Although Walt Disney World has built a reputation for being way overpriced, there are plenty of ways you can save money at Disney. Paying less for a Disney parks vacation helps you feel good about the trip and its value. You get more enjoyment from it and are likely to be less critical of things going wrong during your perfect Disney trip. Even if you are not traveling on a budget, watching what you spend can lead to more freedom for really big purchases during your magical stay. Whatever your motivation, here are our top tips on how you can get more value from your Walt Disney World experience.
Book the Cheapest Flight
It all starts with the flight. Depending on certain factors your travel to and from Disney World is either the highest or second highest expense. The top place is usually the price of the hotel. Since it’s such a large amount of your vacation budget, it provides a really great way to save money at Disney because you can keep this large chunk of your vacation budget in check.
The best way to save on flights is to book about six weeks in advance. You can also select the best times for travel dates on weekdays as posed to weekends. Consider a redeye flight which is usually cheaper and it helps with the next tip, too!
Maximize Your Daylight Hours
Often, the costliest part of your Disney trip will be the lodging. Disney World is a multi day visit and although the ticket prices lower with each additional day, the room rates don’t. Even a value Disney hotels or resorts can cost you thousands of dollars.
That’s why when you plan your family vacation, it’s a good idea to maximize your number of days while minimizing your number of nights. That means planning an Early morning arrival and a later departure so you can utilize those travel days and reduce the hotel fee by hundreds.
Stay in a Good Neighbor Hotel
Another really smart and effective way to save money at Disney World is to book a Good Neighbor Hotel rather than a Disney-branded one. These value resort hotels will range in quality from Best Western to Four Seasons. Often you get upgraded accommodations for the price compared with Disney pricing.
Think moderate resort quality at a rate well below the value resorts, or deluxe at moderate prices to save you the most money. Good Neighbor Hotels are partnered with Disney and uphold a high standard that Disney approves of. They also usually have perks such as free breakfast and complimentary shuttle service.
Nix the Park Hopper Option
The happiest place on earth has all kinds of add-on purchases to make when you put together your vacation package. One extra cost is the park hopper option. Usually, this is totally unnecessary. It costs you more for the option to divide time between two parks, minus the travel time between them.
It’s a bad value, that can cost a lot of money. Unless you have a very short stay and must visit all four theme parks, You should stick to only one theme park per day and save your money while maximizing your time in each park. That goes triple for Park Hopper Plus. Please don’t pay extra for this.
Use Counter Service and Supplement
Disney dining covers a broad spectrum of experiences and budget ranges, but there are some surprises here and there. One example is the Hollywood Brown Derby. This Signature restaurant costs about the same as one of the themed family restaurants despite being far superior in every sense. Counter-service restaurants also can deliver surprising value and plenty of top-quality Disney atmosphere.
Be Our Guest is much cheaper as a fast-casual restaurant for lunch than it is as a fine dining restaurant for dinner. Good quick-service restaurants provide great value and more freedom to save money by bringing in supplemental food and drink. Bringing Uncrustables and Gogurt into the park, for example, saves you from buying the same things at crazy Disney prices. Always bring your own bottled water rather than buy it, if you can.
Shop Off Site
You can save money on Disney merchandise by going off-site. There is a discount Disney store called Character Warehouse that you can go to. There is also a Target and a Walmart nearby that sells licensed Disney merchandise for much less than the Theme Park branded items.
Double Check Your Packing List
One way to blow your budget on you next trip to Disney trip is to forget to pack essentials and then be forced to buy them at a markup while you are there. Remember all the snacks and beverages you want to pack to save money at Disney. Don’t forget toiletries, ponchos, sunscreen, diapers, etc.
Double and triple-check so you don’t have to make an emergency purchase. Did you remember your phone chargers?
At the end of the day, the best memories made at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland are worth gold. Making family memories at the most magical place on earth is worth the expense, but you can take advantage of lower prices on things and still have a great time!
Did this post help you better prepare for you trip? Let me know in the comments below!