1. Look for Special Offers
When booking your Disney resort hotel room, be sure to check out which special offers are available. You can sometimes find deals through third-party travel sites, and special offers are also noted on Disney’s website while making resort reservations. If you find a deal after you’ve already booked, contact Disney directly to have the discount applied.
2. Save Money on Gift Cards
One piece of planning that can make the price tag of a Disney trip less painful is to save money ahead of time on Disney gift cards. By doing this, you won’t really be able to spend the money before your trip, and you can use the cards to pay off everything from a balance on your hotel room to snacks in the parks. You can sometimes event find deals on Disney gift cards at grocery stores and department stores!
3. Set a Budget for the Kids
Another great use for a Disney gift card is to give one to each of the kids to control their spending. With no limits put in place, it is easy to be carried away spending money every time the kids walk through a gift shop. Allotting a set amount to each child’s gift card can allow them to purchase some souvenirs they want without going too crazy.
4. Bring Your Own Food
Some guests are actually not aware that you can bring your own food into Disney parks. If paying for multiple meals throughout the day is causing you financial stress, plan on packing lunches for the day. Ordering from a grocery delivery service or stopping to pick up food before going to your hotel should save you money over eating out all week in the parks.
5. Never Pay for Water
Water is free when you ask for a cup of water at a quick service restaurant– which means if you are trying to save money you should avoid shelling out $3/bottle for bottled water all day, and you should also avoid the hassle of carrying store-bought bottles around in the parks.
6. Save Soda for When Free Refills are Available
To stretch the value of your soda consumption, drink water throughout the day and save the soda orders for table service restaurants when you will have free refills, or for the select quick service locations that offer them (resort quick service spots, Restaurantosaurus or Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom, Electric Umbrella in Epcot, or Backlot Express in Hollywood Studios).
7. Skip Alcoholic Beverages
Ordering alcoholic drinks can add up quickly, especially when paying for an entire family at table service meals. If you do some grocery shopping before you go to your resort, pick up some drinks you can enjoy by the pool. And if you do decide to drink in the parks, get a better value for your money by trying drinks you can’t have at home. (If you are going to drink Bud Light all week, you’re much better off buying it at a grocery store than in the parks!)
8. Purchase Magic Your Way Base Tickets
Park Hopper tickets may seem like a nice convenience, but that is what they are– a convenience. They are by no means necessary for enjoying a visit to the parks, and especially when paying for multiple family members you can save a lot of money by purchasing base tickets instead. Plus, if you do decide later that you want Park Hoppers, you can always pay the difference to upgrade while you’re in the parks.
9. Use Disney Transportation
If you are staying at a Disney resort (or traveling between theme parks) use Disney’s free transportation. Complimentary transportation for resort guests is not only offered between the parks, but also to and from the Orlando International Airport, which can save your family a lot on cab fees or rental car prices.
10. Stay Off Property or at a Disney Value Resort
Staying off property is the cheapest alternative in terms of a resort room, however you would lose out on the free transportation to and from the airport, and you may lose out on transportation to the parks. (Some off property resorts have shuttles, but they may be inefficient compared to Disney transportation). Additionally you would not be able to participate in Extra Magic Hours, which you may view as a way to get a greater value for your park ticket. If you feel these costs would outweigh the cost of a cheaper room, stay at a Disney value resort, if not, stay at a cheaper hotel nearby.