We have been back from Disney for over a month… sigh… I am already waiting to go back! Unfortunately, the play room is still the ‘Post-Disney-Disaster Site’ right now.
I have my work cut out for me… It always amazes me how quickly I can make a room a mess…
That being said, I thought I would share a few tips/tricks we picked up while we were in Disney:
1) Stay on Disney Property
We stayed at the Art of Animation and it was love at first sight. The hotel was off the hook, the pool was amazing, the food court was stacked and the rooms came with a small kitchen with a microwave and refrigerator . Pluses included a decent arcade and even a bar. This is my kind of hotel. No, this will not save you money in the long run, but it did contribute to the overall experience.
Or, maybe, I am just a Disney snob.
Actually, both are probably true.
2) Shop before you get there
We rented a car because that is how we roll… get it, car… roll? This stuff writes itself.
Moving on, we were able to stop at Walmart and pick up some necessities (such as milk, yogurt and Oreos). By far our best purchase was bottled water. It seemed like Disney was pretty lenient with their food/water policy. Every day we threw a few bottles into the stroller or our bags and we were able to save ourselves the cost of drinks. We even brought water in to the Counter-Service restaurants.
Craig estimated we saved $75 by doing this (don’t worry, we spent that money elsewhere…). I wished I thought to buy myself Diet Coke too… a 6-pack at the hotel was going for over 9 dollars!
No thank you. Even I have my limits.
We also fed the boys cereal and yogurt for breakfast (and occasionally for dinner) saving a few shekels there as well.
If you don’t have a car, there are services which will shop for you and bring the groceries to your hotel. I think this would still be a win.
3) Bring your own stroller (or even buy one in Florida).
Kids get tired simply walking from the car to the entrance of the park (or atleast this is true for my boys) so I knew I would need a stroller. A bunch of my friends recommended renting them through Disney, but at almost thirty dollars a day for a double stroller, we weren’t feeling it. We picked up a $25 single-model at Walmart and “gifted” it to another family when we were leaving. Over the course of a 7 night stay, the savings were substantial.
It also helped that our stroller looked different than the standard ‘Disney’ ones. Stroller Parking can get a little crazy.
4) Dine in Italy
In Epcot, we ordered a large pizza in Via Napoli for the 5 of us and devoured the whole thing. It was tasty, delicious and cost $30 less than our meal at T-Rex (a dinosaur-themed restaurant in Downtown Disney).
For the most part, excluding breakfast and table service restaurants, our meals cost approximately $10 per person. (CK – you were right on the money… another clever pun… I am on fire!)
5) Be over 40 inches tall – Cooper was 38 ½ inches tall and wasn’t allowed on a bunch of rides… To say he was distraught was an understatement. He tried everything to be ‘tall enough’ – he would stand on his tippy toes and plead with the cast members. It was super sad….
6) Pirate Savings
Max wanted to be painted like a Skelton Pirate. Honestly, I thought it was a waste of money and put him off for a day or two… However, he was adamant and even wanted to use his own money.
In the end, for thirty five bucks, he was decked out in pirate garb, made to take a pirate oath and given the grand treatment. It was an hour and a half long experience.
I didn’t realize the purchase came with an eye patch, pirate’s bandana, earring, coin necklace, sword and sheath. All items we had purchased the previous day… #fail! Max graciously gave Cooper all his previous ‘pirate loot’ and went on to become the handsome, undead swashbuckler you see above.
I wish I had thought ahead and purchased a pirate costume and brought it with us. I saw them at the Disney Store for
$40 while the same one was going for $65-85 in Disney World… And, if purchased after Halloween, I bet you could find a deep discount.
7) Skip the Character Breakfast Buffett
Did I just say that?
Yes, Yes I did.
Because it cost our little group of 5 almost two hundred dollars to eat at Chef Mickey’s. I thought it would be the best way to see the elite characters – you know, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy. Imagine my surprise when walking through Epcot, these same characters were hanging out, with only a 5 minute wait to see them!
It doesn’t help that we are not big breakfast people. In fact, Cooper insisted on having an Multi-Grain bar. I was a tad disgusted….
8) Pack your own poncho – It is Florida. It will rain. Disney ponchos were $5-8 each. I saw ones in Target for less than $2…. Doofy Dizee….
Anyone else planning a trip? I can’t wait to go back. I just love Disney.