Many people think a Disney World Vacation costs a fortune. This can be true if you fly to Orlando, stay in one of Disney’s deluxe resorts and indulge in table service restaurants multiple times a day. But for those of us who don’t wish to break the bank rubbing elbows with the Disney set, there are many things you can do to ensure that your Disney vacation is more than a little budget friendly. Here are a few tips for saving money while on your Disney trip!
10. Free water
With bottled water costing upwards of $2.50 in the parks this is a quick way to spend money. However, at any location with a fountain drink dispenser you can get free ice water! This water is a lot colder than water fountains, so it can be an even better alternative to bringing tour own water bottle into the park and refilling it. You don’t have to spend a dime on drinks during your vacation if you utilize the free water offered by Disney!
9. Bring breakfast
Instead of eating breakfast in the food court or grabbing something from a cart in the park, consider bringing things your family likes from home. You can keep milk, yogurt, and fruit in the mini fridge in your room. Buy what you can at home before you get to Disney, as things can be more expensive.
8. Buy souvenirs at the outlet malls
There are several official Disney outlets in the Orlando area that offer great discounts on surplus or out of season merchandise. There are two Character Outlets, one on International Drive and the other on Vineland Avenue, that are your best bets for saving money. The one on International is larger and can sometimes have better deals. There are many lower quality, non-official Disney gift shops all around Orlando as well.
7. Split meals
Disney’s portion sizes are by most standards rather large. Consider if you really want to be stuffed at every meal while walking around the parks in the hot Florida sun before you purchase everyone in your family their own meal. Personally, I get by just fine splitting a quick service order of chicken nuggets and fries. For kids I suggest not paying the extra for a kid’s meal and just having them share with you. You don’t have to do this at every meal, but saving upwards of $10 per meal will certainly help.
6. Stay off property
For some people staying on Disney property is part of the magic, but for others the hotel is really just a place to sleep at night. If your hotel is not that important to you definitely consider staying off property. There are tons of hotels within ten minutes of Disney that can save you some serious money. Many even offer a complimentary shuttle to the parks, so be sure to check all your options before booking on property.
5. Use Disney transportation
Whether you stay on property or not, you can take advantage of Disney’s provided transportation in some way. There are free busses to and from every park plus Downtown Disney from your hotel. You can also use Disney’s busses, boats, or monorails to travel to any of the other parks from another park. It may take longer than driving yourself, but sometimes you need a break in the day to just sit on a nice air-conditioned bus while someone else worries about driving. Additionally, you can save big bucks by not renting a car, as you really don’t need to at Disney World.
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4. Buy tickets from a third party
There aren’t huge savings to be found here, but there are a few options. I recommend using Touring Plans Ticket Calculator to find the best ticket options for you. Beware of deals that seem too good to be true, as most of the time those vendors are a scam.
3. Dine at “must do” restaurants for lunch instead of dinner
Many restaurants have a cheaper lunch menu with many of the same offerings as the dinner menu. If Cinderella’s Royal Table is an absolute must do for you, you can save about $10 by having lunch rather than dinner. Having your “splurge” meals for lunch when food is cheaper also gets you out of the hot sun and keeps you from missing any of the nighttime magic like the fireworks or parades.
2. Pack wisely
Buying things at home will be cheaper than buying them anywhere at Disney. And if you don’t have a car, buying at Disney will be your only option. So be sure to bring park essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and toiletries. Bring more than just flip flops, as you will be doing a lot of walking in the parks. Also, be sure to bring a bathing suit to take advantage of your hotel’s pool or to wear on water rides or at water parks.
1. Tables in Wonderland
If eating at table service restaurants is something that is important to your family, definitely look into Tables in Wonderland. The card offers a 20% discount off all food and beverage, including alcohol, for up to 10 people at most table service restaurants. An 18% gratuity is then added on from the discounted price, making it more than a 2% savings as some people believe. Tables in Wonderland is available for Passholders, DVC members, and Florida residents only.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
Do you have any budget friendly tips to share? Type them in the comments below: