Top 10 Vacation Tips To Save Money in Walt Disney World

If you have been hanging around here more than one second, you know that I love all things Disney, and this of course includes vacationing in Walt Disney World. However, it can be very expensive to vacation there especially if you have kids. Over the years I have learned a thing or two to help cut costs while still having a ton of fun. Some things just don’t matter as much if it means you get to still go to your happy place, right? Check out my top 10 10 vacation tips to save money in Walt Disney World:

Save Money in Walt Disney World

1.) Bring food from home or order groceries: All WDW hotels have mini fridges, and all DVC (disney vacation club) rooms have microwaves, and 1, 2, and 3 bedroom DVC villas have full kitchens. If you are driving to WDW, bring food with you or stop when you get to Orlando for groceries. If you are flying, take advantage of grocery delivery services like Garden Grocer. One of my favorite Disney memories is staying at a DVC resort and grilling burgers and eating outside with the family at picnic tables. (Yes all villa resorts have grills!) We aren’t big breakfast eaters so have brought milk, cereal, and protein bars for breakfast, and even made sandwiches for lunch. It saves a ton of money because let’s face it, Disney food is pricey.

2.) Purchase base tickets: Choose a base ticket instead of a park hopper to save money. Remember, with a base ticket you can only go into one park per day, but you can go in and out of that park as many times as you want. If you have little ones, consider going to a park in the morning, then going back to your resort for a nap and swim, then head back to the park in the early evening.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

3.) Target gift cards: If you have a Target red card, you already (hopefully) know you save 5% on all purchases. Did you know this includes Disney gift cards? Pick up a couple everytime you shop at Target then save them for your trip. You can even pay off your hotel or package balance with them.

 

4.) Souvenirs from home: Disney shirts, toys, and the like are SO expensive. Like it’s painful. Thankfully, I have a Disney Store outlet near my house with great prices. I have bought toys and clothes for Emma Kate there and then given them to her when we are at Disney. We have even surprised her in the morning and said “Mickey or Tinkerbell left her a present overnight”. This way we can stay out of the stores and save some money. You can literally find a lot of the same toys from the parks at the outlet (there is even one in Orlando near Disney!) or online when the Disney Stores has sales.

5.) Bring your own water:  We always bring out own water from home by the case, but you can also bring a refillable water bottle, or ask for free ice water in a cup at any counter service location. A bottle of water at WDW is $3+, and I can get a whole case for that much. Save your money for other things!

6.) Choose where you stay wisely: There are tons of on site WDW hotels, and if you go at certain times of the year and are flexible with your dates, you can go when prices are lowest and snag a resort of package discount, maybe even free dining. However, don’t be afraid to look outside Disney property. There are several great hotels near Disney Springs as well that can save you a lot of money. Remember, holidays and summer are the most expensive and most crowded.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

 7.) Chase Disney Visa: We have a Chase Disney Visa credit card that we use for everyday purchases (please note, we pay it off in full every month!) and we earn points that translate into Disney dollars. (holla!) We use the cards for everything from gas to daycare bills to groceries and money adds up fast! I have a friend who paid for 3/4 of a Disney cruise with her points, so it is like getting free money! They also offer merchandise discounts as well around the parks.

8.) Share meals: At the sit down restaurants (not the fancy ones) we have found that portion sizes are quite large, and Emma Kate and I can easily split a meal. You can always get a mickey bar or popsicle later if you are still hungry, which is actually what I prefer anyway. 🙂

9.) Have an “off” day: Disney Springs has been revamped over the past couple of years and now it’s a destination in and of itself. The best thing? It’s free! (well, unless you have a shopping problem.) Free parking, free wifi, free live music, and chocolate samples. You can also play with Legos and there is a splash pad area that has kept Emma Kate entertained many times while we eat outside at Earl of Sandwich. Take a day “off” from the parks in the middle of your trip and hit up Disney Springs for a half day, then spend a half day at the pool, or ride the monorail around and look at some of the gorgeous hotel lobbies.

10.) Bring your own stroller: Lastly, if you have small kids, bring your own stroller. This will save you from renting from an outside company or renting one of the uncomfortable hard plastic ones from the parks, which by the way you cannot take back to your hotel. It may not be a huge savings but every little bit counts when you want to have the vacation of your dreams!

Save Money in Walt Disney World

Related: Tips for Pandora with a Preschooler

Packing for a Walt Disney World Trip

It’s no secret that I love traveling to Disney destinations. There is a lot of planning work involved (which is what I do for a living of course), but there is also a lot of packing involved. The climate in Florida can make packing a challenge, and depending on what you plan to do on your visit to central Florida your list may look a little different than mine. I did however want to put together a basic list of things to think about packing. I do NOT go into super great detail as far as kid and baby items because that can differ so greatly depending on the age of your kids, but hopefully this list will help get you started and think of a few things you had not thought of before.

I have broken my list down into two parts, one for items you may need in the parks, and another for items for the resort/your hotel stay. Happy packing!

For the Parks:

  • Backpack —> The easiest way to carry everything
  • Camera/charger
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen —> LOTS, and reapply!
  • Ponchos —-> For pop up showers + rides you may get wet on.
  • Water bottle —–> There are fountains in the park to refill a bottle
  • Hat/visor
  • Walking shoes —-> COMFY shoes!
  • Comfy clothes
  • Jacket —-> Even if it’s hot outside, the A/C will be blasting inside!
  • Snacks —> You may bring food into the parks, but no glass.
  • Hand sanitizer —-> bathe in it.

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Extra points for Mickey luggage!

For the Resort:

  • Phone/charger
  • Makeup
  • Toiletries —-> No hairdryer needed
  • Nicer clothes —-> For nicer dinners out
  • Swimsuit
  • Running clothes —-> for dorks like me
  • Ziplock bags —> for snacks, random loose items, etc.
  • Extra bag —-> to use as carry on you can fill with souvenirs
  • Book/magazine —-> for at the pool/on the plane
  • Garbage bag for dirty clothes —> Easiest way to transport home.
  • Toys for kids/keep busy
  • Lysol —–> We spray down the room, doorknobs, TV remote, etc.

Don’t forget, I am a Disney travel planner and would love to book your next Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise vacation for you! Email [email protected] for details.

Related: Sign up for my My Disney Experience and Magic Bands FREE E-course

QOTD: What would you add to this list? Get to packing for a Disney Trip!