Sunday, June 3, 2012

Doing the Disney Math

Sometimes crunching numbers and breaking down costs
makes choosing to go on a Disney Vacation worth it!
Disneyland is still two months off, so what better way to kill time than to begin the pre-planning of the next Disney trip. My parents, myself, and the sibling are looking at going to Walt Disney World September of 2013. Mom has been apprehensive due to costs. This finally came to a head this weekend as she basically said a Disney trip would be impossible.

Considering the subject was Disney, and Walt himself was the master of making the impossible, possible, I jumped at the chance to prove her wrong. Crunching numbers is not normally my thing, but Disney Math - as we Disney-holics lovingly call it - is simple enough. Admittedly the total amount is a huge chunk of change, but once you begin to break down costs it's much more manageable.

Disney has not released the rates for next year - aside from their hotels. It's anyone's guess when we'll know the vacation package prices for 2013, but typically they release middle to late summer so folks have time to plan and budget. Basic budgetting, however, can begin well in advance of packages by using the current packages and rounding up. It may not be completely accurate - I round up to the nearest 50 or 00, which typically makes it far more expensive than it will be - but it gives you a figure to work with.

Attention to detail outside the Tusker
House in Disney's Anitmal Kingdom.
We're looking at going in September of next year. There are several reasons, the main one being my dad's 60th birthday will be September 15. He has been very vocal with his desire to go for his birthday over other options. Considering he's the bread winner, it's the least we can do for him. Another reason is that, in the past, September is the time Disney gives deep discounts like their free dining plan promotion. This is never promised, and should not be a deciding factor or even budgetted for, but it's good to keep in mind. When estimating I never budget with discounts in mind, I go for the full fare so I will not be disappointed or unprepared later on.

For our family of four we will need two rooms - to give the parentals some privacy. This bumps up the fees a bit, but not terribly so. For me Park Hopper is a must have for tickets. We also will have the Dining Plan. With four adults who do enjoy food, and want to be pampered once in a while, the Dining Plan works well as we can eat at places we would normally pass up because of costs. Tip is the only thing not included and that's just fine by us, we can take care of that. And, while not believing it will be available to us, we could get it for free should they offer another promotion (with the opening of the new Fantasyland, though, I don't see them offering deep discounts next fall).

Dad also chose Port Orleans Riverside as the resort he'd like to stay at. This makes me happy as I enjoy the moderate resorts over the values or even deluxe options. Again this adds a bit of expense, but if need be we *could* go down to a value, but with Disney Math you really don't need to. Little splurges are a good thing for a relaxing part of the vacation.

After visiting the Disney World Website and plugging in our "wants" out came the cost: $6293.44. This is a huge number. Rounding up to $6500 makes one gasp even more. Again I always try to give myself a little buffer so when the real price comes out I'm not under-estimating, and it's always nice to feel like we're getting it cheaper.

Even though the cost seems steep, this is for four "adults" with the extras listed above. It basically comes to 1575 or 1625 (depending on how you round up) a person. Granted we haven't added in airfare, but even after that it's not a bad deal. Did I mention this is for a 10 night, 9 day trip. That's a huge bang for the buck. If I wanted to get really detailed I could go down to the day per person cost, but I'm not THAT crazy about Disney Math.

With this info in hand, it makes the Disney Budget seem much more doable. With just a little bit of game planning, saving for the trip becomes something that doesn't seem impossible. Once again, Walt Disney is making the impossible, possible (all the while making a killing).

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