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Travel Challenge - Hocus Pocus in Orlando

Disney is notoriously expensive, but it tops many family to-do lists. So, how do you fit a trip into your agenda without breaking the bank? Like the Sanderson sisters, we're going to work some magic to get you to Disney so your monster-children can wear costumes and run amok, amok, amok, amok.

Disney runs all kinds of spooky Halloween events. We're eyeing up the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular because we are really adult children, but there's also trick or treating in the park, a Halloween parade, and a special fireworks show. Based on this, we're planning a 4 night trip from Wednesday October 25th - Sunday October 29th for 2 adults and 2 children. Before we get started, can we just agree that Thackery is the worst name ever? We went years swearing it was Zachary. So unnecessary.

The Hotel:

Orlando has an ton of hotels, and you can often find a pretty reasonable rate directly through a hotel or by using an online booking agency like Orbitz. Nights for this weekend can be had for $80 - $120 without much effort. For points, we chose the Park Inn Orlando Resort and Conference Center by Radisson. Nights run in the $80 range, but award nights are only 5,000 points. That means you can pick up two rooms for 4 nights for 40,000 points. If you only need one room, you'll only be on the hook for 20,000 points. The Club Carlson credit card, offered by U.S. Bank, comes with an 85,000 point welcome offer after meeting a spending requirement. You'll walk away from this stay with 45,000 points left over, have your own room while the monsters stay next door, and be half a mile away from Disney with a free shuttle ride. The card does have a $75 annual fee, but you'll also get 40,000 bonus points each year on your anniversary, so it's worth keeping for the long haul if the Radisson brand is convenient for you. You'll save about $800 in hotel charges for 2 rooms. Just remember to leave your kids with some Morton salt for safety.

The Flight:

You can leave your broom (or vacuum) at home. American Airlines has saver award availability from Chicago, New York, and Dallas. That means flights will run you 12.5k each way per person, for a total of 100k points for a family of four. Citi and Barclaycard both offer American Airlines rewards cards that will help you get to 100k. To see what airline card offers are out there, check out our airline credit card page. Flights are averaging about $300 from major airports, so this will save you about $1200. You can always check out award availability on Delta and United by visiting their sites. It takes a bit of research to figure out what the best point structure is for you based on your home airport. 

The Tickets:

This is by far the hardest part of the trip to cover with reward points. A 3 day park hopper will allow you to explore the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood studios, but it's going to set a family of 4 back $1,360.  For this expense we'd recommend the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. It'll give you a straight $500 in cash back after you meet spending requirements. It has a $95 annual fee, but it also comes with a $100 airline incidental credit. You can use that for luggage fees, seat upgrades, or feeding your demons on the way to your dream vacation. If you and the significant other can pick this card up, that'll bring your cost down to $360. This is actually our favorite travel card at the moment thanks to its flexibility and travel credit that offsets the annual fee. That's the best we can do without asking you to sell your soul.

The Verdict:

There you have it. With a little hocus pocus, you can take your family to this prison for children with some planning for $400.