Monday, September 17, 2012

Disney Dining Plan yes or no?

                                   Should you or should you not go with the Dining Plan?

This is the question I ask myself before every trip. I debate on this up until a few weeks before our trip has to be paid in full. Most family's like the dining plan for the peace of mind knowing that all meals are already paid for in advance.

Disney offers 3 dining plans that can be placed on your Magic Your Way Pass
  1. Quick Service -2 quick service meals and 1 snack per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
  2. Plus Dining - 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, 1 snack per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
  3. Deluxe Dining - 3 meals a day (They can either be quick service or table service), 2 snacks per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
This can be very confusing to most people. Sometimes I feel like I need a Disney Doctor Degree  to understand most things related to a Disney Vacation. I wished they made those degrees....LOL.

So if this is confusing hopefully I can help you understand it better.
Lets say one person is going on a trip for 3 days and 2 nights. Below you will see how many credits that person will receive when they check in for the meal plan they picked.

Quick Service - 4 quick meals and 2 snacks
Plus Dining - 2 table services, 2 counter services 2 snacks
Deluxe - 6 meals (can be either quick, counter or table)

Now lets say we have 2 people going on same type of trip, 3 days and 2 nights their dining credits would like this.

Quick Service - 8 quick meals and 4 snacks
Plus Dining - 4 table services, 4 counter services 4 snacks
Deluxe - 12 meals (can either be quick, counter or table)

Now the fun thing about deciding on how many credits you are going to need is deciding on where you want to eat. Go the the Disney website and search thru the menus and the restaurants.  If you plan on doing any signature meals or Cinderella Castle those type of meals take 2 table service credits per person. The big thing to remember is that you can make dining reservations 180 day out.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finding the right hotel

 Finding The Right Hotel

After setting a budget your next step should be finding lodging that you like. There is many hotels in the Orlando area. You will need to decide if you are going to stay on Disney Property or stay off property. I have developed a list below to show you what staying on property offers and staying off property offers. 

Staying off Property
No Disney Dining Plan
Disney Parks Magic Hours are not offered
Most hotels charge resort fees
Can only making Disney Dining reservation  in advance on the 180 day mark
No Magical Express
Some hotels offer park transplantation  the times are not the best
The packages you buy in the parks you can not have them shipped back to your hotel.
Hotels off property might not take payments before the vacation
Some hotels don’t have a good selection of food on property
You drive to the magic

Friday, September 14, 2012


The First Steps of  Planning a Disney Vacation


Planning a Disney Vacation can be very overwhelming. Some people go thru travel agents, travel websites and some people go directly thru Disney’s travel agents. First and foremost before booking your vacation a budget needs to be set. A Disney vacation can be very expensive if you don’t set a budget. You can add food, airline tickets, rental car, lodging, tickets and souvenirs to your budget. Setting a budget will set the tone for the type of lodging, ticket perks and how many days / nights for your vacation. 

Some families give the greatest amount of their budget for lodging, other families activities and so on. However you plan your budget remember it is your vacation and it is your magical memories being made.
You will find below a chart that I use to start building my vacation. Please note we this is for driving.

Item                                                                                                  Money Allotted

Gas                                                                                      _________________________
Car Rental                                                                            _________________________ 
Hotel on the way down to Florida                                         _________________________

Hotel first night when we arrive in Orlando                            _________________________   
Supper the first night in Orlando                                            _________________________  
Breakfast  2nd day in Orlando                                              _________________________  
Hotel on Disney Property                                                     _________________________  
Tips (Dining and Mouse Keeping)                                         _________________________  
Park Tickets                                                                         _________________________

Dining for the week (Dining Plan)                                         _________________________  Souvenirs                                                                             _________________________
Last official night in Orlando (off property hotel)                    _________________________ 
Breakfast for the morning going home                                    _________________________ 
Hotel (just incase we decided to break the 

driving up within 2 days)                                                      __________________________

                                                                 Grand Total:      __________________________

As you can see we drive and we usually break our driving up between two days. This is easier for our family. The reason why we do not stay on Disney property for the first night we get into Orlando, is that we usually get into Orlando so late that is not worth the money and the benefits of staying on property that night. I usually try to get a hotel near Downtown Disney so we can have supper there and able to stretch our legs a little bit. We usually stay in a Disney Deluxe hotel from Sunday - Friday, then due to the rates going up for the weekend and I am never ready to go home on Friday, we stay in another hotel close to Disney. On our last day we check out f our Disney hotel, load the car, go for a character meal then go to one of the parks all day and then around 5pm we go to our new hotel. This works for our family and it has saved me several hundreds of dollars not staying on Disney property for the weekend rates.

I would love to hear about your budget list.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney


Welcome to the Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney Blog. I hope this blog  will inform you on how to do a Disney Vacation that will make you want to come back for years to come. There is so much that I want to share with you, from planning, saving, ride critiques and more.
I found my true love for Disney several years ago, when I took my husband and daughter for their first time. I was a teenager on my first visit. That was many years ago and we did not know that this type of vacation needed so much research.  Each day we set out to conquer each park. We did not know that Disney World was built on 35,000 acres (47 square miles) and that most people who go to the parks walk over 10 miles per day. Wow if we only knew what we know now.
After that vacation it took me about 15 years to go back to Disney World and that is when I found my true love for WDW. Instead of being that teenager who wanted to conquer all of the park and every ride in one day. I planned for a whole year to make a 3yr old little girls vacation perfect. I found my love for WDW the moment we walked down Main Street for the first time. I got to see Disney World thru a child's eyes and the first timers eyes. It was magical. Now I am a Disney Addict.