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{Guest Post} Paying For Your Disney Vacation

Okay, let’s be honest.  Disney vacations are not cheap.  People often think that Disney is not an option for them because of the cost, but I wanted to share some of my favorite strategies for making the cost more manageable without sacrificing the magic!

Plan ahead and pay as you go.  
This is something that works well for our family.  If you were to ask me to pay you a few thousand dollars at one time, I’d probably laugh at you!  Fortunately you don’t have to do that with Disney vacations!  You can usually secure your vacation reservation and start planning with just a couple hundred dollars.  Then you can make payments until you have it paid off!  Most of the time the balance has to be paid off 30 days before your trip.

Look for deals on flights.  
Keep an eye out for sales, utilize rapid rewards points or frequent flyer miles, and sign up for emails or app notifications that let you know when low fares are available.  Be willing to drive a few hours to a different airport if it saves you significant money.  We almost always do this because it is so much more expensive to fly out of our smaller local airport than it is to drive to a larger city that offers more direct flights.

Disney Gift Cards.  
Is Grandma asking what you want for your birthday?  Is Christmas around the corner?  Consider asking for (or giving your family members) Disney Gift Cards.  The value of the gift cards can be applied to the balance of your vacation package, or can be used to purchase food and souvenirs in the parks.  This can be a great way to help keep your in-park spending under control too.  Give each family member his or her own gift card pre-loaded with “spending money,” and let them know that it’s theirs to spend, but once it’s gone, it’s gone!  Sometimes you can purchase these gift cards in bulk stores at a discount, so keep an eye out for those too!

Maximize Your Dining Plan Credits.  
If you purchase a vacation package to Walt Disney World that includes a dining plan, make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.  Have your travel agent help you choose the plan that fits best with the needs of you and your family, and then get all that you can out of it!  This may mean choosing alternatives for the character meal that is your first choice, sharing some meals (Disney portions are BIG!) to stretch your credits, and planning out how you’re going to use your snack credits ahead of time.  I love to see how far I can stretch the snack credits – sometimes they work well for small meals or for souvenirs to take home to family and friends (candy and wrapped up snacks can often be purchased to take home!)

Book During Disney Promotions.  
Historically Disney runs vacation promotions during non-peak travel seasons (i.e. when school is in session).  Depending on the needs of your family, think about booking a trip during one of these times.  You can often get free dining in the fall or discounted rates during a Play, Stay, Dine and Save offer in the Spring.  These promotions are never guaranteed, but have been known to happen these past few years.  They can end up saving you quite a bit of money on your total vacation package!

Disney trips are financially manageable with good planning and disciplined spending on your vacation, and they are SO worth the investment.  The memories that we make and the magic that we experience make the cost worth it!

My sister Cassie and I are trained travel agents specializing in Disney vacations. We would love to help you plan your dream Disney Vacation at no extra cost to you! Contact us for a quote or with any questions you may have! 

Facebook: Cassie and Carrie, Key To The World Travel

Email: carrie.wiley@keytotheworldtravel.com or cassie.thomas@keytotheworldtravel.com 

Read a little bit more about the benefits of working with a travel planner here: Travel Planner

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