Vacations can be expensive, and Walt Disney World is no exception. But, after a few vacations, Walt Disney World insiders learn a thing or two on how to save money on their trips.
10. Stay Off Property
Frequent Walt Disney World visitors know that amazing hotel deals can be found just off Disney property. There is a wide variety of amenities, from luxury hotels, to rental homes, to motels. Personally, I’ve stayed in cheap hotels, resort suites, and vacation condos. If you’re willing to drive a little, you can find a deal on your hotel.
9. Stay On Property
This might seem counter intuitive, but the perks of staying in a Disney hotel might balance out any extra cost. On-site guests can use Disney’s Magical Express to travel from Orlando International Airport to their hotel, and then use the complimentary transportation to get around Walt Disney World, thus negating a need to rent a car. Even if you plan to drive yourself, on property guests can park for free at the theme parks. I always factor parking and car rental costs into the hotel fees to compare on and off property hotels.
8. Drink Water
Tap water is free all around Walt Disney World. Don’t pay for water bottles. Instead, bring your own refillable bottles (if you want water on hand) or simply ask for tap water at any restaurant or kiosk. Water is not just frugal, it’s necessary to stay healthy and hydrated on hot days.
7. Don’t Over-buy Tickets
Don’t automatically purchase tickets for them entire length of your vacation. Think about what time you’ll be arriving and leaving. If you don’t have at least half a day to enjoy the parks, it’s not really worth spending the money on a ticket. Consider also having a “down day” in the middle of your vacation, to relax at the hotel. Your feet and wallet will thank you. It may not seem like much, since the cost per day reduces dramatically after just a few days, but even $10 will add up when multiplied by your whole family.
6. Set A Souvenir Limit
It’s easy to get carried away with the souvenir shopping. Establish a souvenir budget before you leave home. A budget will help keep everyone in the family on track. Consider giving everyone in the group a Disney gift card with which to buy souvenirs. When the gift card is empty, no more buying! If you have a car with you, consider stopping by the Character Warehouse, an outlet off property.
5. Eat Early
Breakfast is the least expensive meal of the day. If someone in your family has a heart set on experiencing a certain restaurant try visit for breakfast (or lunch!) to save money. If you make a breakfast reservation prior to park opening, you will get to experience an empty park too! You’ll save money AND get an experience most guests don’t get!
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4. Shop Plane Tickets
Check out one of the many travel deal trackers on the web. A little research can pay off big. Also, consider using an alternative airport. You may find a better deal by flying in to Tampa, not Orlando. Also, check ticket prices for multiple airports near home. FOr example, on my upcoming vacation, I will be flying out of O’hare (Chicago) to Tampa, and returning home from Orlando to Midway (the other Chicago airport). We were able to find much cheaper plane tickets by looking at multiple airports.
3. Pack Essentials
Prices for necessities will be inflated at all onsite stores. Bring things like sunblock, bandages, and sunglasses, rather than paying higher prices in the park or hotel.
2. Order Groceries
Rather than packing snacks for your stay, you can order them online from Garden Grocer, Amazon, etc. Disney hotels are able to accept packages on your behalf within two weeks of your stay. Some hotels charge a small fee per package, so check your hotel’s policies.
1. Share Snacks
This is your vacation, splurge a little! The Disney parks have so many delicious snacks, from School Bread, Dole Whips, cupcakes, and ice cream. Enjoy your vacation. But, save yourself some money and calories by going halfsies on a treat.
What are your favorite ways to save some dough? Did I leave your go-to off the list? Let us know how you like to save money at Walt Disney World!