Is it really possible to do Disney on a budget? If you plan your trip in advance and follow some of these money-saving tips, then it is absolutely possible.
I lived in Florida all of my life before moving to Connecticut, and because of the close proximity, we were annual pass holders. Our family visited Disney at least 5-6 times a year, so I knew that to visit often, we had to find tricks to save some money and keep the costs down. Here are some of the things I learned to help cut down on costs:
Visit during the offseason. Room rates and crowds are less when you visit during the low season. The low season is usually January/February and September/October. If possible, avoid Spring Break, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Summer.
Buy items before your trip. Disney prices can be ridiculous. Some essential items I recommend buying before arriving are disposable ponchos, Disney shirts, and autograph books. Check out some useful ideas on what to pack for Disney.
Have groceries delivered to your room. Garden Grocer, Instacard, and Safeway all deliver groceries to Disney resorts. If you happen to be staying in a DVC one or two-bedroom villa, you could even cook a simple dinner in your hotel room to save money.
Buy gift cards when you shop. If you are planning your trip in advance, when you do groceries, buy a $20 Disney gift card at checkout each time you do groceries. That way, by the time your trip comes, you have several Disney gift cards, and it feels like you are paying less during your trip.
Bring an insulated water bottle. A water bottle at Disney World is at least $3. Since it is usually hot in Disney, this can add up quickly. To save money on water, bring an insulated water bottle and fill it up at the hotel. Then, fill it up at the parks at any restaurant or water fountain for free.
Buy gifts ahead of time “from Mickey.” This is a unique idea if you have little ones. Buy some Disney gifts on Amazon or Etsy before your trip and surprise your kids by leaving the gifts on the bed or table when they wake up. You could leave a note from Mickey or say it is from you, but buying Disney gifts ahead of time is always cheaper than buying expensive Disney merchandise at the parks.
Rent DVC points. If you enjoy a pleasant hotel stay, renting DVC points could be for you. Disney Vacation Club members often have extra points and will rent them out to other guests at a discounted rate. You can stay at the Deluxe resorts for hundreds of dollars less. Now, renting DVC points usually works better if you plan ahead of time as there is more availability.
Stay at a Disney Value Resort. The value resorts are the least expensive option if you would like to stay on property. I often advocate for visitors to stay inside Disney because of free transportation, theming, and easier access to the theme parks. Here is a review of all 5 Disney Value Resorts.
These are only a few of the tricks I use to save money when vacationing at Disney. Here are some other useful tips on how to do Disney on a budget from family travel bloggers and some Disney Do’s and Don’ts to help when you are planning. Is there anything unique you do to save money on Disney? Share below in the comments.