So many people have asked me this question since I started visiting Disney several years ago and thankfully my answer to them is yes! Disney can be very expensive, especially if you’re new to all things Disney and don’t have the tips and tricks to help make things more affordable. Here are some tips on how you can still enjoy the Disney experience without depleting your savings:
- Bring your own! I know you’re on vacation and you don’t want to carry a bunch of things around with you, but it’s a LOT cheaper to bring your own water bottle (cost in the parks: up to $3 per bottle) or snacks (snacks run a few dollars each depending on what you pick up). To me, it’s well worth the hassle of bringing the items with you then spending money on those items while at the park.
- Enjoy the freebies. Many people don’t associate Disney and free but there are some free things out there. If you’re in EPCOT, stop by Club Cool and enjoy a sampling of Coke products from around the world. Another EPCOT freebie is stopping at the Kid Cot stations and coloring your very own Duffy bear. This totally free souvenir will be a great memory of your trip and many of the cast members in the countries will write a message on your bear in their native language.
- Do some research. Yes it’s your vacation but putting in a little leg work prior to leaving could save you from spending big bucks on a meal that no one in your family cares for or finding out that by changing your trip by a few days could save you big money on your resort stay (and mean lower crowds!).
- Invest in an Annual Pass and Tables in Wonderland card. Just one person in your party having an annual pass can get you a discount on your resort and sometimes access to special events happening during your stay. Annual passholders also don’t pay for parking while visiting the theme parks which could really help you save. Once you have your annual pass, spend the money to purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. Again, you’ll only need one of these for your group (be sure to review the details that come with your card as they may change) but the 20% savings per meal could add up quickly if you’re eating in the parks. Both the annual pass and Tables in Wonderland cards are good for a year so you could use them over several trips.
- Keep the kids busy. If your kids are begging for everything they see in the many shops at Disney, avoid them when possible. Instead, keep them busy looking for hidden Mickeys, collecting character autographs or pressing pennies. These are all free or very cheap ways to keep them busy – especially while waiting in line for attractions or for a parade to begin.
- Go with the right mindset. You don’t need it just because you’re at Disney. I know that’s hard to believe and goes against everything Disney would want you to believe, but it’s really true! All you need to enjoy Disney is a place to stay, park tickets, food, a good attitude and some good walking shoes.
- Check out off property. There are some great Disney outlets very close to Walt Disney World. If you have your own transportation, it could save you a good deal of money purchasing that Disney t-shirt from the outlet for $4.99 instead of $24.99 in the parks.
- Be realistic with your budget. Yes Disney is full of pixie dust but you don’t need every upgrade to make the trip magical. You’ll still see the same characters if you’re staying in the value resorts or at Club Level.
- Alternatives. Can’t afford another full day in the parks? Still get your Disney fix by resort hopping or visiting Downtown Disney. Want to go to the parks? See if there’s a special event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party going on. These tickets generally cost less than a single day park ticket and still allow you access to the park and it’s attractions.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you be able to fit another Disney trip into your budget. How do you save money at Disney and make your trips more affordable?