My Great Disney World Adventure

Yesterday I wrote about my recent business trip to Orlando. This is the “rest of the story”, a behind-the-scenes look at how I spent way too much money for a one-day vacation.

When Kris and I agreed to fly to Orlando for the unveiling of The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, we hoped to have time to explore the rest of EPCOT Center. But when we received the itinerary, it was clear that all we'd actually be doing was attending the opening ceremony. We were scheduled to fly in at midnight, attend festivities from 10am until 1pm, and then fly home at 5pm.

“That's a bummer,” Kris said. “You should ask the PR rep if there's any way we can stay an extra day.” Since the public-relations firm was arranging the trip (and presumably paying for it), we were at their mercy. But as many GRS readers have noted in the past, it never hurts to ask. So I did.

“I can delay your return flight by a day,” the PR rep said. “That's no problem. But you'll have to pay your way for the extra stay, including the hotel and meals.” So, in essence, Kris and I had a 24-hour vacation in Florida and didn't have to pay for airfare. (We also received a reduced rate at the hotel.) How expensive could it be?

Packing light
While preparing for our visit to Orlando, we decided to put to use all that we've learned about traveling economically. We packed light. I took one pair of nice shoes and one pair of nice pants, but three of everything else. We shared one piece of carry-on luggage between us, and we each took a small shoulder-bag as well.

The travel and the time-shift were uneventful but exhausting. Our plane arrived in Orlando at around midnight, and Disney's Magical Express (aka The Bus) dropped us at our hotel an hour later. We awoke at the equivalent of 4am Pacific to prepare ourselves for the media event. Our introduction to The Great Piggy Bank Adventure concluded with a buffet lunch during which we spoke with two Disney Imagineers.

After lunch, we said good-bye to our host and to the representatives from Disney and T. Rowe Price. Under our original plan, we would have immediately returned to the hotel to catch the shuttle to the airport. But because we'd arranged for an extra night, we had 24 hours to explore the theme park. We stepped out of the restaurant and into…a torrential downpour!

A warm wet rain was falling on EPCOT. Tourists — most of whom were wearing identical $8 Mickey Mouse ponchos — waded through huge puddles or huddled together under the eaves of the buildings, trying to stay dry. Coming from the press event, Kris and I were not suitably dressed for that kind of weather. “Uh, what do we do now?” I asked. “I'm in my nice clothes. I don't want to ruin these shoes.”

“I don't want to ruin my shoes, either,” Kris said. “We need to get back to the hotel.”

We killed time until the rain let up a bit, and then scurried back to our room. Once there, we had a tough decision. Kris had a spare pair of shoes, but I did not. “I can't wear these shoes if it's going to rain,” I said.

“See if you can buy a pair of Crocs in the gift shop,” Kris suggested. “They were selling them in the park.”

I managed to find a pair of Mickey Mouse Crocs for $37. Though I had sworn never to own a pair of those hideous things, I bought them anyhow. They served me well for the rest of the trip. I also bought a $46 rain jacket. “So much for packing light,” I thought as I paid my $83. “But at least these will get lots of use back in Oregon.”

I changed into my rain gear (including a pair of shorts that Kris had packed for me) and returned to the park.

Living with the land
We spent the afternoon following tips from Get Rich Slowly readers. The highlight for us was the Living with the Land boat ride (it's like Pirates of the Caribbean — with vegetables!), followed by the “behind the seeds” tour of EPCOT's hydroponic gardens. The former was free, but the latter cost $32 for the two of us. It was well worth the cost, though, to see the amazing tomato tree (which produces over 1000 pounds of fruit in a season!) and to be snapped at by the baby alligators.

On YouTube, someone has posted a nice video of the greenhouse portion of the Living with the Land tour.

 

This tomato plant has been nurtured to be tree-like. It's amazing!

 

In the late afternoon and evening, we sloshed around the wet sidewalks, wandering the 11 countries of the World Showcase, trying to find things to do that didn't involve spending. There weren't a lot of options. Much of EPCOT consists of places to eat and shop; it's designed to part a tourist from his money.

We ate dinner at Edo, a Benihana-like restaurant in the Japan section of the park. (Benihana is Kris' favorite.) Moments after we entered the restaurant, the rain began to fall in torrents. It was even literally falling sideways at one point. “I'm glad I have my Crocs,” I muttered. After our $85 dinner, we stayed in EPCOT to watch the raucous fireworks show before turning in for the night.

All wet
In the morning, I was pleased to see that the sun was shining. Or trying to. There were clouds, but there were also patches of blue sky. “My shorts are still soaked from yesterday,” I told Kris. “I'm going to wear my nice pants.”

“You do that little thing,” she said.

We ate breakfast in the hotel ($45!!!) before heading back to EPCOT ($160!!!). “Wow,” I said. “How can a family afford this? We've got the money, but can you imagine some of our friends with kids? To spend a week here would be ruinous.”

We spent our morning looking at the butterfly garden (lame!), observing families at The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, and riding Mission: SPACE (we chose the “intense” option, which was a mistake — we're too old, and we felt nauseated for hours afterward).

“I'm glad it's not raining today,” I said as we headed to lunch in Morocco. We enjoyed our kabobs and lemon chicken ($48) and then decided to return to the hotel. We stepped out of the restaurant into…a torrential downpour!

“You've got to be kidding,” I said. Kris laughed. She pulled out her $8 Mickey Mouse poncho and I zipped up my rain jacket. We sprinted through France to England, where we joined a group of tourists under an awning. We watched the water cascade down the sidewalks.

“My pants are soaked!” I said as the rain began to fall even harder. I was happy to at least be wearing my Crocs. My shoes really would have been ruined by the rain.

“This is unbelievable,” said a woman next to us. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled. Everyone was drenched.

“We need to get back to the hotel,” I said after a while. “The Disney Magical Express leaves in twenty minutes.” We darted over to the ferry, but the captain told us he couldn't run the boat in the heavy weather. Instead, we ran down the sidewalk, exposed to the elements, sluicing through a couple of inches of standing water. We cut into the first hotel we saw (because all of them are basically interconnected). Disney employees were there to greet us and to hand out towels. We dried off as best we could, but we were both soaked to the bone.

“We're from Oregon, but we're not used to rain like this!” I told the hotel employee as I gave her my wet towel.

“This is unusual,” she said. “This is the kind of rain you'd expect with a tropical storm, but there just isn't any wind.”

As we gathered our luggage, I realized I had another clothing-related problem. “I don't have a dry pair of pants,” I said. “I can't spent ten hours on planes in wet clothes. I need to buy a pair of shorts.”

“Hurry,” said Kris. “The Disney Magical Express will be here in just a couple of minutes.” Fortunately, Disney stores are ubiquitous at the resort, and I was able to pick up a pair of “surf shorts” ($40). We changed into dry clothes and were out front to meet the bus just as it arrived.

$20 per hour
“You know, I've spent over $100 on clothes here,” I said as the bus left for the airport. “I bought almost as much as I brought.” We laughed at the irony of the situation, but agreed that we couldn't feel too bad about the clothing purchases. I chose practical items that I'll use for a long time. (In fact, I've practically lived in the “surf shorts” since we returned. I'm wearing them right now!)

On the long flight home, I contemplated how much I'd spent for that extra 24 hours at EPCOT. If I'd stuck to the original itinerary, I wouldn't have seen much (if any) of the park, but I also wouldn't have spent anything. In the extra day we stayed, my non-business expenses totaled:

  • $160 for one night in the hotel
  • $160 for a day in EPCOT
  • $178 for food (oh, my frugal heart)
  • $32 for the “behind the seeds” tour (money well-spent!)
  • $123 for clothing

That last line-item is unfortunate, but acceptable. I'll use the clothes for years to come. But in retrospect, I'm not sure it was such a smart choice to spend $530 to experience EPCOT for one day. That's over $20 per hour! Plus, that's $530 from my vacation fund that could have been saved for a trip to Europe.

One of the first things I did when we returned home was to look up information on how to save money at Disney theme parks. It turns out that Nancy Benac has a recent article on this very subject that is making the rounds: “How to do Disney World on a Dime“. Benac says there's not much you can do to get around the high cost of park entrance, but there are other things that can make a family vacation to Orlando more affordable, such as:

  • Use the web to find inexpensive lodging outside the Disney resort complex.
  • Eat as many meals as possible outside of the theme parks. And pack snacks so that you don't have to buy expensive treats. (This is something Kris and I would have done under normal circumstances.)
  • Set a budget for souvenirs.

Though this trip depleted my vacation sub-account at ING Direct, I do not regret the expense. I consider it a learning experience. In general, Kris and I take frugal holidays. During our five-day vacation to the San Juan Islands last fall, for example, we didn't spend much more than $530. Our EPCOT experience simply reinforces how much we prefer to take cheap vacations close to home. Disney may be fun, but it's too expensive — and too wet — for my tastes!

Here I am, all tough in front of the hydroponic winter melon. Dig the new rain jacket!

 

I feel like I've been spending a lot of money lately. It's money I've saved, true, but it still feels extravagant. It may be time to focus on frugality for a while.

Update: Several commenters have recommended MouseSavers.com as a great source of discount Disney ideas.

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HollyP
HollyP
11 years ago

In my experience travelling there with my family, I’ve found it is much less expensive to stay outside the park. You could’ve purchased the clothes for cheap money at one of the ubiquitous tourist shops, or Walmart if you’ve rented a car. Lots of inexpensive food options, plus grocery stores where you can buy snacks. Taking the bus to/from the park is inconvenient, but free from most local hotels. The multi-day Disney passes are cheaper on a per-day basis than the single day pass. (I’m shocked at how much you paid for the single-day pass!) I’ve also learned to bring… Read more »

Laura in Atlanta
Laura in Atlanta
11 years ago

LOL . . . I was hoping for a photo of you in Crocs!

Anne Keckler | ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Anne Keckler | ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
11 years ago

My family has vacationed at Disney World plenty of times, and there are a lot of ways to save money. First of all, you don’t eat in the parks, and you don’t shop in the parks. There are tons of restaurants and stores within a very short drive of WDW, including a WalMart Supercenter which carries a bunch of Disney stuff for way less than you’d pay in the park! You can take water and snacks into the parks. There are also cheap tickets to be had, if you shop around. Don’t buy tickets at the park! There are entire… Read more »

sandycheeks
sandycheeks
11 years ago

It seems like a lot of your expenses were due to last minute decisions and a lack of planning. Even the food, there are less expensive options in the park if you know where to get them. I took the fam in Feb and for a 3 night, 4 day trip for 4 people we spent about $1800. This included airfare, the disney dining plan including daily character meals, on site resort for 3 nights (2 connecting rooms so it was like paying 6 nights) plus 3 day tickets to the parks. I am not a seasoned disney tripper and… Read more »

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

While I admit that Disney can be incredibly expensive, some smart planning can make it much more affordable. We’re going to Disney World for two weeks (with side-outings elsewhere), and we’re paying about $230 per day for tickets, hotel, and our food included in that thanks to some research on typical discounts and realistic planning about what we can do in two weeks. We did splurge for a more expensive hotel, which is what drove our cost up, but I think it depends on what you’re expecting. I won’t be expecting to pay $100 on clothes when I get there,… Read more »

Cap
Cap
11 years ago

Haha… love the gansta look in front of the melons. Priceless. Minus the clothes, that’s $407 for one extra night. That is slightly pricey but eh, it’s not an everyday thing and if it wont put you into a financial hardship then its a non-issue. One of the reason why I horde away money for things that I don’t feel are important is so that when some opportunity comes up that I’d enjoy doing (e.g., travel), I’ll have enough money laying around so that I can comfortably take advantage of the opportunity without worrying about breaking the bank.

Lauren Muney, behavior change specialist
Lauren Muney, behavior change specialist
11 years ago

I sent this post to my friend Laura, who until recently worked full-time as an entertainer in EPCOT. (Economy-related pink slips have hit Disney, too…)

frugalscholar
frugalscholar
11 years ago

I just wrote a bit about this (and a bit about my comment on your post yesterday). There ARE ways to keep the cost down. As you note, stay off-site; eat elsewhere; skip the souvenirs.

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

Yeah, I know that there are ways to keep costs down within a short drive of the park. The key there is that “short drive” thing. That just wasn’t an option for us. Looking back, the one way we could have saved was to have been more selective about which restaurants we chose.

Jennifer
Jennifer
11 years ago

LOL I think this sort of thing has happened to all of us one time or another. It confirms a decision we made yesterday too. My dh has to go to St Petersberg for a conference. We were contemplating driving down as a family and spending the week in FL. After figuring up all the extra expenses we decided against it. Things add up too quickly.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Day trips to Disney are the most expensive if calculating cost/day. The Cost/per day drops when staying for more than 4 days. Look at mousesavers.com

I am wondering how two people traveled to San Jaun Islands for $530.

TosaJen
TosaJen
11 years ago

Ouch! I’ve had a few of these travel-related learning experiences. You can foresee most things, but not a monsoon!

And you’re highlighting why we will take the kids to a Disney park only once during our time with them. The kids agitate to go, but they’re willing to wait until they’re both old enough to do all the rides.

Adam
Adam
11 years ago

Back in April my wife and I took an 8 day 7 night trip to Disney, all in all it cost $3000, which is $7.82 per head. My wife had never been before and wanted to fully experience Disney by staying at a Disney resort. At the time we were looking, Disney was offering a seven night resort stay for the price of four nights if you purchased the 8 day park admission. We opted for this and added a park-hopper option to allow us access to any of the parks (Animal Kingdom and Epcot took most of our time).… Read more »

Sarah Ruley
Sarah Ruley
11 years ago

THe incredibly high cost you’ve quoted here is a great example of the biggest mistake people make when going to Disney…no PLANNING! I’m taking a family of 4 to Disney for $1600 (including airfare from Minnesota), and that includes staying on property and eating lunch and dinner on property (with dining plan.) Disney offers plenty of discounts on lodging (or in our case free dining.) And Disney’s high price for a one day ticket is because they don’t want or expect anyone to stay for a day…I can add on a 6 or 7th day to a ticket for about… Read more »

MTL
MTL
11 years ago

As a resident of Orlando, I can assure you that the pouring rain we’ve had for the last week and a half is abnormal. Sure it rains nearly every afternoon in the hot, hot summer too, but that can be refreshing (albeit further humidifying!), not like what you experienced.

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

I just realized something funny about those two photographs: You cannot see it, but the rain is coming down in buckets. We’re in the EPCOT greenhouses, though, and so are protected from the wet. If there were sound in the photos, you would hear the tremendous racket from the falling rain. It was all around, and made it difficult to hear the tour guide who was standing just a few feet away.

April
April
11 years ago

I have no interest in theme parks or other Vegas-like attractions. Even as a kid, I preferred to go camping, and that still holds true. I think part of the reason is that I’m not a fan of manufactured vacation locales. Like the Venetian in Vegas–something seems so weird and “off” about it. I also like to vacation in places where there is deep history and a different culture, and certainly nowhere that I feel is constantly advertising or marketing to me. Maybe this is why I love to backpack in the desert, far from billboards and ads and TVs!… Read more »

Ian
Ian
11 years ago

What does “economical packing” have to do with frugality? For a two day trip, I can carry about 4-5 days worth of clothing in my carry on bag. That usually includes nice outfits, extra shoes, and even workout clothes. I usually pack a full extra days worth of clothes just for these types of situations.

On the other hand- Epcot is my favorite! A fun thing to do is an around the world pub crawl.

Cap
Cap
11 years ago

No wonder you’re wearing a rain coat. I thought you were just trying to look cool because both picture came out rather sunny. All I was thinking was “What’s JD doing with a raincoat in Southern Florida?”

Holly
Holly
11 years ago

Even though this was an unexpected expenditure, you still had free airfare, one free night/day in a nice hotel, free meal(s), and a free one-day admission–for TWO! The only downside was a downpour and the fact that you weren’t warned about the dangers of under-packing. Maybe you could’ve worn shorts and sandals to the business mtg.? It is Orlando after all. Great story!

Brian
Brian
11 years ago

Looks like you were down during our week of rain. Even the seasoned Floridians like me were ready for it to end. When traveling to FL April – October, you should be prepared for heavy rain. While a week straight of rain for several hours is not common, afternoon thunderstorm are. Looking at your meal choices, I think you chose a lot of full service eateries. Those can get pricey fast. You need to stick with counter service to save on meals or purchase the meal plan. I’m not sure I’d go to Epcot 2 days in a row. Epcot… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

I have lived in Florida my whole life, and my family (with SIX kids) went to Disney a few times every year all growing up. Once we got in the park, we seldom spent more than about $20. It is not hard to do Disney cheap, but it does take a little planning. A few examples: Eat breakfast before you go in the park… read McDonalds. Pack sandwiches and snacks and even drinks. You are allowed to bring food in, and there are lockers near the main entrance so you don’t have to carry it around all day. We lived… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

I thought of another reason that I was caught off-guard by the cost of this one-day vacation. Kris and I have been to Disneyland in California several times, and it usually doesn’t cost much. For one thing, she has extended family that lives near the park, so we can stay with them. For another, she has an uncle who works there and can get us in for free. Also, we’ve always been able to take in our own snacks. Because we save on everything else, we don’t mind eating in the park, but if we were trying to save, I’m… Read more »

jen
jen
11 years ago

Another silver lining, Crocs are great to wear while gardening too; just hose them off!

Nice to know that the “Behind the seeds” tour is worth it. I’ve never done that, but now it’s on my list.

Greenman2001
Greenman2001
11 years ago

Mickey Mouse crocs: I love it.

Now that you see how good they are at squeezing you, are you considering buying their stock? You can imagine how effectively even less-prepared families of five are separated from their money.

This really is a well-written post, JD. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You’re good at this.

JimiSlew
JimiSlew
11 years ago

Wait… the hydroponic thing was real? Woah. I’ve been there twice (ok, before I actually started gardening and the first time I was 10) and I thought the whole thing was fake!

Stunned.

Kristen @TheFrugalGirl
Kristen @TheFrugalGirl
11 years ago

Those garden photos are amazing. I love the tomato tree.

We have four kids, and people often ask us when we’re going to take them to Disney, as if it’s something we HAVE to do. Give how expensive it is, it’s quite likely we’ll never go(and I think my children will be just fine in spite of that).

We take yearly off-season vacations to the beach each year, which are far less expensive, far less crowded and, in my opinion, just as fun as Disney(I went when I was a teenager).

mark
mark
11 years ago

There is no real savings from staying offsite unless you want a much nicer room at the expense of convenience and the cost of a rental car. A one-day trip to Disney is going to be expensive no matter how planned out you are, unless you bring your own food (which I wouldn’t recommend unless you prefer it to a restaurant). A week-long family vacation at Disney, with meal plan included, can be as inexpensive as $1300 if you do just a little research/shopping around. That includes all meals (plenty of food too), park tickets, transportation via magical express and… Read more »

mark
mark
11 years ago

Forgot to mention one more thing….Epcot is way over-rated, unless you’re going there at night to eat a nice dinner (overpriced though) and then get drunk. There really is no other reason to go IMO.

The other parks are much better for families.

Louis Rosas-Guyon
Louis Rosas-Guyon
11 years ago

Do you know why they call it the Magic Kingdom? Because all your money disappears.

My wife and daughter are Disney fanatics so we shower our money on the Mouse once per year. The only real way to save money on Disney is to just stay home. And Crocs are evil.

Neal Frankle
Neal Frankle
11 years ago

I have three daughters – age 21,18 and 10. I’ve been to Disney more times than I can remember.

I remember great times there with my kids…..and I’ve forgotten what it cost me. I guess that means it was worth it.

Andrea
Andrea
11 years ago

Disney is definitely not cheap! Luckily as a Florida resident we were able to purchase season tickets for a family of 4 for almost as much as you spent for your additional day! It’s been a great year to be able to take the kids to Disney whenever the mood strikes us!

The rain you experienced was not normal. We are still drying out from that and as a Floridian it was miserable. Afternoon thunderstorms are to be expected though during the summers due to daytime heating.

Overall I’m glad you enjoyed your trip even with the additional expenses!

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

I’m a seasoned Disney person (I live in MD, but have been um… an uncountable number of times, but let’s just say 50 times). Definitely mistake #1 was not checking the weather before you went. Florida has been getting horrible horrible rains. Admittedly, Disney isn’t a lot of fun in the rain, almost everything to do that is fun is outdoors, or requires you to be outdoors. If you had packed properly, it would have really lowered the expenses on your trip and you could have limited your souvenir purchasing to only what you really wanted. What’s the point of… Read more »

ladygoat
ladygoat
11 years ago

Disney really is never cheap. What hurts the most is paying so much for such mediocre food. The clothes at least you get to keep and the lodging really is convenient.

On the hand, their theme parks really are far more fun and entertaining for people of all ages than other, almost as expensive, theme parks.

And that tomato tree is awesome! I want to go back to EPCOT just to see that. 🙂

Lissa
Lissa
11 years ago

I’m sorry, but the only reason it was so expensive was because of extremely poor planning. You just can’t go to WDW without a clue! 1. Pack appropriately. Check the weather forecasts. Orlando can be unpredictable (except for the prediction that it will be warm/hot, humid, and likely to rain sometime while you’re there). Always bring at least one extra pair of park attire. Also know that there are laundry facilities and you could have tossed those shorts in a drier and not had to wear your nice pants. Also, I’m sorry – but who only brings nice shoes to… Read more »

Kate Frishman
Kate Frishman
11 years ago

We’re huge mouse fans. We go roughly every two years because we’re trying to hit each of our children’s birthdays (We have 5 kids.) Our last trip was in April, for one kid’s 8th and another’s 18th birthday. It cost roughly $9k for the seven of us for ten days and eleven nights, including all meals and airfare. We use the disney dining plan, so we can enjoy character meals and snacks to our heart’s content. Although it is possible to do it for less by staying off-park, you miss out on the Extra Magic Hours, which are a must… Read more »

Sylvain
Sylvain
11 years ago

From time to time (not too often though) you have to forget about frugality, relax and simply enjoy 🙂

Saya
Saya
11 years ago

I have to argue though – that it is possible to do Epcot and Disney without breaking the bank… the first rule of Disney is… IT WILL RAIN. the second rule of Disney is…IT WILL RAIN AT LEAST ONCE A DAY. So packing appropriately (and packing enough clothing) would obviously have solved some of the expenses. Likewise – you prioritize what you’re going to do foodwise… at Epcot there ARE a few more budget consious (but still delicious) choices if you know where to look – plus we always spurge once on one of the middle priced restaurants somewhere that… Read more »

shashe
shashe
11 years ago

MTL,@15 and Brian,@21 are right– that kind of rain is unusual. You hit the absurdly huge torrential rain that had come after a very long dry spell. In FL, the rainy season usually means around 2 and 4 p.m., the clouds roll in for flash rains that last maybe an hour. And yep, if you are headed to Disney- a poncho is highly recommended. There are not that many eaves to hide under built into those parks. I disagree with Mark, @29. Epcot can be really great. There’s some amazing food, some cool rides and many different areas where you… Read more »

Karen
Karen
11 years ago

Too sad. I agree with the others that packing “light” is not a good thing. Besides the $ you had to spend buying clothes, you end up wasting your vacation time shopping. On the other hand, who’d have expected tropical rains at that time?

Me, I probably would have just worn the wet clothes home–discomfort won’t kill you and they probably would have dried somewhat eventually. I’m also puzzled why you didn’t ask the hotel to dry your things for you overnight.

John
John
11 years ago
Anyone planning a Disney vacation should look at mousesavers.com , hundreds of ways to save money on every aspect of a Disney vacation.
KC
KC
11 years ago

File this one under $hit happens (notice the dollar sign – pun intended). I can’t blame you for wanting the extra day. It was still probably a good choice – you had fun and some good stories to tell. The only thing you did wrong was enter the state of Florida without a raincoat and proper rain shoes. But since you are from the other side of the country that’s forgivable. I’ve been to Fla enough times to know it rains almost daily.

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

I hope it’s clear from this post that I’m NOT complaining. Kris and I had a fun 24 hours. It was an adventure. It was just expensive… I filed this under the “funny money” category because the whole thing makes me smile…

Steve
Steve
11 years ago

My wife and I went to Disney in April ’08 and spent about $440 per day for a six day trip (including airfare). We were going in a big group so we were kind of subject to the whims of the person planning the trip, who insisted that we all stay in a Disney hotel and participate in the Disney meal plan. However, comparing the costs to our other vacations, it’s not the most (nor the least) we’ve ever spent on a per-day basis. On the other hand, it’s not something I would do on an annual basis. I might… Read more »

Claire
Claire
11 years ago

JD, I’m a big fan of your site, but going to Disney World and not expecting to spend a ton of money is a little naive. Not only that, but if you’re intent on going to Disney, you just realize you’re going to spend a ton of money, quickly get over that fact, and be prepared to have a ton of fun!!! The rain was very unfortunate, I will give you that. There are a TON of things to do at Epcot that are included with your admission price. (We were there in 10/07 & had a blast!!) You completely… Read more »

Gholmes
Gholmes
11 years ago

JD now you can start collecting the pins that go into the crocs lol!

Glad you said you dont regret it. I live in Oregon and to be able to experience a Theme Park (hydroponic gardens) on the East Coast for $530 is cheap.

Good for you and great planning to take advantage of an opportunity. Planning in that you had $$$ in and ING account.

Mamie
Mamie
11 years ago

Please, please, please can we have a picture of your feet in the Mickey Mouse Crocs???!!!

tm
tm
11 years ago

So, did JD intentionally not do his homework before heading to a Disney resort to give us all a cautionary tale? I find it hard to fathom a couple from Oregon not checking the weather report and not packing rain gear that I’m almost positive they would already have. I realize this may have been a last minute thing, but it would’ve saved you $100 easily that you ended up shelling out on overpriced crocs that you hate and some expensive tourist-bait rain gear. Although, I can appreciate that if your previous disney trips have all been to Disneyland (DLR),… Read more »

Rhonda
Rhonda
11 years ago

You touched on a subject near and dear to my heart!
Yes, you can go much cheaper to WDW, but there are other things to consider, like time and wear and tear on the kiddos.
I would rather scrimp and save, and then blow it all at Disney, than to picnic in the park and stay at other hotels. The most important thing to do is research. Then you’ll spend your money (and you will spend money!) on things that you choose. For example, we spend very little money on souvenirs. Been there and done that too much.

FMF
FMF
11 years ago

Ha! You spent more in a day for two people than we did for four people for five days!!!!

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but close! 😉

The big difference: planning. We planned our trip out over a couple of months and you all did the spur-of-the-moment sort of thing.

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