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20 Walt Disney World Vacation Hacks That Will Save You Hundreds (in Dollars & Minutes!)

There’s no wrong way to do Walt Disney World. But when it comes to time and money, there is a better way. Check out these twenty Walt Disney World hacks that will save you anywhere from 5 minutes to 500 dollars! 

  

20. Kids Two and Under Are Free

That’s right, FREE! Kids only need a park ticket when they turn three! This takes the pressure off doesn’t it? You don’t have to worry if they’re “old enough to remember it”—they won’t cost you a thing!

Belle and Child

19. Gift Cards From Target

Did you know that you can pay for your entire Disney vacation using Disney Gift Cards? And if you buy those gift cards from Target and use your REDcard, you instantly save 5%. Five percent off of a whole vacation will save you hundreds easily. 

18. Check Costco’s Travel Section

If you are a Costco member, you have access to their online travel section which often runs discounts such as 25% off of Disney Resorts or free photo packages. 

17. Stay Off-Property

Whether to stay on or off property is always a heated debate. But when it comes to actual money savings, you’ll get the best value at a nearby off-property resort. Check out Disney Good Neighbor Hotels for a great balance of quality and value. 

Bonus Tip!

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 Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >



16. Stay On-Property

Again, the debate. Staying on Disney property may cost you more in dollars, but it will save you in minutes. You’ll get free, easy transportation to and from the parks. Plus, there are complimentary MagicBands and more perks! So, you’ll have to decide for yourself…which savings strategy is right for you? 

All Star Movies
Photo Credit: Disney

15. Pack Dollar Store Items

You’ll save a bundle if you pre-buy and pack certain items, such as ponchos, sanitizer, glow necklaces, and hand wipes.

14. Do Table Service at Breakfast or Lunch

Table Service dining establishments are 15-35% higher at dinner time, so you’ll save money by planning to dine at this locations for Breakfast or Lunch.

13. Bring Water and Food

Bringing reusable water bottles is a no-brainer since buying water costs $3+. Cups of ice water are always free at counter service restaurants too. Also, be sure to pack your own snacks or even a light lunch, if you’d like. Outside food is allowed in the parks! (Just no alcohol and no large coolers.)

12. Stroller Savings

Prepaying for multi-day stroller rentals online will save you a little. Going with a third party stroller rental company will save you even more (good for if you’ll need a stroller for more than just the parks). Or consider just ordering a cheap umbrella stroller through Amazon and having it shipped to your resort. 

stroller rentals

  

11. Split Meals

Food at Disney is on the pricier side, but the portions are usually quite generous. If you’ve got little people in your party (or people with generally smaller appetites) you can very easily split meals at counter service restaurants and save money.

10. Order Groceries

You can save both time and money by having groceries delivered to your hotel through services such as Amazon Prime or Garden Grocer. Non-perishable breakfast foods are always a good idea to keep in your room for those early morning grab-and-go days.

9. Go in the Off Season

Peak (higher) pricing is in effect during typical grade school breaks, so if at all possible, go at an alternative time to save money on tickets, resorts, and even food. The best times to go are usually in September, January, and the early weeks of May.  

8. Stay One Night On Property

The ultimate hack! Many people may consider staying at a nearby resort to save money, which is an excellent strategy. However, consider staying at a Disney World Resort for just the first night of your vacation. This way, you can take advantage of resort guests perks for at least one night of your vacation.

7. Take Full Advantage of Your Special Event

Though special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party technically begin at 7:00, you can actually be admitted at 4:00. That’s 3 extra hours for “free”! 

6. Pack Dollar Store Items

You’ll save a bundle if you pre-buy and pack certain items, such as ponchos, sanitizer, glow necklaces, and hand wipes.

5. Take a Midday Break

This sounds counterintuitive, but it actually pays off. The longest lines are typically between 12:00-2:00. If you use that time to recharge with some downtown or even a quick nap (especially for little ones), you can end up being more effective later.

Contemporary Resort Suite

4. Never Buy From Unauthorized Places

DO NOT purchase park tickets or packages from Ebay, Craigslist, or others that are not Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. There is no way to verify your tickets and the chances are high that you will be ripped off! 

3. Free Airline Tickets

If you earn 110,000 points on Southwest, you can get a Companion Pass to fly a family member free for a year! If you apply for a Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier credit card, they will each earn you 50,000 points. (Don’t apply for both at the same time.) Refer a few friends or start charging your regular household bills on them and—voila!—free tickets for your Disney trip!

2. Apply for Disney Visa

Similarly, applying for a Disney Visa card is an excellent idea for saving money. New cardholders get $200 Reward Dollars that can be applied towards any part of your vacation. Referring friends will earn you $50 each! Plus, cardholders enjoy special park perks such as exclusive character greetings and free keepsake photos. 

1. Military Discounts

Active and retired military personnel are authorized to purchase tickets at a substantial discount on any military base. The savings are significant! Thanks for your service! 

So, what’s your favorite way to save at Disney World?

About Melissa

Melissa resides on Florida's beautiful Space Coast with her husband and four Disney-loving boys. She frequently allows skipping school for Disney World visits...because making memories is more important than math. Their family has also been seen on HGTV's hit show "My Yard Goes Disney."