Well we went to Disney last year thanks to a great tax return- taxes the state owed us from 2 years previous and my picking up extra shifts along the way. I used half of the money to pay back the Saratoga payday loan I’d taken from ConiLoans – and just needed a break for our family after my dad’s illness and death last year. we stayed inside the park in the cheapest hotels ( all stars ) my Mom came along and we had joint rooms. we had a small fridge- we flew ( we are in NJ) i probably could have done a bit better getting the airfare myself rather than with the travel agent do it but planning a trip for 7 people – i didn’t want to have any problems i couldn’t throw to someone else to fix (and since out flight was canceled due to a hurricane warning i am glad i did as she got us a new flight once the warning was over when the airlines themselves said they couldn’t ) we got hopper passes for the 6 nights 7 days we were there that meant we could goto whatever park as many times as we wanted and that worked out well- we had free transportation with in the parks areas so that was nice too (with a 2 yo and my Mom and kids of different age ranges from 11 down i figured if one got too tired cranky we could take a bus back and leave the others with dh etc) we took our own stroller
I took plastic ponchos from the $ store so i didn’t have to buy them – i bought souvenir autograph books at the dollar store too rather than pay $5 for them -since everyone on the flight could take their own suitcase and i had the girls share a suitcase and the boys share a suitcase- i filled a hard-shell American tourister suitcase i got at the thrift store for $4 with cereals- snacks – ramon noodles etc etc – cool aid powder to mix with water in the room for a treat we always ate in the room for breakfast and bedtime snack – we were in the parks all day and ate lunch and dinner out – it can be done cheaper but as this is a once in a lifetime thing for us we did it – we ate some character meals for the kids- kind of pricey but my kids eat a lot so the buffet was great for them – they had 2nds and thirds LOL!! we did take a diaper bag/backpack that had snacks water bottles in them – as much as i didn’t mind paying 9$ for my kids to have a healthy sit down dinner and entertainment I did mind paying $3 for a soft pretzel !!!
i refroze water bottles during the night in the tiny freezer section of the fridge or in a trashcan – we filled with ice and sat in the bathtub- we refilled them at fountains only had a soda / other drink with meals- i shopped at yard sales before we went for souvenirs and shoved some stuffed animals etc. in my suitcase – i gave each older child $50 in Disney $ to spend before we left to stop the “i wants ” ( my Mom paid for 25$ of it ) the younger two got $25 – the kids were really careful about what they bought as they knew that was it !! when my older Ds got a Mickey sorcerer and my younger Ds wanted a stuffed Mickey – I pulled a Mickey identical to one that cost 22.99 in the gift shop from my suitcase that I had paid $2 for at a yard sale-DD 3 got a dumbo I got at a yard sale for 50c – and if you look around some of the Disney stores even had red ticketed clearance stuff in them !!!
really would like to go back some day – if we ever do we will probably drive – possibly stay outside the park or in the cheaper places again- would probably pack more food and pack lunches to eat and only eat dinner or eat lunch and have ramon noodles or sandwiches for dinner back in the room – we definitely could have been more frugal with our trip = but when i tell people about it they seem to think I was really frugal LOL!! Plus it was our first vacation in 13 years (since our honeymoon ) and I wanted to enjoy myself – we used no credit- went into no debt and even came home with $100 of the money we had taken with us – so I think we did pretty good !!