Disney World Vacation Planning
There is no denying it, a Disney trip can be a very expensive family vacation for any parent if you don't find ways to cut costs and find discounts. Before your toddler can say "Bippity, Boppity Boo", such things as transportation costs, park admission, food, lodging and souvenirs can have your family penniless if you don't set a vacation budget and don't stick to it.
When deciding on a vacation date, try traveling during midweek when airline tickets are typically cheapest (if you plan to fly to your Disney destination). If you can, wait until the off season, such as late spring or early fall, instead of vacationing in the middle of summer. Having a flexible schedule is always helpful in getting the best deal.
If you are traveling by car, keep in mind that gas prices tend to change dramatically depending on where you're at. If you see a station that has a bargain on gas, fill up your tank even if it's just half empty. Also, gas may very well be cheaper in the city rather than in a rural area. To get the best mileage, check the air in your tires and make sure your car is in good mechanical shape before heading out. Under-inflated tires and an engine in need of a tune-up will make your car work harder, using up more gas.
You can save money by purchasing selected admission tickets in advance (rather than at the gate) and even more if you are a AAA member. If you are a member of AAA, you may be able to enjoy lodging discounts, as well. Disney's "Park Hopper" tickets may be the best deal if you need admission for more than one park and/or more than one day. Many people take advantage of the Entertainment Book savings. Purchase one from the destination you're traveling to. They are packed full of discounts!
As for lodging, you may save a significant chunk of change by simply staying in a surrounding area instead of at a Disney resort. The truth about vacation packages is that they are rarely the bargain they say they are. It may be a lot cheaper to book everything out separately. Finding a cheaper place to stay that offers free bus shuttles to the park can significantly lower costs. Some other shuttles are over $25 round trip!
As far as food goes while vacationing, buy food from grocery stores to prepare in your hotel room (if the room has a refrigerator). Make your own breakfast before leaving the hotel (if breakfast isn't included) so that your family is full for the entire morning. Meals inside the parks will be expensive. If you must buy a meal there, it will be cheaper to make lunch the main meal of the day instead of dinner, and you may find that sharing meals with your children is a great cost-saving trick, as portions tend to be larger at park restaurants than at other places. Some restaurants have "kids eat free" specials to take advantage of, as well. Just keep your eyes peeled for signs.
Drinks and even water can be expensive! Carry water bottles that can be refilled at the many available water fountains. You can stash them in the freezer the night before so they'll be colder a lot longer at the park.
See, you really don't have to spend a ton of money to have a fun-filled Disney vacation with your family!
Find great tips for saving before your Disney trip here:
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