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

DW Dads Best of 2013: Packing for Disney – I SHIPPED My Pants!

Happy Holidays!

As we wind down 2013, we are taking a look back at some of our most popular articles from the past several months. Over the next couple of weeks, we will re-share these tips and tricks, so our newest fans can check them out, or so those of you who have been with us from the beginning can check them out again!

Today’s article comes from August 9 and it offers some great tips about packing for your Disney World vacation. Enjoy!

If you have ever packed a bag for a week of vacation anywhere, you are well aware of the joys of trying to fit everything you need for your whole trip into 1 bag that cannot weigh more than 50 lbs.  One DWDads suggestion to alleviate some of this headache is to ship some items directly to your resort and pick them up at check in.  So you ask what can I ship?

Just as Kmart states in their commercial, you can basically ship ANYTHING to your resort (including your pants) within a few days of your arrival and it will be waiting for you when you check in.  For our last trip our family shipped many items including 2 cases of bottled water (about $10 shipped for 24 bottles on which makes them about .40 each vs. $2.50 in the parks – SAVINGS $2+ per bottle.

Mickey Box

Other items which are great for shipping are baby items.  For a 10 day stay we needed 40-50 diapers and wipes for our 2 year old.  Since the volume of that box is so large and most airlines charge for bags these days, why not buy a small case from an online retailer and ship directly to the resort.   We are PRIME members of so we get 2 day shipping on all Prime items to any location in the continental US for free.

Here are some items I found useful from

Glow sticks $9.49 (100 glow sticks @ < $.10 each)


NutriGrain Bars – $15 (48 bars for .31 each)


Bottled water, snacks, and baby items, are popular items to ship to your resort, but just about anything can be shipped to Disney.   In 2010 we were in Disney for my wife’s birthday, and I shopped online for her birthday gifts – new sandals, and a necklace and had them shipped to the resort.  Once we arrived, I slipped them into a gift bag with some tissue and Presto she had birthday presents.  Another idea is to ship some Disney book/toy/stickers to the resort to have waiting for your child when they check-in.  There really is no limit to how you can use online shopping to enhance your trip.


Here are some simple rules for shipping to your resort:

  1. Make sure you have the correct physical address of your resort (LINK), and your name arrival date are clearly labeled.
  2. Shipments must be sent via courier services (UPS, FedEx, DHL) since US Postal Service (USPS) won’t deliver to the property
  3. Do the research ahead of time and schedule your deliveries to arrive a few days before your check-in date so that the items are waiting for you upon arrival.

J.R.Longino – GUEST
C/O Disney’s Pop Century Front Desk
Hold for guest arrival 11/06
1050 Century Drive
LakeBuena Vista, Fl 32830

Here is a list of the resort addresses (again this can ONLY be used for courier services, US Post office will not deliver to the property directly)

*All hotels are in Lake Buena Vista, FL32830 (Except Animal Kingdom Lodge which is Bay   Lake, FL 32830).
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort 1991 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s All Star Music Resort 1801 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort 1701 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s Art of Animation address: 1850 Animation Way
Disney’s Pop Century Resort 1050 Century Drive
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort 900 Cayman Way
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort 1000 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter 2201 Orleans Drive
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside 1251 Riverside Drive
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge 2901 Osceola Pkwy.*
Disney’s Contemporary Resort 4600 North World Drive
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 4401 Floridian Way
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 901 Timberline Dr.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort 1600 Seven Seas Drive
Disney’s Beach Club Resort 1800 West Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 1700 Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn 2101 North W Epcot Resort Blvd.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort/Campground 4510 N Ft. Wilderness Trail
Disney’s Old Key West Resort 1510 North Cove Rd.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort 1960 Broadway
WaltDisney World Dolphin 1500 Epcot Resort Blvd.
WaltDisney World Swan 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd.
Shades of Green 1950   W. Magnolia Palm Dr.

Disney World: The Family of Five Dilemma

This year, both of the DW Dads welcomed their third sons to the world.  Domenic’s son Zack was born in July and JR’s son Liam was born just a week ago (Congrats, JR!).  This is an exciting time for both of their families; however, choosing the right resort when they vacation at Disney may become a real head-scratcher!

For the next three years, they will continue to be considered a family of four, so there is tons of flexibility when it comes to what type of resort and room they can choose.  But, when the babies turn three, the families will have to stay in rooms specifically designed for five.  You see, Disney does not offer roll-away beds or cots and it sticks pretty strictly to the maximum occupancy quoted for each room type, so would-be vacationers have to really crunch the numbers on the options to see what works best for them.

I recently had a family of 6 (the 6th is a baby) ask for a quote for a trip to Disney.  The following is an excerpt from the e-mail I sent them,

“First, since your youngest is under 3, you technically have a family of 5. This will allow for a little more flexibility when it comes to resorts/rooms.  I’m not sure what resort level you’d prefer to stay at, so I’ve put together a few sample quotes. All of the following are based on a Saturday-Saturday stay, the last full week of June 2014; tickets are included and are park hoppers (you can visit multiple parks in one day), but they do not include water parks; and there is no dining plan included at this time.

Value: All-Stars/Pop Century
At these hotels, you can only have 4 people (plus the baby) per room, so you would have to get two adjoining rooms. The upside is that you would have more space and two bathrooms. The total for two rooms is approximately $4350.
Moderate: Port Orleans Riverside
This is the first level where you could potentially all be in one room.  Only one moderate level hotel – Port Orleans Riverside – allows for families of five (plus the baby).  They have two queen beds and a small Murphy bed. There is only one bathroom, though, and the room isn’t huge, so it may be a little tight.  The total for one room here would be approximately $3900. Of course, you could also get two adjoining rooms here, just like at the Value resorts above.
Suites: Art of Animation
This is the newest resort at Disney World.  It is technically a Value resort, but 75% of the rooms are family suites, so the prices are actually higher than the moderate resorts.  Each suite contains a bedroom with one queen bed and a common room with a very small kitchenette and two additional “beds” (the kitchen table turns into a double bed and the couch pulls out to a double bed). There are two bathrooms.  The total for one suite is approximately $5000.  I should probably say that, if my family of five were going a few years from now, this is the option we’d choose.  Keep in mind, however, that the Art of Animation is often excluded from discounts, because it is so new and popular.
Deluxe (Example: Grand Floridian)
There are many options at this level, if you’d prefer to stay somewhere closer to the parks, like on the monorail loop.  These rooms are larger than the Port Orleans room mentioned above; many have two queens and a pullout couch.  Still, only one bathroom. Again, there are many options at this level, but one example: the total for one room at the Grand Floridian would be approximately $6260.
Disney also offers the following: Deluxe level suites, 1- and 2-bedroom Villas, Cabins, Treehouses (no, really!)…there are many more options besides the ones listed above.  Once we have an idea of your budget, we can start narrowing down the possibilities.”
So, you see, families of five have a lot of considering to do. So, for comparison’s sake, here is a list of the options, from most affordable to most expensive.  I’ve also included some numbers for the Villas, Fort Wilderness Cabins and Saratoga Springs Treehouses. This is based on the same info as the e-mail above (last full week of June 2014, Park Hoppers included, Dining Plan is NOT):
1 Room at Port Orleans Riverside – $3900
2 Rooms at Pop Century – $4350
1 Cabin at Fort Wilderness – $4850
1 Suite at Art of Animation – $5000
1 Room at the Beach Club – $5300
1 1-Bedroom Villa at Old Key West – $5900
1 Room at Grand Floridian – $6260
1 2-Bedroom Villa at Old Key West – $7700
1 Treehouse at Saratoga Springs – $8550
Does YOUR family of five (or two, or three, or four, or…you get the point) want to take a trip to Disney World? Let DW Dads know, and we can help you plan a magical family vacation. And remember: our services are always FREE! Contact us today!

New Disney World Winter/Early Spring 2014 Discounts

Disney has released two new discounts for early 2014. Check out the details below, and contact DW Dads or request a quote through this site to find out how we can help you get away this winter!

Check out this earlier article to get some basic information regarding Disney discounts.

Deal #1: Play, Stay, Dine and Save!

This discount is available for stays most nights between January 5, 2014 and March 5, 2014.

The discount requires that you book a resort room, length-of-stay tickets and a dining plan package.  In essence, adults will pay child prices on tickets and dining (although the deal isn’t specifically worded that way).

For example, a family of four with 2 adults, 1 junior (age 10-17) and 1 child (age 3-9) staying 5 nights at a value resort will save $400 off of rack rates.  At moderate, deluxe and villa resorts, the same family will save upwards of $600.

Guests staying at a Value Resort must reserve the Quick-Service Dining Plan or higher with their stay. All other resort levels must reserve the Disney Dining Plan or higher with their stay.

The following resorts are excluded from the offer: Art of Animation, The Villas at the Grand Floridian, campsites and 3-bedroom villas.

The Play, Stay, Dine and Save! offer must be booked by December 31, 2013.


Deal #2: Early 2014 Room Discounts

You can save up to 35% on the resort hotel room portion of your stay for stays most nights from January 5 to March 5, 2014 and March 14 to April 12, 2014.

Tickets and dining can be added to these reservations.

Deluxe Villas are discounted 35%.
Deluxe Resorts are discounted 35%.
Moderate Resorts are discounted 25%.
Value Resorts are discounted 20%.

For stays between March 6 and March 13, 2014, the discounts are each 5% less.

Some resorts that fall into these categories are discounted at a slightly lower rate. For example, Animal Kingdom Villas are discounted 25%.

Art of Animation – Little Mermaid rooms and the Villas at the Grand Floridian are excluded. So are campsites and 3-bedroom villas.

The Early 2014 Room Discount offer must be booked by December 31, 2013.

Please remember that the services provided by DW Dads are FREE, so please contact us today to let us help you plan your Disney vacation!

House Meets the Mouse

May 1993.  Your family is gathered around the television in the living room. You are watching what may go on to become one of the greatest hours of TV ever broadcast.

The series finale of Cheers? No. The episode about George and Jerry’s pilot on Seinfeld? Nope. Letterman’s last Late Night or the series finale of Saved by the Bell? No and no.

Over the course of two nights – May 11th and May 18th, 1993 – ABC’s Full House presented its two-part sixth season finale. The episodes’ titles are House Meets the Mouse Parts 1 and 2, and they are pure TGIF perfection.

In the episodes, the members of the Tanner family, for various reasons, decide to visit Walt Disney World.  There are mishaps, stumbles and lessons to be learned by all.  It’s everything you remember about Full House, wrapped in a warm, delicious Disney World crust.

There are three main storylines. First, Jesse and the Rippers are going to play a concert in the Magic Kingdom, so Joey invites himself so he and Jesse can broadcast their radio show live from the parks.  Soon, the rest of the family decide to join in the fun. While there, Danny plans on popping the question to his girlfriend, but it doesn’t go too smoothly for him. The final storyline involves Michele becoming a little full of herself when she wins an Aladdin-themed contest to become a princess for the day.


The episodes take place all over property, but the emphasis is on Magic Kingdom and Epcot. There are also a couple of memorable scenes that take place at the Grand Floridian. Aladdin – that year’s big theatrical release – is featured prominently in an early scene.

The episode is fun because the scenes don’t just take place in the most obvious locations. Sure, there is a big scene on Main Street and Town Square, but there are also scenes in the Living Seas, the Germany pavilion and the lobby of the Grand Floridian.

We recorded this on our DVR about a year ago, and the episodes haven’t been deleted; I’m not sure they ever will be. The kids watch them about once a week.

Here is the great news: The House Meets the Mouse Parts 1 and 2 are scheduled for tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 25. Part One is scheduled for 10:00 PM and Part Two is scheduled for 10:30 PM.