Monday, April 4, 2011
Disney 2011 on a Budget – How to Get There & Where to Stay
So we are taking the plunge and planning our first family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Who knew so much planning could go into a one week vacation? We feel our boys are the perfect ages (2 and 5) to enjoy the park. Not to mention the 2 year old will still get into the parks for free this year which is a definite budget helper! We were on a mission to visit Disney World on a a budget!
Choice #1 – Drive or Fly?
We have chosen to drive to Orlando. It is a long trip for us, 17+ hours, but definitely cheaper on the budget. It also allows us the flexibility to have our car with us on vacation to get to the grocery store, all the parks, and to eat out. Four airline tickets would have cost us at least $1,200. This would have included tickets, baggage fees, and airport incidentals. If we rented a car in Orlando the cost would be over $1,500. I calculated that driving will only cost us just under $600 or about half. This would include gas, tolls, parking at Disney parks, and hotel rooms (one of which is free due to Hilton Honors points) on the way there and back since we are splitting the drive into 2 days.
Choice #2 – Stay on Disney Property or Off-Site?
We chose to stay off-site. We found a lot of reasonability priced two bedroom condos in wonderful resorts very close to the Disney parks. Our 7 night stay at a condo within 5 miles of Disney parks is costing us less than $600 for the week. Yes we have to provide our own transportation to and from the theme parks, but we saw a lot more positives to staying off property.
First is the fact that we can eat breakfast at our condo every morning. Our condo has a full-size kitchen! We can also each lunch at the condo on the days we are not at the parks and relaxing by the amazing pool areas! We also have access to a grill. We are planning on grilling at least 3 dinners at the condo. We can also freeze water bottles the night before to pack for the parks!
Privacy! Need I say more? It is the parents’ vacation too! We have our bedroom and the boys have theirs. We also have the flexibility to put them to bed and stay in the living room and watch TV or relax outside on the lanai (yes in Florida it is not a balcony, but a lanai)! My husband and I are in complete agreement that we do not want to spend a week with everyone in the same hotel room. It is just not relaxing for us when we all have to go to bed at the same time!
Finally – we have a full size washer and dryer. For some reason this is important to me! This means you can pack half the amount as normal and do laundry mid week! Since we have stayed in condos and rental homes before, I love to do all the laundry the last day of our stay. I love to pack up all the clean clothes and have very little dirty laundry to do once we return home. Instead of coming home to piles of laundry, we get to come home and carry on with our normal activities. Plus with kids, you never know the messes they will make!
Continue to Part 2 - The Budget...