Bring your own food! Food is one of our favorite parts of the Walt Disney World experience, but it can also add a lot of expense. Disney allows visitors to carry food into the park as long as it does not require heating. Bringing in your own snacks is a great way to cut down on costs, as snacks in the parks can be pricey. Having snacks to nosh on throughout the day will also make sure that everyone in your party keeps their blood sugar up and will help to avoid meltdowns! If you are really looking to save money, you can even bring in sandwiches and fruit for lunch.
9. Drink water
Cutting out soft drinks is a great way to save money in the parks. Opting for water is a healthier choice that will also keep some extra cash in your pocket. Bring a water bottle and fill up at the water fountains that are prevalent throughout the parks. You can also get free ice water at any of the quick service restaurants throughout the park to have with your meal.
8. Stay at a value resort
One of the major expenses on a Disney Vacation is lodging. With Disney’s Deluxe resorts costing upwards of $300 a night (and often much more!), it’s no wonder some people think a Disney vacation is out of reach. Luckily, there are several resorts on property with much lower rates. Disney’s value resorts (The All Star resorts, Pop Century, and Art of Animation) have the lowest rates on property, but still offer the benefits of staying on property.
7. Camp at Fort Wilderness
If your family enjoys the great outdoors, then you will have a blast saving money by staying at the Campground at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. With tent and pop-up camper sites usually running between $50 and $100 a night (at the time of writing), this is the cheapest way to stay on property at Walt Disney World. In addition to being located in a beautiful forest, Fort Wilderness offers great entertainment and activities for the whole family.
6. Avoid the souvenirs
The Disney parks are teeming with tempting retail purchases, but the budget visitor knows to avoid them. If you (or your kids!) have your heart set on taking home a memento, set a budget ahead of time for these purchases.
5. Skip memory maker
Memory Maker, which allows you to get digital copies of all of your theme park photos, is a great addition to any Disney vacation. It is also an expense that can easily be avoided if you’re on a budget. The Disney photographers around the park will also take photos for you with your own camera, so you can get the same shots without the cost!
4. Spend a day or two outside of the parks
One way to cut down on costs is to spend a few less days at the parks. While the theme parks are what draws most people to Disney, you can have plenty of fun outside of the parks as well. All Disney resorts, and many other resorts in the area, have great pools where you can easily spend a half day, full day, or more. If you are staying on property, you can take advantage of free movie and campfire nights at a few of the resorts and the Electrical Water Pageant and Happily Ever After fireworks can be viewed from outside of the Magic Kingdom. Taking a day or two off from the parks won’t just save you money, it will also give you some much needed rest and give you more energy for enjoying your in-the-park days!
3. Skip the rental car
If you stay on Disney property, you definitely won’t need to spend money on a rental car. Disney’s Magical Express can take you to and from the airport, and Disney’s transportation system will take care of all your travel to and from the parks. This is an important consideration when deciding whether or not to stay on property. Most off-property hotels offer limited transportation to the parks at best, so you are often better off spending a little more to stay on property.
2. Visit at a less expensive time of year
While theme park ticket prices don’t change throughout the year, resort prices do. Even Disney’s value resorts can double in price during the busiest times of year. If you have the flexibility, choose a time to visit when prices are lowest. Not only will you save money, you will also have a more pleasant park experience with lighter crowds!
1. Earn points or miles with your vacation spending
Even if you pinch your pennies on a Disney vacation, you will still be spending money. So why not have make the money work for you? Make sure to run all of your vacation expenses (including airfare and hotel) through a credit card that earns points or miles. While you will not be able to use them on this vacation, saving money later in the year will help offset your vacation costs. There are several cards that offer large bonuses if you spend a few thousand dollars in the first few months. Sign up for one of these cards and activate it before your trip so you can earn bonus miles on top of your vacation spending!