If you have ever been on a Disney Vacation, or are thinking about taking a Disney Vacation soon, you might have realized that Disney has so much to offer! You might start thinking what should I spend the extra money on during my vacation, what should I avoid, and how in the world can I stick to my budget? Or is it even possible to go to Disney on a budget?
Well, I am here to tell you that it is possible to do Disney on a budget, and I will share with you 13 Tips for doing just that.
1. Disney Promotions
When you are booking a Disney Vacation, more than likely, you are always trying to get the best deal. Every so often, Disney will release new promotions, that will save you money on your trip.
Keep a lookout for new promotions, so you can save money, while still getting the most out of your Disney vacation.
2. Where to Stay
One of the most controversial topics about planning a Disney Vacation is- should you stay on or off property?
Obviously, a first glance, staying off property is much cheaper.
However, if you are staying off property, you will need to pay for transportation, which can be very expensive. You will need transportation to and from the airport and to and from the theme parks. In addition to this, you will need to pay for parking at the theme parks and your hotel.
If you are staying at Walt Disney World® Resort, you will get free transportation to and from the airport and theme parks.
In addition to this, if you stay on property, you are given many other perks that you wouldn’t receive when you stay off property. It might cost a little more to stay at Walt Disney World® Resort, but you will get a lot in return that would cost you extra if you were staying off property.
Disney Value Resorts are the most affordable resort hotels at Walt Disney World® Resort.
This is yet another controversial topic when planning a Disney Vacation- Should you purchase a dining plan or not.
In my opinion, it really depends on your family, if you should purchase a Disney dining plan or not.
Disney Dining Plan
As far as staying on a budget goes, using a dining plans makes sure you stick to your budget. You will be paying ahead of time for all of your meals, so there will be no surprises when you check your bank account after your vacation.
If you plan on attending character meals, the dining plan can save you money.
If you want to spend the least amount of money on food, you can order groceries, have them delivered to your hotel room, and bring snacks into the theme parks each day.
Things to keep in mind about being your own food:
- The theme parks at Disney do not allow you to bring coolers with ice into the parks.
- If you want to eat a full meal, you will have to leave the theme park, and head back to your hotel every time you are hungary. This can cause you to waste a lot of time.
- If you plan on cooking full meals, make sure you book a hotel room that has all of the accommodations you will need. It can be difficult to cook meals with only the accommodations in a hotel room.
- If you are going off of Walt Disney World® Resort property to eat, you will need to pay for the transportation.
My family has tried to save money by grocery shopping, and trying to avoid buying food in the theme parks. This is difficult, because once you are there and involved in the magic, you don’t want to waste any time by leaving to get food.
Your kids (and let’s be honest, you too) will see and smell delicious snacks around the theme parks that you just must try. Randomly spending money on food can get out of control fast!
Bonus: Another thing to keep in mind, if you are planning on eating only some meals in the theme parks- breakfast is much cheaper than lunch and dinner.
4. Don’t Buy Drinks
No matter what you decide to do about food, don’t buy drinks at the theme parks!
You can get FREE water at any restaurant or quick-service station.
Bring water bottles, sippy cups, or my favorite- a camel back. You can fill these up before you leave your hotel, and then fill them up as needed throughout the theme parks.
5. Understand Ticket Options
Disney offers multiple ticket options, each has its own unique purpose, pros, and cons. Make sure you understand all of the ticket options, so you can decide what your family needs most.
You wouldn’t want to waste money on tickets that your family doesn’t really need, or won’t even end up using all of the benefits of.
6. Set A Budget For EVERYTHING
It is one thing to say we are going to spend X amount of dollars on our trip to Disney World. However, how much of that are you going to spend on food, souvenirs, etc.
Make sure to set a budget for your trip as a whole, and then set a budget for each thing you are going to need on your trip. Give each of your children a set spending budget, so you do not end up going over budget.
My advice is to leave some extra money in a miscellaneous category, so if you do go over budget in one area, you will not go over budget for your trip as a whole.
7. Make Daily Itineraries
There are many advantages to creating daily itineraries for your Disney Vacation.
First, you will know what to expect, and you will spend less time wandering around aimlessly. If you plan in advance, you will know what time your FastPass selections and dining reservations are, and what area of the park you need to be in at what time.
This also helps you stick to a budget, because you know what to expect. You will know when you have extra things plans that you will need to pay extra fees for, and you will not randomly plan extra things that will cost you extra money.
8. Use Free Transportation
If you are staying at the Walt Disney World® Resort take advantage of the free transportation options. As I mentioned above, paying for transportation can expensive very quickly.
Depending on what resort you are staying at, your free transportation options include:
- Ferryboat or water taxi
- Skyliner (Opening September 29th, 2019)
9. Do Day Trips
A Vacation to Disney World can involve more experiences than just the theme parks.
Although the theme parks are the best part of a Disney Vacation, not every day has to cost your family so much money.
I actually would advise you to do “off” days from the Disney Theme Parks, so you have time to gain some energy back.
10. Skip Busy Times
When planning your Disney Trip on a budget, avoid busy times at Disney World to save more money.
Prices for Disney tickets and packages will be less during less crowded times of the year.
Busy times at Disney include:
- Anytimes kids are on school break
- Holiday Season
The least crowded times at Disney World are the end of August and throughout September. Please note, that when new attractions open at Disney World, the crowds will get larger no matter what time of year it is.
11. Make Every Moment Count
Now, I know you are thinking, “well yes, that is obvious!” But just hear me out, because this will help you do Disney on a budget.
If your family sleeps in, and you do not make it to the theme park until midday, you might want to go back to the theme park another day, because you did not get to see everything that you wanted.
This is going to cost you more money, and it is a sure way to go over budget.
Most families only go on Disney Vacation once in awhile or even once in a lifetime, so make the most out of every minute you get to spend in this magical place!
12. You Can Keep It Simple
Walt Disney World® Resort has so much to offer, and it might be challenging to decide what to splurge on and what to skip.
If you are doing Disney on a budget, don’t feel bad if you keep it simple. The Disney Theme Parks have so much to offer, and make for a magical vacation without all of the extras.
Of course all of the extras are nice, but you definitely do not need them to have a great time.
If you do want to add on special events and extras, make sure you decide what will benefit your vacation the most
13. Use A Travel Agent
Many people do not understand the perks of using a travel agent to plan a Disney Vacation. I have a confession…I did not understand all of the perks until I became a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations.
This is the best way to stick to a budget, because you can tell your travel agent your budget, and because they know all the Disney news and planning tips, they will be the best person to give you advice on what you actually need for your vacation.
Additionally, because travel agent that book Disney Vacations have completed Disney’s College of Knowledge and talk about Disney everyday, they can help you make the best decisions on FastPass selections, dining reservations, and every other part of your vacation.
If you book your vacation with a travel agent, they will constantly be on the lookout for new promotions that Disney releases. If you qualify for new promotions, your travel agent will be able to modify your vacation for you.
Actually, a travel agent can help you with pretty much everything on this list, making sure you CAN do Disney on a budget.
If you plan your vacation through me, you could receive a $25 Disney Gift Card, find out more here!
My travel concierge services are free to you, and there will not be any hidden fees throughout the process. I will make your FastPass selections, dining reservations, create an itinerary, and take care of as much or as little planning as you would like. I will plan your vacation as if it were my own, and I will constantly be in contact to discuss your vacation. Fill out the form below to get started!
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