Hey everyone. You've probably been wondering why I have not posted in over a week, and the reasoning is because I just returned from Florida at 3:30am this morning. I was very busy at Disney, SeaWorld, and Florida all week, plus I didn't have any internet. So I decided that this post would be dedicated on how to save money on vacation and Disney!
So first: Vacation
My first major tip is, drive when you can. For me to have flown to Orlando it would have cost between $900 and $1000 roundtrip for both me and my fiance. Well that's quite a bit of money. I happen to live around 12 hours from Orlando so that seemed reasonable enough to drive instead. Now, yes it was a VERY VERY long drive and felt even longer on the drive back but it definitely saved us a lot of money. I totaled my gas purchases and I spent $241.53 on driving to and from Orlando AND including the driving we did all week (which wasn't a whole lot on Disney days). Now, on our drive to Orlando we set the GPS to avoid all toll roads, big mistake! We ended up driving through town avoiding the toll roads and probably spending a lot more on gas (than the tolls would have cost) and we spent an extra hour driving through traffic. UGH! Well, for our trip home we decided to take the toll roads and we saved that hour and only spent $5.25 on the tolls. That seemed like a lot at the time, but in actuality I probably spent a lot more driving through the city instead of the interstate.
If you stay at a Disney resort take advantage of the transportation buses and the meal plan. Plus if you decide that you want to drive to one of the Disney parks you get a FREE parking pass for staying at a Disney resort. That saves around $15/day (guesstimate based on SeaWorld and Universal parking fees). Also, if you ride the bus you don't have to worry about spending the gas to drive over there, parking, and finding your car at the end of the day, or even driving to a different park in the same day! Disney has buses to take you from one park to another and back to your resort. What a great deal!
Also the Disney Dining Plan is a great investment too if you plan to eat at the parks anyway. For 1 quick service meal (drink, entree, and dessert included), 1 sit down dinner (drink, entree, and dessert included), and 1 snack (drink or food) it was $47/day (must get the number of days staying at the resort, and each person in the room is required to get the dining plan as well). Now that sounds like a lot of money but here's how it breaks down for individual meal prices:
Lunch (quick service style, including drink, entree, and dessert) $10 - $16 (what we generally spent)
Snack (drink) $3
Snack (food) $3 on up
Dinner (sit down style, including drink, entree, and dessert) $16 on up (our double service meal cost $59)
So at a minimum it would cost $30 (which is cheaper than the dining plan), but to actually get what you want and to try something new we spent more than $50/day on meals. So I guess it just depends on your eating habits and how you plan to spend your days at Disney and eating.
Now if you really want to save money on food, then I suggest bringing a large cooler and packing lunches and water bottles or soda bottles for each day. Disney does allow you to bring coolers into the park (I don't think they allow that at SeaWorld and Universal) so this could work!
So those are my random vacation tips.