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  • [Chat] How to do Disney without going broke

    I saw this article on Yahoo this morning and thought it would be interesting to share. Which of these strategies do you use? Which would you add?

    A quick recap of the article:

    1. Go in the off-season
    2. Check the internet for deals
    3. Buy an Annual Pass
    4. Opt for a multi-park pass (aka, CityPass)
    5. Stay offsite
    6. Pack your own necessities
    7. Bring your own merchandise (in other words, buy your Disney merch beforehand at a low price and bring it along)
    8. Download an app (MouseWait or Undercover Tourist)
    9. Don't buy bottled water
    10. Explore free Disney attractions

    Go to Disney Without Going Broke - Yahoo! Finance
    Merrily on our way to nowhere at all.












  • #2
    Re: How to do Disney without going broke

    An add to item: when eating at a Disney restaurant, do not order drinks but just get water. It keeps the check total down.
    I am old. But still love Disneyland.

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    • #3
      Re: How to do Disney without going broke

      There are ways that you can stay within a budget when visiting the Disneyland Resort. We have honed it a bit for our family outings in order to make it an affordable entertainment option for our family. The biggest cost will be entry into the parks, and that is the area with the most limits on saving money.

      We have done several options on that list to create budget visits.

      Bringing your own water bottle and refilling through the day helps (especially with water clocking in at most stands for just under 3 bucks!). Most eateries that have ice and fountain drinks will provide as many free cups of ice water you ask for. So you never truly need to purchase cold water, as long as you are willing to put a little time in it.

      We have stayed on property in the past, but now tend to prefer to book ahead and stay in off property hotels to save the money to allow for more frequent visiting. If you put in time and effort, even a small visit can be had at a decent off property hotel for a good price. And more often than not we get a place that includes breakfast, cutting down our food budget even more. For quick trips we priceline a bit, because we have familiarity with the hotels/motels in the area. We have won rooms on the weekend for as long as 25 bucks a night on occasion. The more time you give yourself, the better the hotel you can obtain without sites like Priceline. Have a car? I suggest staying a little further away and avoid fees like resort and parking. Try Hotels.com in business areas like Cypress (about a 15 minute drive away), where we have picked up a decent hotel for under $35 on the weekends. We also have AAA which with enough advance has put us into hotels within short walking distance for well under $100 in peak times.

      It helps that we have never bought our DD to the parks with expectations of buying her souvenirs. It is an occasional splurge but not one she expects. We have bought her things like princess crowns and autograph books at the Disney Store when on clearance and she bring those with her. Want cheaper that that? The dollar store has an amazing selection of Disney stuff at times. You can put together a cute Disney basket for a child there that includes character pens and such that they can take in for character interactions.

      We think the eating in the resort is a good area where money can be budgeted and saved. We bring in snacks and plan for meals out of the parks at times. When planning on a multiple day trip, we try for down time at the hotel in the early afternoon to take a break from crowds and/ or heat. This is a good time for a larger meal and allows us to refill backpacks with snacks, water bottles etc. We do plan for whole park days by snacking on brought in snacks and avoiding purchasing snacks in the parks. Our DD has a small snack backpack that carries her water bottle and her choice of snack items she can eat anytime she wishes. When purchasing food in the parks, we tend to favor stopping for a whole meal that can often be shared providing a better bang for our buck. With our smaller eating habits, lighter meals for a Disney Decent price have worked well for us. We tend to avoid the sit down restaurants as counter service spots offer decent food without the additional funds needed for things like tipping. Plus we can order kids menu without issue, although we have managed to order kids menu at some of the sit down spots too. Want the ambiance of the Blue Bayou without the cost of the meal? Make reservations and have dessert! We also have an AP and make use of the discounts it affords in both dining and purchases.

      Disneyland Resort is not an inexpensive park to visit, but there are ways to make it a tad more budget friendly. We knowingly spend a large portion of our entertainment money there, because it is worth it for us. With planning we routinely have multiple day visits in addition to day trips as affordable visit options.
      Last edited by Acpisme; 07-05-2013, 09:42 AM.
      “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”

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      • #4
        Re: How to do Disney without going broke

        -Eat at the fast food joints outside the park such as KFC, McDonalds, and Subway.
        - If you don't care for fast food outside, try buying a corn dog at the corn dog wagon on Main Street because they are affordable yet filling
        -If your hotel is close, walk to the DL Resort instead of paying for parking at Disneyland parking lots.
        - bring your own camera to have CMs take pictures of your family at Disneyland instead of buying them from photopass
        Last edited by frollofan; 07-05-2013, 02:44 PM.



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        • #5
          Re: How to do Disney without going broke

          I just went and we were able to make it an affordable journey by doing the following:

          1. searching online for the best hotel deals. We ended up getting our room at an awesome price and it was within walking distance to the parks.
          2. The hotel included free breakfast, which saved us money every day we were there.
          3. We brought snacks (even though there were times we still bought things in the parks)
          4. I put money aside prior to the trip on a Disney Gift Card (the kind you can use at the parks, cruises, and the Disney store) and used that for souvenirs and other expenses. It helped keep me on budget.

          It really can be affordable, but you really have to plan it just right.
          "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

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          • #6
            Re: How to do Disney without going broke

            Originally posted by DrFink View Post

            1. Go in the off-season
            1. What off-season? There pretty much is none at Disneyland or WDW anymore.

            I agree with the staying off-property and bringing your own snacks/drinks. That saves a TON of money.

            I'd add eat at the counter service restaurants instead of the full-service ones and get the kids meals as they're half the price of an adult entree. Some restaurants have the same 2 or 3 kids meals (cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, etc.) but some might have more variety.

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            • #7
              Re: How to do Disney without going broke

              I agree with all suggestions in article plus others that posted.

              We always share a meal for two adults rather than snack. Once a trip we get ice cream, dole whip, a pretzel to share, etc. rather than every day. Skipped cotton candy last trip.

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              • #8
                Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                I have just started to budget myself substantially and can offer this piece of advice: Tell your money where it will be going instead of the other way around. In other words, separate out money for certain things and that way you'll use it more carefully. Of course this would require using either cash or gift cards but it's a good way to control your money for certain purchases.


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                • #9
                  Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                  Not sure about the "Buy an AP" option. That means you'll be traveling one or two more times in the next 12 months. Not "saving money without going broke." Far from it.
                  Now, if you're just around the corner and plan to go 10 days in the next year, sure. AP better than 10 one-day passes.

                  Simple answer to "doing DL without going broke" is to save twice as much money as the cost of the trip before you go. Then, you spend the money you plan to, and when you get home you won't be broke.
                  Solved!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                    Originally posted by IzzyInWonderland View Post
                    I have just started to budget myself substantially and can offer this piece of advice: Tell your money where it will be going instead of the other way around. In other words, separate out money for certain things and that way you'll use it more carefully. Of course this would require using either cash or gift cards but it's a good way to control your money for certain purchases.
                    And folks remember, Disney Gift Cards can be used ANYWHERE in the park: food, souvenirs, World of Disney, etc. You just can't trade it in for cash, but it is convenient if you plan ahead! I've done it a few times with no pain involved!
                    "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

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                    • #11
                      Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                      Some of the comments below that article are laughable.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                        Originally posted by aimster View Post
                        1. What off-season? There pretty much is none at Disneyland or WDW anymore.
                        Pretty much anytime between January and May is generally the off-season, imo. September isn't too crowded either. Once it hits June and school gets out the full on Summer crowds swoop in and the parks are always jammed.


                        Another way to save is to share. Most portions are enough for at least two people, especially children.
                        Merrily on our way to nowhere at all.











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                        • #13
                          Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                          Originally posted by IzzyInWonderland View Post
                          I have just started to budget myself substantially and can offer this piece of advice: Tell your money where it will be going instead of the other way around. In other words, separate out money for certain things and that way you'll use it more carefully. Of course this would require using either cash or gift cards but it's a good way to control your money for certain purchases.
                          We too found that using gift cards helped on our last trip. The 5% off at Target didn't hurt either.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                            Originally posted by sediment View Post
                            Not sure about the "Buy an AP" option. That means you'll be traveling one or two more times in the next 12 months. Not "saving money without going broke." Far from it.
                            Now, if you're just around the corner and plan to go 10 days in the next year, sure. AP better than 10 one-day passes.

                            Simple answer to "doing DL without going broke" is to save twice as much money as the cost of the trip before you go. Then, you spend the money you plan to, and when you get home you won't be broke.
                            Solved!!
                            We travel to DLR every year. Here's how we save money with this option: I activate an AP July 5, 2013 and spend a week around the resort & Anaheim. Then we start our next summer's trip June 27, 2014. This is much cheaper than buying a 3 day park hopper in 2013 and a 3 day park hopper in 2014. Especially with the price increases! Then I don't buy my next AP until July 2015!

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                            • #15
                              Re: How to do Disney without going broke

                              Originally posted by smartlabelprint View Post
                              We travel to DLR every year. Here's how we save money with this option: I activate an AP July 5, 2013 and spend a week around the resort & Anaheim. Then we start our next summer's trip June 27, 2014. This is much cheaper than buying a 3 day park hopper in 2013 and a 3 day park hopper in 2014. Especially with the price increases! Then I don't buy my next AP until July 2015!
                              This is only $20 cheaper per pass (Duluxe vs 3-day park hopper) at current price. But for us it allows us to go 3 1/2 days per trip vs 3 days. That 1/2 day on arrival day is awesome. We started leaving extra early to give us more park time.

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