Going to Disney

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
Taking the kids to Disney towards the end of the year, will be arriving about a week before Christmas on Friday Dec 16 and can start visiting parks on Sat the 17th, will spend that week visiting the parks with some rest days built in and then will drive from there to in-laws (2 hours away) on Christmas Eve to spend a few days with them.

We are staying off property because it's cheaper and you get better lodgings.

Looking at getting the tickets soon, but seems like there is a lot to it. We know we are going to want to get the DAS pass for our kids. Don't think I will need the park hopper add on.

Any other advice on the trip? There is a ton of information out there and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming. (I've never been to Disney FYI not even as a kid.)
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
Cancel it and go somewhere fun.

Oh there are lots of places I would rather go with the time and the money. But I do want to take the kids while they are still at an age where it's fun for them.

My parents always promised that they would take me and they never did and I decided that I didn't want that to be me. So I've already got the hotel booked. Might mostly suck for me and the wife but we're doing it for the kids.
 

theiacowtipper

HR Legend
Gold Member
Feb 17, 2004
14,751
13,265
113
Taking the kids to Disney towards the end of the year, will be arriving about a week before Christmas on Friday Dec 16 and can start visiting parks on Sat the 17th, will spend that week visiting the parks with some rest days built in and then will drive from there to in-laws (2 hours away) on Christmas Eve to spend a few days with them.

We are staying off property because it's cheaper and you get better lodgings.

Looking at getting the tickets soon, but seems like there is a lot to it. We know we are going to want to get the DAS pass for our kids. Don't think I will need the park hopper add on.

Any other advice on the trip? There is a ton of information out there and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming. (I've never been to Disney FYI not even as a kid.)
Get this book. It literally answers about any question you may have.

Join an online message board. I like disboards. They have people on there that have done everything at Disney and can answer any question. There’s sections on saving money and all that.
 

Fijimn

HR Legend
May 7, 2008
12,073
19,841
113
Disney does a great job during the holidays. It'll be crowded AF, but the weather should be pretty nice. I'll be in Orlando/Kissimmee at the end of October for a firm retreat. In the past the firm rented out Marvel Island at Universal for a night, which is cool. This year they upgraded and will be renting out the Harry Potter area, so looking forward to that.
 

InsaneHawkJJP

HR MVP
Apr 1, 2013
2,187
3,515
113
Decorah
Oh there are lots of places I would rather go with the time and the money. But I do want to take the kids while they are still at an age where it's fun for them.

My parents always promised that they would take me and they never did and I decided that I didn't want that to be me. So I've already got the hotel booked. Might mostly suck for me and the wife but we're doing it for the kids.
I respect that, but I could never bring myself to do it. Hopefully it’s a great experience they’ll cherish forever.
 

WhiteSoxClone

HR Legend
May 29, 2001
11,287
3,291
113
Oh there are lots of places I would rather go with the time and the money. But I do want to take the kids while they are still at an age where it's fun for them.

My parents always promised that they would take me and they never did and I decided that I didn't want that to be me. So I've already got the hotel booked. Might mostly suck for me and the wife but we're doing it for the kids.
Disney would be a great place to take kids if it wasn't packed full of adults without kids. A few years ago, we were in California for a vacation, so we spent a day at Disneyland. To each their own, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around the number of adults without kids that were there.
 

UNIHawkfan

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 2, 2005
5,262
6,183
113
Be strategic with your fast passes, have a plan each day and stick to it, bring plenty of patience. I know a lot of people who love Disney. I don’t (one time was enough for us), but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.
 

cjnoles9399

HR Heisman
Oct 9, 2002
8,571
679
113
Disney would be a great place to take kids if it wasn't packed full of adults without kids. A few years ago, we were in California for a vacation, so we spent a day at Disneyland. To each their own, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around the number of adults without kids that were there.
I get the few that are there out of nostalgia, like maybe a trip every 10 years or so or a day or two holiday But the hardcore Disney people blows my mind. I’m speaking of the ones with full matching disney clothes and what not. Crazy to me.
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
114,740
87,245
113
Be strategic with your fast passes, have a plan each day and stick to it, bring plenty of patience. I know a lot of people who love Disney. I don’t (one time was enough for us), but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.

They don't have that anymore. Now they have something called Genie Plus that is apparently designed to infuriate everyone.
 

Funky Bunch

HR Legend
Mar 30, 2011
26,204
42,282
113
Rest days are for fatties. Suck it up and get your butt to the parks as many days as you can. Last time I checked, 6 day passes were about the same as a 4 day on Undercover Tourist. Either way, you can save a good bit buying from them. No tax I believe.

Edit: I'm only familiar with pre-pandemic Disney.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
Get this book. It literally answers about any question you may have.


Join an online message board. I like disboards. They have people on there that have done everything at Disney and can answer any question. There’s sections on saving money and all that.

That book looks like it's about Universal Studios which I've actually been to when my wife and I where dating.

Disney would be a great place to take kids if it wasn't packed full of adults without kids. A few years ago, we were in California for a vacation, so we spent a day at Disneyland. To each their own, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around the number of adults without kids that were there.

Yeah I don't personally understand that at all. I'm watching videos about it on YouTube and thinking "This is going to suck!" Only thing I'm really all that excited about is the food. I don't understand why adults want to go there so much, it seems like it's a place for kids.

I could name a lot of places I would rather go personally but I'm looking at my kids and thinking they arn't going to be at an age where Disney is still fun for long. My oldest is 9 now.
 

THE_DEVIL

HR King
Aug 16, 2005
57,502
60,888
113
Hell, Michigan
www.livecoinwatch.com
My parents always promised that they would take me and they never did

Might mostly suck for me
call-the-midwife-pupcake.gif
 
  • Like
Reactions: seminole97

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
Rest days are for fatties. Suck it up and get your butt to the parks as many days as you can. Last time I checked, 6 day passes were about the same as a 4 day on Undercover Tourist. Either way, you can save a good bit buying from them. No tax I believe.

Edit: I'm only familiar with pre-pandemic Disney.

I heard something about undercover tourist as well. Also heard you can get them from Sams Club and AAA.

I'm curious why they have tickets cheaper than the gate?

Also I'm not all that fat but walking around a theme park 5 or 6 days straight sounds terrible.
 

WhiteSoxClone

HR Legend
May 29, 2001
11,287
3,291
113
That book looks like it's about Universal Studios which I've actually been to when my wife and I where dating.



Yeah I don't personally understand that at all. I'm watching videos about it on YouTube and thinking "This is going to suck!" Only thing I'm really all that excited about is the food. I don't understand why adults want to go there so much, it seems like it's a place for kids.

I could name a lot of places I would rather go personally but I'm looking at my kids and thinking they arn't going to be at an age where Disney is still fun for long. My oldest is 9 now.
If you get joy from watching your kids have fun, you'll have a great vacation. I enjoyed our day at Disneyland, but only because my kids thought it was great. But if I had to choose between a free trip to Disney (Land or World) for just me and the wife without our kids or a week at work, I'd choose work.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: QChawks

theiacowtipper

HR Legend
Gold Member
Feb 17, 2004
14,751
13,265
113
That book looks like it's about Universal Studios which I've actually been to when my wife and I where dating.



Yeah I don't personally understand that at all. I'm watching videos about it on YouTube and thinking "This is going to suck!" Only thing I'm really all that excited about is the food. I don't understand why adults want to go there so much, it seems like it's a place for kids.

I could name a lot of places I would rather go personally but I'm looking at my kids and thinking they arn't going to be at an age where Disney is still fun for long. My oldest is 9 now.

Let me try again.

 

Tenacious E

HR Legend
Gold Member
Dec 4, 2001
34,258
40,198
113
Taking the kids to Disney towards the end of the year, will be arriving about a week before Christmas on Friday Dec 16 and can start visiting parks on Sat the 17th, will spend that week visiting the parks with some rest days built in and then will drive from there to in-laws (2 hours away) on Christmas Eve to spend a few days with them.

We are staying off property because it's cheaper and you get better lodgings.

Looking at getting the tickets soon, but seems like there is a lot to it. We know we are going to want to get the DAS pass for our kids. Don't think I will need the park hopper add on.

Any other advice on the trip? There is a ton of information out there and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming. (I've never been to Disney FYI not even as a kid.)
We did something similar. Rented a condo for a week about 10 minutes away. Never did more than one park per day, so agree the park hopper is not worth it. Frankly, you don't need more than a day in each park. I would skip Hollywood studios altogether, I thought it was pretty dumb. Instead, I would hit universal for 2 days and do each park and all the harry potter stuff. Then mix in Animal Kingdom, which we loved. With Magic Kingdom, you need to stay at least one night for the light show on the castle, it is pretty amazing. Epcot was just okay for us. So if I had a week and you wanted rest days, I would do:

  1. Magic Kingdom, staying for the lighting of the castle
  2. Animal Kingdom
  3. rest day
  4. epcot
  5. Universal 1
  6. rest day
  7. universal 2
 

mjtommy

HR MVP
Gold Member
Nov 22, 2003
1,003
1,414
113
How old are the kids and will they even remember going? I’ve been to DW 5 times. The last time was 10 years ago when my son was 6. All he remembers is being scared to go on the Goofy roller coaster. I’ll never go back. There’s so many more things to do that won’t be a total kick in the nuts to you.
 

poophawk

HR All-State
Nov 24, 2004
863
1,452
93
dport
bunch of haters here. disney world is great, the spontaneity from years past is gone due to the park reservation system and needing dining reservations months in advance but still a great place. Study up and like someone else said if nothing else seeing your kids light up when seeing characters or experiencing rides will make it all worth it.
 

hawkifann

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 5, 2001
38,895
17,176
113
You have to get park reservations in order to get into the parks. So before you do anything make sure that there are reservations available for your dates. You can purchase a ticket and if you don't have a reservation they won't let you in.
This is why the 2 times we’ve been when our kids were younger, we just stayed on property. Disney was basically our only point of being down there, so we just went for it and it did make everything a little easier, even though we surely could have gotten more bang for the buck staying somewhere else.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
We did something similar. Rented a condo for a week about 10 minutes away. Never did more than one park per day, so agree the park hopper is not worth it. Frankly, you don't need more than a day in each park. I would skip Hollywood studios altogether, I thought it was pretty dumb. Instead, I would hit universal for 2 days and do each park and all the harry potter stuff. Then mix in Animal Kingdom, which we loved. With Magic Kingdom, you need to stay at least one night for the light show on the castle, it is pretty amazing. Epcot was just okay for us. So if I had a week and you wanted rest days, I would do:

  1. Magic Kingdom, staying for the lighting of the castle
  2. Animal Kingdom
  3. rest day
  4. epcot
  5. Universal 1
  6. rest day
  7. universal 2

We where not planning on doing Universal. Where thinking Animal Kingdom Once, Magic Kingdom Twice, Epcot Once and maybe Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom a 3rd time.

My kids have actually never seen Harry Potter and arn't likely to be big on roller coasters, so I'm not sure they would like Universal.

We got a Condo close to Disney as well. Parkland International Resort.
 

FSUTribe76

HR Heisman
Jan 23, 2008
7,972
12,497
113
Taking the kids to Disney towards the end of the year, will be arriving about a week before Christmas on Friday Dec 16 and can start visiting parks on Sat the 17th, will spend that week visiting the parks with some rest days built in and then will drive from there to in-laws (2 hours away) on Christmas Eve to spend a few days with them.

We are staying off property because it's cheaper and you get better lodgings.

Looking at getting the tickets soon, but seems like there is a lot to it. We know we are going to want to get the DAS pass for our kids. Don't think I will need the park hopper add on.

Any other advice on the trip? There is a ton of information out there and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming. (I've never been to Disney FYI not even as a kid.)

I really advise staying at the Disney Swan or Dolphin as you can get them as cheap as $150 a day and they’re on property. They’re not technically a Disney resort as they are owned by Sheraton but they have an odd advantage that no other nonDisney hotel can take advantage of that they got when Disney was short of cash in the 80s and that’s property in the midst of all of the Disney properties and they use Disney transportation (hooked up to boats, buses and the new sky thingee). So you get a Disney feel and vibe without paying Disney prices. Plus the Swan and Dolphin have a number of nice restaurants on property.

Whenever I go to Disney I usually stay at either the Swan or Dolphin (occasionally splurging for something like the Contemporary) and whenever I go to Universal I stay at Cabana Bay as it’s a great value for the price (equivalent to Disney’s high end resorts in terms of the pool, lazy river, restaurants, on-site entertainment and theming of rooms) but half the price.
 

Nole Lou

HR Heisman
Apr 5, 2002
5,222
11,046
113
My parents never took me, but at least they also never promised to take me. So I've got that going for me.

I never took my kids either. Just couldn't pull the trigger on something that seemed so miserable and would cost me five years of vacation budgets. I'm sure the kids would have enjoyed it, but I was lucky to have kids that enjoyed almost everything. It never felt like something they HAD to do. And they liked Disney content, but they also liked Scooby Doo, Spider Man, Anastasia, and dozens of other characters I never felt like they had to meet in person. We aren't Disney haters or anything, Disney was just never some elevated thing among their childhood interests that required a $10k trip that they'd barely remember.

My kids can go the way apparently most Disney visitors now go, as grown ass, childless weirdos.
 

LuteHawk

HR Legend
Nov 30, 2011
28,375
19,016
113
Our family has been to DisneyLand, Universal Studios in
California in July. We also have visited DisneyWorld in
Florida in June. It is a great paradise for children to enjoy.
Those two vacations were separated by 6 years

Bottom Line: Our family vacations were centered around
the children to give them good childhood memories..
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
My parents never took me, but at least they also never promised to take me. So I've got that going for me.

I never took my kids either. Just couldn't pull the trigger on something that seemed so miserable and would cost me five years of vacation budgets. I'm sure the kids would have enjoyed it, but I was lucky to have kids that enjoyed almost everything. It never felt like something they HAD to do. And they liked Disney content, but they also liked Scooby Doo, Spider Man, Anastasia, and dozens of other characters I never felt like they had to meet in person. We aren't Disney haters or anything, Disney was just never some elevated thing among their childhood interests that required a $10k trip that they'd barely remember.

My kids can go the way apparently most Disney visitors now go, as grown ass, childless weirdos.

I think Disney is sort of the ultimate in kids vacations though. Like I can't think of another place where I think the kids would enjoy more now at their age than Disney.

I can think of a lot of places my wife and I would enjoy more. But this is about the kids while they are still kids.
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
114,740
87,245
113
I really advise staying at the Disney Swan or Dolphin as you can get them as cheap as $150 a day and they’re on property. They’re not technically a Disney resort as they are owned by Sheraton but they have an odd advantage that no other nonDisney hotel can take advantage of that they got when Disney was short of cash in the 80s and that’s property in the midst of all of the Disney properties and they use Disney transportation (hooked up to boats, buses and the new sky thingee). So you get a Disney feel and vibe without paying Disney prices. Plus the Swan and Dolphin have a number of nice restaurants on property.

Whenever I go to Disney I usually stay at either the Swan or Dolphin (occasionally splurging for something like the Contemporary) and whenever I go to Universal I stay at Cabana Bay as it’s a great value for the price (equivalent to Disney’s high end resorts in terms of the pool, lazy river, restaurants, on-site entertainment and theming of rooms) but half the price.

The Dolphin is a Sheraton and the Swan is a Westin.

I stayed there in February and had dinner at Shula's. Super-convenient to Epcot (within walking distance).
 

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
72,987
52,654
113
A trip to Walt Disney World can really add up. We’re talking thousands of dollars between the basics — park tickets, airfare, hotels, ground transportation and regular meals — and extras like character dining, bubble-blowing machines and line-skipping privileges.

“I often say that Disney is the very best company at getting you to spend money and be happy doing it,” said Don Munsil, who runs the Disney discount site MouseSavers.com with his wife, Sarah Stone. “You’re like, ‘Oh, gosh, I can get this for this amount of money? Well, please, here’s my money, take it.’ ”

Disney will definitely take your money. But the entertainment giant can take slightly less if travelers are savvy about their timing, strategic about planning ahead and decisive about priorities. A few in-the-know tips never hurt, either.




1

Find cheaper tickets in late summer​

Return to menu
Disney says its theme park tickets start at $109 a day for a one-day pass to a single park — but that price is valid only on certain low-traffic days, typically in the late summer when most kids are back in school. Which means those lowest prices are coming up on weekdays later this month and in September. Buying multiday tickets can reduce the per-day price, but the overall price tag will obviously be higher.

At busier times, prices climb as high as $159 a day.
Disney’s $5,000 Star Wars hotel and line-cutting fees: Some fans say the ‘magic’s gone’
While August and September in Central Florida can be hot and stormy, those lower-priced times are also less packed — a perk for those who can’t abide peak crowds.
2

Consider sticking to one park a day​

Return to menu
Park-hopper tickets allow guests to visit multiple theme parks in one day; there are four parks at the Walt Disney World resort. But the cost of a one-day ticket with this option shoots up to $174 at a minimum.



Breeze Leonard, an affiliate manager and writer for TravelingMom.com, said she avoids the upgrade on trips with her three kids because of the cost and because there’s plenty to fill a day in each park.
“You lose so much time going back and forth from the parks,” she said. “I know we’re going to have enough to do, and we’re going to save the money.”
Press Enter to skip to end of carousel

Get a deal on gift cards​

Return to menu
Jackie Steele, who worked at Disney in Florida for several years and now writes for the Disney travel planning site MagicGuides, said some warehouse clubs like Sam’s and BJ’s Wholesale offer Disney gift cards at a slight discount — which he said “has always blown my mind as a way to save money on vacations.” For Target shoppers who use a store-brand credit or debit card, the 5 percent discount on purchases also applies to gift cards.



Gift cards can be used for theme park tickets, dining, shopping, hotel rooms and more.
‘Disney adults’ are online punching bags. Why are they so happy?
4

Buy your Disney gear and souvenirs elsewhere​

Return to menu
Leonard says rain ponchos are essential to pack for a Disney trip because of the inevitability of storms in Central Florida at certain times of year.
“A random rain shower shows up, and now suddenly you’re in need of one,” she said. “Now you’re going to be paying an arm and a leg to get a poncho that you could have bought for a dollar had you packed it ahead of time.” (In a 2021 story, the Disney Food Blog reported buying an adult-sized poncho for about $12 and rated the experience.)
After her first trip spending “way too much money” on bubble wands and other toys for her kids, Leonard starting buying cheaper versions of their must-have toys and secretly bringing them on the trip.



“I would give them one a day, like something new every day, and they would be able to take that into the parks,” she said. “And so it was a fun way for them to still have what they wanted, but me not have to spend the money inside the park to purchase them.”
The family will also visit Disney’s Character Warehouse, an outlet store with two locations in the Orlando area, to buy discounted official Mickey Mouse ears, clothes or other items.
“When they have their souvenir money, we don’t have them spend their money inside the parks,” she said.

5

Bargain hunt for hotels off-site​

Return to menu
The Orlando area is full of places to stay: on-site Disney hotels, off-property chains, vacation rentals, timeshares and more. Consider the solution that works best for your family, and then comparison shop.

On-site resorts can come at a premium, but Leonard said one lesser-known solution that can save a significant amount of money is renting points for deluxe Disney Vacation Club properties, Disney’s version of a timeshare. Vacation club members buy an interest in a timeshare and get points to use to book their stays, but they can rent those points out if they aren’t going to use them.


“You’re going to have all the same privileges or benefits of staying on site,” such as transportation and early park access with no timeshare pitch, she said. Travelers are basically booking the rooms through owners, facilitated by companies like David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
For members of the military, the Shades of Green resort at Walt Disney World offers rooms that are less expensive than comparable hotels.
My husband had a Disney-free childhood. Then we took a Disney cruise.
Press Enter to skip to end of carousel



6

Dine strategically​

Return to menu
There’s no reason to buy three meals a day plus snacks at Disney parks. Visitors are allowed to bring food inside, which is exactly what Leonard does.

“We’ll just fill our backpacks up with sandwiches and snacks,” she said. “And, honestly, our kids are always going a hundred miles an hour when we’re at Disney, and they want to see and do all the things. And so as long as we’re in line waiting on rides and I can feed them occasionally with the snacks out of our bag, it seems like everybody stays happy.”


But if the family wants to have a special dining experience with characters, Leonard said she recommends booking it for breakfast or lunch, which is less expensive than dinner.
One thing she will spend money on: refillable popcorn buckets. Standard ones cost about $13, according to the Disney Food Blog, and can be refilled for $2.25 over the length of a stay — a good deal over several days for a popcorn-loving family.

One thing no one has to buy at Disney: ice water. Most quick-service restaurants will provide cups of free ice water, a way better deal than $3.50 bottled water. There are also water fountains and bottle-filling stations for those who bring reusable bottles.
“When you’ve got a family of four that you’re buying bottled water for two or three times a day, that turns into money really quick,” Steele said.

7

Take a day off​

Return to menu
Munsil, of MouseSavers.com, said his family will often visit Disney for seven or eight days but only go to the parks for five or six. The site lists dozens of free or cheap activities on the resort complex, including riding the boats, rail system and the cable-cars that function as Disney transportation.



“There’s plenty of interesting stuff to do,” he said. One favorite is a monorail tour of the resorts near the Magic Kingdom.
“They’re all a great place to grab a little bite or snack or just relax and enjoy or walk around or go to one of the lounges,” he said. “It’s just pleasant to sit there and people-watch and have a drink and enjoy all the ambiance and the decorations.”
Steele said there’s something “beautiful” about taking a day to rest.
“You don’t feel like your vacation has absolutely murdered you by the time it was done,” he said. “That’s a great way to save a little bit of money.”

 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,183
40,972
113
40
A trip to Walt Disney World can really add up. We’re talking thousands of dollars between the basics — park tickets, airfare, hotels, ground transportation and regular meals — and extras like character dining, bubble-blowing machines and line-skipping privileges.

“I often say that Disney is the very best company at getting you to spend money and be happy doing it,” said Don Munsil, who runs the Disney discount site MouseSavers.com with his wife, Sarah Stone. “You’re like, ‘Oh, gosh, I can get this for this amount of money? Well, please, here’s my money, take it.’ ”

Disney will definitely take your money. But the entertainment giant can take slightly less if travelers are savvy about their timing, strategic about planning ahead and decisive about priorities. A few in-the-know tips never hurt, either.

We already got off property hotel and we are driving down there because that's a lot cheaper than airfare for 5.

I think we can do it for about $5,000 total.
 

Tenacious E

HR Legend
Gold Member
Dec 4, 2001
34,258
40,198
113
We where not planning on doing Universal. Where thinking Animal Kingdom Once, Magic Kingdom Twice, Epcot Once and maybe Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom a 3rd time.

My kids have actually never seen Harry Potter and arn't likely to be big on roller coasters, so I'm not sure they would like Universal.

We got a Condo close to Disney as well. Parkland International Resort.
Do what you think is best for your family but as someone who's been to each of the kingdoms and both universal parks, to me, the Harry Potter stuff is the coolest shit in any of them. And I'm not really a Harry Potter fan or anything. It is just amazing technology and an amazing experience.
 

Latest posts