Disney World tips and money savers
I'm on my drive home from Disney World and back to blogging reality. I am exhausted, stressed out and ready to go home. I need a vacation to follow up this vacation. Seriously!! Two girls and Disney World is A LOT of work.
I want to share our experience traveling to Orlando because I worked really hard to stay on budget and still get the full Disney experience. Now our budget was $1200 (not including hotel) for the week. We are lucky in that both of our children are under 3. So we don't pay for tickets or some of the meals at the park. Here are my tips for an affordable vacation.
1. Go in the off season to save on hotel.
2. Go during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party or the Not So Scary Halloween party. This allows you to get another day for a discounted rate. The tickets are $64 (vs. $92) and allow you to enter the park at 4pm until 12am. Both my daughters made it until about 11.
3. Include character dining at the resorts. This gives you more Disney experiences for less ($30-$40 per adult meal) no parking fees, and you get to see the characters. We chose 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian for the Cinderella dinner but, they have tons to choose from.
4. Stay at a hotel that has a fully equipped kitchen. That way you can eat in and make lunches to take with you.
5. Buy some souvenirs outside of Disney. Walmart has a great selection of Disney products for you to choose from. Also, there are a ton of souvenir stores around Orlando but, out of the ones we visited WalMart had the best selection.
6. Bring Disney stuff with you. I purchased glow sticks and a ton of Disney Princess products from Dollar Tree and Michael's and brought it with me. This allowed me to give the girls a gift every day without spending a ton of money. I actually made it fun for the girls. I told them that Tinkerbell would visit every night and bring them a gift if they were good. So each morning they would get up to go find their gifts. It was so fun and they had something new every morning. Chalkboards, coloring packs, tiaras, jewelry, glow sticks, stickers, tattoos, light wands, and wings. This can also help you keep overly excited children in line. ;)
7. Buy Disney costumes at Target or the Disney Store (during friends and family sale) and bring them with you. The costumes in the park are roughly $15-$20 more than the store. That alone is a savings and if you get them on sale or at target you can save $40 per outfit!!
8. Go to Downtown Disney for the day. They have a train, a carousel, a Lego store (with a building Lego area and racing strip for cars) and great themed restaurants if you want to get lunch.
9. Bring your own water bottle in and refill at the water fountains. Normally I would not do this. I HATE tap water but, the water was surprisingly good and it saved us a lot of money. Water is about $3 per bottle so you can imagine how much a days worth of water will cost for a family of 4.
10. Bring a good camera and take your own pictures at the meet and greets. That way you own the rights to the photos and can print them.
11. If you're not a big eater the kids meals are also a great way to save. They were plenty of food for me.
Now for fun tips and worth the splurge things to do.
1. Be Our Guest restaurant is awesome. We did lunch and here is a tip. Either go first thing when the park opens or like we did right before they finish serving lunch. You will avoid the lines and get in and out fast. If you walk by at lunch it's an hour to two hour wait. However we walked right in at 2:30.
2. If you have girls Cinderella's Royal Table is a must. I have never seen our girls so excited. The experience is magical and is well worth the $50-$60 per an adult.
3. Look for fast pass stations. We didn't see them at first because at Disneyland the distribution is right next to the ride. At Disney World this isn't the case. Several rides are near the carousel in Fantasyland. You can also use a fast pass for meet and greets with the princesses!
4. Don't be afraid of the rain. It was raining on our MVMCP night, it was still nice out and the park was dead!! It was great. By a $1 poncho at WalMart and have fun.
5. Any dining reservations can be made 180 days prior to your visit. In order to get what you want you absolutely have to book this far in advance. Especially for Cinderella's Royal Table.
6. Firework and parade tip. The bridge to Tomorrowland is a great spot for both. We walked up 10 minutes before the parade and stil had a great view of the parade and when the fireworks are going Tinkerbell flys right over you!!
7. When traveling with young children spread out your park days. This was huge. We ALL needed the rest days in between the fun.
The Fashionista Momma