Travel Survival for Students: Budget a Disney Trip Without Going Broke

Inexpensive Travel How To. Destination: Disney World By: Arianna Cecchini

Growing up, every child dreams of going to Disney World; why wouldn’t you want to go? Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s Castle, food, specialty shops, music, parades, fireworks, rides – it’s truly a magical experience. Being in college, clearly money is an issue to most students, and Disney World would seem out of most students’ budget, but Disney can be an affordable, fun trip for college students too. Disney has amenities that can eliminate costs and dramatically drop the price of a trip. Getting to Disney for under $500 dollars is easy to do for a few days.

Most students would eliminate Disney as a vacation option from the get go because being under the age of 25, you cannot rent a car. Conveniently, Disney offers free transportation service to, and from, the Orlando International Airport, on their Magical Express Bus. It picks passengers right up from their terminal and brings each party to the front lobby of their respective hotel.

It is a quick 30 minute ride where they play a fun Disney video for passengers. Disney then offers free bus transportation from each hotel to each location in Disney; whether it be a theme park, water park, another hotel, or Downtown Disney. Wherever a traveler wants to go on Disney Property, the bus will take the passenger – and pick them up, without any charge. It is fast and convenient for passengers not to worry about the cost of renting a car, or the stress of driving in a unfamiliar area.

Disney also has an array of hotels and resorts on their property, some very expensive and luxurious – others cheap, yet still fun to stay in. For college students, Disney offers three hotels: All Star Music, Sports and Movies which are on average around $90-100 a night.

That is cheaper than most hotels anywhere and this is on official Disney grounds. The rooms are a good size with two full beds, a TV, a shower, and the hotels all have pools, gift shops, as well as food courts. The price can be as low as $25 dollars per night for the maximum of 4 people per room when divided by how many people are traveling. A stay at Disney can be affordable for anyone to do – especially college students, who don’t have excessive money on their hands.

The flight, is typically the majority of the expense on a Disney vacation, but does not have to be. There are ways to avoid getting hit with large flight expenses. One tip is when to buy the tickets. Airlines post their sales on Tuesdays around 3pm so flight prices tend to be the cheapest around that time until about Thursday morning when the prices are raised for the weekends.

The worst days to buy airline tickets are Sundays and Monday; generally when they are the highest priced. Jetblue, Southwest, and Airtran tend to have the cheapest prices, whereas Delta and American Airlines are known for ripping off their customers. An easy way to compare prices quickly and easily is by utilizing Hotwire or Expeida. These sites offer the best prices and times for flights. Using sites like these can possibly save hundreds of dollars, which most college students do not have to waste.

Lastly, if a family member, or the purchaser themselves, is a member of AAA or AARP, usually discounts are given, which can save loads of money.  To get round trip airfare non-stop for about $210 dollars is not difficult to accomplish if you actually sit down and use the mentioned techniques to save the money. Disney World is only a short flight away, and it doesn’t need to be a trip that empties the bank account.

When people think Disney World they often think of over-priced admission charges into the 4 major theme parks. Yes, Disney just hit an all time high with pricing: a charge of $100 dollars a person per day for only one theme park, but this can be avoided with a little elbow grease. If someone wants to hit three parks over their stay in Disney, they should consider purchasing the 3-day park pass. This cuts down the price of each day by about 15 dollars. The pass might cost roughly around $250 but if divided by the 3 days the cost per day is less than $100 dollars.

Disney offers this for 2-10 days, and the more days one stays, the cheaper the offer ends up being per day. The passes have a no expiration add-on for a low price, so the ticket can be used until the days bought expire. Sometimes it is cheaper and more cost efficient to buy the no expiration pass, if not the days must be used within 14 days from the first day of purchase.

As much as Disney can seem expensive to enter, buying the right tickets and making the right moves while planning is essential, and is where people can save money.

The food in Disney is unlike that of any other theme park; it is actually tasty, and Disney offers so many different locations and options. In Magic Kingdom there is a burger joint in the back by the Tomorrow Land Speedway, where one can get a bacon cheeseburger with French fries and a soda for about $9. In Hollywood Studios there is a café similar to this one, tucked back by the StarTours ride, which offers the same type of deals for good fast food. All of the parks have these small, off-the map, cafes, that are great for budgeting money.

Another trick about Disney is to know that there are water fountains everywhere. There is no charge for continually refilling your water bottles. The Mickey Pop Ice Cream bar on the other hand is $3.75 and is worth every penny, so spend the money and try one. Other than that, food really is not overly expensive, or something to worry about, in Disney, like it can be in other parks. They realize it is a lot of money to travel their and to get in the parks, so they tend not to rip off their visitors with the food costs, which helps us college students who have a tight budget.

Disney can be an affordable trip for any college student who is looking to get away to a fun, warm place with some friends. There are so many ways to save money and to get there and back for $500 dollars is totally doable; sometimes it can even cost less depending on the time of year one is going. Disney is the most magical place on earth, highly recommended for a group of people or a couple, it will not let you down. It is Disney World after all.