Budget Saving Ideas for Disneyland and Disney World -CM116

Budget Saving Ideas for Disney World and Disneyland
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Budget Saving Ideas for Disney World and Disneyland

We are sharing our best tips for saving money at Disneyland and Disney World! These tips are the ones we use on a regular basis to be able to make multiple trips in a year and they go way beyond free water in the parks!

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Steph (Capturingmagic_ on Twitter and Instagram) and ModernPhotoSolutions on Instagram and Facebook
Heather (I Love Characters. heatherw25 on Twitter and Instagram. ilovecharacters on FB)
Tanya (everymagicmoment.com. TanyaH666 on Twitter and Instagram)

 

>>>>>>READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT<<<<<<

 

Steph:
Hey everyone. Welcome to Capturing Magic. I am Steph Clay and I'm here today with Heather Whitfield who can be found at heatherw.com/character. Hi Heather.

Heather:
Hi.

Steph:
Oh, and then your social media, HeatherW25 on all social media.

Heather:
Correct.

Steph:
Okay. Then we also have Tanya Hickman who can be found at TanyaH666 on social media and everymagicmoment.com. Hi Tanya.

Tanya:
Hello.

Steph:
Okay. We're talking about saving money on your Disney trip.

Tanya:
Yes.

Steph:
Yes. I actually came up with this idea because I was talking to Heather. We were texting about going to Disney a lot and how people think that we're spending a lot of money to do it, but actually we're not because we do it. A lot of things we do cheap. We don't go big every … We'll maybe have one or two things a trip here or a trip there where it's a splurge, but most things, we're trying to be cost conscious. A lot of things that Heather was sharing with me that are just second nature to her, people don't know about. One of the things, Heather, that you mentioned, we'll dive in here first, is about your annual pass and how you get that.

Heather:
Yes. I have the Disney Visa card and I know there's all different credit cards you can have that have different rewards. You could have an airline one and it can give you the miles and that can be good, or all the other ones, but since I practically live at Disney, I have the Disney Visa card. I have the, I forget what it's called, the one that you pay like $50 more so this way you get even more bonuses. You get like double points when you stop at Disney, which again, I do. When you eat and all this other stuff. I put those points towards my annual pass and I haven't paid for an annual pass since probably like 2012 maybe.

Yeah. We do that because my mom and I both share the card, so that helps also, but yeah. I put everything on it and it's what I do. I use that money and I use that money towards Disneyland tickets. That's my thing. I don't do the airline one only because I use a different airline, depending on the price or if, like when I go to Florida, I use Southwest. When I go to Disneyland, I use different airlines. Most of the time now it's American because that's the only one that goes nonstop from here. That's why I don't want to spread it out or type of thing. That's what I do.

I mean it's not like it's free. I mean I guess it is free. I feel like every time I go to the park, I'm not paying to go every time I'm going. I certainly get my money's worth, even if I was paying for an annual pass when I go. That's how I do it. I think people think every time you go, like are you paying for that. You're not, even when you have an annual pass or whatever. That's my tip. I love that card. Also even when you use the card, 90% of the time when I give someone my card, they're like this is so cute. That's kind of an extra bonus.

Steph:
Envy factor. That's funny. Yeah. When we moved, there's always a lot of big expenses with moving. When we moved, I applied for the Southwest credit card and then put all of the moving expenses on that card, ran it through the card. That's what I call it, is running it through the card because I'm putting it on there, paying it off, and moving it through that way.

I was able to accrue, by getting that card and meeting their minimums within a certain amount of time, which it's sometimes hard to meet those minimums. You have to charge a bunch within a certain amount of time in order to get all the points. But because we had moving companies and all of that, that we needed to pay for, it worked out great for us. I was able to get enough miles that this last trip that we went on with our family, I was able to get all five of our, one-way of all five of our tickets on Southwest for free with those points that I had accumulated that way.

Tanya:
Awesome.

Steph:
Yeah, that's a big, because from Arizona to Florida, airfare's not cheap. I'm sure it's similar to what Heather's looking at going across the country. It might even be more because sometimes going from coast to coast can be less expensive than … We're usually looking at about $400, $450 round trip per person for airfare to Florida unless we can find some kind of a deal or miles or points or something.

Heather:
Yeah, that's like the other thing too, like from where I am, I'm out of Philadelphia. I don't know if it's because it's just such a big hub for, I don't know, Florida, whatever it is, but flights aren't expensive. It's like a, usually, less than a two hour flight. Again, since I fly so much that I get a lot of points for that. I do survey things to get miles and that helps too. They're not, it's not going coast to coast type of thing, so the airfare for me isn't that expensive.

That's another thing when people think like oh, you're going to Disney. It's like yeah, well it's not really that expensive. Not like when I was flying out to California constantly. That would be a different thing, but that's the one that's always harder. I have seen people have been posting a lot of really cheap flights from LA or even just California to Orlando. I don't know why but there's some really good flights right now.

Steph:
Yeah. Someone told me about Google Flights, if you just Google that, Google Flights. It's apparently the best aggregator out of all of them that are out there. There are a lot of them out there to find inexpensive airfare.

Heather:
Yeah. I'm sure everyone knows, not everybody because you know, but I mean the Airfare Watchdogs, so I follow that. I have them email me the stuff all the time for Orlando, for everywhere around LA area and all that kind of stuff. They do that but they don't pick up I think on Southwest.

Steph:
They don't.

Heather:
Isn't there like, I think there's another one that they don't pick up on. Southwest, like I always pay attention. They have a sale actually right now, so I haven't decided when I'm going to go in the fall. I'm trying to figure that out, but they have a sale that's going on right now for that. But yeah. That's the thing that just, I looked at the Google thing too. You just put in there and it'll help you with that. Yeah, there's a lot, I'm sure there's others that do that kind of stuff, but I like Airfare Watchdog.

Steph:
Yeah.

Tanya:
I use Airfare Watchdog too.

Steph:
Yeah. I've used them for a long time, a lot of years. I've been finding less deals through them lately. I feel like I'm, maybe I'm going to change my settings because I feel like I get more spam from them then I actually get helpful deals. Then Kayak I like too. They do a pretty good job but same thing. Kayak will do Southwest, which is kind of nice, but yeah. There are, there just aren't a many deals to be had.

Heather:
There are a lot of good deals from where I am to Florida. If you go on Frontier, there's like 30-some dollars. My boyfriend, when he came up here, that's what he went on. But then you have to do the whole thing with like, because when I go, I have luggage and all that kind of stuff, so you have to pay for everything for those kinds of flights. If you don't, then that's a good one, I guess, if you don't … I've seen people, they said they don't own-

Tanya:
If you don't need luggage?

Heather:
Yeah. Well, Evan came up here. He just had a carry-on and it's like, yeah I can't do that. Even if it's like a short trip, there's no way I can go with a carryon.

Tanya:
Yeah. Frontier doesn't even let you take a full carry on bag. It's just a personal item, right?

Heather:
Yeah, yeah. A backpack, yeah. But they have like a thing-

Tanya:
Hell no.

Heather:
Right. They have something that I think you pay, I can't remember if it's $40 or it's more than that, but it gives you all those extras or a lot of those extras. I guess you could do that, but then you have to add the stuff into it.

Tanya:
Well, I mean if your flight is cheap enough, adding that extra money on top of it, if it still makes it cheaper than flying Southwest or something, then I might go with it.

Heather:
Yeah. That's why I always check that, but then by that point, it's usually about the same and I really like Southwest, so I generally just keep going back to that.

Steph:
I do too. There aren't a lot of deals. I've never seen Southwest put Phoenix to Orlando or anywhere in Florida on sale, ever, since in the two years that I've lived here, even when they do the big sales. When they do their big sales, I can get to Orange County for $39 each way, super cheap, great deal on Southwest, but they've never done it from here to Florida. It's hard to find good deals from here to Florida. I was going to ask you, have you ever flown Spirit, either one of you?

Heather:
I did a long time ago. That was …

Tanya:
Yeah, it's been a long time.

Heather:
Yeah. It was, they used to have, I mean I think they still have it but they had it where it was a $9 thing. When we would go to spring training, we would fly out of Atlantic City to Tampa, which is right near where the Phillies play spring training. It's about an hour or so away from Disney. Our flight was like $9. Coming back, it might be like $40, but that was like our thing. We did that a lot when we were going to spring training. That was before I was really going to Disney a lot. Then as I started going to Disney, I was looking at that, but then they started going up and they also are kind of adding everything, another one of those things. I don't know. This is kind of airlines, it's always like are they going to put you on the wing.

Steph:
Yeah.

Heather:
But I know people that do it and they're like it's fine, so I don't know. It depends, I guess.

Steph:
Yes. We have, Allegiant flies here right out of the town that I live in actually in Arizona. I'm right near it, so it's great. They've just added a flight to Clearwater, I believe. Yeah, to Clearwater. The thing with them is they only fly that route a couple days a week. They've been known to cancel it for weird reasons, so that would really super stink. But it's a lot less expensive, but I guess it is the risk you take. Anyway, moving on to-

Tanya:
Sign up for airplane discounts, guys. That's what we're getting at there.

Steph:
That's what we were getting. Notifications and Google Flights you can, I just jumped on there real quick. You can track routes similar to what you can do on all of the other ones too and get alerts so that you know what the best prices are and if the fares are going to be going up and down, kind of what their forecast is. Then they'll tell you when to buy too.

Tanya:
That's good.

Heather:
Be flexible too, because sometimes, if you just change your flight by a day or so, I mean you can check. Sometimes if you come in a day early, then you think oh, it's real cheap, but then you still are going to have to pay usually for hotel. But you can figure it out. Sometimes it still makes sense to do that. I like with Southwest and like some of the other ones have that too. You can look at the [crosstalk [00:12:34] by month, yeah, and so you can see that and be like oh hey, well this day is like $70 so I'll do that instead of the other day that's like $175.

Steph:
Yeah. We did that coming home because we had miles on a different airlines to use coming home. By staying two more days, we were able to use our miles and get it for free. That's what we did. We figured paying for a couple more days of hotel was less expensive than five airline tickets home, so yeah. Worked out great. Okay food. Let's talk about well, what other tips. I guess just in general, do we have any ticket saving? Disneyland I guess, we could probably break it up into these categories and then do Disneyland and Disney World.

Tanya:
Yeah. Disneyland very rarely has any sort of discount on tickets. I get asked this all the time, like all the time. I'm like I am so sorry but no. They used to do the Costco tickets and they used to do, I think they did do this year, earlier this year, like the two-for kind of deal. I think it just expired at the end of May or something like that. People were able to do the two-day for a cheaper price, but yeah, they don't. You just have to watch out for those, those tickets.

Steph:
The only time usually they, yeah. Usually, the only time they do something like that is when they're having a hard time getting people to come. I have a lot of people that have told me before. Oh if you go through this vacation website or I'm trying to think of what the name of it is. You get such a great deal on passes but the reality is I've gone in and I've compared them in detail. There are approved tickets resellers, which you want. You only want to buy from an approved ticket reseller or you're going to run the risk of getting caught. You don't want to go on any eBay. You don't want to do Craigslist.

Tanya:
Craigslist, yeah.

Heather:
Yeah. You don't want to see any of the ones that say oh, we have like a partial ticket. You're in Florida. There's signs on the thing, like oh come and, like no, don't. Don't do that.

Steph:
Just don't.

Heather:
You're just going to lose out on money.

Steph:
Just don't. Yeah. But those ticket resellers for Disneyland and Disney World, I've gone through and people get sucked into it because they'll say. They advertise 50% less or 25% less or whatever. I've gone through and figured it all out. The most they are is $5 to $10 difference, at the most.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
Like $10, that's a huge difference. Usually it's $5. The way they're able to say that they have that much of a savings is that it's the difference between pre-tax price and once your tax and fees are included, which you always have to include. Disney on their site, they always include the taxes and the fees, and so the price that you see is that final price. The other websites don't include that in the price that you see. You don't see those fees until you check out.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
That's how they're able to say that you're saving as much money as you are. Don't believe it, especially people that are … Because I go with people that believe these things. Then we have to spend an hour waiting in line for them to redeem their piece of paper for a ticket at the window. Then we have to go wait in line and we have to do another thing, do the photo thing at Disneyland. Just don't buy into it. It's not worth it. Buy it online through Disney and then you have your little e-ticket on your phone and you can go right through the turnstile. You don't have to wait on another line.

Tanya:
Honestly, the biggest ticket, not necessarily discount but tip that I give people is if you plan on going to a Disney park twice a year, get a pass.

Steph:
Yes, that's me. Yes.

Tanya:
Just get a pass. Not only is it, if you're doing two five to seven day vacations, you're already getting your money's back right there, plus you get a merchandise and food discount. I mean if you're going twice a year, just get a pass.

Steph:
Yes.

Heather:
I know there was the whole math on it. When I first got my pass, it was something like if you're going 10 days, it's worth getting the pass. I don't know what it is now, especially like there are so many different levels. If you live in Florida for the Disney World pass. There's only, otherwise there's just two, but yeah. You know, like you said, you have so many discounts and stuff, I think once you add that in there.

Tanya:
Yeah. I mean, a one-park, one-day Disneyland ticket is $110. That's insane.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
That is insane. I mean, if you want … You can't. It's so crowded now that if you're paying the $150 or $160 or whatever it is to park hop for one day, you're not even going to get to see anything.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
You can't do two parks in one day now. It's just too crowded.

Steph:
It is. It's true. Then also if you add in the Memory Maker in Florida and you add in the Photo Pass photos in … Because when I went through and calculated it out, that's one thing that I had to add in. I was thinking okay, two trips, so that's two different Photo Pass purchases for California and two different Memory Maker purchases in Florida. That's, you have to include that as well.

There is a website that I use anytime I'm looking at getting an annual pass for Disneyland. It's called MouseMonthly.com. They do a really great job of breaking down and figuring out where your break even point is on all of the different levels of annual passes. For example, the deluxe annual pass, they say that the break even is if you were to do a five-day park hopper plus a two-day park hopper. That's, you're saving $25 already.

Tanya:
That's just one vacation.

Steph:
That would be two vacations-

Tanya:
Oh two vacations, sorry.

Steph:
… because one five-day park hopper and then a two-day park hopper, but I don't go to Disneyland for only two days. Some people do but not me.

Tanya:
No.

Steph:
Yeah. That's just the deluxe. That doesn't include the Photo Pass and all of that. You'd need a higher level annual pass for that.

Heather:
Yeah, that's the one I have and so [crosstalk [00:19:01]

Tanya:
Even the difference between the deluxe and the signature that does include the Photo Pass, it really is, it's not that great. It's not that big of a difference. You tack on two more park hopper days and it pays for that right there. It's not much. It's really not that big of a difference when you consider that you're getting the Photo Pass. You're getting a higher discount.

Steph:
Yes, you get 20% instead of 10%.

Tanya:
Yeah, so …

Heather:
I would also say once you figure out when you're going to go, buy your tickets because you want to get it before the price goes up. They go up, what is it, like twice a year now? Or is it once a year or twice a year?

Steph:
They're going up twice a year, yes.

Heather:
Yeah, so don't wait until okay, well I'm going in October so I'll buy it then. The price could go up once or twice in that time period.

Steph:
Yeah, I think-

Heather:
If you buy an annual pass voucher, you don't use it, you don't until …

Tanya:
We never find out until like the day before that prices are going up too, so it's always a scramble to try to get tickets before they go up.

Steph:
Yes, hurry and buy. Okay, so here's, along those lines, here's one of my big park saving tips or my money saving tips. Yes, absolutely, as soon as you know you're going to go, even if it's a year or two years later, buy the passes. We thought we were going to be going to Disney World a year, almost a year, two years ago. Yeah, a year ago right now I guess is when it was. We thought we were going to be going, so I got online and I bought passes for everybody because I heard that there was going to be a price increase the next day. I got online and bought all of our passes and indeed, there was a price increase the next day.

I was so glad that I got them. Then we decided not to go. Well, those passes don't expire, so I just went into My Disney Experience and entered in everyone's numbers so that those numbers were linked to our account and I didn't have to worry about finding the email again and all of that other stuff. Then in between that time of buying that, so the next day there was a price increase. Then again, before we went again, there was another price increase. I saved us $100 per ticket by doing that with the price increases. Then, when you get an annual pass, if you have a ticket and you go and upgrade to an annual pass, they will bridge that price difference. It's as if you paid the current rate for a ticket.

Tanya:
Oh wow.

Steph:
Yeah, so it ended up saving us about $200 per annual pass because-

Tanya:
That's awesome.

Steph:
Yeah, for my husband and I because we're the only ones that got annual passes at Disney World. Because I had bought those tickets so long ago and hung on to them, and the way Disney does things, that saved us about $200, $250 per pass. That's a big deal. That's a lot of money.

Tanya:
Yeah, that's a really big deal.

Steph:
Yeah. Then we had all of those discounts too that go along with having an annual pass for those trips.

Heather:
The good thing is, I mean at least right now, at Disney World, they have a lot more discounts going on for annual pass holders. They did it for anniversary. They have a lot of 20% going on in more places. I'm hoping we'll keep it even though it says it's supposed to expire, I think in October. Kind of hoping, even if they don't keep the 20%, they'll still have so many places because they had been adding more and more restaurants over the years.

When I first got it, there was one or two restaurants that would have it. Now there's so many, I think because there's a Tables in Wonderland that you can get, which gives you a discount on food and it also does it on alcohol at the restaurants, which an annual pass never does. It's gone up so much since I first got that, and so I don't have that anymore, Tables in Wonderland. I'm sure a lot of other people don't. If you're a local, it probably works out but otherwise, it doesn't. I like the annual pass discount for restaurants and they have some even for counter services now.

Steph:
Yes.

Heather:
Crossing my fingers that they keep them, even though it's supposed to just be for the anniversary of the Magic Kingdom.

Steph:
I'm hoping they'll keep them as well. Another thing that they did, when I got my annual pass in Disneyland this last year, they were running a promotion where if you got an annual pass, they gave you an additional month for free. I ended up with 13 months-

Tanya:
Yeah, I have that on my annual too.

Steph:
… which I've never seen them do before.

Tanya:
Yeah, no. I've never seen that either.

Heather:
Yeah. They did that at Disney World too. Again, I think they said it was supposed to be for the anniversary, but then they kept adding it. They still have it now because I've seen people that they're renewing their pass and they were given the extra month.

Tanya:
I wasn't when I bought mine. Not that I'm going to complain about it a free month, but I was complaining about a free month because my pass always expires two or three weeks before the April price hike every year. Now with that free month, it pushes me behind the price hike.

Heather:
You can still renew it before that.

Tanya:
I know I can, but I was just like oh.

Heather:
Yeah. Mine is usually right after it too, but then I usually go and renew it earlier because of that. But now, my pass, because mine was always, not always because I had changed it to make sure that it was- Because I wanted to have princess rates in there because originally, it had been December but I changed it because I didn't go. It's in February, but then now I have it added and so it's like the end of March. It's still there so I'm going to have to renew it before that because they usually have one of the prices increases, usually in February.

Steph:
Yeah. Just so that people, I want to make sure that people understand because we were talking really fast on that. On the renewals, you can renew at any time. You can pay for that renewal at any time, but they'll just tack it on to the end of your annual pass. It's not like they're going to change your renewal date to the month that you pay for it. Correct?

Heather:
Yeah. I feel like it's 60 days. At least with Disney World, I think you can do 60 days-

Tanya:
It's 40 for Disneyland. You can do it 40 days in advance.

Steph:
Okay.

Heather:
Because I know when I did it, I did mine in December because the thing too with Disney World, with the whole Fast Pass Plus and if you want to make your reservations for that, you can do that 60 days out if you're staying in the resort. So much math involved here. I wanted to make sure I renewed mine early enough so I could make my Fast Passes for my princess trip. I had to wait until that 60 day thing so I could renew it and then I could go in and make those Fast Passes. That's a whole added extra thing you have to think about.

Tanya:
Yeah. I know people also say the price hike is in March. Your pass doesn't expire until March, April, May. You're missing that 40 day window. I know people that just before the price hike will go, you can buy Disney annual passes at the Disney store. You can buy them at the supermarkets here in California. There's multiple places you can buy them and you'll buy them for those. Those annual passes that are in the supermarket, when the price hike changes, they don't take those original ones down. That's too much work.

You can still get those annual passes at the supermarket for the cheaper pre-price hike price for quite some time. You just buy one of those, wait for your pass to lapse, and then because once you buy that little card that gives you, that is for the annual pass, it's not activated until you activate it at the park. I mean you could just hang on to those things for quite some time until you're ready to go back again and you have it at that pre-price hike price.

Steph:
That's a good tip. Really good tip.

Heather:
They also have, you can get vouchers for your annual pass. You can do that before the price hike and then you don't have to use it. I think you have like a year or maybe [inaudible [00:27:24]. You can do that if you know you're coming and you know you want to get an annual pass, but the price is going to come. Get that and then you don't have to worry about it until …

Tanya:
It's so much easier to do it that way because the moment they announce a price hike, that two days before that, the ticket booths at Disneyland are insane with people trying to get the tickets beforehand. Just go to the supermarket dude. Just make it easier for yourself.

Steph:
Get on your website. Get on the website.

Tanya:
Yeah, get on the website.

Steph:
For real.

Tanya:
100 other places you can go.

Steph:
Yes.

Heather:
You know, a lot of times too, when they have that price hike, the sites that we were talking about that save you $5, whatever, they still have the old one and they'll say that. For a week or something more, we still have it, so you can save a little bit more if you do that.

Steph:
Yeah, you can. You can get the old price until they sell out of those. However, because they pre-pay. They pre-buy them, and so however many, until they're sold out. Then you can get the old price for that long, until they're sold out.

Tanya:
Yeah. Tickets are literally the worst part because-

Steph:
They're the most expensive part.

Tanya:
Yeah, they're the most expensive part for sure.

Steph:
There's just not a lot of ways to save money that are legal.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
Okay, so I don't want to talk about food on this episode because we're going to be doing an episode strictly about food. Let's talk about lodging.

Tanya:
I stay with my mom, so it's great [crosstalk [00:28:49]

Steph:
Yes. You got the best deal.

Tanya:
Money-saving deal.

Heather:
Yeah. The best part is you get friends that live around the area and then that saves it. But barring that, I think that's the hardest part. It's much easier for me at Disneyland because I stay off property there. It's cheaper and it's actually easier. I stayed at Disneyland Hotel once because my hotel was sold out. I did not like it at all. I mean, the idea of it is cute and I liked, for the race, it was great because I could just roll over there.

Tanya:
Yeah, it was a lot closer for race weekend.

Heather:
But now the way they do the race, you have to get into the corral. That wouldn't help anyway. You'd still have to go all the way around. Otherwise, to get to the park, it's way farther and it's way more expensive. It's not like at Disney World that you have a lot of perks about the whole Magical Express and Extra Magic, all that kind of stuff that I always feel like I have to stay on-property, which is not the cost conscious way. At Disneyland, I don't, so that is, I think it's way easier to save money because there are so many hotels there. There's a lot of really good ones. I once stayed, you can look and it's true, even for the Disney hotels on-property at Disney World and Disneyland. You can look at some of those hotel sites, like Trivago and Expedia. They have the Disney hotels and they will pop up sometimes of good deals. I got a $60 hotel last minute at Disneyland and it was like the door didn't close one day-

Tanya:
Oh my god. That hotel is not good.

Heather:
I'm not saying that hotel is very good.

Tanya:
You got it for super cheap, but it was not a good hotel.

Heather:
It's not, but yeah. It was not, but it was if you want to save money. It was last minute. I'm talking like-

Tanya:
If you're not going to be in the room, I mean if you're literally only using it to sleep, it is what it is.

Heather:
Yeah, but I mean there are a lot of good, ignoring that one, there's a lot of really good hotels and-

Tanya:
Heather and I love, love, love the Candy Cane Hotel.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
I love, love, love that hotel.

Heather:
Nobody go there because we like it.

Tanya:
Yeah, don't go there.

Heather:
Don't fill out.

Tanya:
Don't pick up those rooms.

Heather:
Yeah. That's where I like to stay. I've stayed at the Howard Johnson too, which was nice. It was like on the opposite side, but yeah, I like that one. It was good. You can usually walk to it. A lot of the ones will have shuttles that will go there. It's so much better, I think, to stay off property. It's cheaper.

Tanya:
It's a closer walk. It's a closer walk than staying at the Disneyland Hotel.

Steph:
Yes, it's closer-

Heather:
At Disney World, it's harder but there are lot of, especially now, it just feels like they keep going up in price. I used to always find good deals at a Disney resort. I always had an annual pass rate and it was great. Now, even those aren't as good or is harder to find. That is, for me, that's the hardest part is finding the lodging.

Sometimes now, if you go off property, it might be better. Then I've even looked, even me, I've looked on-property a couple times. A lot of them have a resort fee, so you add that in. Then you add in like you might rent a car or if you take Uber. If you want to hear another thing about that, I take Uber a lot when I'm there. But if you start adding that in, it may still be close enough that if you're staying on-property, you still have other, some perks and stuff. Still do that math.

When you look up another hotel, and I've looked at the Disney Springs Hotels sometimes. I think oh, I'll stay there. They usually have a lot of discounts. But they have like a $20 resort fee and you have to pay to park and all those kinds of things. It's like well, then it's like only a couple dollars less than if I stay here. That is the hard thing.

The other thing I will say, I don't know if this is more food or what. A lot of times, people see the free dining and they're like free dining, this is great. It's going to save me so much money. A lot of the time, it doesn't. You have to make sure you do the math on that, because if you're paying rack rate for the room, which again as I said keeps going up, if you compare that to usually there's still a discount at the same time, like a discount for everybody or an annual pass discount. A lot of times, any time I tell people, I'm like do the math and they'll do it. It's cheaper to take the room and not do the whole dining thing, which is a separate issue. That's another thing that just when it says it's free, it doesn't mean it's cheaper.

Steph:
Yes. That's, my husband and I always have that discussion about free dining. It's like, but is it really free? I'm like well, if you're paying full rate, yes it's free, blah, blah, blah. But usually, you have to do, in order to get free dining, you also have to book your passes through them too, don't you?

Heather:
Yeah, they used to have a thing for annual passes. You didn't have to but even now, you have to get tickets.

Steph:
Yeah, so if you have an annual pass, it doesn't help you at all.

Heather:
And you can't put that ticket now towards an annual pass. You used to be able to do that kind of thing, but if you're getting it for the free dining, you can't do that anymore. It's like …

Steph:
Yeah. Yeah. One thing to mention, for Disneyland, I've stayed at a lot of different hotels out and around Disneyland. I've also stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier. I think the hotels that are right across the street on the opposite side from the Disneyland Hotel are actually much closer of a walk to the main entrance than those hotels are. They're so much more expensive. It's hard because there aren't, I don't think that there are any really nice hotels in the Disneyland area that are within walking distance. You pay a crazy amount more than you would for that same quality of a hotel anywhere else.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
But there are some nice hotels that I like to stay at. I don't know if that makes sense. I guess what I'm saying is for the amount of money that you're paying in the Disneyland area, they aren't as nice as the dollar value is on them, is what you're paying. But there are some nice and decent hotels around there within walking distance that I like to stay at and that I've had great experiences at.

The only time I've stayed on site is when I've had a sister or somebody else coming with me where we could share the bill, just because it's a fun thing to do. I do like being able, especially when there's new things. We did that Cars Land had just opened. We were able to get in on the early, the Extra Magic Hours and to California Adventure. We were able to ride Radiator Racers several times in a row, and that was nice, a really great perk.

Disney World, you can stay on site, I think affordably at Disney World far better than you can at Disneyland, far more easily. If you compare the prices, a lot of the hotels, the prices for the hotels out and around Disneyland are the same prices as the moderate level hotels on-property at Disney World from the comparisons that I've done. Yes, no, maybe so?

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
Okay, good. Thanks for agreeing with me, Tanya.

Heather:
It's funny because when we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and I couldn't even use the Magic Hours because it was a race weekend. The times, I had to get up early so I couldn't, or like … I didn't even really get that perk when I stayed there.

Steph:
Bummer, because really that's the only perk there is.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
Yeah, it really, and it's not worth. I stayed one night at the Grand Californian for mine and Chris' anniversary. He took me there for one night. It was on a Tuesday. It was off season, and it was so expensive.

Steph:
It's so expensive.

Tanya:
We stayed there for one night. I don't understand. I honestly don't understand how people stay there for five, six, seven days.

Steph:
I don't either.

Tanya:
It's so, and there is nothing about it that makes it worth that price. I mean yeah, you have the gate into DCA, but really? It's only like an extra 20 feet if you just walk out of the building into the normal turnstiles. I don't … Oh no. No, no, no, no, no.

Steph:
People do it. That's, I don't want to diss on the people that, that's important to them and they spend money there.

Tanya:
Yeah [crosstalk [00:37:57]

Steph:
Yes. If you have that money that you can spend on staying there, kudos to you. Amen, go for it. It's not in my budget and it has never been. Someday maybe, but one night like you did, off-season on a Tuesday maybe.

Tanya:
Yeah. Exactly [crosstalk [00:38:18]

Heather:
Maybe we all should go and stay together-

Steph:
And split it. There you go.

Tanya:
Ridiculous.

Steph:
Invite a couple listeners and then we can all split it.

Tanya:
It's like I would rather pay a quarter of what we paid and then be able to splurge on food or I'll do a couple dining things that I want to do. It just makes more sense to me.

Steph:
Yeah. I would spend money on food over my lodging at Disney any day of the week.

Tanya:
I would, yeah. I would spend money on food before anything.

Steph:
Yeah. Disney World, I do find good deals occasionally on accommodations, on-site accommodations at Disney World. You just have to keep your eyes open and a lot of it. Port Orleans, I've been able to find $170 a night for Port Orleans, $140 a night I think a couple years ago, which is great for that hotel. Our last trip, I felt like we scored big time. There are some people that would not ever do this, but we got in on Caribbean Beach. Caribbean Beach? They're getting ready to do, or they are doing a big, huge remodeling there. They made an announcement that if you made a reservation between by a certain date. It was March something. If you made your reservation by that date, and it was within this certain travel window, you arrived within this window, they were giving $75 gift cards per room per night that you were staying.

I went ahead and booked it and that's what we did. For us, that made the difference between staying on-site or off-site. We have a timeshare down there that we pay an annual fee for, and that's one of the things when you hear people, or I've listened to other podcasts and they talk about their DVC owners, so their timeshare doesn't cost them anything. They never factor that into their expenses when they're budgeting their trip. It costs you something. You paid for it and you're paying annual maintenance fees.

Our timeshare that we have in Florida, we got a screaming deal on. We were able to, it's a Sheraton Vistana down there. We got it for $1 on eBay several years ago and we pay $700 in maintenance fees every year. That's what I include in my budget when I'm budgeting for it. That's my hotel budget, $700 because that's what we pay every year. It is not free. I don't pay nothing for that. I have to include that into my budget. If I'm able to get, usually how we figure it, if I'm able to find a deal where we can stay for $1,000 on-site, then we go ahead and do it. That's what I was able to do with that rebate that I got back. It was a fabulous deal, or the gift cards that I got back. Then we just turned and used those on food and then parks.

Tanya:
As you do.

Steph:
Yes I do.

Heather:
Another good tip, even though I've never been able to get it to work for me, is that you can get, like when people have DVC but then they will rent their points so that you can get a hotel, like a DVC hotel way cheaper than if you bought it through Disney. You kind of need to do that like far in advance because I don't really do that, so anytime I've tried, even though it's sort of in advance, I've never been able to get exactly what I wanted, so I haven't done it. But I know a lot of people like swear by that. They love it and they can get moderate rate for a DVC hotel.

Steph:
Yes. We did that actually for my 40th birthday trip when I did the California straight to Florida thing. My husband got, he rented DVC points from a few different people and we were able to get two nights at Saratoga Springs and two nights at the Boardwalk, I believe, and then one night at Animal Kingdom. We paid, we ended up paying about $140 a night per all of those, so it worked out, which is so cheap for those places.

Heather:
Yeah.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
It worked out. They were just studios, but it worked out great for us. I haven't seen deals like that since we did that birthday trip, and that was three years ago. We've been watching but point prices have gone up. The demand's gone up, but they are getting ready to add a whole bunch new more. The guy, one of our bus drivers at Caribbean Beach was telling us that it's going, the DVC property they're building there is going to be seven stories. It's all going to be DVC, so that's huge. But yeah, that's a great way to go. I agree, Heather.

Okay. Any other lodging? Let's move to, what else do we have, budget conscious tips. Transportation? Use Magical Express. Uber's a great thing too. Disneyland, we've started actually staying further out and Ubering in. That works out to be significantly less expensive.

Tanya:
Are we talking about Uber now or are we doing that in a different show?

Steph:
Let's talk about transportation. We're going to do Uber, like our experiences with Uber in a different show, but let's talk about transportation, like if you're going to do a rental car or whatever you're doing.

Tanya:
Well, if you're at Disneyland, any airport you fly into can shuttle you straight to Disneyland. Once you're there, if you don't plan on leaving property, you don't need a car. You don't need. There's nowhere to go. You're there. Unless you plan on leaving the property for some reason, again Uber's a great choice. There's tons of them around Disneyland all the time.

Heather:
Yeah. We used Uber a bunch there.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Heather:
Even just the little, because even like we did the race and say it'd be one spot. You'd go back to the hotel. Normally I could walk back but then when it's like oh, I don't want to talk back.

Tanya:
Yeah. The Candy Cane, our little Candy Cane Hotel is very close to Disneyland, but when you walk from the Candy Cane to the Disneyland Hotel, that is like a really long walk.

Heather:
Yes.

Tanya:
We will Uber from the Candy Cane to the Disneyland Hotel, but it works.

Heather:
Yeah, and I use it a bunch at Disney World. I know we're going to talk about it in another show so I won't really get into it that much, but I think it's a pretty cheap way to get around. Before that, I had taken cabs like every now and then. They're really expensive there. It's just ridiculous, so yeah. I've done that. I also like my other tip about with the lodging is to have friends. I've been really lucky. I've had friends drive me around, but I know not everyone can do that. But yeah. I know a lot of people like getting a rental car. If you stay on-property, you don't have to pay even to park. If you're on an annual pass, you don't have to pay to park.

Tanya:
That's, at Disneyland, you have to, if you're staying at the Disneyland Hotel, well I don't know about the Grand Californian but at the Disneyland Hotel, they charge you to park your rental car. It's like $20 a day. It's the price of the parking structure. Actually, if you're staying at one of the Disneyland hotels, you're better off not having the car.

Steph:
Well, even any of the other surrounding hotels, that's about what they charge you for parking, any of the hotels around, even not the Disneyland Hotel. Any of the other ones, that's about what they charge, $15-$20 a day.

Tanya:
Well it depends on, Candy Cane doesn't charge.

Steph:
Oh they don't?

Tanya:
No.

Steph:
Okay. All of the other ones that I've stayed at.

Tanya:
Yeah. I was like oh. If you stay at one of the bigger ones, like a Marriott or the Sheraton, but if you stay at one of the little good neighbor hotels, I don't think they, some of them don't charge. Candy Cane doesn't charge, and I don't remember there being a charge for that one crappy hotel you were at either, Heather.

Heather:
No, they didn't. I don't remember about Howard Johnson. I feel like they didn't because I think you parked there once.

Steph:
I haven't stayed at the Howard Johnson, but I've stayed at the Fairfield and then all of the Best Westerns right there, I've stayed at.

Tanya:
They all charge for parking?

Steph:
Yeah.

Tanya:
Weird. Yeah. No, the Candy Cane does not. They have a one-car per room minimum, but they do not charge for parking. Now I feel super blessed that we stay there. They don't charge-

Heather:
See if you can cut out the name of them so people don't keep going.

Tanya:
I know.

Steph:
It's, I've tried to stay there before and I've never been able to get in. I'm usually, I'm not a very advanced trip planner either. I'm usually last minute, so [crosstalk [00:47:16]

Heather:
Yeah, like Disneyland, I tend to have more of a planned out thing. That's why I have that.

Tanya:
Also with the Candy Cane, sorry Heather, if you stay there, they give you a discount for you next stay.

Heather:
Yeah.

Steph:
Oh cool.

Heather:
They also have, I think a lot of the hotels around there give you a discount if you're an annual pass holder.

Tanya:
Oh yeah. A lot of them do.

Heather:
Yeah.

Steph:
I didn't know that.

Tanya:
I'm sorry, back to transportation.

Heather:
Yeah.

Steph:
Okay, that's cool.

Heather:
At Disney World, I don't know because I haven't stayed off-property in like over 10 years, but I don't know if they do that or not. A lot of them, like I was saying before, they'll charge you for parking but once you're on-property, you don't have to pay. Disney Springs, you don't pay for parking. Anyone doesn't pay for parking. You can do that. You can get a rental car, at the Swan and Dolphin, they have a rental place. You could-

Tanya:
They don't charge for parking at Disney Springs?

Heather:
No. Not for anybody.

Tanya:
Crazy.

Heather:
Yeah. They have all these garages and everything now, so …

Steph:
Yeah, they do. I-

Heather:
There's also the rental car, sorry, but the Magic Kingdom. I think those are the two if you just want to rent it when you're there and don't worry about anything else. You can do that.

Steph:
Yeah. There's several different places around the Disney Springs especially area that hotels and stuff that have different rental agencies within their hotel where you can get a car. One of the things that I would suggest, if you're going to do, if you're going to split up your vacation or you're going to be doing other things. We knew that we were going to be doing some other things while we were in Florida, so we split up our vacation and front-loaded it with Disney.

Then the rest, everything else was on the other side. What we did was we took the Magical Express back to the airport and went and got a rental car. We had a rental car reserved. Went and got our rental car, and then went and did the rest of our vacation that was not Disney-related. Then just used the Disney buses. I think we Ubered it a couple of times. With a bigger family, it's harder to Uber. We could talk about that later, but anyway, it's very affordable a way to get around. Ubering and Lyft, super affordable way to get around. When I was at Disneyland, I went in January with my husband. He was staying at a conference in Newport. I Ubered it up from Newport and it was only like $20 each way to Uber to Disneyland from Newport, not bad.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Heather:
If you're renting a car, make sure you price out all the different rental places because sometimes, it's more expensive at the airport. On-property, it might be cheaper because that's even why, I remember when we rented a car, that's why we got, we did it that way. I saw somebody the other day mentioning oh, it was so expensive. She was looking at other places. That's another thing if you want to save money. Don't just be like oh well, the car's here. I'll get it at the airport.

Steph:
Yeah, and that's my husband's rule. He loves doing stuff like that. I hate it. He loves crunching numbers that way, and so that's what he did. He got on and checked all of the different places we could rent cars. It was going to be $100 more to pick up at one of the non-airport places for us, so that's what we did, is picked it up at the airport.

Tanya:
Yeah. I feel like Disney knows that most of their people will only need a car for like a day to run to one place here, one place there, so they probably can gouge you a little bit on that because they know you don't need it for a long time.

Heather:
Yeah. Since Orlando's such a big tourist place, the ones at the airport, you usually can get a good deal on a rental car.

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
Yes. Is that all the stuff, since we're talking about food in a different show. Uber. Is there any other budget tips that we have?

Heather:
You can get the Disney gift cards and a lot of times, Target will have them on sale. Then if you have-

Steph:
Your Red Card.

Heather:
Yeah. Then you can get a discount, an additional discount, so you can get them, a big discount on them. I know a lot of people will go and they just wait for that. Then they get a whole bunch and then they use that to pay for their vacations.

Tanya:
Target puts Disney gift cards on sale?

Heather:
Yeah.

Steph:
I've never seen them on sale in my area. They do, they might do it where you live because that might be Disney trying to get people to come, I bet.

Tanya:
Maybe. I've never heard of that.

Heather:
Yeah. They have, they'll put like all their gift cards on sale. It doesn't happen often but yeah. I want to say like once or twice a year and they'll do that. Then like you said, with the Red Card, you can double up on that. The Red Card is all the time, so you're saving money that way.

Steph:
Yes. Your Red Card will give you 5% off of the Disney cards anytime you buy one.

Tanya:
Wow.

Heather:
Also, sometimes they'll have the airport or not airport. The airline will have gift cards the same way. You can do that. Lots of times, you can, I don't know those different sites but there's different sites that will check for those kinds of things too, like accounts and stuff. Sometimes, they'll put on eBay. Southwest, sometimes it has a gift card and it's like $10 off or something or there'll be a Groupon for it. Just keep an eye out for those kinds of things.

Steph:
Yeah. Good idea.

Tanya:
I was at Disneyland and I was on one of the Toy Story parking to buses going into the parks. It as the, are they Disney employees that run those buses? They are, right?

Steph:
In Disneyland?

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
I don't know.

Tanya:
I'm not sure either if they're Disney employees or if they're Anaheim employees because they lady that was driving our bus was talking over the speaker. She was just having a ball talking over the speaker the entire time. She was talking about not matter how hard your kids cry, don't buy then a souvenir because you can get it for a third of the price at Walmart. It was, she was like I don't care how much they cry. Don't buy them an overpriced stuff animal. Go get it at Walmart. I was dying.

Steph:
So funny.

Tanya:
So funny, but I was trying to think like besides an annual pass discount, there's no other real way to save. You can buy some Disney-ish souvenirs before you get to the park and bring those for your kids, so you don't have to spend $30 on a stuffed animal. They might not know the difference depending on their age. You know, souvenirs …

Steph:
Yeah, the younger …

Tanya:
The younger ones.

Steph:
The younger they are, the easier that is. It gets harder as they get older. I have though, I will say princess dresses. I watch the Disney store because they go on sale a lot on the Disney store website. I've been able to get fabulous deals on those, 50% off, 60% off on the dresses. Then I just take them with us to the Bippity Boppity Boutique and that works great.

Tanya:
Yeah. Watch the Disney store website because they do their twice upon a year sale. You stock up on shirts to wear to the parks and that sort of stuff.

Steph:
Yup.

Heather:
Then the stores, they have, if you have a Disney store, our always has a rack or something with the clearance stuff so I always go through that. I'm like yeah. Of course, I also leave the Disney store with something.

Tanya:
A lot of the time, the t-shirts in the Disney store are always like buy one get one 50 or something, right?

Steph:
Yes.

Heather:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). They have that-

Steph:
Or two for $14.

Heather:
… They'll have that a lot, yeah.

Tanya:
Yeah, so buy your merchandise before you get to the parks people.

Steph:
Yes. Yeah, I do that-

Heather:
They sometimes have at Disney World, I think maybe they'll have it at Disneyland too, and it depends on the time of year, but they'll have if you eat at a quick service place, like on the bottom of the receipt, they'll have a discount, a percentage off if you go to a store. It's at certain times, it's like-

Tanya:
I feel like I haven't seen that at Disneyland in a while.

Steph:
I have not seen it either, at either park.

Tanya:
It's been a while. Yeah, it's been a while. Yeah.

Steph:
But you know I had, [crosstalk [00:55:49] I think it's during what, is it like during crowded times or, I forget when …

Tanya:
Maybe, yeah. I forget.

Heather:
Yeah. They do that sometimes, so check your receipt.

Tanya:
Yeah, pay attention to the receipt.

Steph:
Yes, because there just trying to get people to go earlier in the day instead of at park closing.

Tanya:
Oh yeah, but it's like you could get a 10% discount if you shop between 2-4pm or something like that, yeah. Okay, I remember that now.

Steph:
Yup, but they won't let you stack discounts. I've asked. They won't let you use your AP discount with those. You're not allowed to combine-

Tanya:
That's rude.

Steph:
Wouldn't that be awesome?

Tanya:
Yeah.

Steph:
At first one person told me that I could, and so then we went. Then they were like no, you can't do that. I'm like yeah, I thought it was too good to be true.

Tanya:
Here are my 17 receipts.

Steph:
Yeah, exactly. Okay. Let's remind our listeners where they can find each of us. Tanya.

Tanya:
You can find me at everymagicmoment.com and TanyaH666 on all social media.

Steph:
Heather. Okay I'll go and then when we get Heather back, Heather can go.

Heather:
I'm back.

Steph:
Oh you're back. Yay, okay Heather.

Heather:
The first time that I went off when you're talking to me.

Steph:
I know, right?

Heather:
I'm Heather. My character site is heatherw.com/character. On social media, I'm HeatherW25 and my Facebook character page is I Love Characters.

Steph:
Okay. I am Steph. You can find me at capturingmagic_ on Instagram. Also I'm at modernphotosolutions.com quite a bit. Be sure to check out the classes that we have over there to help you conquer photo overwhelm and get your memories taken care of. Thank you for being here. We appreciate some of your day with us. We'll see you next time on Capturing Magic.