Disney and Free (stuff): Yes, it is Possible!

Disney is an expensive vacation. Any Average Joe who has ever stayed at the Mouse House can and will attest to the cost of getting to, walking into, and then walking about the House of Disney. And they will loudly complain about the high costs of said family vacation to any and all who will listen.

I agree it is expensive. And, Average Joe is one of Disney’s biggest fans. But, even I recognize the costs for a family staying at Disney World is fast becoming something only the affluent crowd can take advantage of, which is not how Walt Disney envisioned decades ago as he was dreaming and building his parks:

“We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun – together.”

Walt Disney

 

I think Walt would have heart failure if he knew what it costs a family to enjoy his parks today. But, that said, I have found some ways to enhance and even shave off some costs for your/my family adventures at my favorite place.

I want to talk Disney Timeshares and why you should take the tour.

Many people have taken timeshare tours and have experienced the constant beating of “buy, buy, buy,” but I have never had that experience at Disney. It was simply, “here is what we sell, here are the costs, and here is the opportunity.” It is either a good opportunity for your family or it is not. But, never have I ever felt the extreme pressure to buy as I have at other locations and timeshare tours. And, I do not believe you will either.

I want to share my positive experiences and how the Disney Vacation Club has helped me save money, but for now, I am just going to encourage you to take the tour. And, how your family can benefit from simply taking the tour.

Free Breakfast- Disney offers a free continental breakfast if you come and listen to their presentation. That may not seem like much, but I encourage you to bring your whole family.  I tried to get mine out of their beds and they just would not budge, but, I did attend, and I enjoyed the fruit juice, cakes, and Danishes while I waited for my appointment. What is a free continental breakfast worth at Disney? Well it is worth about $10.00. I had several glasses of juice and several Danishes, so mine was worth a bit more. If my whole family had come, I would have easily saved about $60.00 that morning. But, they did not. So, while I enjoyed my free breakfast they stayed in bed.

They also have an ice cream bar set up, and so if you come after the breakfast is taken down, make sure you and the kids help yourself to plenty of free ice cream.

Free Transportation- I would encourage you to schedule an earlier appointment. I like to do my tours first thing in the morning. The first shuttle rides to the preview center are about 8:10 in the morning, which is 50 minutes before the park openings, and the first appointments are at 8:30 AM. The advantage to this is, you can bypass the crowds waiting for the buses going to the parks, and now get a shuttle ride to the Disney Vacation Club preview center, take your tour, and then be transported from the preview center to anywhere you want to go. Which means, you could effectively get a free ride for you and your family to the park front gates faster than those who are waiting in line.  When the bus que crowds are hundreds deep, to me this is a sweet deal.

Fast Passes- Everyone knows Disney Fast Passes are worth their weight in gold. I have been to the parks on numerous occasions, different times of the year, and I see the parks becoming more and more crowded and the ride wait times now stretching into the hours. You have to get the Fast Passes to maximize your fun time. But, Disney only allows you three fast passes per day when you set up your Magic Bands.

Once you use those initial Fast Passes you can try and get additional Fast Passes, but, by then the pickings are slim as you are competing with everyone in the park who is doing the same thing. When you attend a Disney Vacation Club presentation, you and your whole party are offered three additional VIP Fast Passes that are good for your stay. If not offered, make sure you ask!

To me, this is a game changer. I have a party of six, so Disney offered me 18 additional VIP Passes; 3 per person, for attending a presentation for their newest resort, Copper Creek. For my girls, this made a huge difference in our Disney vacation as they excitedly took advantage of those VIP Fast Passes to get on several more rides than they were expecting that second day.

And, to get these free VIP Fast Passes, you just need to sit and listen to a presentation that last about one hour.

On my most recent Disney Vacation Club tour, Average Joe was at the pickup location, whisked away to the preview center, had a lovely breakfast, did the tour, listen to the presentation, asked my questions, was offered ice cream, and then whisked backed to my hotel with VIP Passes in hand, before my girls were ready to walk out the door to start their second day at the Magic Kingdom. Total time invested, about 1.5 hours. In comparison, the wait time at the Severn Dwarfs Mine Train was two hours the day before.

Our lovely second day at the Magic Kingdom, just became so much better. Total dollars expended, ZERO!

This is part one of my ongoing reports on Disney and how to shave costs off your vacation and enhance your stay while at the Walt Disney World Resorts. If you have any suggestion on how you have save money and have improved your stays, please share them with our Average Joe community!

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