If you’re heading to Walt Disney World and you’re worried about the costs associated with this trip, it’s probably with good reason. A Disney vacation does not come cheap but it can be affordable. Here are our best six tips for saving money while visiting the Disney parks as a family.
Disclosure: Some considerations have been made to us by the brands mentioned in this article. All opinions are our own.
Visiting Disney on a Budget
Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World and looking for a couple of easy ways to save a few bucks while you’re there? Saving money at the parks is possible and it may be easier than you think!
We adore Disney, so each year we try to factor a family trip to Walt Disney World into our budget. Each year it seems like the costs to visit only go up. Since we are not frivolous with our money, I am always looking for new ways to get us through this trip without going broke or over budget. However, I am also the type of person who does not want to sacrifice quality for savings. It has to be a good balance.
For me, there are certain things that I don’t want to miss out on during our Disney trip. There are also certain things that we need in order to make it through our stay. Knowing how to adjust those needs and wants without giving them up completely is where I find my budget happy place.
6 Magical Ways to Save Money at Walt Disney World
There are several ways to save money at Walt Disney World, however, these are the six that I would consider being the most magical. I consider these ways to save magical because they allow us to stay within our budget without causing me to feel cheated. Even with these budget choices, I still feel like I’ve gotten the quality Disney vacation I desire.
1 . Stay at an official Walt Disney World hotel.
Notice, I didn’t say Walt Disney World resort? Yes, there is a difference and it could help you with your budget.
Within walking distance to the Disney Springs area, there is an official Walt Disney World hotel that is not part of the Walt Disney World resorts. Having this affiliation with the parks does give the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista hotel certain privileges that many thought they could only get at the Disney resorts.
These things like shuttle transportation to the Disney theme parks, a Disney themed store in the lobby, access to the buy in the parks have it sent back to your room program, and official Disney character themed breakfasts are all also available to guests of this hotel. While this hotel can offer guests many of the same privileges that resort guests get, this stay usually comes at a much lower price.
2. Book your character breakfast at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.
If you choose to stay at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, you could also save money by taking part in their official Disney character breakfast. This breakfast is offered every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and includes many of the same characters that you would encounter in the parks. Plus, when booking your room you can choose to add on the “Kids Eat Free” package which gives you two free kids breakfast buffets (ages 11 and under) with the cost of one regular priced adult. This deal includes the character breakfasts.
3. Keep checking resort prices.
There are certain times when we have wanted to stay at a Walt Disney World resort simply to check it out. When this is the case, I always book my stay and then check back regularly to the booking site for the best price. Disney resort room prices tend to fluctuate often and they do sometimes offer discount codes for their rooms.
If I come across a deal for a room after mine has been booked, I simply call and have the discount applied to my reservation or change my reservation online. I have never had a problem with this as long as I was still within my free cancellation period with the resort. This is typically 5 days before you arrive, but be sure to check your terms and conditions for room cancellations or changes when booking.
Plus, when you book with a Walt Disney World resort, you have access to the free Magical Express shuttle service which will take you to and from the airport for your scheduled flights.
4. Bring your own snacks and sunscreen.
If you’ve ever had to purchase snacks or sunscreen in the parks, you’ll understand what a saving it is to bring your own in with you. In fact, we often pack a small backpack with drinks, snacks, and sunscreen before heading into any park. This cuts down on the amount we have to spend for small things throughout the day because those definitely add up.
This tip is easy if you are driving into Orlando or have access to a car once you get there to do your shopping. However, if you are flying in and none of this is true, I have friends who swear by using Amazon two-hour delivery service to get these items brought directly to them. While I have not yet tried this myself, I have it on good word that Amazon Prime subscribers can order items such as sunscreen, snacks, and bottled water while staying at the Disney resorts and have it delivered to them free of charge.
5. Bring a refillable water bottle.
If you thought the price of sunscreen in the parks was bad, try swallowing the costs of bottled water throughout the day. When the temperatures are in the high 80’s/90’s, drinking water frequently is a necessity. Since this is something we cannot live without, I was determined to find a way to get it for free – and I did.
A cup of water can be obtained free of charge from any counter service restaurants in the parks. Bringing a refillable bottle with you can reduce time standing in line for repeat cups of water.
Also, I have heard that the new Pandora park will have refillable bottle stations attached to their drinking fountains! So, that’s great news!
6. Spend a day at Disney Springs
If you’re planning to stay several days at the Walt Disney World parks, consider spending one of those days at Disney Springs. This section of Disney is fun for the whole family. Plus, you don’t need a ticket to enter and parking is free.
Read more about free things to do with kids in Disney Springs on Raising Dick and Jane.
We’d love to hear about all the ways you’ve learned to save money while visiting the Walt Disney Parks. Please leave us a comment below with your best tip. If it is something we love, we will tweet your tip out from our handle and tag you. Thanks for sharing!