When you think of Walt Disney World in Florida, one of the things that come to mind is “expensive”. There is no doubt that a Disney vacation can be expensive. As a Disney apologist, I would counter with the fact that you get an exceptional product accompanied by exceptional service. Nevertheless, for most families, finding ways to save money on a Disney vacation makes it more feasible. Here is How My Family Saves Hundred$ at Disney World.
1) Put it on layaway – You can reserve a Disney vacation a year or more in advance. You can book a package with room, tickets and dining or just a room-only reservation. This will benefit you in at least two ways. You can pay off your vacation a little at a time AND you will shield yourself from any future price increases.
2) Use a travel agent – Consider using a Disney-certified travel agent to book your trip. Your agent will stay on top of any and all discounts that might apply to your trip, saving you time and money. In most cases, Disney pays them, not you.
3) Timing is everything! – If you have school-aged children, you are probably restricted as to when you can vacation. However, if you are able, consider going in the off-season. Hotel prices are cheaper and you will enjoy the cooler temps. January, February, May, September and November are all great times to save $$$.
4) Tickets – Disney World is huge and you will never be able to do it all. Do your homework and make priorities. If this is your first trip or first in a long time, stick to the theme parks and your resort hotel. Don’t purchase ticket add-ons you might not use, such as the “Water Park Fun & More” option. You can purchase a separate water park ticket cheaper than the add-on option. Also, be aware the more days you play in the Disney parks, the less you pay per day. A 1-day ticket is about $100; a 7-day ticket is about $45 per day.
5) Hotel – Whether to stay off-site or onsite is one of the first questions you should ask yourself. You can save money by staying outside Disney property, but you can save time by staying at a Disney hotel. Also, be aware Disney has several levels of hotel accommodations, including value, moderate and deluxe. Don’t dismiss the value resorts. They are well-themed, clean and fun. Plus, they all have a massive food court to help save on food.
6) Rent DVC points – DVC stands for Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare for those who visit often. Occasionally, owners can’t use their points allotment for the year and will “rent” them out to the general public. You can stay at a deluxe Disney hotel at a value hotel price!
7) Groceries – You can save money by having some basic groceries delivered to your hotel room. There are several online grocery stores that will do this. Order water, soda, breakfast and snack items for your stay. Then, eat one sit-down meal and maybe one snack in the parks, saving you lots of money on dining. *Bonus tip: Disney hotel rooms come with a mini frig to keep things cold and fresh.
8) Purchase an Annual Pass – I know this seems to be antithetical to the topic at hand. However, AP holders receive significant discounts on hotel stays, dining and souvenirs. Only one member of your party needs to have an AP to receive the discounts. Give this tip consideration if you are staying a week or longer.
9) Apply for a Disney Visa card – A Disney Visa card by Chase Bank gives you a couple advantages. You can earn reward dollars for all things Disney AND you can finance a Disney vacation at 0% interest for 6 months.
10) Dining – Share a meal. Order a kids meal. Eat a snack instead of a full meal. Make breakfast or lunch your table-service meal for the day, as they are always less expensive than dinner. Share appetizers instead of ordering entrees.
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 >
11) Souvenirs – Give your kids a pre-loaded gift card to spend on souvenirs. Set a reasonable amount for your souvenir budget. From my experience, $50-100 per person should be sufficient.
12) Miscellaneous – Bring your own stroller and rain ponchos. Bring (or make) your own autograph books. Pre-purchase your kid’s souvenirs at the on-line Disney store or your local Wal-Mart or Target. Let your kids collect pressed pennies-they’re only 26 cents a piece!
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!
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