Inside: Learn how to do Disney on a budget with these money-saving Disney World tips that will have you staying within budget for your Disney vacation and feel like you are splurging!
How to do Disney on a budget is something I often get asked by friends and family because I’m a self-confessed Disney mama! I love all things Disney, and so do my kids.
I love the fun, the magic, and the joy that Disney brings to adults and children alike. And since we are annual pass holders, we tend to frequent the parks a reasonable amount.
Since Disney World opened in 1965, families have been traveling from all over the world to spend time at Disney. Visiting their favorite Disney characters, seek the thrills of rollercoasters and enjoy a much-needed family vacation.
Disney World greets 56,000 visitors through its gates each day. That’s a staggering 20 million visitors a year!
The Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the entire world, and for a good reason!
When it comes to Disney tips, I’m your mama! If you’ve been wondering how to do Disney on a budget, you’ve come to the right place. Hold on tight because I’m about to share with you some of the best money-saving Disney World tips!
How To Save Money At Disney World
There are plenty of ways to save money at Disney World while visiting the parks and staying in the hotels.
As a large, one-income family, I completely understand the need for money-saving hacks. Especially when it comes to vacationing at Disney World.
Rent Disney Vacation Club Points
One way to potentially save a significant amount on your Disney World vacation is by renting Disney Vacation Club points. You can rent Disney Vacation Club points as a way to stay in luxury villas without the crazy price tag.
Not only are you able to stay on property close to the parks, but the following onsite perks are also included.
Fastpasses can be scheduled 60 days out versus 30 days when staying off property, access to the Disney Magical Express, and Extra Magic Hours all without paying Disney prices.
When researching DVC points for your vacation, make sure you find a reputable company to serve as your broker. There are two reputable companies I recommend when renting DVC points are the DVC Rental Store and David’s Vacation Club Rental.
Compare Travel Deal Websites
The power of shopping around when it comes to booking your magical Disney stay should not be overlooked. Sometimes it’s cheapest to book direct with Disney, but other times, you’ll find great deals on third party websites.
Stay On-Property At Disney Value Resorts
Value resorts at Disney World can make for just as good a time as the Disney resorts. If you’re going to be spending most of your time in the parks; and not in the hotel or resort, then there’s no reason you can’t save some money by choosing budget-friendly accommodation.
You could potentially save even more money by camping at Fort Wilderness.
Take Advantage Of Disney Promotions
This might seem like a no brainer… But book your Disney World vacation during the deal season. Disney World typically almost always has deals on that will help you save on your stay. The best place to check for these is the Walt Disney World offers page.
Be sure to price out special offers like free dining. Sometimes skipping the free dining offer prices your vacation at a lower price.
Stay Off Disney Property
There are many benefits to staying on property, but there can be some significant cost savings from staying off Disney property too. If you have a rental car, you have many options available to you. If you forgo the rental car, there are some still options available to you close to Disney World property offering shuttles to the parks.
As a large family, we have found substantial savings from renting a house from Airbnb. On our last Disney vacation, we rented a four-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a full kitchen and a pool. Our five-night stay broke down to $147 a day after all taxes and fees.
Plan A No-Park Day
Planning a no park day can help you save money at Disney World, especially if you’re going to get park hopper. Doing four parks in three days is a lot easier than you might think.
There’s plenty you can do with a day away from the parks. Your family might enjoy mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens, walking along the Boardwalk, shopping at Disney Springs, or lounging pool-side.
Discounted Disney Tickets
Unfortunately, the price of Disney World tickets will only go up. Although Disney World tickets now have expiration dates, it still makes sense to buy your tickets in advance, just in case the does price goes up.
If you don’t purchase your tickets from Disney via a package, Undercover Tourist offers discounted tickets for all of the Orlando area attractions. I can personally vouch for their legitimacy as I have order tickets from them several times.
If you think you might visit Disney World multiple times in a year, consider getting an Annual Pass. Definitely, do a price check to see if an annual pass will save you money on your Disney tips in the long run.
More Money-Saving Disney World Tips
Save On Flights
If you’re flying to Disney World, book your flights with points or miles to bring your travel expenses down. If you don’t have points or miles to redeem, choose a budget airline for what’s going to be a relatively short flight.
Additional Ways To Save On U.S. Flights
● The best time to book your flight is 3 pm EST on a Tuesday.
● Book your flights between 3 months to 30 days in advance.
● Compare Airlines
● Flying on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday tends to be cheaper, with Friday and Sunday being the most expensive.
Drive Don’t Fly
As a family of six, our vacations are always planned around the places we can drive. Purchasing six plane tickets can bust our vacation budget in a heartbeat. If you have the ability and can handle the road trip it can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Limit or Avoid Sit-Down Dinners
We all want to eat at restaurants like Crystal Palace, Be Our Guest and Sci-Fi Diner when on a Disney vacation, but that also comes with the Disney price tag. The cheapest time to eat at these restaurants will be breakfast or lunch, not dinner. There’s no reason you can’t dine at these restaurants on a budget. You just need to be strategic about it.
If you are an annual pass holder, DVC member, or a Florida Resident, consider purchasing a Tables in Wonderland card. Members receive 20% off on food and beverage (including alcohol) at over 100 participating restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Bring Your Own Water And Snacks
Disney is one of the few Amusement Parks that allow you to bring in food and drinks. Trecking around Disney World can be thirsty work and buying bottle after bottle of water soon adds up. Instead of buying $4 bottled water, you can get free cups of water from any Disney quick service location around the park.
It’s a small money-saving Disney World tip, but it goes a long way. Another alternative is to bring your own refillable bottle. The Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle comes in an assortment of colors and great for traveling, just make sure you fully “pre-condition” the bottle before using.
Eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks at the Parks can really break the bank. We like to bring in snacks like chips or pretzels or bring our refillable popcorn bucket to keep the kids from becoming hangry and keep our wallets happy. We pack a small backpack cooler, which we keep at the bottom of the stroller with all our goodies.
If you don’t have a car to shop for those snacks and drinks, order your groceries to be delivered to your hotel with Amazon Prime Now. You can have water bottles, juice boxes, diapers, you name it, conveniently delivered.
Don’t overlook using the mini-fridge and resort microwave. I’m not suggesting you opt for feeding your family with microwave meals at Disney World. But reheated leftovers, or eating breakfast in your room are a great way to save money when staying at Disney World. Store leftovers from lunch or dinner in the fridge and use the resort microwave to reheat them when needed.
Take Your Own Pictures
While the Disney Memory Maker is a beautiful keepsake, it’s an expensive one. Disney photographers will take photos for you using your own camera if you ask them too. Yes, their camera might be better quality than yours, but you’ll still get professional-looking snaps without the professional price tag.
Disney Gift Cards
A great way to save money at Disney World is to buy discounted Disney gift cards or earn free Disney gift cards. Free or discounted Disney cards have saved my family hundreds of dollars on our Disney vacations.
You can purchase discounted Disney gift cards from Costco, Sam’s Club, and Target. You can also use Raise to buy discount gift cards for the stores above for an even better discount. Amy at Ways to Save for Disney has a Facebook group where she explains how to save the most when purchasing discount Disney gift cards.
You can also earn free Disney gift cards with apps like Shopkick and Swagbucks. With these two apps, you can earn points for completing tasks like scanning products in stores, submitting receipts, or completing surveys. When you earn enough points you cash in for Disney gift cards. This route might take a little longer, but if you have time, who doesn’t love free money?
Related: The Best Time to Visit Disney World
Final Thoughts On How to Do Disney On A Budget
How to do Disney on a budget is the question on every mama’s lips. Nothing beats the magic of Disney… But it’s not without the expensive price tag. If you have a larger family (like me), any money-saving tips count when it comes to vacations and day trips.
Disney is an unmissable experience for any family. If you want to have a memorable Disney World experience and save money at the same time, to quote Disney’s Mulan, “Believe you can, then you will.”
When it comes to Disney, there’s no negotiating the price on some things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be savvy with your money everywhere else. The secret to ‘planning Disney on a budget’ isn’t as mysterious as you might think. All these Disney tips simply require some forward-thinking and planning before you set sail for the Magic Kingdom.
PS – You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Have an enchanted Disney World vacation!
If you have any additional money-saving Disney World tips that will help other mamas do Disney on a budget I would love for you to share them below!