In February 2015, my husband and I took our 3 children, my mother, and my father-in-law on our first Disney World Vacation for 7 days. While there, we visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney. All 3 locations were amazing. Here is the video of us surprising our kids with the Disney Vacation by wrapping it up in a box for Christmas. SEE VIDEO HERE
Now, let’s get down to it! How did we manage to save enough money for Disney World on our income, and while there?
SAVE IN ADVANCE
First of all, my husband and I started saving for this trip roughly one to almost 2 years before we actually got to take our family to Florida using the below 52 Week Money Challenge. This was a nice and simple method just to get the savings started. Week 1, you put $1 in the savings, week 2 you put $2, etc… You can see below how this works. After the 52 weeks, you have saved $1,378 just by using this method. On weeks where we were able, we would put more than the scheduled amount into our savings in order to try and save enough more money. For example, on week 1, instead of putting $1 into our account, we were able to throw $10 into our savings. In that 52 weeks, we actually saved well over $2000 just by adding extra money where we were able to. Remember, we saved for over a year, so by the time everything was said and done, I believe we had roughly $3,800 (the saving we added on top of the 52 week money challenge, and in the additional time that we saved past that 52 weeks) for use in planning our trip
FLYING VERSUS DRIVING
We compared the cost of driving from Minnesota to Florida, versus flying. Needless to say, we chose to drive and save the thousands of dollars as there were 7 of us going on this trip. We figured nearly $500 per ticket to fly 7 people came to about $3,500, and the cost of driving in our suburban was only between $400 and $500. We saved roughly $3,000 just by driving to Florida. That’s HUGE! Don’t get me wrong. Flying would have been faster and easier, however, this savings alone was well worth it.
HOTEL VERSUS CONDO WITH KITCHEN
Another way of saving for us was to weigh the cost of staying at a hotel, versus a condo. After much research, we decided on a 3 bedroom condo for the week that also featured a kitchen, therefore, we were able to go to a grocery store to buy groceries and save money by eating at the condo versus eating out for some of our vacation. I don’t have the exact savings on this, but I’m sure it saved us quite a bit when you add the total of feeding 7 people at a restaurant 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) versus having the groceries at our rental.
BOOK YOUR ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE
The last thing we did was book our activities online months before our trip. We were told to do this by other family members who have visited Disney Parks in the past, and they informed us that we would save more money by using this method. What that savings is, I do not know, but it’s definitely something to check into.
ENJOYING OUR ROAD TRIP
While on our road trip to Florida, we made the decision to stop at the first rest area in each state that we crossed so that we could take pictures with the state signs. This was our children’s very first trip outside of Minnesota and Wisconsin, so we wanted to make sure they had an adventure, and got to see the different states as we drove through.
I’m currently working on a scrapbook of our trip in my limited spare time. It’s been a 2 year project so far…