Getting to WDW is a family affair


Hi everyone,

Our family is less than 6 months away from our third trip to WDW. We will be arriving in June and staying through the fourth of July.

Because of how we do Disney when we go (it isn’t cheap! ), alot of saving is required. That means that our kids have to understand that sacrifices have to be made if we really want to get there. They still continued to want treats, trips out to eat, nice Christmas presents, fun-filled (expensive) birthdays, and the reality is that we couldn’t do all that and make a trip happen in 2010.

Once we came to that realization, we developed a plan to include them in the saving and planning, that made them eager to say no to themselves instead of feeling bad when they couldn’t have what they wanted. I was amazed at how this system motivated them! I thought I would share it with everyone and then ask others how they involve their children in saving for a trip. Here is how our system worked:

Each kid got a little bank filled with candy at DTD in 2007. We put their names on them (After they ate the candy :laugh:)and asked them to budget part of their allowances into the banks each week. I made a bulletin board that hangs right in our kitchen with a map of each park and a list of the attractions on them (see attached picture). We figured out how much our trip would cost in total and then counted up all the attractions (including restaurants) and then divided the total cost of the trip by the number of attractions at the parks we want to visit. We figured that each attraction was worth about $35 in our case.

Each week when the kids get their allowances, they count their total Disney Money. When they have $35 total they get to highlight an attraction in their color and the money goes into our Savings Account for the trip. (My 9-year-old dd just told me a month ago “I’ve highlighted the lazy river at BB for you mom, so when you are floating along, think of me”) The cool thing about this is that many times my kids have taken money that they were going to spend on some little unnecessary item and instead put it in the Disney fund because they wanted to finish off a park or because they decided it wasn’t a priority anymore compared to the Magic of WDW.

This year for Christmas, they each got money from a relative and it went into the fund. DH and I have skipped dinner out and gone for coffee instead and put the money in our Disney Bank. The kids gave DH Expedition Everest this year for his Bday and colored him a picture of our family at the top of the mountain instead of buying him a gift. He loves the idea of being on the ride knowing the kids gave him that experience for his Birthday.

The kids are also trying to find work by mowing lawns, weeding gardens and babysitting because they love seeing their color on the board, highlighting their favorite attractions (DH and I highlight most of the restaurants and such to save the best attractions for the kids).

When we were 8 months away from our trip, we added a countdown calendar to our Disney Wall and that is even more motivating.

Anyway, I thought I’d share how we got to Disney in 2010. I’d love to hear other ideas from other families on how they made their dream come true.


I love your idea! I just have my kids save their own money for their souvenirs, but I think it is wonderful to get your kids in on paying for your trip. I think this makes them value the trip so much more, and it also helps them understand just how much it costs for mom and dad to do the things they do for them.

Your story of your children “giving” you the lazy river at BB and “giving” their dad EE brought tears to my eyes. That is so sweet!:happy:


That is a great idea! Wish every family did this… What an idea.


That is an adorable idea! I love it! I don’t have kids yet, but will definitely remember this when I do!


You are too creative. What a great idea. All it takes is for the kids to look at things in a different light, and you managed to do that in a fun way. Thanks for sharing.

I, too, include the kids in the saving process for our trips, but in a much lighter fashion, that we have a Disney jar in the kitchen and everyone’s change goes in there. When it gets full, I bring it to the bank and deposit it into the Disney account (literally, that’s the name that shows on the bank statements). You wouldn’t believe how fast that account grows, and it’s great to see they participate like second nature now.


I just read your post to DH, and he loved it too! One question: how old are your children?


This is just too cute! :heart: what a great idea! We are going to WDW at the end on May beginning of June and we have begun saving as well! This is such a smart idea I might have to come up with something similar too!

thanks so much for this…you have inspired me!!! :wink:


Missymouse, my kids are 13, 11 and 9. They can all do their part at different levels. My oldest can actually work for decent money with babysitting and lawn mowing and my son is starting to get in on that action. My youngest contributes most of hers through allowance, gift money and finding ways to save a bit in every-day life. For instance, we’d promised them Blizzards from DQ as a reward for working hard during fall cleaning and she thought it would be better to go buy icecream and a candy bar and make our own and divide up the extra money saved between their Disney Banks. Like bethishooked said - it all adds up pretty quickly!

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone! I’m glad to have a chance to share, as I’ve learned so much from this group in the week since I found you all here on Mousebuzz!


Hope you don’t mind if I steal this idea - this is great!! My DD is 6 but I think she would get it.


Please use it! That’s why I’m sharing - this is the first idea we have tried that worked for all three kids and the results have been so positive. It makes getting there almost as fun as being there!


This is an excellent, inspiring plan. Brilliant! Who needs kids? I’m using this on my DW!


Congratulations on your upcoming trip! What a wonderful way to teach the kids the value of money and the value of a Disney trip!

We’ve done saving techniques for our kids since they were small to try to teach them the financial value of their trips, but since they are starting to get bigger and are now enticed by other “things” to buy here and there I have been trying to look for more ideas. I may just “borrow” a couple of yours if you don’t mind!!


:wub: What a wonderful story, it is so great to hear how young families are instilling such wonderful values. I am usually a lone voice in saying that our children won’t see the value of anything if they don’t understand what it takes to be able to do something, Bravo!!!:laugh:


That is brilliant! I think your children are the perfect age for a savings project like that, the lesson there will really solidify in their minds. I love the “EE present!” :wub:


What an AMAZING idea!!!
Hmmmm… I bet this would work not only for Disney but for any super fun, but pricey vacation! I’m definitely going to have to try this. Thanks so much for sharing!!!