By Angie Roberts Harris
Taking 15 members of my family to Disney World requires some careful planning and budgeting! Here are some money saving tips I have learned along the way:
1. Open a Disney Vacation Club Account: Open this account at least six months in advance of your trip. There is no charge and it is a great tool to help budget your trip. Disney donates a $20.00 gift card incentive for every $1,000 deposited.
2. Plan your trip during the ‘free meal plan’ dates: This is the best money-saving perk! During specific times, ‘free meal plans’ are offered when you book a total
package, including hotel and park tickets, at the various Disney World properties. Several plans are available and we chose the option of one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack per person, per day. A free souvenir refill cup to use at the resort was also included.
Taking advantage of this benefit enabled our family to experience incredible food and delightful character dining that we would not normally be exposed to at home and saved about $100.00 per person, per day. Some of the dining experiences can cost up to $75.00 per person which was definitely NOT in our budget with fifteen people. We would not have spent the same dollar amount on food without the meal plan but the free dining adventures included in our package certainly enhanced our trip! Look for a future post announcing the free ‘meal plan’ dates and book quickly, as we did. Everyone agree that we would leave December 19 and return on December 24 so the kids could be back hom for Christmas with the rest of the family.
3. Purchase Disney gift cards from Sam’s Club: The gift cards come in packets of three $50 cards and cost $142.98, for a savings of $7.02 per $150.00. You can then add funds to your Disney Vacation Club Account using these cards. Remember, you get a $20.00 gift card from Disney for every $1,000 that you add. Make sure to save the cards you buy from Sam’s Club in case there are any questions.
Look at the possible savings! Your Disney package, for example, totals $5,000 for a seven day stay. You would save:
* $1,500 or more on food when you book during the ‘free’ meal plan dates.
* $230 on Disney gift cards from Sam's Club.
* $100 from your Disney Vacation Club account
Grand savings total: $1830! These savings require some advance planning but worth every penny when they turn into Disney dollars!
The reservation fee is $200.00 per room at the time of booking.
P.S. To prevent dad from a heart attack, keep reminding him how much money you are saving!
"Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it." --Rapunzel (Tangled)
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Angie Roberts Harris has been Going Out The Door to Disney since 1974 when she was 11 years old. Today she travels to the ‘happiest place on earth’ with her husband and their crew of 5 children and their families.