5 Ways To Waste And Save Money At Walt Disney World

It is no surprise that Walt Disney World can be quite the expensive vacation. While this is obviously true, it does not necessarily need to be the case. Read on to learn five ways you might currently be wasting money on your trips, and five ways you can start saving!


5 Ways to WASTE Money:

  • Staying offsite: Staying off Disney property might sound like a good idea, because outwardly it appears to be cheaper, and therefore a better deal than staying on Disney property. If staying off property to save money sounds like a good idea to you, consider staying in a Disney value resort. Non-Disney resorts do not always include transportation to the parks, and if they do it might be in the form of a shuttle that only goes to certain places at certain times. (Disney resorts not only include complimentary transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort, but also to and from the Orlando International Airport). Disney resort guests are also entitled to Extra Magic Hours, and complimentary Magic Bands with their resort stay, advanced FastPass selections, in addition to being surrounded by the Disney magic for their entire trip. Because of these benefits, I would argue that staying at a Disney resort is a much better value than staying offsite.
  • Buying water and soda bottle: Buying While buying water and soda bottles here and there might not sound like a lot of money, it can really add up over the course of a trip, especially when you’re paying for multiple family members. It can be tempting to grab a bottle of coke when it is hot out and you happen to be walking by a merchandise cart stocked with drinks, however the better value is to drink water throughout the day, and order soda during table service meals when you get free refills. If you need other drinks, simply ask for a cup of water for free from any quick service restaurant.
  • Paying for transportation: If you brought your own car, or have already worked a rental car into your budget, then this point might not quite apply to you. However, if you don’t have a car to use, and are planning on taking a cab or Uber in between park visits, know that you can actually use complimentary transportation as a Disney resort guest. Sure, a cab or Uber might be cheaper on occasion, but it’s generally not worth paying for something you can just as easily get for free.
  • Ordering more food than you can possibly eat: To some extent, I find this understandable as there is nothing wrong with wanting to splurge and try different things while you’re on vacation. The problem with this would be if you and someone else in your party order the same exact thing, knowing you most likely won’t finish it. Many meals in Walt Disney World can easily be shared among two adults. Another way to save some money on meals if you’re not going to eat a lot is to order a kids meal at quick service restaurants.
  • Not getting use out of your tickets: When you buy Disney tickets, it can be tempting to purchase whatever option sounds the most enticing, however you should definitely make sure you’re going to use whatever tickets you do buy. Disney tickets are not cheap, so if you aren’t sure that you’re going to use that park hopper option, then hold off on purchasing it. You can always upgrade your tickets at any time, so it’s best to purchase the more basic options until you know for sure that you’ll use anything extra. Likewise, save park tickets for days when you’ll be spending a lot of time in the parks. If you plan on leaving a park at 1:00 in the afternoon, and know you’ll be spending the evening at Disney Springs, it might be better to make that morning a pool day, and visit the park another time when you can stay longer.


5 Ways to SAVE Money:

  • Check for special offers: When booking a Disney vacation, always be sure to check the special offers page on the official Walt Disney World website. This page will show you all of the discounts available throughout the year, usually in the form of a percentage off the nightly rate at a resort, or free dining promotions. It might also be helpful to book a trip through AAA, or at least purchase park tickets there, or from an authorized discounted ticket seller like Undercover Tourist.
  • Use the dining plan wisely: If you decide to purchase the Disney Dining Plan, follow these easy tips to get the most value out of it. Ordering the more expensive items, or dining at more expensive restaurants that still only cost one credit on the plan will increase the plan’s overall value. Another way to get a lot for your money on the plan is to order more expensive snacks, as anything under $4.99 typically counts as a snack on the plan. Save your two credit meals, and inexpensive snacks for when you want to pay out of pocket, and you should be good to go!
  • Stay below your budget: While I do recommend staying on Disney property, you do not necessarily need to be staying at the Grand Floridian. Even if you can comfortably afford to stay at a deluxe resort, I would not generally suggest it unless you are celebrating a very special occasion such as a wedding or engagement, or you are planning on spending a lot of time at the resort. If you think the most time you’ll spend at your resort will be when you’re sleeping and showering, your best bet is go to with a value or moderate instead, as it is not worth the extra money to stay in a hotel you’ll never be in. Also keep in mind, overnight parking for resort guests costs more at a deluxe resorts per night than what you’d spend at a value resort.
  • Don’t shop while on vacation: If funds are tight, do not buy souvenirs while you’re visiting the parks. I know being told not to buy things on vacation can kind of be a downer, but thankfully Disney has a great solution for this problem—the Shop Disney Parks app. Most of the items you’ll see for sale in the parks are available on the app, so if you’re still thinking about something you didn’t buy during the trip once you’re home, you will more than likely still be able to order it.
  • Do your research: The easiest way to save money on a Disney trip is simply to do your research. Without looking at the dining plan ahead of time for instance, you may not be able to tell if it’s a better value for you to purchase the plan or not. Likewise, even without the dining plan, you might end up at restaurants that are way over your budget, or get those add-ons for park tickets that you’ll never actually use. A little bit of research can definitely go a long way in saving money on your next Disney vacation!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."