Going on a Disney Vacation and already reeling from the sticker shock? I hear you! Our family went to Disney earlier in the year and here are the easiest tips to save money at Disney so you can focus on the magic not the bills!
1. Check for Ticket Sales Before Buying Your Tickets
Disney World tickets can add up quickly especially when you factor in that there are 4 different parks and you may want to spend more than one day in a favourite. We, for example, spent an extra day in Magic Kingdom. Before pressing Purchase, look and see if there are any special tickets prices. We bought our tickets as part of a Disney discount for Canadians!
2. Take Your Own Water Bottles
We are so used to packing water bottles for our kids. Mine rarely go anywhere without theirs. However, for us it is not the same. Before heading to Disney I went to the store and picked up a lightweight leak proof water bottle and we used them throughout the trip. All Disney world parks have water fountains where you can stop to refill your water bottles. Pro Tip: Get a bottle with a wider mouth, they’re easier to fill up at a water fountain!
3. Eat Ice Cream
My girls and I got two ice cream sandwiches to share at Animal Kingdom one day. All 3 of us could not have finished one – with 3 oversized scoops of ice cream and ginormous cookies that was a treat our family of 4 could have shared. We found that most ice cream desserts – Sundaes included – fit that bill. Not sure if it will be big enough for you? The Disney staff is awesome and they’ll be happy to tell you how large a portion really is. As you can see below some of the cupcakes like this delicious beast from the Backlot Express at Hollywood Studios are big enough to share too!
4. Have Groceries Delivered to Your Room
Have kids who snack 24/7? Well, being out and about is not going to make them less hungry. There are a variety of options for grocery delivery (amazon, safeway, etc.). Use one of them to have basic groceries delivered to you. It will be far cheaper than buying them at the park.
5. Stay Off Property
Now this one is a bit controversial, but unless you can get a recently renovated room at a value resort, I recommend staying off site. Disney has an affiliation with a number of Disney Springs Resort Area hotels that also have access to “extra magic hours”. For the price that you pay you get a nicer hotel with a shuttle that runs every half hour. Total win. Also clearly we enjoyed our morning shuttle time.
6. Pass on the Dining Plan
Ok so you really really want to stay on property. You will be immediately asked if you want the Disney Dining Plan. In general if you want to save money at Disney you are best off steering clear of the plan. However if your family consists of adults that will consciously maximize credits then it may be worth it for you, especially if Disney is offering a discount on it’s dining plan.
7. Make sure your light jacket is waterproof / Pack a Poncho
You are going in the spring/summer, it’ll be warm; you’re feeling that cute lightweight jacket for your evening look. I get it, who doesn’t want to look great in the millions of pictures you will take. Do yourself a solid and make sure that the jacket is waterproof. Florida rains are a recurring phenomenon and while you can definitely buy a poncho if you need to, why spend over 20 bucks on one that you may never use again.
8. Don’t Rent a Stroller from Disney
On our Disney days we did a lot of walking. A LOT of walking. Our older one (7) would have probably been ok to walk but there didn’t seem to be much of a point in wasting her energy there. After all there are lines to stand in! So instead we booked a lightweight McLaren double stroller for 3 of our 5 Disney days. Disney rents its own strollers too, but they are more expensive and so uncomfortable looking! We used Orlando Stroller Rentals and they dropped the stroller off at our hotel before we arrived and picked it up from the concierge when we were done. I have also heard good things about Kingdom Strollers.
Bonus Tip: Skip the Stores
Everywhere you look there is a store selling Disney merchandise. With many rides you exit into one of them. Walk out. Unless you have something specific in mind or lots of self control your time is better spent enjoying the many totally free fun Disney experiences. I know people who will get Disney gift cards for kids to keep them in a budget while letting them have a little fun. My girls were too young for that so they got a souvenir each. They had way more fun doing fun things like drumming instead!
These were my favourite tips for how to save money at Disney, do you have suggestions or questions? Just drop them below!