This spring my sister and I met up at Disney World for a vacation with our little ones. Together we stayed four nights at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (read the full resort review here!) and my daughter and I arrived one day early and stayed one night at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (review coming soon).
I paid a grand total of $33 for our 5 night trip, and I thought my readers might be interested in how I pulled this off!
I was able to use my Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for my sister’s flight from Ohio to Orlando. Since her son is under two, he flew for free. I used points for my flights and my little girl flew for free with my Southwest Companion Pass. I did have to pay fees of about $11 round trip for each ticket, so that added up to $33.
Since we stayed at a Disney Resort, we took advantage of free Disney ground transportation to and from the airport, as well as buses that run to and from the parks. We did use a taxi to get around a bit, since we had the little ones in tow and weren’t visiting the theme parks.
I paid about $30 for taxi rides using my Capital One Venture Card, and I was able to pay off the charges using using my miles after we got home. It is good to know that Mears Taxi at least is classified as a travel expenses and therefore the charges qualify for the travel charge “eraser” feature of Venture Card points!
Total Cost for Transportation: $33
I purposefully planned this trip to fall in Disney’s “Regular” season that begins after Easter and runs until the end of May. By waiting until after the Easter travel season, we saved about 50% on room costs. This is one of my most recommended times to visit Walt Disney World due to the great weather and lower rates.
First of all, here’s how I funded our hotel stay at Caribbean Beach. The rack rate at Caribbean Beach during this time is $190 plus tax. I booked our room-only reservation on Orbitz with my Venture Card. I saved 20% off of the rack rate with a Disney discount and another 15% on top of that with a Orbitz promo code, bringing the price down to $129 per night. Read all about how to stack Disney discounts with Orbitz discounts in this post!
I also had close to $200 in “Orbucks” that I applied to this stay. Orbucks are the currency of the Orbitz Reward Program. I earned $100 in free Orbucks thanks to this promotion. I had earned additional Orbucks through a Best Price Guarantee claim. I chose to apply all of my Orbucks to this booking, which brought the total for four nights down to around $400.
My sister and I split that, and she gave me cash for her part of the stay. I used a travel statement credit from my Capital One Venture Card to fund my part. It was a pretty good deal for my sister, since she paid only $200 total for her lodging and flights!
I booked our one-night stay at All-Star Movies on Orbitz as well. After both discounts the cost for one night was $87. I used more of my Venture Card travel credits to pay off this stay, too. I love how easy Capital One points are to use.
Total Cost for Lodging: $0
Food, Souvenirs, Etc.
Normally the single biggest expense of a Disney vacation is park tickets. My sister and I decided before the trip that we were going to forgo the parks and we ended up having the best vacation because there is so much to do at Disney besides visiting the theme parks! So right there we saved over $1,000 on our trip because we didn’t buy park tickets.
I was planning on funding all our food for the trip using Disney gift cards. I bought $300 in Target gift cards using Citi Thank You points, then used those Target gift cards to buy Disney gift cards at Target.com. (Note: I plan on writing a post soon on how to save 5% on Disney gift cards using a Target RED Debit Card, which I successfully used in combination with my Target gift cards in this instance!)
Totally unexpectedly, a few weeks before the trip, my mom gifted both my sister and I with enough Disney gift cards to pay for all of our food for the trip! She is so sweet and generous. So I saved the gift cards I got with my Thank You points for our next trip!
I try to spend little to no money on souvenirs at Disney since we go there so much. We did have some gift card money left over so I left my daughter pick out on thing (she chose an Ariel doll) and she picked out a coffee mug to bring home to my husband. 🙂
Total Cost for Food, etc.: $0
So that’s how I managed our most recent trip to Disney for only $33! I hope this inspires you and helps you realize that it is possible to take a cheap trip to Disney. The points and miles I used did require opening a few credit cards over the past year, but as long as you can handle the responsibility of credit, it is a great way to help fund trips like this!