Mark and I are sometimes super smart people. Other times… not so much. 3 of our children (the youngest 3) have birthdays in a two week span in January. They turned 10, 10, and 12 this month. This year, we took them to Disney World for the weekend. Taking 4 children to Disney World is not the cheapest way to celebrate birthdays. Nor is driving 8 hours one way to spend one day at The Magic Kingdom the smartest way to expend energy. But we did… and are oh so glad that we did.
To take the sting out of the normal travel expenses, such as snacks and fountain drinks and the ever present McDonald’s drive-thru, I did a little pre-planning. I packed a cooler full of non caffeinated drinks for the children, and diet cokes for Mark and I. I picked up a huge container of peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets and portioned them out into snack baggies. I even made Nutella & Jelly and PB&J sandwiches. This definitely saved us at least $70 for the weekend in snacks.
*Quick note: When you make several different kinds of sandwiches and want to make sure you can tell them apart quickly, cut them in different ways. I did PB&J diagonally, and Nutella & Jelly down the middle.*
We stayed at one of the Disney properties, in the cheapest rooms they had. We know that the rooms aren’t well appointed and the beds are like boards, so I made sure to pack our memory foam mattress pad. This works incredibly well and makes the beds in even the most economical hotel chains comfy to sleep in.
We made sure to get the Meal Plan when we made the reservation. It was so nice not to have to worry about how much extra money we were going to have to shell out for food while we were there. With the meal plan, we were able to enjoy a fantastic character breakfast, lunch in one of the park restaurants, dinner in a nicer Downtown Disney restaurant, and breakast at the hotel before heading home. The greatest part was that there was no big surprise bill at checkout.
Now, granted, Disney vacations (even for one day at the park) are not cheap. But if you are careful and plan ahead, it’s definitely possible to go and have a good time without breaking the bank.
The kids had a fantastic time! We were able to ride all but 8 rides in the entire Magic Kingdom park in one day and didn’t wait much longer than 10 minutes in any line all day (which Mark says is unheard of). The weather was cool enough for us to be comfortable in sweaters. The characters are amazing! The customer service is fantastic. OH.. and Cinderella’s Castle lights up at night.. and changes colors. *happy sigh* January is obviously a good time to see The Mouse.