In honor of our upcoming Disney World vacation being paid off in full as of today (54 days before we arrive), I want to share the simple way we paid off our trip and how it wasn’t as painful as it might have been otherwise.
A little background: We started planning our trip during Fall Break, in October. On a whim, after a few years of “Well, we’ll go in a few years…” and “Maybe when they’re a little bit older…”, we decided to go on and just do it. We didn’t have money saved up for the trip already and we don’t have a ton of extra money after bills each month. We both work and are paid twice each month.
The simple thing we did was to purchase Disney gift cards at Kroger each time we got paid. We started doing $200 every paycheck but we had to step that up before and after Christmas. We also got a really big Disney card gift from my parents for Christmas that we applied to our trip. We are using an authorized Disney vacation planner (Tiffany Hanks from Off to Neverland Travel — If you tell her I sent you and you end up booking through her, I might receive a $25 gift card, just so you’re aware!) so I just take a photo of the back of the card and send the photo to Tiffany! It’s been wonderful, she’s taken care of everything and saved me a lot of time!
Our trip is costing about $3,000 (no airfare, 5 nights at the Art of Animation, regular dining plan, 5 day base tickets for 2 adults 2 kids). If we had just done $200 each paycheck (2x/month), it would have been paid for relatively “painfree” in 7.5 months.
The great thing about getting our Disney gift cards at Kroger is of course the gas points! At Kroger (and other big grocery chains), you get double gas points on gift cards. So every two weeks, we would get $o.40 off per gallon, sometimes more if they were running a special promotion. The times when we did more, like today when I got a $500 card, we could get $1.00 off per gallon! That can go a long way with today’s high gas prices!
One small tip about going this route: Find a Kroger store that carries the choose your own amount gift cards. I’ve seen them in denominations of $25, $45 (3 $15 cards), $50, and the ones for any amount from $50-500. This just saves a little hassle, so you don’t have to scratch off and send in multiple gift cards.
Being able to pay for the trip a little at a time has make this quickly-planned trip easy to handle on a budget, so I recommend this way of paying to anyone trying to do the same thing!
Is there a better way to use Disney gift cards? Have you used them to pay for a Disney trip?