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Britchick
01-01-2014, 10:35 PM
with prices going up and up we thought it might be a good idea to set up a new thread to discuss how best to save money at WDW.

What are your best tips? how do you get the best value for your buck?

keith
01-01-2014, 10:40 PM
Brilliant idea! with flight prices now, any money saving ideas most welcome.

Johnie
02-01-2014, 12:57 AM
For my own vacations, I put them together piece meal and search for the best prices. I also don't mind driving and renting a car so that gives me a plethora of options.

With clients, many don't want to do all the legwork and that's great for me :-) some people don't want to deal with the hassle of driving so that typically means staying on site at WDW.

Dawn
02-01-2014, 07:25 AM
Eat offsite. A lot. :D

Vikki
02-01-2014, 08:21 AM
Don't buy drinks, get ice water from the counter service places. I know it doesn't sound like much, but saved us a fortune!

Britchick
02-01-2014, 08:43 AM
I carry in bottles of water, would not think of buying water/drinks unless part of a meal

keith
02-01-2014, 08:47 AM
I carry in bottles of water, would not think of buying water/drinks unless part of a meal

I think a lot of people believe that security wont let you carry food/drink in, so it's a really good tip to know that you can

Vikki
02-01-2014, 09:23 AM
I also don't like carrying it around, we try to go in with no bags.

Tony G
02-01-2014, 09:24 AM
I love these threads, they usually grow to be really useful resources.

OK, here's a couple I learned from my father (who worked for BA):

1) Try to book flights midweek to midweek. I, for example, usually book flights leaving and returning on a Tuesday or Wednesday, it can save a small fortune on airfares. You can usually book leave to coincide, so rather booking full weeks away from work, the leave begins and ends on a Tuesday or Wednesday (assuming a Mon-Fri working pattern).

2) During busy times of the year, when airfares are really high, it can (but not always) be cheaper to book your rental car through the airline as a package. The airlines' software accounts will often apply a cheaper airfare when adding two services. Once I booked the flight and car for cheaper than the car! Please note, this does not usually work if you're travelling in mid or low season and it means you're stuck with the airlines' preferred rental company which may not always be your first choice.

Unrelated to airfare, I usually try to make sure I have a stock of essential food and drinks wherever I'm staying (ie. hotel or villa). I buy a multipack of small bottles of water to take to the parks and some munchies which saves the cost of buying theme-park priced snacks.

Esmeralda
02-01-2014, 10:22 AM
Don't buy plush toys and Disney this and that.... you can get it all cheaper in the stores outside of WDW. Also don't buy the Disney dresses, you can get them at ASDA now for 12 or less.

Esmeralda
02-01-2014, 10:25 AM
Most times it is cheaper to buy a package, like car and air fare together then ditch the hire car and go with what hire car company you want, if you want to do that and don't like the hire car company you have been assigned.

Esmeralda
02-01-2014, 10:28 AM
Hiring a disabled scooter over there is cheaper than hiring the Disney one each day by far! And you get to use it in the shopping malls as well. The Disney ones you have to leave behind at Disney when you're done for the day.

Dawn
02-01-2014, 12:01 PM
I also don't like carrying it around, we try to go in with no bags.
We have water bottles with belt clips or shoulder straps. And Adrian says cargo shorts are the best ever invention - he carries more in his pockets than we'd ever need in a park.

Johnie
02-01-2014, 12:50 PM
Don't buy drinks, get ice water from the counter service places. I know it doesn't sound like much, but saved us a fortune!

This is a HUGE money saving tip! You can get free ice water from any place that sells fountain drinks. I know some complain about the taste of Florida water but it's filtered. You could always bring in those little flavoring packets. We get the free ice water all of the time!

Beccaberry
02-01-2014, 04:48 PM
We have water bottles with belt clips or shoulder straps. And Adrian says cargo shorts are the best ever invention - he carries more in his pockets than we'd ever need in a park.

Jon says the same! Though in September we stuffed so much in his pockets he had to wear a belt to keep his shorts up!

Wendy
02-01-2014, 04:59 PM
:lol: that's the same problem Chris gets :lol:

Britchick
02-01-2014, 05:08 PM
i have visions of lots of men laden down with overfull cargo trousers :lol:

Beccaberry
02-01-2014, 05:23 PM
Oh! We also ask for Disney Gift Cards for occasions like birthdays and holidays, and whenever we get "unexpected" money (rebates, ebates, bonuses, etc) we convert them to Disney G/C and tuck them away.

One thing I just started dabbling in...our local grocery store (who also sells fuel) offers "cents off" on your gas when you use your loyalty card. So, for every hundred dollars you spend in the grocery store, you get .10 off their current gas price. Occasionally, they will offer double, triple, or even quadruple gas points on gift cards. When they do this, I purchase Disney gift cards, gift cards to local restaurants we eat at, and department stores we frequent etc.

It's basically like getting an extra bang for your buck. So for instance, we were in charge of purchasing Jon's mom's Christmas present from him and his sisters this year. We'd decided to purchase a "pull-behind trailer" for her riding lawn mower from Home Depot for around $300. His sisters put in their money, we put in ours - then we went to Stop & Shop and purchased a Home Depot G/C in the amount of $300. We purchased the trailer online on Home Depot (through ebates), using the gift card. I found a $10 promo code online, made $9 through ebates, and came out with 1200 gas points (equaling $1.20 off gas up to 30 gallons). Because we'd already budgeted $300 for this particular item - we ended up with a total of $55 in savings...which I then turned around and purchased another $50 Disney G/C (and received another 200 gas points :) ) We did this with LOADS of our gifts this year! Jon bought gas just yesterday for only $1.30/gallon! A word of caution if you try this, gas points DO expire, so make sure you use them!

Dawn
02-01-2014, 06:04 PM
i have visions of lots of men laden down with overfull cargo trousers :lol:
Yes but none of them have to be searched at security.

Beccaberry
02-01-2014, 06:10 PM
:censored: :ROFL:


i have visions of lots of men laden down with overfull cargo trousers :lol:

Tony G
02-01-2014, 09:00 PM
The only time I wear cargo shorts is at the parks - they're perfect. Although I did buy a couple of plastic clips (souvenirs from the Smithsonian) that let me clip drinks bottles onto my belt. I only ever use them at the parks too.

Getting back to the money-saving ideas, I'm soon going to do some sums about purchasing some non-expiring Disney tickets in advance. I think it may be cheaper in the long run to buy a quantity at the current price and use them as/when I get out there.

BUTTERHEAD1
02-01-2014, 11:57 PM
I would love to hear some tips on how others are able to save money....the only way I see anyone can save money is by taking advantage of theSpecial Offers that Disney offers. The only way we can afford to visit every year is by using the free dining offer.... According to Disney we are a family of 4 aduts so the free dining saves us a lot of money... We drive to WDW so are able to bring a cooler which we fill with bottled water and beer bought off site. We also bring snacks . I guess one tip I can offer is that the Hess stations sells beer and soda at reasonable rates compared to the hotel stores. So if you are on property without a car try and hit the Hess Station for soda beer and snacks

Johnie
03-01-2014, 12:00 AM
Yes but none of them have to be searched at security.

Which IMO is ridiculous. I could conceivably carry a weapon in my pockets.

Beccaberry
03-01-2014, 12:12 AM
I guess one tip I can offer is that the Hess stations sells beer and soda at reasonable rates compared to the hotel stores. So if you are on property without a car try and hit the Hess Station for soda beer and snacks

On that note...in September, anticipating spending a good portion of time at the resort, we checked a bag with a handle of vodka, a selection of breakfast foods, snacks, and large sized toiletries (inc sunscreen). We were flying Jetblue, so the first checked bag was free, but even at the standard $25 fee for checked bags on other airlines, it would have been well worth the cost for the vodka alone. We would fill a water bottle with vodka, bring our refillable mugs down to the pool and sip our afternoon away on the lazy river at the Beach Club :) we probably saved hundreds of dollars.

Johnie
03-01-2014, 12:13 AM
More money saving tips that I use are:

1. I own a timeshare and can exchange a week for less than $200. There are tons of condos in Orlando so we do that quite frequently

2. It's usually only Alysia and I traveling so we share meals. I don't eat a whole lot in one sitting plus I don't like being overly full when it's so hot out (which is most of the year)

3. We always have a car. Whether we drive or rent. It is cheaper for us to do that and go offsite to eat, get snacks, shop

4. We travel as a party of 2 most of the time. It is significantly cheaper to travel that way

5. I buy an annual pass every year. It's a pricey purchase but it saves us money. I wouldn't go as often as I do if I had to buy tickets each time. Wait..... Maybe that isn't saving money lol

6. I live relatively close to WDW so if we fly, flights aren't crazy. We are also very fortunate that we have AirTran/Southwest and Jet Blue here. It wasn't too many years ago when Richmond, VA was one of the most expensive airports in the US

7. When we have gone for short trips, Priceline and Hotwire have been my friends. We stayed near the AK entrance last May for $35 night. Hotel was clean and safe. That's truly all I need in a room.

8. I have shared rooms on site with friends. I was able to stay at the Polynesian one birthday because if that!

9. I always save change. It adds up very quickly

10. I used to put all of my found money (rebates and the like) in my Disney money account. I need to get back to doing that.

I'm sure I'll think of more.

Esmeralda
03-01-2014, 12:06 PM
That's a fantastic idea! Next time Keef goes I will share a room with him and Helen :D

He won't even know I'm there.............. I get a bit gassy but that's all. I could snuggle in between them!

Tony G
07-01-2014, 09:51 PM
I just remembered another one - make good use of the Disney Character Warehouse stores in the outlet malls. For those who haven't seen them, they are official Disney outlets, so sell a plethora of stuff that is no longer stocked in the parks. The discounts there are HUGE and well worth a trip for all those gifts you 'have' to buy ;).

Another bargain paradise is Theme Park Connection, who have recently relocated. They sell all kinds of used Disneyana and stuff from Universal too. A lot of it can't be purchased anywhere else and has even been used inside the theme parks! Remember the 2014 merchandise Wendy posted recently? So many posted that they liked the trash cans - well how would you like a real one? They had a couple last time I was there! Their lithographs are a steal - they're unbelievable quality and are range from $3 to around $15 for packs of three or four. They have an ebay store too.

I should point out that I have no affiliation with any of these companies, I've just used them and would recommend them.

Beccaberry
07-01-2014, 09:54 PM
Oooh! I've never heard of theme park connection before...I'll have to check them out!

Watchinherskip
08-01-2014, 05:55 PM
Our biggest money saver...get a Disney Visa card and purchase EVERYTHING on it. Groceries, gas, home improvements, etc. Pay it off every month if you can (we have been able to do so thank God) and before you know it you have all the money you need for onsite stay, and hopper package. That is how we funded the last 3 or 4 trips. The only real cost then is a cheap flight from Virginia and some spending money.

Johnie
08-01-2014, 06:51 PM
oops wrong thread!

Johnie
08-01-2014, 06:54 PM
Dan,

That sounds like a great savings for you! In theory, I would say I would do that. And I might for a bit. Then something happens and bam! I've just got more debt. I am not to be trusted with credit cards.....

Beccaberry
08-01-2014, 07:12 PM
Our biggest money saver...get a Disney Visa card and purchase EVERYTHING on it. Groceries, gas, home improvements, etc. Pay it off every month if you can (we have been able to do so thank God) and before you know it you have all the money you need for onsite stay, and hopper package. That is how we funded the last 3 or 4 trips. The only real cost then is a cheap flight from Virginia and some spending money.

Jon and I have toyed with doing this. We currently have one credit card left to pay off before we "take the plunge" though :)

Watchinherskip
08-01-2014, 07:30 PM
Becca, it really adds up. In essence the last trips were kind of a gift. I mean we have to buy groceries and buy gas all the time. What is the difference in paying for it all at once and getting 1% back in Disney dollars?

Watchinherskip
08-01-2014, 07:35 PM
Dan,

That sounds like a great savings for you! In theory, I would say I would do that. And I might for a bit. Then something happens and bam! I've just got more debt. I am not to be trusted with credit cards.....

It took a while in Sally's and my life to be able to do that. At the beginning of our teaching careers, we always carried a balance just in order to live. I remember my starting salary as a teacher here in VA was about $9000 a year. I didn't even have a bed for the first two or three months I camped in a sleeping bag in my apartment. We were so broke. Glad those days are over.

Beccaberry
08-01-2014, 07:38 PM
I bet they certainly make you appreciate the days you have now even more though :)

Beccaberry
08-01-2014, 07:43 PM
It took a while in Sally's and my life to be able to do that. At the beginning of our teaching careers, we always carried a balance just in order to live. I remember my starting salary as a teacher here in VA was about $9000 a year. I didn't even have a bed for the first two or three months I camped in a sleeping bag in my apartment. We were so broke. Glad those days are over.

It makes SUCH sense, really. We used the "mileage" from the card we currently have towards our flights this past September...it made a HUGE dent in the bottom line. But we do have a balance we're carrying from last year when I was flying so much to be with my dad, so we're determined to pay that off and then switch over to the Disney Visa.

Watchinherskip
08-01-2014, 07:44 PM
I know Becca, I totally understand and oh know those were for a good amount of time tortured miles. Hopefully it won't take long for you to get that card done. A big hit was when we had our kitchen remodeled. It is amazing how many Disney dollars a granite counter top can earn! Sheeesh

Beccaberry
08-01-2014, 07:54 PM
Absolutely true! Or, in our case last month, the unexpected need for a new washing machine just before Christmas!

Johnie
08-01-2014, 09:16 PM
I cannot get a Disney Visa, you have to have almost pristine credit. While I've worked hard to have a "pretty good" score, it is not pristine :-(

Badlydrawnkel
10-01-2014, 06:45 AM
They don't offer these in the UK though do they? i have a top score credit rating and would love to earn some Disney dollar!

Vikki
10-01-2014, 03:29 PM
Afraid not. I had a look to see if they were in the UK but they're not :-(

Watchinherskip
10-01-2014, 05:30 PM
Oh sorry to hear that Vikki, no UK equivalent?

catrancher
10-01-2014, 06:04 PM
Our biggest money saver...get a Disney Visa card

Yep. I can attest to this one. I've had one since they came out and while I don't purchase everything on it, I do purchase quite a bit. And it provides a nice buffer for our Disney trips. On the last few cruises, it's completely covered our onboard expenses. Usually to the tune of about $500.

Tom ( :macwave:... and it's got a really cool, retro picture of Mickey on it!)

Watchinherskip
10-01-2014, 07:45 PM
I think I have the same card Tom. Get lots of comments from sales people when checking out. Lots of Disney fanatics out there.

Beccaberry
10-01-2014, 08:01 PM
So, as I've said, I don't *actually* have one (yet!). But funny story...my love of Disney is SO widely known that one day when I was at my local Starbucks, the barista walked up to my table and said, "Someone forgot this, and I'd bet money it was you!" It was a Disney Visa. Someone ELSE'S Disney Visa! I laughed and told him that it was not mine, but that I appreciated the offer!

Johnie
10-01-2014, 08:02 PM
I think I have the same card Tom. Get lots of comments from sales people when checking out. Lots of Disney fanatics out there.

I can attest to this! I drive all over the state and the number of Disney personalized license plates is outstanding!

Beccaberry
24-01-2014, 07:12 PM
So, we received an email last week from Chase Bank - offering us $150 to open a checking account. As we had been looking for another bank anyway, this was the perfect opportunity! We opened a new, no fee checking account with Chase and were able to choose a Disney Visa debit card :) We don't get the "points" but we do get the other benefits. This will do nicely until we pay off our other card and switch to a Disney Visa.

I chose the Castle card ;)

Britchick
24-01-2014, 09:38 PM
i wish we could get a Disney Visa card!

Wendy
24-01-2014, 09:46 PM
i wish we could get a Disney Visa card!

I do too, I'm surprised they have never thought about offering it in the UK, after all there are plenty of people in the country that spend a lot of money going to and in Disney.

Johnie
25-01-2014, 02:26 AM
So, we received an email last week from Chase Bank - offering us $150 to open a checking account. As we had been looking for another bank anyway, this was the perfect opportunity! We opened a new, no fee checking account with Chase and were able to choose a Disney Visa debit card :) We don't get the "points" but we do get the other benefits. This will do nicely until we pay off our other card and switch to a Disney Visa.

I chose the Castle card ;)

I had the Disney debit card several years ago. They offered the points then. That's too bad that they stopped :-(

Beccaberry
25-01-2014, 02:30 AM
I'm pretty excited about the 20% discount for tours in the parks!

Tony G
25-01-2014, 10:31 AM
I'm pretty excited about the 20% discount for tours in the parks!
So we're all booking tours through you from now on, then?!

;)

Beccaberry
25-01-2014, 11:44 AM
Hahahaha! I can just hear that phone call to Disney reservations!

Yes ma'am, and which tour would you like to book? All of them.

Errr, I see . And for how many guests? 47

Oh my.

Lol!

wdwgrandma
26-01-2014, 05:05 PM
Last year, about 6 months before our trip, I started putting away all one dollar bills I received in change. Real change (coins) go to John and he collects them until there's enough to roll and take to the bank. This is an all the time thing. Not just before we leave for WDW. By the time we headed to WDW in Nov/Dec I had saved enough one dollar bills to pay for all valet tips, leave $5 every day for Mousekeeping, and even use a few for tolls when our SunPass didn't work. And I still had a bunch to bring home. I believe I had saved nearly $200 in one dollar bills.

Beccaberry
26-01-2014, 05:06 PM
I like this idea!!!

Wendy
26-01-2014, 05:37 PM
It soon adds up Donna.

Watchinherskip
26-01-2014, 10:22 PM
So, we received an email last week from Chase Bank - offering us $150 to open a checking account. As we had been looking for another bank anyway, this was the perfect opportunity! We opened a new, no fee checking account with Chase and were able to choose a Disney Visa debit card :) We don't get the "points" but we do get the other benefits. This will do nicely until we pay off our other card and switch to a Disney Visa.

I chose the Castle card ;)
Well done Becca!

Beccaberry
04-02-2014, 06:49 PM
I just posted information on a new Orbitz offer here ('http://wdisneysecrets.com/forums/threads/orbitz-currently-offering-buy-3-get-2-free-park-hoppers.27358/'). Could be a great money savings!