Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tips to Planning a Disney Vacation

Disneyland is my ALL TIME favorite place to go.  I think I have been over 20 times. The picture above is from a Sims family vacation last summer. I am totally what you would call a Disney nerd.  This year we have the luxury of taking our 2 little princesses to Disney World (the first time for all of us) for 5 day / 6 nights and on a budget of $1300! Impossible you say!!  Its not if you have the time to find deals and scour the internet for research.  Most people don't so that's why I am writing a blog with my top tips on how to plan a budget friendly Disney Vacation!

This year Disney is running the "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign.  On your birthday you get free admission for one day to either Disney World or Disneyland.  So for an adult that is a savings of 75.00 and for a child thats 63.00!!

If you are active duty military there are AMAZING savings to be had! Disney's Salute to Heroes  is a program valid until Dec 23, 2009 saying THANKS to our military. Active and Retired U.S. Military, also includes members of the U.S. Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists may obtain one complimentary 5-Day Disney's Armed Forces Salute Ticket (Base Ticket with the Park Hopper option and Water Park Fun & More Option) the no expiration option is not available with this tickets. In addition the military member may also purchase 5-Day Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion Tickets for up to five (5) family members and/or friends for $99 plus tax (Park Hopper Option and Water Park Fun & More Options may be purchased for an additional $25 + tax for each option - the no expiration option is not available with these tickets) 

If you are going to go to Disneyland the offer is good for a 3 day pass.

This is the option we are going with.  So our family of four is going to Disney World for 5 days for $300! (We are not doing water parks or park hopper since it is our first trip)  We will be celebrating Rebekah's 3rd birthday there and since we are already buying a package and couldn't use the free admission option we are entitled to either another free admission for her to use on a later date, a Disney gift card to be used at the park for $63.00, or 2 instant Fast Passes per person in the party.  The other benefit for military is the Shades of Green Disney resort.  You won't find this on the Disney web site.  This is a Disney resort ONLY for military and there family.  Prices are dependent on rank so it is extremely affordable!  If they are booked (as they were when we are going) you can get 40% off the other Disney resorts (We got ours for less than $100 a night!)

For those of you not military, in addition to the birthday deal, there are other great options. Buy 4 night package get 3 nights with tickets FREE !  Disneyland is offering many great offers here. A great website to keep in mind is MouseSavers and Disney Discounts

Another great place to find deals and tricks is to visit a Disney message board. Visit a few different Disney message boards while planning your vacation. You can ask questions, or read about other’s trips. Any tips you can pick up will help you on your vacation, plus you might make a few new friends. I suggest DisBoards , they are the biggest, but can be overwhelming to find helpful information. Also check out MouseBuzz , smaller and more intimate that DisBoards.  My favorite is the Disney Moms Panel, but all 3 are full of great information.  

Here are some more ways we are saving money
1. Getting a room with a refrigerator so we can eat breakfast in our room
2. Packing a lunch and snacks instead of eating at restaurants
3. Looking at menus for dinner ahead of time and planning our meals
4. Buying Disney souvenirs ahead of time at Walmart and the dollar store so when the kids want something we already have it.  
5. Buying our Disney apparel ahead of time instead of getting it in park.
6. Buying our glow necklaces and bracelets at Walmart. Bag of 10 for 5 dollars verses 6 dollars a piece in park!!

I think that's a good start!  Our trip is in May and we are beyond excited.  If anyone has questions or needs some help, please let me know.  I think I have done enough research to write 10 more blogs about this!  Have fun planning!!