A Disney vacation is hard to beat: Where else can your family
eat breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, fly away with Dumbo, travel
around the world at Epcot, set sail with the Pirates of the
Caribbean and check into a haunted mansion all in one day? The
happiest place on earth comes with a price, but plan ahead and
you'll save a few dollars.
Here are six tips to get your family on the savings track
to Disney World:
1. Book your trip during
the low season. You'll find the lowest-priced packages
(and as a bonus, the shortest waiting lines) during non-peak travel
times: Jan. 2-Feb. 11 and Aug. 14-Sept. 29.
2. Think about adding the
Dining Plan to your Disney package. The plan includes one
full-service meal, one counter-service meal and one snack each day.
The cost varies by season, with prices starting at $45.99 per day
per adult and $11.99 per day per child.
3. Spend the night off the Disney
property. We love the luxe Omni
Orlando at Champions Gate, where spring rates for a five-star
room start at $169 per night. Located between both Universal and
Disney, this property is a good base for families looking to visit
both parks. You'll want to dedicate some days to simply playing at
the amazing pool, with its slick slide and lazy river.
4. Bring water bottles
from home. Save not only money, but also the environment,
by refilling them at the many drinking fountains around the park.
Also keep some easy, healthy snacks on hand so you can keep
rumbling tummies filled and avoid falling victim to the sugar highs
of expensive ice cream and other treats around the parks.
5. Avoid the common
spending pitfall: the gift shops. Satisfy your child's
souvenir cravings by shopping before you hit Disney; many dollar
stores have cute Disney-themed items. Also bring a small spiral
notebook to be used as an autograph book. Your kids will love
collecting the John Hancocks of all their favorite characters.
6. Many of the fun and
unique attractions at Disney are free. Head to the
Polynesian Village Resort's beach at 9 p.m. for the Electrical
Water Pageant, watch the Wishes fireworks from the Grand Floridian
Resort boat dock, or spend an afternoon soaking up rays and
splashing around at your hotel pool. Most importantly, let yourself
be a kid again-have fun, relax and enjoy looking at the world of
Disney through your child's eyes.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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