Reducing Our Disney World Trip Budget

Recently, I wrote about how we are planning a trip to Disney World for our family later in the year.  I have been pretty happy about some things that have happened that are allowing us to reduce our budget by a pretty nice amount!  Ultimately, the biggest benefit comes from a Disney World credit card.  Read on!


When we first looked at tickets early in January, the tickets were $342 per person.  Since there are four of us that set our budget at $1,368.  We know people that travel regularly, and they told us that anything under $350 was a good deal.  Happily, the ticket prices declined several times.  We finally pulled the trigger at $268 per person, inclusive of all fees.  Total Savings: $296

Credit Card #1

We don’t typically go much for reward based credit cards, but mb-2015-02-creditwhen I saw an offer while looking up flights, I couldn’t resist.  By signing up for the Delta Sky Miles American Express Card, and using it to pay for our tickets, we will get a $50 statement credit, 30,000 Sky miles (which is basically one free flight for the future), and we will each get one checked bag for free.  We had budgeted $200 for luggage ($25 per person per leg of the trip), which we can now knock off the list.  We just need to cancel the card after the trip, so that the $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) doesn’t kick in.  It’s already on my Google Calendar! Total Savings: $250+

Potential Credit Card #2

My wife got an offer for a Disney based Master Card or Visa (I can’t remember which) that is no-cost, and once we make $500 in purchases, we will get a Disney gift card for $200.  We can simply transfer our grocery purchases for a couple of months to get to this amount.  We’d sacrifice 1% in cash back rewards, but the trade-off seems well within our favor.  We know we will buy souvenirs and clothing and other items, so this seems like a great way to save on some budgeted spending.  Savings: $200

So far, we are already at savings of $746 from our original budget, without downgrading anything!

The Only Concern

My only concern with this strategy is taking out two additional credit cards.  I think we’re OK, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.  Here’s my reasoning:

  • We are each taking out one card and not listing the other person on the card.  So, our credit report will each show one new card and one rise in available credit.
  • I plan on requesting a lowering of the credit limit on the American Express Card.
  • My wife will cancel the Disney based card as soon as we make the $500 in purchases and collect the $200 gift card.
  • We are not planning any re-financing or taking out of any new loans within one year, and within one year both cards should be closed.
  • At present, we each have a Master Card and we share another American Express Card, so the number of cards outstanding and our total credit limit seems well capable of handling these additions.

Readers, what do you think of our savings so far?  Any considerations or concerns in taking out two cards to collect the associated rewards?

7 thoughts on “Reducing Our Disney World Trip Budget”

  1. Great work on saving so much on your trip so far. But I have a question: why would you cancel the Disney card if it doesn’t have an annual fee? I thought canceling credit cards can actually hurt your credit more than just not using it in the future. Getting the new cards may ding your credit a bit depending on the current age of your credit, but once the card is approved, I think the average age won’t change even if you cancel the card. And as for debt to credit ratio, if you’re not using the cards, you’ll just have a higher credit limit over all which is a good thing, right?

    • We would honestly probably use the card only to get the reward, and unless they offered additional rewards along those lines, the card would serve no purpose to us. My understanding is that cancelling a card might hurt your score somewhat, but you’re also brought down by your total credit limit, which would be improved by eventually cancelling the card. I also think that the cancellation of cards hurts your score if you cancel cards that you have for a long time, as ‘active’ credit history is very important. Our normal cards are open far longer, so the idea is that closing the most recently opened card would still leave much longer credit history. It’s all speculation as you never really know what goes into it, but just going by the popular theseis, I don’t see it hurting us that much to open and close the card within a few months.

  2. I woudl caution you to not close the card too soon after getting the bonus. The card issuer may blacklist you from getting another bonus from any card issued by them if they think you are card hopping to jsut get bonuses. Wait a couple of months and on the Delta card, you may want to wait until month 11 and call and see if they will waive the annual fee (you may have to do 5 purchases or something). Keeping the card longer can help with the miles not expiring.

    Congrats on finding ways to reduce the vacation costs!

    • Good thought on keeping the card for awhile. Maybe we’ll use it and then just keep it around for a bit. We will keep the Disney card around for almost a year, as our trip isn’t until the fall, so I would think that I could safely close it after we get back, as long as my interpretation that the miles are mine as soon as we complete the actual travel. Maybe not the day that they post, but within a few weeks would be fine, wouldn’t you think?

  3. Those are great savings, all things Disney are sooo expensive. I wouldn’t worry about getting new credit cards, especially if you aren’t looking for loans any time soon. People churn cards for a living and their credit is fine. Inquiries are just a part of the equation – getting new cards adds to your availability, lowers you utilization, and adds more credit accounts – all positive for your credit score.

  4. Great work! I definitely want to hear an update when you get back and see if any of the card carriers hassle you for getting the rewards and then canceling right after. I hope not – have a great vacation!

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