Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Thrifty Tips Tuesday!
Hiya!! I'm starting a new weekly feature!!!
Many families are extremely budget conscious, and that doesn't change when planning a Disney vacation. We are lucky enough to survive on one income. Notice I said "survive". No rolling in dough here!! Definitely means we clip coupons, trim our budget as much as possible. If we don't, we can't go to Disney World each year. And even then, the trip costs need to be kept at a minimum.
So for my first Thrifty Tips Tuesday, I will talk about Disney's promotions!!
For the past 5 years or so, Disney has been offering some awesome deals. With the economy and all, their attendance had taken a hit so they deemed it necessary to get people in their parks any way they could. And one way was by offering resort and park packages at stellar deals!! The deals usually have specifcations on length of stay, or a specific date, and have to be booked by a certain date, but if you take advantage of these promotions, you can save yourself a bundle!
Here are some of the deals they have offered over the past few years:
Free Dining Plan: This has been offered mainly in the last summer/early fall, but the last two years has been extended through the rest of the fall, and for 2011, select dates from January through September. This is a huge savings for families, especially if they would have purchased the plan anyway. The promo used to include the basic DDP for any resort, but has been changed to Quick Service Plan for Value resorts and Basic Plan for Moderates and Deluxes. You can stay at a value resort and upgrade to the Basic Plan by paying the difference in cost. We usually stay at a value resort and pay to upgrade. This seems to be the best deal for us, saving us about $500 last year. My fingers are crossed for a Free Dining promo for our dates this year...it would save us even more since my son is now over 3 and no longer free.
Kids Stay and Play Free: This is also a great promo if you have 2 or more kids. The kids get basic park passes for free, same length as those of their parents', and stay at the resort for free...which makes no sense because there is never an extra charge for kids. Resort rooms accommodate 4 people for a flat fee. So really, the promo is for free park passes. A basic park pass for 2011 for a kid costs #238.46. So with two kids, that would save you over $500.
Gift Card Promo: Last year Disney did a promotion where if you booked a package, you got a free gift card to use however you wished. Values received $300, Mod $500 and Deluxes $750. I believe they offered this promo again, but the GC amounts had lowered. But either way, it could easily take care of much of your food bill for the week or souvenirs. Hubby and I booked the GC promo for our adult only getaway last April. We debated on food and in the end booked the Quick Service DDP and used the gift card on souvenirs and such. And we'd saved a good chunk of the card for our next family trip.
General Room Discounts: This is exactly what it sounds like. Disney will often offer discounts off room rates. And most times it's 40% of Deluxes, 30% off Mods, and 25% off Values. This can work out really well if you had already been planning on staying Delux and can trumop a Free Dining offer. I have a friend who did the room discount instead of Free Dining at the Boardwalk. It was just her and her hubby, so the Free Dining wasn't as great a savings for them.
I'm sure there has been other promotions, but these are the biggies. If you're thinking of booking a trip to Walt Disney World, make sure you check out the current promotions- there is usually a button on their home page.
There are usually blackout dates, but as long as you check in by the last day of the promotion period you get the promotion for the entire trip. Like Free Dining or the room discounts.If, say, the promotion ends September 30th...as long as you check in by that date, you still get the promotion for the entire stay.
And if you book your trip without a promotion, because they aren't offering one at the time, keep checking back. If a promotion is announced for your dates, simply call and they will apply the discount to your package. (But if it's within 45 days of your check in, they may charge you a $50 fee...but as long as the discount is more than that, it's still worth it!) Our November trip for this year was booked a month ago and there are curently no promotions for that time period. But I am holding out hope and keeping my fingers crossed!!