Top 5 ways to Save Money on your Disney Vacation

by Tina on June 11, 2015

in family, Travel, Travel Files, USA

Walt Disney 2015-10

There’s no doubt about it, a trip to Disney World is magical for the whole family, but one thing that can be overwhelming is the cost of this magical vacation.  Rarely do we associate the word frugal with Disney World since it’s the kind of place that makes you forget you ever had a budget.  Disney has a way of bringing out the kid in all of us and it’s too easy to just throw reason to the wind and spend the kid’s college and wedding fund buying balloons, souvenirs, turkey legs, and character dinners all in just a few days.

Here are our top 5 ways to save money on your Disney vacation (and hopefully leave the college and wedding funds in place.)

1. Use the Disney Chase Card throughout the year.  The Disney rewards card by Chase is a great way to earn money for your vacation while doing your normal spending.  Of course credit cards can be dangerous, but if you exercise restraint and discipline, you can rack up great rewards to be used on your upcoming vacation.

2. Stay off Season. Disney changes their hotel prices throughout the year based on four different rate ranges: value, regular, peak and holiday.  Peak seasons include school breaks, summer, and holidays.  (The prices at Christmas time are among the highest!)   There are a lot of websites out there that can show you when the value, regular, peak and holiday seasons are exactly and sites like WDW Prep School even show you which days of the year are the lowest and highest crowd levels.

3. Stay off Property. We’ve stayed at off-property resorts as well as on-property resorts and to be honest…staying on the Disney property is pretty epic.  There are definite advantages to staying on property such as free transportation to all Disney properties, extra magical hours, locations extremely close to the theme parks and a continuation of the immersive experience.  While all of this is amazing, it also comes with a price.  If the choice is to stay off property or don’t go, always choose off property.  There are so many options for excellent off property stays and many offer amazing experiences with significant savings.  Our favorite site for booking hotels is Booking.com and Expedia.  (There is even an option of booking a private home through these sites!)

4. Give the kids a budget. Our kids love having some responsibility and control over money.  Prior to arrival in the parks determine an amount that each child can spend on extras such as snacks and souvenirs.  The easiest way to control this is with a Disney gift card.  Load up the gift card with their budget and off they go.  With each purchase they can see how much they have left and it’s a great opportunity for them to exercise some self control and hopefully avoid the “I’m-at-the-happiest-place-on-earth-and-I-want-everything-they-sell” melt-down that you see and hear so much of in the parks.

5. Bring your own food and drinks to the parks.  Yes, you can do this.  Now before you load up the grill and all the trimmings realize that whatever you bring has to be carried all day. It’s also Florida and it’s almost always hot so your home made sushi will be well cooked by the time you get to it.  With this in mind you can save quite a bit by bringing water bottles (avoid the sodas to save money and help avoid dehydration), non-perishable sandwiches and other snacks.

Of course there are many other ways to save money on your Disney World vacation.  We would love to hear some of your ideas on saving money both before and during your Disney vacation.  Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ania @ the new diplomats wife June 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

I’ve only been to Disney once with kids – I had a work conference there and actually took my daughter. She was 18 months old at the time so not quite a candidate for the park to make going inside worth it but I had a few lists of top free things to do at Disney that I brought with me and I have to say it made me discover it in an entirely different way, and she still loved it in a way that was perfect for her age.

Love the idea of a gift card to teach about budget – that sounds perfect to helping kids balance a bit of indulgence – it is Disney after all -with some restraints as I imagine it can get so expensive so quickly.

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