Personally, I voted for the cheaper hotel rooms. I'll also stay with family and friends, too. I choose to cut corners on the part of the trip when I'm not awake. But I know others who would rather have the security and comfort of a great room above all, and will cut food, days or change destinations to get that.
What did you pick?
The way prices are escalating, however, I think I'm just going to have to cut back to a major trip every two or three years instead of every year.
Personally, I usually try to save on plane travel (southwest,airtran, etc) and hotel room. Still, there are some very good deals for parks. I went to coasters after dark last night and I saw INSANE deals at SFGA.
The way I do things, the financial hit at any one time is lower (rather than getting hit when I paid for a larger vacation and then again when I actually went), because I have small payments over months with the way I schedule things (for example, pay for park tickets a month before, the actual vacation the month of, and the hotel the month after because they don't charge the card until after the date of use). If need be, I just don't go on one of the of the trips (or even schedule them) if money is tight.
In 2008 and 2009 (coming off a Disney trip in 2007), I went to Cedar Point and Six Flags Great America exclusively, both just a morning or afternoon drive from where I was living. Then, last year, we hit Virginia for a couple of days right before I moved to Texas, and I made it up to Six Flags Over Texas, which also a morning or afternoon drive away. This year, same thing. Made it to Six Flags Over Texas and heading to Virginia in a couple of weeks for a couple of days.
This method has worked out well the past couple of years, and the shorter trips has allowed me to save my paid vacation days for other things and spread them out (for example, right now, I won't work a full 5-day week in the next month), because I can do most of it on a weekend.
All of the choices are excellent ways of saving, especially if you don't plan on being at the hotel as much. I have worked that in, when need be, and that has really served me well.