- The Adventurous Alfords
Number one question; "How do you go to Disney so often?"
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
The number one question I am always asked is "How do we go to disney so often?" and "Why?" The "Why?" is simple. You only have disney "seasons" in your life. Our first Disney season was when my husband and I first got married. We would go to Walt Disney World on a weekend and hit all of the biggest rides for the thrills. Or we'd go to celebrate an anniversary or special occasion. The second season is for when you have children and the third is when you have grandchildren (our parents swear this is the best Disney season). Of course you can go to WDW any time, any day, but for the majority of us, it's done in seasons. Right now, my husband and I are in the children season and it is amazing. This season is so short. You only have so much time (with most kids) that they will be fully entranced by all of the magic. This is our "why". Because they are only little, with those big eyes of wonder, for a very short time. And that's why, for now, Disney World is our second home.
The next answer is a little more complicated. Garrett and I have made very smart financial decisions for most of our marriage. From our wedding to today, we only have one car payment and a mortgage that is very modest. We pay big taxes all year which, in turn, almost always guarantees us money back with tax season. Season passes are CRAZY expensive. For our family, it doesn't make sense to purchase them. After doing the math of adding a hotel and food and shopping for every trip when using the annual passes, you've spent a small fortune. Let's face it, Disney is expensive no matter what way you look at it. So come tax return season, we usually plan our disney trips for the entire year. Based on how much we get back determines how often and when we will go and how long we stay. We usually stay away from the summer months due to the heat but we have done it once before and there is a blog for that all on its own. The size of your family is a huge factor as well. We have two small children and for the last two years, our daughter has been free! So we have only been buying tickets for two adults and one children's ticket for our son. That's why it's so great to go often in this season. Way more affordable and whether they will remember it or not, YOU will. And the magic that they can experience there is something that stays with them throughout childhood. I have very few moments that I can actually remember from my own childhood at disney world, though we went often, yet it always left an impression on me to always want to go back.
Another great way to save up for your year of Disney travel is Disney gift cards! Every year my kids get at least one or two Disney gift cards for their birthdays and family members buy them for us as christmas gifts. This is a great way to have Disney cash set aside to take to the park with you. Just tuck them in the back of your wallet throughout the year and don't forget they're there, lol! I have even bought one in the check out line at the grocery store from time to time during the year to put away for a Disney day.
The next step, once you have your money in hand, is to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you are able, Disney has several credit cards that usually offer a money back credit. For example, last year, I received an offer of a $200 statement credit for opening up a disney credit card. I purchased all of our tickets for the year on that card with $200 off. That's almost two full day park tickets for free! Then I was able to turn around and pay off that same credit card with the money already saved. THEN you have reward points that can be transferred into statement credit as well. It may not be a lot but, hey, you're saving more money! That is huge, and probably my biggest tip. My next tip is to check the Disney World Park ticket calendar on the website. You will notice real quick that different days are different prices, so pay attention. And finally, you can save a good bit by going to a special ticketed event. Say you can only go to Disney one time, the entire year, one day, and you are on a super tight budget. Go to either the halloween party or the christmas party! Check the calendar and pick the cheapest night. Sometimes this is as low as $79 an adult! You only get a half day at the Magic Kingdom Park but a half day allows you in the gate as early as 4pm and you can stay past midnight. That's almost eight hours in the park with way fewer crowds. It's a win win. Set your money aside for this option, since the tickets are only available a couple of months in advance for each party.
So remember to budget and always plan ahead. THIS IS KEY.
I should also add that there are several discounts for Florida residents and military families. We have several military friends and family that serve our country. We have made trips with them to Disney World this year and in the past. Families are only allotted so many tickets. This is a wonderful way to save, yet not offered to everyone. If you are a military family, check with your base for ticket sales. I have also been told that buying only ONE season pass for one member of your family can save you money. Though it is a huge expense up front, you and your family could benefit from the perks and discounts from that one pass holder. Along with your one annual pass, you would only buy so many regular single or hopper option tickets for the rest of your family for the planned out year. I, myself, have not tried this but it is being considered for next year. It sounds like a tip worth researching.
And for ALL of your disney travels, contact https://www.facebook.com/MVPbyashley/ on facebook messenger. She is a dear friend that is also military. She can help you with your disney planning and is also familiar with other discounts so that you get the biggest bang for your buck. AND her service is 100% free! Cheers!