Dreams Do Come True ~ Even on a Tight Budget! ~By Dawn Mulligan

June 23, 2013

Happy Sunday!  We have a special guest blogger today!  We thank Dawn for her submission, and hope you all have a Magical Day! ~M


~~Dreams do come true, even on a tight budget!!!!~~
By: Dawn Milligan

Good Morning Mickey Fans!  My name is Dawn and I am a stay at home mom of 4 and a full time student. However, one income has not stopped us from making the kids Disney dreams come true. For the past 4 years we have managed to afford to take a nice long vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth. We did it with a realistic budget and over the next few articles I am going to share with you some of my families secrets to having a wonderful Disney vacation without breaking the bank!

I am going to start with food because after the cost of tickets it is the majority of my family’s vacation costs. Let’s start with the best tip of all!

Many people are not aware that Disney does allow coolers to be brought in. We have invested in a relatively small cooler but one that fits all of our needs.
When we arrive in town, I go to the grocery store and buy a case of Water. For less than $4.00 we have water for our whole trip and I never have to buy water at Disney for around $3.50 per bottle.  The night before we go I stick 6 bottles of water in the freezer; in the morning I pack the cooler with the 6 bottles (which also eliminate the need for ice packs) and 4 cold unfrozen bottles.  This trick has worked on even the hottest of days.
In the cooler we also carry the mini cans of soda and a few juice boxes that we have bought at the store.

• Bring a back pack/snack bag.
We travel with a stroller so having two bags is not a big deal for us. On my grocery store trip I also purchase snack size baggies, a variety of family size boxes of snacks, cereal, pop tarts, and frozen PB&J sandwiches. These serve as our snacks throughout the day so that we are not spending $20.00 every hour on something to eat.

• Set a food budget that is realistic to Disney prices
We always eat lunch and dinner at the parks however I always budget for that amount. Eating at one of the burger places will cost my family $70.00 for lunch and $70.00 for dinner. This is for 4 adult size meals and 2 kid meals and drinks. We choose to eat breakfast at the condo/home we are staying at.

• Bigger restaurant reservations-
For my family eating a one of Disney’s reservation required restaurants the price per meal goes up significantly. At one restaurant we spent $150.00 and at another it was $230.00 so these meals are something that we budget as a “special treat” while we are there.

Because my family generally schedules a vacation that is close to two weeks long, we try to be realistic about all the places that we are going to spend money. For the days that we are actually at the Disney parks, I set a budget that looks like this.

• Breakfast $20.00
• Lunch $75.00
• Dinner $75.00

Even though we eat breakfast at home, I put money in the budget for it because then it allows some wiggle room just in case a mickey ice cream treat is calling our names!!!!!!

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