How to Save Money on Your Disney Vacation

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Walt Disney World has long been one of the top vacation destinations in the world. We love visiting, too, and since we moved to the Orlando area a year ago, we find ourselves going at least every other weekend.

Disney can be expensive, though, and you may experience some sticker shock when you start pricing vacations for your family. But we’re here to tell you that if you plan ahead and take our advice, you can save some money on your dream Disney World trip and get great vacation value for the money that you do spend. If you love to save money, keep reading to get our top tips for saving some cash on your family’s Disney vacation.

1. Go during the “off” season.

Disney prices its hotels, restaurant meals and single day theme park tickets based on the time of year. When the resort is busy, expect some prices to be as much as 50% higher than they would be at slower times of the year. It is also harder to find deals, such as room or dining discounts, at these busy times of the year. Not only that, but you’ll be fighting some crazy crowds during peak season, which can definitely put a damper on your vacation.

The busiest and most expensive times of year are around the various holiday seasons. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the most expensive, followed by the Spring Break/Easter season, which runs from early March until late April. Thanksgiving week is also busy and expensive, but not as much as these other times.

Though it’s not the cheapest time to visit Disney World, the summer season is less expensive than the other holiday times. If you can take your vacation during mid-August, there are usually some great deals to be had, along with lower crowd levels, though you’ll have to deal with the oppressive Florida heat.

The absolute cheapest times to go to Disney are late August through early November, early January until just before President’s Day, and late April through early May. Unfortunately, most schools are in session during all of those times, so you will have to decide whether taking your kids out of school is worth the money you’ll save.

2. Consider Getting the Chase Disney Rewards Visa

I know it may sound counterintuitive to suggest getting a credit card to save money, but this one really provides some great benefits for Disney World fans. First, if you pay for your Disney vacation using the card, you get six months interest-free to pay it off. It’s not a discount, but it’s cheaper than putting your trip on a card that will charge you interest. You MUST pay your vacation off in the six-month timeframe, however, or you’ll have to start paying typical credit card interest rates.

The money-saving perks don’t end with the interest-free financing, either. You’ll also get lots of discounts during your stay at the resort. These include discounts of between 10% and 20% at many merchandise, dining and recreation locations. The money you can save with this card can really add up over the course of your vacation.

3. Save Money on Food By Choosing the Right Resort

Food is one of the major costs associated with a Disney World vacation. Although, there are some dining experiences that should not be missed, eating out for every meal can really put a dent in your wallet at Disney. But if you stay in one the hotels that offer a kitchen, you can really save some money.

Disney Vacation Club Resort rooms all have kitchens, as do the cabins at Fort Wilderness. If you stay in one of these resorts, you can save by eating some of your meals in your room and by keeping snacks and drinks cold to take to the theme parks. If you’re driving, there are plenty of grocery stores nearby, where you can stock up on everything you need to make meals. If you don’t have a car, there are several grocery delivery services you can use. These services charge a fee, but you’ll still end up saving a lot of money versus eating out for every meal.

Unless we’re eating at a character breakfast, we typically like to eat a bowl of cereal or some toast in our room in the morning. We’re also not big eaters, so we’ll have one large meal in the theme parks and carry some snacks and drinks with us from the room for in-between meals. If you have larger appetites, you can pack a lunch to take to the parks with you, since Disney allows coolers up to 24″ x 15″ x 18″ in size in its theme parks. Then, you can eat dinner at a Disney restaurant or even go back to your room to eat. This trick can easily save you $100 a day or more, depending on your eating habits and family size.

4. Use an Approved Disney Travel Agent

Not only can a great Disney travel agent give you tons of pointers and recommendations to help you enjoy your trip, they can also help you navigate the various pricing seasons to determine the most cost-effective time for you to visit. The best agents will also monitor your vacation plans for any discounts or special offers that become available during your travel window. Even if you’ve already booked, they can readjust your booking to make sure you can take advantage of these offers, including room discounts and the free dining packages that Disney sometimes offers.

Be sure to pick a travel agency that has a focus on Disney destinations, since these agents typically offer extra free services. For instance, they may offer to make your dining and Fastpass+ reservations for you, and some will provide you with a detailed itinerary that will help you get the most out of your time in the parks– all at no extra cost to you! Look for travel agents who have “Earmarked” Disney status, as these agents have gone through a certain amount of Disney training and have been recognized by Disney for their knowledge and experience.

5. Buy Souvenirs Before You Leave Home

Your kids are going to want everything they see when you go to Disney World, but souvenir prices at Disney can be shocking. You can save some money by buying some things you know your kids will want before you even leave for your trip. For example, princess dresses at the Disney World resort will set you back more than $60, but you can buy them at your local Disney Store for as little as $30 if you keep your eyes open for sales. There are also some Disney princess dresses at stores like Target that are much more affordable than those in the theme parks.

Many of the plush Disney characters and Princess dolls your kids will be begging for while you peruse the merchandise on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street can also be found at your local Disney Store for lower prices than those at Disney World. Look for Disney merchandise at Target and Wal-Mart in the months before you travel, and you can really put together a great souvenir selection for your kids without busting your budget.

Bonus Tip: Those water-spritzing fans that sell like hotcakes during Florida’s never-ending summer can be found at Target, Wal-Mart or through Amazon for less than half the cost of those sold in Disney theme parks.

 

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