Disney Vacation Planning: It Costs How Much!!??

Fireworks From the Boardwalk

Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/christiantlambert/8366124432/

 I am often asked how much a trip to Walt Disney trip is going to cost. The answers can vary so it is impossible to give a definite response. The one thing I always stress is, save for the trip and pay as you go. This will make your trip so much more relaxing knowing you won’t have that huge vacation bill hanging over your head when you return. Purchasing passes a few at a time, paying on the hotel in payments and purchasing snacks or those hidden souvenirs for little ones a few at a time helps spread the expense out. When I pay for something or pick something up, it makes me even more excited knowing I am that much closer to my Walt Disney World vacation.

Hotels: Staying on site will make your stay easier and will allow for mid-day hotel breaks. You will also have access to WDW transportation and your vehicle can stay at the hotel at no charge. Hotels off-site can be much less expensive, but be sure to add the cost to park at Transportation Center each day. Don’t forget to include the time spend driving back and forth. Mid-day breaks at the hotel are more difficult also.

Passes: With the recent increase, single days can be quite expensive. The more days you purchase the cheaper per day. Adding options such as hopping from park to park and water parks will also add to the cost. I have found the longer you stay, the less park hopping you tend to do. On a recent 2-day trip, a park hopper was a must if we wanted to see all four parks. It ended up costing about $125/day at the time. This was cheaper than missing another day or two of work and another night for a hotel. Purchase only what you need unless purchasing the no-expiration option.

Food: This can be a real money saver. Bring granola bars, box of cereal, juice boxes & snacks can save on eating in the park. If your family enjoys sit-down meals and trying new things, planning on mid-day meals rather than dinners can be a real cost saver. I have a friend that plans their entire WDW visit on sit-down meals each day. They know this is their thing so they plan accordingly by going when discounts on the dining plan are in affect or included in their hotel/park packages.

Souvenirs: This is a tough one! With little ones along, hiding small Disney souvenirs from home will be less expensive and gives you the thrill of them finding them each day in the room. This is harder to do as they get older. I started collecting pins years ago, because they could be cheap ranging from $6 to $12 each……problem was – I never was satisfied with 1 or 2. By the time I got home, I had bought 10-15 of them! You do the math! I have found the more I have been to WDW, the less souvenirs I have brought home. One or two things are fine now. I got a Mickey scarf on my last trip for $20 that I still wear and love. Every time I wear it I remember that trip!

Travel: I left this for last because it can be the cheapest or the most expensive part of the trip. It also has the most variables. How far you need to travel, how much time you have to get there, how many people are going, the ages of those going, do you have a large enough vehicle to get everyone there or will you need to rent something, will you need to stop along the way to spend the night…… The list goes on and on. I am about 9-1/2 hours away and although we have made the trip easily in a day, we found leaving in the afternoon and driving for about 5-6 hours puts us closer to Disney, so the next morning we arrive refreshed and we didn’t need to take another vacation day just to travel.

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Debbie and her husband live in Collegedale, TN where her youngest son is going to college. She is a huge Disney fan who dreams of someday retiring and working as a tour guide at Walt Disney World. She has enjoyed many trips to WDW with children, grandchildren and sometimes adults only. It is her ultimate goal to make sure everyone who visits WDW has the same magical time that she enjoys every time she visits.

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