Apparently, spring break as an adult is a thing. I had no idea…unless you are a teacher of course. But, at my current position in the non-profit sector, we get a spring break. A week off, in March, who knew! So, of course, I am going to take full advantage of said week off and go to Disney! Unfortunately, my husband does not get adult spring break, so my mom and I are going to take a girls trip to Disney!
As annual passholders, my tickets are “free” and by “free” I mean, we already paid for them, with our AP membership; so for me, my large expenses for this trip are hotel and flight. My mom is not an annual passholder; so she needed park tickets as well. We set off to book a Disney trip on a budget (or within a budget). We don’t need a lavish Disney vacation, we just want to have fun and do Disney!
First off, our dates were semi-flexible. I have to travel within a ten day period, but our dates within that ten days were able to change. We decided on a five day trip, including travel days, so I started looking at leaving either on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. We discovered that flights were the most challenging obstacle for this adventure in terms of price and availability; so we decided to book based on when we could get the cheapest flight.
Typically, it is cheaper to fly during the middle of the week as opposed to the weekends or Monday because Monday and Friday are the busiest travel days for business travel. The cheapest flights were for Monday so we booked that. Our flight is early but we were able to get a non-stop flight and we land in Orlando International Airport around 11 a.m., that gives us almost a full day (half day, once we get to the resort from Magical Express) for resort hopping!
Because we would not get a full park day on that first day, my mom went ahead with a 3 day base park ticket. Cheaper then the park hopper, this will also allow us to be a bit more relaxed in our park adventures and remain at one park per day and really experience that park, as opposed to hopping around.
With her three day ticket, we will be doing the first day, as mentioned, as a resort hopping day where we will take resort transportation from our resort (we’ll get there in a second), to the TTC and then will hop around the Monorail resorts; my mom has never been resort hopping! We will also hit The Wilderness Lodge via boat. This transportation will all be complimentary so no extra cost there!
The parks that we are choosing to do are Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
Our 60 day fast pass registration came up and I booked our fast passes right away and ended up getting every ride that we were hoping for, which is great. I was able to book our dining reservations the day we booked our trip but I am going back and forth about booking a character meal for us. I am leaning more towards not doing it, as we are trying to save a little money on this trip, except maybe at Magic Kingdom, where we are looking at Crystal Palace or Liberty tree Tavern. Those would end up costing about $80 give or take for two people.
Now, back to our resort. We are going to stay on property for this trip for several reasons. You can book a Disney resort for as cheap, if not cheaper than most off-property options. There are exceptions, but when the option to stay on property presents itself, I will always choose that, having stayed on property, because of the amenities and perks that are available when doing so.
I was looking at booking Pop Century or Caribbean Beach which is is undergoing refurbishment, something to always look for in a Disney Resort, when trying to save a few dollars. I had a budget of what I didn’t want to go over in terms of resort and Disney ran an annual passholders deal for resort bookings which happened to coincide with our trip. Be sure to check out the Walt Disney World website when looking to book your trip because Disney often runs deals all throughout the year, even during some busy times, so always be on the lookout for those.
We actually ended up finding a deal at Port Orleans Riverside. It was a bit over the amount that I had budgeted but we have never stayed at this resort and are really looking forward to it. Port Orleans Riverside is a moderate resort, though if you are looking for an even more reasonably priced moderate resort in the next few months, be sure to look at Caribbean Beach. As I mentioned, that resort is undergoing renovations and anytime that a resort has construction, you are likely to get a discounted rate.
A few more tips to save money:
Buy a gift card.
Whether you buy gift cards before you leave (Costco has them at a discount on the dollar and so does Sam’s Club) or at the Park, you can fill them up with whatever dollar amount you choose and then use that on food, treats and merchandise throughout your stay. This is a great way to better keep track of how much you have spent. Once you use what you have loaded onto the gift card, you can reload that same gift card.
This especially comes in handy at Epcot during festivals when it is really easy to walk from kiosk to kiosk and the next thing you know, you are out a couple hundred dollars. If you pre-load an amount on a gift card, it is a built in monitoring system on your spending.
Do Your Research:
Are there any festivals going on while you are there? Are you wanting to attend any extra-ticketed events? Do you realistically need a park hopper pass or are you most likely going to be enjoying one park a day and really getting into that one space for that day? Are you going to enjoy your resort or use it as a bed?
That last one is something to really think about. Are you going to take the time to wander around your resort? Use the amenities? Maybe take a day away from the parks and just lounge about and relax? If you are just using your resort as a bed to crash on after a long day at the park, take a moment and consider if you need or for that matter will utilize, the amenities that you pay for at a deluxe or even a moderate resort.
Most importantly though, what do you want to do, where do you want to stay, what things are most important to you and your family or friends, to make your next Disney vacation a truly memorable one. Everyone has an opinion about what makes a Disney vacation so magical, but what really makes it magical is you and planning the trip of your dreams and knowing that you can do that within a budget that works for your lifestyle!
That’s it for this post! Thank you for stopping by and I hope that this helped in your journey to planning your perfect vacation. We’ll see ya’ real soon Disney family and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!