15 Creative Ways To Save Money At Walt Disney World

Not many people would consider a Walt Disney World vacation to be inexpensive. This article is not for everyone. You might think that these money saving tactics lack the full Walt Disney World vacation experience and you might be right. This article is about saving money. Here we will provide you with 15 creative ways to save money at Walt Disney World.

15. Quick Service Kids Meals

Many guests do not realize that anyone can purchase a quick service kids meal. If you do not have a big appetite, consider getting a kids meal instead of the regular meal. Kids meals still come with respectable food portions and can sometimes be acquired at nearly half the cost. Another option is to order only the entree and not the side. Again, most guests simply order the combo meal and don’t realize you can drop those fries, stick with the burger or chicken nuggets and save a few bucks.

14. Free Ice Water

Being on your feet all day in the central Florida heat and humidity can dehydrate you quickly. Skip the soda. The best thing you can replenish your body with is water. But not so fast… don’t drop your money on bottled water. You can walk up to any counter location beverage service that serves fountain drinks and request a free cup of ice water. With tax, a large cup of soda starts reaching $4.00. With a family of six, not stopping a few times per day for something to drink saves us over $100 a day!

13. Move to Florida

This may not be the most practical thing on the list. However, if you are a Florida resident, don’t miss out on the discounts to be had! You can pick up a three or four day, multi park pass at prices that are not available to everyone. The same is to be had for those of us with annual passes. You’ll get discounts on food and merchandise, not to mention free parking. Florida residents can also take advantage of on-site hotel deals.

12. Take Your Own Photos

Photo pass and memory maker is a must for some. That’s okay. However, most Disney photographers are just as happy to take pictures of your group with your own camera at no cost. You can still let the photographer take the professional photographs and decide when you get home. Evaluate the professional photographs. If its worth the extra money, then go for it. You’ll make a more level headed decision after it’s all over.

11. Stick to Regular Park Hours

I’m not referring to extra magic hours included with staying on-site. I’m talking about “Disney After Hours” or “Early Morning Magic”. Sure, there will be less guests in the park, but shoving out up to $150 per person for an extra three hours with limited attractions open gets expensive real quick. Instead, use a crowd calendar to help you navigate. Typically, the Magic Kingdom is most crowded on Mondays. Arrive early or stay late when crowds are thinner to begin with.

10. Free Wifi

Text messages, picture mail, video calls and more will eat up your cell phone data plan quickly. Don’t pay unnecessary overcharges on your next billing cycle. Instead, Disney offers complimentary wifi in most of it’s public spaces including the theme parks! Don’t forget to connect upon arrival!

9. Scale Down Souvenirs

Local stores in my area sell tons of Disney items for a fraction of the cost of those that can be picked up in the park. Purchase your souvenirs ahead of time or go off property to find your best bargains. Find a Disney Character Warehouse in Orlando and get rock bottom prices! If you just have to make your purchases in the parks, set a limit. This works great with kids. Tell them they are allowed to choose 3 souvenirs the entire trip or however many you decide. This gives more thought to your spending choices rather than picking something up every time you exit a ride through the gift shop.

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8. Prepare ahead for inclement weather

I live in Florida. During the summer, it rains. In fact, it rains nearly every day. While doing your last minute shopping for your trip, pick up rain ponchos ahead of time. They can be picked up most places for only a couple of dollars. Not only will you save money, you’ll save yourself from getting wet as you run into the gift shop to get out of the pouring down rain! Your poncho may not have Mickey Mouse on the back, but no one saves their used ponchos after the trip… do they?

7. Disney Dress Up

Bibbidi Bobidi Boutique does an amazing job transforming little girls into Disney princesses. With packages upwards of $200 per child per visit, your pocketbook will be transformed as well! A $20 Disney dress purchased ahead of time and hair pulled back, sprinkled with glitter turns heads just the same. Your little girl will still feel like royalty. You’ll feel just as proud explaining that you are the fairy godmother of choice!

6. Discount Disney Gift Cards

Disney gift cards are accepted for almost everything on property from park tickets, to on-site hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, etc. You can save about 5% by purchasing gift cards at places such as Sam’s Club and Target. The 5% seems insignificant at first, but when you start adding up the cost of your trip, 5% could amount to a nice table service meal! Plus, it can be a great way to start saving for a future trip rather than coming back with a hefty credit card bill at the end of your vacation.

5. Bring Your Own Stroller

It’s convenient to rent a stroller from Disney. But you’ll save huge amounts of money by simply bringing your own stroller! Nearly 8 years ago we bought an umbrella stroller. It has since been used by 4 children and has been to Disney more times than I can count. I paid less for that stroller than I would have paid to rent one from Disney for just one day! Don’t forget, you can’t take Disney strollers outside the gates. That means you waste precious time standing in line at rope drop, and you have to carry your little one all the way back to the car at the end of the day. If bringing your own is just not feasible, consider renting from a third party.

4. Take A Break

A 7 day Disney vacation doesn’t mean you have to spend all 7 days inside one of the parks. Instead, take a day or two to enjoy your resort. Walk the grounds, swim in the pool, etc. Not only will you save money on those pricey park tickets, you’ll catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation and will be ready to hit the parks the following day.

3. Bring Your Own Food

This is one of the things people spend the most money on at Disney. It also means this is one of the things people could save the most money on. We don’t recommend skipping out entirely, but small things like eating breakfast in your room can save significantly. So bring a package of bagels or a loaf of bread. You can even use the toasters free of charge in the food courts. If someone in your group wears cargo shorts, load up those big pockets with granola bars or cheese and crackers. They make great snacks between meals and saves you money. If you really want to save the big bucks, bring a picnic lunch!

2. Stay Off Property

If I wasn’t in the minority before, I certainly am now. Staying on property works great for many people, but the larger your family, the more difficult it is. If you have more than 4 it can be nearly impossible to find something onsite reasonably priced. In the last 18 months, my family and I have stayed off-site nearly a dozen times. We’ve rented hotels, two and three bedroom condos and even 4 and 5 bedroom houses with private pools. Only twice have we spent more than $100 per night including taxes, even over major holidays!

1. Avoid Impulse Buying

Most financial experts agree that impulse purchases play a significant role in excessive spending. If you see something you think you really want to have, wait 24 hours. Chances are you won’t want it as bad as you thought you did if you remember at all!

That wasn’t too bad… or was it? Which ones do you use to save money? What did we forget? Let us know in the comments below!

About Tim Forgette

I grew up in southeast Michigan. I took my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1986 when I was just three years old. I am blessed to be the husband of 14 years to my beautiful wife, Rachel and father of four precious children, Lily (10), Elijah (8), Grace (6) and Josiah (5). We have always enjoyed doing things as a family which is why, when we moved to Florida, one of the first things we did was buy Disney annual passes. I enjoy everything Florida has to offer, but absolutely love watching my kids light up when it's time to go to Disney! We visit the Disney parks on average about once a week. When not at Disney, I enjoy participating with my church and community, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.