Everyone wants to go to Disney World – but not everyone can afford it. Some of us have to save for years and finding little ways to save a lot can pay off big. Family Vacation Critic posted an interesting article on 9 Secrets to Saving Big at Disney World. We liked many of their tips and have included 5 of them below.

orlandovacation_hotel-near-disney-world1.         Stay close to the parks

Most people know if they’re going to save money they’re better off not staying at one of the Disney resorts. These hotels can cost up to $700 a night and even the “value” options aren’t a good deal for what you get. While it does pay to stay in a non-Disney hotel, you should avoid the temptation to stay as far away as possible. After all, the further away you get, the lower the prices are. The reality though is that if you have to spend an hour just getting to the parks every morning, that $20 you save won’t likely be worth it. Stick with affordable off-site resorts within 15 minutes of the park.

2.         Travel with another family

Do you have a family you’re close to that would also love to visit Disney World? If you can travel together you could save significantly! Drive and split the gas prices, rent an Orlando vacation home starting at just $99 per night that affords plenty of privacy, and take turns watching the kids so you can enjoy an adult’s only night out!

3.         Split meals

One of the biggest costs of your vacation will be meals. If you rent a vacation home you can prepare many of your meals, but you’re likely to have to buy food in the parks at some point. Consider sharing larger meals. For example, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom both have counter service restaurants with platters for just over $11 that include half a chicken, half a rack of ribs, and 2 sides. That’s plenty to share, even for several hungry vacation-goers!

4.         Stick to breakfast and lunch

If they’re going to eat just one meal in the parks, many families make the mistake of choosing dinner. There are several reasons this likely won’t pay off. First, it’s generally more expensive than breakfast and lunch, second you’ll be wasting valuable park time when lines are short, and third it will be more crowded at the restaurants you want to visit. Breakfast tends to be the most affordable, but a mid-afternoon lunch break around either 11 AM or 3 PM will allow you to get lower prices while still beating the crowds.

orlandovacation_disney-world-breakfast

5.         Set a budget and stick to it!

Much of the cost can come from last minute expenses like kids insisting on getting Mickey ears. Talk to them before the trip, let them know exactly what their budget is, and stick to it!