I have never been to DisneyWorld, but my hubby has and he has been wanting to take us. I am not big on places where you pay $10.00 an ice cream cone, but upon research I have found a few thrifty tips. On the resort they have a campground it's about $30 a night for a site with electricity, etc. Since it's on site, you get the advantage of longer hours and free shuttle, daycare, a pool, etc. You can read more on their website. If you camp, you can save a bundle on food, buy, and cook your own in an RV, or over a fire if you have a tent.
My hubby says the park hopper is good but you can easily spend a whole day at one park, then go to the others on the next days. That fast pass is supposed to be really good, but the lines may be just as long as the ride lines. Check into a Orlando city pass or entertainment book; they should hold lots of money saving coupons. I know the book is like $25, but well spent. Also, you may want to check eBay, with care, for deals, be careful on that one though.
There are tons of sites that will lead you to some deals if you search for Disney deals and tips on Google. A travel guide may not be a bad thing, also. If you decide to stay at a hotel, consider a meal plan package that they sell, looks expensive but may be worth it. Florida residents get a discount for Disney, so maybe, if you know someone there who can book your tickets for you, that maybe another way of saving green. Good Luck, to you. If I find anymore tips I'll post. I hope this info helps (03/08/2007)
The only time I went was with my parents when I was six (1992). We found that for the most part, we enjoyed the Epcot Center and Sea World very much, much better than Disney World, due to the two and three-hour lines we encountered there. So try to concentrate mostly on the other attractions; Disney World is fun, but is a hectic place to be, especially in the summertime.
Are you going to Disney World in Florida? My family has been there many times, first and foremost, do NOT stay on Disney property. The Disney motels are sky high. Stay outside, the farther the better. You can get good, economical motels, such as, Knights Inn (they are about the most reasonable), EconoLodge, etc.
Also, do not plan to eat your main meal at the Disney attractions the food is very expensive and not all that good. Look for places outside the theme park. We found that places like Ponderosa, Golden Corral, etc. well, they have excellent buffets, all you can eat for one price.
For souvenirs, there are plenty of Wal-marts around, where you can get them much, much cheaper than at the parks. (03/09/2007)
My hubby and two sons went a few years ago, and are planning another trip. I am disabled and can't walk long distances. We found that all the theme parks are very attentive to people with disabilities. At each ride the attendants seat the disabled and their families first. There are wheelchairs and electric carts that you can rent for the day. I just knew that I would be in trouble and my pain would wreck my family's trip. I was pleasantly surprised. I am looking forward to our next trip. We rented a house for our week long trip.
We plan to stay in the park on our next trip. We got a booklet at the welcome center that had 2 for 1 meal coupons at area eaterys. The company we rented our house from also had a booklet with discounts for renting the house. We used all the coupons and cooked for ourselves with food we brought from home. We drove our own suv that was packed to the brim. We had a great time. Look for special offers and coupons. Check out Kissimie-St Cloud, Fla too. Check with all surrounding towns for any specials. I hope your trip is as special as ours was. God Bless! (03/09/2007)
By Susie from Buckhead Ga
The last time I went was many years back. We took all our own food. We went back to our hotel to eat or to our van. We froze bottles of water and packed sandwiches for the kiddos.
We didn't stay all night. We kept to our schedule for the little ones, in bed by 8:30 or so. We were lucky enough to go with family who had kids the same age and we took turns watching the kiddos. I hope you have a good time. It's a life time memory. (03/09/2007)
First congratulations on saving enough for a wonderful memorable trip for your family!
My kids have gone to Disney with their kids. And I believe their biggest complaint is the price of the food! So, my suggestion would be, before you enter the park, eat a big breakfast either at your hotel, or find a little breakfast place. And make sure everyone eats hearty! After that, they could probably use a snack at the park vs a big lunch. Then eat your dinner outside the park at a local restaurant. I do believe your daily pass allows you to leave the park and return in the same day. Because you don't want to miss the night events, with lights and fireworks etc. I hope this helps your cost some, I am sure it will. Have a great time.
Jackie, From Southern Massachusetts. (03/09/2007)
Read the travel book by Steve Birmbaum at your library. It gives great tips. We have gone 3 times but always in the December, off season. (small lines) We got a package that included food. It was expensive, but we probably ate them out of house and home. Every meal was great. Everything each time was magical. I had friends with young kids who went in summer with heat and lines and hated it. (03/09/2007)
I went to Disney FL in October 2006 for a business trip but stayed an extra couple nights since my mom tagged along. We didn't have a lot of money to spend and are not big on the rides, so we went to Downtown Disney. It is free to enter, has restaurants (including quick meals), souvenir stores everywhere. There are lots of great things for kids to look at: like life size Legos people, animals, etc., and water spraying out of the ground. It takes at least a half day to walk, and has lots of benches and air conditioned stores. It was really great. We never even went into the parks. Also, riding the mono rail around and seeing the hotels and grounds and water was very interesting. I got hundreds of beautiful photos of the natural side of Disney plus all the normal Disney cut-outs. (03/09/2007)
I have to disagree with the person who said do not stay on the Disney property, when you factor in the parking , the driving, etc., it is more convenient and probably less expensive to stay on site. Get a plan that includes meals and make your pre-reservations to avoid lines. I left one day "to chance" and we ended up waiting over two hours for a meal. "Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead", is the advice I would give you. It takes some time, but it is well worth it. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was more than worth the price, it is beautiful, convenient bus shuttle, pool on site, just wonderful. We were only going once, so we splurged the most we could! (03/09/2007)
Here is one thing that I did at Disney World to save money. Most restaurant meal portions are large, so feed your small kids from your plate. For snacks, take juice boxes, fruit, pretzels, etc. in a backpack for the kids. Take a water bottle for everyone. It is so hot in Florida in the summer. Our family will be at WDW the 1st week of June. We are taking a 5 yr old (his 1st time), as well as, 2 teens who have been many times. Kids always want spending money, so we always allow for $10/day per kid. They can buy junk food, souvenirs, games, etc. Have a great vacation. (03/09/2007)
I live in S. Cal., so we visit Disneyland, but it's just as expensive. The one thing I remember doing which was a smart idea was to visit the Disney store at our local mall before the trip, picked up a few items I knew my son would really enjoy, and I packed them in our bags. When we got there, I found the identical items in the shops inside the park for about 3 times the cost. Throughout the day, I would pull out one of the surprises I brought along, and my son was none the wiser. He was thrilled to have a toy/souvenir of Disneyland, and I was thrilled to save some $$. If you don't have a Disney store nearby, perhaps you can find some Disney character t-shirts or small toys at your local Target or toy store to take along. The kids won't know the difference as long as they recognize the Disney character! (03/09/2007)
We went to DisneyWorld at the end of February - with a high school marching band. Take a backpack - we encouraged all the kids to bring one. Much easier to keep track of important miscellaneous stuff. Like sunscreen (don't forget this one - the kids that left this at the hotel were not happy, and quickly borrowed from adults), snacks (you can bring pre-packaged, unopened snacks to the parks), camera/extra film/extra batteries (all expensive in the parks), and water. My son took a 2 liter camelback, and refilled as he could through the day. Use the fastpass option for the rides you really want to ride the most - the kids would head for the "hot" ride and get a pass, then do other things as they waited for their time to come up.
We required the kids to eat breakfast provided by the hotel. Choose your meals carefully at the parks - food is expensive, but the cafeteria style places seem to give better value than counter service. Some of the girls found they could share a cafeteria type meal, and both be full. We also found that eating at off times (mid afternoon, as opposed to noon or around 5pm) meant a much shorter wait in line - in some cases, no line at all.
My son recommends careful souvenir buying - "don't buy the small stuff that's worthless" - he chose something nice for himself, and a couple uniquely Disney park items for his cousins. Pictures are great souvenirs - if you've got a digital camera, bring an extra memory card, and fill them up. Decide what's important - where you're willing to spend, and not - then have fun! (03/09/2007)
As a Florida resident and annual passholder at Disney World for the past 3 years, as well as, a former cast member, I wholeheartedly disagree with the person who said not to stay on property! There are so many more pluses to staying on property that it really and truly does make it much more economical than staying off property! With the addition of the family suites at the value priced resorts on property, you get a far better value for your money than staying off property. You have access to Disney transportation which is available at every resort to go anywhere on property you wish to go, at practically anytime you could possibly want to go! Not to mention staying on property is just part of the magic! The themed decor of each property adds to the enjoyment of the trip, it truly does!
As we "speak" my mother-in-law and I are preparing to make our monthly visit the 25th and 26th of this month. We taking my middle granddaughter (5 years old). We wouldn't dream of staying anywhere besides on property, believe me, we've done both and it really is a better option! Kaily has never stayed in a themed resort before and I think getting that wake up call from Mickey Mouse or one of the others will just add to her memories!
Money saving ideas:
Definitely take water bottles you can refill, camera/film/batteries/sunscreen because all are VERY expensive inside the parks (something like $20 for a disposable camera!), go early morning until it becomes too unbearable (June IS the beginning of our hotter months, but also is the beginning of our hurricane season) and go back to your room for pool time/naptime until about 5 or 6. Then go back for evening enjoyment. Be sure to include ponchos and rain gear for your convenience (Ponchos are $5 in the parks). Above all, if you can take snacks and/or go back to your room for lunch, I strongly advise that. There is a grocery store not far from Downtown Disney that has reasonable and typical grocery store pricing (as opposed to Disney pricing) for grocery supplies. If you drive down in your own car and go to the grocery store, that could be the only time you have to move your car your entire vacation, if you stay on property! You could even get a bucket of chicken from the store's deli for your supper and not have to spend money on expensive suppers in the parks too!
There are tons of ways to make this the most magical and memorable vacation memory your children and you share! (03/09/2007)
I strongly recommend buying a paperback book "The Unofficial Guide to Disney World". You can buy them new or used from Amazon.com. I did this when we took my granddaughter and our nephew some years ago. We found it extremely helpful. Read it well before you go and highlight the tips that you want to use and carry it with you in the park. We definitely got our money's worth. I also loved Epcot and Sea World while we were there. We all had a wonderful, exhausting time! I'm still trying to get the song "It's a small world after all" out of my head. (03/09/2007)
Rather than spending your money on a book about Disney World, go to www.tourguidemike.com and sign up to receive Mike's information. He is a former VIP tour guide for Disney and will give you all the ins and outs of how to "do" Disney. You are going during one of the busiest times and Tour guide Mike will give you valuable info to help you plan how to maneuver through the parks without waiting in long lines. I used his service last year to help us plan our trip that we took in July and I can testify that it was well worth the $20 I spent on my subscription to his service. We never waited in a line longer than 10 minutes the entire time and we went for eight days!
Second piece of advice is to stay on property. Get up and go early in the morning (be at the park when it opens). Go back to your on property hotel around the noon hour and rest (napping is appropriate) or go to the pool. Then go back to the park around 4:00 or 5:00 and stay until it closes. The parks are the busiest from about 11:00a.m. to 4:00pm (and very hot!) and you want to avoid that!
Have a great time! (03/10/2007)
I highly highly recommend www.mousesavers.com. Also, staying on the resort is a must and we bought the meal plan w/ our package and saved around $300 for 3 adults! Plus each day one of the parks opens an hour early for resort guest only. When it opens start at the back of the park and work your way to the front. (Its human nature to start at the front and usually to the right.)
Plan your days in advance and you can reserve seating for lunch and dinner b/c most places have over an hour wait or some even turn you away! We flew there and through mousesavers recommendation had a limo service pick us up in either a van, SUV, etc. It was cheaper than renting a car and was so easy! Plus they allowed us to stop at a grocery store on our way there. Which is where we bough our breakfast supplies, snack and lots and lots of water. The water is crazy expensive in the park, resorts, everywhere! Have fun! (03/10/2007)
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