Dad's tips for affordable Disney family vacations
Finding affordable Disney family vacations is one of Dad's the main reasons for Dad's site. Dad is big on saving money. A Disney World vacation is an investment in your family, but it doesn't have to put you into bankruptcy.
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Here are Dad's top 10 money saving tips for your next Disney World vacation.
The Swan and Dolphin hotels at Walt Disney World run specials that make for affordable Disney family vactions - Photo by Matthew Cooper.
Number 10 - Stay outside "the World"
Disney Resorts can be more expensive than other accommodations outside of Disney World. (Sorry, Uncle Walt, but it's true. Yes, I know they are pretty and convenient , but they cost more.) You can sometimes find great deals on nice hotels, condos or even rental houses.
Make sure when your comparing that you factor in parking ($20.00 per day, free for Disney Resort guests) and transportation to the parks.
Using Disney's Magical Express is FREE to resort guests - Photo by Cliff Wang.
Number 9 - Let Disney do the driving
Disney will be happy to grab you at the airport and haul you around during your vacation. From the time you arrive, up until the time you arrive back at the airport on the way home, you'll be in Disney's evil clutches. (Just kidding.)
Disney's Magical Express is a service for guests staying in one of the Disney Resort hotels. Disney will pick you up at the Orlando airport and bring you back when you leave.
Disney is also great about moving guests around from hotels to the parks. They have one of the largest fleets of buses, a huge navy, trains, monorails whose only job is to move guests from place to place.
Number 8 - Do your homework
You can save money just by doing a little preparation before you go. Make a budget that includes how much you are going to spend on souvenirs. Give that amount to the kids and let them spend their Disney dollars on whatever they want. That way you can control the amount of money you spend.
You can also plan the cost of your meals by using Dad's Disney Dining Plan calculators - whether you buy the DDP or pay for your meals out of pocket. Make sure you do your homework and get the dining option that best fits your plans for affordable Disney family vacations.
Do your homework - Photo by Mike Billick.
Number 7 - Save money on food
There are two ways you can save money on food when trying to plan affordable Disney family vacations.
The first is to buy it and keep it in your room. All of the Disney Resorts have refrigerators available for the room. It's a lot cheaper to run to one of the local stores and stock up on milk, sodas and snacks than to buy them in the restaurants. Most of the resorts even have some of those items you can buy and keep in your room. And a microwave is always available in the food court.
The second is to take it with you to the parks. Pack up a backpack with water bottles, fruit and snacks and take it with you when you go to the parks. It's a lot cheaper to buy it outside and bring it in. If you have your own car, you can pack a lunch in a cooler and run out to the car at lunchtime - you'll save gobs of money.
Number 6 - Take longer vacations
As my old friend (who I've never actually met, just watched on TV) Emeril would say... "Oh, Yeah, Babe..."
A great tip for affordable Disney family vacations is to stay longer. Disney rewards guests that stay longer with cheaper ticket prices per day. An adult two day base ticket is around $100 per day. A seven day ticket is about $59 per day. The longer you stay, the less it is per day for tickets.
So Dad says take longer vacations...
You just can't go as often. Somehow I seem to forget that second part.
Value Resorts are cheap and cheerful - Photo by Laurie Sapp.
Number 5 - Stay in the Value Resorts
The Value Resorts are the place to stay for affordable Disney family vacations. That's right the Value Resorts . Why? They are cheap (for Disney).
One room at a Value Resort during Value Season costs $89.00 per night. The cheapest room at the Polynesian during Value Season costs $425.00 per night. (Who are they kidding?)
You can get 2 connecting rooms in a Value Resort and have over 500 square feet of space, 4 beds, 2 TV's and, here's the best thing, 2 BATHROOMS for about half the price of the Deluxe Resorts, and about the same price as one of the Moderate Resorts.
Lunch can be cheaper at certain restaurants - Photo by Judd Helms.
Number 4 - Eat big meals at lunch
You can save big bucks by eating your big meal of the day at lunch instead of dinner. (And some nutrition expert will probably tell you it's healthier too.)
Some of the sit down restaruants have lower prices on the lunch menu than on the dinner menu. The menu may be a little more limited, and the portions may be a little smaller, but you can save money.
If you schedule your lunch for late during the lunch period, you can avoid needing a big supper. (Unless you have a Man-Child.)
To help plan your meals during affordable Disney family vacations check out Dad's Disney Dining page.
Number 3 - Don't park hop
Disney's Park Hopper option costs an extra $60-75 plus tax per ticket. That's a lot of money to spend when your trying to make plans for affordable Disney family vacations.
If you do decide to park hop, add it on the first day, so you can take full advantage thoughout your trip. (Check out Dad's latest park hopper experience.)
Number 2 - Go during value season
Value Season is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. Crowds are usually lower, the weather is pretty good during most of Value Season, hotel prices are low, and great deals on everything from meals to rental cars are usually available. Even single-day tickets are cheaper.
Value season is usually parts of January, February, September, October and November.
Disney offers great deals for affordable Disney family vacations during Value Season kike room discounts, special package promotions, and sometimes - Free Dining.
To get the Bottom Line information about prices on Affordable Disney World Vacations, check out Dad's partners at Destinations to Travel. The Disney Vacation Planners over there know the cheapest time to visit and can help you design a Perfect Vacation.
Number 1 - Move to Florida
Yep, that's right. Dad's number one secret for affordable Disney family vacations is move to Florida.
Disney offers lots of savings for Florida residents. Florida Resident Passes, Special Florida only Season passes and many others.
Come on Mrs. Mom, get packing.
OK, maybe that's not such a money saving idea. (Did I mention Florida doesn't have a state income tax?)
Dad's Bottom Line
Making Disney World vacations is one of Dad's biggest goals. Try these out and let Dad know how he did.