If you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ll see an offer for a Disney vacation package.
Packages bundle the components of your trip.
It’s all but impossible to open the travel section of a major US newspaper and not see several Disney packages offered with language like: “Save 20% on a Five Night Stay” or “Kids Stay Free.” With call-outs like these, many packages LOOK fantastic, and indeed some of them are, but it’s important to put on your analyst hat to determine whether a package really makes sense for your needs. We’re here with tips on how to how to determine the value of a Disney World vacation.
Disney vacation packages include some combination of the basic components of your travel: hotel room, food, theme park tickets, entertainment, and possibly airfare.
In some cases, buying a package makes sense, and in other cases purchasing your vacation components separately is more cost effective. Here are some things to think about as you work out your vacation budget and decide whether a Disney vacation package is a good value for your family.
BASIC MATH, BUT LOTS OF RESEARCH
To decide whether to purchase a package, you’ll want to compare three versions of your travel elements: the basic, non-discounted price (which you can find on the WDW website) vs. the discounted price of your vacation components purchased separately (hunt for discounts on sites like mousesavers.com) vs. a bundled package price (usually promoted in advertising).
Finding the non-discounted price and the package price are fairly easy, but it’s really column two – the discounted component price – that will tell you if a package makes sense. Most of the information below discusses how to put together equation two.
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In addition to park touring and dining, shopping ranks right at the top of popular activities at Walt Disney World (at least with me anyway). If you ever find yourself ending your vacation with more stuff than you started, there are lots of ways to get your stuff back home. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about this topic:
Wait! Before you get started with all the info about shipping, I drove to Walt Disney World and don’t have to worry about shipping (there’s loads of room in the car!), but I do have a quick question about carrying around purchases I’ve made in the parks. Basically, I don’t want to do it. What are my options?
No worries. Nearly all of the in-park merchandise shops have two ways of helping you deal with purchases in the short term. You can either have your merchandise sent directly to your hotel, or you can have it sent to a “Package Pickup” office at the front of the park.
There are plenty of signs in the WDW shops to remind you that you have many options for getting your merchandise purchases home.
What does “Package Pickup” mean?
Package Pickup is an in-park delivery/holding service. You buy something and instead of having to carry it around all day, it’s sent to an office at the front of the theme park (or possibly back if you’re at Epcot) so you can pick it up later.
How does this work?
Let’s say you’re at Mouse Gear at Epcot and you want to buy a couple of sweatshirts for the folks back home. You don’t want to schlep them all over the World Showcase while you spend the afternoon drinking around the world. So, WHILE YOU’RE AT THE REGISTER, tell the sales clerk that you’d like to use the Package Pickup service. They will give you a very simple form to fill out (name and address basics). You get a receipt and you’re on your way. Later in the day, return to the Package Pick Office, hand them the receipt, and your sweatshirts will once again be yours.
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