Tag Archives: budget
Tipping is an important part of my Walt Disney World budget planning. I budget for Mousekeeping, bell service, and food servers at all my favorite table service restaurants. Each day, I leave a special Mousekeeping envelope with a few dollars inside when we leave for the day, and I have been blessed with awesome mousekeeping staff when I have traveled.
Now, making towel animals is not a prerequisite for landing a job with the Disney mousekeeping department, but I wanted to share the treasures that Susan and I found waiting for us after long days in the parks. Our special room attendant, Gilma, at the Port Orleans Riverside left us these special mood boosters each day of our stay.
On Thursday, we received a rose.
Most of us have a budget but Disney World can be a budget buster. My daughter and I have annual passes so we go as often as we can. Over the past few years I have learned a lot of money saving tips. Hopefully some of these can help you.
A huge one for me is getting a free cup of ice water in any quick service location that has a soda fountain. If the taste of the water bothers you then you can bring along some of those little flavored packets or Chip uses Mio. There are few locations that will only give you a cup of ice so in that case I just find the nearest water fountain. That can save you a lot of money especially when it’s hot out, which is most of the time here in Central Florida.
Disney World food prices can be a little expensive. So here are some tips that can help you save money on your next visit to Disney.
- You can get a kids meal at a quick service location and if you are not a big eater that will be just fine for lunch or dinner or if you are a big eater that can be a good snack for you. Quick service locations do not ask the ages of the child. You can get a kids meal without the plastic box and save $1.50
- The Plaza restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is a sit down restaurant, reservations are strongly recommended, their prices are reasonable, by Disney standards. There menu is limited but the selections they do have are all good and food portions are large enough to share.
- Casey’s Corner is quick service restaurant, on main street, they serve mainly hot dogs and fries. The portion sizes are large so if you are not a big eater you can share a hot dog between 2 people. As a bonus they also have UNLIMITED CHEESE Sauce for nachos and hot dogs!!!
- In Liberty Square, there is a food kiosk that sells mainly healthy snacks, along with some chips. They have these huge pickles, but they are big enough for 2 people. So put that with free cups of ice water and you have a snack for 2 people for less than $10.00.
- If you have a sweet tooth you can get a cupcake at The Confectionery or The Main Street Bakery. I know they are a little pricey but they are very good and they are huge so 2 people can split one. They also have many other tasty treats.
- Try getting a Waffle Sand which from Sleepy Hollow. They have a sweet and spicy chicken waffle and a ham, prosciutto, and Swiss cheese waffle, both for $6.99; and a Nutella and fresh fruit waffle for $5.59
- Another trick that works anywhere is using a company like Garden Grocer to order snacks and bring them with you to the parks.
With the money you save you can buy those Mickey ears you have been eying all day. What are some tips and tricks you use to save money on food at Walt Disney World? We would love to hear them in the comment box below.
Sunshine is Disney fanatic. You will find her counting the days until she gets to go back to Disney, while annoying her daughter with everything Disney.
- Your Preschooler won’t Remember their Disney Vacation… Or Will They??? (chipandco.com)
- Squirrel holds up Monorail at Disney World for 45 mins (chipandco.com)
There are very few people who visit Walt Disney World without having to carefully plan and budget their available funds. I use a very measured and logical (at least to me) approach for budgeting each of our visits. First – I always try to start early enough so I can plan how much money we can put aside on a monthly basis to meet our needs. We go often enough and have enough separation between visits so that we now have a permanent savings plan that covers all of our requirements.
Once you have an idea of how much you will have available you can then budget. Make sure that you consider everything. This is a list of the things we consider:
- PLANNING MATERIALS: This would cover guide books and any subscription websites you use. Remember there are a lot of free websites i.e. Chip and Co and Passporter where information is available either on the site or in a site’s discussion boards. Touring Plans is one of my favorite.
- AIRFARE OR OTHER TRAVEL: This can be a significant and variable expense. Be sure to consider baggage fees and perhaps parking fees at the airport. These things can add up quickly. Also remember that there is transportation from the airport and back but Disney’s Magical Express is both excellent and FREE. Try setting up an email alert on Airfare Watchdog.
- RESORT HOTEL: This can also be significant and remember that Disney does not add the 12.5% tax on the base prices they herald on the site or advertising. You won’t see this until you actually total up. There are a lot of choices so you have to pick the resort that meets your physical and monetary needs. By the way, the All Star Resorts are in a different county and the tax is 13%. Be sure to contact a Pixie Vacation Travel Agent who can answer any and all of your questions.
- PARK TICKETS: Pretty straight forward budgeting here, just don’t buy options you will not use. Also please remember, when you see a ticket price, it does not include the 6.5% tax until you total up.
- MEALS: This can be difficult to budget accurately and everything depends on your family‘s likes and eating habits. The various dining plans offered by Disney make budgeting food much easier if you can find one that meets your needs. Fear not, most people do well with at least one of the plans. Depending upon when you visit the Dining Plan might be free – be sure to ask!! Be sure to try our 100 Disney Foods to Eat Before you Die Challenge.
- SHOPPING AND OTHER EXTRAS: This is the most difficult category and only you know your family well enough to come up with a budget. I would suggest a daily limit and allow each individual to either spend it each day or carry it forward so they can do or buy whatever they want. This article might help Souvenirs for the Budget Conscious
This isn’t comprehensive by any means but just a group of ideas so that you can feel confident that you haven’t missed anything in your budgeting process. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Disney World Vacation Souvenirs for the Budget Conscious (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Dining on a Budget – Tips & Tricks to Save Money (chipandco.com)
Are you looking for a way to make your vacation extra-magical? Disney does great at sprinkling unexpected pixie dust, but what if you want to create your own? One perfect way I have found is by leaving trinkets out for the family to find when returning to the room for a mid-day break.
Not to worry, I have found some very budget friendly ways to accomplish this, even with my family of five.
- Disney themed wrapped candy bars or candy bags.
- Trinkets from Target‘s Dollar Spot or Dollar Store
- Disney themed printable puzzles and
- Glow Sticks
- Bubbles (if you’re brave!)
- Mickey Oreo Pops
All of these things can cost less than a dollar per person. You can pick up a pack of pens or stickers for $1 at most stores and separate them out reducing the cost even more. I like to type up a little note each day using a unique looking font. The kids enjoy this and it nips the “I don’t wanna go back to the room” complaint in the bud. They’re excited to go back to the room for a rest so they can see what surprise they have for that day. Parental meltdown averted, day saved, magic restored, kids rested — what could be better for less than a buck a day?
Do you leave small gifts for your kids? If you do, what is the coolest thing you’ve found to spread a little pixie dust of your own?
Lisa writes here at Chip & Co. as well as her blog Adventures in Mousedom. As a local to Disney World, she offers a different insight into visiting the parks. If you’re super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Okay, even if you’re not super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Trust me. What’s the worst that could happen?
- Disney World Vacation Souvenirs for the Budget Conscious (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Quick Tips: Don’t Miss the Sponteneity (chipandco.com)
Hey Everyone! My countdown to Disney is currently at 197 days. That may seem like a long time, but it is not. In terms of planning I have 17 days until I can make my advanced dining reservations. Making ADR’s is a key element in having a well organized trip. At this point in my planning I am doing a few important things. If you missed last weeks edition here it is.
- Recording Park Hours
- Making a rough dining reservation draft
Today I am going to take you through how I budget my trips. This is one of the most important elements of a stress free vacation. Here are a few tips to help you with this.
Take advantage of deals that are available and keep checking back to see if new ones are being offered. Even if you booked your trip with no discount if an offer comes out you will be able to apply it to your current reservation. By booking with a travel agent as I do, you can rest assured they are checking offers for you daily and will inform you if there is an opportunity to save money.
It is a good idea to be a little flexible with your dates in case an offer comes out that would save you a significant amount of money by slightly adjusting your dates. I booked on a bounce back offer that saved me 35% on my room only stay at The Boardwalk Inn.
I have found that for our family, room only discounts are usually the best deal. Once I have paid my deposit which was equal to one nights room rate, I divide the rest of what is due by the amount of weeks I have until I’ll need to be paid in full. By doing this I know how much money to set aside each week to ensure I am paid in full upon arrival. For a room only reservation you can pay your balance when you arrive, but I like the security of knowing I have paid my tab beforehand. I have this money automatically moved from my checking to my savings accounts each week. Very easy!
Since we do not partake in the dining plan I also budget our food expenses. I do this by buying a gift card every week when I grocery shop. Disney gift cards can be purchased in any amount starting at $15.00. Make sure when you buy them you write the amount of the card on its packaging. This will save you a lot of headaches at the park.
As I begin to plan our dining reservations my husband and I look over the menus to decide what we would most likely order. It seems crazy to not only plan where but what you will eat six months before you travel but by doing this I can put gift cards in an envelope marked for that particular restaurant. For example: We know we want to try lunch at Le Cellier in Epcot during our next trip.
Tip: By eating lunch at a Signature Restaurant you will get to try a great menu for less money!
For Lunch we will most likely Order a Bowl of Cheddar Cheese Soup to share for about $7.00, a Side of Mac and Cheese for about $6.00 and we will split the salmon for about 21.00. Our meal total would be in the ball park of $35-40 plus tax and tip. I will put this amount in the Le Cellier Envelope and know that meal is essentially paid for.
Tip: For those not on the dining plan, splitting meals may be a great money saver. We split meals all the time and always leave full and have saved a good bit of money!
I also save all of my change in a jar. This becomes my souvenir money. My last trip I had nearly $85.00 in change! I was able to buy a T-Shirt for $31.00 and a Pin for $13 and still had money left over! My husband is too manly (so he believes) to be caught with any Disney paraphernalia, so that’s a huge savings right there. You can roll your change or just bring it to your nearest coin star location. Coin Star does take a percentage of your money for the service, but I find it to be so easy and you get cash right on the spot.
The final thing I do is begin making envelopes for everything. My Gift Cards go in their assigned dining envelopes as I explained above, but I also make envelopes for mousekeeping tips, pool side drinks (which is what my husband should save his change for), Bell service tips, and of course extra spending money. As I have extra dollar bills I put them into these envelopes. You may think it is crazy to plan how much you will be tipping your bell hop before you leave, but it is so great to know that these little expenses are taken care of when you arrive!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 3 of this series: Park Hours and Choosing Restaurants!
- Disney World Quick Tips – Advanced Dining Reservation Tips (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Planning 101 – Don’t Forget the Tips (chipandco.com)