25 Tips for doing Disney on a Budget from 25 Tips for doing Disney on a Budget
25 Tips for doing Disney on a Budget
25 Tips for doing Disney on a Budget
Disney is one of the most magical places on earth, which makes it a wonderful family-friendly vacation destination. There are tons of family-friendly attractions, spectacular hotels to choose from and delicious dining options.
But for some people, a Disney vacation may be a little bit out of their price range, and as much as they would love for their family to reap the benefits, it just doesn’t seem financially possible. The thought, alone, of the amount of money you will spend on tickets, souvenirs and on-site resort fees, just to name a few, is scary.
Make a trip to Disney even more amazing by going on a road trip to get there. You can find good flight deals depending on how early you plan to book a trip, but nothing beats the cheap price of gas – especially if you have to pay for 4-5 plane tickets.
Bring refillable water bottles
Do you want to spend $4-$5 for a water bottle? That’s more than at an airport. You and your kids will get thirsty often because of the excitement and running around. The cost will add up quickly. Bring your own bottle and keep refilling it. Quick-service restaurants will provide water, and ice, even if you don’t buy food.
Get membership discounts
Educate yourself on Disney’s membership discounts. Disney parks and resorts often provide discounts for those who have served or are serving in the military, AARP members, and AAA users.
Keep your change
Change adds up. Have your entire family save all of their change throughout the trip. At the end, compile all of the change together and use it on small souvenirs.
Don’t pay for photos
Ask anyone, even the Disney characters around the park, and they will be glad to take a photo of you and your kids free of charge with your phone or camera.
Use Disney dollars
You can get cash from the ATM all over the resort and pay a transaction fee or you can use Disney dollars, which serve the same purpose as cash, and not pay any extra fees. New Disney dollars are no longer available to purchase, but guests may continue to use previously purchased ones at Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort and select Disney Store locations in the U.S.
Don’t buy souvenirs at Disney
Purchase the Disney dining plan
Visit during the low season
Shutterstock/ Rob Wilson
Don’t eat breakfast in the park
Prepare breakfast in your hotel room or simply eat the continental breakfast in your hotel before you go to the park. This will save you money on having to purchase an extra meal for your family.
Eat at their restaurants for lunch not dinner
Dinners cost more at any restaurant. If you absolutely must have a sit-down meal at a Disney location, save money by booking lunch instead of dinner. Go for a meal during non-peak eating times and the characters will visit your table more often.
Take advantage of free activities
Disney is expensive but the “happiest place on Earth” offers a lot of free entertainment opportunities. Go to Disney Springs for free boat rides from one complex to another, go on a free walking tour to see zebras, giraffes and other exotic animals at Animal Kingdom, stroll down the mile-long Disney’s BoardWalk and watch the fireworks over the park at night.
Shutterstock/ Katherine Welles
Set a budget
Before you head to Disney, sit down and write down all foreseeable expenses. This includes gas prices, meal costs, snacks, drinks and park passes. Reviewing a list of what you may potentially spend will help you decide where you can cut down so that you don’t go over budget.
Ask for discounts
Disney is a gigantic property with an endless number of attractions, rides, and entertainment options. You should do your research to see what’s available and at what price, but make sure you always ask for discounts. There is almost always a promotion being offered.
Either make some easy snacks or buy a few before you enter the park. You are allowed to bring in food, which is great if you don’t usually eat big portions anyway. You can save a lot by avoiding eating meals at the on-site restaurants or vendors. Splurge on meals with the whole family and save on all the rest.
Go camping on-site
If you’re having trouble deciding on an off or on-site hotel, consider camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. This is by far the cheapest lodging option. The kids will love playing by the fire, the swimming pool, stargazing, and sleeping in a tent. Room for either a pop-up or camper van-type vehicle plus a tent or 2 tents is just $53 per night.
Facebook/Walt Disney World
Buy your kid’s costumes ahead of time
Before you leave for Disney, buy your kids their costumes. Purchasing a princess dress from Disney is going to be a lot more expensive than anywhere else. Better yet, if your child already has a costume of their favorite character, just bring it with you.
Use discounted gift cards
Purchase discounted gift cards before you head to Disney – they can be used for literally everything in the park. The discounts are not tremendous but saving even 5 percent on a purchase you’re going to make anyway is worth it. Buy several discounted gift cards and the savings will add up. You can buy these cards at Target, BJ’s, Sam’s Club, to name a few.
Don’t make Disney the center of your trip
Disney is expensive, but it’s far from the only thing to do in your destination. Instead of making Disney the entire focus of your trip, plan a free day where you can explore the surroundings, and in turn, save some cash.
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Buy Multiday/Park Hopper passes
If you and your family are planning on exploring the park for four or more days, you should definitely consider purchasing multi-day park passes. Websites such as parksavers.com offer seven-day Park Hopper passes for the same price of four separate day passes.
Go when your children are young
Go to the parks when your children are under 3 years old and save almost $300 – they will get free admission to the parks.