First of all, I want to say that just because we are being cheapskates at Walt Disney World doesn't mean we're slumming it. Quite the contrary. My husband and I are thoroughly enjoying the standard view studio we have for 4 nights (only 3 left) at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Villas. This beautiful resort and spacious, nicely appointed room is anything but cheapskate-y. You can read more about Kidani Villas here.
To view pictures other than my own (which
Our lovely room has a small kitchenette with a little sink, a microwave, a coffee pot, a toaster, and a mini refrigerator. It also is stocked with paper plates, coffee cups and glasses, and plastic knives, forks, and spoons. We even received a roll of paper towels, a dishcloth and sponge, and a tiny bottle of Palmolive dish soap. The bathroom is wonderfully spacious, bigger than our bathroom at home by at least 50%. The bedroom area has a queen bed as well as a sofa that pulls out into another queen bed. The room also came with a pack and play at no extra charge. We have free high speed internet access (not wifi, though).
Since I'm being honest about finances here, it makes sense that I be honest about other things, too. I do think our room has a couple of drawbacks. Our view is of the parking lot and bus transportation area. In the time we have spent in the room, we haven't heard any noise from down there. (We're on the fifth floor, though; second floor rooms might not enjoy such quiet.) In defense of the Lodge, we did reserve a standard view, knowing we'd be overlooking the pool or the parking lot. We are high enough that, if there were any parks in our line of vision (I don't think there are), we'd have a good view of fireworks. The other thing that I would consider a negative is the fact that it seems as though the lobby and transportation options are far away. This is something we've experienced at the larger Jambo House, too. The layout of the resort means that some folks have a VERY long walk to the main hub of the resort. I wish we were closer to the lobby.
So, curious how this great resort could be on the Wannabe Cheapskate's blog? Simple: we are members of the Disney Vacation Club. This membership requires a large purchase (upwards of $17,000), but is soooo worth it for families like ours that want to vacation at Disney as often as possible. Our membership is valid for another 45+ YEARS, and it has already paid for itself in the money it's saved us on accomodations. I looked up the room we have this weekend on the official Walt Disney World website, and priced it out as though I were willing to make a cash reservation (yeah, right!). If we had to pay for this room ourselves, the cost would be $1,597! Our whole vacation is costing less than half that! There is no way we could stay at such a lovely resort, with such a great room, without DVC. Because the cost of our membership is considered one of our regular monthly expenses until it is paid off, it feels like our room is free. I did a little figuring about the actual cost of our membership over the years of the membership, and it comes out to around $3 per point. Since this vacation cost us 68 points (less than half the year's allottment of points), we are essentially paying $204 for this room, or just $51 per night!
If you are looking for a way to make Disney more affordable and enjoyable for your family, you should consider buying into the DVC. You can tour the model rooms and see a very honest and informative presentation at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort. And no pressure from the sales staff -- I mean it, NO pressure. When they ask you who introduced you to DVC, tell them it was Talani and Barbie Tupua of Pensacola, Florida. If you buy in, we get a kick back. :)