The question that everybody asks when they want to go on a Walt Disney World vacation is how much it costs. There are some things that you can’t help but have to pay for, park tickets, getting there, food and those last-minute items (sunblock, sunblock, toiletries that are not provided at the resort, medicines, gum since it is not sold on property and did I mention sunblock). We will discuss resorts on a different installment.
Getting there: In a past installment we discussed different styles of road trips, now the cost. As I said previously my wife, four children and I drive from Connecticut we take the most direct route, Interstate 95 to Interstate 4. On this route there are a lot of tolls, we spend approximately $65 round trip. The last toll we pay is at the Baltimore Tunnel. Then there is the gas, we have a Honda Oddysey and a Chevy Traverse. We alternate which vehicles we take however the Honda does better on fuel efficiency than the Chevy. The Honda cost approximately $300.00 in fuel round trip, whereas the Chevy cost approximately $375.00. We also plan a little extra money for unexpected wanted snacks or the fact that we feel the need we have to buy something if we use a gas station bathroom.
Park tickets: There are a wide variety of park tickets available to suit any need. So what are they, Basic Ticket, which is one park per day. Park Hopper Ticket, a Park Hopper Ticket allows you to go to multiple parks in a single day. Basic Ticket with Water Parks, Fun and More, this ticket allows you to go to the water parks, Disney Quest and Disney Wide World of Sports Complex (not including games) Park Hopper with Water Parks, Fun and More Ticket includes going to multiple parks in one day and allows you to go to the water parks, Disney Quest and Disney Wide World of Sports Complex (not including games). Annual Pass, this pass allows you unlimited access to all four theme parks for 366 days, yes 366 days. Premium Annual Pass, this is truly a key to the “World”, it includes unlimited access to all four theme parks for 366 day allows you to go to the water parks, Disney Quest and Disney Wide World of Sports Complex (not including games). Annual passes also give discounts at store, restaurants, resort rooms, tours and allows you to purchase a Tables in Wonderland Card (which we will discuss in the food topic). If you plan to stay over ten days during a twelve month period you may want to buy an Annual Pass or Premium Annual Pass. DVC also offers a discounted price on Annual and Premium Passes.
Food: This can be a tricky item to budget for with price variations at restaurants, how much food will you eat and how extravagant do you want your meals to be. We don’t follow a typical plan, I am against the dinning plan because I feel that it is too expansive and there are cheaper ways to go about it. We will take it meal by meal. We will start with breakfast, no matter which resort you stay at you can always eat breakfast in the room since we drive we pack cereal, fruit, oatmeal and either pop tarts or breakfast bars. We do this for two reasons, one is cost with a family of six this is a huge cost savings oppose to eating at a restaurant or food court. The second reason is because we feel this is efficient for us all to get ready in the morning, we are people who like to get to the parks at opening. My wife and I get the kids dressed and sunblocked for the day and get the kids their breakfast (they can be slow eaters). Then my wife and I get ready for the day. Lunch can be tricky, sometimes we are at the parks and sometimes we are at the hotel. If we are at the parks we will switch up between a sit down meal and quick service depending on our plans. Sometimes it’s nice to plan a sit down meal if we are going to be in the park for a long period of time during the day. It’s a chance to get out of the heat and sit down for a bit. Some restaurants will have lower priced meals for lunch compared to dinner. We will do quick service meals in the parks occasionally. For either cost purposes or we were in the parks longer than expected that day. If we go back to the resort, we will sometimes eat at the food court or have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at our room (another cost saver). Dinner will work the same way for us, we don’t do anymore than one big sit down meal a day and some days we just do quick service. Other ways we have done it is, if we have a later dinner reservation we will feed the kids early either quick service or pb and j. At dinner time my wife and I will get an entrée and have the kids order dessert. It’s a treat for them and generally a peaceful meal for us and again it’s a cost cutter. Now that I have talked about how to cut corners at meals I will contradict myself, sometimes you get what you pay for in a meal and some are worth the price. So really the best way to go about it is to plan ahead, know what your kids like to eat and make sure not every meal is burgers and fries. We try to pick places with healthier options when we do go out and keep healthy snacks in the room.
Last minute items you forgot can cost you dearly in the parks or at your resort, so plan ahead. Purchase as many personal items as you can before you go, i.e. tooth paste, memory cards, batteries, medicines and ponchos, yes ponchos. Ponchos can get expensive in the parks, we bought ponchos with Disney characters on them for our kids for a dollar at Target. We also bought ponchos for ourselves and an extra for the stroller. Believe it or not these items can add up at Walt Disney World so plan ahead.
The cost of a Disney vacation is always going to be determined how you travel and what you want out of your vacation. There are many ways to save for this expensive vacation too. For example, throughout the year buy Visa gift cards, the reason is, if buy Disney gift cards and don’t use all the money on them you may keep it for a while. Another way is to get the Disney Visa card, we use this method, as long as you pay the card off every month there are no fees for the regular card and a $45.00 annual fee for the premier card which has double points. There are many ways to save for the trip, you just have to find what works for you.
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