For moms of many kids, taking a trip to Disney World might seem like a pie in the sky type of dream. After all, most people think it will cost thousands for just a family of four to go.
But what about a family of five, six, or even more? Surely Disney World is out of reach for non-millionaire large families, right? Wrong!
Yes. Disney World can be expensive. And yes. The resorts are geared toward families that fit in the typical box (two parents and two kids). However, there are a ton of options that can both save money and accommodate larger families.
Here are five tips that could help parents with three or more kids save money and stay comfortably at Disney World:
1. Stay off-property
There are tons of condo, town home, or even single-family home options in Orlando very close to Disney World. Their full kitchens will also help cut down food costs.
If the convenience of staying on-property is important, the standard Disney hotel sleeps five. (Note that children three and under do not count in the occupancy limit). Disney World also offers villas and family suites that fit up to nine, but some of them can get expensive.
2. Skip the kids' meals
Buying food at Disney World and its resorts can cost both arms and both legs with several hungry children. The easy fix is to not buy everyone separate kids' meals, and rather have them share a pizza, large sandwich, or even one of those jumbo turkey legs. Also know everything can be bought à la carte, even if it doesn't say so on the menu.
3. Bring in snacks
Disney World allows park patrons to bring in snacks, children's food, water, and drinks in a backpack or soft-sided cooler. Load up on granola bars, pretzels, waters and juice boxes, and perhaps even some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Save the money for treats while also being prepared to beat the Florida heat.
The cost of airfare for a typical family can be high, but for a large family that cost can be astronomical. Add to that the cost of renting a vehicle or even several cabs, and the price to get to Disney World can be prohibitive.
But why not pack up the car and drive? Sure, it might take two days but just call it an adventure and get on with it.
5. Go during Value Season
These are the specific times in the year that Disney lowers prices, throws in value-added extras, and basically gives more bang for the buck. These seasons are also the least crowded times of the year. Exact dates change each year but Value Season typically falls in January, late August and September.
Rates can be substantially lower and the extras, like room upgrades or free dining plans, can really add up. Traveling at these times might mean the kids miss some school, but many schools will work with parents regarding "unexcused" absences.