Karen Bannister weighs in with lessons she learned while trying to book her family’s Disney vacation on a budget.
A Disney vacation is top of the bucket list for most families. It’s easy to see why: the “most magical place on earth” offers miles of entertainment for kids, and fun add-ons like breakfasts with your favourite Disney characters. It’s a dream come true for any child who ever hoped a favourite friend would stretch through the television and invite them into their magical world.
Parents know that a Disney vacation isn’t always easy on the wallet. It can be an expensive vacation but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some tips for getting the vacation you want, for a price you can live with.
Tip #1 for a Budget Disney Vacation: Start Planning Early
The question of when to book a Disney vacation divides people:
On the one hand if you book early you can adjust when special offers come through. This also helps you book a reasonable airfare and avoid potential fare increases.
On the other hand, booking late will mean you can take advantage of last minute discounts as Disney pushes to fill rooms. You may even find a sale on airfare too.
Like throwing the die on the roulette wheel, what truly is the best option is impossible to say: but if I could predict the future, I’d surely be saving a lot more money!
Whether you actually commit to a booking or not, it’s prudent to start planning your vacation early. Take a look at all that Disney has to offer and narrow in on your preferred schedule, dates of travel, meal options and accommodations. When you know what you want, and that deal does come through that is relevant, you are in the best position to snap it up.
Tip #2 for a Budget Disney Vacation: Packages May Not Be the Best Way to Book
Packages that show substantial discounts are appealing and they come up often for Disney vacations. They may be the perfect way to enjoy a budget Disney vacation. They might also offer you more than you need, or less of what you want sending you to supplement with additional purchases anyway. Be sure to fully weigh the merits of the package against the ideal Disney vacation you outlined in Tip 1, including fully understanding the fine print. Packages are often enticing too because of the ease of booking, but as tip #3 reveals to you, we aren’t convinced you should be doing the booking anyway.
Tip #3 for a Budget Disney Vacation: Use a Travel Agent
A travel agent who specializes in Disney travel will be your greatest ally. Why not take advantage of their vast knowledge and experience in booking the best (and cheapest) Disney vacations? Travel agents can advise you on what your booking options are, and give you insider tips that don’t fit on a website – like is that dining offer really a good one when you can’t possibly eat all of that food? Travel agents can also introduce savings after you have already booked your vacation: should another deal arise, they can easily modify your plans so you can take advantage of special offers. You can also work with your Disney specialist to plan a trip that meets your budget.
Tip #4 for a Budget Disney Vacation: Prioritize
You may want luxury and convenience in your hotel stay, and are willing to pay extra there, and you may be okay with a smaller meal package, packing granola bars and other snacks to supplement. There are ways to cut corners on your Disney vacation but knowing which corners make you comfortable is the key. What truly matters to your family’s enjoyment of the Disney experience? Create your list of priorities and cut corners on what isn’t high on that list. This is compromise, but painless compromise!
A Disney vacation for many families is a monumental milestone in their travel journeys. It’s okay to spend what it takes to get you the experience that you want, but it’s also okay to cut corners and put a little back in your wallet.
Read about the Globetrotting Family’s Disney Adventures here.