Budget Friendly Monday

Budget Friendly Monday

Travel Packages –

Disney is the king of selling the travel package. It is the easiest thing in the world to go in, select the boxes you want and get an estimated cost of a vacation. They make the process of spending $3,000 on a long weekend effortless. When you are costing out your vacation there are so many options that you may feel like you have to select the package. This may not always be the most economical option. If you are looking to save money there are a few things you need to ask yourself.

Questions:

What type of accommodations are you looking for?

  • Are you willing to stay off property to save some money?
  • Are you willing to stay in a value resort? Or are you looking for high quality resort themes, signature dining on premise and awesome pools?

What type of dining are you looking for?

  • Are you willing to eat off property?
  • Are you willing to brown bag it and/or eat counter service most of the time?

What type of park touring will you be doing?

  • Are you willing to take a day or two off and enjoy other things at Disney?
  • Are you willing to only tour one park a day?

Answers:

What type of accommodations are you looking for?

  • If you are willing to stay off property this will be a huge money saver. But you must also factor in parking, no dining plan option and no Magical Express option.
  • If you are willing to stay at a value resort you can save money, but without the loss of the Disney perks. If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe resort, I highly suggest looking into buying DVC points.

What type of dining are you looking for?

  • If you are staying off property, then eating off property is a good idea. You won’t experience the same atmosphere, but you will save money.
  • If you are willing to brown bag it or eat counter service, you will probably not need the dining plan. The dining plan is an expensive edition if you are not using it correctly.

What type of park touring will you be doing?

  • If you are willing to take a day or two off and enjoy the “free” things at Disney, you can save money and stretch the tickets to include multiple vacations, more on this here.
  • If you are willing to only tour one park a day, this will save you the expensive of a park hopper.
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Budget Friendly Monday

Budget Friendly Monday
Most everyone I know is looking to do things on a budget. Many people think that vacationing in Disney will never fit in their budget. Whether you want to make Disney a yearly trip or a once in a lifetime adventure it can fit into almost any budget. Here at Magical World of Disney we are going to have budget tip Mondays. There will always be another way to save money at our favorite place on earth.

For our first tip we will talk about tickets. We wrote an indepth blog post last year about Disney’s ticketing process. So if you are new to the idea of a Disney vacation you can start here.

Disney World tickets will be one of your top 3 expenses. There are very few ways to save on tickets, but there are some.

  1. Authorized Broker: Undercover Tourist and Ticket Mania are the two that we would suggest.
  2. Disney Discounts: Florida resident, military, corporate or club discounts (i.e. AAA) and DVC discounts are available if you qualify.
  3. Annual Pass: If you travel to Disney more than once a year, or you plan on going in say September 2013 and May 2014 then looking at purchasing an annual pass is something we suggest. Even if you are a yearly Disney vacationer look at December of one year and November the next, this can potentially save you dollars.

Three things you should note when you are purchasing tickets.

  1. NEVER buy tickets from an unauthorized broker. NEVER buy from EBay, Craigslist or from someone standing outside the gate.
  2. Consider whether you want to park hop or go to the water parks. If you are only going for a long weekend you may want to spring for the extra $56.80 in order to see more than one park per day.
  3. Realize that if you buy your tickets through an Authorized Broker they will not be included on your key to the world card. You will have a card and another ticket. If this is saving you a boatload of money it is a small price to pay.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Worth the $$

If you have been reading for a while you can probably tell that I LOVE going to Disney World between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I maintain that it is positively the best time of year to go. I highly suggest the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to anyone going at this time. When we switched it up this year and went in October, I was excited to attend the special event Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). I was also very excited to give me full endorsement to my coworker who was going 2 weeks later. However, after attending I felt torn for a couple reasons.

Cons

  1. Trick or Treat Trail: I went into MNSSHP thinking we would ride very minimal rides. We were missing Trick or Treating in our hometown because we were in Disney World and I wanted Livi (3) to have the Trick or Treating experience. However, I soon found out that the trail was rather spread out and required Livi to stay in her stroller as we schlepped around the park trying to find the line and make our way through the many adults collecting candy.
  2.  Crowds: Maybe it was because it was so close to Halloween (10/28) that the crowds seemed very high. I always felt a more intimate feel to the Christmas party. The crowd level was very high, and it was mostly adults. Not really adults with kids, just adults. It was a much more “mature” crowd them is normally at the Magic Kingdom. I am not saying this is a bad thing, it was just not something I was expecting.
  3. Cost: The cost of this event is really the biggest factor for me. It was soo expensive. The Christmas party is also expensive, but I felt that MNSSHP just did not deliver all that it should have in order to make up for the extra cost of the tickets.

Pros

  1. MNSSHP Parade: This is probably the best and most unique parade I have seen at Disney World. From the Headless Horseman in the beginning to the many floats that are only to be seen in this parade, it was a real treat.

    Haunted Mansion Float

    Jack Sparrow on the Pirates of the Caribbean Float

  2. The Villains Dance Party: This is another great perk of the party. Seeing the Villains out and about in the parks is also a rare thing. Watching them on the stage in front of the castle is a great time. Just beware of the little ones; it could be a little scary.
  3. Shorter Wait Times: The wait times were a little shorter than normal. This was especially true in Fantasyland.

When I needed to text my coworker my opinion of the party I found it hard to recommend the extra dollars. If I was going without a child, I think I would love this event. Because my main complaints were the Trick or Treat trail being tailored to adults and the overall more adult feel of the party itself. As for the cost, I would use this as my “day off” and only go into the Magic Kingdom when my party tickets became valid, which is 4pm. We did Animal Kingdom before MNSSHP, which is a good alternative. But if I had it to do over again, I would have saved the money and gone to the Hoop Dee Doo for dinner instead.

Have you been to MNSSHP? Is it a must attend for you? Let me know your thoughts!

Tickets, Tickets, Tickets

Tickets, Tickets, Tickets

“Magic Your Way” (MYW) tickets became the ticket system of Walt Disney World Resort in January of 2005. If the last time you were at Disney was before then please forget everything you know about the ticket system because it has all been changed. The MYW tickets begin with the “base” ticket. This ticket will get you into one park per day and expires 14 day after the first use. The base ticket gets cheaper per day as you increase the number of days purchased. For example a one day MYW base ticket cost $82.00 and a ten day ticket costs $262.00, or $26.20 per day. Once you have purchased the MYW ticket you can add options.

  1. No expiration: This option does exactly what the name says, it does not expire.
  2. Park hopper: This allows you to enter as many of the four main theme parks as you want in any given day. It is by far the most popular option, however it does cost $54.00 per ticket regardless the number of days that the ticket is for.  
  3. Water Park Fun & More: With this option you are able to select from two Water Parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or a round of golf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. The number of entries into these activities is the same as the number of days that your ticket is for. This option is also a flat rate of $54.00 regardless of the number of days that the ticket is for

 

You are now going to be asking, what are the benefits of these options, and is it really worth the price? Here are our thoughts and a more detailed explanation of how it all works.

 

 

No Expiration Details

The no expiration option is on a sliding scale. The more days that you have on a ticket the more money per day the no expiration option is. For example to add the no expiration option to a three day ticket is only $28.00 or $9.33 per day. However, to add the no expiration option to a ten day ticket is $213.00 or $21.30 per day. Now in my opinion there is really no good reason to purchase this. Unless you are planning a series of short 3 day trips it makes more sense to just purchase the tickets without this option. You may be asking yourself “What if I purchase an eight day ticket but only go to the park for five days”. Disney allows you to add any of their options or even more days at any time prior to the expiration of the ticket, fourteen days after first use. So if you have a couple of days left on your tickets and you want to save them you can always add the no expiration option the last day of your trip. Another tip is to be a minimalist with your ticket purchases. What I mean by this is if you are not sure if you want to park hop do not buy the park hopper, you can always add it while you are there. This works the same with the Water Park Fun & More option and with adding more days. So save yourself a couple of bucks and get the minimum amount you will need.   

Park Hopper

The Park Hopper option is simply a matter of preference on how you wish to travel around Disney parks. It may be that you are taking a quick trip (3 or 4 day) and want to do as much as possible in that short amount of time. The Park Hopper may be the way to go for you. However, if you have as many or more days then you have parks it takes only a little advanced planning to guarantee that you can see and do everything the parks have to offer without the Park Hopper option.

Water Park Fun & More Details

Water Park Fun & More option is pretty simple to break down the math. It is $54.00 to add up to ten entries into Disney’s two Water Parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex or a round of golf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (the number of entries is based on the number of days of the base ticket). If you plan on going to two or more of any of the aforementioned activities then it is monetarily beneficial to purchase the Water Park Fun & More option. Otherwise paying for just an entry ticket to the option of choice is the way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Ticket Options

The annual passes are typically designed for Florida residents. However, there can be several circumstances that it can be beneficial for a person who does not visit Disney a couple of times a month to purchase the annual pass. The first is, it is less expensive to purchase one annual pass then it is to purchase two three day park hopper MYW passes. So if you are planning on visiting twice in one year then it makes sense to spring for the annual pass. Also another reason to purchase an annual pass is to gain access to the discounted rooms that are offered to annual pass holders. Basically don’t think that you cannot benefit from annual passes just because you do not live within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom.

Now you may be asking where to get tickets from. The place that I get my tickets from is http://www.ticketmania.com/.  Their tickets usually run about $10.00 per person cheaper than getting them directly from Disney.  Now one thing you must remember when looking at the ticket prices is that Disney does NOT include tax in their price where as Ticket Mania does. You can also get your tickets from the concierge at your hotel. This makes life very convenient because they can add your tickets directly to your room key (this means one less thing to lose). Under no circumstances should you ever purchase tickets from an outdoor or road side retailer. If you see a deal that seems too good to be true, it is: walk away. There are always people that are trying to scam the system, so please try and stick to legitimate retailers. Buying partially used tickets off of E-Bay or Craigslist is a bad idea. Disney uses a finger scanning system to prevent sharing of tickets so a partially used ticket will not work. You can purchase tickets from AAA as well if you are a member. They do not have a wide verity of tickets but they are worth checking out, purchasing them is only worth it if you are going to use the options that are on the ticket.

As with resorts it is important to plan ahead, think about the style of vacation you want to enjoy. If it is just two adults, willing to take on two huge parks in one day, then spring for the park hopper and enjoy a quick trip around Disney. Do you have children who will need a nap and a decent bed time? Two parks are probably out of your realm and the money for the park hopping option could be spent elsewhere. As always check in with us, let us know your thoughts.