Earlier this year, we decided to take Grayson on a surprise Disney World trip. It was totally on a whim, and we literally decided to go two days before we left. February is the perfect time to go in my opinion, for both weather and crowd reasons. So, here we were in February, we had some extra money, and knew we wanted to go before Charlie was born, so we packed up and went!
If you are wondering how I was able to plan an AFFORDABLE last minute Disney trip, read on.
1 | DRIVE
Living in Atlanta, Disney is about a seven hour drive for us which totally seemed doable, especially having only one, well behaved five year old with us. That was the first place we saved money. We were able to drive and not fly. We only paid for gas, which totalled less than $100.
2 | STAY OFF SITE
This was partially an accident, as most Disney resorts were at capacity by the time we left. We found a hotel near Disney that had free shuttles to and from the park and rates around $80/night. We booked our two nights and off we went.
3 | BRING FOOD
Bring food for both the hotel AND water for the park. We ate a lot of light meals at the hotel, leaving us only having to eat lunch at the parks for the most part.
4 | BUY “ONE PARK” PASSES
We were only going for two days, and knew we wanted to really get the full experience of Epcot and Magic Kingdom. With a 5 year old in tow and a pregnant mama, park hopping wasn’t something that we needed on this trip. We dedicated the first full day to Epcot and the second to Magic Kingdom. This saved money on tickets.
5 | BUY SOME SOUVENIRS BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
There were certain things we bought before we left, like an autograph book. Obviously, there are things that you MUST get at the park, like embroidered ears, duh. But if your child wants a lot of other memorabilia, consider grabbing cheaper versions before you leave and “passing them out” in the car.
6 | PAY FOR AN EXPERIENCE
We did the character breakfast at The Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom on the second and last day. All of the Winnie the Pooh characters came around and met the kids and signed their books and it was a huge hit. We really enjoyed this part and it was actually surprisingly affordable. Their app makes meal reservations a breeze, too.
Overall, we spent a very reasonable amount for our quick Disney trip, and made memories to last a lifetime. It was the last trip we took with Grayson as an only child and I will always treasure that!