Disney vacations are quite pricey. When you add up the costs of the tickets, accommodation, food, and airfare, you’ll be looking at thousands of dollars. There are, however, methods to cut costs on your Disney visit. Here are 20 money-saving ideas for your Disney vacation.
20 Money Savings Ideas for Your Disney Vacation
1. Buy Discounted Theme Park tickets
Theme park tickets at Disney are not cheap. They start at $109 per person and go up dramatically during peak season. If you are a AAA member, you can get reduced Disney tickets on the AAA website. However, do some price checking before purchasing your tickets, since rates often fluctuate.
2. Save 5% on Disney Gift Cards
If you buy Disney gift cards from Target, you can save 5%. If you pay for the gift cards with your Target credit card, you’ll get a 5% discount. The Disney gift card can then be used to purchase theme park tickets and to pay for your Disney hotel. You can also use the gift card to purchase gifts, souvenirs, and meals at the theme parks. It’s essentially a 5% discount on your Disney visit!
If you don’t already have a Target credit card, it might be worth obtaining one solely to take advantage of the 5% Disney vacation discount. If not, other merchants such as Costco and Sam’s Club may have reduced Disney Gift Cards.
3. Stay at an off-property hotel with a free shuttle to the parks
Compare the rates of on-property vs off-property hotels while booking accommodations for your Disney vacation. Disney’s Good Neighbor hotels are off-property hotels. These hotels are located in or near Disney and are frequently less expensive than Disney-owned hotels.
Shuttles to the theme parks are available at Disney’s Good Neighbor hotels. Because you won’t need to rent a car, the complimentary shuttle will save you money. You’ll also save money on parking.
Furthermore, some of these off-property hotels are affiliated with major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton. You can pay for your accommodation with your reward points.
At these large chain hotels, you can also earn reward points. If you have hotel status, you can take advantage of free upgrades and breakfast!
4. Stay at an off-property hotel with a free shuttle to parks and free breakfast
Free breakfast will save you a lot of money, especially if you are traveling as a family.
Make sure you stay at an off-property hotel with a free shuttle to the parks, if not, the expense of car rental will outweigh any savings from the free breakfast.
5. Order Grocery Delivery
Ordering grocery delivery can help you save money. Don’t waste your money on costly snacks and beverages from the hotel gift store. By having groceries delivered to your hotel, you will save money. Keep the perishables in the mini-fridge. The theme parks allow you to bring your own snacks and beverages.
6. Make Your Own Breakfast
Make your own breakfast in your hotel room to save money. You can also save money on coffee by using the coffee maker in your hotel room. Here are some breakfast ideas:
- granola bars
- cheese sticks
- deli meat
7. Pack Lunch to Bring to the Theme Parks
Save money by bringing your own lunch. Disney allows outside food and beverages. There are some restrictions though. You can’t bring food that requires
You are also not allowed to bring glass containers, alcoholic beverages, food with pungent order, straws and coolers can’t be larger than 24 inches long, 15 inches wide and 18 inches high.
Some food ideas that you can bring to Disney for lunch are:
- cold sandwiches (bagel w/cream cheese, pbj or sunbutter sandwich)
- granola bars
- juice boxes/sodas
- fruits(such as apples, bananas)
- muffins and cookies
8. Don’t do Character Dinner
Save money by skipping Character Dinners. Character dinners are not cheap. Do a character breakfast instead of dinner. Your children will have a similar experience because they will be able to meet and greet Disney characters. The only thing that differs is the food. And, of course, the cost. Character breakfast is typically less expensive than Character dinner.
9. Bring your own autograph book for meet and greet
Bring your own autograph book to the meet and greet to save money. Don’t buy autograph books from the Disney gift shops. Order ahead of time online and bring it to the park for meet and greets. Don’t forget to bring a Sharpie with you!
10. Buy Costumes in Advance
Buy Disney costumes in advance to save money. Character costumes often go on sale at the Disney store. Otherwise, be on the lookout for Disney character costumes during Halloween if you’re a planner like me. You can also try your luck at Target after Halloween to see if there is any decent sale pricing on Disney costumes. After all, why spend full price for costumes when you can get them for a lower price?
11. Buy Light-Up toys in advance
Buy light up toys ahead of time to save money. You can bet that pricey light-up toy will be a hit with your child! Buy light up toys online ahead of time and carry them with you on your trip.
12. Buy water spray fans in advance
Buy water spray fans ahead of time to save money. Especially if you visit during the summer months when it is scorching. The heat will be unbearable. To stay cool, it will be very tempting to get an overpriced water spray fan. Buy it in advance online and bring it with you to the parks!
13. Buy ponchos and umbrellas ahead of time
Ponchos and umbrellas can be purchased in advance to save money. In Orlando, it always rains, particularly in the afternoons. Bring ponchos and umbrellas ahead of time to avoid being caught off guard.
14. Don’t buy bottled water in the theme parks
Bottled water is very pricey! They range in price from $3.50 to $5.50 a bottle! Bring water from your hotel to save money. Bring an insulated water bottle filled with ice-cold water to the park. Any Disney quick-service restaurant can also provide you with a complimentary cup of ice water.
15. Order Kid’s Meals
Ordering kid’s meals will save you money. You receive a smaller portion for a lower price. If you snack all day, the smaller serving might be ideal. A drink is also included with the kid’s meal.
16. Order food delivery
Ordering food delivery can help you save money. You can order meal delivery to your hotel using services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Door Dash instead of ordering room service or eating at the hotel restaurant.
17. Don’t rent strollers
Avoid renting strollers at Disney to save money. Bring your own stroller or buy a low-cost umbrella stroller. It can be ordered online and delivered to your hotel.
18. Go to Disney during Off-Peak season
Going to Disney during the off-season will save you money. During peak season, everything is more expensive. If you travel during the off-season, you can save money on hotels, theme park tickets, and airfare. Additionally, the parks will be less busy, resulting in shorter lines! Late January, late August, and late September are the ideal months to visit Disney.
19. Go to Disney Longer
Spend less money by taking a longer Disney vacation. If you buy many days of Disney tickets, the price drops. In July, for example, a one-day ticket costs $134 each day, but with a 5-day ticket discount, the price drops to $80 per day.
20. Go to Disney Before Your Child’s 3rd Birthday
Disney is free for children under the age of three. If you have a toddler, take him or her to Disney before their third birthday. Even if it’s a few weeks before your child’s birthday, he or she is still under the age of three!
You May Also Be Interested in These Disney Vacation Articles:
20 Ways to Save on Your Next Disney Vacation
Should You Hire a Disney VIP Tour Guide? (Pros and Cons)
How Much is a Disney Vacation: Check out our Disney Vacation Calculator
Where to Buy Discount Disney Tickets
What to Splurge on at Disney World
Is Lighting Lane Worth It at Disney World?