Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Happily Ever Park Hoppers
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In the months, weeks and days leading up to my Disney trip there are a few Pre-Planning tasks that I always do that you might find useful.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, months?!?! Yes, only because I start budgeting and calculating how much everything is going to cost. So depending on how early you book your trip, you may have several months to start planning your Disney budget. And not just budgeting for the tickets, airfare, room but also for food and souvenirs.
One good budgeting strategy I’ve seen is having lump sums that you set to put away. Each pay period you put away whatever predetermined amount $20, $50, $100, $250 etc. whatever works for your budget. And that way it lessens the blow of putting away too much money at once.
Another monthly budgeting tip that I’ve shared before in my Money Saving Tips post, is buying Disney gift cards. I have heard of people purchasing gift cards ahead of time at Target with a Target RedCard or wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s Club or Bj’s Wholesale because you can save anywhere from 3-5% off of the face value of the card ($100 gift card for $95). You can use a Disney gift card for anything on Disney property TO INCLUDE your Disney Resort hotel balance! You’re going to spend the money, might as well save yourself a little!
A great budgeting tip is to buy some of the merchandise you know your kids are going to want. Obviously buying souvenirs in the parks is inevitable, but bringing a few things with you will definitely help keep your souvenir cost down. For those little princesses, buy dresses ahead of time. If your kids are interested in Pin Trading, buy a lanyard at Walmart or on Amazon for less than $10 versus $25-$30 in the Parks. And if you are looking for some fun or unique themed Minnie ears, check out Etsy. There are so many amazing Small Businesses that make Minnie ears for all different holidays, seasons, characters etc., and they are 2-3 times cheaper than ones in the Parks.
Depending on when you are going to Disney and where you are from, the weather might be completely different than what it is at home.
Before a trip, I like to google “Orlando/Anaheim weather in March”. It will give you the average temperatures during that time of the year so you can get a good idea of what type of clothing you will need to pack. If you live somewhere cold, March can still mean winter jackets back home and shorts and a t-shirt in Orland; or jeans and a t-shirt with a hoodie for the evenings if you’re going to Anaheim. And if you are from somewhere cold, odds are you have your “summer clothes” packed away. OR if you have little ones, last year’s summer clothes probably don’t fit anymore; meaning you’re going to have to do a little shopping.
About a month out is when I like to start buying new clothes for a Disney trip. Maybe you don’t “need” to buy new clothes but you want to. One month away is a good time to ensure that everything arrives on time and still fits (because growth spurts, right??) at the time of your trip. It’s also a good time to buy any new shoes you may be planning on buying. A good, comfortable pair of shoes is crucial at any Disney park and you want to make sure they are good and broken in before you get there.
Packing for Disney
Other important things to remember to pack but not on the list are:
- Travel pack of wet wipes
- Face masks (if they are still needed)
- Chafe sticks
A super important tip for those traveling with toddlers or little ones potty training and are used to using a smaller toilet seat. Purchase Flushable toilet seat covers for bathroom breaks inside the parks. *Even though they say flushable it may be better to just toss them in the trash. But super useful either way!
Grocery orders to hotel
Another helpful planning tip is to schedule grocery orders to your hotel. Regardless of where you’re staying, having groceries sent to your hotel will definitely help you stay on budget. Also, we all know that little ones can be very particular about their snacks. Schedule a grocery order so that way you can have all your family’s favorites in your room. A case of water, variety pack of chips/crackers/cookies, and mini boxes of cereal (or whatever else) will go a long way! Don’t pay for overpriced items that you can easily pre-order.
There are several grocery delivery companies like Amazon, Instacart, Publix. But a great local grocery delivery company that is operated by laid-off former Cast Members is Vacation Grocery Delivery. Grocery deliveries will be delivered to your resort’s Bell Services and hold them for you. Disney Resort hotels will deliver them to your room for a fee.
One last tip
My last planning tip is to have an idea how much you will spend on each meal. If I’ve made advance dining reservations, it’s easy to calculate how much to budget for those meals. But I like to go to the Quick Service menus and try to guestimate how much it would cost my family at a certain restaurant. This way I can get an idea of how much to budget for food and come up with a good idea of my total budget.
And now, all that’s left is to anxiously await for your Disney vacation. Use the packing list from above to make sure you don’t forget anything. Pre-order basic items so you don’t have to pack them or save yourself some serious $$$ by not saying $5 for a bottle of water when you can pay that for a case of water.
If you have a specific planning or packing question that I didn’t answer here, drop a comment below so I can be sure to help you in any way possible!
Spreading magic one post at a timeKristin