The decision to head to the most magical place on Earth can seem daunting, especially when it comes to budgeting for all that fun. But if a trip to Disney World is in the cards, it pays to plan ahead to get the most out of it.
What It’s Going to Cost
The good news is, Time Magazine did us a solid and already crunched the numbers. In their professional opinion, the average family of four (two adults, and two paying kids) should expect to spend at least $6,360 on a four-night vacation. That takes into account transportation, food, lodging, passes, and souvenirs for everyone in the family. But of course those numbers are going to vary considerably depending on how expensive your airfare is, whether you stay inside the park or outside, and whether you can score a deal.
Keep in mind, those numbers are based on the broad averages in all of those categories, but there are plenty of ways to spend below (and above) average. To have an above-average experience at a below-average price, it pays to be savvy! And that’s where these next tidbits come in.
Ways to Save
There are plenty of ways to pinch a few pennies when you’re booking your trip. When it comes to stockpiling the actual pennies, it can be fun to get the whole family involved. You can set up a “Disney Fun(d)” jar in the kitchen, with everyone socking away spare change and spare cash when they can. Or use it as an incentive to get extra chores done, or dinner finished—if the kids participate, Mom and Dad can put a few more dollars in! When it comes to saving the big bucks, though, you might want to take a look at some of these savings hacks.
Booking with a Travel Agent
Disney actually pays their travel agents, so you don’t need to pay a commission when you book through a Disney agent. That means you can potentially save big, since they have access to deals the general public may not!
Choose Your Lodging Wisely
Shop sales to save when you stay onsite, or consider staying just outside of the park so you’re not paying a premium for sheets with mouse ears on them. You can still get as big a dose of Disney as you want, without having to pay more for the place you’re going to be mostly sleeping in.
Go Right Before Your Child Turns Three
Remember those average costs we talked about earlier? They were based on a family where everyone was over the age of three, when Disney starts charging admission. If you can sneak in a trip just before your child’s third birthday, you can save big.
Sign-Up for YES
Helping your kids learn while still saving you money? Now that’s great parenting. Sign up for the Disney YES Program and do just that! The Youth Education Series lets kids take part in educational experiences while in the park, and get discounts on park tickets.
Taking your next vacation doesn't have to make you feel like you need to take a second mortgage out on your house. In fact, heading to the happiest place on earth can be as easy as planning ahead and making smart decisions. With these ideas in hand, you can experience Disney World as cost effectively as possible.
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