1.) Book with a Disney Vacation Specialist. I know I know I am a bit bias since I am one, but really the service is free for you, so what do you have to lose, except for the headache of it all! Why should you? Well for one, chances are you will get a better deal than if you booked with Disney on your own. Now this is not 100%. Maybe you are Disney Savvy and keep your eyes and ears open for all the latest and greatest deals, but what if you miss a booking deadline, or just don't realize that the latest deal might be the one to be on. That is where I come in, it's my job to make sure that you are on the best deal and you don't even have to think about it. When a new deal is released, I will run the numbers and see if that deal works better for you and automatically make the change. Still not convinced? How about I throw in a $15 gift card when you book a package?!
2.) Consider a Meal Plan. Many I know think they won't utilize this plan right and don't want to do it. And I will say the Disney Dining Plans are not for everyone. Read Debate: Dining Plan or No Dining Plan to learn more about all the plans and weigh the options for your family. You will see in there that I discuss why I love it for us. We have learned how to make it work for us and really save. It is also great to know, at least for me, that we are all expenses paid. When we arrive in Disney we don't have to pay for anything extra, minus the tips on our dining, unless we choose to. You get more than enough food with the plan to take care of you for your stay.
3.) Planning Meals. If you have decided that the meal plan really isn't for you, then be sure to plan your meals in a smart way. What do I mean by this? Try eating a late lunch in replacement of dinner and then have a light snack or share the counter service meals for dinner. Why? Well lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner. Even if we don't eat lunch late we make sure that is our big meal. The best way to do this too is the buffets. Take this example of Crystal Palace's pricing (obtained from allearsnet.com)
That is a huge jump between lunch and dinner!! Think of the savings!! You still get the characters (Pooh and friends) but you pay $12 LESS per adult!! Well right there is the price of your counter service dinner that is big enough to share. And be sure to share when you get counter service meals. Especially the kids. Don't order off the kids menu, buy order your kids meals off the adult menu and have them spilt it. The chicken tender bites are 1000 times better then the nuggets offered on the kids menu anyway!
So that's it for now....in part 2 look for knowing the seasons, resort categories and more!