Walt Disney World can be very magical, but realistically it can also be expensive without some prior planning and saving. The average person does not have several thousand dollars just sitting around to make a 3-4 day trip much less take a week-long vacation to the most magical place on earth.
I consider Walt Disney World a good bang for the buck. Before you throw your hands up, let me explain. For roughly $100/day you have access to 4 major parks, 2 awesome water parks, a world-class shopping area and unlimited transportation. Doesn’t sound too bad now, huh?!
I do, however, admit that saving for even a 4 day trip can be overwhelming. We started planning our 2015 fall trip about a year ago. We broke it down into reasonable chunks, so by the time we leave everything will be paid for, including a savings for food each day and those all important souvenirs!
Here is what we did:
1. Tickets! To me this can be the most expensive part of the trip. Purchasing from reputable company will help and save some money. Also purchasing tickets in lieu of presents throughout the year helps to ease the pain.
2. Hotel! The 2nd most expensive piece. There are as many options on this as there are hotels in Orlando. On-site or off-site is an important factor. If staying off site, add in parking cost and travel time each time you want to leave WDW. We booked early using a travel agent, so the deposit was paid and the balance was put away in a savings so this will be paid for ahead of time. You can also consider a package deal with tickets and rooms together, as many times there are promotions that save you more than buying separately. A Disney specialist travel agent can help you along the way to see what options you have.
3. Food! Plan meals accordingly – we generally do not book sit-down meals. However, we are planning on the Food & Wine Festival, so a day of “sampling” will cost as much as a sit-down meal. Taking snacks and things for breakfast can help also. Putting away even $10/week will give you $520 by the end of the year. That is a lot of food!
4. Travel! This of course will depend on where you live, how much time you can be gone, if you can drive or do you have to fly. In our case, we can easily drive, but we have added a night’s stay part way there, so we can leave the night before after work.
5. Souvenirs! Purchase gift cards anytime you have an extra $25 or $50 available. It doesn’t seem like much but over the course of a year this will definitely add up. Give gift cards for birthdays, etc and the kids will have their limited amount for spending without you dishing out money during your trip.
Breaking your expenses down into smaller portions can make the trip much more manageable. After all, everyone needs a trip to the most Magical Place on Earth once in awhile!!!
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.