What’s the best way to save money on your Disney vacations? Do your research! Here you’ll find seven of the best ways you can visit the happiest place on earth without emptying out your bank account.
1. Plan your vacation during the off season
Of every possible way to save on a Disney vacations, the way to save the most money for most travelers is to visit during the off season. This includes essentially any time that most schools are in session, such as January through April (excluding holidays and Spring Break) and September through mid-December. You’ll find lower prices on everything from hotels to meals to theme park tickets.
2. Buy your park tickets before you head out on your Disney World vacation
Next to the cost of your hotel, one of the biggest costs of a Disney World vacation are the tickets themselves. We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance. Not only will this result in a lower price than you’d pay at the gate, but you won’t have to wait in line to get them. There are so many ticket options that it can be intimidating. The most affordable option is to start with base tickets for everyone. If it turns out after a day or two at the parks that you wish you had park hopper or water park access, just visit any guest relations window and they can upgrade them for you.
3. Skip the on-site hotels
There is plenty of information out there that will tell you that the best value is staying in a Disney owned hotel. It’s true that staying on-site does offer some benefits but these benefits are not worth the huge price increase you’ll pay if you stay at a Disney hotel. Consider that their hotels can cost as much as $500 per night, and start at over $100 per night. On the other hand, there are value resorts in Orlando available for less than $50 per night. Some include free shuttle service to save you further money.
4. Bring your own food
Did you know that you can bring your own food into the Disney Parks? That’s right! There are a few restrictions, like you can’t bring in a hard cooler or alcohol, but otherwise feel free to bring your own meals. One way to save money while still enjoying everything the park has to offer is to eat breakfast before heading to the parks, enjoy lunch while there by bringing in your own sandwiches and fruit, and then splurge on a dinner for the family. You still get to enjoy the magic of Disney dining but you also save a lot compared to eating every meal at the parks.
5. Rent a home instead of a hotel room
It may seem counterintuitive to rent an Orlando vacation home if you’re trying to save money but in fact it’s often more affordable than renting a hotel room. This is partially due to the fact that vacation homes can accommodate many more people, so many families can get a single vacation home when they’d have to rent several hotel rooms. These vacation homes come with incredible amenities like private pools, private hot tubs, and full kitchens outfitted with pots, pans, silver, plates, and more.
6. Stay in a hotel or resort that offers a free shuttle to and from the parks
Parking at the Disney World resorts can cost as much as $20 per day. Instead, look for hotels and resorts that offer free shuttles to and from the parks. Some Orlando vacation homes even offer free shuttles. Just be sure to check on how often the shuttles run. If they only take people to and from the parks a few times a day, you may want to hold out for an option that runs every hour or half hour.
7. Don’t rent strollers or wheelchairs at the parks
It can be much easier to rent a stroller or wheelchair at Disney World versus bringing your own from home or renting one outside of the parks. However, it will be a lot more expensive. In fact, some savvy travelers have pointed out that it’s often cheaper to rent a car during a Disney World vacation versus renting a stroller. The same thing holds true for wheelchairs. If you want to save money then you’ll want to seriously consider bringing your own.