Trip Planning – Getting our Ducks in a Row.
Published: December 23, 2019
Hi Everyone, welcome back to our Vacation Planning Blog for our 2020 Disney World Vacation.
Our last post we showed how we secured airfare from Rhode Island to Orlando if you haven’t read that post, click here
We have now purchased the most important part of our trip, room, tickets, and more.
When we first started taking the pups to Disney World, the plane tickets were easily the most expensive cost. This is no longer the case. Park tickets are now extremely expensive, costing almost 70% more than the first time that we visited in 2005. Disney World Resort Hotels are also almost twice as much today as when we stayed in All-Star Movies back in 2005. With that being said, this will most-likely be the last time that we travel together as a family with my pups going off to college, so we decided to bite the bullet and purchase a true Disney World Vacation, still on a budget somewhat.
Disney World Resort Hotel
Our first Disney World Resort Hotel that we stayed in was the All-Star Movies. We have also stayed at Coronado Springs and Art of Animation. But our favorite of all that we have stayed at is Pop Century. Pop Century, for our family, was very comfortable. We found that the amenities at this resort we very easy to access and the prices that they charged were affordable for our family. I have been trying to book a room at Pop Century for several months now and the prices for rooms are short of ridiculous… $249/night for a value resort???? I know that most of the rooms have been renovated and Pop Century shares a stop on the Disney Skyliner so they could pretty much charge what they want for a room. But $249/night for our family is a little out of our price range.
Trying to somewhat stay in our budget, I started looking at the All-Star Resorts. We do not need anything special for a hotel room. All we need is a place for the four of us to sleep, take a shower and get dressed in the morning. We expect a clean and quiet room. While searching for a room at the All-Star Resorts, I noticed that the prices for rooms there were quite high too, $149/night. We had only spent $68/night for All-Star Movies back in 2005.
Thinking that we were not going to be able to afford a Disney World Resort Hotel, I checked on a website that I normally purchase tickets from, Undercover Tourist. When I purchased tickets and hotel through Undercover Tourist, the price was WELL below what Disney was charging (even with their so called 25% discount). So I booked our room for our vacation through them and we are staying at the All-Star Music Resort for our vacation.
Although we have never stayed at All-Star Music before, I did some research before I booked the room. Results were varied, but all agreed that the rooms were clean and the Cast Members were very friendly. As I said, we do not need a spectacular room because we spend the majority of our waking hours in the parks.
Disney World Tickets
If you haven’t checked lately, Theme Park Tickets are obscenely priced today. Whether it is Disney, Universal, SeaWorld or LegoLand the cost of JUST admission to a park will run you and average of $100+/day per person. For my family that is a minimum of $400/day just to get in to see Mickey.
As you probably figured out by now, I bundled my ticket purchase with my hotel room with Undercover Tourist. By doing this, I saved $500 off of what Disney has listed as their 25% off price.
When purchasing your park tickets, make sure to shop around. Most years we have used Undercover Tourist, but there have been years where AAA have been cheaper. Sometimes when Disney World Resorts is offering a special bundle price, it is actually cheaper to purchase your tickets through Disney.
You will hear people say that you do not need a car when you visit Disney World. And for the most part, this is true. Disney World has an excellent transportation system that will take you from your room to the parks. But what happens when you want to go off of Disney Property? Taxis, ride sharing and Minnie Vans can get quite expensive very quickly.
We prefer renting a car due to the fact that Disney food prices are beyond ridiculous. Because of this, when my family first gets to Lake Buena Vista, FL, we will go to a local Target or Walmart and get our snacks and supplies for the week. Also, there is nothing worse than spending 16hrs on your feet and then having to stand in line with a crowd of exhausted, sweaty, tired people who also just want to get back to their room and having to wait in the vicinity of 30 minutes to get on a bus and up to another 30 minutes standing on a bus getting back to your resort.
With that, we have rented a car for the time that are down there. Again, as with anything in Orlando, prices for renting a car from Orlando International Airport (MCO) are very expensive. The average to rent a car for the time in April in which we are going is around $450 for a compact car! Luckily, we were able to find an intermediate sized car for much lower than the average cost. As with anything in the Orlando area, do your research and it is possible to find a little lower of a price.
Our Vacation Itinerary
So now that we have gotten all of the frustrating stuff out of the way, now comes the fun part of planning our Disney World Vacation.
The first thing that we did once the purchase of our tickets and hotel were completed was to link them to our MyDisney Experience Account. If you have not purchased the tickets or room from Disney, this can be a scary experience and you hope that it works and you did not get scammed. Fortunately, we purchased our tickets and room from Undercover Tourist and did not have any problems and we never have. Just follow the directions on the MyDisney App and it should take only about 5-10 minutes to do.
Once our room and tickets are linked to our account now we can start to have some fun!
Because we are staying at a Disney World Resort, we are allowed to start booking Dinning Reservations within 180 days of the first day of our visit, which we are, so we booked three Disney Dinning Experiences for our visit:
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- 50’s Primetime Cafe
- Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
We will also be able to start booking FastPasses within 60 days of the first day of our trip
We are also able to Check-In now so that we do not need to go to the front desk when we arrive at the All-Star Music Resort. Trust me, this will actually save you about an hour.
With our trip we though about the Disney Dining Plan, but when we crunched all of the numbers, it would be more expensive. Once reason is that we would have to cancel the room registration that we purchased through Undercover Tourist and purchase the room through Disney. That would be almost $400 right there.
Remember, even though you have booked airfare, car and hotel, if you find a better price or better offer, you can usually change for little to no fee. So we will keep looking and hope that Disney comes out with some lower priced rooms at Pop Century or if Southwest lowers the price on some later flights on the day that we head home.
So now we have the vacation booked and paid for. The next thing that we will do is to get our FastPasses in February and then start shopping for our trip.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. DisneyDawgs is a family blog that will hopefully be able to give you information or insight at Disney World to let you save some money or have even a better vacation. Our family has loved going to Disney World in Florida for fourteen years and we hope that we are able to share some of the experience that we have picked up, to make your day even better.