It is exciting to go to Disney but the cost can set you back. We talk a lot about how to save money in daily life to pay for a trip but what about when you are on your trip. Things tend to add up pretty quick, more so with a family trip. However, there are several ways to save money on a Disney vacation! For most trips, these tips can help to reduce some of the cost of your vacation but savings will vary. Let’s jump right into our top Disney World money saving tips
Saving Money on Traveling to Disney
1. Use a travel agent.
The concern many people have is that it will cost money for a travel agent, which is simply not true. A travel agent (through a company) will collect a commission from Disney but this will not be added onto your bill. In fact, this can help reduce some of the stress on you to book a vacation and sometimes save money as they can sometimes get you deals on your stay. The savings with this varies, but can definitely help save money on a Disney vacation.
2. Cash in frequent flyer miles or hotel points.
If you are part of a frequent flyer program or get points towards a hotel, this could be a great time to cash them in. I usually will look separately for a flight to maximize my savings and use any points that I may have for flying with them. This can save a bit of money on your Disney vacation. Sometimes you can score deals as well if you are booking your flight during a specific time of year. If you are staying offsite, then use your hotel points to reduce the overall cost.
3. Adjust the Day that you fly out
Flying certain days of the week tends to change how much you are paying for your flight. The same is usually true when you are booking your flight. Change the day that you are flying to Disney and you may save a bit of cash as well. Even by changing your flight to midday may cheaper than you would think.
4. Use Magical express
If you are staying on Disney property then It may or may not make sense to rent a car due to the expense. The easiest way to save money with this is to take the Magical Express right from MCO (Orlando) to your resort without paying extra. From there Disney provides buses to the parks and Disney Springs, although the buses can be stressful at times but it saves a bit of money.
5. Stay off-site during on-times
During the on-times at Disney, the prices tend to be more expensive and less likely to have room deals. Although this is usually when they do dining discounts but in some cases, this is not worth it. Looking at staying off property during those times, may save you quite a bit of money. Using sites like Travelocity and Kayak is a good way to maximize your savings for both onsite and offsite hotels.
6. Stay on-site during off times or discount times.
When Disney is doing a room deal, this is a great time to stay onsite. There are a lot of perks with staying onsite but the discount sweetens the pot so to speak. Value usually saves 10%, Moderate around 15% and Deluxe around 20%. As you can imagine, this can save quite a bit on your overall stay at Disney. Disney usually runs this deal several times throughout the year and can be added on to an existing reservation if it falls into the correct dates.
7. Rent DVC points during your stay
This tends to be a very underutilized way of saving money on your Disney vacation. It can be difficult to get the resort that you want but if you are flexible, this is great. I had a friend that just booked a few nights at the Polynesian and saved $2000! Say what?? For some, it can mean the difference between staying at a deluxe or a value, depending on the budget. It may be worth looking into if you are trying to save money. Remember that it is not guaranteed though. One other thing to note is that if you are looking to get the dining plan discount, depending on the time of year, then this would not be available to you.
8. Sign up for Disney’s emails.
Keeping up to date with all the changes or discounts at Disney can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Signing up for Disney emails can help to bring the information right to your inbox. If you are booked you can add the discounts to your reservation. Overall it is a great idea to stay up to date with any new changes coming to the park to make the most out of your vacation.
9. Sign up for emails from Travel Blogs
This, as stated before, can be an easy way to stay up to date on the newest information and discounts. Checking websites often will ensure that you are in the know as information changes quickly. We post with any discount releases and a lot of news, other websites that can help are Mousesavers and UndercoverTourist. These are not sites that are run by Disney but always have accurate information. They sometimes provide information that Disney has updated without announcing. This will keep you up to date on the best Disney World money saving tips.
This one is a little less general, but in some cases, you may be able to find a conference for work to go to. I was able to find a conference that would fulfill work requirements, so I was able to get the office to pay for some of the room cost. This does take away from time in Disney but you can at least spend some time in Disney. Depending on which conference it is, you may be able to score a room discount that actually can be used longer than the dates of the conference.
Getting into the Disney Park
11. Save money Disney World tickets!
What a lot of people don’t realize is that you are able to get discounted Disney tickets through several different websites. If you are a Florida resident, then you are able to get discounted tickets through Disney itself. But if you live in other states there are other options. Some box stores, such as Sam’s Club, will have discounted tickets for a variety of events or daily Park tickets. Other places that you may save money is by going to websites such as Undercover Tourist which can save you a bit of money on your trip.
12. Spend a day doing non-park activities.
Just because you are in Disney, doesn’t mean that you have to be in the park all day every day. You can save some cash by spending some time doing non-park activities. This can include walking around Disney Springs, checking out the other hotels or even just relaxing by the pool. Sometimes it’s nice to take a minute to relax.
13. Skip the park hopper option.
If you are staying for a few days then the easiest way to save some cash is to go with a standard ticket. The Park Hopper option adds quite a bit to the overall cost. We did away with the park hopper for this trip and it saved us a couple hundred dollars. With this being said, you may need to plan a little more in advance but it is doable!
14. Annual Passes
If you are someone that goes to Disney World often but are looking to save some money, then the annual pass is probably a good option. You will need to buy this directly from Disney but can save a bit of money in the long run. Before jumping in, I would calculate the number of days that you typically go in a given year and how much that would total. If you go more than 14 days during the year, this is likely to be a good way of saving money on a Disney Vacation
15. Go right before your child turns 3.
I used to be one of those people that said, I’m not taking my daughter until after she is 5 so she will remember it. But I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself. We ended up going she was 2 and she loved it, even if she won’t remember it. The expressions on her face were well worth going early. Plus children under 3 get in free. This includes flying, which allows children under 2 to fly free (if they lap-sit). Going right before they turn 3 allows your child to stay for free even if the trip goes past their birthday.
16. Buy discounted Disney gift cards.
Similar to buying discounted Disney tickets, in this case, you’re buying discounted Disney gift cards. As we’ve reported before, there are several ways of earning gift cards through various websites. However, at box stores such as BJ’s and Sam’s Club, you are able to get the Disney gift cards at a small percentage off. On occasional run specials where you can get a better discount. On average we found that you can typically get $4 off per $100 gift card. It may not seem like much of a savings but when you’re paying for your trip, this adds up quickly. This is one of my favorite Disney World money saving tips because it is easy to do and still saves money.
17. Pass on Photopass – but use the photographers!
So does it feel awkward to ask a stranger to take a picture but you may not want to pay the full price for the photo pass. In this case, you can ask the PhotoPass photographer to take a picture with your phone as well. That way you can decide if the picture on your phone will suffice or if you want to buy the photopass later on. In some cases, the PhotoPass is worth it but in others not so much. Having them take your picture with your cell phone provides instant capture of the moment without spending any money.
18. Take advantage of Disney freebies.
There are several freebies offered by Disney – from free Ice water to free pins. It is important to take advantage of any freebies that you can. One of the free pins and a map is a great (free) souvenir to commemorate your Disney vacation. Especially if this is your first trip to Disney. They have several free activities for guests including getting your own Wilderness Explorer Badge, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and free concerts at Epcot during their festivals. There are a lot of other freebies to be experienced which can add to your overall trip.
19. Bring your own stroller.
You can rent a stroller through Disney or an outside company but can be pricy. We had rented a stroller during our last trip and came out to about $10 a day. Not too bad, but still an added expense. This time around we are bringing our own stroller. There are not usually any extra fees on the airlines which is great and will have it available throughout the airport which will be a big plus this time around
20. Bring your own parks gear.
Some souvenirs or gear are not badly priced but somethings are a little more expensive. It can be gentler on the wallet to bring some of your own gear into the parks. Things like this include rain gear. We usually pack rain ponchos from the Dollar Tree as this will save us quite a bit in the long run. If you want to show off your Mickey/Disney clothes, buy them before your trip and bring it with you. This can sometimes save up to 50% or more. Make sure to add things like this to your packing list.
21. Souvenir shop before your trip.
If you are looking for souvenirs, especially for the little ones, buying souvenirs early can reduce your bill at the end of your trip. You can carry them in your luggage and give them to your kids when you arrive. It is not difficult to find deals on Disney merchandise then pack or even have them shipped to the hotel itself. Just keep in mind that there can be a $5 handling fee by the resort on top of shipping prices. So if you have room in your luggage, it would be best to carry it in your bag.
Food around the park
22. Get groceries ahead of time
This is probably one of the biggest Disney World money saving tips for food! If you do drive to Disney or if you rent a car, it is worth going to the store and picking up groceries. If you have a suite, then your kitchen area will be better than a value resort. Even with a value resort, you can get stuff for sandwiches and store it in the refrigerator. Even just getting snacks and bottles of water, it will easily save you at least $100 if not more.
23. Or have groceries delivered
But what if you don’t have a car? You can easily have groceries delivered to the resorts. If you missed a previous post, then check out the top grocery delivery services. This will save you a bit more money as you don’t need to rent a car for this or pay for gas. There may be some fees associated with the purchase but can still save you a bit of money. If you can make sandwiches to bring into the parks and snacks this could be a great way to reduce the overall expense of your vacation.
24. Take a refillable water bottle to the parks.
This one I highly recommend – bring your own water bottle into the park. I usually fill it up at the resort and bring it with us. This saves a lot of money by not having to buy bottles of water or soda. There are areas around the park with water fountains that you can refill your water bottles as well. It can be slightly inconvenient to carry around but well worth it.
25. Ice, Ice Baby
Did you know that you can go up to most of the Vendors at Disney World and ask for a free cup of ice or water. There is no limit for this and can be great if you forgot your water bottle or if it is running low. During the summer, it can be a great way to beat the heat. This can save you a bit as the bottles of water are at least $2.50 per bottle. This is a ridiculously simple way to save money on a Disney vacation once you are there.
26. Snack your way across the parks.
Some of the sit-down meals are quite expensive depending on how much you’re eating, so understanding your family is normal eating habits will determine if this is a good value for you. If you tend to graze more rather than have big meals, then snacking around the parks may be a better option. The other benefit from this is that you don’t need to make any reservations such as with a sit-down. This is probably one of the quickest of the Disney World money saving tips as it requires no planning! Some portions of snacks or quick service could be enough for 2 people as well. Further saving you money!
27. Get a Disney Chase credit card
This was one of the first tricks we used to save a little bit of money for our Disney trip. We are in the habit of paying off the credit card bill every month so that it does not accumulate interest. This is the important part. but part of our Disney credit card is that we aren’t money back in the form of a Disney gift card. We can then use that Disney gift card for souvenirs for a downpayment on the trip itself. This has been a great way of passively getting money back on normal day-to-day expenses.
Disney planning can be overwhelming at times, especially with the cost of the overall vacation. however, there are a lot of different ways to save money here and there. You may not be able to utilize all of the Disney World money saving tips here but can save you a pretty good chunk of money on your vacation. With something like this, use it as a reference and bookmark it for later on. Saving money on a Disney vacation can be difficult at times but doesn’t always have to be.