19 Genius Ways To Have A Perfect Disney World Vacation On A Budget

Planning a trip to Disneyland can seem daunting because of the seemingly high costs that Disney’s theme parks are known to incur. Want to know how to get around spending way too much money at Disneyland while still getting to enjoy the magic?

Here are some tips that will help make your trip to Disneyworld a little less damaging to your bank account.

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1. If possible, try to book your trip during the off season


Everyone wants to spend their Spring and Summer breaks at Disneyland, and the massive inflow of visitors allows the park to jack-up their ticket values and hotel prices. Not to mention the enormous crowd that will probably make your trip pretty unpleasant- you don’t want to spend an entire day standing in line, wasting all that money on time you could’ve spent taking the rides. Disney’s ‘value season’ solves this problem for you. It lasts from mid-August to mid-September and early January through to February. You’ll enjoy lower prices, shorter queue times, and even nicer weather in the usually humid Florida.


2. The Disney World Crowd Calendar can give you more information about the best time to go



From special events to prices of the park on certain days to resort crowd levels, this handy, detailed table will tell you everything you need to know. Non-subscribers will be able to view 30 days of information, and a $14.95 annual subscription will allow you full access to the crowd calendar.


3. There could be discounts on hotels, flights and park tickets if you’re an AAA member


This fantastic member offers you discounts on almost everything and would save you a bundle. Contact your local AAA storefront to find out more.


4. Check if you’re eligible for other affiliation discounts


Disney offers lots of discounts, and you could be eligible for at least one of them. Disney in Florida has discounts for members of the military and the Department of Defense, as well as other deals for employees of certain companies. You can check them out here.


5. If you’re in doubt about any bookings, pick up that handy phone and call.

(Flickr: jeffchristiansen) 

Having to pick up the phone and talk to someone can be a pain, but it can also be the most efficient way of digging out special discounts and saving opportunities, whether you’re calling the AAA hotline or the Disney hotline (407-WDW-MAGIC). Some sneaky discount codes are only available on the phone, and you may even get lucky with a free upgrade for your ticket type or hotel room.


6. Getting a Disney Rewards credit card is a very good idea if you’re thinking of visiting Disney World at least once a year


Using the card will allow you to accumulate points for things like food, special events, souvenirs, guided tours, and more. It’s a brilliant way to save at Disney world even as you spend money throughout the year!


Picking the right hotel can make all the difference in the world to your wallet when it comes to staying at or near Disney World.


7. A stay at Disney Vacation Club will give you your money’s worth


Granted, these are more expensive than the average hotel, but they are actually great opportunities for families to save money on small things like meals and laundry- rooms have built-in washing machines and dryers, as well as a kitchen where you can cook your own meals instead of spending money on expensive restaurant dinners. Find out about how to book a room here.


8. Staying at a non-Disney hotel can seem cheaper, but remember to take into consideration the disadvantages

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While some off-property hotels are much cheaper than Disney hotels, but they don’t offer the special privileges that guests at Disney hotels will enjoy. Things like Extra Magic Hours, the Magical Express Bus, complimentary Magic Bands, convenient transportation, and dining plans, which are benefits only available to those staying at Disney hotels, may help actually offset the higher costs of staying there and help you get your money’s worth.



9. Park tickets are cheaper from authorised ticket sellers – don’t buy them from Disney


Authorised sites buy Disney passes wholesale directly from Disney, reselling them as multi-day passes for a bargain, because they include tax in the low price. Tickets purchased would still allow you to get FastPasses and MagicBands. Go to reputable sites like Sites like Park Savers and Undercover Tourist, which are legitimate discounters that Disney insider blogs swear by.


10. Never buy your tickets at the parks themselves.


There’s a $20 surcharge for buying at the gate!


11. If you’re buying Park Hopper tickets, consider buying them for one day shorter than the length of your entire visit

(Flickr: [email protected])

Even the most energetic of kids will get tired out from five full days at Disney World. Think about getting Park Hopper tickets for just four days instead, and let everyone rest on the last day. It’s cheaper and less tiring too!


12. However, if you’re really bent on saving money, you might not want to get the Park Hopper tickets at all

(Flikr: harshlight)

Park Hopper tickets can be excellent, as they allow you to move freely between parks, while non-Park Hopper tickets require you to stay in one park the entire day. However, a Park Hopper ticket costs $60 more a day. Instead, you could consider doing one park each day, and you’ll eventually still get to visit the whole of Disneyworld



13. Find out which are the budget restaurants in the park


Lots of eateries in Disneyworld can be extremely overpriced, so you have to be determined to find the outlets that sell affordable food. Table-service restaurants can be a cheap alternative, and the food isn’t that bad either. If you’re really desperate to save, order a kids meal!


14. Eat your heaviest meal at lunch time


Dinnertime meals are more expensive, even though you can get the same portions at lunchtime, so plan to eat your largest meal during lunch,


15. Come prepared with your own snacks and water bottles, so you aren’t forced to buy them at high prices in the park


Snacks in Disneyworld are insanely cute, and no one is saying you have to refrain from getting them completely. But it’d be good to have a cheaper alternative, especially for when you’re just hungry and would eat anything.


16. You don’t have to follow the Disney dining plan


The Disney dining plan is an attractive and somewhat beneficial offer- you get several sit down meals at fancy restaurants for the whole family and makes choosing where and what to eat much easier. However, you could save more by buying individual meals at outlets that aren’t as fancy but still offer you good food.


17. There are many free activities in the areas around the park which you could do when you take a day’s break from Disneyworld


Take a day off to stroll along the boardwalks, take a tram ride and even catch an outdoor movie- all for free!


18. Sunscreen and ponchos will be your best friends


In Florida, the sunshine and rain more often than not take turns to make the weather a little unpleasant. Stock up on cheap $1 ponchos and sunscreen from any local drugstore before embarking on your journey!

19. Resist the temptation to get souvenirs from Disneyworld


Disney prices their souvenirs higher than they cost elsewhere. You could easily order that toy that your kid wants online at a much better price (tell them that their toy will be shipped back, waiting for them at home). It’s a win-win situation for both of you. If your kid isn’t that patient, there’s always the Disney Character Warehouse, an outlet store in Orlando, that you could take them too instead.

Go on and enjoy the magic!

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