Despite constantly being reminded of how expensive of a vacation a trip to Walt Disney World is, I really do feel this is one vacation that you can often book with a reasonable budget in mind. Whether you’re looking to make your next trip as cheap as possible, or you’re just looking to downgrade your typical deluxe experience to a moderate, the following list includes my ideas to help plan your next trip with a strict budget in mind.
8: Check for special offers
Before you book your next Walt Disney World vacation (or after you book if you’ve booked more than two seasons in advance) check for deals on the official Disney website. From the homepage, scroll down to the bottom and click on the “special offers” link. From there, you will find all of the discounts that may be available during your trip. Guests who have already booked can still take advantage of the special offers by changing their current reservation either on the website or over the phone.
7: Visit during the off season
Visiting Walt Disney World during the off season can sometimes be difficult due to school or work limitations, however if you are able to vacation during those times, you will save a decent amount of money on your trip. Even if you cannot vacation during the slowest times of the year, avoiding school vacation weeks and major holidays will still be helpful.
6: Opt for a standard hotel room
When booking a Disney vacation on a budget, one of the easiest ways to save money is to choose the standard room option. If this is possible (depending on the size of your party) it will definitely save you some money over the course of your vacation, even regardless of whichever resort tier you choose.
5: Pay for your vacation weekly/monthly
Financing your trip can be a great option for guests traveling on a tight budget, and thankfully you don’t even need to open a credit card to do it. You can make payments through your “My Disney Experience” account if you’ve booked a package. If you have a room only reservation you can still finance your trip by putting money aside on Disney gift cards that can be used to pay off your balance when you check in at your resort.
4: Get the right tickets
When booking a Walt Disney World vacation, it’s really important to make sure you purchase the tickets that will work best for you. Buying the wrong tickets could end up costing you more money. Make sure you will use all of the options and add ons on the tickets that you decide to purchase, and only buy them from authorized Disney ticket sellers.
3: Decide how to pay for dining
The Disney Dining Plan can really cut down the amount of money you’d be spending on food– assuming that you’ll eat enough to make the cost of the plan itself worth it. To figure out if the dining plan is worth it for you, look at the menus for restaurants you plan on eating at and compare those costs with the costs of the plan. To save even more money, look into the quick service dining plan, or simply paying out of pocket and eating at the more affordable restaurants, or eating outside the parks.
2: Don’t pay for transportation
Disney resort guests are able to take advantage of free transportation via monorail, skyliner, bus, and boat all over the resort (and even between the Orlando International Airport and their individual Disney resorts.) If you have no vehicle at Disney, you should never find yourself paying extra for transportation unless you decide to Uber or use the Minnie Van Service. There’s no real use in paying extra for transportation, as you’d be missing out on one of the major perks of staying at a Walt Disney World resort, and it would end up costing you more money in the long run. Keep in mind however that if you have a vehicle overnight at your Disney resort, you will be charged a nightly fee (with some exceptions such as being a DVC member and staying at a DVC resort).
1: Stay at a value resort
Choosing to stay at a value resort (or moderate if your budget allows for it) is one of the easiest ways to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation. While offsite resorts can be cheaper than the value resorts, I still recommend choosing a Disney value resort for a couple of reasons– one being the transportation to and from the parks as well as the airport. The other reason I always recommend staying on property is that only Disney resort guests can participate in Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours allow Disney resort guests to enjoy the parks either before they open or after they close to the general public.