Disney On A Budget – 6 Ways To Save Big Bucks At Disney World Resort
Disney World vacations can easily be extremely expensive, so finding ways to save money while you’re at the parks can help make all the difference, especially if you’re worried about being on a tight budget.
6. Book character breakfasts instead of dinners: If you want the character dining experience, book a breakfast instead of a lunch or dinner. By doing this, you’re getting the same character experience with the only real difference being the menu. You can save dozens of dollars per person by booking a character breakfast instead of lunch or dinner – for example, at O’hana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, breakfast prices range from $15.00 – $29.99 per adult, but dinner is $30 – $59.99! Also, depending on the location, some character breakfast experiences can get you into the park before it officially opens if you time it right, so take advantage of that after you eat!
5. Check various websites for hotels to compare prices: While the Walt Disney World website does have some great deals and offers, you can sometimes save more money on your hotel by looking at outside sources. By looking at more than just one website, you can find the cheapest option for what you really want – this was how my family was able to stay at The Dolphin at The Boardwalk for less than $90 a night over Christmas!
4. Establish different budgets: Before your trip, establish various budget categories so that way you’re less tempted to buy things on impulse rather than genuine want or necessity. This way you can have amounts set aside for food, for merchandise, for drinks, et cetera. By doing this, you can save money since you will be less likely to go overboard. If you’re not traveling alone, have another member in your party hold you accountable for not dipping into the food budget to buy something from a gift shop.
3. Check the Disney Character Warehouse: Not too far from Walt Disney World, on International Drive or on Vineland Avenue, there’s the Disney Character Warehouse at the outlet malls located there. These outlet malls are a short drive from the parks and carry merchandise from Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Stores for incredible discounts, especially items that are seasonal like Christmas or Halloween decor. If you have children, they always have an abundance of toys and sometimes they even carry costumes like princess dresses – I’ve spotted Elsa’s blue gown in there for $25.00 before, compared to the normal $49.99 price tag you’ll see on it in the parks.
2. Pack snacks and drinks in your bag: While some of the Mickey cupcakes and cookies can be very hard to resist, they’re also not very cheap. Some of these sweet treats or snacks can cost around $4.00 or $5.00, and while that may not seem like much, it can add up pretty quickly if you’re not traveling alone. Drinks can also be expensive: a Powerade that costs less than $1.00 at Walmart costs $3.75 at some of the snack stands around the parks! Purchasing a case of water and/or sports drinks at a nearby grocery store can save your family tons of money – and if you want to go the extra mile, there are different mobile apps you can download on your phone that will give you rewards points or cash rebates for shopping after you scan the barcodes and your receipts, so use that cash you earn back at the parks!
1. Look at the Kid’s Menu before placing your order: Like any other restaurant, the Kid’s Menu at many Disney Dining locations is significantly cheaper than an entrée for the nine years or older crowd. However, if you order a kid’s meal off of the menu, even if you don’t have a child with you, it’s still completely acceptable (for all they know, you could just be ordering for any children you may or may not have in your party) and can save you a ton of money, especially over time as the savings add up. For example, at Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom, you can get a cheese pizza for $9.19 that comes with a side Caesar salad. But if you order a cheese pizza off of the kids menu, the pizza is the same size, comes with a choice of two sides (grapes, carrots, or broccoli) and either low-fat milk or a small bottle of water – all for only $5.99! By ordering off of the Kid’s Menu, you’re getting more food for less money.
BONUS BUDGET TIP: To make sure you’re getting the most reasonable price on your Disney Trip, consider planning and booking with the help of 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!
Jessica is a multimedia journalist and lover of all things Disney, including Marvel and Star Wars. Jessica is an Annual Passholder at Walt Disney World and visits approximately once a month. She loves any excuse to Disney Bound or cosplay at the parks and you can probably find her on The Haunted Mansion.