There is one question I get asked more than any other since I started my own business as a Disney-specialized travel planner: How can I save money on my trip to Walt Disney World?
Of course, there’s no magical answer that I can give you in one sentence, but after years of being a Disney Cast Member, a very frequent guest, and now as a professional travel planner, I’ve come up with some surefire strategies that will really help make your next (or first) Walt Disney World vacation a lot more affordable.
Let’s take a look at Disney On A Budget: Get The Biggest Bang For Your Buck In WDW.
Stay In A Disney Value Resort
Walt Disney World is known for some fantastic, over the top resorts and hotels, and sometimes their Value-level resorts get a bit of a bad reputation. Take it from someone who’s stayed in the Value resorts on vacations, they are still pretty great places to lay your head after a long day in the parks! The thing is, when you want to experience all you can in Walt Disney World, your resort is probably only going to be where you sleep at night. You’ll spend almost all of your time in the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs anyway, so why not book a Value resort, save the money that a Moderate or a Deluxe would cost, and use it for something else (like spending money) for your Disney trip?
Buy Costumes Before You Go
This one won’t apply to everyone, but can hit you especially hard if you have young children. Disney sells their princess dresses in almost every store, so it’s hard to hide them from your children while you are there. They also sell pirate costumes for boys, and I know my son wanted one the entire trip when we were there recently. Here’s the thing though: they’re really expensive!
Your local stores like Toys ‘R Us and Target sell almost the same princess dresses and pirate costumes, licensed by Disney, at nearly half the price! This will come in especially handy if you are planning to treat your children to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirate’s League makeovers while you are on your trip. Your kids can either wear their costumes to the park or you can bring them with you in a bag so they can put them on right before their character makeover! Your child will get the same exact experience for a little less of a hit on your wallet or purse!
Eat Breakfast In Your Room
This is one that I do with my family all the time and is a great way to save a good amount of money every day. In the morning, you will probably want to get up early, get to the parks early, and hit the headliner attractions as soon as possible. So why wouldn’t you have breakfast before you even leave the room? It’s easy to pack non-refrigerated breakfast foods (granola bars, kids’ applesauce pouches, dry cereal, etc.) in your suitcase and then you’ll have a breakfast ready each and every morning to get you all energized for your days in the parks! While I also love eating breakfast in the resorts or parks, let’s face it, Disney’s food isn’t inexpensive and when you add up a whole family’s meals, it can get pretty costly!
Go For The Quick Service Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plans are pretty fantastic overall and really make it easy on you during your Walt Disney World Vacation. With them, you won’t need a whole lot of spending money for food and you can pay for them months before you even take your trip as part of a Magic Your Way package. If you’re trying to save a little money (of course you are, you’re reading this article!) a great idea would be to opt for the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan instead of the Standard Dining Plan. With the Quick Service plan, each person (3 years of age and up) will have two quick service dining credits per night, one snack credit per night, and one refillable resort mug valid for the length of your stay. You won’t have any table service meals included, but it will save you some cash and you could always use that money to pay for a character meal out of pocket sometime during your stay!
Bring Your Own Refillable Water Bottles
Empty, refillable water bottles take up minimal room in your suitcase but will end up saving you quite a bit of money in the long run! You’re going to be in Central Florida, it will be pretty warm and muggy (most likely), and you’re going to want to keep yourself and your family hydrated. Disney’s prices for bottled water are pretty high compared to the prices you’ll pay anywhere else that’s not a theme park, so why not bring your water with you? You can fill them all up before you leave your room in the morning, then use the water fountains all over WDW to refill them throughout the day. This is a simple one but if you have a large group, this could end up saving you a good amount of money on your vacation that you can use for souvenirs! Bonus Tip: Any Walt Disney World restaurant will give you free cups of ice water for you and your party. All you have to do is ask!
It’s Easy To Save
Let’s face it, a Walt Disney World vacation is not an inexpensive trip. Most guests will have to save their very hard-earned money each and every week for months or even years in order to take a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth. But honestly, the magical memories you’ll make with your family will be worth every penny and will last forever! Hopefully, these tips will save you a few bucks and help you get there a little bit sooner than you had hoped! Oh, and not to toot my own horn (okay Toot!), but if you want to save even more money and take the time and stress of planning a Disney vacation off of your hands, consider booking with a Disney-specialized Travel Planner like me. The good ones will never charge a fee and will work with you and your budget to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime!
What is your favorite tip for saving money on a Disney vacation?