Saturday April 4, 2009
Here are ways to stretch your dollar at Disney:
1) Decide on the number of days and which parks you want to go to.
A day pass costs US$75+ (RM272) but it can work out to only US$33+ (RM120) if you buy a seven-day pass.
You can easily spend two days each at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Or you can opt for a park hopper pass which costs extra (it allows you to hop between parks).
I feel that this is only good for those who have visited the parks before, or if youíre planning to visit Animal Kingdom in the day (the park closes early at 6pm) and then proceed to another park at night ó but be prepared to walk a lot!
2) Buy from reliable ticket brokers.
This is cheaper and will save you time from queuing up at the ticket booth. But check the vendor shipment details before making a purchase as some do not include sales tax in their website (additional 6.5%).
Some do not send to the hotel and require you to pick up the tickets at UPS (which operates half day on Saturdays and closes on Sunday).
3) Choose your accommodation.
If you donít have a car, stay at one of the Disney-affiliated resorts that provide free shuttle service. This will save you US$12 (RM43) a day on car park fees.
If you drive, you can choose to stay in nearby Kissimmee which has cheaper accommodation. Choose an apartment with full kitchen or microwave (this will allow you to cook or prepare simple meals).
4) Bring your own food and snacks into the parks.
The guards will allow you to bring in food, drinks and snacks into the park. One guard even commented that our sandwiches looked more appetising than his lunch!
Just donít bring in glass bottles and sharp objects like knives. A hotdog meal in the parks can cost about US$7 (RM25) and bottled water US$2 (RM7).
5) Buy Disney World merchandise outside the park.
You can shop for discounted Disney World souvenirs at the many Disney outlets located at shopping centres (the shops are called Character Premiere).
6) Go for special and free souvenirs.
If youíre visiting Epcot, make sure you drop in at the Kidcot stations located at every pavilion. Kids will get a free mask that they can colour. They can collect stamps and tags at every pavilion.
If youíre visiting Hollywood Studios, make sure you visit the Animation Studios. Youíll get to learn how to draw a Disney character and keep your masterpiece!
Cheap and unique mementos are the pressed pennies. You can select many designs of your favourite characters. It costs 51 cents (RM1.80) to get a pressed penny.
7) Plan to start your day early.
The parks are huge and it gets crowded in the afternoon and evening. The queues for popular rides can be very long. Start your day early and get the Fast Pass for the popular rides the moment you enter the park.
The Fast Pass system allows you to go straight for the ride at designated times and you can beat the regular queue. If youíre going to Magic Kingdom, you need to set off half an hour earlier as you need to take either a monorail or boat ride to get to the park.
8) Do your research.
It helps to plan ahead. Check the Disney website for the opening and closing hours. Great tips can be found at these unofficial Disney websites: Mouse Savers (www.mousesavers.com), All Ears (www.allears.net), WDW Info (www.wdwinfo.com).