This week I attended the Ruffalo Noel Levitz conference at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. As a self-proclaimed penny-pincher, I consider the prices at Disney a little, um, steep. However, I did discover a few ways to save money.
1. Choose “Quick Service” dining options.
I ate most of my meals at Picabu and Fuel. These “buffeterias” have delicious food, and (while they’re not cheap) they are cheaper than the more formal restaurants. I especially liked Picabu because I could grab a hot meal (such as tacos or a burrito bowl) and a snack for later (they stock some of my favorite granola bars).
2. Bring your own breakfast.
While we’re talking about food, let’s address my favorite meal of the day: breakfast! If you are looking to save a few bucks, bring your own breakfast. At Fuel, you can buy an individual box of cereal, a banana, and a cup of milk at the resort, for about $5 each morning. Instead, buy a family-sized box of cereal, a bunch of bananas, and half-gallon of milk at your local grocery store for $5; it will last the entire week. Each room has a mini-fridge, so your milk won’t spoil. If you aren’t a fan of cold cereal, you can use the coffee maker to cook oatmeal. Stir in some peanut butter and banana slices for a complete breakfast.
3. Drink the water.
The tap water in Florida tastes like smoke. However, Disney provides bottled water in your room as part of the ridiculous “resort fee” (this fee also covers WiFi, soap, coffee, tea, and other amenities that most hotels provide free of charge). Since you are paying for the water, drink it.
The Swan and Dolphin Resort has five pools. You could honestly spend an entire day at the resort without spending a single penny on entertainment.
5. If you are serious about saving a buck, opt out of housekeeping.
Upon check-in, you can choose to receive a daily $5 food voucher instead of housekeeping. If you travel with a family, housekeeping is worth it! If you have the room to yourself, you may not need your sheets changed every day. Instead, you can spend $5 on ice cream every evening!
[I don’t know who Christina and Thomas are, but I’m sure they had a beautiful wedding!]
6. Don’t upgrade your room.
The truth is, you probably won’t be in your room that much. I chose a “run of the house” room, and I did not specify a certain floor. Yet, my view was great. I watched fireworks over the Tower of Terror Hotel every night.
7. Show your AAA Card.
You can receive a 20% discount at most quick-serving and casual dining restaurants if you have a AAA membership.
8. Know that memories last longer than trinkets.
Long after the snow globes break and the Mouse Ears get lost in a toy chest, you’ll remember the experiences of Disney.
What are your tips for saving money on vacation?