Hello everyone, I hope you are well! Most people think of one thing when talking about a Disney vacation, money! So today I wanted to talk about some different ways that you can save money if you are thinking of heading to Walt Disney World anytime soon! I’ll be back with posts on Disneyland and Aulani later this month. Okay, let’s jump in!
Do your research!
First things first, research like crazy! Use the Walt Disney World website to price everything out (it’s very user friendly, and you can play around a lot) and you’d be surprised with the deals you can find!
stay off site
As much as I love staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts, they are more expensive. If you are just looking to save money everywhere you can, staying off site will most likely be your best bet. But, if you are looking at resorts on Disney property but not owned by Disney (mostly in the Disney Springs area), check to see what the transportation options are to get you to the park. Some resorts charge per person per day, so that can add up! When you stay on site transportation is free.
look for deals
Disney is always offering some sort of deal. From discounted rooms, to free dining, Canadian resident offers and more. Make sure to check out the Special Offers page on the Walt Disney World Website to see if the deal might work for you. Historically the free dining promotion goes live in the spring for stays in the fall, but for 2019 everything was shifted forward a little bit, because of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It’s a very popular promotion and sells out quickly. But one thing to note: room prices are actually more expensive, so you aren’t getting that great of a deal.
park savers & get away today
These are two companies I’ve personally used, and they offer discounted tickets and packages. Park Savers I have used to get tickets before, and I used Get Away Today for a package when I went to Disneyland (more on that in the Disneyland post!). You can easily price out tickets or vacation packages, and both websites make it really easy.
price out the dining plan
For 99% of people staying on site, the Disney dining plan is not worth the money. If you are planning a trip, check this calculator out to see if you would save any money by purchasing the plan. At the end of the day, it’s a convenience, and not a way to save money. (In 2023 the dining plan is not currently available, but it has been announced that it will return after the pandemic- just not when)
Disney’s Magical Express
If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, take advantage of the free transportation to and from the airport! You can read all about Disney’s Magical Express here, but I use it every trip! There’s nothing like not having to worry about your luggage and dealing with a rental car. Plus, the Disney fun starts when you are on board! (Disney’s Magical Express was retired in 2021 and now exists at Mears Connect. Another option in Uber/ Lyft or the Sunshine Flyer)
price out park passes
You might be surprised that an Annual Pass could save you money, so it’s definitely worth doing the math. Tickets prices are higher per day the fewer days you go, and are now priced based on the first day you visit the parks. So weekends are higher. Take that into consideration!
For example (not that I’ve recently looked it up or anything), a 2 day 1 park per day pass, plus a 9 day park hopper pass is more expensive than an Premier Annual Pass. By $100! And almost $300 for the Gold Annual Pass. I would say if you are planning on going for a week or more, check out annual passes. Around the 10 day mark is where you can save money.
purchase gift cards
I learned this trick from some of the Facebook groups I’m in! Check out Costco and even Shoppers Drug Mart or Grocery stores to see if they have Disney gift cards! Sometimes they sell cards that get you more money for less, or if you have a Cash Back Credit Card (or the Target Red Card), you get a percentage off or money back. You can use the gift card towards your hotel room, for food, merchandise, anything really! And you can combine cards up to $500 so you only carry one card.
use any affillations (caa, dvc, annual passes)
If you are a member anywhere, check to see if there are discounts! We’ve previously used our CAA membership to buy tickets. DVC members can get discounts on tickets and dining, and so can Annual Passholders! If you are a member anywhere, definitely look to see if there are any Disney related deals you can take advantage of!
Food in the parks is expensive, and there’s not really a way to get around that. But, if you are staying in a hotel you can buy some groceries and save money by eating breakfast in you room, or bringing snacks into the park! I generally don’t eat breakfast in the morning, or just grab something quick before heading to the parks.
Share a Meal/ Get a Kids Meal
Another way to save on food in the parks is to split a meal, or buy a kids meal! Portion sizes are quite large, and Ethan and I can get away with splitting a Quick Service Meal. Alternatively, purchase a kid’s meal that is a smaller portion and you can save a few dollars!
Purchase Merchandise Before/After Your Trip
If you have booked Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for your daughter, avoid buying the princess dresses in the parks! Shop before your trip (either at a Disney store or Amazon) and bring the dress with you! And if you don’t want to worry about traveling with merchandise, you can use the Shop Disney app or website to buy merchandise from the parks and get them shipped to you. They normally have free shipping promotions which makes it easy! If you are in Canada I wouldn’t suggest shopping online, because we usually get hit with duties and taxes!
Uber/Lyft instead of Taxi
Lastly, if you are trying to get around with taxis, consider using Lyft or Uber because they are much cheaper! And while Disney has their own Minnie Van service and promote that you are driven around by a Disney Cast Member, most Uber and Lyft drivers are Cast Members too!
If you’d like to hear more about the ways to save money at Walt Disney World, check out the video below!
Do you have any money saving tips? Leave them in the comments below!
I hope this helped to show you that there are some ways to save money when you are heading to Walt Disney World! Like I mentioned before I’ll be back in a few weeks with the same sort of post for Disneyland!
Thank you so much for reading!