A testimony from Lindsay
My family recently returned from Disney World — and are proud to say that we did the entire trip debt-free!
About a year ago, we decided that we would take our two daughters on vacation in the summer of 2013. We kicked around the idea of Disney World, but knew it was a pricey vacation and wanted to pay cash for whatever vacation we took. We starting stashing away extra cash leftover from our envelope system, held a garage sale, and cut back on spending.
We researched great times of the year to visit Disney, and decided that September would be a good time for our family to visit. We found that September has historically been a low month for Disney World and that they frequently offer their “Dining Plans” for free if we elected to stay at a Disney Resort.
We knew that a full week at Disney would not be optimal for our family so we found a 3-bedroom townhome with a water park for only $65 per night and stayed there for the first four nights of our vacation. This enabled us to cook at home and also to travel to attractions other than Disney.
We have a zoo membership through our hometown zoo and used the reciprocating zoo list to visit a wonderful aquarium in Florida for free. In the same town, we visited a free and beautiful beach — Siesta Key. That entire day of vacation was nearly free, and probably was one of our best days!
We rented a car for the first four days then returned the car to the Orlando airport. This enabled us to use the free Disney Magical Express transportation system to travel to and from the airport to our Disney Resort that we stayed at the remainder of the week. This eliminated the need to pay for parking at Disney and also for a car that we would not be using while we were there.
Wal-Mart and Target stores in the Orlando area offer tons of low cost, adorable Disney t-shirts and memorabilia, so we purchased our daughter’s autograph book and t-shirts at Wal-Mart instead of in the Disney Parks. The autograph book was $1.98 at Wal-Mart compared to $10.95 and up at Disney World. The t-shirts were a 1/3 of the price of those at Disney World.
Disney has a nightly electric parade, but the glow necklaces and toys are quite pricey. We bought glow necklaces and wands at Dollar General for $1 prior to leaving and packed them away in our suitcase. Our daughters could careless where their glow necklaces came from, all they knew was that they had one!
We had a wonderful, memorable vacation, and returned home with cash to spare!
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