Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Doing Disney Our Way

When people think of Disney, they may be picturing a Disney dream vacation. That's where you put together a package of Disney hotels, tickets and meal plans. While there is nothing wrong with these, they are very pricey. They may be handy if you are flying in and need to stay at Disney for transportation reasons and need to eat at Disney. But seriously, a five day Disney plan with hotel, a meal plan and tickets for our crew would be crazy. Right now they have a special that includes tickets, rooms and a meal plan. For fun I priced it out. For five people staying five days at Animal Kingdom, it would be $5,392. And there are more than five of us going. Crazy!

Paris Disney 1996/7 (we went to Tokyo Disney 1991 but I don't have the pictures scanned in)

So here's our Disney plan:
Drive down Thursday and go to Disney Friday and Saturday. Drive back Sunday. Sometimes we go half way home the second night but due to cheap rooms there, we are driving all the way back Sunday. Don't know how much money we'll need for gas. We normally stop at the Little Caesars that's just short of half way and get a $5 pizza and $1.20 soda to share. Since we have six of us going this time, we'll splurge and get 2 pizzas and 2 sodas. Still under $15 even with tax.

We are staying at Rodeway Inn about ten minutes from Disney. We normally all pack into one room, but I splurged and got two--one regular at 27.99 a night for two nights. And one deluxe at 34.99 a night for two nights. With tax $152.34 total for both nights. It's three times that for our crew for one night at a Disney resort. When I have points, we get a suite with two queens and a bunkbed, but I'm short points for that this trip and this is just as good. We will need a hotel for Thursday night. If we stop before we get there, we'll all shove in one room. If we make it all the way there, we'll see if we can stay at the Rodeway.

Food plan? PBJ, water bottles and chips taken in backpacks. Thankfully Disney allows outside food. The younger kids have saved some allowance money and the older two have job money so they can splurge for Disney food if they want. When they do that, they normally buy one chicken plate that has a half rotisserie chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes and green beans and split it out. If you're thinking your kids would never share like that, well, mine know that no one gets their own unless they foot the bill. 

Yep, we are cheap. But that's why we can go on trips. We were able to go on a cruise very inexpensively last June, and  I've been setting aside for this trip for a long time, although I didn't know exactly when it would be. And others have helped out. We got six 4-day hopper passes for way less than you'd normally pay for  2-day passes. And Jessica and Jasmine bought their own tickets. Adam got his as a present for his Marine boot camp graduation. My sister and brother kicked in for it with me. We are only using two days of the passes now and will use two days most likely in February.  

So that's the Cassel Crew way to do Disney. No sepcial rooms. No breakfasts with Mickey. And no one complains. We go to have fun together and to ride the rides. 

Again, not criticizing any one who does the Disney packages (I know of at least four families who have) because what works for one doesn't always work for another. And that means those families were probably really creative on how they saved money to do it.

So share your Disney strategy if you have one. And also your favorite things to do. We've gone lots of times, but I'm sure there are things we haven't done or rides/shows we've skipped because they didn't sound that interesting. Also, which parks you've been to. We've been to Tokyo Disney (Rick was stationed in Okinawa so it wasn't like we went from here!), and Paris (Rick was stationed in England and we drove to it) and Rick has been to CA. I think it would be fun to do a Disney hop tour to all of them now. Tyler had just turned two when we went to Tokyo and Jessica wasn't quite one. 

If you've never been to Disney, then you need to join us! I'll even share our peanut butter!


megan said...

I've never been to Disney :( Is it Jif PB?

Felicia said...

We have done both ways. Last time we did the biggest package with meals and also had the biggest group, 10 kids. We did get a military rate and bought military tickets. We stayed on Disney proper because we knew that with adult children around we would need the flexibility of the Disney transportation. We chose to do the meal plan so that our group could meet up at least once a day to enjoy a big meal together. For our family at this time it worked great. When the kids were smaller we stayed off Disney and all drove in together and left together. For that time it was a good way to go.

Hevel said...

Our major Disney strategy is trying to avoid Disney as much as we can. When my kids visit their American grandparents theny they take them. They live like half sn hour away. And that includes traffic jams. Seriously. They live in Fullerton now.

I promised this year's bat/bar mitzvah kids to take them to Disneyland Paris or whatever EuroDisney calls itself this day. We are booking a week long trip to France with four days in Paris and only one spent at Disney with the five, who are bar/bat mitzvah already, as Craig and Itai didn't get to go anywhere last year. We are staying at a boutique hotel, where we stay very cheap thanks to catching their re- opening discount.

Disney iis hell on earth when you have 13 kids, all wanting to do different things. Plus it's far. Just getting passports for everyone takes up our yearly holiday budget.

On the other hand I'm really looking forward to the Louvre where we want to spend two days. This is what happens when you raise two budding artists who "want to do Disney".

Katie Tripp said...

We have never done the whole Disney thing. A couple years ago, we were invited to go with some friends and stay in their timeshare, so it would just be tickets/food. We live six hours away from LA, so the gas wasn't too bad. We ended up getting the annual pass, since we were going for three days anyway. We try and stay somewhere that has breakfast, and eat a big breakfast. Then we bring in snacks/water, and do one big meal in the afternoon. That way we aren't eating at normal mealtimes (we miss the crazy lines for food, and we get shorter lines for rides) and we will often leave the park. I have been to Disney World, but my husband and kids haven't. I'd love to take them someday, but it's a cross country trip and that won't happen for awhile yet :) Have a great time!

Emily said...

We've pretty much skipped Disney. Last year for Kate's birthday, Radio Disney gave us two 1-day Park Hoppers so I could take her. That was awesome! Three years ago I won four tickets for the filming of their holiday parade. It was really fun to get in early and watch the filming. It was even more fun to see our family on tv on Christmas morning! We haven't done Disney with all the kids because we've chosen SeaWorld instead. We have a friend who works for SeaWorld in California, and she sends us two friends&family passes each year, which get us huge benefits. We buy FunCards for the kids and Matt and I get the friends&family passes. Free VIP parking, 35% off food and merchandise, huge discounts on their hands-on experiences, etc. With all that, it ended up costing our family $400 to go to SeaWorld for a year...cheaper than we could have done Disney for a day. Since we live in Orlando, this has been the way to go for us. Are y'all coming down this weekend? I think we're going to SeaWorld after church on Sunday. It would be fun to meet up for dinner or something.

Fatcat said...


This site is from AAA and will help calculate your fuel costs. It's pretty accurate. We vacation the same way, plan it well, get the money in advance, eat cheap.

Kathy C. said...

Megan--sometimes, but this time it's Skippy. I may splurge and buy some uncrustables this time too since we'll have four meals there.

Emily-- we'll get in very late Thursday and have to be on the road early Sunday because once we are home, Adam is going to turn right around and go on another two hours to stay near the airport he flies out of at 6 a.m. Monday. Jessica, Jasmine and I have Sea World passes we've barely used so we will probably visit Sea World before next June when they run out. Perhaps we can meet up then? Or we could leave Disney for a while and meet somewhere to eat that the kids could play.

Kathy C. said...

Felicia--I guess it would be different with older kids. But really mine want to spend the whole day at Disney. They just want to be able to go between parks on their own occasionally. But that's because we are only ther 2-3 days at a time and they want to do it all.

Hvel--France sounds like a great vacation. Would love to visit again. Only had Ty & Jessica with us and they were 5 & 6 or something like that and we only did Disney and a short river cruise.

Katie-sounds like you've been at the one we're missing. But now they have another one--China or Hong Kong or somewhere like that.

Rose Anne said...

Saul and I and the rest would love to go to Disney, Saul's older brotherOlson lives with his family in Jacksonville and if we ever get to the state of Florida there would have to be a pit stop...Now with awheel chair it could be interesting to say the least...

Nadia said...

our disney plan...40% disney property discount, free passes...so we eat McDonald's on our way into the part, take a backpack with a couple snacks,refillable water bottles and crystal light(YUCKY florida water) and buy food in the park...not tons of food because quite honestly when it's hot who wants a ton of food?!! we priced out the dining plan for 5 days and it was like 1000 bucks for 3 of us..that's INSANE. we Did Downtown Disney (Bongo's) this year for J's Adoption day and the Princess dinner at the floridian as a treat.

Kathy C. said...

Rose Ann--do it. You'd get to go in the handicapped line and usually don't have to wait.

Nadia--sounds like you have a great Disney set up.