How This Diz Lover Saves Our Way to Disney World

How This Diz Lover Saves Our Way to Disney World

At the current time our thoughts and prayers are with all of Florida that they all stay safe and the hurricane miraculously heads out to sea!

We all know visiting the mouse isn’t cheap so when trying to save for Disney World, every little cent helps!  This Diz Lover has a few tricks up her sleeve for SAVING MONEY.

*1. My number one way to save is by booking my vacation at least a year in advance and  making payments every pay period until the vacation is paid off BEFORE we go.  **Get a membership to BJ’s or Costco! Both stores offer Disney Gift cards at a discounted value, and you are absolutely able to make your payments with Disney Gift Cards!  Currently you can purchase a $150 BJ’s Disney Gift Card for $147.99 . However, over the summer I was purchasing $100 gift cards for around $94.00 .  Its good to always keep an eye out and keep checking for deals. 

How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!
How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!

I have also heard if you use your Target Red Card you get a discount when purchasing Disney Gift Cards. 

I personally like to use my Disney Visa Credit Card to purchase discounted Disney Gift Cards through Bj’s so I receive reward bucks as well!  Those reward bucks come in handy for tips or anything purchased inside of Disney World. So I am earning reward dollars as I save by purchasing through BJ’s.  You can also use your reward bucks to pay towards the vacation.  Disney Visa Credit Card also gets saves money at any Disney Store location with a purchase of $50 or more and it also gets you exclusive character pictures at certain Disney Visa photo spots inside of Disney World.

If you happen to have a balance left when the remainder of your vacation is due, if you use a Disney Visa Card you get 6 months interest FREE to pay it off.

I usually get one Disney Gift Card that I have registered on Disney Gift Card Website (just in case I ever lose it) and then every Disney Gift Card that I purchase, I combine onto the 1 registered Disney Gift card before I make payments. You can constantly pay the balance and then reload the card. God Forbid you need to cancel and receive a refund – who the heck would want a refund on all those gift cards? Better to have it refunded to only one!

Since we always use the dining plan we do a lot of table services, so I like to bring a loaded gift card that I can use for tips – YES – tips; you may use a Disney Gift Card to pay for tips as well as your meals or any merchandise.  Disney Gift Cards are good throughout most locations in Disney World.

*2. I use a crowd calendar and try to go during non-peak times… usually your room per night is a lot cheaper during these times.

*3. Use a Disney World travel agent at no additional cost.  They will search for discount codes for you to apply to your vacation.  If you don’t have a TA, you can always keep checking by calling Disney to see one comes out and if it applies to your vacation package.  Disney Travel Agents can also help you with so many things like dining reservations, fast passes and more! *Sometimes if you book your next vacation BEFORE you check-out of your current vacation you can catch a promotion like free dining or a 40% off code – just call reservations from your room for more info!*

*4. Purchase a dining plan! My family really enjoys most of the table service restaurants that Disney World offers so we normally get a dining plan – and we like to purchase deluxe most of the time.

How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!
How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!

Not only do we save 30% on food, but this way all of our food is paid before we go – sort of like an all inclusive experience. Having a dining reservation in the a/c is a great way to take a break in the heat of the day.  If you like character meals the dining plan is really worth the value.

*5. Do not spend money or use snack credits on water.  Any quick service will give you a cup of water or a cup of ice for FREE! Just ask! A cup of ice is great in the heat while waiting for the afternoon parade!  Or, fill your thermos up in your quick service cafeteria at the hotel before you venture out to the parks. In the past when I had a stroller rental delivered I would have a pack of water delivered with it; or a pack of water delivered from Amazon, – but since learning about the free water, I no longer see a reason to.

*6. Bring your own snacks if you can! If you are close enough to drive, driving will save you a lot more than flying and you can pack whatever you like.  If you are too far and need to fly, you can ship packages to any Disney resort 2 weeks before your trip and they will hold it for you until you arrive.  Just write your confirmation code, guest name and check in date on the outside of your packages! Sometimes I find it worth it to ship myself cheap umbrellas, cheap dollar store ponchos, and snacks. I like to buy travel dollar store containers for soaps and try to gauge about how much shampoo I will use and ship that to myself when I fly, so on our flight home I don’t have a ton of liquid to stuff inside the suitcase. (We all know how expensive it is to fly and checking luggage with weight overage charges.)

*7. Don’t buy Disney merchandise inside the parks!  Buy Disney merchandise at the dollar store and Walmart prior to your trip and pack it to surprise your family when you arrive.  I have bought a lot of Disney themed apparel from retailers like Kohls and Walmart. Both stores have great Disney apparel at reasonable prices!

*8. For birthdays and holidays request Disney Gift cards in lieu of other gifts! (You can use any major credit card gift card to pay towards a vacation balance as well.)

*9. Purchase your Autograph Books and Pens before you arrive at Disney!  In the past I have purchased a simple Autograph Book from Amazon that saves you more than half the cost inside the park.  Some pens inside of the World can cost you around $10.00! Buy before you go!

 

Happy Saving For Disney!

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Disney World Animal Kingdom Lodge Review August 2017 Jambo House

Our August 2017 Disney World vacation started with our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort in the Jambo House.  When you enter into the lobby of the lodge, you instantly view the breathtaking cathedral window and you are instantly immersed in the atmosphere, and blown away by the integrated thematic African decorative details and conveniently located award winning restaurants.

PRO’S of vacationing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

*1. EVERYTHING IS INSIDE IN THE AIR CONDITIONING!  Jambo House is a giant u-shaped resort with everything being accessible INDOORS!  When you are visiting sunny Florida in the heat of summer, you really appreciate not having to walk outside to travel to the gift shop or food services and even your room!  This August vacation my children didn’t get the reoccurring heat rash like they usually do, and we feel the extra A/C was comfortably the cause.  Typically at a moderate or a value resort, as well as some deluxe resorts, you have to travel outside to walk from room to lobby or lobby to room; but at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, you enter into the lobby and there is no need to go back outside unless to view animals or hit the pool! (Located on the first floor is a ((2 floors underneath the lobby)) breezeway which provides a 30 second shady walk to the food court.)

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge

In addition to everything being inside, the resort is a very shaded resort; even while waiting for the busing, no matter what time of the day you are NEVER in the sun! Traveling with a 9 and 7 year old, they absolutely enjoyed the breaks out of the heat. Jambo house offers an attractive dimly-lit ambiance with the smells of delicious food that radiates the hotel.

*2. Enjoy the luxury of a deluxe hotel that is priced comparable to some moderate resorts depending on the room you choose.  As a deluxe resort, Animal Kindgom Lodge gives you more for your buck, as it offers all deluxe accommodations, at not much more than a moderate resort. (Unless of course you choose a Savannah view! ♥♦♥)

~Jambo House offers 3 restaurants as well as Victoria Falls the Lounge all not far from the lobby.  As you enter the lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge you walk onto the 3rd floor; head to the right you will find the elevators where you can go down to floor 1 to find the eateries such as Boma, Jiko and the food court called the Mara.  Boma is a family-friendly fantastic buffet offering American food with an African flare – here we found something for everyone, including our picky eaters!

Not to mention all staff at Animal Kingdom Lodge as well as most of Disney World are so very accommodating.

We decided to cancel our reservation with Jiko since I saw a sign that said proper attire was required and no tank-tops… I really didn’t pack myself anything BUT tank tops.  I am sort of disappointed we didn’t at least ask and try it anyway!

Just a 5 minute shuttle ride will bring you to Sanaa in the Kidani Village situated next to Jambo House.  Sanaa was amazingly decorated – a fine dining paradise, BUT Sanaa isn’t that well prepared for picky eaters and picky husbands. LOL.

To eat at Sanaa, you really need to be tolerable of trying different types of food and accepting of Asian type -spices.  Sanaa is delicious and the décor is stunning – the service was amazing – but it just wasn’t a great fit for my family.

Resort Map - Animal KIngdom Lodge 2

For some signature Disney World drinks, Victoria Falls

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Victoria Falls

is the signature lounge located inside of Jambo house with a waterfall cascading to the floor beneath seen from Boma’s waiting area.

*3. Beautiful animal observation points seen from several points inside and outside the hotel.

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge

*4. Pool slide

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Pool Slide

*5. You are just minutes away from Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Winter Summerland Mini Golf Blizzard Beach Water Park!

*6. Not far from Hollywood Studios!

*7. Constant games and activities going on for the kids!

CONS for Vacationing at Animal Kingdom Lodge

*The only deluxe resort that does not offer alternate modes of transportation to parks besides busing.  There is no monorail or boat to any of the parks.

*Animal Kingdom Lodge is around a 20 minute ride from Magic Kingdom.

*Unless you choose and pay extra for a Savannah View room there is NO GUARANTEE you will have a view of animals.  Some people are lucky and do get a view of animals without paying for it!  We unfortunately were not lucky and had a view of the parking lot! LOL But we were extremely close to the lobby and elevators which was great!

*Jambo House pool leaves something to be desired; it’s just a pool with a waterslide.  To get to the children’s splash area you need to travel to Kidani Village. There was a pool bar and it was loaded with bees.

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge

*You sort of feel like you’re inside a cave!

*Rooms aren’t that much bigger than what you get at a value or moderate for the amount of extra money; however, they are beautifully decorated and contain 2 sinks in the vanity and a ceiling fan over the beds. You do receive slightly more storage space and the queen size beds were super comfortable.

We always have a wonderful time in Walt Disney World, and we had a great time at Animal Kingdom Lodge!  We are so glad we were blessed to stay there and see what it was like.  We probably wouldn’t stay there again in the near future just because our family are Magic Kingdom lovers and we are looking to try a deluxe that is much closer!

Check out my review of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and my article on ways to save when paying for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Click HERE for a Video Slideshow of our 2017 August Disney World Vacation

Click HERE for my video of the POOL SLIDE at Animal Kingdom Jambo House!

When is your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

 

Diz Lover Tips and Tricks

With a Diabetic husband diagnosed at the age of 6 and a son who started suffering with anxiety at the mere age of 3, we are a family of 4 enjoying each other and trying to make the most out of each day.  We believe in and ENJOY life experiences with our children.  I am hoping to inspire others along the way!  We just happen to love Disney.  So, I am also here to share all of my tips and tricks from my many experiences to the Walt Disney World Resort – from resort & dining reviews, ways to save money and  simple “how to’s” or “what is” I have all the info you need.