Our family absolutely adores going to Disney World every year. We go so often that we have a Rubbermaid tub where we keep all things Disney — so that when a trip rolls around, we literally take down the tub and we are about 85% packed!
Here are some fast and furious tips that you can transfer to any trip:
1. Buy souvenirs ahead of time if possible. It’s easy with Disney. I watch for sales at DisneyShopping.com (and use my Ebates rebate) and buy t-shirts, plush dolls, and park merchandise on sale. I bundle it at home to take on the trip. The kids get something new most days of the trip and it keeps us out of the gift shops until the last day where we buy something special to remember the trip by.
2. If you have toys or items from a previous trip, bring them back for a return trip! Mouse Ears, light up toys, refillable mugs, etc., are all things that you will end up buying again – but all you need to do is pack them to take again! Don’t forget to replace the batteries!
3. Order food ahead of time. There are great grocers in Orlando that will deliver right to your hotel, but for an even better deal – try an office supply store. We typically order breakfast items (Pop-Tarts, packages of oatmeal, granola bars), cases of water and cola, as well as hard candies to have in our room. Most Disney resort food courts will allow you to use the hot water tab. Cups of ice are free if you ask, so juices can be ordered ahead of time and enjoyed fresh each morning.
Here’s an example:
You will be shocked when you discover what all these online stores carry as far as food, drinks, and snacks go! Often, there is a shipping special — either totally free or free with a fairly inexpensive purchase.
PS – Pack some plastic ziplock bags, so you can separate bulk items into smaller portions!
Call ahead to your hotel and ask them their policy on holding packages for you. Most have a window of 3-5 days prior to check-in as their policy, but check to be sure!
When ordering use this system:
Name: [Use name of the Hotel]
Address 1: [Use the actual physical address of the Hotel]
Address 2: [Guest: Click;Arrive 12/2] — or whatever your arrival date is!
City, State, Zip: etc ….
4. If you are still a few weeks or months off from your trip, consider giving gift cards (such as Disney Dollars) as a reward for chores or helping around the house. These are great ways to teach children the value of money and give them something special to use while on the trip.
5. Bring your own stroller. It seems so much easier to just rent one on site, but they can get rather expensive — especially if you are staying for any length of time! Remember this – most airlines do not charge for strollers. They will gladly wrap them in plastic for you and send them on sans baggage fee!
We bought at $400 stroller for $80 off of Craigslist about 4 years ago. It’s our Disney stroller – we really don’t ever use it any other time. But, we would have paid about $170 in rental fees on one trip. It paid for itself on day 3 … 4 trips ago!!!
… remember, there’s no cents in paying full price! Search for a discount, ask a friend for ideas, and make your trip a great one WITHOUT breaking the bank!