Are you feeling the squeeze?

There is something odd about WDW. Is it a drug? A cult? Mass delusion?

I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve spent more on vacations in the last two years (four WDW trips) than I ever have before. For sure, they’ve been amazing. But my one-off trip of a lifetime wasn’t enough. I wanted more and more. I currently have three trips booked: for December, June and October.

I’ve realised I need to start making compromises. I’m going to do two trips a year. With a budget of about $5,000 each. But major savings I’ve decided I have to make are: no more business class flights (the horror!) and six nights rather than nine on any one trip.

Strangely I’ve only recently consciously realised just how expensive WDW is. Because much of the pricing is in dollars, I don’t take it seriously. It’s like Monopoly money to me. And, of course, much of it you can spend by tapping your magic band — my father used to say that you should always pay for everything in physical cash because then you feel the pain of handing it over.

Last year WDW added hotel parking charges. There was outrage, but I didn’t care because I don’t drive in Florida (and the charges don’t apply to UK guests anyway). But now they’re going after dessert party patrons and suddenly my outrage meter is screeching alerts at me. They’re increasing the price by about 20%. The Tomorrowland Terrace HEA party is going up to $99. Even I’m starting to think, “wow, that’s expensive — maybe I should look at other options.” Of course, that might be the point. The laws of economics suggest you keep increasing the price until the level of demand falls to the level of supply. I guess that’s what’s happening here.

I’m even wondering about staying off-property again. I was lucky to stay for free at a friend’s house during my first trip. Sure, it was an Uber ride away from WDW, but it was also a wonderfully tranquil haven. Being in the bubble is great, but sometimes it’s nice to escape it. When I look at what you can rent and how much you pay for it, suddenly the off-property people are looking like the smart ones.

And if I’m going to stay off-property, suddenly buying packages no longer seems obvious. UOR annual passes aren’t that expensive. But why pay twice for any given day (if I have a 14 day WDW ticket — the minimum you can buy in the UK — and I spend one of my days in UOR, I’m paying for both resorts but only going to one.) Maybe I just buy day tickets to WDW, supplemented by party tickets or DAH tickets. Or just do DAH and parties. Spend the day time at UOR with my cheap annual pass. That might make more sense financially. (I recently wondered about buying a WDW annual pass. Oh, how I laughed when I saw the price. It makes no sense for me at all.)

My previous trips have been characterised by vigorous use of up-charge items. But surely there’s a line. How much do they have to increase DAH to before I think, “hmm, maybe not.” Or even, “hmm, that’s just not in my budget — I can’t afford it.”

How price sensitive are you? How disciplined are you with the budget? Are you beginning to feel squeezed?


Definitely feeling it here. Staying at Pop our next trip, no park hoppers this time, same amount of nights, and the price is nearly what we paid this last summer at POR. Also contemplating going without the HEA dessert party for the first time. We really enjoyed EMM-especially at TSL-but I shudder at what those prices might be in 2020 assuming they will resume offering EMM again.


Am I very price sensitive. I don’t frame it about being able to afford it, I frame it as “is this a good use of my money?”. If I do it otherwise it seems that all my post-savings, post-paying-bills money is up for Disney’s grabbing, which is really not the case for me.

I will be staying at a Disney Springs hotel, because it was the cheapest option that included 60 days FPs and EEMH (1). Even considering the price of Uber/Lyft for all transportation (2), it still ended up being 30 to 40% cheaper then staying at All Stars for my dates.

No park hoppers for me. I understand the appeal, but I can’t the value they bring is just not enough to justify the cost for me.

For meals my plan is to go for the best QS: Satu’li, CHH, etc. TS sounds nice, but not enough for me to think it is worth it. I wouldn’t take the dining plan even if possible from my hotel.

No add ons. Dessert parties do appeal to me (I love desserts and hate having a ton of people so close to me), but when I think about the cost and compare it with other things I could be doing for the same money, I can’t convince myself that it is a good deal. EMM, DAH and Mk parties are all options I would consider as replacements for a party day.

If prices were different I might think more things are worth it, but right now I always compare with real world prices when deciding what to do on Disney.

My next trip is going to cost:

  • airfare
  • $800 Disney portion (hotel + food + tickets + transportation, I will be splitting the hotel with friends that are coming with me, so I will pay closer to $500)
  • $300 Universal tickets (I will be at a convention and the hotel is actually covered as a part of it, not sure how many days I would add for Universal if paying just for it)

(1) I wouldn’t have considered staying onsite if it weren’t for EEMH. Regular EMH without hoppers are not that big of an advantage (only one park has it, so you might need to go to the busiest park to have it) and 60 days FPs with a short stay won’t be that much better then 30 days.
(2) The thing I don’t understand about the Disney community is why they don’t do more rideshares. We are talking about $7 to $10 to have a much much better experience then Disney buses.


I am very much about quantity. I would rather take longer, or multiple vacations vs just one short trip with all the bells and whistles.


Yes. On our trip next June we are staying offsite now. Allot of that has to do with traveling with extended family, 9 in all. Onsite would either require 3 rooms at a value or a crazy expensive villa so offsite makes the most sense. Plus offsite house gives everyone separate rooms, our own pool and kitchen.
As for HEA or extras like that? With 9 people, forget about it!

I am definitely price conscious but if I’m going all the way to WDW (this is a long way from home) I’m going to do WDW, with ADRs for all the lunches and dinners. We really haven’t done any of the other add ons but we are fortunate to have hoppers b/c that is what you get with the military tix. That was my motivation behind my 2nd and 3rd trips: they might stop doing the mil discount so we have to go now (this is a discount that gets renewed every year but it might not). Of course I realize this is part of their marketing but I’m ok with it. If we lived closer I suppose we would have done more recent trips. We did 2014 and 2015 and now will be doing 2019 in the same time of year so it will have been 4 full years. I wanted to go back to see all the new stuff. My previous experience of WDW was a couple of days offsite when I was in the 5th grade and I know we didn’t see any of the nighttime stuff b/c my parents didn’t want to stay out late. That was when it was only 2 parks and Epcot was new and Figment was on every piece of Epcot merchandise. BTW the way I justified the Disney trip is that for this whole year we only took one other trip and it was as cheap as I could get a trip, driving a few hrs to a beach. I try to balance it out like that. And, I really want to do a Disney cruise now but seeing what the prices are now vs just a few years ago hurts my brain. I wish I’d gotten interested much earlier. Pricing it out for the # of poeple in my family is just plain painful…but I really want to go on the Disney Dream! :slight_smile:

Very. Price trumps all else. I look for the absolute cheapest way to accomplish what I want to do, and then have a little bit of budgeted splurge money we can spend how we like.

Very disciplined. We don’t go if we don’t have the money, and we plan/budget the trip about two years ahead of time so that we have time to save for it. Then I budget a way to ensure that money is put aside properly.

Furthermore, I’ve tried to anticipate price increases as much as I can. I bought my AP several months ago because I knew they would raise the price before our trip came. I was right about that. I also bought our Universal and Disney tickets for the family for BOTH trips next year…again, to get ahead of the price increases that are almost certain.

I also reserved our off-site rental for the May trip well over a year in advance to ensure the best selection and lowest price.

For the December 2020 trip, I have reservations made in hotels that keep us within our budget at current pricing. That means, if the DVC rental doesn’t work out for any reason, I know what the price will be and that we can afford it. This also means I have reservations ahead of any more price increases.

Well, admittedly, both these trips are our most expensive trips. But there are reasons beyond Disney price increases. The May trip is mostly because we decided to do Universal AND Disney in the same trip. But we kind of “borrowed” the budgeted vacation money from both this year’s vacation and our 2021 vacation. So this year, we did a much more budget friendly trip, and 2021 we will as well. The extra is putting put towards the May trip.

But you can bet that it will be several more years after December 2020 before we go back, and that it will be off-site again.

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Starting to feel it here. I booked Coronado Springs for my trip in November and February vs my usual deluxe. They have finally priced me out and while I keep trying to justify the extra costs, I can’t. I was ready to pull the trigger on the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Dessert Party for November, had even entered the credit card, but just couldn’t do it. I may change my mind later, but right now, the cost seemed ridiculous (even though I am a fan of dessert parties and have done probably 6 or 7 of them). I didn’t enjoy the last EMM at Magic Kingdom (thought it was oversold compared to the previous version) or VAH. Instead of just automatically renewing our APs as we have done previously, I let DH’s lapse until next time I’m sure he’s going.

We’re giving Universal a try for the first time in November and I’m hoping I love it as much as I love Disney (but I remain skeptical).

But the truth was, last week I only had one day in Disney planned for November and nothing else on the radar. So, I booked trips in February and April next year and immediately felt better, happier. We may be cutting back some, but the desire to go is still strong. We’ll see how long it lasts.


I was thinking about this thread as I was driving.
$5,000 for 6 days is a budget of $833/pp/day.
That matches my budget for eight of us.
Granted we drive and I can’t imagine what you pay for airfare, and we save on sleeping eight in a rental that cost less than a value hotel room. But you only have to buy one set of tickets and one of each meal (vs 8).

How much more is a 10 day trip without bells and whistles. I’ve often dreamt of going with 10 day tickets and not feeling like I constantly had to look for ways to squeeze it all in.

Or are all the upsells ways to get folks back? “Now that I’ve been there, I know I can enjoy this item more so with enhanced features.”

Are the fireworks $99 MORE beautiful with some cupcakes and a chair? Maybe they are more comfortably enjoyed, but is 40 mins of comfort worth $99?

DAH is likely so stinking awesome. But I could add on two more entire DAYS to the tickets and do those rides for less than $125 pp.

Without the add ons, could you take a 10 day or 14 day trip and stay off property in a more tranquil setting and leave some frenzy, save some money, and enjoy it just the same?


We did not enjoy the VAH this past July either. It was SO crowded. We did enjoy the EMM, though, and didn’t have to wait in line for anything - even 7DMT. We are definitely weighing options for our next trip.

The problem we had with EMM was that SDMT was down for the first 45 minutes or so (which is the main reason we do EMM - to ride it with little to no wait). That made all the other rides busier and none were walk on. And when it finally came up, we were sent through the standby line and then waited about 25 minutes. We got off and probably could have gotten in line for a second ride with less wait, but our goal was to hit Space at opening so we needed to book it over there.

Contrast that with a year ago, we did SDMT 5 times in a row by just hopping off and scooting right back in line and right back on the ride with our choice of rows. This last time was a major disappointment and definitely felt more crowded, even with the ride issues.

But we still loved TSL EMM.

It’s different. It’s more rock’n’roll than WDW. The rides are wilder and more exciting. But the Harry Potter stuff is awesome.

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I do feel the squeeze, but we also like to have some luxuries on vacation so for us it’s about finding the right balance of booking the splurges that add value to our experience and finding things we may not miss that we can cut out. A dessert party or DAH really adds value for us and enables us to do things we would probably not otherwise do as we don’t like to be in a large crowd or stand in a long line. As prices increase in order to meet the budget we may need to be selective in how many of those experiences we can fit in and may need to change some of our other expenses (eg. not having a table service meal every day).


DS will be 11 and is all in on Harry Potter. He’s working thru book 4 at the moment and trying to finish as many as he can by the trip. I think it will be a fun change (plus, he’s all about the wild rides!)


Yeah, but there are economies of scale. I have to pay for a whole room all by myself. Eight of you probably only pay for two rooms. So each person is paying a quarter of what I pay.

Next June I’m paying $1,100 air fare — that’s in premium economy. It’s a nine hour flight. I’m not flying regular economy — the difference is about $350.

Longer trips cost a lot more. Well, the way I do them: each extra night at the resort, each extra day of DDP.

Instead of two six night trips, I could do one two week trip. But then I have to wait a year between trips. It’s less efficient costwise, but two shorter trips are more appealing to me than one longer one. And in practical terms, too. I don’t want to be away from home (and my dog) for that long. You can get a lot done in a six night trip.

It would help if he finishes them all. The Gringott’s ride is based on the last book.

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We went to France last September for 11 days (Bayeux, Mont Saint Michel & Paris) for roughly the same price as a week-long WDW vacation. :flushed:

Now that we have that “price memory,” our trips have been fewer and not as frequent. If we go, it’s for something really special, like staying at the Poly for my first marathon this January, or bc we catch a good deal, like doing POFQ this July. It’s not a “default” vacation for us anymore bc of pricing.

It makes me sad, bc before DS5, DH and I did a lot of WDW trips, and we could do a lot during them (I remember when the Wishes dessert party was maybe $40/person…cheaper F&W prices for seminars and food booths…etc.) But, no more.

(I had to laugh at a guest saw during our last trip who was leaving Impressions de France and said to his wife, “Well, that was cheaper than going to France!” Oh buddy, you don’t even know.) :joy:


It’s not like you to only pull out certain points to address. I did acknowledge we pay less for accommodations. But we also pay much more for tickets and probably for meals.

I’m in more of a “is this a good use of my money” than a “can I afford it” situation, but I meticulously keep track of and categorize all our vacation costs. It helps me judge what’s worth it and what isn’t when I look back at the budget for 1 week in Paris vs 1 week at Disney vs 2 weeks in Alaska vs 5 days in St. Lucia vs a weekend in Niagara Falls. I know how much we spend on food, lodging, travel, tickets, extras, etc. on all of them. When it’s time to plan our next adventure, I have a clear picture of what I can get for our money and our time.The higher Disney prices get, the more I think “We haven’t been to Italy in a while…”


I plan on fast-forwarding to the movies if he doesn’t get them all done. We’ve been reading the book first and watching the movies after but if we don’t finish (those books are HUGE!) then we might need to adjust.