Today we have our first ever guest post on the Military Disney Tips Blog. Our guest poster is Dave from The Walt Disney World Instruction Manual – yourfirstvisit.net. Dave’s site is packed with information, it’s geared for someone who hasn’t been to Disney World before, but believe me there’s lots there for veterans to learn too. Dave and I have been talking about the end of the Military Discounted Disney World Tickets and he brought up the idea of trying to offset that savings with room costs rather than tickets.
Here’s Dave’s post, enjoy…
Families, not knowing yet whether or not Disney will be doing another Military Salute in 2011, are wondering how to make a Walt Disney World vacation affordable if it doesn’t.
The 2010 salutes $99 four day tickets saved many families more than $500 compared to the regular Disney ticket prices.
I’ve been trying to come up with some ways to save around that much money, assuming a four night stay.
My main suggestion is to stay at a Walt Disney World value resort and take advantage of one of the many free dining periods during 2011. Free dining can save your family $300 to $500, depending on how old your kids are and what you would have spent on food without free dining.
Staying at a Disney World resort hotel also lets you avoid, if you are flying, renting a car or paying cab fare to Walt Disney World, as you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express and get to and from the airport and your resorts for free. This will save more than a $100, almost $200 if you would otherwise be cabbing.
To be eligible for the free dining and free transport, you can’t stay at Shades of Green you have to stay at a Disney resort.
There’s only one type of Walt Disney World resort hotels with rates most of the year comparable to or less than Shade’s price of $95 to $123 a night Disney’s value resorts.
Value resorts range from $82 to $85 (plus tax) during the value season, higher on some weekends. Prices are higher during other price seasons. (See this for more on Disney’s price seasons; for exact numbers, see the material that begins here at MouseSavers.com.)
Of Disney’s value resorts, I recommend Pop Century first, and after it All-Star Movies. The rooms at the value resorts are not nearly as nice as those at Shades, they are quite small, and fit only 4 people (plus a kid 3 or younger in a crib.)
Tent campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are a not nearly so good second option. (I’ve tent camped there a bunch of times, but not gotten around to writing a review yet.)
Some ground forces may have had enough of the great outdoors.
Moreover, you can’t use the free dining plan on a Fort Wilderness reservation. So you can’t get the $300 or more savings from that. (If you bring food from home and cook it you will save some share of this.)
Also, to get your camping gear there, you have to drive, so you don’t save from the Magical Express, either. That said, driving is almost always cheaper than flying, so you have to balance that in as well.
On the other hand, tent campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are available much of the year for around $50 or less, plus tax. Since you can put up to ten people in a campsite (in up to two tents) the per-person cost hard to beat if you’ve got quite a large family or family group. See this at MouseSavers.com for exact Fort Wilderness prices.
(Note that Disney World’s tent pads are sand. Even free-standing domes should be staked out for wind stability, and this can be a trick in the sand. Bring extra cord to extend guys to trees and shrubs, and special stakes made for sand.
Moreover, if you are light on rain and sun shelter, if your tent canít take a sideways rain, or if you don’t have a dining fly or two–pick up at least a dining fly and extra tarps for tent rain protection.)
I have lots more cost savings ideas on my site, especially in my Tightwad’s Guide to Walt Disney World. But the above are the best ways I can come up with to approximate the savings of the 2010 Military tickets deal…
Thanks Dave, great ideas!
To reserve your Disney Value Resort or Campsite at Fort Wilderness contact our friends at Ears of Experience, your No Fee Disney Professionals.