I wanted to put together some of the best Disney World money saving tips that I have come across on the web to help make a Disney vacation a reality for you and your family. I am planning a trip to Disney World next year and I am so excited! It will be my daughter’s first time there so I have been doing a ton of research to make this a memorable vacation for all of us.
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My daughter will be four when we take our trip so I am trying to find ways to save money not only on hotel and tickets but on anything that she may want to do extra as well.
I haven’t been to Disney World in over 5 years so I was a little surprised at how much the prices had increased on everything. If you need ideas on ways to make extra money, I have plenty of those posts to help you out. I am going to be doing a few of those ideas myself!
I also made sure to order the free Disney World planning DVD. It’s a great way to get some planning tips and it’s so fun to watch together as a family to get excited about the upcoming trip.
Planning is Key
I gave myself a year to plan our trip and I am taking full advantage of that time. There is so much information to go through when planning a Disney vacation.
I am loving all of the Disney World Guide books that are available. It helps put everything together and they are full of great tips and tricks that you can take advantage of.
You have to plan so that you can get the most out of your vacation. We are planning on doing 5 days, one at each park and then a day to rest and visit Disney Springs.
There are some great blogs that have helped me plan and choose where to stay and what attractions to see:
Planning has really helped me figure out where to spend our money and where we can skimp on a few things, as well as what attractions would be the best for my daughter and where we need to get Fast Passes to really maximize our time at the parks.
Check for Discounts
Before you book your Disney vacation, make sure you check out the special offers page on the Disney site.
If you are a AAA member, go to your membership discount page on the AAA website. Sometimes they will offer discounts on Disney tickets or hotels. Sometimes it’s just for members from certain states but it is worth checking out.
Military members and their families receive a discount on Disney park tickets and the Memory Maker.
Bring your own food
I do love to treat myself to snacks or a dinner out while I am on vacation but I also like to save on food where I can so we can spend it on other things.
We will be driving to Disney so we are planning on bringing things to have for breakfast in our room. We will be bringing pastries, cereal, coffee, etc. to really help us save. A simple breakfast for a family of 4 can easily cost $40 at the resort or park.
An iced coffee is almost $5! It would cost us about $250 for breakfast just for the week if we didn’t bring our own!
We will also be bringing bottled water, juice, and snacks to munch on in the park. You can bring in your own food and drink as long as it isn’t alcohol or in a glass container ( except for baby food jars).
If you are flying, you can have grocery delivery sent to your room. There are several services that do that around Disney but they can be pricey. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you should order what you want from Amazon and have it delivered to your room for much cheaper prices.
You may also want to order some beer or wine so the adults can unwind after the kids go to bed.
Disney Gift Cards
An easy way to save on purchases in the park is to buy Disney gift cards from Target. You can get a 5% discount when you use your Target RedCard. They sell them in $50 and $100 increments.
You can use them on food and souvenirs in the park and even your theme park tickets.
Costco and Sam’s Club will occasionally sell discounted Disney gift cards as well so that is something to look out for.
On Site Vs. Off Site
Some people try to save money by staying in hotels off Disney property but you may actually save more by staying on site. You just have to sit down and do the math.
Take into account
- car rental (Disney will pick you up from the airport if you stay on site)
- if you want to take advantage of free Disney dinning plan promotion
- Fast passes
- Souvenir delivery, etc.
It will actually be cheaper and more convenient for us to stay at a Disney resort but it will be different for everyone. Just do the math to see what will be best for your family for the time you will be staying.
Buy before you go
We will be getting souvenirs when we go to Disney but we don’t want our 4 year old begging for everything we see all day long.
I am going to purchase a toy to surprise her with when we get to the resort so that she won’t want one when we get to the parks. They sell park merchandise at the Disney Store for a lot less. Keep an eye out for sales during the year.
Also, if you drive or have a rental make sure to check out the Orlando outlets. They sell park merchandise for huge discounts.
We will also get her a little something while we are in the parks but only on the last day so she will have all week to pick out what she wants and make sure she really wants it.
Here are some items to pack so you won’t have to pay inflated prices when you get to the park:
- refillable bottle with filter (Florida tap water is pretty gross)
- Disney apparel
- Souvenir or small surprise for the room
- glow in the dark necklaces for the light parade or Fantasmic show, your kids will want them.
- spray fan
- princess dresses
Disney Certified Travel Agent
If you don’t want to spend hours searching for the best deal, make use of a certified Disney travel agent. They can make sure you get the best deal and they may even know some discounts and promotions that aren’t available to the public.
Mousesavers is a great service that can get you discounts on anything Disney. Disney parks, Disney on Ice, Broadway shows and more.
You can call the Disney Resort Reservation line directly to book your stay and ask them if you can get an upgrade. Sometimes they will have rooms available and can bump you up to a moderate resort for a value resort price. It never hurts to ask!
This isn’t free but you can take your daughter to the Harmony barbershop in Magic Kingdom and they will put glitter in their hair. This is an inexpensive way to make a little girl happy if you can’t afford the full princess makeover.
I hope that these Disney World money saving tips will help you with your vacation planning. If you want more vacation planning tips, I highly recommend checking out Triple Your Travel for more info on traveling on a budget.
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