First, the results to last week’s question, “Which is Your Favorite Disney Park?” We would like thank everyone who voted.
Magic Kingdom 39%
Disneyland CA 17%
California Adventure 11%
Hollywood Studios 5%
All others 0%
***Magic Kingdom is the Winner! **** I expected this, but I am surprised how close Epcot was. Epcot held the lead for much of the week.
The question for this week is designed to help us choose topics on which to write. We hope to be able to inform, entertain, and be a resource for you. We recently had a request for more information on the DVC. Your feedback will help us be a better resource. If I have set the poll up correctly (certainly not a given), then you should be able to choose as many options as you like, and, you should be able to add your own. More specific comments and suggestions in the comments secton will be greatly appreciated.
I am the money-manager in the house so I do the investigative work when it comes to saving money for Disney World. Some of the 5 tips for saving money are so long I will have to elaborate in a separate article, but some are not
1)Eat Cheaply-I have covered this in a previous article, but it bears repeating. This one tip alone can save hundreds easily. Some people don’t think about how much a meal can cost (easily $30-40/person). If you have a family of 4 that is about $160. If you factor in 3 meals/day that could easily add up to $500/ day plus any snacks and drinks you may buy at the park. Let’s just say you do spend this much and you are staying 7 days. You can easily see how the meals can add up to thousand alone. I know Disney isn’t cheap for even the “cheap” meals I have advocated, but it makes a real difference.
2) Buy Disney Vacation Club (to save even more, buy on the re-sale market)-
I am writing a couple of articles about this because there is so much about this topic. This one move has enabled us to go to the parks much more frequently than we otherwise would have been able to.
3)Use Miles Cards and sign-up bonuses for your travel–
Again I will elaborate more later, but if you have a favorite airline or have one airline (for us it is Southwest Airlines) that is convenient for travel, get their credit card.
4)If you don’t have Disney Vacation Club consider Value and Moderate Resorts–
When we called in to Disney in 2009 to make a reservation we didn’t even know there were value resorts. (There are value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa resorts.) They booked us in a deluxe resort. When I thought back to the time I called several years before and they priced the vacation (the one we couldn’t afford) they also had booked us into a deluxe resort. Ask about all options and check the website.
5)Don’t fall for the “Dining-Plan-Package”–
They will tell you that you are saving money when in fact they have that built into the package. If you price the vacation for room only I have found you save money. (a caveat is that is only if you don’t care about eating at the fine dining restaurants). I have found that on room-only reservations you can get about 30% off on the rooms most of the time anyway and they put the dining plan in the package and keep the room at full price. There are exceptions to this but I have found this to be the case when we have called.
Is this even possible you may be thinking. I guess the word cheap is a relative thing but we have managed to eat reasonably inexpensively at Disney World for several years now. One of the first tips my husband posted on: the refillable mugs. This alone makes a huge difference. Even in any setting whether a beach destination, Disney, or even at home; drinks are a huge part of a food budget when eating out. The refillable mugs are a great price saver when staying at the parks for more than 3-4 days. The longer the stay, the bigger the price savings. The mugs can be refilled as many times as possible with soda, Powerade, lemonade, tea, coffee, and hot cocoa. The length of stay mug costs $17.99 which sounds like a lot but if you are staying even 7 days and fill the mug 5 times per day that is 51 cents/ refill. If you stay 14 days like we have that is 26 cents/ refill. You must fill the mugs at the resorts as there isn’t a place in the parks to fill them but we fill ours before every trip out, which is usually twice per day
For food, we eat at the quick service restaurants at the parks and at the Contempo Cafe at The Contemporary Resort. We stay at the Bay Lake Tower a lot and the Contempo Cafe has reasonable prices and good selection with some nutritious choices. We have stayed at other resorts and found their quick service restaurants pretty good and usually more relaxed than at the parks.
At Epcot there are many quick service options that are both reasonable in price and filling and good.
At the Land in Epcot there is the Sunshine Seasons restaurant that has 5 food choices like a mini-food court. The Mexico Pavillion and many of the countries offer good food at reasonable prices.
At Magic Kingdom both Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Pinocchio’s Village Haus have good choices for about $10/ person per adult and less for kid’s meals. Ray’s has a huge 1/2 roasted chicken meal with great mashed potatoes and green beans for $10.99. ( We buy two meals and get an extra plate and feed all three of us). Ray’s has 3 food choices with different lines; one for chicken, one for sandwiches and burgers, and one for soups and salads.
At Animal Kingdom Flame Tree Barbecue is good and not too expensive. Pizzafari is okay but nothing special.
Hollywood Studios has a dearth of quick service options. What is there is sub-par in my opinion.
If you fly with Southwest, you can check two bags for free. This leads to another way to save. Pack an entire suitcase full of snacks and food. We did this for Christmas and saved money this way, especially since we like to snack quite a bit.
In summary, eating cheaply at Disney World isn’t possible but eating cheaper is.