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15 Creative Ways To Save Money At Walt Disney World

15. Check for special offers

One of the easiest ways to save money while booking your Walt Disney World vacation is to check for special offers on the official website before you book. These offers typically include free dining plans, percentages off the hotel room rates, and special discounts for passholders, Florida residents, and the military.

14. Buy discounted tickets

If you choose to buy discounted tickets, do so through a reputable company like Undercover Tourist. Tickets sold on eBay, or at the little tourist info booths around the Orlando area are often counterfeit or all used up, so you could end up spending money on tickets you won’t even be able to use if you take that route. While I’ve found that legitimate discounted tickets don’t actually save you all that much money, it might be something to look into if you’re paying for multiple family members or really looking to save anywhere you can.

13. Stay offsite

I would personally prefer to stay at a value resort rather than stay offsite, but this is really a matter of preference. There are instances where staying offsite can be worth it, as your hotel deal might be cheaper, or you might be able to stay with friends who live in Orlando, etc… While the benefits of staying onsite (for me) typically outweigh the price difference of staying offsite, look into other hotels around the Orlando area to see what works best for you. Just remember that staying off property, you may need to pay for transportation to the parks and/or parking, and you cannot participate in Extra Magic Hours.

12. Stay at a value resort

In most cases, I would recommend staying at a value resort over staying offsite, because even though it is a little bit more expensive, the benefits you receive as a resort guest would make it worth it. By participating in Extra Magic Hours, you’re basically getting a greater value for your park tickets, as you have more time to spend in the parks. You also receive complimentary transportation to and from the airport and theme parks, and free parking at the parks. Keep in mind, you’ll need to budget paying for overnight parking fees if staying at a Disney resort and have a car. The convenience of staying near the parks adds to the value of staying on property.

11. Use Disney Visa rewards points

If you have a Disney Visa card, you can use your points to book vacations, or to buy food or merchandise during your stay. Rather than spend these points on random shopping, you can always save them to purchase something useful during your vacation.

10. Avoid peak seasons

Peak seasons, think school vacation weeks and major holidays, are significantly more expensive times to visit Walt Disney World. If you’re flying to Orlando, airfare will be higher during the holidays. Once at Walt Disney World, you’ll be paying more for your hotel room rates, and even things like dining can be more expensive during peak seasons.

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9. Know what merchandise discounts you’re eligible for

When I worked in merchandise at Walt Disney World, I could not believe how often guests were eligible for discounts that they didn’t know of! For instance, annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members receive 10% off merchandise in the parks. There were a number of times where the guest would be ready to pay, but I would notice an annual passholder magic band, and ask if they were a passholder because they get a discount. Double check what discounts you’re eligible for, so you don’t miss out on any of them during your trip!

8. Don’t buy bottled water

One of the easiest ways to waste money at the parks is to buy bottled water. You can get filtered water for free by simply asking for a cup of water at any quick service dining location.

7. Order kids meals

Quick service restaurants will allow adults to order off the kids menu. In some cases, the kids meals are actually plenty of food for adults, and doing this occasionally can indeed save you a lot of money over the course of a vacation.

6. Split adult meals

If ordering kids meals isn’t your thing, try splitting adult meals instead (at both table service and quick service locations). Quite often, adult entrees contain enough food for two adults to share, and since you’re most likely staying in a hotel room, you won’t want leftovers that you won’t be able to eat later anyway. If you can agree on an entree, splitting meals can save you a good amount of money over ordering food you know you won’t be able to finish.

5. Bring your own stroller/wheelchair/ECV

If you don’t own a stroller/wheelchair/ECV, there are companies outside of Walt Disney World that will deliver them to your resort for a rental price for the number of days of your vacation that often works out to being cheaper than renting them from the parks each day. Of course, if you happen to have your own, bringing your own is the cheapest option.

4. Purchase the dining plan (or don’t)

The dining plan can be a great deal and save you lot of money… if you will use all of the entitlements, and use them wisely. To see if the dining plan will work for you, browse some menus and do some math to see how much you would spend out of pocket versus how much the dining plan costs. Both options can save you money if you do it right, it just takes some extra planning ahead of your trip.

3. Skip the alcohol (or soda)

In terms of dining, drinks can add up when you’re eating out for an entire week, and an easy way to cut down your restaurant bills can be to cut out alcoholic beverages or soda. (This depends on your budget– for some people cutting out alcohol and getting soda instead is a bargain, for others, water over soda might make more sense.)

2. Limit (or budget for) souvenir shopping

This tip is especially helpful if you’re visiting the parks with kids who might have a hard time controlling themselves in gift shops. One thing that some guests do is give their kids gift cards with a limited amount of money on them, and make sure they understand how the money is being spent while they’re buying things. If you’re looking to save money on the souvenirs themselves, check out one of the Disney outlets located just outside Disney property in Orlando. These stores often feature items from the parks at greatly reduced prices.

1. Put aside extra money beforehand

I think the best money saving tip for a Disney vacation is simply to save extra money beforehand. If you have some money backed up onto a Disney gift card before you arrive, you’ll be able to use the card for dining expenses, souvenir shopping, recreation, or whatever else you’ll need to spend money on before you have to dip into your wallet.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.