Who doesn’t want to enjoy the happiest place on Earth at least once in their lifetime? While both children and adults enjoy the amusement rides and seeing their childhood characters from TV come to life, it does come with a price.
Whether it’s the actual price of tickets, travel costs, accommodations, and food, your budget doesn’t have to exclude you from the group of 51,000 people that visit Disney every day.
Regardless if it’s your first time visiting Disney or your 50th, keep reading to find out how you can visit Disney on a budget.
Choosing a Hotel at Disney on a Budget
Like any budget-friendly trip, planning ahead is crucial in ensuring you don’t overspend. And one of the first things you want to check when planning Disney vacations is hotel availability.
Similar to how hotels prices jump during peak seasons in Italy or Florida, Disney hotel rates can vary depending on the days and the time of year. The most expensive times to visit Disney are during holidays and school breaks, which draws more families to vacation on their time off. Essentially, you want to book a hotel at Disney or around it when not too many people are expected to show. And the most efficient method is to check out a Disney Crowd Calendar online.
These calendars help determine crowd expectations and if the weather is expected to be nice or not. You certainly don’t want to show up and have your trip ruined by getting drenched in sweat waiting hours for one ride!
Find Available Discounts
When you search for discounts, you want to be sure that they’re legitimate. You don’t want to show up to the booth only for them to tell you that they don’t accept your discount code and end up having to pay the full price.
One easy way to access considerable savings with one card is to sign up for the Disney Vacation Club. As a DVC member, you’re eligible for the following discounts:
- Annual pass
- Special events
- Access free laundry services
- Cooling off in various pools
- Access to lounges
And if you’re not local, getting an annual pass discount doesn’t make much sense, but the other deals you get are definitely worth a look.
One way to take advantage of this is to purchase it, then sell your DVC membership once your trip is over. You won’t get back your total purchase price, but the amount of money you save on your trip significantly outweighs losing a few bucks on the resell.
Of course, the DVC membership isn’t your only option. AAA members and Disney Visa cardholders are also eligible for discounts directly with Disney.
You can always call the park to ask if any promotions are happening and confirm any third-party discounts before purchasing them.
Book a Room on Disney Grounds
Budget traveling tips always tell readers to book a room further out from a tourist destination to save money. And while that holds a ring of truth in most cases, you must consider the added accommodations it provides to your Disney vacation budget.
The truth is choosing Disney hotels isn’t about the price; it’s about the experience you get.
For example, when you book on-site, you’re readily available to jump around the different Disney parks throughout the day, and when you’re exhausted, your room is only a short walk away.
And if you’re too tired to walk back, you can hop on any of the monorails, buses and boats to give your feet a break it deserves!
Think of the cost-savings of not having to rent a car or have to pay for parking. You read that correctly.
While guests who aren’t sleeping on-site have to pay up to $25 a day for parking, you’re entitled to discounted rates at the hotels and free parking at each park.
To add even more value, if you’re staying at Disney World, you and your group get free MagicBands, early reservations at restaurants, and access to FastPasses.
At the end of the day, staying on-site and taking advantage of every free perk and benefit available, while it might seem pricey at first, could potentially end up saving you hundreds of dollars.
Disney tickets go up every single year, without exception. So if you’re budgeting out a plan for next year, it’s advantageous to buy the tickets now before they go up.
This allows you to take the money you save and put it towards other magical moments like food, experiences, and memorable souvenirs.
Plan Your Meals
It’s no secret that every amusement park is full of heavily overpriced meals to serve their hungry guests.
While the Disney Dining Plan is an excellent way to save money if you plan on eating on-site, you’re always to save the most when you limit park meals and bring your own food and drink.
At Disney World, children under three years are free, so if you have a little one, you can forego expensive babysitters and bring them along as an excuse to relive your childhood heroes!
Of course, also to take a bunch of photos and create memories to last a lifetime.
If you’re bringing your child, then an immediate way to save is to bring your own stroller. When parks charge for every little thing, daily savings on a stroller add up quickly.
Discounted Disney Gift Cards
Disney gift cards at wholesalers like Costco or Sam’s Club are a great way to cut costs immediately. You’ll typically find them sold at five percent off.
When you can spend $1,000 at Disney before you know it, $50 in savings can rescue you when you need a quick bite to eat!
Enjoy Your Trip
Planning a vacation to Disney on a budget can seem like another full-time job itself, but with proper planning, you won’t feel guilty about buying those Mickey Mouse ears to commemorate the trip.
The important thing to remember is that it’s a vacation at a place meant to take away your stress, not add on more. So plan a budget, stick to it and enjoy your time at the happiest place on Earth!
If you enjoyed reading this article, then check out some of our other posts for more tips on getting the most out of your time at Disney.