Taking your family to Disney can be pricey and out of reach for some. Here are 8 tips on how we’ve learned to save money on our trips to Disney World.
8 Tips for Saving Money on a Disney Vacation
ANYTIME I go to book a hotel stay, I go through Ebates first. Do your research on the hotel you want to stay at that is in proximity to all the Disney parks. Head over to Ebates and either search your hotel or a travel site like hotels.com or Expedia. Some sites will offer more cash back than others along with discounts and coupon codes.
Another option to save on hotels is to utilize AAA membership and military discounts. If you prefer to stay on-site, try one of Disney’s value resorts or choose from one of the many off-site hotels. (Here are a few recommendations from hotels we’ve stayed in.) Be sure to pay attention to the shuttles/schedules available for each hotel.
Buy Souvenirs Before You Go
If I bought a toy or souvenir from a park gift shop every time my kids’ eyes lit up…I’d be broke. Scout out your local Five Below, dollar stores, Kohl’s and Amazon before you go! Grab glow sticks, stuffed animals, princess dolls and figurines to randomly surprise your kids throughout the trip.
A few other items we grab before we go are Disney pajamas and t-shirts for the kids to wear each day. You can usually find them on clearance at Walmart or Target if you have enough time to search.
Pack a Poncho
Here in Florida it rains. Like all the time. You can pretty much guarantee one day of rain during your trip, so save yourself $20+ and pack ponchos for the entire family. They are EXTREMELY pricey when you buy them in the park. Trust me. We made that mistake one time.
Pack Snacks and Insulated Cups
Most people don’t know that you can take snacks into the park. My kids rarely want to stop for an entire meal and would much rather snack all day. Some of our favorite snack items are almonds, peanut butter crackers, apple sauce pouches, pretzels, granola/bars, etc. You can also get FREE cups of ice water for each person at all quick service restaurants, so take an insulated cup to dump them into.
If you do end up eating a meal at a Disney park you can save money by buying one entree and dividing it up between your kids. We don’t typically eat meals at the park though. My kids can’t really hang all day, so we’ll plan to go back to the hotel. This brings me to my next tip….
Skip Meal Plans + Order Grocery Delivery
Save money by skipping Disney meal plans altogether. Find a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast and order grocery delivery straight to your room for other meals. Family suite hotel rooms may cost a little more, but end up saving you in the end because you’ll be able to prepare your family meals right in the room with grocery delivery + order snacks to take to the parks.
Plan a Non-Park Day
I think most people feel like they need to head to a park every single day, but honestly it is EXHAUSTING that way. Plan for a non-park day to save money on passes and recharge. Take advantage of all your hotel/resort’s amenities! Having a pool day is one of our favorite kind of days.
Take Your Own Stroller
If you’ve been on the fence about taking a stroller, my biggest tip is take it if you can. Most airlines won’t charge you to check items like car seats and strollers. The days are long and hot. Your kids will be hot, cranky and tired (Yes even at the Happiest Place on Earth). My oldest is almost six and will still take breaks in the double stroller because we do so much walking.
Buy Disney Gift Cards at a Discount
Many grocery stores like Kroger, Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale offer 4-6%, along with Target Red Card holders who can save 5% on Disney Gift Cards. These gift cards can be used on retail, dining and tickets. (If you have a credit card that offers a percentage back on purchases you could potentially save even more – but don’t go opening credit cards just to buy Disney Gift Cards!)