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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Walt Disney World: On A Budget

My version of a successfully budgeted vacation is getting the best accommodations you can afford for the least amount of money. If you can't pay for your vacation without putting it on credit cards and building debt you don't need to go. Period.

That being said, there are ways to reduce the burden of paying for your Walt Disney World vacation. 

The biggest way you can save money on your Walt Disney World vacation is to look for discounts. Disney usually offers a multitude of discounts throughout the year. These discounts include things like 30% off of your room or the ever-coveted {free dining}. It's important to remember that these discounts are limited so you should make sure you are always watching the website for them to be released. I find websites like MouseSavers super handy, they will show you the historical release dates for discounts. Usually there is a trend, and you can somewhat tell when the discounts will be released.  

Did you know that you can pay for your entire vacation using gift cards?

Disney gift cards can be purchased at Sam's Club at a discount. You can get $150 for $142.98 and free shipping. Let's do the math, if your vacation is going to cost $2,500 and you use these gift cards to pay the total you will save $117 roughly, that's dinner. If you have a Target Red Card you can also get 5% off of Disney gift cards. That's $125 on $2,500, again that's dinner.

We also saved money by using a program called Garden Grocer instead of paying for the Dining Plan. Let me say that I am in no way opposed to getting the Disney Dining Plan. There is definite value in having the Dining Plan, and we are actually purchasing it for our next trip. On our trip in October we had a large group and shared a villa. This meant we had a full kitchen. In this instance it was cheaper for us to purchase groceries and eat breakfast and lunch in our room. We will have a standard room when we return in April and won't have a full kitchen so it only makes sense to get the Dining Plan. 

Our experience with Garden Grocer

I wouldn't go to a grocery store in Orlando if you paid me. This service was excellent. They delivered the groceries to the bell hop at our resort. They text us when the groceries arrived, and we called down and had them brought up to our room. By ordering our groceries 60 days in advance we received a 10% discount, which more than covered the delivery charge. The groceries were no more expensive than Publix, and actually most of them came from there! I would definitely recommend this service.

Finally, we purchased things like glow sticks and ponchos ahead of time. These items are much cheaper purchased in advance from the Dollar Tree or Amazon. I would rather pay $3 for a poncho and not need it than need it and have to pay $10. Glow sticks are a must at Disney! If you are planning to be at a park at night try putting a couple on the stroller handles, they will help you locate your stroller much faster. When we passed by the carts filled with $10 glow wands I was happy to be able to pull out our Dollar Tree glow sticks from the backpack. AND wearing the glow bracelets on dark rides helped mini d not get scared in the dark. 

These all may seem like small savings here and there but they really add up! 

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