Most tourists visiting Walt Disney World have a budget in mind. While it may seem easy to do, once you arrive, it can be a difficult task to stay within your budget due to the amount of activities and events going on. Here are the top ten budget busters at Walt Disney World!
10. Downtown Disney Activities
While many Disney guests take advantage of the free parking and entertainment at Downtown Disney, many may not realize the extra money they may spend while there. There are a slew of restaurants and shops that will be very tempting not to indulge in. Disney Quest, the indoor theme park, and Cirque Du Soleil, an incredible acrobatic show, are also pretty pricey but they deliver some great entertainment. The movie theater on property as well as the shops can also bust your Disney budget as you get carried away in the magic.
9. Going at Peak Season
This may sound strange, but if you are going to Disney on a budget, you may want to avoid heading there during its peak season. Visiting during the slow months will allow you to save hundreds of dollars on resort rates. You can plan a decent vacation to Disney by saving the money that you would normally spend during peak season on other events or dining on your trip.
8. Flowers or Birthday Favors For Your Resort Room
It’s always fun to surprise your party with fun décor in your resort room. Having added balloons, flowers, or gifts is a plus and keeps the magic going when you return to your room for bedtime. Unfortunately, the Disney florist is very expensive, causing this to be a major bust on your budget. While the items at the florist are out of this world gorgeous and while it may also be fun to have a beautifully decorated room with flowers, balloons, jewelry, etc., it can also be over priced. If you would like to have these types of decorations I would recommend bringing them with you on your drive to the resort. Flying in instead of driving? There are plenty of local grocery and drug stores that sell flowers and Disney themed balloons and other items for a more affordable price. I have also seen some really great room décor from die-cuts that have been printed out online and hung in the hotel room windows. These die cuts and other items are easily storable in luggage to decorate the room.
7. Tours or Special Events
Behind the Scenes tours, special events, and private dining events for shows are special and always a plus to indulge in while visiting the happiest place on earth. They can be a huge bust to your budget because they are costly and not only do you have to pay for the actual tour or private dining event, you also have to pay for your entrance to the parks. Some examples of this include surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon, backstage tours (with and without animals) at the four theme parks, Fantasmic! Dinner packages, Epcot dessert parties, the list goes on and on. When you add all of this up, it can be pretty pricey. These activities are unique, no doubt, just make sure you budget yourself accordingly so that you can indulge in them every now and then.
6. Resort Activities
Many of the resort activities are included in your stay; however, there are a few resorts that offer recreation at additional costs. Boating, horseback riding, bike rentals, carriage rides, and a slew of other activities are offered at resorts like the Fort Wilderness lodge and campgrounds, the Swan and Dolphin, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, and the Contemporary resort (just to name a few). Most of these activities are per person charges, so when you add them all up, it may be more than what you are willing to pay for recreation. If you stick to just a few of these activities, it may not bust your budget!
Photos are my favorite part of going to Disney. I absolutely love all of the backgrounds, ride photos, and not to mention, taking pictures with characters is unique and a great way to remember those memories when meeting them. Aside from taking your own photos, Disney photographers takes some pretty amazing photos that are hard to pass by. Their unique shots with top of the line cameras may surpass your own photos, making it easy for you to break your budget and purchase them. Another great idea for pictures is Memory Maker, a picture package for your party to obtain all photos taken by Disney photographers or Disney rides throughout the entire length of your stay. Even though this is a much better savings option than paying per photo, it can still be costly since it is over $100, and ultimately, it can break your budget.
4. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & The Pirates League
There is nothing like seeing your little one dress up like a princess or a pirate and spend the day feeling extremely special. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique offers several packages to turn your little one into a princess. Make-up, nails, hair, complete costume sets, and professional photography is all offered for an expensive price. The Pirates League also offers some cool experiences with becoming a pirate. While these experiences are once in a lifetime for some people, they can be very, very costly and are a huge budget buster for your Disney financial plan.
Who doesn’t love staying in a nice resort? With over twenty to choose from on the Walt Disney World property, it can be hard to make a decision on the right one for you. One guaranteed tip for saving money in this area is the price of your hotel stay. It can be hard to avoid staying at one of the high-end deluxe hotels because of their amenities, views, delicious restaurants, and the conveniences they offer to travel to the parks. With all that in mind, while those perks are great, you may want to look into one of the moderate or value resorts if you are traveling on a budget. These resorts may not offer top of the line cuisine or stunning park views, but they do have conveniences worth investing in. Many of these resorts are themed beautifully and provide some great entertainment. It may take a few minutes more travel time to the parks, but you can still be in the midst of the magic without the huge price tag. Check out “Disney’s All-Star Resorts – Is Staying on Property at Disney Affordable?”
There isn’t a single trip that I take that I don’t buy a souvenir from Disney. Deep down I know I don’t actually need anything, but I can’t resist all of the beautiful items they have to offer. From clothing, toys, jewelry, shoes, collectables, home décor, and even housewares (just to name a few), you can’t help but fall in love with all of the Disney souvenirs offered at the parks and resorts. Like everything else, souvenirs can be costly. A single shirt will most likely cost over $20.00. Think that’s expensive? Just imagine having to spend that per person in your family. It can add up! You may want to allot a certain amount of money in your budget for these souvenirs so that you don’t over spend on what you take home, but if you struggle with staying on your budget, this is the one place that may make you bust your budget! Check out “8 Souvenirs You May Want To Skip On Your Next Trip To Disney.”
My all time favorite this to do at Disney is eat! There are so many great restaurants and types of cuisine that shouldn’t be passed up, however, most of the fabulous restaurants are pricey (to say the least). While this is one investment that is totally worth the indulgence, those that are on a budget (especially with larger parties) need to be careful with the dining options at Disney. There are several great restaurants and quick service places to grub, so you will save money by eating there as opposed to eating at sit-down restaurants. One of the more surprising budget busters are snacks. When you add up the cost of snacks in a large party, you can easily spend over $20.00. Most of these restaurants and snacks are too good to pass up, so treating yourself and family to it will definitely bust your budget!
For more tips on how to stay on budget at WDW, 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 price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
Natalie is an elementary school teacher and a native Floridian who lives and breathes all things Disney. Her love for Disney started at the age of two during her first visit, and has continued to flourish into her adult life. She loves to share her Disney passion with her students and believes Disney is so special because there is no other place to forget about your worries and be a kid again, which is why she refuses to ‘grow up’.