Money Matters

Change to Disney Cruise Line Onboard Booking Benefit

by on March 27, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Have you ever wanted to take advantage of Disney Cruise Line’s onboard cruise booking benefit (reduced deposit required, 10% off your fare, an onboard credit from DCL, the joy of knowing your next cruise is already lined up), but didn’t quite know which cruise you wanted to take?

The previous solution to this problem was a work-around – guests would book a specific cruise and then change the dates as they figured out what actual cruise worked best for them. Now, Disney Cruise Line is allowing guests to put down a deposit to simply hold the benefit without tying up inventory that won’t be used.

In Disney’s words:

Effective immediately, Guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line can take advantage of the onboard offer without selecting an actual sailing date.

This new placeholder process allows your Clients to book the onboard offer without booking a reservation for a specific sail date. The confirmation will include a confirmation number, but will not display details such as ship name, sail date or category. Once your Client decides on an actual sail date, you can reference the confirmation number when you call back to modify the booking.

Please note while this is a new process for confirming placeholder date reservations, there are no other changes to the current onboard offer policies, including the number of bookings allowed or the need to complete travel within 24 months from the date the reservation is booked.

The deposit is $200 per stateroom (thanks to Tammy Whiting with Storybook Destinations for the intel on the deposit!).

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Walt Disney World General Public Discounts Start Today

by on March 23, 2015

TouringPlans logoIf you’ve been holding out for a discount before booking your Walt Disney World travel June 16 to August 27, today is your lucky day.

Discounts range from 15 to 30% with the larger discounts being for Deluxe rooms and for travel August 10 to 27.

There are exclusions for Art of Animation Mermaid rooms, Fort Wilderness Campsites, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and Disney Vacation Club 3 Bedroom Grand Villas.

For travel before June 16, there are five current discounts available in addition to Florida resident rates. Discounts are similar to the above:

  • Kid-size Package offer (book by March 28) for travel though May 28
  • Late Winter room offer (book by March 25) for travel though March 28 – general public
  • Spring room offer (book by March 28) for travel through June 15 – general public
  • Late Winter Passholder offer (book by March 25) for travel though March 28 – passholders
  • Spring Passholder offer (book by June 15) for travel through June 15 – pass holders.

Contact your travel agent or Disney directly for full details or to book.

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How Much Does a Disney World Vacation Cost?

by on March 10, 2015

If you’re thinking about a visit to Walt Disney World, the first thing you’re likely to ask is, “How much will it cost?” As with all things Disney, the answer to the “how much does a Disney World vacation cost” question is: it depends.

Disney trip budget planning can be both evil and fun.

Disney trip budget planning can be both evil and fun.

The price for a Disney World vacation could be anything from about $500 to $50,000 (or more) depending on the number of people in your party, the length of your visit, where you stay, what you eat, and what you plan to do with your time.

Of course, what you really want to know is how much will a Disney World vacation cost YOU. There are two ways to answer this question, the 10-minute way and the 10 hour way.

The 10-minute way gets you a ballpark budget number that’s sufficient for many people’s planning purposes. The 10-hour way gets you the best possible price for your needs, and is very educational, but it may not be necessary unless you’re interested in close budgeting, or if you have a lot of time you have on your hands.

In both cases, the components you’ll need to price out include:

  • Theme park tickets
  • Transportation
  • Hotel (or other lodging)
  • Food
  • Extras

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! February 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on February 28, 2015

MMM positiveIs February already over?! What a month. We got the inevitable yearly ticket price hikes, got the first details on both Star Wars Weekends and the holiday hard ticket parties, saw Big Hero 6 shock the world and take home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, found out Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (YES! YES! YES!) and – most importantly – found out Duck Tales will be returning to TV! It’s a good thing this month is only 28 days because we don’t think we could handle any more (especially since we wasted an entire day on Llamas on the loose and that ridiculous white/gold blue/black dress meme.) We know a lot of you have had a rough month in the area of weather, and we can certainly sympathize. In fact it almost got down to 50 degrees one night this month and we had to pull a blanket out of the closet to stay warm.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

First up is an item I have wanted for a long time and almost cried seeing it at the Outlets. A Polynesian Luau Bowl! Originally marked $49.95, this was reduced to $24.99.

IMG_4699_2

I think by now most people know how much I love the Marketplace Co-op at Downtown Disney and a big reason for that is the many Adventureland/Polynesian inspired pieces they have. I’ve also seen these Luau bowls at the actual Poly whenever I go to ‘Ohana, and behind glass cases at the Art of Disney store. This bowl is something I’ve always wanted but never thought I would actually own.

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10 Ways to Find the Best Deal on a Disney Cruise

by on February 18, 2015

I’ve said before that a Disney Cruise is worth every penny to me. So does that mean I just throw money at Disney and don’t worry about the price? Of course not! More money saved means more money for cruises! So here are a few tips to save money I’ve learned over the years.

1. Book Early! – I always say this. Book early!! If you know you want to be on a particular cruise, book it. Prices usually only go up on Disney cruises, and particular categories will certainly sell out. Don’t risk missing out or paying a higher price. The itineraries for the rest of 2016 will be out soon, so be ready! Last year the 11-night Norway and Iceland cruise filled up extremely fast even as prices went up and up. Verandahs are long gone on that sailing. If you know you want something, book it while you still can! Aside from concierge, all deposits are refundable up to a certain date, so know that date and book away! If you book concierge and have to cancel, as long as you are outside the penalty period, you can move that deposit to another date or category. You just won’t ever get that deposit back, it’s still non-refundable.

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Don’t Bust Your Budget: Don’t Buy These at Theme Parks!

by on February 17, 2015

Budgeting for a trip, be it to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando, is hard whether you live down the street, or you’re flying down for a week with the whole family. Between gas, hotels, meals, transportation, not to mention the tickets themselves (and don’t even pretend you ain’t all about a pair of those mouse ears), a trip of any length is already expensive. So why make it harder on your budget by buying the things in the theme parks that will gouge you the worst? Today we’re going to talk about some of the things you should never buy in a theme park or an on-property hotel if you value your wallet, and no, we’re not talking about souveniers or turkey legs… we’re talking about the necessities you might not think of, or might be thinking you can just pick up inside the park itself. And just because they don’t get enough love, let’s bring Lilo and Stitch along for the ride.

Lilo and Stitch belong to Disney

Remember, a creepy smile costs nothing. Photo © Disney

Sunscreen

I want you to imagine this item strung from the ceiling above you with streamers, confetti, and a couple big neon Las Vegas arrows pointing at it for good measure. If you’re not from Florida, you might be underestimating just how abysmally evil that great big daystar is no matter what the season, and when you or your family starts turning pink, it’s usually far too late. (One poor British woman stopped me outside the lady’s room to ask me if her back was “as bad as it felt”. I think my face melted off like in Raiders of the Lost Ark when I saw it. It’s okay… I got better.) While most stores in the parks will carry some sort of sunscreen, not only are the types and SPF factor going to be extremely limited, but you’re going to pay upwards of $12.00 USD or more for a tiny bottle! You definitely shouldn’t mess around with sun protection, but you should definitely bring your own!

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Your Disney Trip Planning Timeline

by on February 10, 2015

TouringPlans logoIf you’re planning a trip to Disney World and reading this blog, you’ll have already seen multiple references to certain milestone dates for your vacation: You can make most restaurant reservations 180 days in advance of your arrival, for example. And that got us talking about what a comprehensive Disney trip planning timeline would look like.

Sure, we’ve tackled trip planning subjects before, including Erin Foster’s  and Evan Levy’s excellent Trip Planning 101 series. But we’ve never tried to fit an entire timeline into one page…until now.

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything.

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How Two Disney World Vacations That Cost the Same Can Feel Completely Different? or Where’s Goldilocks When You Need Her?

by on February 3, 2015

Len Testa recently did an analysis of the different ways the same party size can choose to allocate the same amount of money on a Walt Disney World vacation, yet arrive at very different trips. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a look.

Staying for four nights at a value resort might feel like a splurge or like an affront, depending on your profile.

Staying for four nights at a value resort might feel like a splurge or like an affront, depending on your profile.

Len examined the quantitative aspects of expenditures on the core costs of food, lodging, and park tickets, noting how choices like deluxe vs. value resort, onsite vs. offsite hotels, and table service vs. counter service meals can change your vacation within a fixed budget. I’m here to look at the qualitative impact of those choices beyond the bottom line, considering how two vacations which cost exactly the same can feel entirely different.

For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to look at Len’s hypothetical trip for two adults (two people over the age of nine, or two people over the age of nine plus a child under the age of three) which costs $1,500, but you can apply the same principles to any price point or party size. Running the numbers, Len found that two adults can spend $1,500 on core costs in some of the following ways:

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2015

MMM positiveIt’s January and that means we are in a whole new year. It’s going to be hard to top 2014. We had Disney Imagineers with 9 foot shovels in Animal Kingdom.  We had a commercial with featured both the Seven Dwarfs and rap music (which, by the way, wasn’t even the weirdest commercial Disney did last year). It was a year we discovered that the Pop Century Resort offered a sandwich that used Pop Tarts as the bread.  It was a year that we lost Push the talking trashcan, the Giggle Gang, and Camp Minnie Mickey, but gained a whole lot of Anna and Elsa. What will 2015 bring? Well, looks like just more Anna and Elsa, but here’s hoping for another 12 months of unforgettable moments, magical memories, and merchandise people don’t want to buy, speaking of which….

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Now, some readers of this column may remember last month that I vowed to “hang it up” if Disney released a Steamboat Duffy Bear. Well, Disney called my bluff.

IMG_3328

“Your move Derek.” – Disney Consumer Products Division

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How Stateroom Category Affects the Price of Your Disney Cruise

by on January 29, 2015

t_logo_fbYou’ve decided on the ship and itinerary you want – now it’s time to get the best price on your Disney Cruise. There are two factors you can control when booking your cruise to keep costs down. First is your dates – and we looked at that yesterday if you want a refresher. Second is your stateroom category. Some people have strong feelings about their staterooms, right down to wanting to book the exact same one from cruise to cruise. Others take the approach of “it’s where I’m sleeping so who cares – I’ll take what’s cheapest.” But whatever your preference, your choice can have a big (or surprisingly not so big) impact on the price of your cruise.

Click the image to see it full size.

Disney Cruise Line pricing per cabin on a 7-night cruise.

Disney Cruise Line pricing per cabin on a 7-night cruise.

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