Have any travel plans for this summer or the remainder of the year? My husband and I are planning to take our son to Disney World this summer and I’ll be taking another trip in the fall.
It’s no secret that travel can get expensive – especially a trip to a famous attraction like Disney World. While some people may say that Disney amusement resorts are overrated, I think they’re a huge representation of one of the joys of childhood in America.
I watched Disney movies and television shows growing up as I’m sure many other people did and it had a huge impact on my childhood.
Even as an adult, I still enjoy Disney movies and entertainment and it’s a pastime I like to enjoy with my son.
I think all kids should get to experience Disney World or Disney Land if they can because it will be an exciting and unforgettable experience for them.
My son is 7 and we finally feel like he’s old enough to remember and truly enjoy what the park has to offer.
The biggest concern was our budget and being able to comfortably afford a trip. If you’re considering a trip to Disney vacation sometime in the future as well, I wanted to share a few things we’re doing to save up for the trip and how we plan on saving money when we get there.
Setting a Clear Budget
Setting a clear budget is the first step when you’re planning a trip in general. You have to keep in mind how much you feel comfortable spending so you know how much you need to save.
When it came to our Disney budget, I did some research on the parks, the cost of our flights, food, etc. to figure out how much we would be spending.
We also decided to keep our trip rather short so we didn’t need to save as much money. By setting a clear budget and researching our expenses, we’ve been able to determine how much we need to set aside each month which is very important and keeps us organized.
As many regular readers know, I love using side hustles to help meet my financial goals quicker. My husband and I have been ramping up our side hustle income to help us afford the trip to Disney World this summer.
My favorite side hustle of choice has been freelance writing but now that I do that full-time, freelancing is pretty much my main job now and blogging is my side hustle.
I’ve been trying to increase my blogging income through sponsors, affiliates, and ads and to do this, I’ve been implementing different strategies to improve my site’s traffic. One of those main strategies is improving SEO.
I love how flexible freelancing is as well because I can always pick up another client if I need to earn more money.
My husband who still works at a traditional job is driving for Uber on the side. He goes out to drive a minimum of 3 nights per week and earns a few hundred each week.
I also want to start selling a few unwanted items from my home online or that I find at garage sales to earn extra money to help cover some of our meals while we’re on vacation at Disney Word. My friend Jason, started a free 5-day thrifting challenge that taught me some more about flipping thrift store items for a profit by reselling them online.
Limit Spending On Extras
This is a given but in addition to ramping up our side hustles, we’re also getting more restrictive with our spending on ‘extra’ expenses. I have a budget category for miscellaneous expenses that I’m trying to limit in order to save more for the trip.
Even though we consider ourselves very frugal, there are still so many little things we spend money on throughout the year that are just unnecessary. We’re paying closer attention to our purchases to make sure we’re not just buying things for convenience or because we can.
I’d recommend doing this for anyone who just wants to save more money in general. It seems like a small move, but it can make a huge difference.
How We’re Saving Money At Disney World
Naturally, we’re cutting expenses associated with our stay in Florida for our Disney vacation which reduces the amount of money we need to save up for the trip overall. One of my good friends just got back from Disney World and gave my some great tips for saving money. Plus, I did a ton of research on my own.
Using Hopper to Help Us Book Flights
Flights from Chicago to Orlando usually aren’t that high, but we’re using an app called Hopper to watch flight prices for us so we can purchase our tickets at the lowest possible price.
With Hopper, you just download the app, enter your desired destination and travel dates, and the app will notify you of price changes for airlines and advise you on the best time to buy your tickets.
It’s pretty cool!
Off-Site Hotel and Credit Card Rewards
We’re going to save money on our hotel by using credit card rewards. My husband and I both have the IHG Rewards credit card which is what we used to score several free nights for our Caribbean honeymoon last year.
With the IHG Rewards credit card, you get a free night to stay at any IHG property each year. Since our one-year anniversary was at the end of last year, we each got a free night that expires in September.
We’re going to each use our free night to book a room near Disney World in August so we’ll get to stay 2 nights for free.
Paying for additional nights is pretty cheap since the Holiday Inn hotel we’re staying at is not an official Disney World hotel.
Uber and Free Transportation
Renting a car when we get to Florida sounds like it can get expensive and hectic, so we decided to rely on Uber to get around. Since my husband drives for Uber, he gets a discount as an Uber passenger which will lower the cost of our transportation.
If you’ve never tried Uber before, you can use my link to get $20 off your first ride.
We also chose a hotel that provides a free shuttle to Disney’s parks so it won’t cost us anything to go back and forth.
Considering the Park Hopper Pass
We’re not 100% sure that we’ll go with this option just yet, but we’re considering getting the Disney Park Hopper pass which lets you visit multiple Disney parks during your stay vs. paying to get into each park individually.
For anyone who’s planning on visiting all the Disney parks or staying for several days, the Park Hopper pass would be a great option to help you save money.
Visiting Only a Few Parks
We’re not sure about the Park Hopper pass because we decided not to visit all the Disney parks during our trip. On the day of our arrival, we plan to just hang out at the hotel pool and do some sight seeing.
We’re not really interested in going to the waterpark resort and I’m not sure about Epcot or Universal, but I know we definitely want to Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom.
When considering which parks to visit, it’s also important to keep your kid’s age in mind because some parks may be more age appropriate for them over others.
Bringing Water Into the Parks
This sounds like a small gesture but I hear it gets super hot in Florida and when you’re visiting Disney, having water on hand is a must. We definitely don’t want to get caught paying for $4 water bottles for each of us so we plan on bringing our own water bottles into the park and filling them up at different water fountains to stay hydrated.
We’re also considering bringing some snacks and lunch items since you can bring in padded coolers only. This will help us avoid spending money on pricey meals in the park.
These are just a few ways we’re planning on saving money while we’re at Disney World. So far, our side hustles have been going well and we’re super excited to take off later this summer and share the experience of visiting Disney World with our little guy.
It will be a first-time experience for all of us since my husband and I never went as kids. I’m sure we’ll all have a great time and I’ll be sure to post an update and some pictures when we get back.
My Favorite Resources
AirBnb – Skip the hotel and save a ton of money on your stay.
CapitalOne 360 – Save up for your Disney trip with a high-yield savings account so you can earn interest on your money. I’ve been using Capital One 360 for 3 years now and still love it! Receive $25 when you open your first account.
Uber – Receive $20 off your first ride
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