A Disney or “non-Disney hotel-near-Disney” bargain can be found, along with vacation packages and a ticket package and other discounts and deals.
Selecting A Hotel
One of your biggest vacation expenses is your hotel. If you stay at any Disney-owned hotel or resort on their property (a couple are not, but are on the property) then you have access to a whole lot of money-saving options. You can be close to Disney World but not actually on the property, and this is a great way to save.
If you choose one of Disney’s own hotels, such as the Value Resorts which have the lowest prices, then you can get the Disney Meal Plan, all access to the Disney transportation system.
If you stay at a Disney resort, Disney will pick you up from the airport, and take you back, on their Magic Express bus. And they do this at no charge to you. The terminal is right inside the Orlando airport on the main level, and just past the rental cars. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to your resort and the convenience is worth it. You do have to let them know beforehand in order to book this special bus.
As you arrive at one of the four Disney theme parks — Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios — all transportation to and from and within the park is taken care of. If you have Park Hopper passes (the best kind) you can visit one park for a while then hop on over to another. Depending on exactly where you are, you can travel via monorail, boat (several types), or bus. If you are staying at a Disney resort and using your own car (or a rental), parking is free at all of the parks because you display your resort indicator on your dashboard and then go in and park for free. This is another way to save money and get a cheap Disney World vacation.
Like everything at Disney, the parking is highly organized and people will direct you to the right spot. A tram takes guests to the entrance of each park. If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort then you can park once at the Transportation Center and use the Disney transportation network – including the monorail – to get around. One favorite method of getting to different areas is by boat launch. Saratoga Springs has a direct launch over to Disney Springs and another way to cool off on a hot Summer day is the launch running from the International Gateway entrance of Epcot, along to The Yacht & Beach Clubs, The Boardwalk, The Swan & Dolphin, and the Disney/Hollywood Studios.
Information Is Power
A little research is needed before you book your vacation in order to find the best deal for your family. If you decide not to get a Disney package deal and want to plot out your own accommodations, meals and transportation, then chose an off-site hotel close to Disney Springs (Disney Marketplace). This is because this area of Disney is centrally located and has a lot of retail opportunities, café and restaurant options, and transportation amenities.
Timing Is Everything
The most fun and savings can be had if you can work out a deal for your Disney World vacation with a Disney Marketplace area hotel. You can grab a fantastic, and possibly limited time only deal, from these “close to Disney” hotels and save yourself a lot of time and money. Some seasons are called “off-seasons” at Disney. You can check which off season discounts may be available to you and what can fit into your own vacation time period. Many events around the Walt Disney World Resort occur at different times of the year so you also have to see which ones you’d like to attend.
Saving On Tickets
Since Disney controls all the tickets, it is hard to get a great deal on admission. You may save a few dollars if you purchase through AAA. Be sure to get your tickets before you leave home. There are several ticket options to understand, and you don’t want to burn through your valuable vacation time comparing ticket options.
Avoid road side stands in Orlando that sell tickets. Some are flat out dishonest, and others make you endure a high pressure sales pitch for a time share. That is no way to spend your vacation.
If you are staying for an extended period of time or for multiple visits over the course of 12 months, purchasing an annual pass is a great way to stretch out your vacation money. An annual pass ticket doesn’t expire after 14 days like most Magic Your Way tickets do – it is good for the whole year!
Saving On Food
Another way to save money on your cheap Disney World vacation is on food. Purchasing a meal plan helps you lock in a fixed cost for your meals. If you stay at any Disney resort you can get one of their Meal Plans ahead of time. There are several varieties and one of the easiest ones for a family is a basic Quick Service and snack plan. This is also the cheapest plan you can buy and you do have to purchase a “day” of the meal plan for each day of your stay. It’s flexible and if you’re hungry for three meals a day, for instance, you can use it that way. If you run out before your vacation is over, then food will simply be a la carte!
When you purchase a meal plan you’ll get a card which looks like a credit card and which combines your room key and charge card (if you wish) and keeps track of your meal plan uses. You’ll also get a little booklet which outlines where the restaurants and cafes are located in all of the parks that allow you to use the meal plan (there are many locations that participate in the meal plan).
Have Fun And Save
By planning ahead, checking for the best deals on hotels, saving on transportation expenses, purchasing your tickets in advance, and using meal plans, you can put together a fantastic Disney World vacation that won’t break the bank.