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FREE Disney Cruise Line Vacation Planning DVD & Countdown to Disney Printable (+ Reader Tips)

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Headed on a Disney Cruise? If you’ve been considering an upcoming vacation on a Disney Cruise Ship, then you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this free DVD offer that I have posted about several times in the past. Just click on the banner above to snag a FREE Disney Cruise Line Vacation Planning DVD.

Your FREE DVD will include:

* An overview of all of our Disney cruises. There is relaxing “me” time for adults, imaginative fun for kids and plenty of family dining and entertainment!
* A glimspe of their new ships!
* An in-depth look at all of their magical destinations, including Hawaii!
* Plus information on dining, entertainment, deck plans and much more.

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Headed to a Disney Park? Request your FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD – just click on the banner above and fill out the short form. Your FREE Vacation Planning DVD will include a complete tour of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and a tour of the Disneyland Resort in California, affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation, planning tips and more!

Add some fun to the days/weeks leading up to your Disney trip! Head over here to print a free Countdown to Disney image (use cardstock paper if you have it on hand!). Then just cut the sides of the paper to fit into an 8×10 photo frame. Each day, use a white board marker and write on the glass frame to indicate the number of days left in your countdown.

Check out these Disney reader tips:

Disney Cruise

If you’re planning a Disney cruise (which you should, they’re amazing), find out the day they release new itineraries and plan to book that day. Seriously! We booked a February 2017 cruise the day they released itineraries, and it was $1,200/per person for the week. Then 2 months later, other members of our party went to book and cabins were up to $1,400/pp. Another month and I went to check prices and now they’re $1,550/pp! Waiting 3 months would cost you an extra $700 per cabin! Deposits are fully refundable until 100 days out; if the price happens to go down you can cancel and rebook, or if you change your mind about the trip entirely. But for the most part the interior cabins only increase in price because that’s what everyone wants to book – and apparently the prices increase fast!

Buy Disney gift cards at Target for 5% off if you have their REDCard, then buy park tickets and whatever else in the parks with them.

Just a tip… a 5 day single park pass is the same price as a 3 day park hopper. I buy mine to Disneyland at GetAwayToday.com for about $30 cheaper then the Disney site.

At Disneyland, you can get a free cup of ice and water at any of the quick service restaurants; not the food carts, but the pizza place, Harbour Galley, etc will do this. Huge savings and then you don’t have to carry your own water bottles around. If you or your kids don’t like plain water bring those little bottles of Mio or Crystal Light or something. Always pick up a few ponchos at a dollar store to bring into the parks. They’re great for the water rides and it saved us from getting soaked last July when it suddenly starting raining.

Memory Maker

We purchased the Memory Maker. It was so nice being able to take as many pictures as we wanted and to be able to download those pictures when we got home. I loved the Disney transportation, too. The one feature I purchased that I wish I hadn’t was the park-hopper option. I thought we would use it, but I think we only ended up using the park-hopper one time. If I’m blessed enough to be able to take another Disney vacation, I think I’ll save the $250.

Consider renting a house instead of staying on property. We rented a beautiful 3 bedroom house with our own private pool for a hundred bucks a night. There were Disney themes throughout the house so it still felt like Disney and it was nice to have someplace to get away from all the craziness. After factoring in the price of the car we had to rent, it came out to about the same price as when we stayed at a moderate resort. And honestly, I didn’t miss having to ride the bus after the fireworks.

We always take our crock pot and find a grocery store nearby (we take our food in a cooler if we drive). Put dinner in the crock pot before we leave in the AM and then we head to the hotel around 1 to eat and then we take sandwiches back to the park with us. We save SO much money this way and the maids always mention how smart it is. LOL. We also make sure the hotel has a hot breakfast and eat a huge meal before hand. Take snacks into the park and drinks for the times when the kids are fussy. We ALWAYS take a “park break” and go back to the hotel to rest.

Disney

For my family and me, the best decision we made was to purchase a Magic Your Way package, which included Disney Dining. We stayed on-site at Pop Century. Even though it is rated as a “value” resort, we thought it was great. The rooms were standard hotel rooms, which was fine for us. The grounds were lovely, and the hotel pools were nice. It was WONDERFUL to have our meals paid for in advance. It took the worry out of vacation and truly allowed me to enjoy myself. It felt luxurious to be able to tell my kids they could order a dessert if they wished and to choose whatever beverage they wanted. If we had not purchased the Disney Dining Plan, I would have obsessed over how much I was spending at every meal. Also, we thought the character dining was fantastic.

We packed a backpack of prepackaged snacks. Then in line for the shows the kids would sit down and have a picnic of snacks. It saved time not having to wait in line for lunch, saved money, and entertained the kids in line. My kids were excited to get the junky prepackaged stuff we don’t normally eat. I went with a large group. We were able to rent a 7 bedroom house with a private pool for much less then motel rooms would have been.

Do you have more tips to add? Please share!

Join The Discussion

Comments 51

  1. ihearthip

    Do hotels usually let you bring a crockpot? I’m interested in this but afraid it’s not allowed.

    • MandyK

      I am a travel consultant that specializes in Disney travel. I deal directly with Disney. No middle man. My concierge level planning services are completely FREE. I have planned trips for hip2save followers and hope to plan many more. Contact me today. mandy@lovethemousetravel.com
      Like my fb page for more tips. http://www.facebook.com\mandyatlovethemousetravel

      • yep

        I don’t think Collin asked people to plug their businesses or links.

        • MandyK

          She did not but many people are looking for help when planning their Disney vacations. That is what I am here for. Planning a Disney vacation can be intimidating for some people and I can help them free of charge. This site is about saving money and I have saved my clients thousands of dollars by researching, watching, and applying discounts and offers to their vacations.

          • Tina

            Take it easy

  2. Le

    I soo love tips like these. Would have never thought of the crockpot idea! I always buy dollar store ponchos and glow sticks/anything with flashing lights for the night parades.

  3. Heather

    We always get the park hopper! If a park gets too busy – hop on a bus, the monorail or boat to another. My husband won’t let me book without it. 😉

  4. Amber

    We are going on our first Disney cruise March 6th. I’ve been googling like crazy but if anyone has any tips, feel free to share them with me 🙂 thanks y’all!

    • spedtch95

      I’m on DCL Cruise #10. I won’t cruise any other line, and we don’t have kids. Take my user name above and add at yahoo. Just reference you are from hip2save and I will email answer any questions I can help you with back. I would be happy to help you and I’m not a travel agent. 🙂 we’ve done everything there is to do on 3 of their 4 ships

    • Laura

      Make sure you bring a highlighter & read your Navigator each & every night! You’ll get a daily Navigator (which looks like Disney’s version of a TV Guide) that will tell you all of the activities going on around the boat each & every day.

      Also the BEST time to get autograph signatures is the morning time on port days once everyone has gotten off the boat. For example- say that the Navigator is showing that you’re at port from 7AM-4PM and there are character signings at 8:30 AM… I would go to the signing first and then get off the boat to explore. You will still get plenty of time at port and will get more one-on-one time with the characters without having to stand in long lines!

    • Lisa

      For Disney cruises they handle autographs differently. You turn in 2 items (per room) that all characters will sign, examples include a pillow case or white drawstring backpack, and the items are returned on the last day.

      • April Rose

        They no longer allow this. You cant drop off items, you must stand in line to see characters and have them sign. 🙁

        • shea

          We just returned from a cruise on the Disney dream and this was allowed. We took the matting from a picture frame & they all signed it and it was returned to our room as a surprise for the kids the final night of the cruise.

    • bunged

      Went on Disney cruise in November on Disney Wonder. That ship no longer lets you drop of something for characters to sign—you have to wait in line for each character. As soon as you board, sign up for the free character meet and greets (they also have ones you pay for) ie, the character breakfast, etc. Tickets go fast. You can take magnets to stick on your door if you want to decorate them. Lots of people had Christmas decorations when we went. Take costumes for the Pirate party or make your own from what you have. Research each port and see if you can plan your own onshore excursions–they ships WAY over prices their tours. Take a lanyard for each person to hold your room card. Have fun!

  5. Elena

    Has anyone ever rented Disney Vacation Club points? We are booking a trip in December and it looks like it could be a great deal.

    • spedtch95

      I think they changed the policy and you can’t use rented DVC points on a cruise. Call DCL directly on this one.

      • Elena

        Looking to do this at Disneyland, not a cruise, I just figured people on here may have experience.

  6. Laura

    One of the best tips that I can give is to use a good Disney Authorized Travel agent when booking any Disney trip. We monitor your reservations to make sure that you’re always getting the best price, let you know of any announcements that could affect your trip, make Dining Reservations for you, etc… all FREE of charge. Feel free to contact me if you need any help in planning your next Disney Cruise (or any Disney trip!) Also… if you don’t have the Target Redcard but do have a BJ’s membership – they sell discounted Disney gift cards as well! Be sure to hold on to any Disney gift cards that you use towards your cruise because if you end up needing to get refunded for any reason (cancellation, lower rate, etc.) you will get refunded on the same gift card you used. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re looking for more information on how to plan a Disney Cruise… they truly are MAGICAL!

    http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

  7. Karen

    I’d love to know how much everyone’s cruise cost them… Include how many people and how many days, what month and what type cabin you’re in etc…
    My family of 4 is booked on a Norwegian cruise in November. Booked in an family ocean view cabin for a 7 day cruise. Drink package included for everyone (soda for kids, alcohol package for me and the hubby). $1856

    • Just Me

      Hmmmm that doesn’t seem that bad

    • Laura

      Disney cruises can vary depending on the time of sail, itinerary, when you book, etc. The earlier you book, the better. I’d be happy to give you an exact quote if you know when you would ideally like to sail. Also Disney does provide free soda for everyone on board (no drink package necessary) and each adult can bring up to 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call.

      http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

    • Streph

      Love NCL! We went on an Alaskan cruise 2 years ago and it was amazing!

  8. heather

    My family and I go to Disney every other year. We always stay on property and I always recommend this. If you stay on property you can take a bus from the airport directly to your hotel for free. They also take your luggage directly to the hotel. It is best to pack a few items in a carry on because your baggage will get their two to three hours after you do. They also have busses that take you to parks. Parking at Disney is crazy and when you are done at the parks the last thing you want to do is take a mono rail to the parking area then a tram to your car at 11 at night with three kids.
    Several times we went when Disney offered the free meal plan which was awesome and we had even purchased the meal plan once. The last time we went we decided to each pick our favorite sit down restaurant (these are a little pricy 20-30 per plate for adults around 10 for kids) and then did quick service and brought snacks. Here is a huge tip to save tons on drinks. Disney hands out free large glasses of water at all places that serve food, we brought crystal lite drink pouches to add to our water. No pop and basically free drinks we calculated that we saved about $120 on drinks for a family of 5 for 8 days. Say what. I also purchase my kids a gift card as their spending money and they have to spend it wisely once its gone its gone. It actually saves us money doing it this way. It is so easy to say yes when you are on the happiest place on earth. Then you look at the bill and say I spent what on dolls and stuffed animals :0

    • Laura

      Great tips! Another benefit of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort is that you get free MagicBands & can make your FastPast reservations before everyone else. Plus having extra hours at the parks with the Extra Magic Hours is a great perk too!

      http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

      • Ginger

        Is this your post, Laura?

        • Laura

          No, I just LOVE Disney vacations & want to help anyone who wants to learn more about them.

          • Steph

            My family goes to Orlando every year and we save a fortune by renting a house. Has its own pool and a full kitchen. Also don’t forget to go to legoland. It’s a fraction on the price of Disney, way less crowded and my kids loved it more than Disney

    • Le

      Love your drink tip! I’ll have to do that for sure. Same with the gift card idea, my little guys are too young for that (1&3) but I’ll have to remember that when they are a bit older, for now I don’t even buy them souvenirs 😏 And they don’t care one bit 😬 Lol

  9. Laura

    2 more Tips for Saving Money on a Disney Cruise right now are:

    1) There’s a current promotion of 50% Off the required deposit when you book a Disney cruise of 7 nights or longer that’s scheduled to set sail between August and December 2016. You must book by March 27, 2016.
    2) Sign up for a Disney Vacation Account! You’ll get a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1,000 spent on qualified vacation purchases.

    Every little bit adds up!
    https://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura/

    • Amy

      Aggressive travel agents make me tired

      • Laura

        I am truly trying to be helpful and offer tips that can help make Disney cruises more obtainable to those who are looking to take one but think it might be out of their means, but I do sincerely apologize if any of my posts came off as aggressive. I hope you have a great day!

        • Shonda

          I appreciate your tips, Laura. I know nothing about planning a Disney vacation and didn’t think I could afford a trip but you’re an expert and I’m starting to open my mind to the possibility. Thanks.

          • Laura

            No problem, Shonda! I genuinely enjoy planning & booking Disney vacations for others & would love to help you further plan your Disney Vacation. Free free to reach out to me via my Facebook business page or email me directly at loneill@enchantedmem.com. Have a great day!

  10. Lisa

    Character meals can get pricey, usually $15-30/child and $30-60/adult, but Ft. wilderness had a s’mores roasting event with Chip ‘n Dale. You can bring your own meal and even the s’mores items and still participate. The concession stand has food too. You meet and get autographs too. Sometimes chip and dale split up and only meet kids on one side; sit up front then run to the back of the other side to meet the other chipmunk. There’s also a free movie there afterwards. The hotels have a free movie each night too.

  11. Katie

    I have been finding ways to pay for our Disney trip we are doing in December. I have been putting every penny possible into Ibotta, checkout 51, Ebates, etc into my paypal. Then I am transferring that into my bank account. Buying gift cards on my Target card and paying it off with the money I sent from paypal. It’s a process, but completely FREE!

    • Julie

      Awesome idea!!!

  12. Tammy

    Disney is a bit overwhelming. I just started pricing out for a trip in October and I’m confused as ever! Is booking thru Disney the safest way to go? Or should I try a different type of party? HELP!

    • MandyK

      Tammy if you need help; I am a travel consultant that specializes in Disney travel. My services are completely free. I deal directly with Disney. Email me: mandy@lovethemousetravel.com
      I will send you as many no obligation quotes as you need.

      • DropDeadFred

        It’s one thing to comment a tip or advice… That’s what this post is for……But the repeated business plugs are just annoying and will most likely annoy people and get you adverse reactions rather than bring you new customers. I know I’m annoyed reading through these 37 replies and 5 are yours and 5 are Laura’s trying to grab customers for your travel agency.

    • Laura

      I would definitely recommend using a Disney Authorized travel agent! Check out my Facebook Business page for valuable Disney planning tips and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions: http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

      • Kelsey

        Enough with the plugs….. 😳😖

    • Each

      I found the travel consultants to be very aggressive – as seen in this post too. For our family it was much cheaper to rent a local house (with its own pool and kitchen). You can still go to Disney but you aren’t trapped there. My kids had plenty of Disney in one day. I don’t know how people do it day after day after day. We went to downtown Disney (free) one day, legoland (a fraction of the price of Disney and kids loved it), dinosaur world another day. Plenty to do!

    • sarahmn75

      We used jo@themagicforless.com and she was FABULOUS!!! She wasn’t aggressive at all. It was our first Disney trip and we decided to do it 13 days prior to our departure date! She handled booking everything for us, arranging our Magic Express from the airport to the resort and any simple questions I had like “Does our resort provide beach towels for the pool?”. She told us about special events that we might not have otherwise known about. I highly recommend her! My greatest lessons I learned from our trip were #1 – If you go at a busy time of year (like Christmas Break when we went) go to Magic Kingdom around 11PM. This was easy for us because we could just take the boat from our resort to the park. Our kids are old enough that they didn’t care about the parade and most of the crowd left after it so we were able to walk right onto rides that had a 2 hour wait time earlier in the day. #2 – The Deluxe Meal Plan was a waste of money. We made it just fine eating a late breakfast, snacks and then dinner at our resort. I will go to my grave keeping the number of meals we wasted a secret! :/

    • Traci

      Tammy, a site I love that has SO many tips if you want to plan your trip yourself is yourfirstvisit.net.
      Can be overwhelming at first, but he has tons of great ideas. Hope your trip planning is lots of fun!!!

      • Tammy

        Thank you everyone for your help. I will be looking into everything!

    • heather

      I always book through the Disney directly. They are super friendly and will answer any and all questions you have. Also, if a better deal comes out call and they will gladly apply it for you. One time we visited a friend who lives in Florida and we were just going to stay for one night at a hotel as a treat we booked at 150 and checked the night before and it was only 100 called and they immediately reduced the price.

  13. April Rose

    Sams Club also sells the Disney gift cards. I *think* its a pack of $150 that you purchase for about $143. Almost 5% savings. Plus Collin has had the cheap deals to join Sams membership lately! Thanks for all you do Hip2Save!

  14. Laura

    HEB Shoppers: Save an EXTRA 20% on Disney gift cards (that can be used on ALL Disney vacations) through March 1st!!! Download the HEB digital coupon for $20 off $100 (that can be used an unlimited number of times). This is a great way to save huge for all you lucky HEB shoppers. Hope that helps all you Texans out there!

    http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

  15. yvonne

    My family and I have DVC and I can tell you that we have never been so happy to have the time share. We were in Disney World in June for two weeks stayed a the Animal Kingdom Hotel in a two bedroom suite. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We normally rent a car and drive to the parks. We don’t like to wait for the buses and in the morning they can get very crowded. Parking is free if you stay at one of the Disney hotels. I would highly recommend the DVC to anybody. It is an upfront cost, but we have used it all over the world and have never been disappointed in the hotel. Some of the places we stayed and the suites we have stayed in the cost of the DVC has paid for itself already.

  16. Amanda

    You can also get free ice and water in Disney World, not just disneyland. Also for the lady asking about renting dvc points, before we bought into dvc we rented points and it was perfect. Got to stay at animal Kingdom Lodge where we would never be able to afford it going through Disney.

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