So you'd like to take the family to Walt Disney World, but the price tag is too high?
Money says the average four-day visit for family of four now costs more than $6,000.
Travel expert disputes high figure
"In general, if you look at it that way, you may say 'Oh gosh, it's so expensive.' But honestly, there are great discounts out there," Lesley Sawhook said.
Sawhook is a mom, Disney fanatic and owner of an online travel agency, Exclusive Travel Partners. She disagrees with the $6,000 price tag.
"A family of four can go for five nights with tickets, for just $2,100 this summer," she said.
How to save
How? Sawhook says for starters:
- Skip the Luxury and even Moderate on-site resorts.
She says Disney's Value Resorts are good, for a quarter the price.
"With the discounts, you can get it for around $99 a night depending on what time of year you go," she said.
She says you can stay off site for even less, but you lose perks like early admission and easy access.
Finding ticket deals
One thing that makes Disney so much more expensive than other theme parks: You can't just buy a discount one-day ticket (unless you are a veteran or Florida resident).
So you have to be a lot more creative when purchasing passes, and she suggests:
- Purchase four-day single park passes.
Sawhook says skip the pricey Park Hopper ticket, which lets you hit multiple parks in the same day. She says for much less, get a four-day single park pass, where you change parks each day (Magic Kingdom today, Epcot tomorrow, etc).
"You can get a four-day ticket this summer for just $79 per park, and visit all four of the theme parks," she said.
Be careful with two- or three-day tickets, though, because they don't provide the same savings as the four-day ticket.
Look for free transportation
She has one more great tip. If you are flying:
- Try to fly into Orlando, not nearby Sanford or Tampa, because Orlando has free transportation to the parks.
"You just have to be careful that you are booking into Orlando International Airport, MCO," she said. "If you book into Sanford, which is publicized as Orlando, the Magical Transfers will not be part of your vacation package."
At other airports, you will need to pay for bus rides or rent a car, which can add $150 to your trip.
Finally she says:
- Choose the Disney Dining Plan if you are traveling off-peak season, but consider skipping it during peak weeks.
Sawhook says frugal families may want to skip the Dining Plan during peak season, unless you are doing it for the character meals, at which point it becomes a decent deal.
However, she says the Meal Plan is a great value during the off season, when it tends to be discounted, and some resorts sometimes throw it in free.
Bottom line: Sawhook says you can spend four days in the parks -- with hotel, food and airfare -- for about $2,000 for a family, less than half of what this new report claims.
And that way you don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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