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Saving Money on Your Next Disney Vacation

I am in the midst of planning our family’s 8th Walt Disney World Vacation~yes, the 7th one!  Seriously, I can’t believe it either.  Our first trip, in 2007, was a “Let’s go while my brother in law can get us a Castmember Discount.  Who knows when we will be able to go again?”  Fast forward to 2014, and we are almost 180 days away from our 7th Walt Disney World vacation.  Yay!!!  Over the years, and now as someone who sells Disney Travel, I’ve come up with some money saving tips for your next Walt Disney World Vacation.

10 Money Saving Tips for Your Walt Disney World Vacation #disneytravel #savemoneyatdisney

Tip #1:  Visit Your First Visit to see the best times to visit Walt Disney World.  He has this SUPER COOL chart that shares the best weeks to visit Disney.  Since our family can only travel during certain months of the year, I scroll down to the month we can go, and pick the best week from that. If your dates are more flexible, you can have your pick at any week!

Tip #2:  Purchase Base Tickets instead of Park Hopper tickets.  If you want to save money on your trip, this is an easy way to do so.  Base Tickets allow you to visit one park per day~you can come and go from that park as much as you want, but only one per day.  Don’t get me wrong~I see a HUGE value in Park Hoppers.  More time in the parks, you only have to hop twice to make it worth it, and it’s only an additional $60 per person.  But, base tickets are a moneysaver.  I think that if you are doing Base Tickets, you should do a minimum of 4 days.

Tip #3:  Plan a “no park day”.  Why?  Because you paid money to stay at this awesome Disney Resort, you might as well enjoy it!  I think it’s a falsehood when people say, “The Resort is just to sleep.  I don’t care where I stay.”  Trust me, you care.  All the Disney Resorts have some sort of kids’ activities, several pools, some have playgrounds, and so much more!  It’s a good idea to plan a down day so you can not only enjoy the resort, but also have a day outside the parks.

Tip #4:  Bring your own Disney costumes or make your own Disney themed shirts.  I buy my daughter’s princess dresses on sale at the Disney store and stash them away for when we go to Disney.  I also like to get crafty and make t-shirts for our family to wear.  Plus, stores like Target, Walmart, JCPenney, etc. carry Disney themed clothes~check them out!

Minnie Shirt 5

Tip #5:  Book a Magic Your Way Package. Magic Your Way is a room and ticket package.  Adding on a Disney Dining Plan can also save you money.  No matter what, you’ll save money on your Disney trip with at least a Room/Ticket package than if you’d book each component separately.

Torn on the Dining Plan?  That is an age old debate.  My feeling is, at least Quick Service Dining and pay for a few character meals out of pocket.   Since you can share meals on the Quick Service Plan, our family has benefited from QSD and a few table service out of pocket.  Going with the Basic Dining Plan, you are entitled to a sit down meal in addition to your Quick Service.  Use your table service for a late breakfast or early dinner, and you’ll have eaten enough to get by with a snack credit or a QSD meal later.

Tip #6:  Use a local delivery service.  Garden Grocer or Amazon Prime are GREAT for having bottled water and other dry snacks delivered to your resort. Garden Grocer will even deliver milk, fruit, etc.  If you are flying down, this is an especially good idea.  It’ll save you money on food during your stay, since you can eat a quick breakfast or lunch in the room before heading to the parks.  And, you’ll have plenty of snacks and water to take into the parks~a bottle of water isn’t a good use of a snack credit!

Tip #7:  Know what discounts are available during your dates.  This is where a travel agent comes in handy! I am always watching for the newest discount so I can call Disney and have it applied to existing bookings.  Not booked yet?  Disney releases special offers slowly during the year.  Be on the look out for them!  These can save you A LOT of money!

Tip #8:  Drive to Walt Disney World.  I know, for most of us, Disney isn’t exactly a leisurely drive we want to enjoy with kids in the car.  BUT, driving as opposed to flying can save a lot of money.  Some flights, like for our family, cost at least half as much as our Room/Ticket/Dining Package.  I would much rather stay at a nicer Disney resort {like the Grand Floridian or the Beach Club} than pay for airfare.  Our kids have become quite the road trippers since we’ve been driving the 16 hours to Walt Disney World.

Disney Recap-Dinner at Chef Mickey's

Tip #9:  Purchase Disney gift cards.  If you pick up a gift card or two during every grocery trip, two things happen.  One, you benefit from fuel discounts or possibly gain credit card points to use toward a later purchase.  Two, before you know it, you have a nice stash of gift cards to pay toward your trip or to use for souvenirs.

Tip #10:  Choose your souvenirs wisely.  Our kids, like many others, always want the first thing they see.  Now, they understand that we do our shopping a little bit at a time, and that they need to choose souvenirs wisely.  We have the Disney autograph books, pins, and mouse ears.  I encourage them to come home with something that can be a keepsake~a tree ornament, pins for their lanyards, picture frames for their favorite photos, etc.  Sure, we leave Disney with a little something fun and frivolous for everyone.  But the memories we leave with are priceless!

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  1. Great tips, Carrie! We must be similar in that I am a Disney planning warrior. Yet, I’m an Amazon Prime member and have never thought about having items delivered to our resort! What an awesome idea! We like to stay at the beach club and usually choose the regular dining plan. it’s usually a great value for us, but I cringe when using a snack credit for a bottle of water!

    Thanks and have a great vacation!

    1. Thanks! We stayed at the Beach Club last summer, and I loved it. We try to stay at a different resort each time, but I’d for sure stay there again! I love planning Disney trips so much that I’ve turned it into my job! I’d love to book your next trip for you. Just let me know!

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