by Hilton and Holiday Inn and others, that cost half (or less!) than a Disney Value Resort, and you get a resort that usually comes with a fantastic pool area (think mini water park!) and other great resort activities, that might include games, breakfast, and transportation, to name a few.
If you don't spend much time in your resort room, or if you don't care if your walls are decorated in Mickey Mouse, this might be perfect for your family.
Comparing prices between an off property resort, and an All Stars room saved over $1,000 for a week in June. That's a LOT!
Food...now, some people are foodies, others just want to snack. With Disney having such a generous policy letting you bring food into the park, that might be something you want to consider to save big. After all, the average price of a soda is $5! A great compromise might be a resort room breakfast, a snack from your backpack, and then a huge late lunch in the park. Depending on your appetite, you might be able to split a meal, with just buying an extra side. Dinner can be off property or back in your resort room.
We find at the end of the day, we are tired and like to eat light. There's a LOT of stuff you can make or have delivered that would fit that bill!
If you make the majority of your beverages water, you'll save a ton, and prevent possible seriously problems, like dehydration or sunstroke!
Without a budget, it's so easy to spend your money on the amazing Disney goodies. T Shirts can set you back $30 or more! Disney pins start around $8, and there's just so much that looks fun and wonderful and well, you just want!
Define your budget and set limits. Are you wondering how much to bring? Tell yourself, Okay! I can buy something at each park. Or, give yourself a dollar amount. "I can spend $50 at each park." See if you can stick to that! It might be hard but you can still find some great souvenirs. You might not even want to spend that much! Maybe you just want one special thing!
It's easy to overspend!
While Disney has moved into ticket pricing that varies by season and day, there is still a bargain to be found. The longer you stay, the less it costs. It's usually around $10 more for days 6 to 7, which might allow you to extend your stay, especially if you are staying off property, and possibly even skip paying for Genie+, since you'd have an extra day or two and not be so pressed to do it all.
If you have your heart set on going to Disney, then go for it! There are many ways to save, and the sooner you start, the easier it is. In fact, you might find that frozen pizza really saves your budget!
Start braining storming, involve the whole family, and remember...doing Disney simply, and cutting a few corners isn't going to reduce the magic. It's going to help you get back there quicker!