Thrifty Thursday: What to Buy Before Your Trip

DSCN2725Walt Disney World is the most magical place on Earth, but as they say, “all magic comes at a price”. (Shout out to our Once Upon a Time fans….) What normally costs $5 in our normal, every day, non-magical towns may cost $10 down in Disney.  Therefore, it does pay to SAVE money by buying some items before you leave for your trip.  Here are some items we like to stock up on:

Ponchos:  You can get ponchos at Wal-Mart for $1!!  Why pay the $10+ for a poncho at Disney during a down pour or for a wet ride when you can get it for $1!!  It pays to have them too.  One time when we were in Animal Kingdom on a December trip, a big rain storm came through and we still had a full day to go, and didn’t want our clothes to be soaked.  So we covered up with our ponchos and went on the Safari ride and stayed dry.  I loathe walking around in wet clothes, unless it’s super hot! 

Water Bottles:  Why pay for water!?  Why use a snack from the dining plan for water?!  Buy a water bottle for your family before your trip to save that cash for something worth it, like a Princess doll for your Princess or a Pirate hook for your lil’ Buccaneer!  You can get great deals on nice, durable water bottles just about anywhere.  I usually get mine from Target.  Actually, we have so many now that I don’t even have to buy new ones.  I pack one in my back pack for the day at the park, and fill up any chance that I can at water fountains. 

Autograph books:  OK, sometimes it is nice to buy a “Disney’ autograph book.  But buying one before you leave can save you some money!  You can buy them at a craft store with a coupon, or the dollar store, or make your own (a fun pre Disney craft!) or even buy a Disney theme notebook at places like Target or Wal-Mart.  Buy them before your trip, and with the money you save, give it to your kids to use on anything that they choose at the parks!  Also, don’t forget a large pen or a sharpie so those characters with large paws can sign;)

Wet Wipes: I buy these in the little travel packs.  They are easy to pack in the suitcase and do not take up much space in the bag you take with you to the park.  These are handy to have for sticky fingers or wiping hands clean before or after a meal or a dirty ride (Splash Mountain sometimes gets us dirty with blackish water, we use our wipes there every time!)  They really come in handy after one of those delicious Mickey ice creams!!

Tee shirts:  We are guilty of buying a family tee every time we go to WDW.  This last time, I vowed that before we leave for our next trip, I am going to buy the tee for each of us before we go.  We like to have them because we get family pictures in Disney every time we visit!  Places I have checked that sell Disney tee’s are Wal-Mart and Amazon.com.  I am sure there are many more!  Buying 3 tee shirts in Disney usually sets us back at least $45, and that is being modest!!  I love to buy the merchandise there, but this is an easy way for us to save  the money for other things.  I’d rather buy these tees elsewhere and use the money for each person to get something they really want, rather than something I want them to get because of the pictures.

Sunscreen:  Do not leave your home town without it!!  It can be so pricey in WDW that it’s a shame to waste money on this when you can get it for a few bucks cheaper at home.  Buy 2 or 3 bottles and back them in a plastic bag so if they don’t behave during your flight, it won’t get all over your stuff!)  Remember to lather up in WDW, it can get so hot there and it’s so easy to get TOO much sun.  Nothing like sun burn or sun poisoning to ruin a magical day, or a good’s nights sleep after a magical day!

Just a few other things that you may want to buy before you go: small gifts or treats for kids (so they don’t beg as much!), disposable cameras, batteries for electronics, sunglasses for everyone, plastic bags, glo sticks (for parades so kids can have a light up toy instead of asking you to buy them one of the $20 things that they will NEVER use after your trip, the Dollar stores has lots of these!), lip balm, and anti bacterial lotion. 

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy my trip much more when I know I am saving money somewhere.  Each time I visit I think up a new way to save money the next time (i.e. this last time we decided to save the money on tees before we leave for our next trip!) which is one of the reasons I love visiting Disney.  You learn new things every time and discover new ways to get the most of your magical vacation!  Enjoy!

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Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!

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