If you are planning to take a vacation to Disney, you just might want to invest in setting up a Disney budget. The budget will help you save for your trip so you have less surprise after the vacation ends.
How to Begin:
To help spread the cost of the vacation, it may benefit you to pay for portions of the vacation in the months before the actual trip. Another idea would be to instead set aside a savings account specifically for collecting the funds for the vacation. When I originally decided to set up a Disney savings account, I had opened one at Capital One (was then ING Direct) simply to receive the $50 bonus for signing up for the account. I have now owned that account for nearly 15 years as it has no fees, etc. I continue to add month to the savings account throughout the year so I can better afford Disney.
What to include in the Expenses of your Budget:
- Accommodations – Remember to include the cost of the accommodations, taxes and fees. If you book through websites such as booking.com, etc., there is the possibility of additional costs being applied to the total once you arrive. Be sure to research that when setting up the budget. Also, choose the best accommodations for the price. If you are traveling with a large family, be sure to consider some of the Good Neighbor Resorts. Our family always finds great rates and spectacular accommodations at Doubletree in Lake Buena Vista.
- Tickets – When choosing your tickets you will need, budget for the tickets you will need. For example, if you think you may want to park hop once you are on property, you might want to consider instead buying the tickets without the park hopping feature just in case you do not have the time or need to hop. The costs to hop are extensive. My family has always bought tickets from Undercovertickets.com. We find that we always save money by using this company. I also like being able to buy the tickets month ahead of time. Once I receive the tickets, I add them to MyDisneyExperience for safekeeping as well as take a photo of ticket in case I lose it!
- Food – This one is harder to estimate. If you plan on eating breakfast in your room, you will likely save quite a bit of money. Read here for more on that topic. To be safe, check out a few of the restaurant menus here on Disney’s site. This will give you an idea of how much to budget for each person per day per meal. Do not forget to add in enough money for tips on the table service meals. Also, be sure to budget for snacks and the cost of food on the day of travel to and from Disney World.
- Souvenirs – This can be rather expensive if you do not get a handle on it before you go! There are so many stores and different items to want to want! So, be sure to figure out an allowed amount per person for the entire vacation.
- Travel Costs – Getting to the parks from your house should be considered. Remember the costs of the flights, gas, rental cars, taxis and/or buses to be used throughout the entire vacation.
- Extras – If you plan on going to a spa, do extras like rent a bike, or go para-sailing, you will need to include those costs in the total.
My suggestion is simply to take all of these costs into careful consideration. If you want to prepay for portions of the trip, figure out which you need to pay for first. For instance, if you are traveling by plane, you will likely need to get those flights early on so you can get better rates. Accommodations also should be booked early on so you can lock in the room you want for the time frame you want to travel. You will likely only pay a downpayment on the accommodations and will be able to save for the remaining costs right up until the date of travel (plus an extra month if you plan on paying with a credit card). Once you have the approximate costs, I suggest you increase the cost by a figure you feel comfortable with so you have a “cushion” in your budget. Once you know the total amounts and when those amounts are due, you will be able to better plan for the saving for the magical vacation!
Example of a Good Budget for a family of 3 for 4 nights:
- Accommodations – Budgetting $150 per night at the Doubletree for my dates of travel, plus another $25 in fees and taxes. Pay downpayment of $175 on Day 1. Pay remaining 3 nights upon arrival.
- Tickets – Buying 3 tickets for 4 days at the parks. Buying from Undercovertickets.com. Cost is $309.99 for 2 adult tickets and $289 for 1 child ticket. Shipping and taxes are included already for a total of $908.98. This should be paid for a month before travel so you can assure you have the tickets in house before the vacation.
- Food – My family eats breakfast in the rooms, spends $30 on lunch per day and $60 on dinners per day. Therefore, that is a total of $90 per day for the 5 days (4 nights, 5 days including the bookend days) for a total vacation cost of $450 in food. The cost of this will be spread throughout the entire vacation.
- Souvenirs – We budget $75 per person per vacation for a total of $225. That too will be spent throughout the entire vacation.
- Travel Costs – We drive. The total for the gas is $250. That is a bit high on the cost, but I would rather be too high than too low!
- Extras – My family enjoys playing miniature golf. The cost is only about $20 though! That will be paid during the vacation.
Example spreadsheet considering we are 5 months out from our vacation:
|Total Estimated Cost of Magical Vacation||2,103.98|
|Months to Save||5|
|Amount to Save per Month||$420.80|
The amounts budgeted in the beginning can be used to help pay for the deposit on the resort. Then the next savings collection amount will help to pay for the park tickets. If you ever need help with the budgeting, please feel free to message me on Facebook here.