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Guide to Walt Disney World Discounts

Who doesn’t want to save a few dollars on a Walt Disney World vacation? There are deals and discounts to be found, which will help you to pay less. Not everything here will work for everyone, and not all discounts are always available. That said, here are a few ways to save.

Florida Residents

The best way to save at Walt Disney World is to move to Florida. You’ll save on Annual Passes, plus be eligible for a payment plan. There are also more Annual Pass options for Florida Residents. If you don’t want an Annual Pass, you can often buy discounted tickets. There are also discounts on Walt Disney World hotels, and Florida Residents are eligible for Tables in Wonderland. (More on that below.) If you live close enough, you will save on travel as well.

Annual Passes

If moving to Florida isn’t a possibility, you still might want to consider buying at least one Annual Pass for your party. You can then save in most stores, at some full service dining locations, on many recreational activities, receive room discounts, and more. If one person in the car has an Annual Pass you’ll have free theme park parking, and you will also get Memory Maker for no additional charge. Many families find that paying the extra for one Annual Pass is worth it.

Off Season 

If you want to pay as little as possible on your Walt Disney World vacation, travel during the slower seasons. You’ll save on your hotel rooms, your flights might cost less, and you will save on one day theme park tickets. You will also enjoy shorter lines in the parks.

Tickets

Annual Passes (even one) are not in the budget for many families. One of the main questions that people ask when it comes to Walt Disney World is how to save on tickets? It’s hard, they’re expensive. When purchasing tickets, remember that the more days you buy, the less you’ll pay per day. You might want to keep off extras such as Park Hopper unless you’re certain you’ll use it, the cost will add up. You could save a few dollars if you buy from an Authorized Walt Disney World Ticket Seller. Make sure that the seller has the official logo. Be wary of buying used tickets from places that offer “Cheap Tickets”, they won’t get you into the parks and you won’t get your money back. Some places will sell discounted tickets in exchange for your attending a timeshare presentation. If you decide to save that way, remember that it is extremely high pressure. Carefully read anything that you’re asked to sign.

Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan is not a discount per say, but it will save some families money. It is a way to prepay for your meals, so that will be one less expense that you’ll have to worry about on your vacation. There are several plans to choose from. Sometimes (usually in the fall) the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan is offered for free to qualifying parties. Free Dining could be discontinued at any time. The gratuity is not included with the Disney Dining Plan, so tip accordingly.

Tables in Wonderland

Tables in Wonderland is a discount program that is for Florida Residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club Members. It isn’t free, but if you eat at Walt Disney World quite a bit the cost might be worth it. You and your party will save 20% at about 100 different restaurants, including many that don’t receive a discount with an Annual Pass. The discount is good for alcohol as well as food. There are block-out dates and restrictions, and participating restaurants can and will change from time to time. Your card is good for one year.

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Transportation Discounts

If you’re flying into Orlando International Airport, you might want to take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express. While it’s not really a discount, you’ll save because you won’t have to rent a car. There are also some discount airlines that you might want to look into. Frontier Airlines brags of low fares, although you’ll pay for many extras. Allegiant Air is another discount airline, but they fly in and out of Orlando Sanford International Airport, so you will not be eligible for Disney’s Magical Express.

Travel Agent

One way to make sure that you get all of the discounts that you are eligible for is to book your trip through a travel agent. It will not cost you anything extra, and your agent will work hard to make sure that your Walt Disney World vacation is everything that you dream it will be. Sometimes travel agents will have discount codes that the general public isn’t aware of, and those discounts will be passed on to you. Use a travel agent who specializes in Walt Disney World vacations. If you’re a member of a travel club such as AAA, ask about discounts. You might be able to save on many aspects of your vacation.

Accommodations

The Walt Disney World hotels for the most part cost more than comparable hotels in the area. That said, if you plan to stay off property ask a lot of questions. Many local places have resort fees that are not in the advertised price, which will drive up your costs. If the hotel has a shuttle, find out how often it runs, if there is a charge, and if it is shared with other hotels. Thoroughly research any off-property hotels where you might be thinking about staying. You might want to stay away from websites such as HotWire.Com, where you don’t know the hotel until after you’ve made your reservation. There are some shady hotels that aren’t far from the parks, and you don’t want to get stuck at a place where you and your family won’t feel safe.

Military Discounts

Walt Disney World offers discounts to active and retired United States military members and their families. The discounts change from time to time. There are usually ticket discounts and sometimes significant room discounts. Call 407-939-7830 for more information. Active and retired military members and their families might also be eligible to stay at Shades of Green Resort. It is owned by the US military, and located in the Magic Kingdom Resort area.

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.