No, It Doesn’t Cost $9,000 For A Week At Disney World

I mean, it can cost $9,000 for a week at Disney World.  For that matter, you could contract with a VIP guide and spend $9,000 at Disney World in less than 2 days.  If you’re smart about it, you can visit Disney World for a reasonable amount of money without having to eat crackers and tap water for a week.  Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to do that.

Titles like “How Much A Disney World Trip Really Costs For a Family Of Four” are misleading when the author makes choices suited for their family that not everyone would make.  There are definitely ways they could have saved money and still had an awesome Disney vacation pretty similar to the one they had.  And, while I love a good bit of crass humor, I don’t see the relevance to pictures of male genitalia when referencing the cost to visit Disney.  Let’s dig in.

Breaking Down The Breakdown

While you’re welcome to read through the whole article, I figured I would highlight a few key items.

Flights

I’m not 100% sure which airport they flew out of.  They live in Connecticut, so they had a few choices for JetBlue nonstop flights.  $1300 for 4 tickets isn’t sky-high.  But, Orlando is traditionally a very cheap airport unless you’re traveling during spring break and don’t book ahead.  I think they could have saved some money here.  Not a ton, but every penny counts when planning a vacation.  And, depending on which credit card they use for expenses, they certainly could have defrayed some cost with points.

See Ya Next Time, Mickey!

Airport Parking

She openly admits she could have saved some money here.  For folks on a budget, off-airport parking is usually a pretty big savings.

Magical Express

They saved money taking Magical Express.  No question it’s a time-eater.  But, if you’re on a budget it’s the cheapest ride to Disney World.

Hotel

This is where things go off the rails for me.  Megan talks about how she could have booked a value resort.  She said it was worth it to pay more for a slightly larger room and the ability to take a boat to the Magic Kingdom.  That choice by her was for a deluxe resort.  She bypassed a number of moderate resorts in doing so.  Wilderness Lodge is generally on the pricier end.

I don’t know what kind of room she booked, but there were a number of ways to save money.  For starters, she could have rented DVC points to stay at Wilderness Lodge.  She also could have stayed at the Dolphin or Swan using Starpoints through the Starwood Preferred Guest option.  Using points could have cut the cost of her room by 90%.

Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan

Park Tickets

Disney World park tickets are hard to save money on.  However, Megan could have used a Sam’s Club membership to save a few percent on Disney gift cards.  Those gift cards could then be consolidated to buy park tickets.

American Express sometimes has offers for cardmembers to save on Sam’s Club purchases.  Plus, apps like Dosh also feature cash back at Sam’s Club.  Combining all of these offers can yield almost a 10% discount on Disney World tickets.

And, Disney World tickets look cheap when compared with Universal Studios during spring break.

Food

They definitely could have saved some money here.  For starters, Amazon Prime Now is absolutely an option.  I can confirm that just over a month ago there was still no fee for Amazon grocery deliveries (or any grocery delivery services, for that matter).  We saved a boatload of money that way.  Think bottled water, milk, string cheese, uncrustables.  Plenty to be saved there.

Since they planned for a lot of character dining, I think Tables in Wonderland could have saved them some money.  An annual pass for Disney World gives you access to Tables and also gives you another year to visit the parks for free.

Disney Cinderella's Royal Table

Dessert at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The Final Two Pennies

A big thanks to Mike for sending this my way.  These two pennies add up to a big discount on this vacation.  Megan could have spent a few thousand dollars less without much in the way of sacrifice.  To be clear, I don’t think a $4,000 or $5,000 vacation is “cheap”.  But, it sure beats almost $9,000.  Disney World is expensive.  We need to work a little to make it affordable.  There’s some good lessons to take away from this experience to save you money on your next Disney trip.

The post No, It Doesn’t Cost $9,000 For A Week At Disney World was published first on Pizza in Motion

20 Comments

  1. The thing great about Disney is there is a way to make it work on almost any budget. We own DVC now, but in our earlier days we did many nights at $65 at Pop Century. You can spend $1,000 for a twosome at Victoria and Alberta or bring PB&J from the store. The thing that’s always impressed me is the correct Disney experience stays the same for the most part. There are definitely ways to upgrade the experience if you have the dough, but the family with the cheapest option still has access to a great experience.

    1. Shaun, I agree with everything you said. One of the reasons why I was so disappointed with Universal. Getting a decent experience there is much more expensive on the ticketing front. We own at DVC as well and have used it to trim costs. And, we’ve stayed a bunch at Dolphin and Swan.

  2. Still too high as you mention but to me the biggest turnoff is how complicated it can be. I would also take exception to having to grocery shop while on vacation because it’s too expensive to eat on property. As a non-disney fan that has been to most of the disney parks on the planet my opinion is jaded. Nobody does it better than Disney. The service, quality etc.a few can match them but nobody is better on hospitality. What I find funny is that Disney spends all this effort to try and recreate experiences in other places like Europe or Asia but it’s actually cheaper to just go there instead. I know the rides aren’t as good in some ways but it is certainly better.
    As far as costs go you see blogs or news items slamming the high cost of travel all the time. While wrong most of the time I don’t argue with them because they help keep more people from going to there than already do. Which would make it cost even more.
    Disney World can be cheaper. Drive there, stay at Knights Inn on points, grocery shop and eat pork and beans in the room. Crowdfund or buy discount tickets using discount gift cards, don’t buy extra passes and stand in lines all day. It’s all what you can afford or are willing to do I guess. For say $5k I’d rather fly the family to Paris, see real castles, stay at hotels on points or at off season discounts and still go to Disney Paris for a taste of all that. But thats me.

  3. yes I think the article was written for shock value, my wife and I both have Ph.D, are not hurting for money and we have zero problem staying in the Disney All Star resorts if we are staying for 5 days or less and using rented DVC points for longer trips…..We are based in PHL so flights can some times be as cheap as 20 dollars on Frontier 1 way and 110 round trip on Jetblue and American, I have the Ritz Card so i take the 100 dollar discount on the flights to save money

  4. We had booked Dolphin 5th night free using SPG points over Easter, had to cxl as other things came up, That to me is one of the best deals for points… walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios, or take the boat. Enjoy the fireworks without having to go in the park… plus the restaurants near the boardwalk resort… IMHO that would save a couple thou$and…

  5. We can all do better than that. She made many luxlury choices, and wants to complain about it after. Sorry no sympathy here. My family of four beats her price tag every year we go. Too many characters dinning, too many days at the park. Seven straight park days with park hopper? My kids would be exhausted! And so would I And my husband. We go to three parks in seven days and enjoy the pool or a water park and Disney springs other days. One year we did all four parks and we all agreed it was too much money and too much moving around.

  6. Our family of 4 just got back from DisneyWorld. I used my credit card points to pay for the flights SFO-MCO rt, my Disney credit card rewards to pay for our 1 day DW park passes for 3 park days, bought discounted tixs to WonderWorks & Busch Gardens for 1 day at each via Visit Orlando, rented our car via Costco, and split the cost and stayed with our friends in a timeshare…Total Vacation Cost including food during the vacation $2,000!

    1. Debbie, sounds like you did great! Only suggestion I’d make is that you can probably get better value spending on something other than the Disney credit card. It has a few perks but you should get more overall value from a cash back card or one of the Ultimate Rewards cards.

  7. Amusing to read. I could have told her how to save $3K minimum in about 2 minutes.

    Somehow she does not sound like the type of person to seek/take advice.

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