For some, a trip to Disney World can seem out of reach. If you have your heart set on visiting but aren’t sure if it’s in your budget, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming when it comes to saving for Disney World!
You’ll find lots of great information here on the blog when it comes to budgeting your Disney World Vacation.
But in this post, we’ll be covering the easiest ways to save, because you want to go to Disney, you just don’t want to give up your first born to do it. (though it would be cheaper if you left one of your family members at home- but I wouldn’t recommend your own version of Home Alone)
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1. Stay Off Site
Staying at a Disney resort is certainly an amazing experience.
For Real. Themed rooms and transportation.
But is it really worth the price? Ehhhh…
If you are trying to save money, there are cheaper options, and some of these options might actually be nicer than half of the resorts at Disney- for a fraction of the price. Especially if you are traveling with a large family.
Rent a house or condo from Airbnb or VRBO for as low as $80 a night. Many rentals come with pools which is a great perk.
Plus, you’ll have a kitchen and you can make some meals there (or at least enjoy the benefit of a full sized fridge).
And did I mention that you would have more rooms if you stay off site? Comparing a suite off site to a suite on site is could save around 200 dollars a night (and that’s just starting out!)
. Not to mention that if you rented a house, you’d have room for everyone.
Because it’s vacation, and you want everyone to have their own space so they don’t end up fighting with one another.
2. Sign Up for Disney Emails
Disney has special prices on packages and deals all year round.
Some of these are great deals, like during the value season. Others, like the free dining offer, are not quite the best deals when you look at the entire purchase price.
However, if you are set on staying at a Disney resort, the emails are a great way to look at your options and save some money!
3. Purchase Discounted Tickets
There are authorized dealers that sell theme park tickets at a discount, including Disney tickets.
The key here is AUTHORIZED. I wouldn’t purchase them from eBay because, there is no guarantee that they will work once you get to the parks (and if you showed up with park tickets that were fake, that would be the last time you purchased from eBay, ask me how I know!)
Tickets from authorized dealers are the exact same that you would purchase from Disney and they come with the same entitlements, like FastPass+ access.
You will either be sent e-tickets or head to the will call pick up at the Ticket and Transportation Center.
4. Get the perks from Disney themselves
Some people like getting the best deals no matter what, and others have hard lines they’ve drawn in the sand.
So when the conversation comes up about saving with a Disney credit card, you will have folks that swear by it, folks that swear to never use it, and folks that got burned by taking advantage of the card.
Chase Bank has two Disney cards to choose from debit and credit (Disney Visa and Disney Premier Visa).
Both cards come with great perks like: percentage discounts at Disney Stores and select stores/restaurants within Disney World, special character experiences, and savings on spa services.
The credit cards also offers Disney Rewards Dollars. Disney Rewards Dollars can be used for hotel stays, tickets, dining and souvenirs.
So if this were me, (nudge nudge) I would plan to save up for the vacation itself while using the card to earn the disney dollars rewards.
Then you can go on vacation, use the perks of the card, and have very little to no debt from your vacation.
5. Take advantage of those off days!
This is one of the FAVORITE tips.
A good way to cut costs is to spend a day out of the parks.
But wait- didn’t you go to Disney to go to the parks?
Yeah, but A. it’s exhausting being there several days in a row and B. Disney has more to offer than just the parks.
If you are staying somewhere with access to a pool, a full pool day is an obvious choice, but if not head over to Disney Springs. Disney Springs has been expanded and revamped over the last few years.
There are lots of restaurants and snacks to dine on, tons of new stores for shopping, a huge movie theater, a marketplace carousel and train, water taxi tours and live entertainment.
No park tickets required and FREE parking!
You can also check out this wonderful list of things to do at Disney World without a park ticket. You’ll be presently surprised how much is offered.
6. Pack Meals for Parks
Disney allows small coolers in the parks (no bigger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high).
Pack a picnic style lunch of sandwiches, fruit and chips. You’ll be able to find seating throughout the park.
As long as the food does not require heating, you’re good to go! Packing meals will save you so much, so treat yourself to a snack in the parks, a Dole Whip or Mickey shaped pretzel are inexpensive options.
7. Don’t Splurge on Souvenirs in the Parks
There are so many outlet stores and souvenir shops in Orlando that sell Disney T-shirts, hats, autograph books, keychains, etc. for mucher lower prices than the parks.
If you plan on taking souvenirs back home to loved ones, this is a better option. The local Walmart and Target also have large Disney selections.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of ordering stuff off Amazon. Then you can have it delivered to your resort so you don’t have to pack it!
8. Take a First- Aid Kit
Disney does have a first aid center, but it’s more convenient and time saving to bring your own supply for non-emergencies.
I use a small zip-up makeup bag and have it stocked with things like: band aids, antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream, Tylenol, Tums, Pepto Bismol tabs, allergy pills, and chapstick.
Yes, Disney Resorts and the parks have a selection of items you can buy, but they might not be what you normally use at home.
9. Bring Refillable Water Bottles
We never buy bottled water in the parks or use a snack credit for one either. Snack carts and kiosks offer free ice and water.
We fill our insulated bottles with these to stay hydrated in the hot parks.
10. Driving Vs. Flying- What’s the best option?
Flights are costly. If you are able to, consider driving. Even if you have to rent a car, chances are it will still be cheaper than flying.
You’ll also be able to make last minute store runs or dine at an offsite restaurant without paying and waiting for an Uber or Lyft.
That’s all folks!
We hope these tips can help you plan and book for your magical trip!