You’ve finally decided you’re not waiting any longer to take your family to the Walt Disney World Resort—the kids are growing up so fast! But you know the vacation can be expensive; that’s part of the reason you’ve waited so long to plan your trip. What if we told you that there are ways to save money on your Disney World trip and still have a great time? You’d want to hear more, right? Well you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of 8 ways you can save money on your trip to the most magical place on earth! They are tried and true—see how much you can save by following some of these tips!
How to Save Big at the Walt Disney World Resort
1. Head to the parks during off-season.
There are several peak seasons at Disney World—around New Year’s Eve and Day, on Disney marathon weekends, during spring break, the entirety of the summer, around Halloween, the last week of November and the last two weeks of December. It is during these times that the park sees its highest numbers of Guests in the parks. Because of this, not only are ticket prices higher, but Disney World Resort hotel rates are also higher. Visit during non-peak seasons, and you’ll save money on both.
2. Drive instead of flying.
One of the larger parts of your Disney vacation expenses will be in getting to Mickey’s stomping grounds—assuming you don’t live nearby. Airfare has become increasingly more expensive over the years, and if you have a large family, you can really sink a chunk of change before you ever get to the parks. If you live extremely far away from the parks, that might be your only option, but when possible, drive to the parks instead of flying. Your expenses will include fuel, meals along the way and maybe a hotel room if it takes you more than one day to get there, and that’s usually less expensive than purchasing airline tickets—especially if you have a large family!
3. You can still have a great time without the Park Hopper option.
Disney offers add-on features to their theme park tickets. But those add-ons can be very costly. And you might think that you’ve got to purchase those add-ons—such as the Park Hopper option and water park option—in order to really enjoy your time at Disney World. This is simply not true. You can—and will—absolutely have a blast without those extras. You’ll also save a bundle of cash—the Park Hopper option alone costs an additional $60 per ticket. Multiply that by the number in your traveling party and it will quickly become evident how much you can save when you forgo those extras.
4. Set a budget and try to stick close to it.
This is one of the harder things to do, but as with any financial undertaking, planning a vacation to Walt Disney World requires that you set a budget. Once you’ve booked a place to stay and purchased your tickets, you’ll need to set a dining budget, a souvenir budget and a miscellaneous budget, and you’ll need to stick to that budget—or at least make it a priority to do so. If you head to the parks without the framework of a budget—especially on your first visit—you will more than likely spend much more than you need to or want to. Don’t be devastated by a credit card statement in the mail that dampens the memories you made during your time in the parks.
5. Stay off property.
Whether you visit the parks during peak season or off-season, you can still save money by staying off property, either in a hotel or in a rental house. Several companies rent vacation homes all year long in the cities of Davenport, Kissimmee and ChampionsGate. Each of these locations is within a short distance of the parks. Even during the summer months, you can rent a vacation home for 50% to 60% less than the cost of staying on property at a Disney Resort hotel.
6. Share a meal.
Disney has a vast array of options for meals while in the parks. But food in the parks can be surprisingly pricey. The good news is that the portions are usually large—often enough to share. Sharing meals is an easy way to cut your costs and not overeat at the same time. This is the easiest way to enjoy Disney cuisine without shocking your wallet.
7. Buy gift cards at Target.
If you have a Target Red Card, you can purchase Disney gift cards and receive the Red Card discount of 5%. That means that for every $100 Disney gift card you purchase, you will only pay $95. That discount only grows as you purchase more gift cards. Disney gift cards can be used for almost any purchase inside the parks, so why not pay 5% less on all those purchases. Bonus points for the gift cards because if you register your cards at DisneyGiftCard.com, your gift cards will be replaced if they are lost or stolen. Wow—money saved and peace of mind!
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 >