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ft4rlWelcome to my live blog of the Family Travel for Real Life conference (#FT4RL).  If you’re new to the Family Travel for Real Life conference, it is a smaller conference that focuses on the more “real life” aspects of travel.  While it is primarily focused on family travel (it’s in the name, duh!), there are lots of things that are talked about in the conference that are applicable for those without kids as well.  If you want to see more information, you should check out my introductory post, which also contains links to recaps of all of the past FT4RL sessions

Our final speaker of the day is Disney expert Haley Bach, who spoke at the last FT4RL conference about Disney as well and is back with more Disney – Disney World: Travel Hacker Style

Disney World: Travel Hacker Style

Attendance is up at Disney World – Magic Kingdom attendance was at 16,972,000 in 2010 and is up to 19,332,000 for 2014.  So you’re seeing a lot more lines and people there.  It seems also like Disney keeps raising ticket prices trying to find where the “cap” is on ticket prices and apparently have still not found it!

The #1 way to save money is by …. (wait for it…) saving money!

Don’t pay rack rate at Disney – there are so many ways to get around of it.  One option to save money is to buy one annual pass for your family – even though the cost of an annual pass is pretty expensive (~$750).  But in exchange for that, you get access to discounted room rates, discounts on food (10%) and merchandise (10%), free parking and the Disney Photopass ($149 value).

Other ways to save money are to get grocery delivery and eat off site (food prices are way up after 2 recent increases in a very short time)

We were just at Disney World a few months ago and when you’re in the park – here are my my top 5 Disney World tips for a budget traveler and check out the video of my kids finding out that we were all going to Disney World.


(SEE ALSO: “We’re going to Disney… but I don’t know because I can’t read!”)

Save money by saving time

A sample trip Haley talked about was going to Disney Oct 22-30th for a family of 4 – 5 day Magic Your Way with Water Parks & More, including free dining and Mickey’s not so scary Halloween for one night.  The total on this trip at Port Orleans resort for $3050 or at the Beach Club for $6230 which includes the Club Level (access to the Lounge which gives breakfast, snacks, hors d’oeuvres, etc).  Remember too that

I was actually confused by this since it’s 9 total days you’re gone and you only have a 5 day ticket, but Haley walked through a schedule of how to plan your week.  I won’t walk through the whole schedule but it just shows all that you can do if you plan out your Disney trip well.  I can definitely see the value in a good touring plan.  A good touring plan can cut your wait time by about 2 hours a day and a good itinerary can save you another 5+ hours

Visit the parks based on the best days advice, get to the parks 30 minutes before opening and create an efficient touring plan (like we talked about).  Eat early to avoid crowds – don’t eat lunch at noon and don’t eat dinner at 6pm.

Remember also that you don’t have to be single to use the Single Rider lines.

Other Disney tips

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My family pin trading at Disney

Which park which day?  The park that had Extra Magic Hours (EMH) yesterday is good.  The park that will have EMH tomorrow is also good.

Have an exit plan for when you’re leaving, and make sure to take lots of breaks.

There was also lots of discussion about a Disney dining plan which I have to say, went pretty much over my head, even though they were specifically talking about how it would work for my family 🙂

The Rider Swap Pass has a lot of hacking that you can do that we talked about in-person.  A few things to remember on this is that it’s not called a Child Swap Pass – you can use it for ANYONE who doesn’t want to ride a particular ride, and you often don’t have to bring the people that don’t want to ride with you.

Anyone can use these Rider Swap passes and you can save them to use later in the day (and sometimes later in the month) and you can have more than one of them at a time!

Top Disney resource websites

Haley recommends using a travel agent to book because they can rebook reservations as new discount codes come out.  Travel agents have advance notice of discounts to be able to book rooms that might sell out before the general public gets them available.  She recommends FTMtravel.com

I personally am not a huge Disney enthusiast, though I know plenty of people are!  There was tons of great Disney info here and even more that I had to keep off the blog.  If you have questions, you can find Haley at Twitter as @bachfancy

Magic Kingdom expert Haley Bach shares her Disney World tips and hacks good for teens, kids and adults

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