Happy Friday everyone! You may have noticed that I missed a few blog posts this weeks and that’s because I’ve been a little busy…planning a trip to Disney World with one of my friends!! 🙂 I’m very excited to go and we just booked our room and tickets yesterday so now I have more time for blogging. 🙂
I’ve always wanted to go on a Disney trip with one of my friends but I always thought that it would be too expensive. I was surprised to see that it wouldn’t cost as much as I thought. So I decided to start a series of posts on tips and ideas for planning a vacation to Disney on a college student’s budget.
Length of vacation:
I would recommend staying 6 days/5 nights in Disney World. This way you have a day for each park and then you won’t have to rush to a park on your first for last day in Disney. You would also have time to visit Disney Springs, swim, and maybe even walk around a few of the other Disney Resorts. However, staying 5 days/4 nights is also a great option. You would still have 1 day for each park and 1 day for Disney Springs. If you get an early flight going to Disney and a late flight coming back this is a great length for your vacation.
When to visit:
Visting Disney World in January is a great option for college students. Typically winter break is from late December to late January for college students so going to Disney World the first full week in January (sometime after New Year’s) is great. After New Year’s its the low season at Disney. This means less people visiting the parks and cheaper rooms.
If you can’t visit in January, fall is also a great time to visit. Its not too busy and rooms are still pretty cheap. Only visit in fall if you have a longer fall break so you don’t have to miss any school. Disney usually offers the dining plan for free during the fall so you could possible get your meals for the trip for free!
The next time I would suggest is summer. The rooms will cost more and the parks will be busier but you will get more time in the parks because they are open later in summer. I actually love visiting Disney World in June. If you get done with school early, then sometime in May would be a good time to visit Disney as it won’t be as busy in June when most schools have summer vacation.
I would recommend staying Monday-Friday for a 5 day trip or Sunday-Friday / Monday-Saturday for a 6 day trip as it is cheaper to stay for week days.
If you are not too far from Disney and you can drive then driving is a great option for you. However, if you’re pretty far from Disney then you should fly. I have always used Southwest for flying and highly recommend them. They have reasonable prices, nonstop flights, and two free checked bags. Try to get an early flight there and a late flight back home so you can maximize your vacation time.
I will assume that most college students are between the ages of 18-24 years old. It may be possible to get a car rental if you’re 21 or over but you will be charged more for being under 25 years old. That’s why I recommend staying on Disney property and not getting a rental car. Disney has the magical express which picks you up and drops you off at the airport. This way you don’t have to worry about getting to and from the airport. There are also complimentary buses throughout Disney World for Disney resort guests to take to the parks.
The cheapest hotels on Disney property are the All Star hotels. I will personally be staying at the All-Star Movie Resort. The hotel room doesn’t matter too much because most of your time will be spend away from the room and inside the Disney parks!
Disney offers a quick service dining plan but I suggest looking at the restaurant menus before you go and seeing how much you will be spending on food. Then buy a gift card and load a little extra money above what you think you’re going to spend on food. Then you can just swipe your gift card for food and use any extra money for souvenirs. The dining plan is convenient though so if you don’t want to deal with paying with money or gift cars for food the dining plan could be for you. You should also budget for one character meal to get the experience of meeting the characters and eat in a nice restaurant. I’ve never eaten at a character meal before and I’m excited to do that during my upcoming trip.
A way to save money is to pack breakfast food (like bagels or peanut butter sandwiches) and eat it in your hotel room. There are also grocery services that can deliver to your Disney Hotel (such as the GardenGrocer.com) if you want to save even more money and pack lunches/dinners.
Disney Park Tickets:
I think the regular 4 day Magic Your Way (one park per day) Disney tickets would work for a 5 to 6 day vacation. You can add the Park Hopper pass (for around $70) to visit more than one park a day. However, in January the parks aren’t open as long as they are during other times of the year so doing one park a day would be fine since there may not be time to visit another park after you are done with your first park of the day.
I think the amount to budget for souvenirs is completely up to you. Disney has the Shop Disney Parks app where you can look through the different souvenirs and see how much it will cost you for the souvenirs you like. For a 5 to 6 day vacation in Disney World I would budget anywhere from $150-$400 for souvenirs, depending on how much you want to spend.
I’m going to share the cost for a sample Disney vacation in January for 2 people with a few different options so you can see approximately how much it will cost for a Disney vacation.
Monday January 16th- Friday January 20th 2017
Plane tickets- estimating $275/person round trip (depends on where you’re flying from)
Room at one of the All Star Resorts- $420.36 ($210. 18/person)
Disney 4 day Magic Your Way tickets- $695.02 ($347.51/person)
Food – ($110/person) (packing breakfast and lunch, eating dinner in the parks, one character meal, bringing own water bottle so you don’t pay for any drinks in the parks, and 1-2 snacks per day in the Disney parks)
Total: approximately $945 plus souvenir money
As you can see, it is possible to go on a 5 day Disney vacation for under $1,000.
I hope this post helps you if you are trying to plan or are thinking about planning a Disney vacation on a college student’s budget!
Have you ever been to Disney World? Are you planning a Disney vacation?