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8 Ways To Travel To Walt Disney World On A Tight Budget

A Walt Disney World vacation is not cheap. You’re not going to be able to hit all four parks and stay in a Disney hotel for a couple of hundred bucks. While it is going to cost more than some other vacations, there are ways that you can save money. Here are some tips to help you save on the vacation of a lifetime.

8. Stay Off Property

If your hotel room is just going to be a place to sleep, you might want to think about staying off property. Even the Value Resorts can be expensive, and there are thousands of hotel rooms in Central Florida that will cost you less. Look for a hotel that has transportation to the parks so that you won’t have to pay for parking. Also see if the hotel has a free breakfast; that’s another place where you can save. If you have several people traveling with you, think about staying in a vacation home. You’ll have plenty of space, a full kitchen, and maybe even a private pool. Vacation homes cost less than you might think.

7. Stay On Property

While Disney resort hotels are going to cost more than comparable rooms in the area, they can help you to save money. With Disney’s Magical Express you won’t have a rent a car if you fly because they will transport you to and from the airport. Extra Magic Hours will allow you to spend more time in the parks so that you’ll be able to experience more each day. If you plan to stay on property book over the phone instead of through the website. You can then ask the operator for the best deals.

6. Pack Your Disney Side

It’s a lot of fun to wear a Mickey T-shirt or have your daughter dress up like Cinderella while at Walt Disney World. If you plan to purchase those items in Central Florida, you’re going to spend a lot more than you would have at home. If you want to show off your love for Winnie the Pooh, buy the shirt at your favorite store at home and pack it. Pick up a couple of Disney costumes for the kids at home as well. You’ll save a lot of money and your daughter won’t realize that her Belle dress isn’t the same as another girl has from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

5. Buy Souvenirs Outside of the Parks

If you have access to a car, leave the parks to buy your souvenirs. You’ll find Disney related merchandise in retail stores, restaurants, hotel lobbies, and even gas stations. While the souvenirs won’t say “Walt Disney World” on them, the amount that you save will make that a little less important. Pick one “must have” (such as mouse ears) to buy within the parks, and get everything else elsewhere. Don’t forget to set a budget for your souvenirs. It’s easy to spend too much, even outside of the parks.

 

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4. Bring Snacks and Drinks

You are allowed to bring food and drinks into the Walt Disney World theme parks, so do it! If you have things for your family to munch on you won’t be as tempted to pay the higher prices for food. You can make sandwiches so that you won’t have to buy a meal. Glass bottles aren’t allowed, but you can bring in other containers with non-alcoholic beverages. Yes, it’s something that you’ll have to keep with you, but it might be worth the hassle if you save enough money.

3. Plan Your Tickets Carefully

Walt Disney World tickets are expensive. While there are ways to save on hotels and food, you really can’t find great ticket deals. The amount you pay per day goes down the more days that you buy, so the price does become more reasonable. Don’t buy more days than you’re going to use. You can add days to a ticket, but you can’t take them away. Also, consider carefully the extras. Park Hopper is wonderful, but it also adds a significant amount to each ticket. If you’re not going to visit a water park, don’t add the option. Buy what you think you will use, and add extras later if you want them.

One more thing about tickets; throughout Central Florida you’ll see places that offer “Cheap Tickets”. Be VERY careful before purchasing tickets at such a place. Reselling used tickets is illegal, and those tickets won’t get you into the parks. There are some official places where you can buy slightly discounted tickets. Look for the “Authorized Walt Disney World Ticket Seller” logo. You won’t save a lot, but you could save a few dollars.

2. Check for Special Offers

When you start planning your trip, visit disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers. Check to see what offers are available. You might find discounted hotel rooms, a free Disney Dining Plan offer and more. That is also where to go to find the latest discounts and offers for United States military members and their families. Florida resident offers are listed on that page as well.

1. Travel Off Season

The easiest way to save on a Walt Disney World vacation is to travel off season. The summer (especially July and August) will be extremely busy. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is also packed. Thanksgiving week is crazy, as are most three day weekends and the time around Spring Breaks. You will pay top dollar both on property and off during those times of the year. If you can plan your vacation for the middle of January or the end of September, you’ll find plenty of deals. Hotels will slash their prices, and there will be other bargains. The best way to enjoy a Disney vacation on a tight budget is to travel during the off season, and you’ll enjoy the extra benefit of smaller crowds in the parks.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.