I mentioned yesterday that we’d been saving for this Disney trip for quite a while. Today I’ll talk a bit more about how we made it happen and some of the splurges and savings we had for our vacation.
One of the things I set up was a Capital One 360 Savings Account (referral link) back in 2013 and it automatically withdrew a monthly amount from our regular bank account into this account. It was instant and hassle-free.
Now the fun part comes on how we spent our money:
We decided to fly. Although it would have been more cost efficient to drive as far as gas goes, the time spent, 14 hours one way, would have wasted 3-4 days. We found pretty good airfare through Southwest, and thanks (or no thanks?) to a delayed flight, we received $500 in vouchers, which essentially will save us money the next time we take a flight.
Next, we used our Sam’s Club membership to purchase slightly discounted gift cards (for a discount of around $50 total) to use as spending money at the park. This covered things like parking, food, souvenirs, etc.
We splurged on:
- Renting a car. But it was discounted through National. Since we were staying off-site, we needed to the transportation since we took mid-day breaks at the parks. We also got a Park Hopper added to our tickets because that meant we could go to a different park after we rested.
We saved on:
- Staying off site. We have a timeshare which we got years ago and while it can be finicky booking for some places, there were plenty of options in Orlando. Total cost for staying off site was around $500 for the whole week and it was for a double condo unit…which means we had a full condo and then a studio condo attached to each other. It was great because we had a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and plenty of room.
We splurged on:
- Character meals
- We did two character meals. One for dinner and one for lunch. Both pretty impressive price tags. But, this was an important splurge for us to let our kids experience some of the Disney magic.
- There is nothing more fun than biting into a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream shaped like Mickey. We bought ice cream and popcorn to eat at the parks and indulged on some other yummy snacks.
But we saved on:
- Eating off-site. We had our breakfasts and a couple of lunches and dinners at our resort. Brian made a grocery run when we arrived so we were well-stocked in water, snacks, and some of our meals.
We splurged on :
- Buying a Memory Maker photopass, which basically gives me access to the digital copies of the photos Cast Members took of us.
We saved on:
- Taking other photos on our iPhones. I could have brought the big camera, but it gets pretty cumbersome and we didn’t want to carry the extra stuff around and I didn’t want to worry about whether or not the lens cap was attached or if someone would steal it or leaving it in the stroller. I guess it saved us sanity and extra weight!
I also plan on sharing a post about things we packed to make life a little easier, or other interesting things to help us prepare for the trip, so stay tuned for that! Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments below.