Want to make your way to the “happiest place on Earth,” where you can meet Mickey Mouse and the gang and live a fairytale like Cinderella did? If so, do not think you are going to leave there as rich as Walt Disney himself. Quite the contrary, just to get into a Walt Disney World theme park can cost up to $500 for a family of four — and that is without the transportation, the lodging, the food, the Disney goodies and souvenirs — and don't forget the Minnie Mouse ears. Basically, doing Disney without losing your mind is a job itself, but it takes a job to get there first.
Like everything else in life, prices are always bound to augment, and Walt Disney World and Disneyland Theme parks are no stranger to that. However, since it is Disney, they can permit themselves to do such a thing and know that they will still attract a million guests. That being said, we want to come to your rescue as we are sure someday soon you will go to Disney World, or go back — because once you go the first time, you want to go back again and again and again. And so, here are our magical wallet-saving tips to be actually happy when visiting the happiest place on Earth.
25 Stay At A Disney Resort
Our first magical tip is to stay at a Disney property — yes, some of you may contradict us, but staying at a Disney resort will save you bucks. Firstly, Disney resorts offer transportation until the wee hours of the morning to all Disney parks and Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney, which right there saves money on parking and gas. Not all Disney resorts come with a hefty price tag, there are a couple that are budget friendly and just as magical.
24 Visit Disney During The Weekdays
Little things, like the days of the week can make a huge impact on the money spent when vacationing to Disney. If you are planning on staying at a Disney resort — remember, stay at a value resort — for a short 5 day stay, then be flexible and make it a Monday to Thursday trip. Travelling on those days will automatically save you big bucks. This should now be a no-brainer when visiting Disney too, as frequent travellers are aware about this travelling tip.
23 Decline The Park Hopper Pass
The costliest mistake people make at Disney is saying yes to the park hopper pass — sounds enticing and inviting, right? Visiting Disney is extremely tiring, especially when visiting with children, so though buying a park hopper pass could seem advantageous, it isn't. It is an expense visitors do not need because visiting more then one park in one day is nearly impossible, unless your Tinkerbell flying through the parks. Hopping between parks is time-consuming and expensive and does not allow any time for a breather — take it from us.
22 Go During Off-Season
Just thinking about getting a Disney park done in one day can make one's head spin, so, we have a money-saving solution for you Disney lovers; go take your magical vacation during the off-season. During high-traffic times, prices of everything go up, and that includes airfare, lodging, transportation, and the parks themselves, so taking the wonderful trip to meet Mickey, Olaf, and the princesses will be easier when there is no swarm of people during summer break or the holidays.
21 Stay Longer
Going to Disney is a dream vacation for many, and so, to save money for the piggy bank, we suggest you stay longer. Each extra day that you spend at Disney, your savings get even better. We say this because it gives you more time to relax, hence, spending less money and taking the time to enjoy each park individually or even separate the parks. We know it sounds a little skeptical, but Disney can be so magical if families choose to take more time there.
20 Take The Wheel To Go To Disney
You will be guaranteed to save loads of money with this tip, and it is as simple as this: just drive — make a road trip of going to Disney instead of flying. Evidently, this tip is only for those who can take the trip, and even if it is a 24-hour drive, the drive will totally be worth it for those traveling with a party of 2 and more, since no one goes to see Mickey alone. Airfare can start at $300 per person, and that multiplies quickly, so take the drive.
19 Don’t Buy Souvenirs
We know its tempting to buy everything Disney when at Disney, but it is best to avoid buying souvenirs at the park; it sounds ridiculous, we know, because who does not buy Disney plush and mugs when there? However, we have some alternatives for you that make total sense. If you really want to purchase Disney products, then waiting until you return home from your trip is your best option, as online retailers like Amazon sell the exact same stuff — we'll allow you a keychain.
18 Pack Correctly
Do you want to continue avoiding migraines that Disney prices will give you? Then pack all the right necessities before heading to the parks, like Advil. Many people attend the parks and are always in a rush to go early because there is so much magical stuff to do and see. And it is because of that, that people absentmindedly forget to pack the requirements for a long day, like sunscreen and medication, that cost triple the price at Disney if forgotten.
17 Bring Ponchos
Disney knows that even when it rains, people will head on over to the parks, as people specifically plan their vacations around Disney — rain or shine, excited guests will be there. So, what does Disney do? Disney charges plenty for ponchos. This has happened to almost everyone we know — they go to Disney, it rains, they did not bring their own ponchos, and are stuck spending money on a plastic cover. Unless you rather get soaked than pay those ridiculous prices, buy your own before.
16 Bring Those Strollers
Sprawling Disney parks is extremely tiring; it is legitimately hard work walking around the entire park and maneuvering around people. This tip is useful for those traveling with babies and children, please bring your strollers. Many families go thinking they will not need one, only to get there and have their child complain they are tired, which is normal. The Disney parks realize this and have a station where you can rent strollers, but as everything else, the prices are unbelievable.
15 Bring Your Own Junk
If you want to splurge on other things during your trip, like Mickey Mouse Rice Krispies and Mickey Mouse frozen treats, and are travelling by car, then stack up on many snacks and drinks (this tip makes even more sense if you are staying at a Disney resort). Bringing your own food and drinks from home, or a local grocery store is allowed and will save you hard-earned dollars as eating at Disney resorts becomes costly after multiple days.
14 Check The Internet
We are always plugged into our phones on social media and the Internet, so take some of that time to stalk the net for Disney deals, which are around more often than you think. One can often find discounted tickets for the Disney parks and promotions that can save you a lot of cash to later splurge on at the parks. Sometimes, Disney itself offers deals, but stalking coupon sites and travel sites could certainly pay off.
13 Disney Wilderness
This tip may not be for everyone; those who dislike the outdoors and pesky bugs, we are talking to you. To those who do not mind, camping around Walt Disney World is the cheapest lodging one can find. Disney is a vacation many dream of taking, so why not expand the fun at a camping site where there are campfires and Disney sing-alongs? Camping at Fort Wilderness is a great alternative and children end up loving the freedom of running around in the woods.
12 Be Aware Of The Extra Magical Goodies
If it is your first visit at Disney, the moment you step foot in any Disney property, the temptation will hit. Disney workers have a reflex to ask all clients if it is their first visit at the "happiest place on Earth," and if it is, beware, they will try and sell you everything and you won't even notice. For them, it is all about enhancing your magical Disney experience, but Disney is just as magical without all the excess stuff, like the photo service they offer.
11 Skip On The Meal Plans
Disney dining sounds so fancy and luxurious, but if you are staying at a Disney resort, our best money-saving tip is to skip out on the meal plan they offer. Disney travel agents will try to convince you how worth it is, but it is not. If you're going to Disney, chances are you will be at the Disney parks and not at the resort, and you will be left with a bunch of uneaten meals to hand out.
10 Indulge In The Free Stuff
Though Disney could be the most expensive vacation, and everything at Disney comes with a hefty price tag, they could be thoughtful at times. We understand why Disney is so costly, and we are not blaming them, but we certainly give the resorts credit for offering free walking tours. Taking a walk to see the Animal Kingdom park animals could save loads of money, as you may not want to visit the park after already getting a glance at it. By the way, Disney offers these tours to non-hotel guests as well.
9 Hop On The Magical Express
The perfect Disney vacation is not out of reach and starting it off with a ride on Disney's Magical Express will start it off by magically saving you money. How great is it to descend a plane and know you have a magical bus waiting for you to take you to your destined area? Many guests that stay at Disney resorts are not aware that they have a bus that takes them there for free and end up hailing a cab for about $60 (this is an estimated price from experience).
8 Ask For Savings
When it comes to getting deals, one cannot be shy, and Disney is no exception. When booking lodging, and at the Disney parks themselves, do not be shy to ask if there are any possible discounts and deals, whether it be through your insurance or a child's age, etc. Often enough, a travel agent or a Disney "cast member" will surprise you and find you a little something that will save you money in the long-run — every buck counts!
7 Skip The Bottled Water
Feeling dehydrated while tirelessly and excitedly walking through the "happiest place on Earth?" Then please remember this tip and tattoo it on your hands if you must: do not buy bottled water. Yes, you read right! We are not telling you not to drink water, but instead offering you a mouth-watering tip that will save you many dollars. Instead of buying a water bottle, ask any cast member at a food stand for a glass of water. And there you have it, free water at Disney.
6 Book A Disney Character Dining Experience
Reserving a meal with the Disney characters (magical, right?) will actually save you money. Disney resorts offer numerous meals with the characters, which is firstly an unforgettable experience, and secondly a budget friendly one. The character meals, like Ohana's Breakfast, can save everyone a lot of money, as everyone pays one price, and gets unlimited food. And when that is the case, stocking up is a great idea as it will fill you up through dinner time.
5 Ask For Photos
Walking around Disney resorts, you will often see Disney photographers, who are there to make your experience so magical. These Disney photographers are often around the characters, and what do visitors want more than pictures with characters? Nothing. However, Disney charges for their magical photos, and it isn't cheap, but, did you know that asking them to take a picture with your device is free? Yes, not being shy at Disney resorts certainly helps in saving cash.
4 Find Park Pass Deals
Having a magical vacation is within reach for everyone and planning ahead of time is so crucial in making it happen. The park tickets, after all, are the costliest of all, so do not pay full price for them. What? How?
There are many ways to get deals on Disney park tickets, and just heading on over to Costco or asking AAA can make a huge difference. It takes a little bit more time and effort, but in the end, you'll celebrate.
3 Buy Multi-Day Passes
The steep cost of a Disney vacation can often swerve the enthusiasm you may have in going, but another way to make it less of a damper is by buying multi-day park passes. Instead of buying one park ticket each day, buy the two-day tickets upfront as the price for each additional day automatically decreases. Sounds reasonable and practical right? However, many people do not think of it until they are notified. In the end, buying in one shot is a win-win.
2 Check Your Receipts
With a bit of theme-park savvy, your Disney World or Disneyland trip will be the happiest one, and one thing hardly no one recognizes, are the discounts that can be found on receipts. During an off-park day, visiting Disney Springs can be advantageous in more ways than one; for one, you're not spending delirious amounts at a park, and secondly, because in the fine print of receipts from Disney Springs retailers can often be found discounts. Therefore, be sure to read it before tossing it away!
1 Share Your Meals
References: disney.com, travelchannel.com, todayshow.com