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Thread: WDW on a budget

  1. #1

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    Cool WDW on a budget

    Hey Micechatters,

    What advice do you have for seeing the parks on a budget? Assuming you don't need frills or rental car, is it better to stay at a budget Disney resort, one of the on site corporate chains near Downtown Disney, or rent a car and stay at a nearby motel?

    If you want to do 4 or 5 days at WDW, what are your tips? (This assumes you buy Parkhopper tickets)

    Also, is Fall still the best time to go, crowdwise/weatherwise?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Rent a car. It will save you time and money in the end. Trust this.

    If you can only afford a value resort at WDW, I'd try Priceline.com. I have gotten some amazing deals at WDW (non-Disney hotels). Recently, I see the Hilton at Downtown Disney coming up at $60 as a resort and the Sheraton Safari (very close by DD in LBV) for around $35-40 a night (it's a 3 star). Much nicer than the All Stars.

    If you can afford more. Do yourself a favor and stay at a moderate resort. My fave is Port Orleans French Quarter, but they are all nice. You also get the extra hours in the morning and evenings when you stay on property.

    I actually wouldn't buy the parkhopping option unless you feel like it's a must. One park in one day is just fine and costs less.

    And, yes, as Floridian I can say fall is definitely the best weather and you have some great seasonal events like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the Epcot Interntional Food and Wine Fest, the WDW Golf Classic and even Halloween Horror Nights (a great event) at nearby Universal Studios.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Hmmm good ideas WDW1974.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    I dunno...I have dealt with nightmares staying off property and either using their bus service or renting a car. If you rent a car, you deal with traffic (and paying for parking). Especially if you only have five days (which won't leave much time to relax if you want to see everything), I would definitely stay on Disney property, get more bang for your buck with Extra Magic Hours, and not have to worry about driving or paying for parking. Whether or not you get the park hopping privilege is up to you, but keep in mind if you are going to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, you have to be in the park offering EMHs all day. For example, you would be at Animal Kingdom from about 9 am to 8 pm (I would assume a 5 pm closing in the fall). I'm not sure there is enough to do in Animal Kingdom for 11 hours. I'd get a park hopper, but if you are on a really tight budget, you can do without it. Personally, I'd stay at Pop Century and get a park hopper. Between the extra hours in the parks, Magical Express, not having to pay to rent a car and park it, and the overall fewer headaches, you get the most for your money (and Pop Century is very reasonably priced in the fall off season).
    -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
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    Re: WDW on a budget

    A car can get you places much quicker than most WDW transport. It also allows the freedom to travel off property and get good food for less ... or even fast food for MUCH less.

    Also, realize the All Stars and newer and slightly nicer Pop Century have TINY rooms and are quite noisy. They literally are places to pass out for six hours after running around. Heck, you can stay at nearby Gaylord Palms, avery nice hotel that gives most WDW deluxes a run for their money, often thru Priceline.com for LESS than a room at the All Stars.

    But again, it depends on you and what you're looking for in a WDW trip.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    One of the things that makes every trip to WDW magical for me is to "escape" the real world. You cannot achieve that off property. I have stayed at 2 of the 3 All-Stars and at Pop Century. I have not had a single noise issue (of course I request rooms on the building side opposite of the pools). The themeing, while neat, is not the "take you away to a different place" that the moderates and, epsecially, the deluxe's offer. that said, I would stay at a Value resort before ANYTHING off property. There is just no comparison to being on-property in my opinion. I would, however, rent a car. Transportation on the buses can be a trying expierience at times - especially at the Value resorts.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    I agree that transportation can be a pain, but that also depends on when you go. During the off season, I've never had any big problems...I've seldom had problems during the busy season, either. I'll take Disney's buses any day over those ridiculous ones for the Hotels on Hotel Plaza Blvd...those are garbage. You take your life in your hands walking out in the parking lot trying to catch those buses, and the drivers are jerks. We tried them in August a few years back...and it was being an August afternoon (i.e. pouring), so several of us guests waited by the WDW buses at Epcot so we would have some cover from the deluge. The DTD resort bus came, didn't even stop in the middle of the parking lot, and drove away even as we were chasing it down, and we had to wait another half hour for it to return. Real professional. You don't get any of that garbage from Disney.

    I, too, will always stay on property. While the values aren't as immersive as the moderates and higher, they are still fine by my book...definitely unlike anything you'll find off property. Noise is all relative. It stays noisy near the pools until probably midnight during the busy seasons, but I also don't go to bed before midnight, so it's never been an issue.
    -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
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    Re: WDW on a budget

    I don't believe a rental car is necessary. I am perfectly happy with the bus system, however at the end of the night they do tend to get crowded but we tend to wait until it thins out a bit instead of waiting in line.

    WDW is definitely doable on a budget, last May/June I took my 2 daughters and stayed at Pop Century for 7 days/ 6 nights. The room was around $530 for the 6 nights (with my AP discount that is) and I spent $500 between food/souveniers for the three of us. That also included 2 character meals btw.

    Here are some tips that you might consider:

    1. Bring your own water bottle, the WB's currently cost $2 a bottle and they have water fountains through out the park.
    2. Bring your own snacks! I have my "mom" back pack and it has everything from snacks, ponchos to a change of clothes.
    3. Buy things that would cost a tremendous amount in the parks BEFORE you come. Pack an extra suitcase if you have to, trust me you could save a lot! Forexample...ponchos, snacks, batteries..etc..
    4. Buy an AP for at least one person, the cost isnt that much different and you can ask for the AP room rates which are really affordable.
    5. With the added Value Resorts there really is no reason to stay off site. You can take the bus everywhere.
    6. If your budget allows, the moderate resorts and above all come with refrigerators. There are 3 grocery stores within 3 miles of WDW and you could stock up on items like milk and save money on breakfasts etc..
    7. BUY EVERYTHING SEPERATELY. I know they push the packages but honestly its WAAY cheaper to break it down. If this is your first time coming to WDW, some people find it a little intimidating to plan everything out but thats completely up to you.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    Also, realize the All Stars and newer and slightly nicer Pop Century have TINY rooms and are quite noisy. They literally are places to pass out for six hours after running around. Heck, you can stay at nearby Gaylord Palms, avery nice hotel that gives most WDW deluxes a run for their money, often thru Priceline.com for LESS than a room at the All Stars.
    I have never had that experience at Pop Century. Where we stayed was quiet and even near the bus stops. The rooms are smaller yes but I'm not a small gal and there were three of us and never had a problem. I guess its just based on your experiences.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Depends on how long you're going to stay there.

    I think, ESPECIALLY if the Mouse is your only reason for going to central Florida, on-property > off-property and a car. I simply don't think there's any reason for me to be driving a car around the resort and trying to figure out where I am when I'm on vacation and shouldn't have to be.

    By what I've read and seen about Pop Century, I would have no problems staying there for 3 or maybe 4 nights. It would wear thin on me on a longer stay than that, though.

    If you can stomach the inexpensive counter service stuff for a few days, do so and then have a nice meal before your trip ends.

    Quote Originally Posted by pyrateslife4me84
    if you are going to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, you have to be in the park offering EMHs all day. For example, you would be at Animal Kingdom from about 9 am to 8 pm (I would assume a 5 pm closing in the fall). I'm not sure there is enough to do in Animal Kingdom for 11 hours.
    From what I have understood from AllEarsNet is that you can leave the park and come back without a park hopper, but you can only come back to the same park.

    As for EMH, the same site says you simply have to present your Key To The World at some location that will be set up for it in the last two hours of the day, and they give you a wristband so you can continue to be admitted entry during EMH hours.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by pyrateslife4me84
    I would definitely stay on Disney property, get more bang for your buck with Extra Magic Hours, and not have to worry about driving or paying for parking. Whether or not you get the park hopping privilege is up to you, but keep in mind if you are going to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, you have to be in the park offering EMHs all day.
    This is not true at all. We take advantage of this feature at least twice a vacation when we go and we have always been able to leave and come back later. We just went to the designated areas and got our wrist bands and went an played. You just have to show your room key.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Well yeah, you can leave but where would you go? Downtown Disney to spend more money or return to your hotel for a nap. Both of those go against the idea of going to Disney World on the least amount of money but still getting the most out of it. So, without the park hopping privilege, you would really only benefit from staying in one park all day.
    -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
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    Re: WDW on a budget

    I've been to WDW a 12 times in the past 10 years, each trip for 7 to 12 days and while I don't pretend to do everything on a budget, I have found a way to get the most for my money and have a good time in the process.

    First, I consider what I want from the vacation, then try to make it work within the limits of the $$'s I have to spend.

    I believe WDW can be done on a reasonable budget.

    1. Stay at a value or moderate resort on property. Some may not like the WDW transportaiton system, say it takes too long to get place to place... But so what! When I'm in a WDW bus or whatnot, I'm not driving, I can look around and just enjoy the sights and I know I'm going to get where I want to get, because somebody else is driving and I don't have to worry about it. Everything I see is part of my vacation.

    2. Your next biggest expense (could be biggest) will be food. There are lots of ways to economize on food. Don't eat the $8 hotdog package! Find real food, it will fill you up and keep you in energy for enjoying your vacation. If you eat mainly junk food, you will spend half your time looking for your next junk food snack, because you will always be hungry. Eat good well balanced meals to fuel the body. They can be had if you just look around in your resort and even in the parks. Go to Deb Wills' site and look at the menus and you can get an idea about what can be had where for approximartely how much. It can help with some advance planning.

    3. I like the park hopper option tickets. Either the AP (depending on how long you will be there) or just a straight Park Hopper ticket. Yeah, there may be cheaper tickets, but, how much can you save vs. value of vacation enjoyment. If it costs $50 more per person for a couple of thousand $$ vacation, I say it is money well spent to be able to go to one park in the AM and another after lunch, and maybe a third for or after dinner. Flexibility.

    4. Someone mentioned water bottles... Good idea. While you are at it, get a fidge for your room, they have them available at most all the resorts and you can store things like milk (for cereal for moring breakfast) and keeping water cold, you can freeze half a bottle of water over night and then add water to it next morning and it will stay cold much of the day. Get several water bottles so you can have one with you and one in the fridge.

    5. Resist the urge to buy every souvenir you see. Those $$'s can be better spent on things to enhance your vacation. Meals, entertaiment, whatever.

    CU@DL

    Andy

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by CUatDL
    get a fidge for your room
    This might be pricey at Value resorts, I know they're not included. What I do is put ice in the bucket and then stick the bottles into that.

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    Re: WDW on a budget

    we do that, too.
    -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
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