Taking the long trek to Disney World is one that families from all over the country (and the world at large) have done for decades. By planes, trains, and automobiles, families come together to experience the true magic of the world famous Disney theme parks. Disney World is a place where every single one of your childhood dreams seem to come true, from being able to meet your favorite Disney princesses to being able to walk the streets of your favorite films, adults and children alike can’t help but fall in love; and while you can’t put a price on love, you definitely have to put one on your vacations.
While visiting Disney World, it can be easy to get swept up into a whirlwind of expensive souvenirs, deluxe packages, and costly food, but enjoying Disney doesn’t have to completely bankrupt you. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your Disney World experience and save money at the same time.
1. Always Check Into Discounted Rates
Before you rush to buy your tickets, remember to check for any discounts you and your family may be eligible for. Disney offers major discounts for military families, AAA offers discounts on resort hotels for members, and there are tons of websites that offer great deals on discounted tickets for traveling families. Disney World itself also offers tons of other discounts that range from food vouchers to show deals, all of which you can find here.
2. Think About Going In The Off Season
Getting away during the summer and spring time is always easier, especially since the little ones are already out of school and it can be a bit easier to get a little leniency when requesting off time at work, but it may be more beneficial and cost-efficient for your family to visit Disney World during the off season. Right before Christmas and during the fall can be ideal times for visiting. The park is much less packed and the prices for everything, especially when it comes to hotels, food, and car rentals, are way cheaper.
3. Look At Alternate Housing Options
Staying in a resort while visiting Disney is always tempting, the rooms are easier to book, they tend to offer a lot of extra perks with packages, and there is always plenty of entertainment for the kids during the times when your family is at the hotel. But they also tend to be a much costlier option, especially during the super busy summer months. Instead of staying at a hotel, try renting a house for you and your family. Sites like Airbnb are great for single families looking for cheap, but comfortable places to stay and other options like VillaDirect are great for finding multiple-family housing options.
4. Buy Groceries Instead Of Eating Out For Every Meal
Vacations provide a great opportunity to allow your family a little break from their normal routines, which typically means getting to experience awesome restaurants instead of the usual home-cooked meals. But as delicious as those special dinners may be, they also tend to eat away at your budget. While it definitely isn’t necessary (or fun) to cook every meal in your lodgings, it may be beneficial to try to buy groceries for breakfast, snacks, and maybe even a few lunches and dinners. This will save your family money, time waiting in long restaurant lines, and offer you guys the freedom to do other things with all of that saved cash.
5. Avoid The Park Hopper
The Park Hopper package is one that never fails to seem like a huge steal, but it may be best to skip out on this popular offer. For an extra fee, Disney World allows visitors to upgrade their park tickets to “Park Hopper” status, a perk that allows them to visit multiple parks per day of their visit, and while this may seem like a huge advantage it may be best to really think about your needs. For most families, depending on the time they spend there, exploring one park per day is more than enough and “hopping” from park to park all day can get pretty exhausting or be downright impossible, rendering the extra money for the Park Hopper package pretty useless.
6. Hold Off On The Souvenirs
It doesn’t matter where you go, souvenirs have a tendency to be really expensive, and Disney World is definitely no different. You can save major amounts of cash by holding off on buying trinkets and souvenirs at the actual park and finding more costly-appropriate take-home gifts at independent retailers. We’re not telling you to forgo buying those famous Mickey Mouse ears, but save the stuffed bears and t-shirts for the less-expensive stores.