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Smarter Travel: Tips for Budget WDW Vacations

20 Mar

The SmarterTravel Disney mail bag this week features various reader tips on visiting Walt Disney World on a tight budget. These tips aren’t for everyone of course . . . some of them are a bit draconian. But for some of us, these sorts of cost-saving measures can make the difference between a 3-day and 6-day trip, or maybe even make a trip possible. One example:

Sky Auction and Skybus Airlines are two great ways to save on your Disney trip. A few months back, Sky Auction was selling resort certificates for $199 plus a $15 fee. For this I was able to book a two-bedroom at Silver Lake Resort, which is less than five minutes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I then lucked out and was able to purchase $20 round-trip tickets, plus taxes, [from] Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to St. Augustine, Florida, on Skybus. You have to be fast when their schedule opens, [because the] first 10 seats on each flight go for $10. Now, they do charge $10 to check bags, so our two bags will cost us another $40. [A] rental car in St. Augustine is higher than Orlando, [and] I’m paying $200. [The] trip is for three people, [and the] total cost of lodging, air, and car rental is $549, divided by three [to get] $183 per person. Add in the cost of a six-day Disney ticket, and we are well under $500 per person. Granted this is a rare exception, but my wife, daughter, and I are taking this trip in May.”

Shaun the Sheep Joins the Mickey Mouse Club

22 Jun

DIS News tells me that Disney Channel will be airing interstitial segments starring Shaun the Sheep, from Aardman Animations:

Shaun the Sheep “Shaun the Sheep” follows the comedic stories of a young sheep who leads his barnyard pals into all sorts of adventures. The character was first introduced in the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit” short “A Close Shave,” from Aardman and Nick Park.

“Aardman Animations represents the platinum standard in stop-motion animation and ‘Shaun the Sheep’ brilliantly captures the unique brand of humor for which they have become world famous,” said Disney Channel Worldwide prexy Gary Marsh.

Cracking! Might this be just enough to get Mr Broke Hoedown to watch the Disney Channel with me?

Skybus Airlines Begins Flying, Routes Include Ft Lauderdale

24 May

The new ultra-budget Skybus Airlines is open for business, and Smarter Travel has an interesting article about the airline’s chances for success. ABC News also has a piece about the no-frills flight experience.

Skybus doesn’t fly to Orlando International Airport (MCO), but it does fly to Fort Lauderdale, so bargain-hunters who don’t mind a long drive on arrival in Florida might want to consider it. For now, though, Skybus is entirely organized around its Columbus hub, and there’s no concept of connecting flights; in other words, if you want to fly (say) from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, you’d need to book two separate round trips (BOS/CMH and CMH/FLL), and possibly make an extra trip through security, baggage check, etc in Columbus. ABC News explains:

The airline does not ticket passengers on connecting flights.

So if a passenger wants to travel across the country, the passenger would have to buy one ticket to Columbus and then a separate ticket from Columbus to the final destination. If passengers check bags, they would have to claim them in Columbus and then recheck them for the connecting flight.

But if you’re lucky enough to find $10 roundtrips for both those routes, the huge inconveniences and nickel-and-diming for snacks, pillows, etc might be worth it.

(Interestingly enough, as I was about to publish this post I noticed that the Skybus website was having technical problems. Growing pains, ya think?)

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