Money-Saving Walt Disney Hotel Tips and TricksWhen you are looking for a hotel in the Disney area, there are many tips and tricks that can help you save money and have a fantastic time. Here is a list to help you with your planning.
Plan a Budget
The first obvious part. Figure out how much you have available to spend on lodging. That gives you your daily amount that you need to search for.
Don't obsess about the Magical Express vs shuttle. A shuttle is only $30 round trip! That's hardly anything when you break it out by day. You can easily save that on your hotel savings. There are entire industries based around getting people to and from Disney. There are always savings and coupons. If you want to go outside of Disney, factor in a rental car - but otherwise, you really don't need one.
Check Various Sites / Date Ranges
Make a grid. Choose 3-4 date ranges that *would* work. It's amazing how much rates can fluctuate on a month to month basis. Some months are in high demand and are very expensive. Other months are super cheap because demand is light. Now, go to a number of travel sites and see what they give you for prices. See which site works best for which date. It should only take maybe 20 minutes of time to research it out - but you can literally save hundreds. THEN go to the actual resort site. The resorts know that you're using discount sites. They know that you go to them last. They want to beat your best offer. In fact, some will give you a price match PLUS 25%!! So it's worth it to go with them and then scrounge to try to get an even lower price for that bonus.
Here are sites I use in my own comparisons:
TravelZoo.com - weekly travel deals newsletter
Also, check with whatever memeberships you hold - AAA, Entertainment.com coupon book, AARP, etc. Many organizations offer discount rates. You never know when one of those discount rates will be lower than what you find online. It's always worth it to ask.
OK I want to be very clear here. I HATE THESE THINGS. They nearly ruined one of my trips to Orlando. They say it will only be 90 minutes. Instead, it can easily take 3-5 hours before they let you escape. However, that being said, if you are a really tough person and will NOT give in, I highly recommend this as a great way of getting tickets or rooms. It is all up to your emotional strength. If you will feel guilty and give in, do not go! Timeshares are HUGE wastes of money. If you want one, buy it on eBay - NOT at full price at a presentation. If you know you can resist and keep saying NO for 3 hours straight, then go for it.
View or No View
Some people say "who cares about a view?" Well, if you're being frugal, you could actually care very much!! Instead of spending a lot of money on a fancy restaurant with a fireworks view (Continental, anyone?) you could get a ROOM with a fireworks view, get yourself a plate of cheese, grapes and a bottle of wine at the local grocery store, and have a truly romantic evening with your loved one for one tenth of the cost. If you go for the African Kingdom Lodge (which I think is *spectacular*) you don't even need park tickets. You can watch giraffe, zebra and other cool animals all day and night long from your room, munching on whatever food you wish from your cooler.
On the other hand if you are a "social hound" that wants to be in the thick of the screaming crowd, drinking $6 beer when the fireworks are shooting off, then by all means go cheap on the room so you can afford the dinners out :)
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