Ten Tips For Stretching Your Disney Travel Budget

You can't really get around the fact that travel to Walt Disney World is an expensive vacation. None-the-less Disney veterans usually have a few tricks in their bag to minimize costs while still having a ton of fun. The following list has my Ten Tips For Stretching Your Disney Travel Budget.

Ten Tips For Stretching Your Disney Travel BudgetTen Tips For Stretching Your Disney Travel Budget

Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates. Disney isn't above raising its prices during the most crowded days of the week and times of year. Not only do Walt Disney World Resort Hotels have a peak, regular, and a value season; but you can also save on your meals and park tickets by paying attention to seasonal pricing.

Stay in a Moderate Resort. While Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels are the cream of the crop, hotels listed in Disney's Moderate category are pretty fantastic too and cost around half as much. You'll still find fabulous pools and activities, gift shops, lounges, table service and quick service restaurants, as well as all the regular Disney perks like complimentary transportation and extra magic hours. The downside comes in a slightly more out of the way location, exterior room entries, less in-room square footage, and a lack of room service dining. Want to save even more? Try out one of Disney's Value Resorts like Pop Century or the Art of Animation.

Easy Southern Style At Disney's Port Orleans French QuarterEasy Southern Style At Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter

Take Your Own Pictures. Just about all of us carry a camera these days, its right there on your smart phone. Disney's PhotoPass+ is get for magic shots and getting everyone in the frame, but did you know that they will use your camera too? Just smile and ask politely if a cast member would take your picture with your phone or camera, I've never had one say no. Plus " you get in those fun unplanned shots throughout your entire day. PhotoPass+ Memory maker costs up to $199, just take your own pictures. Here are the Top 20 Photos You Don't Want to Miss On Your Walt Disney World Vacation.

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time. Walt Disney World is home to some truly fabulous food, and it can come with an astronomical price tag. But - just because you don't eat at the table service restaurants doesn't mean you won't eat well. Many of Disney's quick service and fast casual restaurants are serving up some spectacular food. All of Disney's Menus are available online, and sites like our friends over at AllEars.Net update them regularly including the price points. If you want more than burgers and fries all week, sit down in advance and map out which quick service spots have the food you crave. Staying away from table service can save you upwards of $20 or more per meal per person, plus tip!

Quick Service From Polite Pig at Disney SpringsQuick Service From Polite Pig at Disney Springs

Skip the Soda. At $4 for a regular soda, a family of four can save $50 or more a day simply by drinking water, and that's just accounting for 3 beverages a day. For a week-long trip, that family can save well over $300. Ice water is free at all Disney table service and quick service locations; pack your sports bottles and a container of flavor enhancer for some big savings. If you are a caffeine junkie like me, you can find out what type of coffee maker your room has ahead of time and pack that from home as well.

Plan In Non-Park Days. Disney Resort Hotels and Disney Springs are full of free of low-cost activities for Disney guests. Depending on the resort you may be able to roast marshmallows, take a tour of the hotel, visit with cultural guides, participate in a run, learn to paint, swim like a mermaid, catch a live concert, and even view fireworks. Read just a few of the fun things you can do at Disney in our previous article 15 Free Activities Grown-up Guests at Walt Disney World Resort.

Date Night Disney SpringsShop Your Way Through Disney Springs

Leave Your Car (and the Rental) Behind. The Walt Disney World Resort has an amazing complimentary transportation system for guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels. Plus, if you fly into Orlando International Airport you can also use the free Magical Express. While some folks prefer to have their own wheels and enjoy time off property, it's not a must. Save some cash and leave the driving to Disney.

Don't Bother with Park Hoppers. Each of the Disney Parks offers more than a full day worth of activities and entertainment. While having the freedom to come and go as you please is nice, there is really no reason you *must* get the Park Hopper add-on for your tickets. One Park a day will offer just as much to do, and in fact gives you the opportunity to spend more time discovering the hidden treasures that each Disney Park offers. The Park Hopper add-on to your Disney Parks ticket costs $55 or more per day, per person. You can save a bundle just by slowing down and exploring each Park on its own day.

Arrive From MCO On Disney's Magical ExpressArrive From MCO On Disney's Magical Express

5% Off on Disney Gift Cards from Target. I do a lot of my vacation budgeting with Disney Gift Cards. These handy tools can be used all over property and when I purchase them using my Target Red Card, I save 5%! That means for every $1000 I spend at Walt Disney World (and that is so easy to do) I actually save $50 cash in my pocket.

Room Space To Spare? Traveling solo to Walt Disney World? See if any of your friends want to come along and share a room. Tell them you'll cover the room cost if they'll pay for your airline ticket, park ticket, dining plan, or any other barter you can come up with. Not only will you save money but making memories with friends is priceless.

Making the most of your travel dollars can be a challenge for every family, but with a few simple changes you can save hundreds of dollars. Do you have tips or tricks for saving money at Walt Disney World? Share your secrets in the comments below.

Mathilda wrote on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 12:34:

Mathilda's picture

Loved your article Kristen! We stay at the Pop Century every year, we just decided not to rent a car during our stay because of the resort parking fees, eat at some great quick services, drink the coffee in the room and one thing that will save you some money is to order groceries to be sent to your room either on Amazon (with your prime membership) or Garden Grocer. I order a case of water, milk, cereal, bananas and snacks. Saves us a ton.

Thanks for the great info!

Jeff wrote on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 14:05:

Jeff's picture

I think your tips cover most of what we do. We buy cases of water and bring several with us in a backpack; we rarely eat in the parks; we don't do the Photopass...but Joe says I wipe all that out with one trip to the Christmas Shoppe or Art of Disney.....

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 15:37:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much Mathilda! Love your tip about ordering groceries too. I've don'e Garden Grocer in the past but have been seriously considering giving an Amazon delivery a try.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 15:38:

Kristen K.'s picture

LOL JeffC! Joe is probably right you know. ;D

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