Money Matters

Disney Discounts with Bounce Back Offers

by on July 22, 2014

t_logo_fbWhat is a Bounce Back Offer?

Are you looking to save money on your trip to Walt Disney World? Of course you are. You already know about the time and money you can save by using this very site, but with the rising cost of a Disney vacation, finding discounts wherever you can is more important than ever.

To keep guests returning for more and more visits, Disney frequently offers incentives that are referred to as Bounce Back specials. These are discounts offered to people while they are still on, and hopefully enjoying, their vacation. The intent of the discount is to entice guests to come back between specific dates and stay on property, not to mention locking people into another Disney vacation.

For quite a while Bounce Back Offers have been a good deal for anyone looking to come back within a year for another Walt Disney World resort stay. The offer flyer (and it’s only found on flyers, not as emails, ads, or smoke signals) can be found in your hotel room, usually placed on the table with other bits of resort-related ephemera.

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Seven Disney Souvenir Buying Mistakes

by on July 8, 2014

The 1,200 Vinylmation figurines staring at me from the shelves of my home office right now will tell you that I am a veteran Disney parks shopper. I truly understand the desire to troll the theme park shops for the perfect souvenir. But as satisfying as it can be to come home with just the right thing, there are plenty of pitfalls to Disney parks shopping. Here are seven potential Disney souvenir shopping mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

1. Thinking that you have to pay for souvenirs.

Believe it or not, you can score many items for free at Walt Disney World. They practically throw Mickey stickers at kids during resort check in and there’s always a reason to grab a free celebration button. You can also get free bookmarks by participating in the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction at the Magic Kingdom, free stick puppets at the Epcot Kidcot Fun Stops, or a lei at the Polynesian resort. These free items can go a long way toward scratching that “but I MUST bring something home” itch, with no additional outlay of cash.

And don’t forget that the best Disney souvenir is usually a memory. “Remember when Cousin Billy spilled his milk on Goofy’s shoe at Chef Mickeys?” “Remember when Baby Sally hugged Cinderella for the first time?” “Remember when we finally got Grandma to go on the Teacups and she actually had a blast?” Assuming that you’ve got a digital camera or a camera-equipped phone, these memories can all be captured gratis. Disney PhotoPass photographers will even take group shots using your camera, at no charge. Isn’t a photo of Mom wearing Mickey ears a better souvenir than a snow globe?

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Stretch Your Dining Budget by Sharing Counter Service Meals

by on July 4, 2014

t_logo_fbSplitting counter service meals is an easy way to stretch your vacation dining budget. Whether you are on the Disney Dining Plan or have decided to pick your spots out of pocket, finding counter service meals large enough to share is a bonus. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, you can save credits for a resort breakfast before you leave for home. If you are paying out of pocket, you can save $10-15 every time you split a meal. That’s more money for Dole Whips and souvenirs! Appetites can be unpredictable, and I certainly wouldn’t plan on sharing every counter service meal, but knowing that you do have that option gives you some added flexibility when laying out your dining strategy. (If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan and have young ones, don’t forget that kids can order from the adult menu for no extra charge.)

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Pro Tips: Low and No Cost Ways to Improve Your Disney Vacation

by on June 30, 2014

t_logoLast time, I brought you quick tips. This time, we’re talking pro tips. Maybe you’ve been to Walt Disney World a few times now and are ready to plus your experience. Presumably, you’re already subscribed to TouringPlans.com and are saving time and money by using tools like our mobile app, Crowd Calendar, and customizable touring plans. If not, why not? Anyway, read on for some ideas to start with for enhance other areas of your vacation. Here are some of our Walt Disney World tips:

Note: Any product we recommend is one we have used and purchased with our own money. We haven’t received compensation of any kind (no money, no freebies) for mentions in this article. 

Pro Tip 1 – Enhance Your Accommodations

This doesn’t mean bring your scented candle and special blanky with you. One, candles in a hotel room are a fire hazard. And two, bag fees are high enough without bringing extra stuff with you. No, what I mean is get the same or better accommodations for less. You could sleep four to a room at Pop Century. Or you could get more space by either renting a house off site from a company like All Star Vacation Homes or renting onsite from a Disney Vacation Club broker such as David’s Vacation Club rentals. If you really want to go pro, consider an Owner’s Locker (though you probably won’t keep a laser printer in yours like we do for our TouringPlans mobile office).

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52 Disney World Souvenirs Under $5

by on June 5, 2014

Sometimes you’re at Disney World and you treat yourself to that awesome Dooney & Bourke bag, diamond Mickey pendant, or custom Disney artwork. Huzzah and glad tidings to your good fortune!

But there will also be times when those big budget items are just not in the cards. There may be many situations where you need to buy something at Disney World, but don’t want to break the bank. A few of these reasons might include:

  • You need to placate a child. Don’t judge, we’ve all resorted to the occasional bribe.
  • You need to bring a token gift to someone at home. For example, the neighbor kid who watered your plants merits just a little something.
  • You’ve have to bring a bunch of small somethings to a group. For example, everyone in your child’s preschool class gets a small gift. Or you’re getting favors for a party.
  • You’re on an extremely strict budget, but you want just a little something to commenorate your trip.
  • You’re participating in a Secret Santa or similar gift exchange or game with a small expenditure limit.

It’s all too easy to find expensive Disney souvenirs at the parks, but finding little trinkets can often be a challenge. Here’s a photo tour of some ideas for small purchases in the Disney parks. Each of the 52 items pictured below has been available for less than $5.00 during the past six months.

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TouringPlans #Everywhere: Budgeting for A Disneyland Trip

by on June 4, 2014

Photo courtesy Guy Selga, Jr

Hello! You may remember from my last post about traveling to Disneyland for TouringPlans #Everywhere that I am totally “California Dreamin” (on such a…uh, spring’s day?). Well, now I am back to give you a little more insight into everyone’s favorite subject: budgeting!

What?! You don’t love to budget? I guess that’s probably normal, which explains why I do enjoy it (e.g. I’m not normal). The sad fact for those of you who do not like to discuss vacation budgeting is that it is an essential part of the trip. My plan here today is to go through my experience budgeting for a Disneyland trip, tell you my thought process, and give you some tips.

Basic Info

As you may recall (but probably don’t), I will be travelling with my wife and two children, ages 5 and 3 at the time of the trip. We live in beautiful, scenic Pennsylvania, which, if you have a knack for geography, you will notice is quite far from California. And yes, my wife has to go although “if I didn’t tell her I could leave today.” We will be traveling in early October, specifically, around the weekend of October 11-13.

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