It's no secret that a Walt Disney World Vacation can be expensive, i know of families who spend close to $10,000 on their annual Disney family vacation (Unbelievable I know.) With some careful planning and know how, it is very possible to save thousands on your next Disney Vacation, especially for those with flexible schedules.
1)-Take advantage of all of the "Freebies" Walt Disney World has to offer: I know I know, free stuff in Walt Disney World, I must be joking right? Believe it or not, Walt Disney World has tons of free things for their guests, you just have to know where to look. You can get free cups of Ice water in every park, every quick service location would be happy to give you one, all you have to do is ask. There are also free souvenirs, free soda, even free food. Check out our Post on the Best Walt Disney World Freebies for the complete list as well as where to find them!
2)-Check The Walt Disney World Special Offers page frequently: This is one of the best ways to save Money on a Walt Disney World Vacation yet very few people ever use it. Disney is always offering Special offers through there special offers page for different family sizes, ,stay duration, time of year etc. These discounts will only be applied if you go through the special offers page or if you specifically ask about them. Another awesome thing about these special offers is that as long as you have already booked your vacation, if a special offer becomes available that would apply to you, you can apply it and get the discount, regardless of when your trip was initially booked. You can see all of the current Disney Special Offers HERE
3)-Don't eat a big lunch: Skipping Lunch everyday on vacation may sound like a terrible prospect but it is not nearly as bad as it seems, in fact it's quite the opposite. Instead of sitting down at a counter service or Quick service for lunch, pack a few snacks from your hotel and eat those in between Lunch and Dinner to hold you over. If you don't like the prospect of lugging a bag of snacks around all day, purchasing snacks in the parks is still far cheaper than a full meal.
4)-ALWAYS order large when you're on the Dining Plan: If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you can order a regular OR large fountain drink at counter service restaurants. The default is regular, so make sure to specify large. It costs nothing extra and you get much more bang for your buck.
5)-If you plan on trading pins with Cast Members, purchase them BEFORE your trip: If you plan on trading pins with cast members, we recommend purchasing as many pins as you can from eBay or Amazon before your Walt Disney World vacation. Paying $1 per pin is a lot better than the $7-$8 they charge in the parks.
6)-When in Epcot, dine outside of the park: If you don’t mind leaving the park for a little while, head out the World Showcase entrance (between UK and France) and go to the Boardwalk. There are plenty of great dining options, most of which are much cheaper than the World Showcase offerings. Click HERE to checkout all of the dining options the Boardwalk has to offer
7)-When in Epcot, take advantage of Club Cool: If you get thirsty at Epcot, Stop by Club Cool in the Innoventions building and test Coke products from around the world for FREE! Beware though, the taste of some of these coke products are less than pleasant, (We're talking to you Beverly)
8)-Request your fountain drinks without ice To make the most of your $$$: Request your fountain drinks without ice, they come out of the machine ice cold and the cups can hold twice as much of your preferred beverage without ice.
9)-Bring your own water bottle: Carry a water bottle with you, the average cost of a bottled water in the Magic Kingdom is $3 and refilling your water bottle at a fountain is free. Cast members working at quick service dining locations would are also more than happy to give you a cup of ask for your water bottle if you ask politely.
10)-Buy your ponchos before your trip to Disney World: Unless you are the luckiest person alive, it will rain/sprinkle once or twice during your trip. Throw-away ponchos at the Magic Kingdom are almost $10/each. Purchase packs of throw-away ponchos before your trip for $1 each. We always buy ours HERE from Amazon but we're sure Walmart and Target will have some for cheap as well.
11)-Use a Disney vacation planner: Disney Vacation Planners know more than most when it comes to planning a Walt Disney World and the best part about them is there services are 100% FREE!! They take all the hassle off of you when it comes to planning your vacation and they always know exactly which specials Disney is running at the time and they can almost always save you $$$ on your vacation
12)-Dont pay for Water: You can get free water at any snack stand or Counter service, just ask politely for a cup of Ice Water, the cast member will be more than happy to pour you one. There are also water fountains scattered around the parks, just keep in mind the water isn't always cold and lines sometimes form around them.
13)-Buy a Resort Refillable Mug: If you're staying in a Disney Resort, this one is a no brainer. You can get unlimited free refills at any resort and while the Initial $16 price tag may seem steep, these mugs will pay for themselves in the first day and the amount of money they will save you over the duration of your trip is well worth the initial investment.
14)-Plan your Vacation for off peak times: Planning your Disney Vacation for the slow parts of the year is one of the easiest ways to save money on a Disney Vacation. The "slow" times usually fall somewhere in January and September and not only does this mean much smaller crowds than usual, but the Resort prices and Park tickets are much cheaper as well. Undercover Tourist has a great calendar that is great to use when planning your Vacation.
15)-Plan your vacation when the dining plan is free: Another easy way to save money on you Disney Vacation is to plan your trip when the dining plan is free. This time always varies a bit but it usually falls sometime around September. The free dining plan alone can save you hundreds if not thousands depending on your length of stay
16)-Stay at a Disney Resort: While this one is hotly debated, contrary to popular belief, staying in a Disney Resort Hotel can actually save you money in the long run. Sure, when you first see the room rates it may seem like staying in a Disney Resort Hotel is going to be way more expensive than staying somewhere off-site but when you add up all extra costs of staying off site its a completely different story. Things like Hotel fees, Parking fees and rental cars are all included in the Disney Resort prices or complimentary while those are all added on top of your room rate anywhere else. Park tickets for those staying in Resort Hotels are also discounted while those staying off site have to pay higher prices for tickets. The average Full Size Rental Car for an 8 day stay in Orlando costs around $1000. Throw in daily parking fees at both your hotel and the parks and you may actually end up spending more than you would at a Disney Resort.
Many of the well known hotel chains are comparable to the Disney Resorts in price so you might as well take advantage of the perks of staying on Disney Property.
17)-Skip the Park Hop option: Unless you only have a day or two to do all of Walt Disney World, the park hop option is not necessary. With some careful planning beforehand, very rarely will you find yourself wishing you had the park hopper and the extra $60 per person per ticket goes a long way.
18)-Kids under 3 don't need a ticket: A lot of people don't know this as it is not widely advertised but kids under 3 Don't need a ticket to enter any of the parks. Kids under 3 also don't need a Fastpass to enter the Fastpass+ Line.
19)-Get a Disney Premier Visa Card: For those that are eligible for this card, there is probably no better way to save money on your next Disney Vacation. not only do you recieve 2% Disney rewards cash on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations that are redeemable at any Disney location, you also get other great perks such as 10% savings on any Shopping and Dining purchase at Disney World, Special vacation financing and more! You can check out the complete details for this card HERE
20)-Split one meal between 2 people: If you're like me and eat like a Ravenous pack of Wolves than this one may not apply to you but for those of you that don't, sharing a plate between two people is a great way to save some money on your Disney vacation. Staff at restaurants are more than happy to split a meal in two for you as long as you ask politely.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on on your next vacation or to make the most of your time, read our Tips for Saving Money and Time at Walt Disney World post. Our Fundamental Walt Disney World Packing List post takes a unique look at clever items to pack and has a printable PDF. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Resource Guides will help.
For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
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