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  1. #1
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Trip Saving Tips- Disney

    These are posted at for ways to save for a Disney
    trip, but just about every single one is good for saving money for
    trips, or even just to build a savings account where you might not
    have had one before!

    Vacation Savings Account
    One of the best and smartest ways to save for a Disney vacation is
    to open a separate savings account specifically for your vacation
    fund. If at all possible, jump-start the account with a lump sum,
    such as a tax refund. Have a certain amount auto-debited from your
    paychecks and deposited directly into that savings account. That way
    you never see the money, so there is less temptation to spend it.
    And of course you'll be earning interest!

    If you put $25 a week into your vacation account and earn 2%
    interest compounded daily, you'll have $1337 in the account a year
    after you start saving, and $2677 in two years.

    If you're able to "jump start" the account with $500 and then add
    that $25 a week at 2% interest, you'll have $1847 in your account a
    year after you start saving, and $3197 in two years.
    By the way, it is very worthwhile to shop around for the best
    banking deal. One of the best I've found (and certainly the easiest
    to open and use) is the Orange Savings Account from ING Direct. I
    have one of these accounts myself. You can open one in 5 minutes or
    less and transfer money into it electronically. The ING account pays
    a variable 4.25% Annual Percentage Yield on savings, with no minimum
    deposit and no hidden fees or service charges. (Compare this with
    what your bank or credit union pays on savings accounts. I predict
    you'll be amazed.) It's FDIC insured. You can easily set up an
    automatic savings plan with this account.

    Other Ways to Save in Small Increments
    Here are some additional, relatively painless tricks people use to
    get themselves to save. It's all about setting priorities -- and in
    some cases, tricking yourself into saving. What works for one
    person, won't work for another. Try one, or try 'em all. Remember,
    every penny helps!

    Buy US Savings Bonds

    You can purchase them online and spend as little as $25 each time.
    US Savings Bonds must be held for at least 1 year before you can
    cash them in. There is a 3-month interest penalty if you cash an EE
    or I Bond within the first five years from its issue date. There is
    no penalty for cashing EE or I Bonds that are at least five years
    old. Bonds pay very good interest compared with a regular savings
    account and since they are issued by the government, they are an
    extremely safe investment.

    Buy Disney Dollars or Disney Gift Cards

    Personally I would never use this method because it doesn't earn
    interest, but some people find it very helpful because you can't
    spend Disney Dollars or Disney Gift Cards anywhere but Disney! You
    can also give your children Disney Dollars or Disney Gift Cards for
    birthdays and holidays, and ask relatives to do the same, so the
    kids will have their own spending money for the next Disney vacation.

    Disney Dollars are "cash equivalents." One Disney Dollar = one US
    dollar. They can be used at Disney Store locations in the US and at
    almost all locations in Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort
    and Disney Cruise Line. Disney Dollars can be purchased at any
    Disney Store or Disney theme park, or by letter from Walt Disney
    World Ticketing, PO Box 10140, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. You must
    pay in advance. Shipping is $10.00 for express delivery. Include
    shipping charges with the check. Thanks to Deborah R for update.

    Disney Gift Cards can be used online at, Disney
    Store locations in the US and participating locations at Walt Disney
    World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line (includes
    most shopping and dining locations). You can buy Disney Gift Cards
    at Disney Stores, Disney World, Disneyland and
    To order online through, search DISNEY GIFT CARD.
    (Be sure you're not buying the DisneyShopping card, which is NOT
    good in the theme parks.) You can order in denominations from $25-
    $500 and shipping is FREE. Thanks to Ronni H for info.
    The Change Jar

    Make a rule that you never spend coins. Save all your pocket change
    and throw it in a big jar. Label the jar (i.e. "Our Disney
    Vacation") to remind your of your goal. Periodically you can roll
    the coins and see how much you have. (This is a great job for kids.)
    Once it's rolled, put it in your vacation savings account.

    If you don't want to roll the change, see if your bank takes
    unrolled change. Some banks have change-counting machines and
    they'll count your coins for free or for a very small fee. There are
    CoinStar machines in many grocery stores that will allow you to dump
    in a ton of change and get a slip redeemable for bills at the
    cashier, but you'll pay a hefty premium (somewhere around 9%) for
    the service; if you do this, at least pluck out the quarters and
    roll those!

    Variations on the change jar: Never spend quarters, or never spend
    dollar bills. Put those in the jar.

    Checkbook Games

    When writing a check, round up your checkbook entry to the nearest
    dollar. For instance, if you write a check for $57.12, record it in
    your checkbook as $58. Not only does this help you prevent
    overdrafts, it also means you're accumulating a little extra in your
    account every time you write a check. Another good thing about this
    method is that you're earning interest on that extra money, assuming
    you have an interest-bearing checking account.

    Round down your deposit entries to the nearest dollar. For instance,
    if you deposit $300.91, record it as $300. Again, you're
    accumulating a little extra "ghost" money in your account.

    A variation on the checkbook rounding method: charge yourself a
    dollar every time you write a check, plus round up. So if the check
    was for $47.39, round it up to $48 and add a dollar, making the
    entry in your checkbook $49.

    Another variation on the checkbook rounding method: round up to the
    nearest five dollars. So if the check was for $52.23, round it up to
    $55. If it was for $9.51, round it up to $10.

    More Tips and Tricks
    If a payment ends, keep making it -- to yourself! For instance, if
    you pay off a car or a credit card, keep making that payment, but
    instead write the check to yourself and deposit it into your
    vacation savings account.

    Make a rule that "found" money goes in the vacation fund. For
    instance, if you get a rebate, tax refund, gift check or work bonus,
    deposit it in the vacation account.

    Give yourself an allowance for cash expenditures (i.e. groceries,
    gas, meals out, entertainment, etc.) and make a game of seeing how
    much of your allowance you can NOT spend. Anything left over at the
    end of the week (or month) goes into the vacation fund.

    Charge everything to Disney's Visa or a cash-back credit card and
    pay the card off each month. (Only do this if you can handle the
    temptation to overspend on plastic, and if you really will pay the
    balance off every single month. If you won't pay it off monthly,
    this is a bad idea.) Use the Disney Dream Reward Dollars or cash-
    back bonus toward your vacation.

    Cut out one small daily expense and put the money you're saving into
    your vacation fund. The savings can really add up. If you save $1 a
    day on something you buy at work, and you work 5 days a week x 50
    weeks, that's $250 a year! For example:

    If you drink a cafe latte every morning, buy a travel mug and fill
    it with strong coffee and hot milk at home instead.

    If you usually eat lunch out or buy lunch at a deli, try bringing
    lunch from home at least 2 or 3 days a week. If you just can't get
    it together to make a lunch, at least try bringing a can of soda
    from home instead of buying one at the deli or out of a machine.

    Bring a snack from home instead of hitting the vending machines.

    Giving up smoking may save you enough money in a year to fund a
    family vacation. I'm not kidding! If you're smoking a pack a day,
    you're spending at least $800 a year on cigarettes. In places with
    high tobacco taxes, you're spending $1600 or more.
    Ask your family to help you save. Often children aren't very aware
    of how much small expenses can add up over time. If you point out
    that every nickel they can save the household will get them closer
    to seeing Mickey, they may surprise you! Solicit their ideas and
    suggestions, and then agree to put aside what you've saved for your
    vacation fund. Be sure you have a plan for keeping the saved money
    separate, so that it doesn't get spent elsewhere. That might mean
    writing a check for the amount of money saved and depositing it into
    your vacation account, or putting that amount of cash into the
    change jar. Whatever it is, do it consistently.

    Here are a few ideas your family might consider:

    Spend less on entertainment. Borrow videos from your public library
    instead of the video store: most public libraries offer this service
    for little or no cost. Instead of going to the movies, check the
    newspaper for free local family entertainment and events, or have a
    family game night.

    Eat out less. Face it, cooking every night can be tiring and a drag,
    and that leads to eating out, which is much more expensive. So find
    a way to avoid this. Think up something you can make in the crockpot
    one night a week instead of getting takeout. Or turn cooking into a
    fun project once a week -- for instance, make a pizza with the kids
    instead of ordering one.

    Use grocery store coupons. Particularly if you live in an area like
    Southern California, where the major supermarkets will double the
    value of manufacturer's coupons, you can't afford NOT to clip
    coupons out of the Sunday paper! I do this, combined with buying
    sale items and seasonal produce, and frequently save 40% or more on
    my grocery bill. Seriously, 15 minutes of effort and a $5 coupon
    organizer can save you an amazing amount of money. Kids who are old
    enough to use scissors can certainly cut out coupons. Older kids can
    also sort and file coupons in your coupon organizer.

    Sell your junk. Have a big garage sale. Take still-in-fashion
    clothes to a consignment shop. Sell unwanted books, CDs, movies and
    collectibles you no longer want on Amazon or eBay. You'd be amazed
    at what your old stuff may bring. Don't assume no one wants it. (I
    once sold a ratty bathmat the dog had chewed up, which I was using
    as a rag, for a quarter. It wasn't even part of my garage sale --
    someone just noticed it lying on the ground and offered me money for

    If you are a family of recreational shoppers, start going to garage
    sales, consignment shops and thrift stores instead of the mall. One
    person's trash is another's treasure, remember? There is often good
    stuff to be had at these places! Take a certain amount of cash and
    don't spend more. You'll get the thrill of the hunt and the thrill
    of the bargain, but for much less than a trip to the mall.

    Shop around on your insurance at least once a year. It's remarkable
    how much you can save. Rates for an identical auto insurance policy
    can vary from one company to another by as much as 100%! An easy way
    to shop around is to use an online site such as, which
    will get you quotes from several insurance companies. I used this
    site to shop for life insurance and ended up with a great deal from
    a top-rated company.

    Evaluate your spending on cable television and telephone services.
    Maybe you don't really need extended cable or call waiting. Check
    rates to be sure you're not paying more than you have to for long
    distance calls. Take a look at your long distance provider's web
    site (or call them) and find out if there's a better deal available
    for you. I switched to a plan that gives me unlimited long distance
    for $20 a month! If you have a cell phone, see if there's a better
    plan for you, that fits your usage patterns at a lower cost.

    Get everyone to turn out the lights when no one is in the room, and
    turn off TVs, radios and computer equipment when they're not in use.
    Fix dripping faucets and leaking toilets. These measures may only
    save you a buck or two a month on your utility bills, but it all
    adds up.

    Re-evaluate gift-giving. Do you have a long list of friends and
    relatives with whom you exchange "duty" gifts that no one really
    wants? Maybe the time has come to speak up. You might be surprised
    at how relieved everyone would be to stop the seemingly endless
    cycle of unwanted gift-giving. Maybe everyone would rather put the
    money toward a family reunion at Disney! Perhaps you can just start
    exchanging greeting cards. Or you might prefer to institute a gift
    exchange (each person draws one name) or switch to "gifts of love"
    (give each other certificates for back rubs, car washes, and other
    kind gestures that cost you nothing but your time and effort). Or
    set a low dollar limit on gifts and see how creative you can get.
    All of my posts were transferred from
    the budget101 Discussion list

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  3. #2
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Has anyone ever don Disney on a budget?


    I'm not sure which park you are referring to, but we visited Disney in
    California in February.

    Check out prices through a number of agents. We got our tix through our
    local AMA at the cheapest price. Also watch for seat sales & special

    Food - definitely eat outside the park if possible. There are a lot of good
    restaurants that are a lot cheaper. We tend to eat more lightly on holidays
    so often the continental breakfast (that was included with the hotel), a
    small midday snack (take some time out from the noise & bustle to enjoy a
    quiet lunch offsite or tide yourself over with a smaller item) & shared
    meals was usually enough for us(we ordered plates that were usually big
    enough for us to split....plates of appetizers are great for this, too.)
    Because we were traveling from Canada, taking a cooler didn't work for us,
    but there are lockers just outside the gates & we took turns with a
    backpack. (Just remember you'll be packing that sucker all day!)

    Hotel - We had a hotel that was very cheap but was also noisy. However, I
    found we were never there except to sleep anyway. The hotel was in walking
    distance of Disney, had a free continental breakfast. Since we did just
    more than the park itself (Knott's, Seaworld, Universal plus a couple
    extras) we were up early & by bedtime, we crashed. We only had a week so I
    was satisfied with our place.......if I was going for a longer period or had
    smaller children, I would've looked at a suite. Many people I know spent 5
    days at the park alone & just bought groceries at nearby stores & prepped
    their own. This was a good neighbor hotel.....if you're in CA, the site is
    really too small to worry about the expensive Disney hotels.

    There is a ton of free things to do as well.....take in a parade, Fantasmic,
    and all the other shows that are running daily. Take a look on the Disney
    website & it will have a schedule for the days you're attending.

    Souvenirs - decide ahead of time a set a limit. My greatest investment was
    my pictures. We also waited to the end of our trip to purchase...that way
    we could really see what was around. Some are cheaper at other venues
    (Knott's is cheaper than Disney by far!) and although I didn't get to visit
    outside stores as we would have spent taxi fare to get there, I'm told that
    many of these are cheaper. We mainly bought clothes (undated so it doesn't
    matter how long we wear them!) I'm not much a souvenir person as I truly
    hate dusting LOL. (Think of things that will still mean something to you 6
    months or longer after the trip!)

    Check out - there are a lot of great tips to help you out.

    Another place to check out what is also in Anaheim & surrounding is the
    Anaheim Chamber of commerce site (just google for it!) A book I highly
    recommend is Birnbaum (we got ours for free from our travel agent...also try
    the library). I was able to plan what we would do, & when which saved
    confusion when we got there. This was our first trip & my MIL (who has
    pretty much traveled the world!) was very impressed with how little we spent
    for the quality of the trip we took. We did splurge in a few areas but the
    money we saved in other areas allowed some extras. We knew that it would
    likely be some time before we went again, and treated ourselves (ex. A
    character dinner) & the memories are worth it!

    Hoped this help somewhat. If you have any specifics that I might be able to
    help you with, just contact me offline. Have fun with this!

    All of my posts were transferred from
    the budget101 Discussion list

  4. #3
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    If you go to the one in Fla... I have heard if you get one of the hotels, located in Disney kinda, that you can get into the parks before the general public goes. Say the general public gets in at 10, the park opens for the people staying at those hotels at 9 or 8:30. So, ride the rides that fill up really fast (even with the spot saver ticket (or whatever they call it)), then go to the other rides later after the park opens for everyone else.
    It isn't really a budget saver, but it does help if you know more about the park.
    I have heard about that website. It is a good one to use.
    All of my posts were transferred from
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  5. #4
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    RE: : Disney on a budget

    Hi All! Disney is my favorite subject in the whole wide world. We are planning our first trip to "The World" in November. I have done massive research into saving money and different cost options for my trip. We had a point where we thought my husband might be laid off and I planned out a bare bones bargain trip for under $3000 for five people traveling from Maine. The actual trip we are going with will cost a bit more, but not unreasonable. Feel free to contact me off list and I would love to chat about saving money!
    All of my posts were transferred from
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  6. #5
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Just thought of another thing that's great for cheap souviners.

    My aunt lives half the year in Torrence, which isn't too far south
    of LA, and she bought a season pass, and goes weekly when she's out
    there. She discovered something that all of the "cast members" do-
    collect disney pins.

    You buy a few cheap pins somewhere, like at the Disney Store, before
    going, and attach them to a lanyard (those neck "shoelace" things).
    While you are in the park, you can trade pins with the workers, and
    other people. Sometimes, the cast member will be wearing 2 lanyards-
    one regular one, and one that's a different color (I think my aunt
    said pink??). THOSE pins are usually special ones, limited editions,
    older ones, and what not, that they will ONLY trade to kids. If a
    kid wants to trade with them, they have to trade.

    It's a fun way to get new pins, with little start up investment.
    I've looked them up for my aunt on Ebay, and you can get
    some "starter" sets fairly cheap. In the end, you have ones you like
    (say you started with Bambi, but like the princesses- you'll most
    likely wind up trading Bambi away for a Cinderella, or Ariel, etc),
    and you have the fun of trading through out your vacation. You can
    take pictures of the trade, or your child with the person they
    traded with, too.

    There are clubs all over the internet dedicated to the pin trading.

    I don't know if they do it at WDW in Florida, but I imagine they do!
    All of my posts were transferred from
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  7. #6
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    If you're going to California, there are a few hotels I recommend over the others. DEFINITELY stay at a good neighbor hotel, they're all over the area, and every last one of them is served by the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) which is a tour bus that goes all around the resort. I think it cost us about $20 for the whole week for that. You just buy a pass from your hotel, or your travel agent. Do NOT expect to buy a pass from your bus driver. But anyway, the ART goes from an hour before opening to half an hour after closing. Believe me, it's worth it to put your feet up on the drive home. They drop you off very close to, if not at, your hotel.

    Hotels. We've stayed at two, both were absolutely wonderful. First was the Red Roof Inn, not the closest one to Disney, but one of the best-priced hotels in the area. Again, the ART pass makes it so you don't HAVE to choose a hotel right across the street in order to avoid tired feet just from walking to and from your hotel. Second was the Best Western Stovall's Inn. More expensive, but more amenities. The pool is closer to more of the rooms at the Red Roof Inn, so if the pool is big on your list, keep that in mind.

    Plan your trip using or, but you don't have to buy it there (we did, for convenience). You can see Disney's best deals by the Walt Disney Travel Agency, then decide what's best for you.

    My husband and I live in British Columbia, Canada, and it looks like this year is the first time in five years we've been together that we may not be able to fit in a Disney vacation. Always Disneyland, we haven't made it to Florida yet.

    If you have other questions about Disneyland, I'd be happy to answer them off-list, as we can get into the specifics on how to plan your day to see absolutely everything... If you're going to Disneyworld, have a great time, and be sure to tell me how you did it on a budget when you come back!


    All of my posts were transferred from
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  8. #7
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    How many are going and are you flying down? I did Disney for 4, flying
    down, renting car, hotel, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot for under 2K. We actually
    even upgraded the car and the room. We did not suffer at all.

    All of my posts were transferred from
    the budget101 Discussion list

  9. #8
    Deal GURU
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Here is a post I wrote in 1997. It was our first trip to Disney. I think we
    did that trip, (for 3, direct flight, car and hotel) for under 1200. This
    post is dated, but some of my advice is solid. I did a lot of research on
    how to get the most out of the trip, and how to save money. What I learned
    from my second trip is to use the speed pass for some of the rides.

    On Sept 19th, my family, (husband and 5 year old son) went to Magic
    Kingdom, only. Thanks to tons of research and preparation from this
    newsgroup and other websites, we had an excellent time.
    First off...I CANNOT imagine being there during tourist season. We went
    off season and it was crowed still, but not overly so. We arrived at ten
    a.m. and took the ferryboat to the park, and son enjoyed that.
    My biggest piece of advice is not to allow yourself to get overwhelmed
    at first. Get a map, and get orientated, make a plan and go. We were able
    to ride all the rides we could, (due to size restrictions, and some twice).
    I suggest you blow right by Main Street right off the bat. Some RADPer
    suggested one go straight to Fantasyland, and that is what we did.
    Merrygoround was first. We did not eat a breakfast and so had to eat early
    there...we ate at Pinocchio's House. Food was good, except the fries were
    overly salted. That time was used to look at the map.
    We hit Fantasy Land, and the top part of Liberty Square. Haunted House
    was scary for son, but he did ask to ride it again. We then ventured to
    Micky's Toontown Fair where we saw Micky. I made my own autographbook,
    using the EXCELLENT clipart website, by Aaron. (The only problem with
    Aarons page is that there are no pictures of Chip and Dale). Micky gave me
    a thumbs up on the book!!!!!
    All our lines for the day moved quickly, and I was surprised to find
    outdoor air conditioning. Utilize the Train!!!! This will save you from
    walking especially if you have to back track.
    We missed, on purpose, the first parade, "Remember the Magic". We used
    that time to hit the Pirates (twice), and the Jungle Cruise. Absolutely no
    lines during the parade. Be aware that the Pirate ride dumps you right out
    into a shop...where we had to buy our little pirate lover SOMETHING. We
    bought him a pirate flag, HUGE mistake. It was an awkward iten to carry
    around, and it was dangerous.
    It looked like rain about 4:00 p.m. and we went to our Character Dinner
    at Liberty Tavern one half an hour early. The food was excellent, service
    was fine, and the characters were terrific. We had Minnie Mouse, Goofy,
    Pluto, Meeko, and Chip and Dale. I called ahead to get priority seating,
    and hence, knew in advance which characters would be there. They spent ALOT
    of time with my son, and the atmosphere was relaxing. Minnie Mouse fed my
    son macaroni and cheese. The character meal made the day, I cannot
    recommend it highly enough, although it is pricey.
    Be prepared to do some relaxing things after eating to let the food
    digest. We did the Lion King and the Hall of Presidents. Tom Sawyer's
    Island closes at 7:00 p.m. so schedule at least an half an hour to spend
    there. It is alot of running and having fun, so don't do it in the heat of
    the day.
    We totally avoided Tommorrow Land, simply because most of the rides had
    height restrictions on them. The lines again thinned out right before the
    SPECTRO MAGIC PARADE. We were able to reride "It's a Small World", (my
    son's favorite ride) and Peter Pan's Flight. We then took the Skyway to
    Tommorrowland just to walk around. Tommorrowland is cool in the dark with
    all the lights and strobes. We intended on missing Spectro Magic, but ended
    up in an excellent viewing spot, the road from Tommorrowland to the center
    courtyard. We then learned that Tinkerbell comes out of the castle right
    before the fireworks, and would fly right over where we were. At that
    point, we waited there the half hour between the fire works and the parade.
    Do all your shopping at the end, don't waste the day shopping. The
    stores on Main Street are open till eleven, even though the park closes at
    9:00. (Of course hours vary depending on the time of year). Shops were
    packed...and service was understaffed and slow. More advice.....don't buy
    anything there, you can get Disney stuff everywhere, i.e. Walmarts cheaper,
    and every airport it seems has a Disney store. We have one where I live in
    a local mall.
    Make sure you get your free lithograph if you go this year. They are
    nice, I will have my framed.
    TAKE WITH YOU TO THE PARK..... water bottle, rain gear, (we had folded
    ponchos), sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, autograph book, two auto keys, in
    different areas, a pen, camaras, cash, wet wipes, tissues, asprin, and
    anacids. BE PREPARED!!!! Have GOOD walking shoes!!!!
    My son was at a terrific age to go to Magic Kingdom. He really bought
    into the Magic, and I had a terrific time watching him. I would not want to
    subject my youngster to Magic Kingdom if I had an older child that might
    ruin the day for him, like by saying "Micky is not real"..."this is stupid"
    or "queer" etc...I am having another child in January and in five years we
    will take her to Magic Kingdom, alone, so she can have a special time,
    without an older brother picking it apart for her. I cannot imagine taking
    an infant!!!
    Hope this helps, or at least does not bore you to tears...Be prepared
    for sore feet and to be exhausted at the end of the day. Be able to sleep
    in the next day.
    Thankyou Radpers for giving me a great time at Disney!!!
    All of my posts were transferred from
    the budget101 Discussion list

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