Can you afford a trip to Disney?

Can YOU afford a trip to Disney?

HammFirst let me say that ONLY YOU can really answer this question.  In order to honestly answer this question, however first you must be informed, which is where DWDads hope we can help.

The first step in deciding on whether you can afford a trip is to find out how much it will cost by answering these 4 simple questions:

  1. Who is going [# of Adults + # of Children (with ages)]?
  2. When do you want to go and for how many days/nights?
  3. Where do you want to stay?
  4. How do you think you’ll eat – table service or counter service meals?

By answering these 4 simple questions DWDads can give you a quote (without discounts) so you can begin saving or budgeting for your trip.

**Note – We will often book/quote clients at “rack rates” knowing there is a strong possibility of a discount coming in the future.  When the discount is released, we then apply the discount and the balance due decreases or a refund is issued.

Here is an example:

  1. Who is going?  2 Adults and 2 Children (ages 8 & 5)
  2. When do you want to go and for how many days/nights? October for 6 nights and 7 days
  3. Where do you want to stay?  Anywhere on property – Value is fine
  4. How do you think you’ll eat – table service or counter service meals?  We like to eat one big sit down meal and the other meals we will eat on the go.

Given the information above the Hotel (Pop Century), Meals (Dining Plan with 24 Table service, 24 Counter Service, 24 Snacks & 4 refillable mugs) and Tickets (7 day base tickets) would cost just about $3,000 before any discounts that might be released.

 So how do I save $3000? 

Here are some ways the DWDads recommend saving:

Simple budgeting 

Put $250 per month or $60 a week in a separate account = $3,000 after 1 year


  • *Better yet each month go to Target and purchase $250 in Disney entertainment cards with your Target REDCARD (saving 5% on each purchase) – By the end you’ll have spent $2,850 on $3,000 in Disney Cards a $150 SAVINGS – Stack the REDCARD with a 5% Pharmacy Rewards Card (not valid in NJ) and you will save $300 on the $3,000 in cards.

Use your income tax refund

Many people receive a tax refund when they file their yearly taxes.  What better way to use this “found money” than on a family

  • In 2012 my federal and state return totaled – $3,248

Use your credit card cash back or miles balances

  • Disney Visa Card gives you 1%-2% (depending on the card) on all purchases and also saves you 10% on purchases of $50 or more at select locations including the Disneystore and – Current Disney Visa Balance – $126
  • Discover Cash Back Credit Card – (2% on all purchases and 5% on select purchases each quarter) – Current Discover CASH BACK balance – $1,204

Save pocket change or even every $1 or $5 bills when you break a large bill


  • Every time you come home, empty your pockets into a jar or milk jug.  You’d be surprised how much you can save over time.
  • DO NOT use Coinstar machines that charge a fee or spend your time rolling your change – many banks (TD Bank in my area) have FREE coin sorting machines and you do not even need to have an account there to use these machines.

Make a sacrifice for Disney

  • Quit smoking – $8 per pack per day = $2,920 in one year. Not only can you save the money, but you’ll be healthier and touring the parks will be easier too.
  • Give up Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks for daily coffee – $3-$5 or more per day
  • Pack your lunch daily – Lunch can cost you $5-$10 or more per day and those savings add up

“The View” inside Walt Disney’s Apartment in Disneyland

The ViewDisneyland

DWDads are not regular watchers of “the View” on ABC, but this week we have had a good reason for tuning in. All week, November 18-22, ABC’s “the View” has been broadcasting LIVE at 11am eastern or 10am central/pacific from The Disneyland Resort with a variety of guests and entertainers in order to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 85th birthday (November 18).  Although all of the programming on “the View” was in some way linked to ABC/Disney this week, the espisode I am looking forward to seeing most, is on Friday, November 22nd.

Fri., Nov. 22:  Kurt Russell, who had a 10 year contract in the 1970s with the Walt Disney Company, takes Barbara Walters on a magical walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps as they take a “step in time” into the past and tour never-before-seen places including Disney’s private apartment and a private club. Music sensation Pitbull appears. Singer and co-host Demi Lovato performs.  The hosts bid farewell to the Disneyland Resort during a magical finale celebration.

Since the show hasn’t aired, I can only assume Barbara will document the highlights of a tour that is offered daily at Disneyland called  “A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps”.  This 3½-hour guided tour covers the life of Walt Disney and how his vision became reality.  Basically, this tour tells you stories about the man behind the magic and you will learn some behind-the-scenes secrets to the theme of the various lands, and special touches by the Imagineers and Walt himself. This show might give you a taste of what that tour has to offer or it may leave you wanting the to experience it on your own.  So if you want to book this tour as part of your Disneyland vacation or you would like a quote please contact us.


 Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps:

  • Passage on the Disney Railroad and two other attractions
  • An exclusive look at the lobby of the famed Club 33
  • An exclusive look at Walt Disney’s private apartment
  • A private Lunch on Main Street USA
  • An exclusive collectible trading pin


$109.00 per person; Discounted to $87.20 per person for Annual Pass holders, AAA, Disney Visa, DVC members.

Tours are available every day at 9:30am and have a capacity of 15 people per tour. Not recommended for small children.

Taking my family of 5 to Disney World (on-property with tickets & meals) for under $999

First I need to give you some facts.  My children are ages 4, 2, and an infant, so in Disney’s eyes we only need to pay for 1 child; therefore we qualify as a “Family of 3.”  Second, I have not included transportation to Orlando, which could cost us another $300 (driving) to $2,000+ (airfare for 5).

Intro to DW

Last week Disney released a new Discount Package called Intro to Disney.   With this special offer, you can purchase a 3-night, 2-day Magic Your Way Room and Ticket Package PLUS Quick Service Dining at select Disney Value Resort hotels (Pop Century and All-Star resorts) for under $1,000 for stays most nights Jan. 5 – Feb. 12, 2014 (based on a family of 3).   This is the Pop Intro Offer quote I ran for my family and it came out to $977.22 for the 5 of us at Pop Century.  This package is ideal for families with young children or any family who wants to give Disney World a test drive, or those that want to take a short trip over a long weekend.  Because the crowd levels are typically lower during this period, you should be able to get a lot accomplished with a good touring plan on this quick getaway . The availability on these packages is limited so if you are interested we can run you a quote.

There are great rates for other lengths of stay, alternative family configurations and other Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014.  If you have any questions about this discount package or any other question, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Food & Wine Festival and Disney’s Fall Discounts – A tasty combination

Yesterday Disney announced their Fall promotional discounts –41420480306 both free dining and room only discounts for select dates.  These promotions took me back to late last summer when my wife (Clare) and I decided we were going to take advantage of similar promotions offered in 2012 and we booked our trip to take our sons for 5 nights in November.  Because Clare is a NJ teacher we booked our trip to align with her 2 days off for NJEA teacher convention week (more on Jersey week in a future article).  This turned out to be a great time of year to go because we were able to take advantage of Christmas events, and the weather was very comfortable, but a big surprise for us was that we were able to catch the end of the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot Center.

We decided to spend our last full day of our trip at Epcot Center (mostly based on projected crowd calendar).  We spent the morning enjoying the attractions in Future World and after a light lunch at Sunshine Seasons, we began our tour of the World Showcase to sample all of the great samplings Food & Wine Festival had to offer.  We knew from our research that many of the foods offered at the various stands could be purchased using a snack credit, so we saved all of snack credits for the festival.  Our first purchase was at the stand in Poland – the Kielbasa & Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream ($5.00 or DDP Snack) and a Tyskie beer ($6 – no alcohol on DDP).  From a guy whose Polish side of the family has kielbasa at every major holiday, I was skeptical of trying it, but it was fabulous.  This was a perfect sampling to either eat alone or share with someone special (in my case – Clare). IMG_1902

We continued to tour the World Showcase, playing Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure with our boys, and stopping to meet various characters at meet & greets.  Our next food stop was in Canada for “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce ($6.50 or DDP Snack) and Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup ($4.00 or DDP Snack).  These two “snacks” we simply amazing.  Once again we shared these samplings, and although the portion was a nice size, it was so delicious that we both wanted more.  


Our last stop was scheduled to coincide with the Eat to the Beat Concert Series where Big Bad Voodo Daddy was playing.  We stopped at the Hops & Barley stand to sample Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll ($7.50 or DDP Snack) and Sam Adams Seasonal (12oz -$5.50) and sat at the picnic tables right outside the America Gardens Theatre to enjoy our huge and delicious lobster roll, as the boys danced to Go-Daddy-O.  That was our last Food & Wine Festival stop, as we then took in Illuminations with Mickey Ice Cream bars from the Chase VIP area (more on that in the future).  It was a wonderful day in Epcot made even more special by this great event.

 IMG_19201 IMG_1918

There are many ways to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival.  Some trips are centered on this Festival and its offerings, while others (like ours) it becomes a great bonus to an already full trip.  The dates for this year’s Food & Wine Festival are September 27 through November 10 and since Disney just released free dining dates and room only discounts, now might be the perfect time to talk to us about planning your getaway to enjoy this very tasty event!