Three Ways I Added Incredible Value to My Last Walt Disney World® Vacation
I have to say that I love luxury vacations, but what I also love is saving money while enjoying the very best a vacation has to offer. Here are three ways that I saved big on my last Walt Disney World Resort® vacation.
Taking Advantage of a National Executive Emerald Aisle Membership
Through my Platinum American Express Card, I receive many great benefits, one of them being Executive Status with National Car Rental’s Emerald Aisle Program. Yes, I know these credit cards are expensive, but if you actually utilize the many benefits offered the card more than pays for itself year after year.
So what do you actually get with the National Car Rental benefit? It means I pay for a Mid-size Car rate, including a 25% discount, and drive away, hassle-free, in a higher class vehicle. In Orlando Airport I simply walk to the National Car Rental area in the airport parking garage across the street from the terminal, and then choose any car I like from a long row of vehicles in the Emerald Executive Aisle—you know, you’ve seen the commercial! I usually opt for some type of SUV or something fun and different, but on my last visit the choices were either a larger SUV or a full-size car, neither of which appealed to the two of us.
I asked the attendant on duty and he quickly looked around and offered us a complimentary upgrade to an Audi Q5 SUV from their Elite Series. He noted that National really tries to accommodate Executive Aisle clients, and on this occasion, this certainly was the case. I’ve been interested in a test drive of an Audi SUV for some time now, so I quickly jumped on the offer and was out of the airport in less than 10 minutes after stopping at the exit to give the attendant my driver’s license. Such an easy process!
Driving an Audi Q5 is a great experience, nice and smooth, great get-up-and-go, and definitely a step above the typical SUV rental. I’m hoping to snag the larger Audi Q7 from Executive Aisle during my return in January when I’m bringing back my entire family of 7. Fingers crossed!
Upgrading to a Club Level Room at Disney’s Yacht Club
Many of you ask if the additional charge for a Disney Resort Club Level Room is worth the money. The answer is a resounding “yes”! However, you must take advantage of all the Disney concierge room benefits to make it worth your while. Along with the friendly and competent concierge staff and that feeling of being in a smaller resort within a larger one, The Regatta Club at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, where we spent our last Disney vacation, also includes breakfast each morning, specialty coffees, beverages throughout the day (if wine and beer are not out, just ask), afternoon snacks, evening appetizers and drinks, and after-dinner desserts and cordials. We make it a point to be around for most food offerings and actually canceled dinner two out of four nights because we were just too full after the evening offerings and a glass or two of the complimentary Chardonnay.
The daily soup, cheese and crackers/bread, cold salads, and at least two hearty entrees such as soy-glazed salmon and lentils, pulled pork sliders, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. were more than enough to satisfy.
That’s not even considering that concierge guest can take advantage of purchasing an additional 3 FastPass+ selections per person, per day, for a total of six pre-scheduled FastPass+ selections. All this for only $50 per person, per day, something I consider quite the bargain. Just ask your Glass Slipper Concierge travel advisor to handle this for you. Easy, peasy.
Disney Premier Annual Passport Discounts
This year I became a Disney Premier Annual Passport holder, and, besides the fact that it gives me entrance into any U.S. Disney Theme Park, I love saving anywhere from 10-20% on dining, merchandise, spa, recreation, even select guided tours at both Walt Disney World® Resort and Disneyland® Resort. I can’t tell you how quickly this adds up to mean big savings on a Disney vacation, especially when it comes to dining and merchandise. We tend to dine at Disney’s Signature Restaurants and it’s not unusual to see a $40-80 reduction in the cost of just one meal each and every time I wave my Passport. And at Disney merchandise stores 20% is the norm, something that really helps in purchasing the grandchildren their once-a-day gifts when they come along for the ride.
What ways do you save while on a luxury Disney vacation? Would love to hear from you.
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Cara Goldsbury is the author of The Luxury Guide to Disney Vacations. She is Chief Executive Concierge at Glass Slipper Concierge®, a travel agency specializing in selling luxury Disney vacations, and has appeared as a leading Disney expert on two Travel Channel specials, Disney Splurge! and Disney Royalty. She has also been cited numerous times in national news articles, in such notable publications as The New York Times, New York Post, Travel Weekly, and Forbes Traveler, as an expert on the Walt Disney World® Resort. Visit her Luxury Travel & Life blog at Cara Goldsbury.com.
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