Frugal Walt Disney World vacationers, which at this point in time includes nearly all of us, are eager to find ways to conserve their Disney dollars while still reaping the full benefit of their magical voyage through the land that Imagineering built. Fortunately there are many and varied ways to save more than a few Mickey bucks here and there that may significantly impact the overall price tag of these typically expensive ventures.

Banking on the Big Boats

The Disney Cruise Line is a lavish floating theme park with exotic ports of call, including Disney’s own private island. The fleet recently added two to its number, and boasts some of the most modern and innovative cruise ships on the water today, with live shows, waterslides, character greetings, and wonderful and unique restaurants. All this fun does not add up to a cheap vacation, however. But it isn’t necessary to stow away in the bilge room to get a better deal than most may think possible.

Plan a little and save a lot at Disney.

Plan a little and save a lot at Disney.

Nothing in the Disney universe is immune to the changes in ours. Far from being a downside, this can actually work to vacationers’ benefit. The cruise industry in general, try as it might to continue profiting from Caribbean islanders’ travails, is feeling the slump in the leisure market like few other industries do. Disney Cruise Line is still afloat, so to speak, but is having to burn the midnight oil to get its cabins filled, its capacity to handle passengers having more than doubled with the recent introduction of two new ships coinciding with an inverse rate of demand. This is to people’s advantage, because specials are plentiful in these troubled economic times.

Start With Getting More Information

For the party line on specials and deals on Disney Cruise Line, people can order the company’s free informational DVD or consult their DCL website. The site allows users to plan out many of the key points of their trip and includes info on specials in a strictly official capacity.

Other non-Disney-affiliated websites such as kayak.com and cruisecritic.com are powered by users and sometimes are better informed about the latest specials than the monolithic Disney Cruise Line website.

Combining a Disney cruise with a stay at any of the Disney resorts in Florida is possible with any East coast cruise option, which can also be a penny saver. However, it’s always a good idea to read the fine print. Bundling a Disney Cruise Line voyage with a stay of any duration at Walt Disney World has little caveats, such as the fact that the Disney-provided shuttle to the cruise terminal only departs before noon. Therefore, a full day paid for at the World will be lost, which is something to be avoided.

Tickets For Twelve, Please…

The purchase of multiday tickets can be a breathtaking experience—and not necessarily in a positive way. Knowing how to navigate these waters takes a very experienced swimmer indeed. There is a whole hoard of admission options, starting with passes that are good all year and ranging to single-day tickets. To the uninitiated, the fine details associated with this large and unruly beast can get lost in the fur. Our website has a very complete article on Disney World tickets.  Newbies to the ticket haggling game (largely a one-way affair) are advised to make use of a travel planner or to consult one of many internet tools designed to demystify the morass of ticketing options.

Guests Rest Easy When Paying Less

For families whose chief concern is the bottom line, a Disney value resort hotel is just what the doctor ordered. These hotels, though a bit gaudy in ornamentation and Spartan in the frills department, offer basically the same good points that their higher-end and more expensive counterparts do such as extra magic hours at the parks (advance entry and late exit), swimming pools at every location as well as family-style dining, free shuttles of various kinds to and from the parks, and more. Hotels in the Disney universe also have to play by the rules in this one, so many of them have seen the same drastic price reductions that their neighbors have.

The mid-range accommodations that Disney offers are a bit easier on the wallet, too, than their top-of-the-line lodgings. This level’s accommodations are marked by a bit better appointments than those of the value resort hotels and a bit more room to stretch out. Each has a specific theme that is woven into the aspects of their design. One of the biggest differences between these and the most affordable hotels is that each of the mid range’s swimming pools feature water slides, which research has indicated children approve of. One of the best ways to make a Disney World vacation work copasetic with the wallet, however, is to choose the time of year when the trip will take place carefully.

It’s All About Timing!

The absolute busiest times of year for Walt Disney World from Christmas to New Year’s day, followed closely by the week of President’s day, Thanksgiving weekend, spring break (mid-March to early April), when the park can play host to nigh on a hundred thousand visitors a day. It’s no surprise that Disney jacks their prices up to the highest rates at this time as well. Therefore, vacationers in the know who want to economize the most will want to time their longest visit to coincide with dates outside of this range. There’s an art to finding a happy medium between price, availability, time off from work and other responsibilities, and weather conditions. Worse weather means smaller crowds, a definite plus, but the downside is that fewer attractions may be available at these times. In fact, the whole park closes earlier, sometimes meaning no evening fireworks displays or other fanfare at select parks.

Most people agree, however, that a Disney World vacation in the off season is well worth the risk of some cloudy skies or a ride here and there closed for maintenance or renovation. So those with their mind on their money (or their money on their mind) do well to plan their trips for these crucial times, when all lodging, Disney or not, is more affordable.