While thinking ahead to a possible trip in the fall, I start thinking about what I could or should set aside to make it easier. First thing that comes to mind is money (of course), which gets me thinking about all the things I could do to save, to help with the final cost. I have learned over the years, a trip can be very expensive or it can be not much more than planning for an elaborate hotel weekend get-away. Either way – it takes patience and planning to pull it off.
The time of year is to me the most important 1st step: Fortunately, I love the fall which is a less crowded time period and generally not as expensive as peak season. This time period can also be a little tricky with the ever popular Food and Wine Festival. I try to avoid the middle of the festival and opt for just as it starts or the later weeks. Now that it runs for 45 days, there are plenty of weekends to choose.
Next I look at hotel accommodations: Do I plan to spend time around the pool lounging or will I only be there long enough to grab a night’s sleep? How many will be with us – will 1 room accommodate everyone or do we need to investigate larger rooms? When it is only 2 of us, a value hotel can work well, but when I took the grandkids, I liked having slightly larger rooms at the moderate hotels. I also have to think about which park will I spend the most time in – is the lower cost of a hotel worth the extra time it could take to get to a specific park? Would spending a little more for a hotel right next to Epcot make more sense?
Transportation to and from Walt Disney World: Could we reasonably drive in 1 day or do we need to include a nights stay on the way? Does it make more sense to drive thru the night, switching drivers at stops along the way? This only works if you can actually sleep/rest when not driving so you don’t arrive exhausted. Does it make sense to fly into Orlando and use Magical Express or fly into Sanford and rent a car (different airports, different cost)?
What about food when I get there: Do I need a nice sit-down meal or do I plan to eat my way around World Showcase? If I am driving, can I pack water, things for breakfast and snacks so my food purchases in the park or the hotel are limited? If I fly, does it make sense to call a local grocery and have things delivered to my hotel room? Do I want to experience all the different types of food that Walt Disney has to offer?
Souvenirs: Do I need to bring stuff back for those not included in the trip? Is there anything specific that I will want? I usually limit my souvenirs to pins or other similar smaller items. If I have my vehicle with me, a trip by the outlet malls on the way in or out helps to satisfy my search for inexpensive souvenirs.
As you can tell, your answers to the questions above can let you know just how much money to start saving for your trip. The Affordable Mouse has several very helpful spread sheets to help get the most out of your money. So get started planning your trip to the most magical place on earth – Walt Disney World – hopefully we will see you there!!!
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.