Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips to Make Disney World Affordable & $25 Disney Gift Card Giveaway! (Ends 11/4/11)


Guest post by Katrina from Time to Treasure Travel LLC

Many thanks to Brandy for allowing me to take over Craving Savings today so that I can share about my favorite place – Disney World. Now. I know what you might be thinking. What is a place like Disney World doing on a blog like this? Well. I am here to tell you that Disney does not have to be a budget buster – it can be an affordable vacation option for your family. Craving Savings will help you to save your money in your household – and I am going to tell you how to save money when you go to the world.

So…who am I? My name is Katrina Harris. I am a mom to two girls – Katie is 13 and Madalyn is 10. We homeschool my oldest – and I also teach high school homeschool (wow, try to say that three times fast!) classes through a group near our home. I used to blog. But my life took over – and now I just enjoy reading blogs. Though I do give into occasional arm twisting and actually provide a blog update. Mostly, I think I blog via facebook.

We have always been Disney fans. I was actually born not too far from Disney World – and was there too many times to count as a child. My husband and I went there shortly after we were married. And we took our kids for the first time in 2006. Since that first family trip, we have been back 7 times. We LOVE it! So this past spring when I was given the opportunity to work for a travel agency specializing in Disney, it was a dream come true. I could talk all day long about my favorite thing. And hold peoples’ hands as they navigated all that there is to know about Disney.

Let’s get to the basics. How can YOU save money on a Disney trip?

First. Use a travel agent. Yep. Tootin’ my own horn here! But truly. It’s one of the key ways to save. A Disney travel agent will be plugged in to current specials – and would even be able to change a previous reservation to a better rate. A travel agent will be able to give you advice. Help you map out your trip. Make dining reservations. Give you some hidden treasures to look out for. Tell what is not to be missed. And best of all? ALL of those services? They are FREE. Yes. That is what I said. FREE.

Stay onsite. What? Really? Yes. You can find hotels outside of Disney for less money – BUT the perks you get by staying onsite even out the scale in terms of both time and money. One of the biggest perks to staying onsite is Disney’s Magical Express – a free shuttle service that will bring you from the airport to your resort – and then back to the airport at the end of your trip. Not only will they provide this transportation – but you don’t even have to get your luggage! Magical express will get your luggage from baggage claim and bring it to your room for you. You just get on the bus and relax. Let Disney do all the work!

When you stay onsite, there is no need to rent a car. Disney bus service will transport you from your resort to your park of choice. And because of that service, you won’t have to pay to park either!

Another thing to do to save money is to rest your tired feet and not go to a park. Spend the day hanging out by the pool. Explore your resort. Or even better – another resort! If Animal Kingdom Lodge was not in your budget, take a bus over and walk through the beautiful lobby. Hang out on the rock overlook watching the animals on the savanna. Talk to one of the guides on the overlook about the animals. Watch the flamingos being feed in the pond by the pool. Sit in a rocking chair by the firepit while listening to African stories and folk tales. All a lot of fun. And all FREE!

Another advantage to staying onsite? You can take advantage of Disney’s dining plan to make your vacation an all inclusive trip. Financially, it’s not going to save you a lot of money (it will save a bit) – but it is incredibly freeing to be on your trip and not have to think about the price of food – and feel completely relaxed and comfortable ordering the most expensive thing on the menu! And even more exciting? Right now there are many dates available where you can book FREE dining for your trip (dates are selective through March of 2012 – offer expires on October 29). What could be better than Mickey picking up the tab for dinner (And snacks. And lunch.)?

Did you know that you could bring your own food and drinks into Disney? Now, they don’t want you wheeling in a huge rolling cooler (and really – you don’t want to lug one around anyway!), but you can bring bottles of water or soda. You can bring in snacks. You can even pack a sack lunch for everyone in your group.

Another big expense on a Disney trip is souvenirs. And there is a really easy way to save money here. Buy them before your trip. Huh?! Yes! If you have a Disney store in your area, they often have sales or clearance items. You can get small stuffed animals. T-shirts. Character toys. And my favorite to get in advance – light up toys. As you sit to wait for the evening parade, there are carts that will go by full of light up items. And when your child begs for you to get one – you can say “YES!” and pull it out of your backpack!

Something else to get in advance are glow sticks and bracelets. They are fun for your kids to have – and really inexpensive so that you can share with other children that you see. What a great way to spread the pixie dust – and help another family have a magical memory!

Well…thank you again to Brandy for letting me share! Please find me on facebook – and I’d love to help you plan your first or next trip to the World!

And to make it fun – and to save even more – let’s do a give away! I have a $25 Disney gift card. You can use this card at Disney World, to make resort reservations, on the Disney cruise line, and at the Disney store.

To enter:

1. Comment here and tell us if you have ever been to Disney.
2. Find me on facebook – like and comment on the wall.
3. Both of the above are required.
4. Winner will be picked randomly on November 4.
5. Automatically receive a $25 gift card when you book a Disney trip for 2011 or 2012 in the next 7 days. (You will receive your gift card shortly before you leave for your trip.)

Good luck!!

87 comments:

Barbie P. said...

I love Disney! My girls and I (they are now 12, 10, and 7) are making our 4th trip in 3 years in 48 days!!

Brie Clark said...

We have been once, in May 2009. And I'm itching to go back next year!

Mami2jcn said...

We went to Disney World in 2008!

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

I liked on FB (Mary Happymommy) and wrote on the wall:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=232819566780941&id=170659839663581

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Ashley said...

I went once when I was little. I'm now saving up to take my son!

NeedANap2 said...

Liked and commented on FB (Need ANap). I went to Disney World on a band trip about 20 years ago (whew, giving away my age!). :) My husband and I have 4 children, no one else has ever gone. (I also went to Disneyland on family vacation when I was almost 7.) Thanks for the giveaway! :)

JC said...

We love Disney, and have been to
several different ones.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

JC said...

FB liker
Jessie C.

Jennifer Herbert said...

I just got back from a 9 day Disney vacation yesterday...it was wonderful!

Kathryn said...

Yes, I have been to Disney World but not in over 10 years!

kathrynbaby2004@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Have been to Disney a couple times in the 1980's as a girl and just took our daughter for the first time last year

Carmen Q
nemesis_33012 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Like you on FB


Carmen Q
nemesis_33012 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I've been to Disney a few times and I LOVE it! Can't wait to go with my husband and daughter some day!

noel.christmas365 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Liked on FB and left a comment.
Abby S

noel.christmas365 at gmail dot com

Sarah G said...

We went to Disney World for the first time for our honeymoon - loved it! :) Now, we're saving to take our little girl there.

thriftysarah(at)gmail(dot)com

Sarah G said...

I "liked" you on Facebook and left a comment on your wall. (Thrifty Sarah)

thriftysarah(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenn B. said...

We just took our 3 kids to disney in May of this year. My oldest is 4 and our twins are 2. They all had a great time!

jmlbettinger (at) yahoo (dot) com

Michelle said...

I was there once when I was 8, we are taking our kids next spring...can't wait! Liking you and commenting on FB next. :)

Mums The Word said...

I was there once when I was in High School for a band trip... hope to take my kids when they are a little older :) Like you and commented! Thanks for the chance!

CT Mom said...

I have gone a few times as a child and once as an adult to Disney. We can't wait until our daughters are older to take them there.

Suzanne said...

I've never been to Disneyland or World. I'd love to go someday!

Suzanne said...

I like you on FB and commented on your wall - Suzanne Hill.

Jessica Pinkstaff said...

I have never been to Disney.. Would love to. I like your page on facebook and commented.

MomLovesDeals said...

I live in Orlando so I have been many times but always love it just as much as the first time! momlovesdeals at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

I have been to Disney numerous times growing up in Florida but my 2 girls have only been a couple times and my son has not been yet. We are saving for a trip there next christmas! This would definately be of a help!!!

volvodreams at hotmail dot com

Sweetsillysara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sweetsillysara said...

I haven't been to Disney yet, but I would love to take my son there, he's 17 months now, so maybe in a year and a half...!

I liked you on fb!
sara mcibben lehman

sarasarasweet@aol.com

Leslie Williams said...

I have never been to Disneyland but have a trip in the works for m y daughter's 4th birthday. I think I might be more excited than her! :)

mosquints@yahoo{DOT}com

McKinney Momma said...

I have been to Disney and Disney World! I haven't taken my baby yet though (9 months today)! mckinneymommas (at) yahoo(dot)com

McKinney Momma said...

I LIKED your FB page too!

Giant Sis said...

I've been to Disney World a few times (I grew up in Florida).

I commented on your FB wall too (liz t. n.)

wilburnnewsome atyahoodotcom

daivabaum said...

we haven't been to Disney yet
poniabaum at gmail dot com

deanna said...

yes, I've been to DIsney Land & World. Next destination: Paris!
deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
xoxoxo

deanna said...

like you on FB as deanna time & comment on wall post
deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
xoxoxo

Tara Haidinger said...

I have never been to Disney. I like you on FB.

Tara H
minkynopants at hotmail dot com

Kim said...

I have been to Disney World when I was in Moddle School and would love to take my kids someday.

kimberlysummer40@aol.com

Kim said...

I liked u on FB and wrote on your wall.
Kimberly Summer Pollock

kimberlysummer40@aol.com

Michelle said...

I went to Disney World when I was 12. Looking forward to taking my girls there when they are a little older.
Sticemichelle at aol dot com

Michelle said...

Like you on facebook and commented
Sticemichelle at aol dot com

Tracy DeLuca said...

I have been to Disney many times over the years (we used to live in Florida so the Magic Kingdom was home away from home). The year before last we took our sons for the first time. My oldest son is autistic and it was a less than ideal visit. However, I have recently discovered that we can get a pass for him to lower the wait time for rides. Knowing that, we can't WAIT to take him again! The few rides he was able to get on last time were well loved.

I commented and liked your page on FB. My FB name is Tracy White DeLuca and my email is faeriecastle at yahoo dot com

MichelleS said...

I live near DisneyLand and I've never been there in my life, lol.
mnsanchez15@yahoo.com

MichelleS said...

I like your page on FB (Michelle S)
mnsanchez15@yahoo.com

MomOnTheEdge said...

I've not been to Disney, but I'm going on my first trip with the girls this winter! Thanks for the chance!

MomOnTheEdge said...

Liked and posted on FB (Mel M)

One Cryptic Mama said...

I've been to Disneyland 1x, on my honeymoon years ago. We're actually hoping to take the kids next month!

onecrypticmama AT yahoo DOT com

One Cryptic Mama said...

like you on fb & commented on wall
http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=236506116412286&id=170659839663581

(sorry- was unsure if i was supposed to comment here again that i did)
onecrypticmama AT yahoo DOT com

Robyn said...

I went to disney world about 10 12 years ago, when I was a teenager. I would love to take my kids some day soon!
fiestyred-head @ live.com

Robyn said...

Fan on FB
fiestyred-head @ live.com

mummytotwoboys said...

We are taking our boys for the first time to Disneyland in April next year, I am insanely excited.

I liked you on Facebook and left a comment on your wall

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=236516956411202&id=170659839663581

mummytotwoboys@yahoo.com

coriwestphal said...

I went to Disney as an adult, but I haven't taken my kids yet. They are only 7 and 9, and I want to make sure they are old enough to remember it!

coriwestphal at msn dot com

coriwestphal said...

I like you on Facebook: Cori Eckstrom Westphal (facebook.com/coriwestphal)
And wrote on your wall!

coriwestphal at msn dot com

Laura said...

I've been to disney twice, but both times I was too young to remember :(

lmerritt49903@gmail.com

Laura said...

I liked on fb
lmerritt49903@gmail.com

Veronica said...

I have been to Disney World one time about 10 years ago.

vnjplus3 at verizon dot net

Veronica said...

Liked on FB and commented on the wall(Veronica Rahn).

vnjplus3 at verizon dot net

Amanda said...

I went to disney world about 1 year ago and It was my first time. I loved it! :)

sweetlikecandy1688 at gmail dot com

Amanda said...

Liked and commented on your facebook
Amanda Sanchez

sweetlikecandy1688 at gmail dot com

kendra22 said...

when I was like 8 and I do not remember it that well

kendraco22 at yahoo dot com

Ai Mei said...

I've only been to DisneyLand in Los Angeles. We are going this December too :)

StudentSavingBucks@gmail.com

Ai Mei said...

Like you on facebook and left a comment (Ssbucks Saving)

StudentSavingBucks@gmail.com

Julie said...

grew up going to Disney now I am taking my daughter once a year more expensive now than it was back in my day.
hebb dot julie at gmail dot com

Julie said...

like you on FB
julie hebb
hebb dot julie at gmail dot com

The Fantastic Four said...

We took our two sons for the first time this past summer. It was awesome. =)
jenncutie at hotmail dot com

The Fantastic Four said...

FB fan as Jay Coupon and commented on your wall
jenncutie at hotmail dot com

Stacy said...

The last time I went to Disney World was when I was a teenager. A long time ago! I can't wait to take my 3 kids some day.

Mommy-Money said...

I was when I was little. I barely remember it!
janetmulford at gmail

The Coupon Queen said...

I went to Disney World for my 13th birthday. It was the best vacation I have ever taken to date. I can't wait to take my kiddos. kfgcrtire at yahoo dot com

The Coupon Queen said...

I lived you on facebook and left a comment on your wall. kfgcrtire at yahoo dot com

Stacy said...

I liked you on FB and left a comment about the great tips--I especially liked the one about buying the light up toys ahead of time (and on sale!). Thanks!

Fabulously Frugal In Florida said...

Went To Disney In Sept And Loved It Cannot Wait To Go Back!!!!

Fabulously Frugal In Florida said...

I Like You On FB And Left A Comment! Thanks Again

Bride52309 (at) aol (dot) com

Justin said...

Yes, I went to Disney World when I was a teenager. It was pretty fun and I can't wait to take my son there :)

kappasighacksaw(at)live(dot)com

Justin said...

Liked you on facebook under the name Justin D.

commented:http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=111334245645986&id=170659839663581

Kappasighacksaw(at)live(dot)com

Mandy Kauffman said...

I went to Disney World on one of my high school music department trips and have a blast, even though I was older. Can't wait to take my son there some day! :)

amanda_l_peters@hotmail.com

Mandy Kauffman said...

"Like" you on FB and commented: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=236613796401518&id=170659839663581

amanda_l_peters@hotmail.com

corey1971 said...

We've been once and would love to go again. (Corey Olomon)(olomon@hotmail.com)

corey1971 said...

I liked them on Facebook and posted on their wall. (Corey Olomon)(olomon@hotmail.com)

chelsei said...

I have never been but I am planning to take my daughter for her fisrt time in about a year! So Excited!

chelsei said...

I like you on FB and Left a Comment on Wall!
Chelsei Ryan
pica_princess_88@yahoo.com

Angela Cisco said...

No, I have always wished to go. Its been a life long dream.

Angela Cisco said...

I am following on FB and commented on your wall. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=236631463066418&id=170659839663581

twifanheather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karla said...

I have been to Disney

karlatrx at gmail dot com

Heather R said...

Yes I have been to Disney! Lots!

thransom(at)gmail.com

Heather R said...

I like you on Facebook and wrote on your wall
(T.h.Ransom)

thransom(at)gmail.com

Mommies and Beyond said...

Yes I have been to Disney World and I love it!
choochoo1717@hotmail.com
http://www.mommiesandbeyond.com

sarah cool said...

I have never been to Disneyland or Disney World but I have been to the Disney store. I'm actually planning a disneyland trip for me and my girlfriends and this review has been majorly helpful so thank you!!! I'd love to win this.
I like you on fb

crazyweirdo33@yahoo.com