7 Awesome Tips For Doing Walt Disney World On A Budget

7. Check for special offers

One really easy way to save some extra money on your Disney vacation is to see if any special offers are available during the time you’re looking to visit. To do this, all you really need to do is take a look at the “special offers” section of the official Disney World website. Here you might come across such discounts as 20-30% off hotel rooms, ticket discounts, or free dining plans. If any of these offers appeal to you and are taking place during your visit, you can easily book a trip using those offers either online or over the phone. Just remember that multiple offers can’t be combined—even if dining is “free,” remember that you’re paying full price for a hotel room. Be sure to choose which discount is right for you, and research your dining options to see where it’s more worth saving money for your family.

6. Consider value or moderate resorts

If you’ve always stayed at deluxe resorts while visiting Walt Disney World, you might not be super excited to switch to a value or moderate resort. If you’re looking to travel on a budget however, it is so worth the switch—especially if you generally do not spend a lot of time in your hotel room. A value or moderate resort will have all of the same perks that any other Disney resort will have, for a fraction of the cost if you’re used to paying for deluxe resorts. What you’d be losing out on are things like more high end pools, table service restaurants, varied shopping and entertainment options, and in some cases the ability to walk or take monorails to the theme parks. The most important perks Disney resort guests receive however, still apply to values and moderates—complimentary transportation within the resort, complimentary transportation to and from the airport, the ability to purchase dining plans, and the option to participate in Extra Magic Hours. And the deluxe amenities (such as shopping and dining—not use of the pool) are still available to you even if you’re not staying at those specific resorts.

5. Choose the right tickets

If you’re trying to vacation at Walt Disney World on a budget, it is extremely important that you choose the right tickets. First of all, tickets are non-refundable, so do not buy more days than you think you might use. Instead, go for a smaller number of days, and know that you can add on more days at any time during your trip. In addition, do not choose the park hopper option unless you know you will definitely be park hopping. If you’re not sure about park hopping, purchasing a Magic Your Way base ticket and know that you can also upgrade your tickets to park hoppers at any time.

4. Save extra money for shopping ahead of time

When you’re on vacation, especially a Disney vacation, you really don’t want to have to strain financially to purchase souvenirs. Instead of worrying about breaking the bank while shopping in Disney, save up some extra money on Disney gift cards ahead of time. If you end up doing lots of shopping, you won’t have to use money from your own bank account, and if you don’t end up spending all of the gift cards on shopping, you can use them on dining, or even to pay off any remaining balance at your resort when you check out.

3. Never pay for water

One quick way to add some extra spending to your Disney vacation is to repeatedly buy water bottles. While it might seem tempting to just grab a cold bottle of water from a merchandise cart, remember that you can get cups of water for free from any dining location—even quick service ones. And if you’re worried about the taste of Florida tap water, don’t worry—the water served at restaurants comes out of soda machines and is actually filtered.

2. Bring your own snacks

Buying snacks throughout each day of your trip can easily put a sizeable dent into your vacation budget. To avoid this, especially if you’re traveling with kids or a larger group, consider bringing some of your own snacks. Another option for this would be to use dining plan credits for snacks that can easily be carried with you throughout the day, such as pretzels, chips, candies, and more. Check merchandise locations for items that can easily be resealed and travel with you throughout the day.

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1. Research dining options

One of the most expensive parts of a Disney vacation can easily be dining, especially when paying for a large family. As a result, it is very important to research all of the available dining options before you travel to Walt Disney World. This means researching everything from reading up on different restaurant menus and deciding whether or not the dining plan is right for your family.

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.