Best Cost Saving Tips For A Disney World Vacation
Everyone should experience Disney World at least once. Even their slogans include phrases like the Happiest Place on Earth, The Most Magical Place on Earth, and Where Dreams Come True. And while these may all be accurate, a Disney World vacation can be expensive, especially for those with a family. If you are on a budget yet want to experience Disney with your family, there are plenty of ways to save money. Here are some of the best cost saving tips for a Disney World Vacation so you can experience the Happiest Place on Earth for yourself.
Plan Your Vacation ASAP
As with any vacation, planning makes a world of difference. For instance, taking advantage of discount tickets and when to visit are two factors that save money. A few things to keep in mind when planning include these, which we’ll go over in more detail throughout the article
- Choosing the time of year you go makes a vast difference in how much you spend
- Do you want to stay on site or find your own accommodations
- Choosing what passes you want means a variety of expenses and choosing wisely is key
- Food and drinks – will you buy them at the park or bring your own?
- Extra costs and taking advantage of freebies
Know When To Visit
Disney World is a lot like how cruise ships and airplane flights work – there are peak times and those are more expensive. The most busy times are during major
holidays. Examples of the busiest are:
- Christmas Holidays (December 20th–January 5th)
- New Year Day
- Spring Break (Approximately March to mid-April although this varies)
- Martin Luther King, Jr
- President’s Day
- Thanksgiving Week
Not all holidays are at greatest capacity. Here are those that have fewer guests:
- Labor Day
- Mardi Gras
- Independence Day
- Memorial Day
- Columbus Day
What does all this have to do with expenses? During peak holiday times, outside accommodations cost more and are more difficult to find. And not only is cost a factor, but you’ll have more fun with fewer crowds and definitely less waiting in line. And most important, keep in mind that single-park admission prices during peak times are more expensive than non-peak tickets.
One of the bigger costs with any vacation is the place you lay your head down to rest. Accommodations eat a huge chunk of your budget which is why it is crucial to look at the pros and cons on where you want to stay.
Staying Off Site
Most people believe that staying off site is the cheapest option. While it is sometimes, staying on site can save money. If you do choose to stay somewhere else, then drive to Disney, you have choices in locations, price, and amenities. Some people who live around Disney World rent their homes and condos for a nominal fee. These give you all the perks of home without spending a fortune. You also save money this way by cutting down on eating costs, laundry, and entertainment. Motels and hotels are going to be cheaper too but you pay extra in other ways.
Staying On Site
Taking advantage of Disney’s park accommodations seems expensive but as mentioned, it saves in other ways. One way is by being inclusive. You won’t have to pay parking costs or a rental car should you fly in. Disney offers around the clock shuttle service so you have your own way of getting around without spending gas money. Staying on site offers other extras like access to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, when certain parks open earlier or stay open longer on select days. Do check ahead to ensure these are available. Some extras are temporarily suspended because of COVID-19
And for something between, consider an RV rental. Fort Wilderness is in the Walt Disney World Resort area and is ideal to be close to nature – and the park. If you don’t have your own, renting through RV Share has extras like dishes, lines, and is delivered right to the park..
Shopping for Tickets
Finding discount tickets helps offset some costs. You can often find last-minute deals or low-cost options just by looking. And don’t forget Disney World’s own discounts. Disney has their own site to help you find cheaper tickets. These include options for Florida residents and active-duty military members and their families can also enjoy significant savings on Disney tickets and more.
The important thing is to buy in advance. If you have a certain number of days planned for your vacation, buy your tickets as soon as possible. Every extra day you visit a Disney park cuts dollars off park admission. For example, the going rate right now starts at $109 per person for people 10 years of age and older. Yet, that is the single-day price. For those staying three days or longer, the price goes down by $8 per day. For those staying five days and longer, the price drops considerably, around $83 per day for savings of $26 each day. Parks often raise prices each year so buying ahead makes fiscal sense.
And if you have certain credit cards or frequent flyer miles, some allow points you can use at the park. For example, the Disney Visa, Citi ThankYou, and Delta Miles offer savings for Disney vacations.
Park Hopper passes allow you to visit each park but are not always the best idea. It is difficult to see one park in a day and going to multiple parks takes away from your time.
Food and Drink
Disney World allows you to bring your own food into the park. Barring glass bottles and anything that requires a microwave, of course. And Disney Resorts allow visitors to ship drinks and snacks to their hotel room in advance. For those who are on a strict budget, this allows you to enjoy the park and not spend a fortune on park restaurants. Snack and light meals allow you to eat on the go. If you do plan to enjoy a meal inside the park, dinner is the most expensive time to eat.
Disney has a meal plan, but it is not cost-saving unless they include it as part of your park package. And with reservations, choose the breakfast times. These are less expensive and have an extra perk – early access to the park.
And just like you wouldn’t go shopping on an empty stomach, don’t visit the park hungry. If you opt to eat outside of the park, make sure you have a nutritious breakfast first so you and your family doesn’t spend extra money and long waits on high-priced food and drinks.
Last, bring your own water. Water in the park costs way more than you pay at a local big box store or grocer.
Souvenirs and Extras
Kids and adults alike enjoy shopping for souvenirs and memory-making photos but these add up in costs. Plenty of stores outside of the park offer souvenirs and you can take your own photos instead of buying the Memory Maker package. Characters and PhotoPass Photographers will take pictures with your phone at no cost.
If you have children who must have a toy or item from inside the park, allow one item and buy the rest elsewhere.
If you have small children, bring your own strollers. Disney rents them but they’ll cost extra.
Enjoy the Freebies
Not everything at Disney World costs money. There are fireworks shows, parades, and more. If you stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can stroll around the property and see the animals. Fort Wilderness offers outdoor movies and singalongs with Chip and Dale – all for free.
Planning Is Crucial
Planning your entire Disney World vacation may seem overwhelming but just take it day by day. This allows you to look at the best times for shortest lines and plan accordingly. It ensures you can choose where you eat and what to bring if you don’t want the added expense. Download the Disney app to track wait times for rides, manage your FastPass+ reservations, and have a map of every park handy at all times so you can enjoy your vacation easier once you’re in the park.
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