This is an updated list of money saving tips at Disney World and surrounding areas. Now if we are going to determine how to save money, first need to examine where we spend money! Typically resort guests spend money in the following five areas:
It really breaks down to these five areas. We have tried to gather a comprehensive list of tips and links in these five areas that can help you in your quest to bring down your overall Disney budget!
Money Saving Tips at Disney World – Packages
Before we get into the five main areas, here are a few hints on Disney packages that can help you bring the cost down in multiple categories at once!
- Check Disney’s website often for deals and upcoming events
- Call Disney to see if there are any additional deals not listed on the website
- Use a travel agent to get personalized service and to take advantage of all potential deals that are out there
- Take advantage of “Free Dining” periods when staying onsite
Money Saving Tips – Park Tickets
- Buy Tickets from a Discount Ticket Vendor such as:
- Use AAA to get discounted tickets
- If you work for a large company, check with your HR dept to see if they have special deals
- Consider annual passes if you travel to Disney more than once a year
- Member of the military? Check for military discounts directly through Disney
- Consider online auction sites such as Ebay for further discounts, although this may carry some risk depending on who you buy the tickets from
- Go off-season to get the best prices on lodging
- Stay offsite at local hotels using traditional discount online booking tools such as Undercover Tourist!
- Consider renting a house if you are travelling with another family. You can significantly lower the cost of your stay and gain the food benefits of having a full kitchen.
- Try booking resorts a level underneath your preference. You can then attempt to try and get an invitational upgrade to a higher level resort. This certainly isn’t a guarantee but some guests have been able to do this especially during the off-season.
- AAA can offer major discounts on stays at the Disney World resorts as well as hotels outside of the Disney complex.
Money Saving Tips – Food
- Bring snacks with you. If you are flying, consider shipping a box to the resort in advance.
- Use Amazon’s free shipping to send bottled waters and other food snacks to your resort
- Hot and thirsty at the parks? Most counter-service restaurants will give you free ice water in a cup.
- Know when sit-down restaurants shift to dinner time (usually around 4). Try and eat dinner between 3-4 to get lunch prices, and snack later on at night.
- If you use the Disney Dining plan, you can get a drink with your meal. Drink tap water for lunch and get a bottled water to go.
- Club Cool at Epcot allows you to get free soda! Stop by and sample soda from all across the world.
- Try and get a fridge in your room. Breakfasts and/or lunches can easily be made. Don’t forget to bring necessities such as plasticware and paper bowls/plates.
- Bring snacks and bottled waters into the parks. Everyone does it and Disney doesn’t seem to mind.
- If you go to Disney in the off-season you can often get “Free Disney Dining” packages that can save a tremendous amount on food costs.
Money Saving Tips – Souvenirs
- Buy souvenirs BEFORE you go to Disney. You can purchase them at stores at home, or go to Orlando outlet malls. The “Character Warehouse” is very close to Disney world. This outlet store sells official Disney merchandise for heavily discounted prices.
- Have a “souvenir day” near the end of your vacation. Let the first half of your vacation be for window shopping only, and then allow yourself to buy all the souvenirs on one day.
- Glow sticks and bracelets. You can buy these at the Dollar Tree or Walmart for very low prices. Then you bring them to the park and pull them out at night! Kids all around will be jealous, and if you buy the glow sticks from the street vendors, you will spend a lot of money!
- Ponchos are a purchase everyone will potentially make in the frequently changing weather of Florida. Summer storms come through and you will get absolutely drenched without one. Bring them beforehand! They are easy to store in bags and can be purchased for 75% less when you buy them at home.
Money Saving Tips – Transportation Expenses
- Flying to Disney? Use airline programs such as Southwest’s “Ding” alert service to send you alerts when certain flights get cheaper.
- Off-season is a great time for cheap rental cars and flights
- Staying onsite? Disney has free parking if you have a car, and free transportation throughout the facility
Hopefully these tips can help your family to save money at Disney World!
Let’s dive deeper into one of these areas: Lodging.
By: Ryan Shade