It happened again the other day. I heard someone say: “I would love to go on a Disney World vacation, but it’s just too expensive.”
I have lost count how many times I have heard this statement, and I always feel kind of bad when I do, because I think that’s what most people think, and it prevents folks from even considering a trip to Disney World because they think they can’t afford it. The thing is a Disney vacation can actually be very affordable. There are all kinds of ways to save money. It’s really all about how you plan.
It took me a bit to realize this though. Our first family trip was when our daughter was 7, and we just KNEW that this was our “trip of a lifetime”, that we were never going back, so we needed to see everything, do everything, and cost was not a huge issue…other than the fact that we saved for years to be able to afford to take our “dream vacation” in the first place.
And then we went to Walt Disney World. And we found out pretty quickly that we wanted to go back again. Sound familiar?
Only we did not want to save for years to go back. So it was obvious to me that, if we were going to make visiting Disney World a regular occurrence (at least that was what I wanted to do!), then I was going to have to find a way to do this for less money than we spent last time.
You know that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?
I started serious researching: reading books, scouring the internet, lurking on message boards, I did it all. I thought I had “planned” for our first trip, well… I was apparently a mere novice then! There was a LOT more to learn about planning a Disney vacation, as it turns out. And in doing all this I discovered one very important thing:
Holy cow, we could go to Disney World for a lot less money than I thought!
It was an epiphany. And one that I share now with anyone who will listen (whether they want to or not…) It’s possible to have a very affordable Disney vacation! So having said all of that, what exactly do I tell folks who want to know how they can travel to Disney World and do it for less?
I tell them that you have to do three things:
- Do your research. You have got to be willing to spend some time learning about what kinds of promotions are available, where to get great deals, and what your best options are. There is no getting around this. You either do the research yourself by checking out websites and reading books, or you use a travel agent who can do some of this for you. Either way, you need to be informed. That knowledge will save you money.
- Don’t make assumptions. You need to go into this with an open mind. Don’t assume that flying is always more expensive than driving for example. Or that staying off-Disney property is always cheaper than staying on-property. Be willing to explore all options, and be open to trying new things….because you just may be surprised at what is the least expensive way to visit Disney World. I know I have been, on more than once occasion.
- Realize that there is no one “best” way on any of this. A Disney vacation is not “one size fits all” and what worked best for me may not work best for you. And what saved me the most money may not save you the most money. There are a lot of variables when planning a Disney vacation. Some things will be more important to you than others. Some things you can compromise on and others will be non-negotiable. That’s ok. You can listen to the advice of others, but the bottom line is you need to plan for what is best for your family.
So there you have it. What you need to plan an affordable Disney vacation: Research, have an open mind to new options, and choose what is best for your family. Everything else you learn along the way will involve these 3 things. It is going to take you some time, but fortunately there are lots of folks who can help you find ways to save money at Disney World.
Your planning will all pay off though, when your Disney vacation is coming to an end, and your kids ask “Can we come back again”…. and you know that you can.
When Nancy isn’t writing on the Chip and Co website you can find her sharing more tips on the Affordable Mouse.
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