Book your Disney World vacation online. I've done a lot of comparison shopping and always found the cheapest rates by booking each component -- air, ground transportation, and hotel -- myself. The best unofficial Disney site I've found is www.disneyinfo.com. Disney's own Website, www.disneyworld.com, is also a good source of information.
Foothill Ranch, CA
Before you start planning your vacation, find out whether your company or credit union belongs to the Magic Kingdom Club. Membership entitles you to discounts on four-day Park Hopper and Length of Stay passes as well as Disney dining, hotels, and merchandise. If your employer is not a member, call 714-781-1550 to request an application.
The key for our family of six is traveling off-season. We went the day after Labor Day. We got six round-trip airline tickets from Minneapolis, four nights at the Quality Suites, and a five-day rental on a minivan, all for $1,000. It was a great vacation.
We were able to afford the convenience and services of a Disney resort by booking a package vacation at Walt Disney World's least expensive properties, one of the All-Star Resorts. As AAA members, we were entitled to an additional discount on our already-affordable off-season lodging and admission package. For less than $70 a night, we enjoyed free shuttle buses, two pools, a game room, and a food court.
Sally and Jake
Taking our large family to Disney can be expensive. None of Disney's budget resorts will book a family of five in one room (unless one of those children is a baby). So if you don't want to splurge on one of Disney's luxury properties or on two rooms, choose a hotel outside the park gates. We like Quality Suites (407-396-8040); the hotel is clean and has a pool.
Tinley Park, IL
We booked a two-bedroom suite with microwave and coffeemaker at the Lake Buena Vista Holiday Inn Family Suites for $59 a night. With the hotel's free shuttle to all Disney parks, free breakfast, and kids-eat-free deal, we saved a bundle.
Contact the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc. at 800-643-9492 or www.go2orlando.com, and request the Orlando Magicard. The card saved us up to $50 a night on a hotel and entitled us to discounts on a rental car.
Lake Parsippany, NJ