Disney World Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian, MGM Studios

      Disney on a Budget

Sticking to a Budget on a Disney World Vacation

You developed a budget before you left home. The park tickets were purchased in advance at a discount price, the hotel was booked, and transportation arranged. Disney on a budget is working until you arrive at the parks with all their temptations. Now you have the daily Disney trip budget to stick to for food, souvenirs, and miscellaneous. How do you prevent the last minute temptations --buy the cute $45 Mickey shirt, purchase an extra pin, a couple of extra sodas for everyone on a hot day, a splurge at Mama Melrose's (the greens salad is exquisite and so is their focaccia base pizza!)? Why not treat yourselves to the Kitchen Sink at Beaches 'n Cream...after all, you deserve it. But if these aren't in the budget, you can quickly spend an extra $250+ per day. Instead of having fun, you'll be worrying about money.

Some ideas on how to defeat the urge to splurge: take only the money you have budgeted with you for the day; leave the rest in the hotel safe. When it's gone, no more spending. You might love having the Disney logo clothes to wear today, but they won't be nearly so trendy to your wardrobe once you are back home. Let the family miser carry the credit card. Make sure each child knows how much money he has to spend for souvenirs or treats and let him know when it's used up; if he spends his allotment in the first 15 minutes, he has made a choice to learn from; tomorrow can be a different choice.

Food portions are large at the restaurants, including at the Disney counter service locations. A hamburger and fries can be split between two children, or order a combo meal with an extra sandwich (you may not see the single sandwich as a menu option; just ask for it) and share the fries. Carry some dry drink mixes (Kool Aid, lemonades, tea) and ask for a cup of ice water with your meal instead of a beverage. Two adults can split one meal, or two meals can be shared by three adults, and you will feel more comfortable than stuffing yourself or letting food go to waste. You don't need to feel cheap or conspicuous when you do this; it is done all the time and no server will frown at you. They will be happy to supply the extra plate. Carry some dry snacks or fruit with you. If you watch your weight carefully, this is a good time to continue to do so.

Do be sure that your budget has allowed $$ for some impulse buys—you won't feel deprived and you will be pleased with yourself for winning the Disney challenge—succeeding at Disney on a budget.