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Budget Your Disney Trip: Make a Walt Disney World Dream Come True

by Kimberly LaPaglia, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 03-14-2011

PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

Whether you are fanatic about spreadsheets or mathematically challenged, financing your Walt Disney World vacation can be an accessible goal.

You can visit Walt Disney World whether you are penny-pinching or looking for luxuries. A dream vacation can be enjoyed even on a thrifty plan.

Budgeting Tips

Begin with a spreadsheet, the Budget Worksheet in your PassPorter, or other financing tools such as a pen, paper, and a calculator. Play with the numbers. Fill in the blanks for different scenarios. Try the cost for driving versus flying. A budget hotel versus a deluxe hotel. Eating out every meal, or having cereal in your room.

Investigate your transportation options. Should you fly, drive, or take a train to Orlando? Remember to factor in a rental car or round trip transportation between the airport and hotel. If driving, estimate how many miles per day you wish to drive and the cost of gas. Determine the cost of meals and any overnight hotels. You can look in to the train to Orlando, including the Amtrak Auto Train out of Lorton, Virginia. A sleeper car will cost more than riding in coach.

Experiment with hotels. Are you staying on Walt Disney World property? If staying on-site, get price quotes for hotels in the budget, moderate, and deluxe categories. Calculate various travel dates. Be aware that Disney has a value, regular, holiday and peak season that will greatly affect your hotel costs. Note that tax is 11.5% for the resorts, except the All Stars at 12%. Be patient and discover discounts. Plug in the different prices and see which works best for you.

Traditional Foot Shot front of Cinderella's Castle photo
Traditional Foot Shot front of Cinderella's Castle

We always take a foot shot wherever we go on vacation! - photo by DebiDebiDebi

Check out admission ticket options. When purchasing a package, tickets are probably included. If you’ll be returning within the year or going for a lengthy stay, consider annual passes. There are reputable discount ticket suppliers. You’ll need to research which tickets best suit your touring agenda. If you will not be visiting the water parks, and other minor attractions, avoid tickets with these features. Employees of Walt Disney World sponsors should check with their Human Resource office. For example, Eastman Kodak employees receive 12% off park passes and are eligible to purchase 20 tickets per calendar year.

At AllEarsNet, look at menus to estimate your food budget. Figure out a daily meal plan and enter the approximate costs in your document. If you are over budget, consider eating breakfast in your room. To save more, consider a Character Breakfast in the late morning, in lieu of a more expensive lunch.

Mickey ears and other souvenirs are tempting. Limit yourself to a certain amount of souvenirs per day or per the length of your stay. Beware of impulse buying. Will the Mickey hat still be fashion trendy back home? Then again, do splurge on a few items. This is a difficult area for us, too, but try to be a wise shopper.

Don’t forget miscellaneous expenditures such as tipping for bell-hop and maid services. Figure $1 per bag for luggage help and $1 per person per day for "mousekeeping."