Planning a Disney trip for the family this year? Learn how three families were able to scale down their expenses and still enjoy their vacations. Disney can get expensive, and the average Disney adventure equates to roughly $3,485 for a family of four's week-long stay, coming to around $871 per person, according to Vacation Kids. Not accounting for the cost of transportation and other amenities, money spent can start to rack up fast.
To dip into their savings tips right off the bat, the three families visited the happiest place on Earth in November - when the cost was less expensive. They were also able to go at a time when the Disney Dining Plan was free-of-charge, which also helped cut down costs.
Check out their breakdowns on cost-saving techniques at Disney below:
Family 1. Lynn and Daniel Wiltse from South Carolina, with three kids between three to 11 years old. Lynn is a receptionist and Daniel is a fire marshal. They are Disney passport holders, since the family visits the theme park more than once a year.
The Wiltses were on a seven-day trip last Thanksgiving and estimated the total cost at $6,052 for a party of five. They were able to buy a family package that amounted to $3,990, and this included accommodations at the All-Star Music Resort family suite and two park-hopper tickets. They upgraded their free dining plan for a fee. Without the dining plan, they would have spent $1,530 for meals alone. They chose to do away with other extras like the Very Merry Christmas Party, figuring that they will not miss out anything as the decorations and the spectacles are enough.
The family used $1,260 credit from the park-hopper tickets for their annual passes and renewed these with old rates. Disney increased the prices of the annual pass in October, per Los Angeles Times.
Other expenses: Gas, extra meals and some souvenirs.
Family 2. Elaine and Michael Carpenter from New York, with two kids below the age of seven. Elaine is a caregiver and Michael is in construction, and they were both Disney first-timers.
The Carpenters spent $5,200 for their trip one-week trip, including the $400 gift card they received when they paid for their package with a credit card. They stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, which cost $3,085, including admissions to the theme park. For additional meals, they had food delivered from the Garden Grocer at their hotel. They availed of the Very Merry Christmas Party tickets for $300.
Other expenses: Plane fare and souvenirs.
Family 3. Kim and Blair LaCour from Ohio, with kids from five to nine. Kim is a stay-at-home mom and Blair is a manager in the tech industry. They've been to Disney several times and have taken Disney cruises as well.
The LaCours' total expenses were around $7,250 for five days. Most of this went to their package, which cost $5,257.58, including their stay at the Polynesian Resort and their admissions to the theme park. They rented a boat and availed of the Memory Maker package as well. Without the free dining plan, the family would have an added a $1,066 expense for their six-night vacation.
Other expenses: Tips, drinks and some quick meals.