FIND A BUDGET FRIENDLY HOTEL TO SAVE MONEY AT DISNEY WORLD
While I would have loved the convenience of staying in one of the hotels on the monorail system the room rates did not fall into our budget and so we began to look else where. Yes, Disney World has rooms for many different budgets but we knew we wanted a full kitchen (more on that money saving tip later!) and a good deal of space for our three kids. With some searching my husband found a hotel with a 10 minute drive to Disney World and it was fantastic! The Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa is the perfect hotel to stay at if you are looking for an off-site location. We stayed in the Antigua 2 Bedroom Suite. At an average of $140 per night we had a Master Bedroom with a huge bathroom, a second bedroom with 2 twin beds, another bathroom, a living room with pull out couch, a dining area with a circular table that seated 6, a washer and dryer and a full kitchen complete with dishes, utensils and appliances. My husband and I were laughing because our hotel suite was three times the size of our first NYC apartment! The one “negative” to mention about this hotel is that housekeeping services are not included. I was a little hesitant about this at first, but it truly did not turn out to be a big deal. If you do want your towels changed, beds made or a full room cleaning these are easily available at an additional cost. I’m a big believer in staying at a hotel with a pool and what an amazing pool the Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa has! This is a photo I snapped from the balcony of our suite on the 11th floor!
My son loved the water slide that went through the pirate ship. All three of my children adored the zero entry pool on the right side. My kids could dip their toes in, giggle in the splash pad or enjoy exploring the full deep end.
TIPS FOR HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHEN EATING AT DISNEY WORLD
Meals are one of the aspects of vacationing that can quickly derail a budget and send the prices soaring. With some careful planning you can avoid these pitfalls and stay within budget. The day before our trip I purchased some bagels and yogurts and created plastic bags filled with peanuts and raisins. I packed these items along with large empty water bottles in our carry on bag so that we could eat our breakfast in the airport before boarding our plane. We refilled the water bottles at water fountains throughout the trip.
Staying at a hotel with a kitchen can be a huge money saver. A few days before our trip I ordered food via GardenGrocer.com. Our grocery list included loaves of bread, peanut butter, jam, greek yogurt, quick oats, butter, orange juice, milk, apples, bananas, carrot sticks, pretzels and peanuts. When we arrived at our hotel our food was already in the fridge and in a large plastic storage bin on the counter. Perfect! Each morning my children could have their favorite breakfast foods for pennies while I packed us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, bananas, pretzel sticks and trail mix for lunch and snack when we were in the Disney World Parks. We filled two large water bottles and continued to refill them through the day.
BRING YOUR OWN STROLLERS and CARRIERS TO SAVE MONEY AT DISNEY WORLD WITH KIDS
If you have a young child a stroller is a must. The Disney Parks are big and little children will need breaks. I highly recommend bringing your stroller from home for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it is FREE, but we find a stroller incredibly helpful in the airport. Added bonus? Both times in the airport we were ushured through a special entrance because of our big BOB Double Stroller. Renting a double stroller at Disney World will cost $31 for one day and a single is $15 for one day. I also recommend using a carrier like our Ergo Baby Carrier. My daughter, Charlotte, loved riding in the carrier for most of our vacation and took naps in it as well. With three children this gave my other two kids time in the stroller. I was amazed by the amount of stroller parking throughout the parks. The organization is truly amazing!
TIME IS MONEY, but FOLLOW YOUR CHILD’S LEAD
There are a lot of books and websites that will discuss strategies for how to see as much as possible and avoid lines and work the Fast Pass System. Some of them are incredibly helpful and, yes, it can be incredibly frustrating when dollar signs begin to flash in your mind as you see a 50 minute wait for the Peter Pan ride, but what is often ignored is that when traveling with children you are, well, traveling with children. Children need time. Time to eat. Time to go to the bathroom (which can be a challenge in public spaces). Time to rest. Time to explore the parts of Disney you cannot see because you are not a child. Give them time. My best advice is to get to the park early when it opens. If you are going to the Magic Kingdom the opening celebration each morning is such a lovely beginning to the day. While my husband slowly made his way through the crowds with two of our kids and the stroller I would go ahead with Charlotte on my back to the Fast Past Kiosk. I would get our three favorite rides for times before 1pm (our personal meltdown time) and then meet up with the rest of my crew. We would then enjoy rides with hardly any waits. If we got tired we rested and took the time to enjoy the vacation we had been so looking forward to. I witnessed way too many frazzled parents and sad children. Let your children be children and follow their lead. You may not go on as many rides as you think is worth your money, but I promise you you will see magic and create memories through your child’s vision and that is priceless.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Tips for Traveling with Children.