Monday, February 27, 2012
Walt Disney World on a Budget
This year, we knew if we did a family vacation to Walt Disney World, it would have to be "on the cheap." There would be no plane tickets, no dining plan and no extravagant spending.
It's safe to say we survived our budget friendly trip, and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.
By skipping the meal plan, we saved our waistlines and our money. I will always advise paying for the meal plan if you are planning a once in a lifetime, or even once every few years, vacation. We however, try to go every year.
This gets mighty costly.
The meal plan is worth every penny when you consider the amount of food you receive for the money. But my munchkins eat one plate of food, if I'm lucky. We ate in Norway this time and they ate plates of salami with fresh fruit. Off the appetizer buffet.
Norwegian meatballs, as delicious as they were, were met with disgust.
Since we had our car (due to our budget no-airfare vacation) we loaded our villa with groceries from Walmart. I didn't go nutty; I bought chicken nuggets, apples, yogurt, bread, butter and the necessities for pancakes.
Everyone loves pancakes.
Every morning, Hubby or myself would pack a cooler with juice and snacks. We did not buy drinks in the park, unless we were sitting down to lunch. And even then, we didn't buy any munchkin drinks.
If we bought lunch, we split three meals between us all, which was plenty with the extras from the cooler. And I was thrilled that my munchkins were eating yogurt and apples along with their counter service food. Eating in the parks translates to eating convenience food. Despite our best efforts to eat well, we all know when people get hungry they are not looking for the healthy alternatives counter.
It's whatever is fast and whatever is close.
At night, before heading out for more Disney fun, I whipped up nuggets. Or pancakes. Or sandwiches for the kiddos. Later that night, out and about, we treated them to a small dessert while myself and Hubby ordered dinner in the parks.
Everyone's tummy was more than pleased with this arrangement.
The breakdown of our savings?
Five days of the meal plan for the Mommyhood Family: $740.00
Groceries and beer at Walmart (yes, Hubby stocked our vacation fridge with the necessities): $83.00
Money spent on lunches (including one $90 lunch splurge at The Plaza) and dessert in parks: $305.00
Disney on a budget savings? $352.00
And we never felt deprived. I promise. Look at our happy faces.
I will conclude by saying that the meal plan is fabulous. You eat like royalty and don't worry about taking out money every time someone small cries they are hungry. Definitely splurge and experience the restaurants and character dining if you have the money saved.
But if you want to go to Disney, and you'll have a car, you can save mucho if you stock your fridge. Mini fridges included. You don't need a villa to save on drinks, sandwiches and snacks.
The munchkins don't care about peanut butter and jelly as long as they get their Mickey Ice Cream.
Along with the stock your room with food trick? We did no park hopper ( I always advise against park hopper if you need to save) and we have our munchkins bring their OWN wallets.
Yes, we do make them buy their souvenirs. I dive much more into this on my Disney Tips N Tricks page. For this post, i will just say if your kids have their own money to spend, and they know in advance there are NO loaners from mom and dad, they will not beg for everything in every store.
Lastly, to save up extra spending cash, we always start a large jar for loose change the minute our trip is planned. We even toss in a few dollars here and there. This really adds up!!!
Just a reminder we have a Disney timeshare, so hotel savings were not an issue for us. For budget vacations, the value resorts are very reasonable in price.
Wishing you a very fun budget friendly trip! Happy Trails!