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Travelling on a dime

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by WalmartBagger, May 27, 2007.

  1. WalmartBagger

    WalmartBagger New Member

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    Well, This oughta be my first post on this forum!

    Anyways, I was wondering, on the least expensive ways to stay at disney, tips on how to save money, etc.

    The good :
    My fiancee (Who happens to be tinkerbell88 on this forum) is going to be in the Career Start program starting monday, so she can get me in free, and has discounts on rooms.

    The bad :
    She has almost no transportation (her car is here, the transmission needs fixing.). Picking me up from an airport would be hard for her, seeing as she'd need a friend or someone to pick me up for her.

    So, any advice? Tips? as far as rooms go, I only need a place to stay for the night, seeing as I can't stay at her appt. with Disney.
  2. cloudboy

    cloudboy Active Member

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    If you are not going to rent a car(which I would highly recommend if you can - even if you only rent an economy), you can take the bus from the airport. Not the Mears shuttle or those, but the actual Lynx public bus. You will probably have to make a connection or two, and it may take a while, but it will be cheap, and you will get to see the other Orlando.

    The best thing for lodging is to find an outside the gate hotel that offers free transportation. If noise doesn't bother you and you can survive cheap, try the comfort suites in Lake Buena Vista. Take the shuttle to a park and meet her there. You will usually not have a problem bringing her back with you on the shuttle - you can walk over to the market and get some quick stuff to eat there. There is a pizza shop in the plaza next to the hotel.

    By and large, though, your big expense is going to be food. So eat light, eat out of the park as often as you can, and don't get tied up with tight schedules or too rigid planning. Rent a car if you can, because there are lots of cheap options that are within a short driving range from the park that have good food. If you do have a car, go up to Sand Lake Road, with places like Panera and Moe's.
  3. cloudboy

    cloudboy Active Member

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    I am feeling pretty verbose today! My trips to Disney are usually to visit people who work there or in the area. And it can be done really cheap – but you have to think a little less about “Doing Disney” and more about having a fun vacation. I highly recommend a car – can’t stress that enough. But there are busses that you can take. Check out www.golynx.com. They do serve all the parks, and I dive as well, but don’t really offer direct access between the two. But if you are willing to make connections, it will enable you to get around.

    I recommend starting with an overall budget, but don’t break it down just yet. Then figure out the top four or five things you absolutely want to do (and I am talking – eat out, go to a club, eat dinner here or stay in such and such a hotel, not just what rides you want to do). And budget and plan around them. You will find it a lot easier to find ways to save, and be more willing to live with those savings, if you have done some things you really want to.

    Hotels

    Employees can get some really good discounts. Keep in mind, though, that these are hard to get – and usually only available non-peak times. And even though you may be getting a great deal, it still may be more than you would pay outside the park, particularly since most of the discounts are for the more costly hotels.

    If it is important to stay at a Disney hotel, think about spending a few nights off-site, and then a few nights on-site. It may be a real special present to your girlfriend to spend most of your trip at a cheap off-site hotel and one or two nights at a deluxe resort.

    If you are not going to rent a car, try the hotels around Disney Marketplace. You get the benefits or regular (if slow) transportation but usually at a cheaper rate. Make sure you look for AAA discounts, saver sites such as Mousesavers, and check out the hotel’s own web page and not just the main travel booking sites. And don’t forget to check the Swan and Dolphin – they sometimes have some really great deals (but be aware you will pay for parking there!)

    Most of the offsite hotels have shuttle service too, so you can stay offsite without needing a car. But be aware you may not be able to stay out late and an awful lot of your time will be spent in traveling and waiting to meet your girlfriend.

    Even though they are a little more, I would try to stick to the hotels in Lake Buena Vista – you have stores within walking distance, and if you are really up for it, you can hoof it to Downtown Disney. Plus you have some better discount food options available there.

    Food

    Food is often your biggest expense. Food within Disney is expensive – and there is no way around that. Your ability to save on food is thus tied in with either a) getting off site to eat or b) Eating cheaply. A lot of money can be spent on extra foods stuffs – the snacks you pick up throughout the day. If you need to or want to eat big meals, I would save the food for then. But, you might also find it a lot less costly to just snack your way through without really sitting down for a meal. You obviously have to think about nutrition and eating nothing but sugar, but considering you are a college student it will probably be nothing worse than what you eat every other day.

    You get more bang for your buck at the hotel restaurants than you do at the restaurants in the parks. With possibly one exception – the food court in the land I have found to be the best quality, value, and selection.

    Again, if you don’t have a car, think about dining at Downtown Disney. You get more or your money there. Plus, Earl of Sandwich is probably one of my favorite Quick Casual restaurants anywhere!

    If you can figure out how to get there, pick up a few bottles of soda at Hess (or, walk across to Goodings or up to 7-11), and stick them in the fridge in your room (if you have one). Also a good idea for some snacks.

    There are many places to eat much cheaper if you go out the entrance to Lake Buena Vista. If you stay at the Comfort Inn, there is a plaza on Palm Parkway which has a pizza shop which will save you money.

    Car

    I highly recommend getting a car. Even if you are under age, it is worth the extra fee (there are companies is Orlando which rent to young drivers). If it’s a lot, rent an economy. Just get some wheels. This really gives you many more options

    For instance, there are a ton of cheaper eating establishments off property. Not just along 535 and Palm Parkway, but up a little north along West Sand Lake Road. And if you want to eat better but not spend a fortune, there are some good places there. A little pricy but a good date is the Press Room, which is a wine bar and sandwich shop.

    If you have a car, you can also stay a little further off property and save money there. Also, look for a place with a kitchen. You can always find a Publixs, and cook at home.

    With a car you can also move from park to park easier. Your girlfriend will be able to get you in without having to pay for parking.

    Your girlfriend may be down there for a short enough time that it hasn’t set in yet, but it is very possible she will be sick of Disney day in and out. There are a lot of nice things to see in the area, so think about getting away form the parks for a day. Go to downtown Orlando, pick up a sandwich, and sit out at Lake Eola park. Go shopping (she probably does not have a chance to do much of that), and go explore some of the many small parks Orlando has. Explore Winter Park. All these things are probably going to cost you less than spending your day at Disney. By all means enjoy the park, but don’t forget the most important thing is seeing your girlfriend, and you can make the trip a lot more special by being a little more adventurous.

    You are going to get to see Disney in a special way. Unlike most tourists who are simply going to do all the rides – you are going to explore a whole working city. There’s a backside to Disney that the average tourist never gets to see – the whole operational side of the parks and living in Florida. Not just going on rides, but living in a vacation mecca. If you have a car, there are backroads that you can see behind the scenes. And you get to see what it is really like working for the mouse and having to live with tourists every day. Plus, you get to see what goes in to making a tourist city work. So explore!
  4. Maria

    Maria New Member

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    Rent a car please.... if she has no car in Orlando and is working for Disney, I am sure she will want to be able to ride in the comfort of a car at least when you are there.
    Rent is not that bad. With a car in Orlando, you can get a cheaper hotel to sleep and spend the day at the parks or touring Orlando. She would also appreciate to have you helping her running errands to get settled in the apartment. Something that is hard to do if you have to depend on Disney transportation or friend´s schedules to give you a ride.
    I agree - stay in the Lake Buenavista area - it´s closer to the parks and there are tons of places open late to eat and shop a bit.
    Where is she staying? Chatham Square? There are many hotels nearby that are cheap. Just type in LBV and look for a cheap one.
    Do get a car pls.... ;)
  5. WalmartBagger

    WalmartBagger New Member

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    Okay, been a while since I looked. You guys sure do give some tips!

    By the by, I have my own car, that is in need of a new set of gaskets(sp?) but that's gonna be done before I go. It's about 500 miles away so an estimated cost of what? $200 for gas back and forth? Possibly $250 by the time I go, you know gas prices nowadays >_>

    The off-site hotel idea sounds good, If I can get something for even cheaper than like the all-star resorts with her discount, it'd be really nice! Any suggestions, or recommended hotels we can stay at? I don't mind noise much, in fact, I can't sleep in silence! XD I just want a place safe and at least decent. (Don't want a run down place with leaky pipes, broken windows, etc.)
  6. Pumbas Nakasak

    Pumbas Nakasak Getting my 7 portions a day Premium Member

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    I preffer a plane, its warmer crossing the pond.

    FRIDAY.
  7. smk

    smk Well-Known Member

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    If you aren't 25 or older, renting a car is nearly impossible. If it is possible... then renting a car at a young age is very expensive, not really in line with trying to get there on a small budget. Look at airfare, some airlines are offering decent rates if you plan in advance. With your GF's discount at a value resort and cheap airfare it may be possible. I would suggest that you look around now, get a feel for the prices and if a good deal comes along then you'll know it. Good luck!
  8. Maria

    Maria New Member

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    had to be you! LOL :lol:
  9. cloudboy

    cloudboy Active Member

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    So you will have a car! That is good - opens up some options for you. I would recommend the Comfort Inn in Lake Buena Vista. It isn't the best, certainly not up to Disney standards, but for what you get for the price and location, I think it may be your best deal if you go with a regular hotel. Otherwise, if you are willing to drive a bit, there are places along 192 (Irlo Bronson) that may be cheaper, but when you factor in driving time, gas, and just finding places to eat, it works out pretty close.

    Another option, if you are not planning on spending all your time in the parks, is to look into places such that have kitchen facilities, like many of the timeshare resorts. You will be able to cook your meals there and have a fridge and stuff.

    Hotels can seem like a lot because you throw so much into them at once, but when you are talking cheaper hotels, you food bills add up to more than your lodging. So watch for places that offer breakfast - that will save you money right there. Oh, and make sure you list your girlfriend in the room even if she doesn't stay with you - I know it is sneaky, but you get things like meals and parking, too.

    If in shopping around for lodging, stay away from anything that is listed on Orange Blossom Trail. I k don't think there is a ton left up there, but they can be pretty bad. Stick to something in Lake Buena Vista, Irlo Bronson, or I drive.
  10. Maria

    Maria New Member

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    I think I stayed at the Comfort Inn last month - it is located behind the Olive Garden. It wasn´t great but it was convenient and cheap. We didn´t pick that one, but there was a rate that included breakfast that might be your choice. The rooms have a little fridge and coffee maker. They also have hair dryer and an iron board... but who wants to iron to go to the parks? ;)
  11. TwoTigersMom

    TwoTigersMom New Member

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    Just to give some idea, I drive a large SUV, we got right at 19 mpg on our trip down and back and it cost us right at $300 in fuel. Keep in mind, that also included 12 days of back and forth within WDW to the parks and such. That was for regular fuel.

    Edit: Forgot to mention we are 421 miles from the mouse.
  12. slappy magoo

    slappy magoo Well-Known Member

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    No offense, dude, but out of the four major expenses for a trip to WDW - admissions, loding, food and travel, you've got 2 of the four covered since your fiancee can get you free admission and cheap hotel rooms. If you can bring your car, the third is covered, and this will also allow you the option of eating offsite which is almost always cheaper. There's not much more advice anyone's gonna be able to offer you.

    Are you going down for just one night?
  13. WalmartBagger

    WalmartBagger New Member

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    I want to stay for at least 2-3 days. If possible, 4-5.

    o_O I'm ~530 from WDW and my car is 38-41 mpg highway, 10 gallon tank. By normal math, that should land about 380-410 miles a tank, 2 tanks a trip, 4 tanks back n forth. 4 x ~35 + any gas needed in the area.
  14. DisneyMarg

    DisneyMarg Member

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    Our food on the cheap (but still eat some Disney goodies) plan:
    • Breakfast in the room (cereal or granola bars or cheese and crackers)
    • Take something for a mid-morning snack and take plenty of water
    • Enjoy a late lunch at a table service restaurant (where lunch is cheaper than dinner but the food is almost as good) or at a counter service (if you're in a hurry)
    • Enjoy a late afternoon Disney snack (gotta have the Mickey bar)
    • Have a light supper in the room after returning at night
    As for which hotel, I'd call several and always ask, "Is this your cheapest rate?" Often the first thing they quote is the rack rate, but when you press you can find better deals. I've been amazed. My favorite was a hotel in New York, quoted at $350/night. When I asked, "Is this your cheapest rate?" they said, "Well, we have this Broadway package that includes dinner, breakfast, and a broadway show for $200/night".

    The other "on the cheap thing".... avoid buying souveniers at Disney. You can buy them at Walmart.:lol:
  15. slappy magoo

    slappy magoo Well-Known Member

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    Well, if you get 38-41 mpg, then you'll use less than 3 full tanks going to and fro WDW.

    530 x 2 = 1060

    On the conservative side, if 10 gallons gets you 380 miles, then 3 full tanks will get you 1140 miles. You probably won't drive more than 80 miles while in WDW unless you do a lot of offsite touring, and since you're on a budget, not likely. There, I justy saved you the cost of one tank of gas. :)

    You could buy some groceries and "brown bag" some meals like breakfast, but since you're traveling on the cheap, that means you'd probably stay in a value resort where refrigerators aren't standard. Unless your sweet thang can finagle you one for free. At least, you could buy dry cereal, or bagels and peanut butter. You could also bring a cooler and keep stocking it with ice for perishables like milk or keeping soda cool. Considering you can buy a 12 pack of soda for 4 bucks or less, versus 2 bucks plus change for every soda you buy, that adds up (or really abuse the refillable mug policy).

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