10 Tips And Secrets For Saving Money At Walt Disney World

Disney Bus
Credit: Disney Dining

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!

About Robin Swanson

Robin’s Disney journey began with Beauty and the Beast bedsheets, a Jasmine dress up set, and a purring Nala plush. As a child in the 1990s, the renaissance and classic animations alike captivated her imagination. In 2008, Robin visited Walt Disney World for the first time, and the obsession really took hold. Since then, Robin has enjoyed visiting the Happiest Place on Earth many more times. She lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is wrapping up a Masters in writing. When not at Disney World, Robin enjoys researching fairytales, eating ice cream, Netflix binging, reading and, of course, planning the next Walt Disney World vacation!