Top 10 Secrets to a Cheap Trip to Disney

Cinderella's Castle
Credit: D23

Taking a trip to Disney can require a lot of planning, spending, and saving if you’re doing it right! Your Disney vacation should be nothing short of Mickey bars, popcorn, and pixie dust, eliminating any stress that comes along with planning the perfect trip. You don’t need a travel agent, or an authorized Disney vacation planner to have the best-planned Disney trip. With these ten tips, you can save in plenty of ways.

There is a certain kind of magic in staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort. Getting to experience all the theme Parks like Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and even the water parks like Blizzard Beach. At Disney World, there are so many resort options, to make your vacation fit your budget. These tips will help your Disney experience feel easy, regardless of your Disney destination.

Bring a Backpack:

Disney allows you to bring some belongings into the Park, so take advantage of the potential savings! A backpack that’s comfy and not too large or bulky can help you save on food and refreshments. Bring a reusable water bottle for ride lines and some snacks while you’re walking the parks. If you are visiting Disney Water Park, like Typhoon Lagoon, you can keep your belongings in a locker yet access it whenever you need a sip or a snack.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary Merchandise Collection

Credit: Walt Disney World News

Hotel With Free Breakfast and Snacks:

If your hotel offers free or a discounted breakfast with your stay, start the day off with your most important meal! Typically, hotels will have things you can grab to go, like fruit, granola bars, yogurt, etc. Take some in your backpack and be on your way with a full belly ready to conquer the day!

Hotel Stays With a Kitchen:

A kitchen in your hotel is useful for prepping your own meals to save. If you are driving, you can even bring your own groceries from home in a cooler instead of repurchasing things like condiments or anything you already have. Make some breakfast at home and pack some sandwiches and snacks for the day ahead. This way, you only spend on fun stuff like a Mickey ice cream bar! Yum!

Happy Hour Spots With Half-Priced Appetizers:

If you’re not spending a full day in the Park or exploring Disney Springs late at night, some restaurants offer half-off appetizers during their social hour. If you are looking for a family-friendly option, Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar is a great option, with live music only a few steps away.

Disney Springs Sign

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Best Happy Hour Spots in Disney Springs

Park Tickets:

Looking for your next staycation?” Disney created new specials for Florida and California residents, so jump on them if they apply! They also offer deals throughout the year for the military, teachers, and students as well. Currently, Disney is running a special through September for discounted tickets. If your dates are flexible, your savings can also be!

RELATED: Disney Surprises With New Theme Park Ticket Deal 

Disney Dining Plan:

Disney dining plans are back in 2024, with two options, allowing you to save on dining. The first option is quick service only, with the second option including sit-down dining. Depending on your party and your intentions for your trip, either plan makes a great option to save on dining in Disney. By purchasing a vacation package, you can also add the dining plan to your tickets and Resort stay. Arriving on January 9, 2024, you can enjoy these “delicious prepaid meal options.”

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Credit: Walt Disney World News

RELATED: Disney Dining Plan Returning to Disney World 

Gift Cards:

This is one of my favorite secret tips. First off, buying Disney gift cards at places like Bjs gives you more bang for your buck, with an average of a 4% discount. Secondly, purchasing gift cards before your trip and solely using them will keep you on a budget instead of swiping your card or your magic band. You can have one for merchandise, food, splurging, etc if you’re really sticking to a budget. These cards are accepted in Disney Parks, Disney Springs, and Disney Resorts.

Free Transportation:

There are so many free options to get around Disney. You can take the shuttle at your hotel to and from the parks, as well as Disney Springs, for free! It can cost a fee to Park at the Parks, so if it’s already included in your stay might as well! Plus, the drop-offs are often closer to the entrance than parking lots, which is nice after a long day of walking. All of the Disney Resorts offer complimentary shuttles to the theme parks. All resorts from deluxe resorts like the Grand Floridian, to Disney value resorts, even Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, have various transportation options.

Disney Monorail

Credit: D23

RELATED: The Monorail Trick Disney Doesn’t Want You to Know

Save on Toiletries:

If you’re like me, you’re running around last minute to pack up all your necessities. Instead of spending on mini shampoo, conditioner, and soap, utilize those provided to you in your hotel. Many offer small sewing kits, shower caps, hand soap, lotion, and mouthwash, all already provided in your room. Otherwise, purchasing reusable containers and filling them with what you already have at home will cut down your preparation for travel. If you are staying at a Disney Resort, from Disney value Resort to Disney deluxe Resort, you can find all of your toiletries needs right in your room.

When to Book and How:

Disney offers bundled deals, including your hotel, flight, and Park tickets. You can also do the same with JetBlue vacations which can even include a car rental. Some packages during certain times of the year can be cheaper than booking all separately. If you have flexibility in your schedule, playing with your dates and where you choose to stay can make a world of difference in price! Additionally, if you book using your Disney Credit Card or decide to open one, you can receive up to 5% on Disney purchases and redeem your reward dollars on a Disney vacation. 

How will you save for your next Disney vacation?

About Sarahfina LoFaso

Sarahfina is an author, and adjunct professor with a passion for writing and of course, all things Disney! Cinderella is her favorite princess and movie, both the animated and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1997 version. In close second place is Hercules, tied with Saving Mr. Banks. Sarahfina enjoys writing about the history of Walt Disney and all the parks, along with food, dining, and resorts. Her favorite ride is the Tower of Terror, and her favorite restaurant right now is the San Angel Inn, in EPCOT. Most importantly, her must-have snack every Disney trip is the controversial turkey leg, because it reminds her of her family trips as a kid with her grandparents.