Family With Medals
  • On Aug 14, 2013
    Courtney Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hello! This will be our first family trip. My husband and I will taking our 4 yr old son and are planning 4 days at the parks. What are some budgeting tips and the best guide books to get? And is the beginning of May a good time to go?


    Keeping an eye on the budget is one of the surest ways to go home happy. There is nothing that ruins a trip more than spending more than expected, and having that credit card bill hanging over you like a dark cloud.

    While there are thousands upon thousands of cost savings tips, a few that really help my family include these;

    Don't drink your budget. Get complimentary glasses of ice water from quick service restaurants and stay otherwise hydrated by using water fountains instead of buying bottles of water and soda all day long. This saves us well over $50 a day as a family of four. 

    Use a travel agent. A no-fee, Disney Authorized vacation planner costs you nothing to use (Disney pays them), and they can find you great discounts you may not find on your own. I like many, including Mouse Fan Travel.

    Store some snacks. We bring a backpack along with us to the parks anyway, so packing our morning and afternoon snacks, as opposed to buying treats in the parks, saves us both calories and cents. I estimate our savings at over $20 per day.

    Pack a lunch. Yes, you can bring your lunch in with you. And if a sandwich and chips are enough, you can put those in the backpack too. This savings can go from $30 to a lot more per day.

    As to your other questions, early May has average crowds and nice weather. The crowds are not light, but they are well below the holiday or summer rush. I would say it is a pretty good time to go. As for guidebooks, I obviously have my own favorite, but added to that you might consider  Disney on a Dime, the Unofficial Guide, and the Passporter's Guide. 

    Write me back if you have any follow-up questions.

    Have a magical vacation!
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Meet the Panelist: Doug, Indiana

I am one of the Dads on the planDisney Panel, and I love to help parents plan their vacation, with a focus on showing them how it can be fun for them too. I am also here to help Dads plan some nice surprises for the Moms in their life (they deserve it!). Learn More About Doug

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