Friday, February 18, 2011

How I saved $483 on my Walt Disney World Vacation

A few weeks ago, after about a month of research, I finally "pulled the trigger" and booked our family vacation to Walt Disney World.

I love Disney World.

I don't love the expense.

Now I know why my parents waited until I was a freshman in High School before taking us on our first trip to WDW!  I've been to Disneyland twice and Disney World four times. So I guess you could say I'm a "veteran". But we have never stayed in the park. So we decided to "do it up" this trip and "splurge"...well - "splurge" our way.

The most frustrating and overwhelming part of booking a trip to Orlando is the SHEER QUANTITY of hotels, packages and parks available. It's overwhelming, and I can see why so many travel agents specialize in only Disney vacations. But I'm EXTREMELY resourceful and ended up getting a pretty good deal... well, at least in my mind. So here's how I SAVED $483.32 on my Walt Disney World vacation.

#1 - Shopathome.com offers cash back on your online purchases when you sign up for a (free) account. Basically you log into your Shopathome.com account and type in the site search box where you want to shop. You then click through their link and the transaction is recorded in your account. They offer cash back,  exclusive coupon codes and promotions to thousands of online retailers. In my case I decided to book our trip through SouthwestVacations.com. At the time of my booking Shopathome.com was offering 6% cash back at SouthwestVacations.com. I also have an account with another cash back site - Ebates.com. I ALWAYS compare the cash back offered with both Ebates and Shopathome before making any online purchase. These are LEGIT cash back websites. Ebates issues you a check quarterly and Shopathome issues you a check when you have a minimum of $20 in your account. I have received cash back checks from both sites over the past year. It's FREE MONEY in my mind! Here are the links to the 2 cash back sites:

Shopathome (Click here)


Ebates (Click here)

#2 - Because I was getting 6% cash back, I decided to bundle as much as I could with my SouthwestVacations.com package. They give you the option of purchasing airfare, hotel, Disney park tickets and even the Disney Dining Plan packages among other options. When you book an airfare/hotel package, you can expect to save a little bit. But you can RARELY find discounts on park ticket and dining plans, I figured a 6% cash back "discount" was better than nothing!

#3 - When booking my package I compared the pricing for the 2 promotions that were currently being offered. The first was "% off" at select Disney Resort properties. The other was "kids play free" in which you get FREE child park tickets. At first glance, you'd think the % discount would be greater. But once I priced out the park tickets, it actually came out to be about $100 less to go with the "kids play free" option, and pay "full price" for the hotel.

So here's the pricing breakdown for the exact package, had we just booked it at "FULL PRICE" without booking a package or getting cash back.


Airfare- Southwest Airlines 

 















 Hotel - 4 nights, 5 days at Port Orleans - French Quarter in a "Standard" room:



Park Tickets - 3 day Base Ticket, no Park Hopper



Disney Dining Plan- 4 Nights (peak season pricing)


Total Price: $2898.30


And here's what I paid:

PLUS subtract the 6% cash back from Shopathome.com = (- $142.24)

I SAVED : $483.32


I hope that my cash back shopping tips help get a little bit of extra money back in your pockets. It's a small amount of extra effort to check for the cash back percentages. There have been a few time where one site offers cash back, and the other one does not for a certain retailer. Or maybe one site has a significant difference in the percentage you get back. But in my mind, every penny I can save is money we can use for something else. Happy "cash back" shopping!!!

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