9 Things That Can Break Your Budget At Walt Disney World

9. Things you forgot to pack

When you travel anywhere, it’s no secret that those basic items you forgot to pack are going to be more expensive to purchase from the airport or your resort than from your local pharmacy. To avoid this scenario, create a packing list and stick to it. Even if you’ve gone through and checked items off as they’re put into the suitcase, give it one more glance over before you zip up the suitcase for good. When you arrive in Orlando, these items will cost you more to replace than you paid for them at home. And when a family of five each forgets a couple of items, this extra money can really break into the rest of your vacation budget.

8. Alcohol

One of the most expensive things to purchase on vacation is alcohol. One easy way to alleviate this cost is to purchase alcohol from outside the parks. For me personally, I don’t find this very conducive to the vacation style of Disney. If it were a beach vacation, I can totally see having a glass of wine before going out, but in Disney this just doesn’t seem to work for me. Instead, I budget my alcohol spending by getting one drink per meal (if that, I don’t necessarily even have an alcoholic drink with each meal.) Drinking any more in this, for me, just falls into the extra budget I’ve built up and plan on spending just because I’m on vacation. If I am trying to stick to a really tight budget however, alcohol is one of the first things to go.

7. Snacks

Disney snacks, even if you don’t think you really eat all that much, can add up surprisingly quickly. It won’t take long for the popcorn or pretzel each member of the family gets at least once throughout the day to add up to a pretty substantial amount over the course of the week. To help offset this cost, I generally try to share snacks with other members of my party. This way we all get to try the snacks, but we’re also saving money and no one will be full already come dinner time. Another way to offset this cost would be to bring your own snacks into the park with you.

6. Transportation

Transportation, if you do not stay at a resort or just choose not to use Disney’s complimentary transportation can be expensive and add up quickly. You might not think a cab ride from your resort to Hollywood Studios will break the bank, but it can definitely add up over the course of your vacation. I would either plan to take Disney’s transportation because it is free, and will completely alleviate any other transportation costs you’re worried about, or I would estimate how much money I’d be spending on outside transportation and factor this amount into my overall budget.

5. Expensive rooms/resorts

If you’re on a budget one really easy way to save some extra money is to consider different resorts and hotel rooms. Regardless of the resort you choose, the standard room will always be cheaper than preferred rooms, or rooms with differing views. If you know you’re not planning on spending very much time in the hotel room, it is likely not worth the extra money you’d spend on having a different view. In addition, the best way to budget a hotel room is to stay at the value resorts, or if your budget allows it a moderate.

4. Water and soda

Like snacks, continuously paying for water and soda while you’re in the parks can really add up. Water is free, if you ask for a cup of water from any quick service restaurant. And you’re better off either waiting to get soda during table service meals (where there are free refills) or purchasing soda from select quick service locations that offer free refills, instead of purchasing numerous bottles throughout the day.

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3. Shopping

Though this may seem obvious, shopping is one of the easiest ways to spend most of your budget on vacation. If you’re like me and you love to shop, there’s really no stopping this, however you can make it a little bit easier on your bank account. I usually put money aside on a Disney gift card on a weekly basis leading up to my trips to make my shopping habit a little bit easier on my wallet.

2. Dining

Dining in Disney can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Research restaurants before arriving or making dining reservations to see which options best fit your budget. This is also when you should research the dining plan to see if that option is better for you.

1. Extra’s you don’t need

By purchasing extras that you don’t need for your vacation, you’re spending money right off the bat that could have been saved for other things. When you purchase any kind of package, or upgrade tickets to a park hopper, make sure these little extras are things that you’ll definitely be using. It’s never a good idea to pay extra for something because it sounds like it would be a good deal, if you don’t think you’ll get around to getting much use out of it.

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.