So to start off, we thought we’d offer 5 tips for saving toward your Disney vacation. These are easy to follow and can be started as soon as you decide to plan your vacation.
- Open a Disney Vacation Account.This can be a great way to put some money towards your trip. Once you open an account, you can set how often you would like to contribute-weekly, monthly, etc. You can determine your budget using the handy dandy budget calculator and the site will tell you how much you need to contribute to make your vacation happen. For every $1000 you pay on your trip (this can be a cruise, Adventures by Disney vacation or a trip to the parks) you earn a $20 Disney gift card to use on your trip! Make sure you open an account at least 120 days before you pay off your vacation in order to get that bonus.
- Plan your trip in the off-season. This is not something everyone will be able to do. Some folks can’t pull the kids out of school and take off to Florida. BUT, if you don’t have school-age children or are willing to let them miss a bit of school, traveling at certain times of year can lead to big discounts. Generally speaking, hotel rates are cheaper from the end of August through September, most of October, early November and the first 2 weeks of December, as well as January-February. The crowds are down in those times, giving you more bang for the buck-waiting less, riding more!
- Start a “Disney Jar.” This has helped us out so much. Every bit of change goes into our jar. Any money found while doing laundry-in the jar. My husband works extra bartending shifts once in a while. He puts a percentage of it in the jar. Then every few weeks we go as a family to the change counting machine at the credit union (try to avoid the ones at the grocery store that take a portion out.) It’s so fun for kids to pour all the change into the machine and we all guess what the total will be. It serves a second purpose as a little exciting reminder that we’re getting closer and closer to vacation time!
- Try an online shopping service. Walmart has recently started an online order and pickup service for groceries that is FREE! That’s right, FREE! I have found this to be extremely helpful in sticking to my grocery budget. So often when I go shopping, I forget my list. And then while I’m looking for the things I forgot, I find many other things to buy, most that I don’t need. With this (free!) service. I never enter the store. The web site is very user friendly and the selection is great. Give it a try.
- Shop the Disney discounts. Disney offers special deals throughout the year to try to increase park attendance. These can be found on their website or by calling a Disney travel agent. The most common is a room discount or a room and park ticket package. The one discount we love is the notorious Free Dining package, usually offered in the fall and early winter. As many people point out, you end up paying “rack rate” for your room, but receive the Disney Dining Plan for free for everyone in your party. This turns out to be a huge savings for us, as we like to try the many table service restaurants in “the World.” This year we are staying at a value resort and paid the difference to get the regular dining plan as opposed to the Quick-Service plan that comes with our room. It is still a considerable savings for our family.
We have many more ways to save, but these are a few to get you started. Have fun trying them out.