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    Parenting in the Parks: Fitting It In The Budget

    Fitting It In The Budget by Adrienne Krock

    The Parenting Panel shares tips for budgeting and saving up for a Disney theme park vacation

    Read it here!


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    How do you magically save for a Disney vacation? Your family budget is already mixed into the family checking account. Your daily, weekly, monthly expenses are automatically used up and any residual leftovers can be used for a vacation. Thus, I don't have a separate budget for vacation. I adjust my spending in anticipation for a vacation especially during the ramp-up when the vacation bills are due. The first expense is the accommodations. There is no vacation without the selection of where you'll stay. I do this at least 9 months out. The second expense is transportation. This should be done within 4 to 6 months of the vacation. You find out the sweet spot for the airfare by constant checking at the travel websites. The next expenses are crucial for the Disney vacation. Reserve your dining online 6 months out. You'll have to pay for Royal Table in advance. The Disney Dining Plan can be reserved 3 days prior to the trip, but do it sooner. Buy your admission tickets 2.5 months out to ensure you can get Fastpass+ reservations 60 days early. Get memory maker 30 days earlier. You pay your bills as you get them.


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    It all comes down to income for the year. If it's a good year, we're going to WDW! If it's a bad year, we stay home. If it's an average year, it's a 6 hour drive to Disneyland.

    What I'd like to know is the economic demographics of people staying at place like the Grand Cali or one of WDW's deluxe hotels. I'd love to get into one of those, but I just can't pull the trigger on that kind of money. I just figure I'm not making what others do, but that's just a guess.

    Working for Disney. No, no. Working (in a Modesto office) for (the money to take a trip to) Disney (World/Land)

    WDW Trips: June 2002, Feb 2004, Dec 2006, Dec 2008, Jan 2010, Feb 2011, Dec 2012
    Disneyland Trips: Feb 2006, Nov 2013

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    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGator View Post
    . I just figure I'm not making what others do, but that's just a guess.
    I think in some cases maybe. Other cases, people choose to stay there and just budget longer for it. A third thought, some just don't know any better. By that I mean the masses who don't do any research ahead of time. They don't know Christmas is the worst time to go to either coast, they think Halloween is slow. You know, the ones who then turn around and give a 1 star rating on Trip Advisor because the were miserable. (If you are reading this it obviously doesn't apply to you. If you ever need a laugh, go read through some of them, but be warned you may find yourself yelling at your screen.) After our first trip, one of Whistler's work associates booked a trip to DL, he spent almost twice what we did because he just booked a package through Costco or AAA or someone. Not knocking packages or using a T.A., but DL is often less expensive and easy to pput together yourself with only a little bit of research.
    Ok, I got caught up in the comments, off to read ADK's article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by candles71 View Post
    Not knocking packages or using a T.A., but DL is often less expensive and easy to pput together yourself with only a little bit of research.
    Ok, I got caught up in the comments, off to read ADK's article.
    And see, the first time I went to WDW, I used a travel agent because I was so overwhelmed, even with being here on the boards. Many times, getting a package at WDW is a really good way to save money. In fact, I originally booked my package and was pretty happy with it. From reading around, I figured out the cost and the benefits I was getting and it was a good deal. Then a special offer came out and my agent adjusted my package, saving me even more money.

    The next time we're going to WDW, we are not using an agent, BUT... I'll have a premier AP (wasn't available last time we went,) and I'm staying in someone else's DVC so lodging cost isn't an issue. But you can bet, when it comes time to book a cruise, I know EXACTLY who I will be calling and asking to make all of those arrangements for me. We don't call her the Fairy Godmother without reason.
    Doc Krock ran his first full Marathon - the Long Beach Marathon - on Sun, Oct 12, 2014. He and fairestoneofall buddied up to train and conquer the distance. Will you consider donating $26.20 to Team Krock for Team Muscle Makers for UCMD in honor of Doc's first full marathon? Thank you! Please click here to donate at the website May the Force be with you!

    Parenting in the Parks
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    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, when we get to WDW we very likely will use one. DL though is quite easy to not use one. (There are exceptions of course, our Aussie friends for instance.) Oh and I was totally lost in booking our cruise, I was so happy the prize came with a TA.

    Ok, it has been long enough for me to get it together. (You know what threw me ADK. :/)

    As far as budgeting for a trip. Most of ours were listed. Extra money is set aside. Yard sales, spare change, Disney visa points (all regular bills autopay to it), Whistler gets side jobs and that money (minus materials of course) gets set aside. We have to have it seperate. One of the couponing blogs I like actually says she uses an online bank because it is less accessible to her. For us, we pull it out and it is put away. I have this mental block about breaking hundreds, so I ask for em if I go inside the bank. Rebates for products and any other found money goes in.


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    Quote Originally Posted by candles71 View Post
    Ok, it has been long enough for me to get it together. (You know what threw me ADK. :/)
    It wasn't any easier to write. But the topic was planned before events happened so it came to be.
    Doc Krock ran his first full Marathon - the Long Beach Marathon - on Sun, Oct 12, 2014. He and fairestoneofall buddied up to train and conquer the distance. Will you consider donating $26.20 to Team Krock for Team Muscle Makers for UCMD in honor of Doc's first full marathon? Thank you! Please click here to donate at the website May the Force be with you!

    Parenting in the Parks
    Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you.

  9. #8

    I get paid every two weeks and after I receive a check I typically go to the disneyland.com website and buy a Disney Gift Card - you can buy them in incriments as low as $25 (I usually buy $50 to $100) each time. Then, Disney will mail the gift card to my home address; I typically receive it within about a week after purchase. I put the gift card(s) aside and take them on my trips. You can use them in the parks/resorts a la carte or apply them against a hotel bill upon check-in and although you will end up with a credit once room and tax and other purchases get posted then the credit gradually disappears to a zero balance.

    There is no charge to buying the cards online from the Disneyland.com site and they mail them to you for free ("free shipping included" is a delivery option). This is sort of like a "Christmas Club" concept only you're saving for an upcoming Disney trip as opposed to saving for Christmas presents. The cards are good at all Disney resort locations and also for DCL, Adventures by Disney and WDTC packages.

    The only down side is that if you loose the cards or they are stolen you could have some problems but if you keep detailed records Disney has been known to nulify the purchase on their end and even reissue the card. Additionally, if they get lost in the mail you also can have them replaced if you report them lost. Disneyland, where these are actually issued has been incredibly helpful in the past with questions, issues and reissues.

    Another drawback is that it looks kind of stupid to the front desk clerk if you are laying down 30 cards to pay for your vacation but hey, so what!!! It is also kind of fun to see your Disney trip in the form of colorful gift cards in various denominations. Before you know it you will have much of your vacation money saved up in advance on a weekly basis.


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    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    Oh, speaking of gift cards, I save up our Disney Movie rewards and order the $10 gift cards when they come back in stock. They are only "in stock" a couple of times a year and sell out quickly, so I just try to watch.
    Don't be embarrased the CMs are quite used to getting multiple gift cards.
    ADK, I figured.


  11. #10
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Rex View Post
    Another drawback is that it looks kind of stupid to the front desk clerk if you are laying down 30 cards to pay for your vacation but hey, so what!!! It is also kind of fun to see your Disney trip in the form of colorful gift cards in various denominations. Before you know it you will have much of your vacation money saved up in advance on a weekly basis.
    Ha HA! That was me on our last trip to WDW two years ago! The CM was quite nice about it....I have employeed the Disney Gift Card approach a lot. I wish you could add money to them (I don't live near a Disney store where I understand this is a easy transaction) online or over the phone, so I didn't have to keep buying different ones. In any event, this seems to work good for us. Everytime I buy one and sock it away I mentally think "okay, this is two drinks at the pool" or " this is enough for dinner for the two of us". or "one sweatshirt"!
    I also keep a secondary savings account where I stash a bit here & there as it won't be missed. I don't necessarily work towards saving a specific amount for a WDW trip, rather and Iput aside so that when the urge/oppurtunity arrises I can take advantage of it.

  12. #11
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    One other item I did not add in my portion is when it comes to actually paying for the trip.

    I am one that keeps track of every dollar spent while at the parks to keep things in within our budget. To make things simple, I charge everything to the room. At the end, it all gets paid for on our Disney Visa card.... which jump starts our reward dollars for next year.

    When we get home, I submit a payment for what we spent...

    Ive just heard too may negative stories about using debit cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, and the like.

    We do give the kids each a gift card for their spending money... that makes it easy to budget for them. They remain responsible for them.

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    We have a "trip fund" little wallet hidden in our room. When we sell something or come into a little extra cash, ir goes into the "trip fund." Once it gets to be $200, I go buy a gift card so I don't have all that cash laying around. We also use our credit cards for all expenses. We have an airline card and the Disney Visa. I know the Disney Visa isn't the best rate of return, but it is an easy simple way to accumulate "free money." We pay off the cards every month so there is no interest. Usually our souvenir budget is whatever we have in Disney Rewards. This next trip, we should have a pretty high balance, due to a longer time between trips and a bathroom remodel on the card so we should be able to pay for a ticket or two.

    Adk-

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  14. #13
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    No, the Disney Visa is not the best rate of return, but I think its one of the easiest to use when it comes to getting rewards.
    I have a Hilton card as well which the points from that and my business travels is what gives me enough points for the three rooms needed for our trip there and back.

    Disney-Inspired Author and Blogger

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  15. #14

    I don't save up for a trip as much as I look for ways to save on the cost of the trip. Looking for room discounts, buying tickets from Undercover Tourist, taking the time to go to Wal-mart in Orlando to pick up food and water to have in the room cuts down on the cost of our meals. One of the biggest ways I have found is using the Disney Visa Rewards.

    I first used the card in 2008, the trip we took then and the one in 2010 we had $250 to spend from the points earned. We put everything on the card and pay it off each month instead of using cash. On our 3rd visit in 2011 we had $500 from the points, I bought Disney Gift cards with those points and used the cards to pay for meals and souvenirs. For our trip this coming November I will be using the points earned to pay for our tickets and part of the room cost. At this time we have a little over $1000 in points it feels like free money since we would still be spending money on all those everyday things anyway.

    WL Nov 20-Nov 27 2014 ,WDW2008 off-site, WDW2010 Polynesian (Club), WDW Polynesian Dec 15-21 2011 (Club)

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