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  1. #1

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    The True Cost of a WDW Vacation

    Since we just got back from a few days at the kingdom, it was a good time to review our true costs of the trip. Traveling to XYZ vs ABC park is a common discussion topic so I figured sharing our expenses with you will give you all a peek into the true costs of going.

    For us it was a family of 5, visiting for 5 days. We were trying to keep it on the cheap side, but not necessarily stripped down. So we booked a few table services, and didn't shy away from spending when necessary.. but didn't go crazy

    Airfare:
    This segment will always vary for everyone, so it's not as interesting. But in our case, I used miles for 3 of the tickets, mine was paid for because of business, and so we only had to buy one ticket outright.

    That ticket for IAD to MCO was $233.20. If we paid for them all, it would have been $1166. It also cost us $60 to park at the airport.

    Rental Car:

    Because of the 5 people, we needed at least a full sized car. Hotwire car for 5 days = $189.02. Gas for rental car = $18.35

    Tickets:
    We paid for 5 day park hoppers, at military discount.

    3 adults @ 267 each
    2 kids @ 232.50 each
    Total = $1266

    Hotel:
    This area will vary greatly as well.. and as noted we were trying to stay cheap this time. So we stayed at the All-Star Sports. However, because we had 5 people, we needed 2 rooms.

    Disney was running summer specials, so the rooms were $89 or $99 a night. The next closest prices were either $100 or $300 more. Our total for 2 rooms, for Fri-Wed was $1050.90

    So our total 'hard' costs that are outside discretionary spending were:

    $ 233.20 Airfare
    $ 60.00 Parking
    $ 189.02 Car
    $ 18.35 Gas
    $1266.00 Tickets
    $1050.90 Hotel
    ---------------
    $2817.47 Total

    Discretionary Spending

    Food:

    Normally people pick apart food prices. For me, to enjoy my vacation I just need to shut that part of my brain off during vacation to avoid the stress or frustration.

    We had 4 table service reservations during the trip, 3 dinners, and 1 breakfast. I'll also break out 'concessions' purchases as normally people look at those buys differently. However, given it was completely oppressive heat while we where there, there was 'no holds barred' kind of buying on drinks. If we need one, we got one. Especially the frozen drinks. On table service, usually I wouldn't get an entree, so these prices are not quite 5 people eating..

    Table Service Meals
    $ 88.00 Sci-Fi Dine-In
    $121.13 Tusker House Character Breakfast
    $108.14 Whispering Canyon
    $ 73.55 San Angel

    Counter Service Meals
    $ 35.09 Food Court
    $ 7.45 Food Court
    $ 19.24 Food Court
    $ 28.61 Backlot Express
    $ 13.90 Food Court
    $ 29.26 Food Court
    $ 10.79 Food Court
    $ 28.06 Caseys Corner
    $ 13.29 Cosmic Rays
    $ 17.64 Cosmic Rays

    Cart Sales
    $ 6.16 MK
    $ 7.01 DHS
    $ 7.55 DHS
    $ 5.00 MK
    $ 7.01 DHS
    $10.09 DHS
    $ 6.53 DHS
    $10.75 DAK
    $ 4.04 DAK
    $13.50 EPC
    $11.25 DHS
    $ 7.01 DHS
    $ 5.10 DHS
    $ 4.57 MK
    $ 7.01 MK

    Total Food Spending
    $ 390.94 Table Service
    $ 203.33 Counter Service
    $ 112.58 Cart Sales
    ---------------------
    $ 706.85 Total

    Merchandise

    We only really make two buys.. some shirts and some small things.

    $ 17.00
    $ 61.67
    $ 51.60
    --------
    $ 130.27 Total

    Grand Totals
    $2817.47 Transportation, Lodging, Tickets
    $ 706.85 Food
    $ 130.27 Merchandise
    -------------
    $3654.59 Total

    So there you have it.. $3600 for 5 people for 5 days.

    DDP??
    When you try to look at Dining plan costs.. you see we spend roughly $28/person per day. And that is without full table service each day. DDP would have been $40x3 + $11 x 2 = $144 day x 5 days = $720. So we were close to DDP, but we would have spent even more on DDP because tip is not included and we would have needed a lot more 'snack' credits then the plan included to cope with drinks needed in the park.

    Not too shabby for 5 days in the Kingdom.. but at nearly $4k.. even in the 'value' bracket and without having to pay for all the airline tickets.. one can easily see how a Disney vacation can push 5-10k easy.
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  2. #2

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    I think you can really make trips fit for almost every budget. We've done Disney trips for around $500, when we only spent 2 days in the park...and halfed a condo with my parents. And we've done our most expensive at $4,000. I think....we've spent around...$10,000 for 6 trips over the years.




  3. #3

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Well there are certain 'basement' levels you can't go below without abnormal circumstances... or at least attach an equivalent cost to.

    Last time we went, we split a minivan with my parents, so that cost was reduced. This time I saved on airfare by using miles, but that still had a 'cost' of spending those miles (as I can't use them for something else).

    Total costs are kind of misleading.. because it doesn't account for the size of your party. You said you've done it for about $500. Well for 5 people I can't even get in the park for 2 days for that much.. let alone get there and feed people

    On our 06 trip we got rock bottom airfares of only about $80/person. But you can't count on that all the time. There are always compromises with each trip.. because you can't make each element the cheapest possible and still fit it with all the other elements.

    In my trip we could have shaved costs by staying off-property.. probably $500. But we then would have missed actually most of our time in the MK. We could have instead not rented a car and saved $200, but might have lost more time to transport. But in either case, that is still only a swing of max 14% of the total cost. Significant.. but not a deal breaker. Any way you slice it... I'm going to be spending 3+k to get my family to WDW
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


    Am I evil? yes, I am
    Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

  4. #4

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    we did it like this...

    We stayed in a off property condo rented through the air Force for $250. Thinking back, we didn't pay anything...my father paid for the whole thing with his Christmas bonus. Sorry. I forgot about that. Anyway, that was for a full week.

    Our daughter was 2 1/2 at the time, so she got in free. We went to the Magic Kingdom for one day plus one night at the Christmas party.

    And we split the cost of gas with my parents, cause we took their car.

    So, the only real expense was food. We had a kitchen in the condo, so breakfast and some dinners were there.

    Actually, we probably went a little over, because we ended up staying an extra night and going to MK one more day. Plus, me and hubby spent a day at Universal.

    So, if we went over...it wasn't by much.




  5. #5

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Oh this is depressing, because I am lucky enough to still have my parents take care of it (only 19 years old)! Let me revel in this state a little more before I think about the real world... *dreamy eyes*



  6. #6

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Thanks for the breakdown of your expenses. I can see how this will be quite informative for someone who is planning a trip to Disney World.

    I am presently planning a 9 night trip to Disney World for 3 people. Since I am traveling during Value Season, my trip is no where near as costly as past trips. This will be our first stay at a Value Resort, and we are also booking two rooms, using a AAA discount. I am actually using Time Share points for 3 nights at nearby Bonnet Creek so only 6 of our nights are at Pop Century. This saves me about $400 on my hotel bill.

    So far my total cost is just under $2800. I paid just about $200 per person for airfare. and just a little more than $900 for my rooms. The rest is tickets, and that is 3, 10 day base tickets (without parkhopping), we also have Sea World Tickets, and 2 of us will be able to go to Universal for a week.

    We are only doing one ADR at Ohana. All of our other meals will be spontaneous. Yes, that's look for food when we get hungry. I hear that Pop has a pretty good food court for breakfast, if you get there early. I eat breakfast, but my fellow travelers do not. We decided to skip the free dining plan in favor of the AAA discount, the spontaneity of meal time, and the fact that part of our days will not be spent on WDW property.

    I have not included the cost of a rental car, which we will be using. I haven't priced that out since I am not the driver in our party.
    Disneyland Here I Come Again!
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  7. #7

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Since everyone appears to have their little tips and tricks that save them some money, I just want to add that when we went in the spring, my sister was doing the college program. As a cast member, she got us AMAZING perks. We stayed at the Contemporary on a discount, and she was allowed to get three of us into the parks for free, therefore we only had to buy one actual park ticket. I know that it definitely saved us a lot of money.



  8. #8

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    re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    It does pay to do your homework. Also, it is definitely beneficial to know ahead of time how you are planning to tour. If you really are not going to park hop, than don't pay that extra fee. Looking at the calendar can also save you money. There are different seasons, and therefore different prices for rooms. I am so glad that I am finally able to travel during a cheaper time as far as my room is concerned.
    Disneyland Here I Come Again!
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  9. #9

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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    oh wow. thank goodness im still single.

  10. #10

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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    It does get pretty pricey. It seems a lot cheapre to go to Disney Land (IMO), but I am looking forward to our trip having never been there.
    Partner in Crime: Smaps.

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  11. #11

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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    We just got back from our vacation last week.
    We'd never been east of Las Vegas, but we are regular APs at DL so this was a big deal for us.
    We were there Wed to Wed...(it's WAY cheaper to fly out on a tues or weds)

    Granted we are a family of 7...
    2 adults, 1 junior (adult price!) 3 children
    and 1 toddler (free park admission but not airfare)

    Airfare - $2000
    SAN to ATL to MCO: $180 a ticket...$240 after fees and taxes.
    Not bad considering that we had to book 4 months in advance. Unfortunatly we missed our first flight and had to wait 12 hours at the airport for the next one...that put us back a full day behind schedule!

    Hotel, Dining, Parks + waterparks/Disneyquest - $4000
    We stayed at the Fort Wilderness Cabins which we loved. They cabins sleep 6 + 1 baby and came with a full kitchen! The resort itself was huge so we rented a golf cart for 2 days ($55 a day) I believed we saved about a grand by using the "buy 4 days get 3 nights free" promotion Disney was pushing back in January. We decided to go with the DDP as we were going to have to eat on Property anyways but we opted to use our credits for 2 dinner shows, Cinderallas Royal banquet (cool enough for my girls) and the Hoop De Doo review (Phenomenal!!! A++++) which uses 2 table credits each but tip is included!

    Incedentals - $700
    golf carts
    gratuity
    Gifts and souviniers
    outside dining (T-rex Cafe)
    Booze (a beer here and there)
    Groceries (Supertarget, we needed bottled water amonst other things)
    baggage fees

    Grand Total - $6700

    We didnt rent a car because if you're staying on property the Disney Magical Express picks you up and drops you off to and from the airport. Disney's resort and park buses are really outstanding as we never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus to a park or back to our resort.

    I hope this clears up some questions people might have if considering to take a big family to WDW. I can't wait to do it again. I'm saving for the next trip now!
    Waz fo' Lunsh?

  12. #12

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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Not alot you could have done differently to trim the hard costs...

    Although I might suggest that there is one other option you might consider with a party of your size. The cabins. For the price you paid for two value rooms you might have gotten a cabin which is considered a moderate and had enough space for the 5 of you... it also allows you to cook in a full kitchen with a normal sized fridge (most people don't like cooking on vacations, but when we've stayed there fixing a breakfast for yourself can save considereable amount compared to park prices).

  13. #13

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas998 View Post
    Not alot you could have done differently to trim the hard costs...

    Although I might suggest that there is one other option you might consider with a party of your size. The cabins. For the price you paid for two value rooms you might have gotten a cabin which is considered a moderate and had enough space for the 5 of you... it also allows you to cook in a full kitchen with a normal sized fridge (most people don't like cooking on vacations, but when we've stayed there fixing a breakfast for yourself can save considereable amount compared to park prices).
    Yeah, I discussed this somewhere previously in that we considered the cabins. The suites at All-Stars and the cabins are the two cheapest ways to get a party of 5 in a single room. However the suites were not available, and the cabins were more expensive even even buying 2 separate rooms at All-Star. But the cabins have the advantage of the kitchenette as you mentioned. I haven't stayed at FW before and having a nearby pool and the cheaper costs is kind of what was the tipping point.

    Anyone know the parking situation at the cabins? Can you park at your cabin itself?
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


    Am I evil? yes, I am
    Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

  14. #14

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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    why pay for a rental car, with WDWs free transportation service?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz-c7Ees4QQ

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  15. #15

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
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    Re: The true cost of a WDW Vacation - a post mortem analysis

    The trundle beds at Port Orleans Riverside might have been another option as well. Sleeps 5, moderate resort, and pool and food court area are closer than they would be at FW. They are not advertised very well by Disney, and are an additional charge, but just one more option to consider.

    And from what I remember walking through FW a few years ago, you can park right next to your cabin.
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