We did it - Disney under $1,000. Woot!
Disneyland $236 (special night event)
Legoland $162 (kids were free)
Museums $84 (3 museums; one was free the day we went)
Parking $18 (Legoland + Hollywood street parking)
Some thoughts and commentary:
**Hotel was 100% free. Though we are used to free hotel stays with MIL's timeshare, it was because of her new *elite* status that we were not charged fees for taxes or parking. Yay! So literally paying -ZERO- was a nice surprise.
**We took the gas sipper and 4 tanks of gas got us there and back. We had good luck finding cheap gas. Phew!
**We'd generally spend $0 on souvenirs, but I let the kids go a little hog wild on the day we got rained out of Disney. I also really wanted to get them swords/shields at Legoland (their friends had gotten them a while back), BUT it does add up fast! (I am not sure I Would have gotten them either, but dh and I had miscommunication on the price). I hope they enjoyed because next time is probably going to be $0 budget for souvenirs!
**Food is always the biggest part of our budget when we vacation. I think this illustrates why. It's the biggest number of the bunch! & of course, it hurts to spend like 50% of our monthly food budget, in just 5 days. Ouch!
**Interestingly, we spent absolutely $0 on snacks. Last time we went to Disney it was a HOT week and I remember we were just always hungry, and buying up snacks, which did not help the food budget at all. I think you have the tendency to feel hungry when thirsty and also need that extra jolt of energy. This time we brought TONS of snacks from home (I was more aggressive in sneaking them into the parks) and barely touched them. Figured! In fact, all we bought while we were there was some sunblock (Was forgotten at home and only needed it one day). Food was strictly bought for lunch and dinner. Hotel had continental breakfast. We only went through our piles of snacks in the car. I couldn't tell you why - we all have huge metabolisms and usually have to eat more often. I am surprised what a difference the cool weather made. We were probably not used to eating such hearty lunches.
**I am personally not opposed to TV watching in the car. If it keeps the kids happy on a long drive, whatever. I certainly remember my parents torturing me on long drives through half the united states when I Was kid. I would have loved a TV to help pass the time!! But, the kids are pretty good at traveling (used to many 4-hour roundtrip drives to see family). & though a TV in the back would be nice for them, it doesn't do much for those of us in the front seat or specifically for the driver. SO, our main entertainment was audio books borrowed from the library. Between that, sleeping and video games, I didn't hear one, "Are we there yet???" Phew! & the trip went pretty fast for us adults, too. Dh and I always do audio books (library) on long road trips. I just think it was the first time we could all agree on something - kids were too young to appreciate last big road trip.
The vacation budget is definitely blown for the year, but I think we did very well!
So Cal Week $974
San Francisco $100
San Francisco/Staycation $200
Camp Sacramento - 3 nights $100
Six Flags Staycation $200
Camping Trip $140
Water Park/Monterey $145
Water Park with friends $40
TOTAL - $1,899
Vacation budget is $1500. MIL gave us $200 for Disney, bringing total to $1700. At face value we are over budget by $200 for the year, but some of the gas and food can come from our gas and food budget. SO, I think we just squeezed in with our budget.
That said, we still have weekend Napa trip for our anniversary. Point is to get away and enjoy the scenery. I doubt we will spend much of any money on the trip. I don't think we care at all - the hotel is supposed to top notch and we will enjoy that.
I am expecting a $300 credit card reward in November, so may consider that to pay vacation expenses and/or to allow one nice dinner in Napa. I haven't really decided what to do with it yet, but considering I put most the rest of our substantial rewards this year to the mortgage, I can live with splurging this last $300. It is one reason we decided to go to Disney Monday night (we had also planned to go another full day if not rained out - $300).
We did it - Disney under $1,000. Woot!