Thursday, September 22, 2011

Enjoying a Disney Trip and Saving Some Money

Yes, we made our first trip with the boys to Disney this September. While hubby grew up in Orlando and worked in the Magic Kingdom one summer, he was thoroughly excited to watch the boys enjoy all the sites. We did manage to find a deal on tickets... my parents sacrificed some time and got a great discount, so we could enjoy two days for about the price of one day. If I didn't say it enough to them at the time, here's another BIG THANK YOU!!!
Me and my Regus #2
Before leaving for Florida, I looked around for ways to save money in the park. While we did budget for food and a gift or two, we didn't want to go overboard or deal with screaming kids. Here a few tips that family and friends suggested, as well as a few I found online.

Bring a comfortable backpack. You'll need to store the hats, sunglasses, extra layers of clothes that the kids shed, and some other items listed here.

Bring your own ponchos. It's Florida, so there will most likely be an afternoon storm. Don't be caught in the park without one and have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for their rain gear. We found some kids' Disney ponchos at Target.

By the end of the day, they didn't want to take off their ponchos.

Pack some healthy, non-messy snacks. I realize the "non-messy" and "healthy snacks" don't always go hand-in-hand. I've found that squeezable applesauce is a great one. We don't normally buy prepackaged snacks, but this was a special day. Here's one of my favs, and here's another one. If you want, you can pack a slim insulated bag with a small cooler pack or a frozen water bottle and take some baby carrots and string cheese. The water bottle doubles as a cooler pack and a cool water later in the day. Get creative here! I even used my neoprene laptop bag (without the laptop, of course) as a cooler. This worked wonderfully!
Controlling Souvenir Costs. We went to Downtown Disney a few days before to give the boys a free, sneak peak of what Disney is like. We took them into the shops and let them pick out one toy. This ended up keeping them from begging for tons of toys in the parks. We also did say that we wouldn't be buying a lot in the parks, so they were ready for that.

Buy a Disney t-shirt before you go to the park.
I have family that works for Disney, so I hope they don't hate me too much here. My mom bought inexpensive Mickey Mouse t-shirts when we got to Orlando. Believe me. They are everywhere! When we set out our clothes the night before, my Mom brought them in the t-shirts to set with the rest of their clothes. They were SUPER excited to get to wear them to Disney!

Me and my awesome family, as we first entered the Magic Kingdom!

Staying safe. After we parked, Hubby and I talked to the boys about our usual safety rules: (1) You must hold onto Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, or Papa... and let us know if you are going to someone else. (2) You can not run off. We knew they would be excited, so we just wanted to remind them of the normal rules. They really did great!

As a final note, I definitely recommend athletic shoes, as you will do lots of walking. We were able to get to all the rides that we wanted to show the boys and then make a second round to go again on their favorite rides: Buzz Light Year, The People Mover, and Peter Pan. Before going, I knew they would love the Buzz Light Year ride, but I was very surprised by their enjoyment for The People Mover and Peter Pan. The People Mover was a nice chance for them to take a break from the walking. Plus, it gave them a new vantage point of the Magic Kingdom. I will note that they didn't like the complete darkness, as we passed through Space Mountain. Thankfully, my Mom ("Grandma") and I kept them distracted enough to be OK with it.

Me and the boys with my beautiful Mom waving to you!
I'd love to hear your money-saving tips for weathering theme parks!


    1. Next time we go, we said we'd try to stay longer and get the dining plan. It really did seem like a great value for the price. I had several other people suggest it, but I guess I was just being stubborn. haha!

    2. Great post! We had the dining plan, and I have to say that it seems expensive up front, but in the end, I do believe it is a savings.