photo Dennis Brown
Disney seems to have a preference for families of four or less. Most of its resort rooms hold a maximum of four people. But what are you to do if your family is bigger than average? What if you have more than four? Well, you can always stay off-site, for instance, at a vacation home. If you want the theming and amenities of a Disney resort, you could also stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort. All of the Deluxes except Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge sleep five. A DVC rental is an option, too. A 2-bedroom villa sleeps eight while a 3-bedroom Grand Villa sleeps twelve. But “Deluxe” may not fit your budget. Let’s see what options are available for families over four who want to stay on-property, but are on a budget.
Photo Credit: Amanda P, NDI 76
Don’t think that because you’re budget-conscious, you can’t enjoy the excellent table service dining at Disney World. While these meals can be quite expensive, there are ways to lower the costs. Just as with the counter service restaurants, portions at the table service restaurants are large enough to make sharing feasible. Three people can split two entrees, or two people might share an entrée and appetizer, or even three appetizers. Not only do you lower your cost, you get to try a wider variety of what the restaurant has to offer. If you’re a light eater, you might also consider having an appetizer for your main course.
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
Vacationing at Disney World on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the convenience and experience of dining in the parks. While it is no doubt cheaper to eat food from outside the resort, there are a number of ways to save money on the food you purchase inside the parks.
The counter service food, while still more expensive than comparable fast food you’ll find at home, is way less expensive, both in terms of money and time, than eating at the table service restaurants. We eat almost all of our meals in the counter service restaurants. We come away with our bellies full without our wallets being empty and are back on the rides quickly.
I’ve previously blogged on ways to save money on your transportation to and from Disney World, on your lodging, and on your tickets. Those are the big three expenses in a trip to the theme parks. But another significant expense, one that comes up every day, is eating. Disney, like most theme parks, malls, airports, and other venues where you’re a captive audience marks up its food prices in order to maximize profit. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money on food.
My Disney Visa bill for January was much more extensive than usual. My wife and I charge all of our Christmas purchases on it in order to get the 1 percent in Disney Dream Rewards Dollars: the “cash back” you get for using the card. You redeem them by ordering a gift card that can be used at the Disney Store (both physical locations and online) and at Disney theme parks and resorts.
I don’t like to go into debt to feed my Disney World addiction. I like to plan my trips with a good budget and stay within that budget. But this past trip, on our last day in the Magic Kingdom, I threw the budget out the window and don’t regret it a bit.
My daughter is 15 and as is typical for that age, thinks her mom and I are exceedingly stupid and at times embarrassing. When I ask how her day has been at school, I get a one-word answer – either “Good,” or “Awful.” When she wakes up in the morning, my “Good morning” is answered with “Unnhh.” She would much rather spend her time with her friends, either in person or over the cell phone, than with her family.
We just returned from our annual family vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth, so I thought I’d share some budget-minded thoughts and lessons learned from the trip.
After a trip, I always like to compare our actual expenses with what we budgeted. Since my budget is based on prices we’ve paid in previous years, it’s usually pretty accurate. This year, though, I underestimated how much our hotels for the trip down and back would cost. On the other hand, I overestimated how much gas was going to cost, so everything pretty much evened out.
Hello, everyone. I’m Mark, NDD#102, and I’m new to the Disney Driven Life website, but not to the Disney Driven Life itself. My wife (NDM#237) and I didn’t set out to become “Disney People.” It just sort of crept up on us.
I guess it all began back in 2003, while I was in the Middle East with the military and Disney offered a great package for military members—40% off rooms, a free 5-day pass for the military member, and $99 5-day passes for the family members. My wife started planning a Disney World vacation for when I got back. With such a great discount, we were going to stay on-property for the first time. I had always thought that was just for rich people.