How To Save Money on a Disney Parks Vacation

‘Isn’t Walt Disney World completely unaffordable?’ – this is one of the main questions we get asked when people find out that we’ve taken another Disney trip. And yes, prices do continue to go up at Disney, but we don’t think that it’s by any means completely out of the grasp of the common man. When my husband and I first started taking trips to Disney World on a regular basis, we were both working as servers at a restaurant – neither of us have trust funds, or rich daddies funding our trips. And yes, we don’t have kids right now, which I know makes travel a lot more affordable and easy. We have learned how to save money when we travel, especially when travelling to a Disney Park, and thought we would share some of those money saving tips with you.

1. Consider Staying Off Property
We always enjoy staying on property, and usually think it’s worth it, because it immerses you in the Magic, and generally makes your life easier. Want to take a mid-day nap? (you will and you should) It takes significantly less time to do so if you’re staying at a Disney Resort. Don’t underestimate travel time. However, if you really want to save, you can always find a cheaper resort off property. This will require you to get a rental car if you chose to fly to Walt Disney World, however.


2. For-go the Rental Car
For those that chose to stay on-property, which is usually our recommendation, for-go the rental car, and take full advantage of Disney Transportation. The resort has a great bus, monorail, and boat system to get you where you need to go. While you won’t be as in control as you would be if you had a rental car, you will save money.


3. Bring your own snacks and coffee
David and I always bring Starbucks VIA, trail mix, and protein bars. We’ve found that getting our Starbucks fix in the morning gets costly, as does buying breakfast. By making a Starbucks VIA at the resort, and eating a protein bar in the room, we save almost $20 a day. We use the trail mix for snack attack cravings, which also saves money.


4. Bring a Poncho From Home
It will rain on your trip. At some point, it’s going to start pouring. It’s Florida, and it’s inevitable. What most people do, is run into the closest shop, and shell out money to buy their whole families ponchos. We bring our own ponchos/umbrellas from home, and carry them with us in the parks, so when it starts inevitably raining, we’re prepared, and aren’t spending unnecessary money.

5. Don’t Buy Bottled Water
It’s really tempting on a hot, Florida day to pay for a cold bottle of water when you get unbearably thirsty. These costs can add up really quickly. All quick service restaurants will give you a cup of ice water for free. If you need it to be filtered, we recommend carrying around a Britta Water Bottle, with a built in filter, and filling it up at water fountains.


6. Consider The Disney Dining Plan
We actually think the Disney Dining Plan can be a money saver, depending on what your family eats, and what kind of food you enjoy. For us, it’s a money saver – but we enjoy eating a nice, sit down meal everyday. We said to consider it, because we don’t think it automatically is a money saver, just that it might be. If eating is not important to your family, and you’re happy grabbing a quick burger, and going about your day, the Dining Plan will probably not save you money.


7. Don’t Get a Park Ticket for Your Arrival Day
We know it might be tempting, but only get park tickets for days you will be fully at the parks, if you’re looking to save money. Instead of spending your arrival day at a park, head to the new Disney Springs, or spend some time resort hopping.


8. Set a Budget – And Actually Stick to It
We’ve found that the times Disney has gotten the most expensive is when we’ve given in to impulse buys. Snacks, alcoholic beverages, and souvenirs have added up to be hundreds of extra dollars that we weren’t planning on spending. We recommend sitting down, and making a budget that is reasonable, and you can actually stick to, then putting it in an app like ‘Mint’.


We hope our favorite money saving Disney tips help you enjoy your trip a little more, stress a litte less, and come back with your wallet a little fuller.