Saving money (or, rather, not spending it) at WDW

Indeed. I will never stay at a WDW deluxe resort (unless I come into money) because they are just so expensive and I can’t justify that. Yet I always fly at least Premium Economy (equivalent to domestic business class) and often Upper Class (lie-flat beds) on my trips to Orlando. One of my friends, who just paid $14,000 for a week in the Maldives, thinks I’m crazy to not fly coach.

For me the difference is this. All hotel rooms are essentially the same. You get a bed and a shower. Everything else is superficial: fancier furnishings, nicer view, walking access to the parks. But all airline seats are not the same. There is a world of difference between a lie-flat bed and an economy seat with no leg-room and someone trying to get past to go to the toilet.


I don’t think that would make sense for me. I think it would cost me more. And I don’t have the cash for the initial outlay.

Something I didn’t mention previously is that there is a lot to see and do that doesn’t involve paying extra. Just going around looking the details, the free entertainment as it returns to places like Epcot. And, after playing heavily in the “Where in the World” thread recently, I’m seeing so many pictures of places/things I’ve never been to or seen myself yet, DESPITE how many times we’ve been.

The amount of detail Disney puts into things makes it hard to ever see/do it all even if you just limit it to the things you don’t pay extra for!


100% agree. The easiest way to economize at Disney is to skip the extras. It’s not like you’re gonna run out of things to do, especially if you’re a first-timer or infrequent visitor.

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Sometimes I think people in this forum or the forum in general makes us feel like we MUST stay deluxe or DVC or MUST do a dessert party or MUST do X, Y, or Z or our trip will be ruined. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a ton of things on here and my trips are better for them, but there is also some anxiety created that if I don’t do X then, my trip will not be as good or less than.


Yeah I’ve been thinking about this a lot more recently. We are dvc so our last few trips have been in deluxe but if we add on days it’s at value or our kids have decided they love the pool at CSR so we go there now. But all the extras that we had done previously I just can’t justify the ticket cost anymore. When my kids are old enough I do want to do WAT and I will say the fireworks cruise with my extended family was probably the most favorite thing I’ve spent money on and the only one I’d do again still. But we’re happy with quick service and the occasional TS meal during a trip (but not every day because I hate paying TS prices for picky kids, especially when one will be a Disney adult soon). We haven’t been to universal yet but once I think my kids can handle more of those rides we’ll likely be splitting more trips in the future.

We are also an every 3 year visit family. So we have been doing what we want in the parks and not worrying about costs. Now I will tell you that staying on site at WDW costs too much for us. I do understand that WDW just can’t handle everyone who wants to go. But raising prices doesn’t seem to be stopping visitors from coming. It seems people will gladly go into debt than miss out on WDW. They could have another WDW in the country and would probably still be full.

It’s working out great with the kids age factor for us. First trip was heavy on WDW. 2nd trip (last year) was 3 days WDW, 4 days UOR. I figure the next trip will be 2 days WDW, 5 days UOR. But those two days would be park hopping and hitting everything we want to and spending way too much.

In 3 years when Epic U will be open, UOR will be a 1 week + experience. I hear Epic will have a bigger proportion of kid friendly family attractions than currently. Look out WDW.


That’s something I hadn’t thought of, but I think you’re right with HP, Nintendo, and Dragon sections? Disney is going to be playing catch up again, I think. Although, if demand continues, maybe both UOR and WDW will benefit, because you’ll see more people “adding on” days to either UOR or WDW, possibly.


I still haven’t done the trip I keep promising myself I’ll do: one on which I focus almost entirely on stopping and smelling roses. One in which I don’t repeat things I’ve done before. There are still many eateries I’ve never tried, mostly because I’m worried they will be awful. Random example: ABC Commissary.

FOMO and rushing around and pressures that are very hard to resist.

Another example: given how much I hate Enchantment, I should really try it from behind the castle. Or on PeopleMover.



I’ve been worried that too many people will start coming to UOR and spoil it for the rest of us. But Epic U might be the solution. More people will come, but they’ll be more spread out.


THIS. All of this.


I have definitely cut back on my upcoming trip. The prices are just outrageous and hard to stomach honestly! And like a lot have said, a lot of what I love is actually free. Trying to resist FOMO and realizing our first real vacation in years will be wonderful no matter what we do!

I’m amazed by people who can do this. To me, WDW is parks and I need to maximize park time which in turn means rides, not strolls and “roses.” One year I took my younger two at spring break and to avoid the crowds we did more of the “b side” of WDW. Some of our favorite memories from that trip were those non-park experiences.

We love riding Splash during the fireworks. Last trip we got a LL to make sure we had the timing right and it was perfect for us. As much as I love Peoplemover at night, I think the overhang would make the fireworks hard to see.

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It’s interesting, I’m more with your friend. Air travel is a certain number of hours (thus far in my world, no more than 8) so I feel like just suck it up, be semi-uncomfortable, and deal with it. The travel is the price you pay for the vacation. The vacation is where I see the point of spending the money, and nicer furnishings, better amenities, walking access to the park, is worth it for me. But your way of thinking makes sense to me and I appreciate hearing you explain why you feel the opposite!


I feel like now that I have DVC, I am getting more relaxed with what we do every trip. We know we will be back in a few months so we don’t feel so bad skipping things.
Not saying this to push you to a DVC, but just observing over the past few years you go quite often, so you deserve a “stop and smell the roses” trip.
I went on my first solo trip a few months ago for a 2.5 days (a flight is only 3 hrs for me, so a short trip was doable) and I had a a few bucket list things to do, but I just roamed the whole trip and it was wonderful, I highly recommend it .

As far as deluxe resorts, I’ve never stayed in one before DVC. I really enjoy the values and we have tried some moderates in the past, and we do sometimes book them because we miss that option. But there’s nothing better than waking up and being able to walk to a park either.
I personally wouldn’t pay nightly for a deluxe resort, if I didn’t have DVC, but I would maybe splurge and travel in a better class plane seat if I had to travel from your area!

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I’m borderline with flights. It’s only a 2.5 hour flight for us, but I draw the line at not picking our seats ahead of time. Need a window to look out of, and the less people in front of me the better. I just want on and off quickly with the least amount of time in the plane as possible. I’m the person that could have an earlier boarding time, and wait until the last group is called to get on.

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Sad to say, but between cost and politics and genie negative (I mean plus), our every 2 year visit is not going to happen. Never been to Universal so time to branch out and maybe try some other destinations as well. Maybe we’ll be back at some point, either way; Its a great big beautiful tomorrow…


I agree with OP. I am much wealthier now than when my wife and I first started going regularly (1x yr.) in 1999. But I find myself thinking my money would go so much further in some many different areas. Now we go once every 3-4 years and stay offsite. With all the Genie+ garbage this year, we went to DL for the first time and had an absolute blast.


I just did the elephant tour in May. Save your money. You simply drive a short distance and the guide tells you all about the elephants. Some of his information wasn’t even correct! I am a biologist and I was very disappointed. It is even possible that you might not see any if they don’t happen to be near where he takes you. I was not impressed. I was planning to do the rhino tour on my next trip, but now I am going to pass.


We had a week-long trip set in July and cancelled it entirely and went to UOR. We stayed at Cabana Bay, which is comparable to a value or moderate resort at WDW, and had a wonderful time. I’m booking for UOR again in March bc we loved it so much.

For us, it’s about the increasing burdens and costs on the guest versus the level of service provided in exchange for those increased burdens/costs. The last few times we have gone we have noticed a decline in the level of service. No ME, no Magic Bands, no in-person check-in at the resort to welcome us, no daily housekeeping, half the rides breakdown continuously throughout the day, and the bus system remains a huge headache.

When I was at UOR this last week, I felt valued. I felt like my experience mattered to them and they appreciated my business. I haven’t felt like that at WDW in some time. AND I didn’t have to set up an online account, link my travel party, tell them my checkin times, book a park pass reservation, get up at 4am to book ADRs, or spend a great deal of my vacation ignoring my kids while being on my phone trying to book ride times. At UOR, I ignored my kids bc I CHOSE TO, as it should be!

ETA: if we go back, we will do as you are doing - pay for what’s essential, and avoid most add-ons. We have the best times when we aren’t rushed anyway.