Disney World -- Stopping the Gimmees

BlogHer Original Post

Going to Disney World is expensive. Sure, there are ways to do without spending quite as much money, but it is still an expensive vacation. What can you do to help ease the cost on the things that you actually have control over?

About 6 weeks before our trip to Disney World I presented each of my children with a checkbook register. They had $40 deposited in their "account" as spending money for the trip. It was theirs to spend as they wished, on whatever their little heart desired, no strings attached, other than once it was gone... it was gone. They had 6 weeks to earn extra money doing various chores around the house. Some of them chose to do this more than others.

I was hoping that giving them control over the money would also teach them some accountability and sharpen their math skills. Every time they would buy something they would need to do math to figure out how much money they had spent and how much they had left to spend.

It is important to note, that at Disney World some things are only available in certain locations. So you can not buy the safari hat anywhere but Animal kingdom. And the ship in the bottle anywhere but at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. So if the kids have their heart set on something, they should buy it when they see it. Unless you feel like spending a day going back to all the places where they saw something they now cannot live without, and in which case you are a way better mother than I am.

Before we left for the trip I bought my children Disney "gifts" which I saved them until we were at Disney World. Then every morning when they woke up there was a present waiting for them next to their breakfast plates. Like a Disney Hanukkah. Sing along: Disney Disney Disney...I got it on ebay.

The Disney store is a good place to buy some presents if you can get the sales or clearanced items. I got my children t-shirts, Mickey Mouse beanie babies, and something else that was obviously such a big hit it has completely slipped my mind.

Children are much less likely to beg for the mickey mouse beanie baby if they already have one. And I was able to buy them for much less money than I would have spent if I waited to buy them things at Disney World. They don't care if it cost $5 and not $25.

The little (and therefore not fashion conscious) kids had tiny fanny packs that they wore. In them they carried some snacks, their money for the penny press machines, their checkbook registers, a business card with their name and our cell phone numbers (just in case someone took them, realized how annoying they were, and decided to give them back), and their mini fans.

Never have children had more fun with mini fans. I bought them so the kids could keep cool waiting in line, but they found many more uses for them. Such as lawn maintenance:

lawn maintenance

They were worth the dollar it cost me to buy them. And the $20 in batteries to keep them running.

First installment in the Disney World series, Planning Ahead

When she isn't blogging about her life at Notes From the Trenches, Chris is working to rescue her house from a century of neglect and bad taste.


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