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