Who isn’t on a budget these days? And if you don’t have a budget you should create one (but that’s another post for another day). Seriously though, when people think of Disney World they think of a TON of money and although it is a more “expensive” vacation, it is what you make it. There are a LOT of ways to save money at Disney.
Check out my top 12 ways to save money at Disney!
1. Go during the “Value” season.
There are times that are cheaper to go to Disney and there are times when it is crazy expensive to go. Check with your travel agent to see what times would be cheaper for your family. Sadly most of these times are during when kids are supposed to be in school. I’m not saying you SHOULD take your child out of school for a Disney vacation, but I might be suggesting it could save you a lot of money. 😉
2. Have your travel agent check for discounts.
A good travel agent will automatically apply discounts if they are available; however always make sure you ask just in case. Disney usually has SOME sort of discount going on such as Room Discount, Kids Stay Play & Eat Free OR the infamous FREE DINING!!!! Remember that availability on these promotions is often limited, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
3. To save money at Disney, stay longer.
On park tickets that is. The more days you have for park tickets the cheaper it is per day. Also, you may not need all those extras (Park Hopper &/or Water Parks and More). Make sure you are actually going to use what you buy! Don’t buy the most comprehensive ticket if you aren’t going to use it.
4. Bring your own stroller (if you need one).
Sure you can rent a stroller from Disney or other retailers around the area, but if you have your own it’s much more economical to bring it along. The airline won’t charge you to check in a stroller so it won’t cost you anything to bring it. However, if you do want to rent a stroller just for convenience Kingdom Strollers is a great option!
5. Eat breakfast in your room.
An easy way to save money on your trip is to skip eating out every meal. Eat a small breakfast in your room in the morning (fruit, granola bars, trail mix, etc.) and then have an early lunch in the park. See Tip #10 about this…
6. Bring snacks to the park with you.
Pack snacks for yourself and the kids in your park bag. Snacks at Disney go anywhere from $2-10 a piece (that’s an average of $24 for a family of 4 to all have one snack). You could save money at Disney simply by bringing your own snacks. Of course treat you and your family to one or two yummy park snacks during your vacation though! It IS vacation!
7. Bring your own misting fans and ponchos.
In the hot Florida sun you will see everyone with misting fans… and your kids are going want one. Problem is they are expensive and HEAVY to lug around when they are full of water! Instead you could get a O2COOL Deluxe Necklace Fan!
Same thing goes for those rain ponchos. They sell them for a boatload in the parks, but you can get a bunch of them for cheap on Amazon! You can get a pack of 20 Rain Ponchos for less than $1 each. I KNOW you will need them! I always make sure we have ponchos in our park bag!
8. Buy souvenirs ahead of time.
If you are planning on buying souvenirs check out the Disney online store a few months before you go. They have lots of sales on park items, free shipping sales, plus two Twice Upon a Time Sales where merchandise goes on sale at up to 50-60% off! You can get things you would normally buy at the parks for much less and then pack them away as a surprise!
This is an easy AND fun way to save money at Disney! I used to do this when my son was smaller. One of us would go back into the room because we “forgot something” and we’d put the souvenir on the bed for a surprise when we got back in the evening!
You can also check Amazon! Here are a few of my favorite Disney products you can find on Amazon!
9. Skip the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
The BBB goes at $55 – $240 for a simple hairstyle to THE WORKS. Instead try Harmony Barber Shop for a $7 hairdo (for boys AND girls). It’s not going to be as glamorous but chances are your kids aren’t going to know what they are “missing out on” anyway!
10. Have an early buffet lunch.
Now to REALLY save money at Disney you should skip eating at the park altogether… but who wants to do that? My tip is to eat an early buffet lunch and you will be full most of the day so all you will need is a light dinner or some snacks later on! Most of the buffet lunches are also character meals so you will save time in line waiting for all your favorite characters. Sometimes saving time is also saving money!
11. Don’t worry about buying Memory Maker.
Did you know that there are photographers that will use your own camera to take pictures throughout the park? I did this on our last trip and the pictures that were taken with my camera were often better than the ones they took with theirs! I saved at least $170 that way! However, if you want any of the “magical enhanced” photos you should get the Memory Maker. Just remember it’s not a MUST have!
12. Enjoy free activities all around the World.
The resort pool is one major way to enjoy something “free.” Often times the kids enjoy swimming in that pool more than anything else. Make sure you take some time to do that!
There are also free things to do and see at Disney Springs (no admission required). Get some free chocolate at Ghirardelli or play with Legos at The Lego Store!
We also think that riding the monorail and checking out those Deluxe Resorts are a fun (free) activity! Ever heard of PARK HOPPING?
Some resorts also have free campfires at night and most resorts have movies by the pool nightly! Ask your bell services for more details while you are there!
Now remember these tips are to help you save money at Disney if you WANT to. If you are thinking this is a once in a lifetime vacation and we are going to spend what we want, then totally go for it! I like the balanced approach because we plan on going to Disney more than once in our lifetime!
If you are planning a trip to Disney World check out my blog post about our FAVORITE DISNEY RESORT!