Affordable Disney Family Vacations

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A Magical Disney Vacation

Disneyland is home to the world’s greatest concentration of attractions and activities.

Fireworks, rides, live performances, life-size cartoon characters, 3D shows and such have been put together to appeal to people of all ages.

No wonder that Disneyland has been lauded as the ‘ultimate family treat’.

In spite of popular beliefs, it is possible to enjoy an affordable Disney family vacation.

By making use of the following ideas, you can design a budget-friendly family vacation your loved ones.

Condos Near Disney World

Apart from the much-touted luxury Walt Disney resorts, if you are on a budget don’t forget about the affordable accommodations throughout Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida .

There are dozens of resorts and condos within a 10 to 20 minute drive that offer affordable Disney family vacation alternatives.

If you have a car with you on your vacation then there is no reason why you can’t stay a few traffic lights away from the hustle and bustle. You will also appreciate the peace and quite after a long, exhausting day in the park.

Disney offers four value resorts with rooms starting at $82 a night and packages from $1,600 for a family of four.

The resorts offer free shuttle service to the theme parks.  However, when buying a vacation package, you should always confirm if it is basic or if it comes with meals, discount tickets and discount coupons.  

Be aware that the more "discounts" the more expensive the package will cost overall. 

If staying at a Disney resort is not a priority, then you can find accommodation to suit every kind of budget in the neighboring communities.

For those on a more limited budget, camping for $80 a night at the resorts campground can be a viable alternative. An even better alternative for affordable Disney family vacations is staying in a local campground that is not affiliated with Disney world.

There are a couple of really nice parks within a 10 to 20 minute drive to the gates of Disney. Best of all, these RV parks start at around $25 per night and offer some great on site amenities.

Disney Area Luxury Vacation Rentals

Try to choose a hotel or a luxury family vacation resort that offers free shuttle service to the theme parks.

This of course will save you the headache of finding a good parking spot and the added expense of paying to park.

But, speaking of resorts you can find a number of resorts, condos and private vacation homes that rent for a fraction of the cost of the name brand character based accommodations.

For longer stays, multi-day passes to the theme parks will be a cheaper option than individual day passes.

If you are staying at a resort that offer a lot of on-site activities, why not plan a day or two just enjoying the resort?

If your family plan to be in Orlando, FL for one full week you can purchase a 3-day park hoppers pass to help budget your affordable Disney family vacations.

The park hoppers’ pass let you “hop” from park to park as often as you like within the allotted time-frame.

Most people purchase these passes because they sound like a good value. 

But consider this, each park is miles long it is impossible to enjoy all that any of the parks has to offer in just one day or even one visit. 

Family Getaway

Be strategic and wise with your purchases. You and the kids will be tired after a day or two of visiting parks imagine how nice it will be to just relax around the pool at your resort. 

The picture below show the current prices for Disney Orlando 2013.  Notice that any children over 9 years old are considered adults when it comes to ticket pricing.

Now it may look like the 3-day pass is the best value for your affordable Disney family vacations but remember you must multiply this price by the number of members in your family and then multiply that number by 3. 

Disney 5-day park hoppers chart

The next image shows the prices for my family of four. By this summer my two kids will be 13 and 8 years old.  So we must pay the adult price for our son.  

Once you see the cost of admission it starts to make even more sense why you should try to save as much as you can on accommodations and food. The more you save the greater your chance of taking more affordable Disney family vacations.  

The cost of 3-Day Theme Park Ticket for my family of 4 is over $1000. This is just the price to walk through the gate. 

Disney World 3 day park hoppers pass for family of 4

Planning Your Disney Vacation

Besides accommodations, food is the second largest expense.  And surprisingly many people do not accurately budget for this expense. The cost of food inside the theme parks can be outrageously expensive.

If you are a family on a budget then plan on carrying your own meals, snacks and water.  I advise everyone to rent a condo for the week especially families on a limited budget. This is the number one way to enjoy affordable Disney family vacations

You may be thinking that a condo will be more expensive but it’s really not.  Especially if you consider the savings on food alone.  

If you can plan to prepare 7 to 10 of the 21 meals that your family will consume in a week at the resort imagine how much money you will save.

The objective is to eat a large breakfast. This will give the kids and parents the fuel needed to navigate the park.

The kids will be so excited that they really won’t be thinking about food and eating but it’s important to keep them well hydrated and nourished to avoid any crashes.

About three hours after breakfast refuel everyone with a high fiber granola bar, a half of an apple and a bottle of water.

At lunch time you have three choices:

  1. Eat at one of the many restaurants inside the park and expect to pay a premium. Disney offer an all you care to eat meal ticket also. 

    With this ticket you can go through the line as often as you like and eat as much as you like, all day long. The meal ticket cost $35 PER person PER day.

Let’s do the math here: If you purchased a 3 day park hopper pass for your family of 4, your total may look something like this.

Disney all-day dining for 3 days, family of 4
Total price for all day dining at Disney for family of 4

Affordable Disney Family Vacations 1-Day Dining

The next image shows the all day dining prices just 1 day for a family of four. 

For those on a tight budget, I suggest purchasing the food option for only 1 day. You can use it any day that you like, and of course you must purchase a park pass in order to enter into the park to access the restaurants. 

affordable disney family vacations dining deal 1-day for a family of 4

If you purchase a 1 day food option make sure to use it on the very last day only. This way your kids won’t get confused and think this is the norm and they can eat as much as they want every day when you arrive.  As you see food prices can get out of control quickly. 

  • 2. Bring your snacks and lunch to the park.  If you drive you can go to your car and have lunch in the car.  This is ideal because then you aren't stuck lugging all of that food around all morning until lunch time. And you can keep everything nice and chilled in a cooler in your car. 

    The down side is you will have to go through the re-entry process when going back in. And once you leave out you may not feel like going back. But of course you will because it’s for the kiddies and you want to squeeze every dime out of this experience. 

    If you take your lunch into the park you can pack some sandwiches, snacks, chips and juice boxes. Pack more than enough for everyone. 

    The goal is to get the kids nice and full so they won’t start begging for everything they see. It’s difficult enough dealing with a tired child but add hungry to the formula and you are in for a stressful day. 
  • 3.  Return to your condo for lunch. This is my favorite option. You are allowed to reenter the park all day. At the resort you can relax a little. Have a hearty lunch, put the little one’s down for a nap and prepare dinner.  Put dinner in the refrigerator so it can be ready when you walk in the door for the night. 

    If you decide to return to your condo for lunch of course you have an unlimited number of choices for lunch. Just like breakfast try to make the lunch filling. If the kids take a nap make sure you give them a snake after they wake up too. 

    Now you can enjoy all the pretty lights and parades without worrying about your kids being tired and hungry. 

Disney Discounts and Deals

In order to get the best discounted rates, avoid traveling during the peak seasons, especially Christmas, New Year or Spring break.

If you can, plan your Disneyland vacation during special days like birthdays, anniversaries or engagements so that you can receive free admission and other special treats.

This will allow you a chance to take another affordable Disney family vacation in the near future can be a very useful site when you are planning your Disney vacation. The site regularly offers Disney discounts and deals.

It also offers special tickets prices (such as family tickets at kid's rates), lodging costs (like fourth night free), and discounted transportation when purchased together.

Consider joining our vacation club membership program where you will receive unlimited access to some of the worlds top resorts. We have several 3-, 4-, and 5-star resorts near Disney that can save you a bundle and allow your family to take as many affordable Disney family vacations as you can stand. 

Save on your hotel, spend on yourself