We did it. The big splurge of our trip and surprise for the kids. They had no idea we were going. Didn’t really believe it until we were there, in the park and checked into the campground. We figured this would be our best shot at doing Disney as inexpensively as possible, and it all worked out. I will outline what we did and how we managed to stay within our means.
This is Disney’s campground and they have done it well. It is located across the lake from the Magic Kingdom with boat transportation to and from. The Depot offers bus transportation to all other parks including Epcot, Animal Kingdom, etc. And the pool, campfire and other attractions are centrally located within the campground with bus transportation. The campground is not only for RVs and Travel Trailers – they offer cabins for rent as well. Each loop has a Comfort Station with bathrooms/showers and laundry facilities – all accessed with your Disney magic band. We spent an afternoon at the pool and attended a Campfire Sing Along with the chipmunks. The kids loved it. Camping in the preferred sites (with electric, water and sewer hookups) is around $100 per night.
We purchased tickets for two days and had to specify the parks – we chose Animal Kingdom for the first and Magic Kingdom for the second since it was a day they had extended magic hours (the park was open until 1am that night). Tickets themselves were around $900 for a family of 4. This does include all transportation, etc. and three fast passes for rides with the availability of another after you use up the first three. It is a splurge, but when we looked around at all the facilities, staff, transportation, etc. it has to be paid for somehow. The first day for Animal Kingdom we started early then came back for dinner. Magic Kingdom the next day we went in the morning, came back to the camper for lunch/dinner then back that evening for more rides, meet and greets, etc. Wren was done during the fireworks so we headed back to the campground while the boys stayed and took advantage of the extended hours. It worked as a really great balance for us and we all got our fill and not overly worn out.
I feel like this is where we ‘won’ . . . I stocked up and made sure we were prepared for all meals at the camper. I did buy extra snacks and things we could pack into the park so we wouldn’t get caught in a ‘hangry’ pinch. Tangerines pack well; also, Laura Bars, RX Bars and some cliff bars and dehydrated fruit. We brought two large water containers as well and were able to utilize fill stations throughout the park. Breakfast and Dinner were made at the camper and I did splurge on fruit popsicles and ice cream so the kids had a special treat.
Because of the above – we were able to have a little spending money for a couple souvenirs for the kids – a ball cap for Wren and hat for Ethan, both got character pins and a stuffed Giraffe for Wren and a cool leather bracelet for Ethan. All items that should last longer than one week and will be fun reminders for them of their surprise visit to Disney. All together for the three days we spent less than $150. This is also less than one day’s travel in gas : )
Disney was a great experience with lots of fun memories for our family.