Unfortunately, Disney is most often associated with being expensive. Very expensive. And it can be. But it can also be very affordable. You just have to plan accordingly and stick to a budget. You can get all the same Disney magic, just without all the extra costs. We’ve come up with a list of 10 tips you can follow to save big on your next trip.
10. Limit Your Table Service Meals
The way I plan my Disney trips is I plan small, budget friendly trips more often, rather than one long, expensive trip every few years. With this, I usually only book one table service meal each visit. Whether it’s Chef Mickey’s or Ohana, it gives you something to look forward to, without over doing it. Note: Breakfast meals and buffets are usually significantly cheaper than lunch or dinner.
9. Skip The Rent-A-Car
If you are staying on Disney property, there really is no reason to rent a car. They can be expensive, especially if you require a larger vehicle. Disney has a bus service, Disney’s Magical Express, that will pick you up from the airport and drop you back off there at the end of your trip. Other than that, you have the Disney World transportation system that takes you absolutely anywhere on Disney property. So there’s no need to drive!
8. Visit During Free Dining
Usually once a year, Disney announces a free dining offer, where you stay a certain amount of nights and receive a free dining plan. This is a really great deal and can save you hundreds. Make sure you check Disney websites for offers to arrive.
7. Wait For Deals On Resorts Or Package Deals
Besides the free dining offer, Disney also usually gives out other deals as well. Sometimes it’s 20-30% off of room reservations. Sometimes it’s free park tickets if you stay a certain amount of nights and purchase the dining plan, it all depends. Like I said previously, you just have to continuously check the websites for current offers.
6. Stay At A Value Resort
If you are traveling with 5 or less people in your party, staying at a value resort may be a good option for you. They often run significantly lower than moderate or deluxe resorts, but give you that same good, old-fashioned Disney magic. If you book during slow times or even during resort deals, you can get value rooms for around $90 a night. Which is cheap, especially for Disney.
5. Enjoy The Free Actives Disney Has To Offer
Multiple days in the parks isn’t really ideal for families on a budget. Luckily, Disney has plenty of things to do outside of the parks that are completely free! For example, if you have animal lovers in the family, take them to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s free to visit resorts and you can see lots of animals there. Downtown Disney is another fun place to visit, especially at night. There’s lots of live entertainment lining the streets. Another fun place to visit is Disney’s Boardwalk. Take a walk around the water; maybe stop in the bakery for a small treat, the options are endless. Just do some research.
4. Skip The Soda, Get Free Water
This is one tip I just would not accept, but once I did, it changed my life forever! I used to waste money on a soda during every quick service meal and end up throwing half of it away, or even wasting $5 on a bottle of water because I was just so thirsty. Once I found out that you could literally walk up to any quick service window and order as many ice waters as you wanted, for free, I never bought soda in the parks again. This is great for kids to keep them hydrated without spending ridiculous prices on soda and juices.
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3. Bring Snacks To The Parks
Very few people know that you can bring almost any kind of food into the parks that you want, with the exception of glass and alcohol. I suggest bringing chips, granola bars, candy, anything that your family enjoys to kill the hunger pains while walking the parks. This is great for dealing with antsy kids in long lines for rides. Just hand them a bag of goldfish and it should keep them occupied for a little while.
2. Eat Your Meals In Your Room
If you spend a little extra money and stay in one of Disney’s Deluxe Villas, you can save tons of money by cooking your meals in your resort room. Most of the deluxe villas have full kitchens, complete with stoves, refrigerators, microwaves and all the silverware and dishes you need. If you decided to rent a car, you can go to a local grocery store and buy everything you need. There are also websites where you can order your groceries and have them sent to your resort, if you don’t have a car to travel off property. This will save you so much money. And if you’re paying for a resort room, you might as well use it!
1. Bring Your Own Souvenirs
This is one of my favorite tips, especially if you are traveling with children. We all know that souvenirs in the parks and on Disney property are expensive. There’s no doubt about it. There are so many stores and department stores where you can buy Disney merchandise for cheap. Also, to make sure you don’t get sucked into countless stuffed animals, buy some cute toys ahead of time, but don’t give them to the kids right away. Save them in the suitcase and give them one every day of the trip. They won’t know the difference and you’ll save tons of money. They also have sales on the Disney Store website quite often, so make sure you check there too!
So even though Disney vacations can be quite expensive, they can also be pretty affordable. If you do some planning and some research, you can find many ways to save money. What’s your number one money saving tip for a Disney vacation?
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!