Disney World on A Budget - What You Should and Shouldn't Spend Your Money on

WDW Sign Money

When planning a vacation as pricey as Disney World, you may never have considered that any trip expense could be alleviated. Well, you would be mistaken. While even a carefully budgeted Disney trip is expensive, expert visitors know how to shave the overall cost. Here are some tried and true tips for the visitor who wants to have a magical time, but doesn’t want to come home to credit card bills. (Plus, let’s be honest. A stack of bills in your inbox will do nothing to reduce the inevitable WDW-withdrawal afterwards.) Let’s discuss what we feel is and isn’t going to give you the most bang for your buck.

You Should Stay On Property/You Shouldn’t Stay in a Deluxe Resort

Plenty of visitors stay in off-site hotels, but frankly, there are too many benefits for those who stay on property. From free airport transportation to access for extended park hours, the money you could be saving at a Days Inn pales in comparison. On the other hand, you can save a significant amount of money by choosing a resort in the Value Tier, as opposed to staying in a Deluxe Tier venue. Sure, deluxe options like The Grand Floridian Resort are glamorous and opulent, but the typical guest just needs a working shower and an adequate bed. (This is especially true if you’re a visitor that likes to pound the pavement.) So, yes. Definitely splurge for an on-property room, but save the Deluxe Tier for a special occasion.

World Premiere Food Court
Photo credit Disney

You Should Eat Quality Dinners/You Shouldn’t Assume the Dining Plan is Necessary

Half of the joy of a Disney trip (for most) is found in eating delicious food! Keeping that in mind, you should book a couple of meals at upscale or unique restaurants. There are countless wonderful restaurants with cuisine that is worth every dollar spent. However; just because you plan on booking sit-down meals, this doesn’t mean that buying into the Disney Dining Plan is a cost-efficient choice. This plan assumes you always eat a large amount of food on a daily basis. In the end, it can also cost you more since many of sit-down restaurants will cost you several Dining Plan Credits. (Trust me. I’ve done the math and I have paid roughly $120.00 for a meal that wouldn’t normally have exceeded $70.00.) In my opinion, it’s exhausting to calculate how one can utilize the Dining Plan and still save money. I’d consider paying out of pocket and only eating when you’re truly hungry.

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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!