Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Disney ran a series of commercials recently advertising that a family of four could take a Disney vacation for $1600. The Fine Living Channel has a program called What You Get For The Money, Vacations and they took a look at Disney using the $1600 figure as a budget. I was planning to join my sister and her family on a Disney vacation last summer but, because of the tumult in my life at that time, I had to cancel. I’m still interested in going to Disney so I watched the program.
They followed three families, each with a different makeup and different interests and each with a $1600 budget. It was pretty interesting.
The first family was a traditional one with two parents and 2 princess-loving young girls, ages 5 and 6. The second family consisted of a mother with three sons, ages 9, 14 and 17. These boys were looking for big thrills and excitement. The final vacationers were a pair of retirees who were interested in relaxing.
The family with the little girls stayed at one of Disney’s value-priced All Star Resort hotels. Their package consisted of 4 nights and 5 days with a “Magic Your Way” dinning package, which offers one table-service meal, one quick-service meal and one snack per person, per night. They also purchased one-park-a-day tickets, meaning they could only visit a single park on any given day of their stay.
The family with the teenage boys also stayed at an All Star Resort hotel but took the “Park Hopper” pass, which allowed them to move from park to park in a single day. They also added the water park option so they could enjoy Disney’s numerous water parks. This family was mostly interested in action rides and, with the addition of the Park Hopper and water park options, their stay only extended for 3 nights and 4 days.
The empty-nesters, having been to Disney with their children, came back to relax and enjoy Disney’s nicer restaurants, golf courses and spas on their own. They booked into the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a deluxe property, for 2 nights and 3 days. Their package included the dining and wine option, a round of golf for two and a couple’s massage. Most of their Disney park time was spent at Epcot.
Not surprisingly, the choices you make greatly affect how far your money will stretch. I decided to ask my sister, who along with her husband and two pre-teen boys made the trip last September without me, how much their package cost and what they got.
They signed up for one of Disney’s free-dining promotions, which have been offered the last few years as a way to pump up visitors during the historically slow period of mid-August through September. Free dining includes one sit-down meal, one counter service meal and one snack per person per hotel night booked. They stayed at an All-Star Resort and for $1730 were able to stay for 8 nights. They chose the single park per day ticket option with no water parks included.
It’s important to note that pre-paid dining plans do not include tips, which are based on what the cost of the meal would have been had you been paying at the restaurant and can be high depending upon where you choose to eat.
Although spending $1600 on a weekend for two seems like a lot, clearly, what you get for the money can vary widely. In any event it looks like you really can take your family to Disney for $1600. Relatively speaking, that’s a pretty good deal! Taking advantage of one of Disney’s promotions, like free dining, can stretch your dollars even farther.
Anyone planning a Disney getaway this year?