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20 Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

Ahhhh, Disney.

Where else can an otherwise rational, perfectly frugal set of parents throw every ounce of common sense out the window and happily pay $15 for a balloon that deflates almost immediately, $40 for their 4-year-old daughter to dine with Princesses, or $10 for the exact same disposable rain poncho they sell at the dollar store without batting an eye?

There’s just something about the Happiest Place on Earth that makes spending ridiculous sums of money seem, well, fun.

Until, of course, the vacation is over, the Visa bill arrives, and suddenly all that fun seems a little less magical.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love vacationing at Disney! Over the years my family and I have spent a lot of time at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World and we’ve even been Annual Passholders once or twice. I honestly can’t wait to go back. But I also know from personal experience how easy it is to get caught up in the magic and spend too much.

With some careful planning, though, any family can experience the full fun that Disney (or any theme park, really) has to offer without breaking the piggy bank—and without paying 10-15% in interest fees on that credit card. As with any vacation, be realistic and only plan what you can truly afford—but if Disney is your siren song, there are smart ways to save on your trip.

SAVE on Entrance Fees

Disneyland or Disney World may be one of the few places where a ten year old requires an “adult” ticket. Nevertheless, there are still several ways to save.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

1. Military Discounts

Members of the US Military can receive discounted rates for themselves or their spouse and up to six family members with Disney World 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets (which include Park Hopper) or Disneyland 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets. This is only valid certain times of year and the military discount might change, so check the Disney World Special Offers page or the Disneyland Offers & Discounts page for current military (and other) promotions.

2. FL & CA Resident Discounts

Off-season periods (less people and shorter lines!) are a huge opportunity for local residents. Florida residents receive great Disney World discounts and Southern California residents can typically find Disneyland discount passes during the off-season as well. These discounts often apply to the Annual Pass as well. (But, while the standard Annual Pass offers NO blackout dates and free parking, your discounted pass may not.) Dates and deals do vary, so be sure to check the website(s) for current offers.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

3. Undercover Tourist

Be aware that Disney ticket fraud is common practice, so always be sure you’re buying from a reputable dealer.Undercover Tourist is one of the few reputable discount ticket sites. It offers discountd tickets to SeaWorld, Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. The site also offers trip-planning help and advice, complete with maps and crowd predictors.

4. Skip the Park Hopper

While it might seem like visiting more than one park a day is the best way to get the most bang for your buck, in reality the opposite is true.  This ticket upgrade allows you to visit multiple parks in one day, but it’s an additional $40 to $60 or more.  That’s a lot!  Trust me, there’s plenty to do in each park without having to jump around between parks in the same day.  At WDW, the theme parks are not all that close together, which means that if you really want to make the most of your time, you won’t want to waste an hour or more in travel time between the parks.  The only exception to this rule: it might be worthwhile at the California Disney parks, as Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park are literally right next to each other, so if you’re only on a 2-day stint, Hopper can help you can maximize your mouse time.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

Speaking of,  be sure you plan which parks you want to see, especially if you’re headed to Disney World, where there are four (BIG) parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Without the Park Hopper ticket, you can still easily spend a day in each park. Consider the Annual Pass if you visit Disney World more than two or three times a year, depending upon the length of each visit.

SAVE on Lodging

Now that you’re all set to save on park admission, one of the biggest dreaded Disney expenses is lodging.

5. Visit During the Off-Season

Planning your trip around the off-season and during weekdays can really save you a bundle. If the time seems right and the kids can miss a few days of school, you’ll save quite a bit by not going during typical vacation times. If you can’t bear the thought of pulling the kiddos from classes mid-week, there are other options, too.

Disneyland: Best Off-Season Dates

  • January 15th through March 15th
  • After Easter through mid-May (skip Spring Break, of course!)
  • After school starts in September through mid-November (avoid Halloween)

Walt Disney World: Best Off-Season Dates

  • January through the first week in March (avoid President’s Day/Week)
  • Late April to early June (skip Memorial Day weekend)
  • Post-Labor Day through the beginning of Thanksgiving week
  • The first 2 weeks in December

Highest attendance levels are always around the major holidays, so it’s best to schedule your vacations between holiday breaks. Note that temps can be as low as 45 degrees, even in California, so bring coats and hats when it’s chilly. Always look up current park hours during off-season, as they may be different than the summer schedule.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

6. Go Camping!

How does your family feel about camping? These days, renting an RV can give you the comforts of home at a reasonable price. If you enjoy roughing it for a few days, there are several campsites in close proximity to both parks. Ok, in California, it’s more like camping in a parking lot (after all, you are in the city), but it can still be a great adventure the kids will enjoy. Most sites offer showers, close access to fast food, and electricity—so even “roughing it” won’t seem quite so rough.

If you’re Disneyland bound, try Anaheim Harbor RV Park. It boasts clean bathrooms (a necessity, if you ask me!) and it’s only a 15-minute walk to the parks. In Florida, it really doesn’t get better than the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Despite the Disney name, campsites are a reasonable $50/night and offer beautiful woodsy scenery and really fantastic amenities, including a fun boat ride right to the Magic Kingdom and a nighttime campfire sing-a-long with Chip and Dale.  One note of caution–the campground is BIG, so either pick a site close to the dock or plan to do a lot of walking!

7. Stay Outside the Park

Even if you can’t stand the thought of camping, staying offsite can help hold the bottom line as well. Hotels outside, but near the park, know they have to attract frugal tourists by offering discounted rates and better deals.

Watching sites like Priceline, Hotels.com or Kayak can help you get the best deals around. Keep in mind, while you might find hotel rooms for $60/night or less, you do get what you pay for. (Read reviews on Yelp and decide what you’re willing to pay for the experience.)

If you really want to get creative and adventurous, try Airbnb. There are some really nice hosting options that are affordable and very close to the parks. Remember, while a good night’s sleep is important, your real vacation activity is during active hours in the park anyway.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

8. Rent DVC Points

If you love being part of the Disney Magic and you must stay in the park, try renting DVC Points. DVC Points are perks of membership in the Disney Vacation Club, where Disney’s most affluent regulars pay loads of money to stay at the BEST accommodations for the next 40 to 50 years. Think Disney time-share club. …it’s kind of a big deal.

Often Disney Vacation Club members have extra points that they won’t be able to use within the allotted time-frame. There are several websites where members can “rent out” their points to “renters” like you, often at a discounted rate (currently about $12 per point). And it’s worth it. Renters report saving thousands on top notch accommodations.

Club members don’t waste expired unused points and others get to use them up—it’s win-win. To be honest, the DVC system can be a little involved and somewhat confusing. To get started, read this Renting DVC Points guide.

SAVE on Food

Food at the parks is notoriously expensive…and appealing. I’ve spent $30 in a single family trip to the “snack” bar ($4 pineapple whips and $3 bottled waters anyone?). All I can say is plan, budget and go in with a full stomach.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

9. Pack a Lunch & Snacks

First of all, be sure you get a good breakfast before you start. Pack a reasonably-sized cooler with lunch and keep a portable haul of snacks in your purse. (You can bring in outside food.) You can keep your lunches in the park’s lockers for easy access. They’re not free, but definitely worth a few bucks.

Try to pack easy-to-eat (but filling) snacks like nuts, energy bars and whole fruit. Try making the most of your pre-vacation prep by cooking up some of these snack items with the kids. Try these easy-to-prepare DIY Uncrustables or these kid-friendly White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats for great grab-and-go eats.

Often, in the hot sun, on the pavement and in line, dehydration can hit hard and fast (making those pineapple whips irresistible). There are plenty of bathrooms and drinking fountains, so refilling a water bottle can really help. Keeping your parched family well-hydrated will help avoid a case of the “hangries” as well.

10. Grocery Delivery

Try a grocery delivery service to the hotel and skip the meal plan. Even if you just get some basics (bread, peanut butter, bananas) you will, at the very minimum, save yourself from major breakfast purchases and hold out for lunch.

Most surrounding hotels will offer a list of local grocery delivery services, so just ask for this amenity at the desk, or better yet, before you check in. In California, go for the popular Vons Online Grocery. Your first delivery is free! Just enter code EASY7 at checkout. In Florida, opt for Garden Grocer. The delivery fee is only $2 for orders over $200—a deal for a long family stay.

11. Vacation Package Meal Deals

The Disney Dining Plan is a component of Disney’s Magic Your Way vacation packages. These packages are worth checking out, depending upon when you travel you could save a bundle. They’re also a stress reducer for many people because you can take care of budgeting out everything (flight, hotel, airfare, park tickets, food)—all before you go.

Watch for Free Dining offers that come with these vacation packages. You could get all your food FREE. For example, visitors who booked before 8/8/14 receive Free Dining deals from 8/31/14 to 12/23/14. (Shoot, just missed it!) No worries, the next promotion is sure to run soon.

Be smart about choosing your vacation package benefits. As part of the Magic Your Way package, you may end up with a choice between 25% off your hotel room OR the Free Dining deal. Check which offers save you the most money at the time of purchase.

12. Eat One Big Meal & Make it Count!

Rather than fritter away cash on snacks or use meal points on small items, save up your dollars (and appetite) and go all out for one big meal a day. While most people think dinner is the “big meal,” try going for a big lunch. It can give a great chance to rest and take a little mid-day break, plus you’ll get better deals from ordering big off a lunch menu. As a bonus, there’s plenty of time to burn off extra calories while getting more time in at the park in the afternoon.

SAVE on Memories

Disney can turn once reasonable, budget-conscious parents into spendaholics on things that will be strewn on the playroom floor and forgotten in a few months. 

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

13. Bring Costumes from Home

Kids love to dress up, especially when they see so many other kids in costume.  Save money by letting them go to the park already dressed up. Halloween costumes or DIY mermaid outfits can be just as cute, creative and fun as anything the park has to offer, and trust me, the costumes at the park, while beautiful, are also priced at a premium.  Your child probably won’t know the difference between the Elsa dress you found at Target and the deluxe version they are selling for upwards of $100.  Your child will feel festive and you won’t be guilted into outfitting your little princess once you’re inside the park.

If you are adamant about having a “real” Disney park costume, try eBay ahead of time.  I once found an authentic deluxe Ariel costume for $20–just a quarter of what they were asking at the park.  Simply search “Authentic Disney Park” + the name of the character you are looking for.

14. Bring Your Own Souvenirs & Get Creative with Autographs

By the same token, bring along your own souvenirs or items. A treasured book or favorite shirt can be a great way to collect autographs from all the characters you meet while walking around the park. Get creative on this one—try a pillowcase, a photo mat, or even your child’s favorite Princess or Pixar Characters storybook–each of the characters can sign on their own page!

Your kids will love collecting the signatures and they’ll go home with a great (free) souvenir. Be sure to take photos! For additional fun, try a photo theme with each character your child meets. Perhaps your little superhero saves the princesses or your family’s animal lover pretends to be each new animal character you meet. (Even if your theme falls apart halfway through your trip, it’ll still be a ton of fun to try.)

Capturing photos, and even keeping a small travel journal with your kids, can prove to be one of the most valuable souvenirs of the whole trip. When you spend time at the end of the day, talk about and write down everyone’s favorite activity. Think of a few prompts—what was the funniest thing that happened? What was the best thing you ate? What was your favorite ride? Who did you like meeting the most?

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

15. Give Your Kids a Budget

Work with your kids beforehand to set a budget. Children respond surprisingly well to this and I have even seen them get quite into it. (“I would like this item, but I only have $8 left, and I know I’ll want this other thing more, later…”) It’s a great opportunity to teach some valuable life lessons and it will help them value the items that they purchase just a little more.  This works especially well if you have already established a commission system in your home.

SAVE on Everything Else

The most important part of a Disney vacation is that magical feeling, the wonder, innocence and excitement. Avoid the little mishaps that can be expensive and derail your time by packing a few emergency essentials and planning ahead. 

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

16. Pack an Emergency Kit

Check the weather and bring a rain poncho and don’t forget bandages, wipes, tissues and some Tylenol. Sunscreen is mandatory to avoid red, sticky, tired and pained misery on the way home. Hydrate like it’s going out of style and remember medications, asthma inhalers, and any other health necessities. If possible, slip a small, dry top and pair of knit shorts in your bag, just in case you experience any “wardrobe malfunctions.”

17. Budget Your Time

Another great tip is to plan ahead and budget your time. Realize that you can enjoy the park’s offerings, rides and activities without also bringing home “stuff,” or paying for extras. Talk together about what you really value and remember that the memories of your Disney trip are the most important part.  My favorite book for making the most out of our time and money at Disney is the Unofficial Guide, which has actual action plans you can follow to maximize your time and energy in each park.  It also ranks each attraction and each restaurant, and offers the very latest in insider tips so you can tackle the park like a pro, even if it is your first time.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

18. Plan a Free Day

Plan ahead, but don’t overdo it. Give yourself and your family a little wiggle room by adding a free day into your scheduling. Pick a day in the last two thirds of your trip, so you can decide as a family on the most important bits and pieces no one wants to miss. Go exploring a bit and be sure to let the kids have some free play time, too, so YOU can relax and enjoy the moment!  Most of the hotels in the Orlando and Anaheim area are family friendly and have great pools, and if you are staying at an actual Disney property, you will definitely want to have time to enjoy the facilities!

19. Earn Inbox Dollars

If you’re planning a trip next summer, start earning Inbox Dollars to build up your vacation fund.  In a nutshell, Inbox Dollars is a search engine which rewards you just for searching. You can use it just like you would use Google or Bing, and you will be randomly awarded Inbox Dollars for searching, usually every other search, plus bonus rewards. Unlike other rewards programs, Inbox Dollars pays in CASH, and you can also earn cash back for all sorts of other activities too, such as printing coupons, shopping online, and filling out surveys.  (For more ideas, check out this post.)  Signing up is super easy. Just fill out the form here.

20. Just Don’t Go

Disneyland and Disney World are best when your kids are just the right ages to really enjoy what the parks have to offer. If your little ones are too tiny, why not wait a few years until they’ll be old enough to cherish the memories?

Create your own family memories to love and remember year after year—wherever you are. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a fantastic family vacation elsewhere. Decide what your priorities are, as a family, now and in the near future. If now isn’t the time for a big family trip, try a staycation or a local campground or just a special day at the zoo instead.

Years from now, when the sunburn has turned to freckles and the tiara has long since been forgotten, togetherness and warm memories are what your family will look back upon as the real magic of your family vacations, whether at Disney or wherever you wander.

How to Save on a Disney Vacation | Smart Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation | Disney World on the Cheap | Doing Disney Vacations the Smart Way | Saving Tactics for Disney World | Disney on a Budget

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How do you save at Disney?

54 Comments

  1. September 5 at 09:34AM

    Wow tons of great ways to save! I loved Disney World and Disney Land when I was a kid. My husband has never gone and I’ve been begging him to go with me 🙂

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 5 at 12:41PM

      Good luck Michelle! My husband’s not a huge Disney fan but he puts up with it for the kids’ sake!

  2. Mylene D
    September 5 at 11:35AM

    Wow, this is such a complete guide ! I did see some of those tips in travel agencies specialized in Disney, but this one is much more thorough ! I especially like the idea to bring your own costume and get autographs on a shirt or pillow case ! Thanks so much, I’ll sure be pinning this for future use !

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 5 at 12:38PM

      So glad you found it helpful Mylene! 🙂

  3. Jenn C
    September 5 at 12:11PM

    Love the tips! I have a couple to add though: Don’t buy bottled water when you can get ice water for FREE from any Quick Serve Restaurant (any that you can walk up and order at)… they won’t fill your bottle but will give you a cup (we had bottles just so we could take it to-go). You do have to ask specifically for “ice water in a cup” though. Every Disney park has a first aid area staffed by nurses and the basics are FREE (we’ve used bandaids and tylenol from there) so if you don’t want to carry them or forget you can always get some. Also make sure to go to Guest Services/Town Hall when you arrive and pick up buttons (Anniversary, 1st trip, Reunion etc) and you may get perks around the park (right after July 4th we had our Anniversary buttons and hardly had to wait, got extra fast passes and usually got front row on rides). Love the Mouse <3 Can't wait to go back!

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 5 at 12:37PM

      Those are great tips!! Thanks so much Jenn!!

  4. September 5 at 12:36PM

    These are awesome tips. I remember going to Disneyland 10 years ago and we paid $3k for that trip! I can only imagine what the prices are like nowdays! Sharing this. 🙂

  5. Anonymous
    September 5 at 02:32PM

    We just got back from Disney, and saved a ton of money by getting free ice waters at the concession stands instead of buying bottled water. Any stand that had an ice machine would hand us a cup of water, so it also saved us from carrying around a bottle.

  6. Ashley
    September 5 at 03:29PM

    This will only apply to Amazon prime members, but we had a prime pantry box sent to our resort with bottled water, snacks, and baby supplies. I think it is an especially great option for baby supplies, which seemed expensive through the grocery delivery services.

    • Jessica T
      September 6 at 11:23PM

      We did that too! Garden Grocer is pricey! We shipped soda, juice boxes, cereal, fruit cups,…lots of stuff. Next time I might do two prime boxes. Plus a loaf of bread at our resort cafeteria was only $3!

  7. Chris
    September 5 at 03:53PM

    We save by booking accommodations that offer free breakfast before we enter the park. Often we eat dinner outside the park. It’s good to take a break and rest up a bit before evening shows and fireworks.

  8. Avalon D.
    September 5 at 04:55PM

    Quite a few helpful hints – thanks! I don’t know if this is completely applicable, but thanks to my adult daughter, I recently learned that Disney Annual Passholders who are deployed or living/staying abroad for certain lengths of time have the option to put their pass “on hold”, then reactivate it when they return to the U.S. Beats seeing six months you paid for, fritter away. I haven’t checked to see if other theme parks, zoos, etc. offer similar options, but it can’t hurt to ask.

  9. September 5 at 05:49PM

    These are fantastic tips! I am bookmarking this for future reference 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    September 6 at 09:55AM

    When my family visited when I was a kid, we saved money on food and my parents sanity by leaving the park at noon when the crowds were picking up and having a large meal outside the park then naptime until 3 or so, then returned to the park to stay until it closed late at night. We were able avoid a lot of mid day crowds and stay late to enjoy all the late night activities.

    • Avalon D.
      September 6 at 01:22PM

      That’s what we did when my children were smaller, and my mother-in-law would visit from Northern California with our nieces and nephews. Disneyland was always on the trip agenda, and we were all on budgets, and doing it the way you mention was particularly helpful.

  11. September 11 at 01:32PM

    I can’t wait to go to Disney next summer with my family. We incorporate a lot of these great ideas already but now we’ve got some new money saving ideas to try! Pinning this!

  12. april
    September 11 at 03:01PM

    I dont know about WDW but at Disneyland you cannot take an ice chest into the park but thsy do have a beautiful picnic area just outside Disneyland. It has lockers (some large enough to fit HUGE ice chests) and tables and plenty of shade. We always pack a good hearty lunch and eat there and then pack some snacks in a backpack we carry. Depending on how hungry we get later in the day we may splurge on a meal inside the park or just go back to our ice chest!

    This is the best money saving list I have seen for the parks! Great job!

  13. September 17 at 08:15PM

    DON’T buy water at Disney!! Any food stand will give you ice water for FREE! My family is going next week. I am sending a box to our hotel through Amazon Prime with breakfast bars, fruit pouches, snacks, cheap ponchos, and Mickey Stuffed Animals. Hopefully we wont have to buy any of this in the parks!

  14. September 23 at 10:33PM

    Military families can also stay at the Shades of Green resort. It’s right next to the Polynesian resort, and it has very reasonable rates, depending on rank. It’s a really nice place to stay, and it’s close to everything!

  15. Kelly
    October 23 at 10:58PM

    Two more tips (my experience is at Disneyland in California) –

    1. Be careful of where you stay, keeping in mind that if you drive in to the park every day, you’ll pay $16 a day for parking. So a “cheaper” hotel might cost you if it means you have to drive. Personally, I would choose a hotel on Harbor Blvd. where you can walk straight into the park. (Hotels on other sides of the park besides Harbor Blvd. won’t offer easy walking access, even if they look close on a map.)

    2. When bringing food, a few things that would be helpful if possible are to bring food items that are sold IN the park but are a lot cheaper to bring from OUTSIDE the park. Sometimes I find that if we have packed food, but it’s not yummy enough, cravings get the best of us. I would bring the following items that can be found around the park –
    – sliced pineapple
    – popcorn
    – cotton candy in a bag
    – if you really have your act together, bringing in some hot dogs and chili in a thermos + buns and shredded cheese would save LOTS of money for a big family – those always look so good!! (if hotel has a microwave/stove to warm them up in the morning).
    – bags of chips
    – some kids’ meals have gogurt packet & goldfish crackers
    – some sweet treats (candy, cookies, brownies, etc.)
    – bottles of juice or soda if your family drinks those
    – dill pickles (Disneyland sells the really big ones)

    That way, your money is freed up for things that you can NOT bring in – pineapple dole whip, ice cream, hot meals, etc.

    • Jamie
      January 14 at 12:48PM

      Great tips, Thank you

  16. Nicole
    November 18 at 09:24AM
  17. Teri Miller
    November 22 at 04:22PM

    A disney Land & Sea vacation is great. It can save you alot of money on your hotel room at the park cause they upgrade you one level for free. We booked extra days in the park and were able to keep the hotel discount for those days as well. (we paid for the cheapest hotel but got to stay in a midlevel one). Also the cruise is a great way to unwind after the chaos of the parks. The pillowcase is a great idea because they can frame it. We went in jan and we had the parks to ourselves no lines. Avoid the weekends vause thats when the locals come. Be aware that some rides are closed for maintenance in the off season but there is a list on the Disney website of what’s closed when. The waterparks were closed for us but there s sooo much to do we didn’t care. If you are going to Disney World I really recommend staying in the parks if you are just doing disney (no universal, sea world etc) because then you do not need to rent a car or pay for parking. The Disney buses are great we never had to wait long, they picked us up at the airport and gave us a ride to the cruise ship as well. Not having to rent a car makes up for the extra money staying in the resort for Disney World! Disneyland is another story all together cause you can rent a cheap room literally across from the gates. Also the DIS Board forums are a great free community resource for planning and saving on a Disney Vaction. http://www.disboards.com/

  18. Debbie
    December 27 at 08:39PM

    Stock up on glow sticks, bracelets and other cool items from the dollar store before you go. Then you can save a ton of money on all of the fancy light up items Disney sells in the evening before fireworks and shows. I bought a bunch of different items and brought out a different one each evening. My kids 5 and 11 loved them and then never asked for any of the fancy Disney ones. My dollar store even had some cool Cars and Princess themed glow items.

  19. Anonymous
    December 28 at 05:38PM

    We went last March…family of 5 and did the 4 day-1 park tickets. Brought water bottles, water flavor packets, nuts, and granola bars. Stayed at a hotel offering free breakfast and then went back to hotel at noon for lunch and swimming. I usually started dinner in the crockpot so that after we enjoyed the evening at the park, a hot dinner was waiting for us. Our whole 6 – day trip including lodging, tickets, food and gas cost $3,000 and the kids had a blast!!

    • Anonymous
      March 21 at 02:50PM

      What kind of meals did you fix in the crockpot?

    • Tiffany
      September 29 at 04:04PM

      What a great idea!!! I never thought of bringing a crock pot.

  20. Anonymous
    December 30 at 08:15PM

    We went for July 4th 2014. We rented a house just minutes from the park in a nice golf community. 4 bed / 3 bath, pool, and all use of the house for just $130 a nite for 8 people. We fixed breakfast and dinner there, and took snacks and refillable water bottles in insulated slings. You can start buying tickets when you are ready. We paid the house in full 8 months before going, started purchasing tickets at that point and got tickets for seaworld too. We did a couple of different beach days, a downtown disney day which is free (other than souvenirs) and an airboat alligator tour. Everything was perfect and since we could purchase ahead of time it eased the expenses while there. Don’t forget to get magic bands for the park and put the disney park app on your phone. These 2 things will save you tons of time in the park and save some sanity :). If you have older kids or older family members going … Look into the memory maker. This attaches to your magic band and while the older folks are in the parks they can get pics from any photographer in the park plus the ride pics. They go directly to your disney account and you can download later. You get ALL the pics without having to decide which ones to get. Plus if you have teens – you will love the silly pics you get back.

  21. Anonymous
    February 26 at 05:14PM

    Try buying Disney theme souvenirs at the local nearby Walmart. Some if the same items as parks for way cheaper.

  22. Anonymous
    February 27 at 07:37AM

    http://www.HotelResortBookings.com , an Agoda affiliate & therefore backed by Agoda’s Price Guarantee!

  23. Anonymous
    March 2 at 12:22PM

    I bought Disney gift cards ahead of time at Winn Dixie and got Fuel Perks … $ off of gas!

  24. August 13 at 03:09PM

    If you are going to visit in the off season, it’s good to look up ride closures. A lot of times they do maintenance and decorating during the off season, so you may not be able to ride some of the more popular rides if you don’t check beforehand. That being said, I went to Disneyland at the end of September last year and it was great! Not only was the park not very busy (for Disneyland standards anyways), but they had already decorated for Halloween! So we got the full experience of Halloween without the crowds.

  25. Sarah
    December 6 at 11:50PM

    Anybody have tips on whether to bring a stroller? And or where to get one? I am traveling with a 3 yr old and a 5 mth old and wondering if there is an easier way than flying the stroller out with us.

    • Shelley
      October 8 at 08:40AM

      We’ve rented single strollers from Kingdom strollers and love them. They also offer double strollers

  26. Kim
    January 8 at 11:36PM

    When we take our children on vacation, we not only give them a budget, but tell them we will double any money they have left over at the end. It really makes them think critically about how much they want something. They wind up buying the things they really want and passing on the overpriced soda or candy. We almost always pay out at the end. 😉

    • Ruth Soukup
      January 9 at 01:16PM

      What a great idea Kim! I love that you are encouraging them to think past the impulse to spend. 🙂

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