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Set Your Disney World Budget

Pillar Two: Budget

It’s no secret that a trip to Walt Disney World can cost a lot. Between tickets, room stay, travel to get there, food and souvenirs things can add up quickly. But, it doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful if you plan ahead with a budget. A Budget is an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time, in this case your WDW Trip.

We get it, Budgeting isn’t “fun” (although we love it?!) – but it’s an important first step in the planning process. The first step in any planning process, whether it be trips, home projects or life changes is creating an accurate budget. We made our tool free because we believe that a successful budget sets up the intentions for the entire planning process. Download our FREE Budget Template and you’ll receive our multi-tab file, use prompts and a How to video to ensure you successfully set up and optimize your Budget. Set your Budget Intentions upfront so there aren’t any surprises along the way that can cause overwhelm or uncertainty. The end goal is a stress-free trip, and that starts with setting a budget.

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Some things to consider before starting your Budget:

1️⃣What is your all-in budget? Think about this and be honest with yourself and anyone in your traveling party making money decisions. Set a max for your budget, this will guide many of your decisions, for example choosing a resort level or on property vs off.

2️⃣Once you have a number, break it down with estimates for key costs separated into cost buckets. These buckets should add up to your Max budget. Buckets we recommend in our Budget Template are :

✔Hotel – this includes lodging of any kind

✔Airfare or Driving expenses

✔Food/Meals – this includes all meals, groceries and snacks (those Mickey Bars add up)

✔Tickets & Events – this includes all Park Tickets and single day event tickets. Current Prices for WDW 4, 5 & 6 Day tickets are included in our Template.

✔Miscellaneous – this can be souvenirs, stroller rentals, themed shirts, etc.

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Using Buckets helps reduce overwhelm by breaking things down into digestible chunks. When we can see the parts and pieces it makes the all-in Budget less scary and shows you where you need to optimize to make your trip work for you. I am a visual learner so here’s an example, if your intentions are to stay at a deluxe resort but you are over your budget by $500 you may find that savings and more within another bucket. This is exactly why we often drive from NYC to WDW, we save over $1000 each trip by doing this, it’s our “Secret Sauce” for maximizing savings. More on driving to Disney in a later Blog, I promise we are NOT crazy ?

Using Your Budget Buckets

Once your Buckets are set use estimates to breakdown your budget into monthly or even weekly savings goals. I like to set up a separate savings account and schedule reoccurring deposits into the account to ensure it’s being saved as planned. This is something I learned during a Eureka Sessions with Financial Coach Jaclyn Wise of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix that we’ve implemented and had success with. Coach Jaclyn reviewed our Budget Template , see what she had to say:

“I think the budget tool is amazing!! It is definitely in alignment with how we teach our clients to plan ahead for vacation. It covers all the bases for a Disney trip and the multiple expenses that go into it. It tells you how much money to save each month so that you can fully pay for the trip ahead of time and not come home with a huge bill to pay off afterwards. I’m excited to see how many more people have less financial stress in their Disney planning because you’ve done such a thorough job thinking everything through in terms of expenses.”

Jaclyn Wise is a financial coach with Fiscal Fitness Phoenix, a team of dedicated and passionate financial coaches that help hard-working people use their money to achieve their dreams. Through virtual financial coaching, Coach Jaclyn helps her clients make a plan, get ahead, and spend with confidence. When she’s not being a Budgeting Jedi, Jaclyn loves spending time outdoors with her husband and dog, traveling the world (ESPECIALLY Disney World), and entertaining friends in their sunny backyard. Learn more about Coach Jaclyn here, or book a free 15-minute phone call with Jaclyn to find out if financial coaching is the right next step for you!

Optimize Your Budget As You Go

Be sure to update your budget along the way with actuals and adjust contributions as you go. It may not seem important but this process reduces stress and makes planning a systematic process that you’ll repeat again and again. Set aside a time monthly or weekly to review your Budget, once you start this habit it will be something you look forward to.

PRO TIP: Save your receipts during your visit to update your buckets post trip. This will actualize your budget and make future trip planning easier, more detailed and give you insight into how you did.

Many tools are available to you, we track with Google Docs so we have access to it at any time. When you download our Budget Template you’ll be prompted to make a copy of it and save to your google drive before accessing it. We use Ally Bank for my savings (no fees!) and set up monthly reoccurring deposits after creating and dividing our Budget over 12 months which is our planning timeline, (PS: Our Template DOES this for YOU!). you can create one or multiple accounts for each bucket to ensure you have them covered. Using multiple accounts helps separate funds so you can to make payments, buy Gift Cards (save 5% with your Target Red Card!) or use as spending money. Now that you have the tools you need to set your Disney Budget, how do you feel? tell us below!

Get ready, it’s time to Set Your Budget!


Greetings Foolish Mortals!

I’m Melissa, a self professed Disnerd and Ultimate Planner!   After taking my family on their first trip in October 2016, I found a passion for helping friends and family plan their trips.

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