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by Ken Pellman
Disney on a Dime
(purchase at the LP
It is very easy to spend your family's entire liquid savings and max all of your credit on a vacation at Walt Disney World Resort (WDW), and some families have done just that. I held on to a job at the Disneyland Resort for years primarily because it made my trips to the WDW so much less expensive: about half off on lodging, free parking and entry to the four major theme parks for myself and three others, 35% off on merchandise, 20% off on dining. Now that I'm a Hasbeen, how can I continue to visit and not bust my finances? How can the rest of the world visit with limited money to spend?
Enter Disney on a Dime
This book's front cover proclaims that it provides "Money Saving Secrets For Your Walt Disney World Vacation", and on the back cover you will find:
"Maximum Mickey, Minimum Money"
"Guaranteed to save you at least $200 on your next WDW vacation of your money back! See page 223."
Consider the modest price of the book an investment, because this excellent new resource is packed full of usable advice on how to have a highly enjoyable trip to WDW for hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than you might otherwise spend. Whether you've been a dozen times already or are contemplating your first trip to WDW, this book can tell you ways to save you likely would have missed.
Do you have money to burn? Not too concerned about spending a lot of money? This book can still tell you how to avoid spending money unnecessarily. I'm frugal, myself, so I found this book to be an enjoyable read.
The authors are so confident that you'll save money if you use their book that, as I note above, they guarantee it, offering to refund the purchase price of the book if it doesn't work for you. They have good reason to be confident - they have delivered on their promises.
The book is easy to read and uses tables to illustrate concepts and compare prices. It is NOT a general guide to WDW, and it tells you so upfront. However, it does offer some tips that have nothing to do with saving money, like how to ride in the front of a monorail train. A Table of Contents, an Index, and bullet points previewing each chapter make it is easy to look up the information you're trying to find.
The cover design by Foster & Foster uses what is fast becoming a standard for unofficial Disney books - looking like Disney without violating copyrights. While the "Disney" in the title isn't the Disney font, it is deliberately a cursive font while the rest of the title is not. The background color is yellow, the main title red and authors' names are red, and the other writing is black - the colors of Mickey. Furthermore, there's a "Mickey" gloved hand on the cover holding a dime.
The Table of Contents lists:
What is Walt Disney World, Anyway?
Plan! Budget! Save!
Getting Into the Disney "Mood" on the Road
Save on Travel
Save on Food & Drink
The Disney Dining Experience Card
Save on Tickets
Save on Souvenirs
Save on Lodging, Part 1: While Staying Onsite
How to Take Full Advantage of Your First & Last Ticket Days When You Bay (sic) a Package
Save on Lodging, Part 2: Affordable WDW Hotels
Save on Lodging, Part 3: Save More by Staying Offsite
Enjoy "Extra Magic Hours" Perks & Offsite Prices
Sample Budgets and Food Menus
What to Pack
101 Absolutely Free (or Very Cheap) Things to Do
WDW Phone Numbers
Map of Orlando/Kissimmee
Map of Walt Disney World Resort
As noted, a couple of helpful maps are in the Appendix. There are no pictures in the book, save for one of the authors.
One of the big expenses of a WDW trip is the food, and so the authors do focus a lot on food, advising readers that they can save the most by packing supermarket food to bring into the parks, or eat at the hotel room, or eat while tailgating in the parking lots. For me, one of the reasons I go to WDW is for the restaurants, so that expense is something I'm willing to deal with. Still, if you're buying food in the theme parks, Disney on a Dime tells you how you can and save money you might otherwise spend. Two of the things they suggest that didn't even occur to me were ordering things that are only listed on menus in combos "a la carte", and spending 70 cents on an extra bun when ordering a double burger in places that have a condiment bar, instantly giving you two single burgers will all of the fixings for only 70 cents more than ordering just one double burger.