FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET DOWNLOAD!
Whew!!! My family is almost home from Disney World, and goodness, gracious, I'm worn out! I really can't thank my friends Shannon, Misty & Susan enough for ALL their help running PPP while I was gone ~ this is the most I've stayed off the computer in the last four years, and it felt so good to be unplugged for the most part for the last few days.
Since we knew it would be harder to make a trip to Disney once we moved to Ohio, we wanted to sneak in a trip before our kids got any older. On Tuesday school was cancelled because of snow and ice possibly coming to Alabama, so we snuck out a day early and surprised our kids with a trip South! My oldest wasn't all that happy about it (he really wanted to see snow, and we did miss that a bit!), but by the time the week was over I think he was okay with it. 😉
Here's a peek at what we did while we were there . . .
Spent our first afternoon in Animal Kingdom
Then headed to the Magic Kingdom Thursday morning (I love that place!)
And of course rode It's A Small World
My kids loved riding all the rides, but I think running around Tom Sawyer Island is still one of their favorites
On Friday we visited Epcot – my husband loves seeing how they grow things in the Living with the Land exhibit
And our kids loved seeing all things Mickey & Minnie
Ate lunch in Germany – so good!
And my girls loved checking out all the Kidcot stations where they got a stamp from each country. (That idea is brilliant ~ makes getting through the countries in Epcot so much more fun with little ones!)
We spent (a lot!) of time on the buses
And my Caroline (who turns 11 in just six days) asked to have her hair done at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique at Downtown Disney as a birthday gift. (Folks, that place was a zoo ~ yikes! But she did look pretty cute.) 😉
Before heading out this morning we enjoyed breakfast at O'Hanas (probably our favorite meal) and are on our way home now.
Whenever I mention Disney I always get lots of questions about how to do the trip on a penny pinched budget, and I wish I knew some great secret tips. Really though, the best thing I can tell you is to have a vacation budget in place, and then wait for a decent offer from Disney. We had money in our vacation budget available, so when my friend Susan mentioned that she'd gotten an offer in the mail for free dining about a month ago, we were able to hop on the discount!
Eating food at Disney is so just crazy expensive, and since we're such penny pinchers when it comes to food I don't think we could enjoy our trip if we had to shell out $75 for our family of five at every meal. My husband and I just tallied up what we paid for besides our room, park admission, and dining plan (which was free), and including the extra tips for sit down meals as well as a gift for each child we spent less than $150. For us, the dining plan (when it's free!) is so worth it. Our kids even had enough extra snack credits to bring treats home from the park!
If you have any great tips on touring Disney on the cheap I'd love to hear about them, and expect to see oodles of penny-pinched deals tomorrow when I'm fully back to work. Happy Sunday! 😉
FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET!
Download your FREE worksheet now!
I won't send you any spam, ever. Promise.
Danielle Heather says
We are going in April and I just learned of a great souvenir. You can do. You buy a frame ahead of time that is matted. Then you take sharpie markers (that you just bought from your post earlier this week) and have all the characters sign it in different colors for you. When you get home you have an amazing souvenir you can hang up with your favorite family photo(s) to remember your trip. Your little ones will be excited to get the characters autographs wherever you go too.
Such a cute idea Danielle – love that!
Kathy Fix says
Great photo journal !
Tell your kids they will see more than enough snow after you move to Ohio ! After this year, I don’t think any of us ever want to see snow again !
That’s what we kept telling him Lisa!!! 🙂
We are heading to Disney on an impromptu, surprise trip tomorrow! We are in Florida visiting my in-laws, and our kids are the perfect ages to go…so we are going :). BUT…last minute actually made it a better deal, there were a ton of cheap hotel rooms available. Because my hubby travels a lot for work, he has a ton of hotel points, so our hotel stay will be free, but when I was searching today, for tomorrow, I found 4 star hotels for under $100 per night. We are taking all of our own food into the park, though we will probably let them get ice-cream in the afternoons. So, all we will really pay for are the tickets (GULP, that’s the big expense), and our gas to get from my in-laws up to Orlando. If you do it right, and don’t overdo the souvenirs, you can do Disney on a budget.
Love that you’re getting to go Lesley – how fun! Have a wonderful time (and that’s definitely the way to get a discount – so smart!)
Petrova Jones says
Yep you can bring coolers- they just check them that's all
Great tip on the coolers – thanks for sharing! 🙂
Marie Giorgis Ely says
If you don't get the dining plan for free, it's good to know that Disney does let you bring food/coolers into the park. We went 2 years ago and didn't know this, but after shelling out $40 on our first lunch I noticed another family eating subway sandwiches out of their back packs. I was so jealous! Not only is eating there expensive, the "fast-food" isn't very good, and you usually need to stand in a long line to get it. So next time, we're packing a cooler and putting it in a locker until it's time to eat!
Yay! I’m so happy for you! I’m happy for anyone who gets to go to Disney because I love it so much! And we just surprised our kids by telling them we are going soon as well! We’ve been several times, always on a budget. My main tips are the ones you took advantage of: go in the off season (less people & lower prices) and do the dining plan when it’s offered for free! You get to eat at the best places & there’s always plenty of food. Glad you had fun!
I love eating at the restaurants too Julie – so the free dining makes it so much easier to enjoy! 🙂
We went to Disney 10 years ago around this time of year. Our son was almost ten at the time (my how time flies!). We stayed on site, but didn’t have a meal plan. We did have a fridge and microwave in the room. We brought cereal and milk from home for breakfast every morning. As with most of our vacations, we carried one small backpack with bottled water and sunscreen along with a few small snacks like granola bars. (We take turns carrying it and its also good for a camera or souvenirs!) The water alone was a huge money saver. But to be honest, when we vacation, we usually don’t skimp on food…we always enjoy it because it’s part of our vacation experience. Breakfast is where we will save money, usually staying at a nice hotel where breakfast is included or being sure to have a fridge in the room for milk and cereal.
Such good tips Angela! I kept forgetting to bring water in for the day (we were in such a hurry this time I didn’t plan well!), so I was thankful we had the meal plan but definitely wish I’d thought about that sooner. It is crazy how time flies!
We stayed offsite. I know most folks like staying on the grounds, but for us with three younger kids getting a 3 bedroom condo that was literally one minute from the front gate was so worth it. I figured the time it took us to drive, park and board the ferry was about the same as waiting around for the buses and going through all the bus stops. Added bonus: the condo was only $100/night. Can’t beat that for a very nice, clean fully equipped 3 br! We were so tired at the end of the day it was nice to have some space and quiet time to unwind.
Great tips Amy – thanks for sharing! 🙂
Looks like such a fun trip! You have a beautiful family and glad you got to enjoy this well-deserved vacation 🙂
We did have such a good time Jennifer – going to be hard to come back to real life today! 🙂