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Money Saving Tips / Budgeting Discuss WDW on a budget - tricks and hints in the Vacation Planning forums; I use most of the ideas given, but I didn't think of the grocery delivery. That's great! I've used a cab and sometimes we lean on the side of driving ...
  1. #16
    pitmansparky is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    I use most of the ideas given, but I didn't think of the grocery delivery. That's great! I've used a cab and sometimes we lean on the side of driving down, just to have a car. Who does the grocery deliveries? I'll be sure to use that next time.

    My tip is,
    My family loves the water parks. This way if we want a 10-day holiday, we get a 5-day ticket with water park options, and alternate between a theme park and waterpark or disneyquest. It's like visiting a park everyday, but only paying for half.
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  2. #17
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    The best thing I ever do to save money is share meals. Rather than eating at counter-service places, we always eat at sit-down restaurants and split meals. That way, it costs half as much and no food is wasted, because there's no way I could eat an entire meal by myself.
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    I haven't done this yet, but I'll do it in November when I head to The World. Rather than buying something to drink when I get thirsty, I'm going to bring the little "powder packets" of Propel or Crystal Light with me. Then, I can have something tasty to drink for the cost of a box of powder packets (and a bottle to put water into), rather than at $2.5 a hit (or whatever it is).

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    Who does the grocery service??Staying at SSR and really could use this!!!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tmntrans View Post
    Who does the grocery service??Staying at SSR and really could use this!!!
    My family used to use Tiffany Towncar, and they did 'the free grocery stop'. (I said "used to" because we've switched to using Disney's Magical Express 'cause it's free - there was no problem with Tiffany Towncar's service.) We found the grocery stop to be very helpful when traveling with young, picky eaters. You're taken (or used to be taken) to a grocery store called Publix. While there, we bought a cheap styrofoam cooler and whatever we needed. Once we got to our hotel, we'd fill the cooler with ice from the ice machine and refill it as often as needed. This saved us a good chunk of change because we'd buy bread and cold cuts and bring lunch with us into the park each day.

  6. #21
    DancedW/Tigger is offline A-Ticket holder
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    We will be visiting The Mouse in 6 days!!!! We have stocked our suitcases with t-shirts & stffed characters from The Disney Store, glow necklaces from the Dollar Store, lifesavers (on clearance for $.05/ roll), Kool-aid singles, an autograph book found on clearance for $1.75, & gave each child a budget for souveniors. Thanks for the tips here.

  7. #22
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    Do stay Disney... even if it looks like off site would be a little cheaper, the free transportation makes a HUGE difference in savings on a rental car, gas, parking fees, tolls, time and "ambiance."

    Eat cheap... who goes on vacation to wear a tie and eat a $50 meal?? There are some great value restaurants in the park with healthy alternatives to burgers. Also, check out other hotels for good spots to eat for something different. Refill cips save big moolah for week-long trips. We always pack a few boxes of energy bars and juice boxes to keep in the room - saves you a fortune for those days when you need a nighttime snack or light breakfast rather than spending a bundle for a big meal you don't need.

    Get your picture taken lots, but only buy the very best one! Avoid all those extras. Take your own picture, and trade off with other folks taking them so everyone can be in them, and its a great way to meet people.

    Watch the souvenirs. Do you really need an eight-foot-tall Pluto, and will your dad really want to wear a Mickey Mouse tie to work? Better investements are the books that you can look back on, something you saw being made like the glass-blower's things, or a keepsake piece of Disneyana. If you have kids, let them draw big pictures of what they did that day... years later, these will be the most precious souvenirs you could have.

    If your tickets include Disney Quest, take the kids there one night and let them go game crazy, instead of shelling out fistfulls of quarters daily in the hotel arcades.

    You probably will need a raincoat or umbrella. Bring it. Sunscreen, too.

    Avoid the more expensive "view" rooms. Your room is just like everyone else's only more expensive. You'll be in the parks, etc or at the pool except to sleep, you won't be peering out the window. Unless this is a honeymoon deal, take the least expensive room at the place.

    When booking, check around for "codes" or ask the Disney booking agent for any special deals. Don't be shy, you aren't being a cheapskate, you're being smart. You can sometimes save hundreds.

    Consider the time of year. It can make a big difference to go during a peak period. If you don't have kids in school, off season is cooler, less crowded, and often less expensive. During some periods you can even get special perks like free dining. Do the research.

    Don't automatically book the nearest airport or assume that the shortest flight is the cheapest. A lot depends on which airline hubs out of which airport... check a couple different travelocity or expedia type sites for all airports in a reasonable distance to get a better idea.

    If you are taking a Disney trip, they have enough to keep you busy for a good week. Unless you are really amped for it, there's no reason to buy tickets to other parks or spring for taxis. You can do everything from go fishing to play mini golf to a country BBQ to a movie to golf or tennis without leaving the property.

    The strollers get expensive and can be a hassle (and get pilfered). If there are two bigger people, they might just as soon carry a little one off and on.

    Budget! Impulse buying will kick your butt here. Instead of overusing the credit card or piling up charges on your room key, we take a modest amount of cash each day from the room safe and that's what we spend.

    If you are going to drink, don't overdue it. This will run up your costs here in a hurry.

    Have fun looking at Downtown Disney, but don't go nuts buying. Most of this stuff would be available back home if you really needed it, which you don't.

    Pick a coupe little splurges - milkshakes at Ghiradellis, a boat ride on the lagoon, a massage, whatever - so you don't feel like a neglected tightwad. After all, you are on vacation.

  8. #23
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    Don't suppose it would work to claim to be Walt's longlost great granddaughter Waltina huh?

  9. #24
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    Quote Originally Posted by Smack81 View Post
    I haven't done this yet, but I'll do it in November when I head to The World. Rather than buying something to drink when I get thirsty, I'm going to bring the little "powder packets" of Propel or Crystal Light with me. Then, I can have something tasty to drink for the cost of a box of powder packets (and a bottle to put water into), rather than at $2.5 a hit (or whatever it is).
    I'm a HUGE believer in just getting cups of ice water... any counter service (though not carts because they don't have connections to pipes) will offer free ice water, no purchase necessary.

    This saves SO much money in itself!

    Our other big money saver is to have breakfast in the rooms (or on the way to the bus stop) ... saves time & money (no waiting in line for food, waiting for something to be served, paying for the price of preparation, etc.). If you bring parmalat milk, you don't have to worry about keeping it cold, so that's a big plus when staying at a value resort without a fridge... so you can have cereal & milk that way. Fruit, bagels, peanut butter, granola bars... all easy to keep in your room without refrigeration.

    We've also found some of the best values for food in the park are the hot dogs (really big ones that our boys often split) for just about $4. And on the Boardwalk, we've gotten some meatball subs for cheaper-than-elsewhere too.

    If you want a buffet meal, the best value is Ft. Wilderness Campground's Trail's End Restaurant... lowest priced buffet on property... just a boat ride away from the MK.
    Jenny



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  10. #25
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    [quote=disneydarling;584726]
    3) Order the kids meal: Unless its really unappealing its always a good idea to order off the kids menu. The portions are good and you can eat an entire meal including drink for cheaper than you can buy an adult entree
    quote]

    I love eating off the kids meal. Last trip I was forced to eat only soft food because my tooth was knock out, I look at allears and 90% of CS have kid meal mac & cheese. Now i get homesick of it and go to Kroger's just to get Stouffer's (sp?) mac & chees

    I notice (don't quote me on this just an observation) that at Port Orleans River Side every time I order kids mac & cheese the cast member gave me 3 scoops of it. It was much more than I could finish.

    Also at Wolfgang express order side not entree you can get two sides for less than one entree and I could barely finish one side because they are generous portions

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  11. #26
    Disney05's Avatar
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    Quote Originally Posted by NorweJenNY View Post
    I'm a HUGE believer in just getting cups of ice water... any counter service (though not carts because they don't have connections to pipes) will offer free ice water, no purchase necessary.
    That's what we did our last trip. But we brought those little flavor powdered mixes to add to it.
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  12. #27
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    Quote Originally Posted by Tmntrans View Post
    Who does the grocery service??Staying at SSR and really could use this!!!
    SSR will actually stock your room with groceries before you get there! Are you DVC members? call member services if you are. If not, I'm not sure how it works but I would call SSR or Disney and ask. The prices are reasonable and I think worth it although we did bring along cereal, sugar, coffee and tea in our luggage. Laundry detergent is a good idea to bring along too. If you aren't in a studio the laundry facilities are in room but they only leave you a little bit of detergent (I think it's a single use packet).

    When I was growing up my parents would always stay at FW because we always camped out whenever we went on vacation and it was cheaper than a hotel, especially for a family of 6. I just found out on our trip at the beginning of March that my parents would only buy park tickets for a couple of days and then just hang around FW on the other days! I never knew this but I remember having fun whenever we went and don't remember not going to the parks every day!! Of course back then there weren't value resorts and there were only two parks! And there is soooo much to do at FW for free or low cost!

    The Propel/kool-aid/gatorade packets are great to take along.

    I know everybody thinks it can be pricey but when you do the math the meal plans really are the way to go unless you have a resort room with a kitchen or kitchenette and then definitely go with the grocery delivery or if you drive go to the grocery store. The meal plans are great because you pay once at the beginning of your stay and you can order whatever you want!

  13. #28
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    As the Mom of 8 and Mem of 2 now I can tell you from serious experience that bringing a family to Disney can be VERY expensive but done right can also be Very inexpensive. With so many of us we have learned that is much cheaper if you are a large family to stay onsite at a value resort. First, no need to rent a large and pricey vehicle, Magic Express takes you right to the hotels from the airport. Second, we have found that it was actually much cheaper to get 2 adjoining rooms at a value resort than to stay in a single room that is large enough to accomodate more than 4 people. It also gives parents a room and kids feel like they have their own. Was a blessing to have 2 full bathrooms and 2 seperate TV's too. Since the new dining plan we have waited and watched and booked around the free dining offers. We just booked for 12 days in August with free dining YAY!!! I think our meal budget hurt us more than the whole trip before. My favorite money saver comes in here. We always bring one suitcase filled with snacks from home. Not everyone likes the same things and snacks at Disney are pricey. Not all states have the same foods either. We get things like prepackaged snack cakes, muffins, cookies, slim jims, you name it, the day before our trip and pack them into one suitcase. With this trick not only do we have danish & muffins for breakfast while getting ready in the AM we also have snacks after returning late from the parks and the resort stores an restaurants are closed. And in the end we have that much needed space in the now empty suitcase to put all those new souveniers!!! We always got water from the counter services but I love the idea of the koolaid single packs for it!!! A new trick for me this trip in August!!! Thanks!!!

  14. #29
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    Hmm... these are some great suggestions for people who are visiting DW. I can incorporate them into my stay when I head down later this month.

    That said, what are suggestions for Cast Members? We'll be staying down there for a much longer time, and while the discounts will be awesome, I'm still cognizant of the fact that things will still be expensive, and do add up. I've already downloaded that Excel spreadsheet in the CM section, but am looking for methods to save before I head down.

  15. #30
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    Re: WDW on a budget - tricks and hints

    We love these helpful hints.
    We will do the powdered drink mix singles this year for sure. I spend way too much on drinks every year.

    Also, what we do is buy a Disney Gift card at the Mall for $20, then every time we go to the mall throughout the year we bring it and put $10 or $20 on it, small enough for us not to really feel it. By the time we go to Disney we usually have about $350 on it, and thats our own dining plan, we use it for every meal or snacks and never have to worry about using our spendinmg money, by the end of the trip sometimes we have $40 or $50 left over for last minute items in the gift shop, photo albums, postcards, toys etc.

    We are hoping they extend the FREE dining plan into November this year, so we can use our gift card for other things.

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