Disney World on a Budget 2017
Disney theme park prices go up every year which means it's harder and harder to save for a trip. With the average family saving for over 4 years just to spend a week at Disney, it's good to know that there are savings to be had.
Follow these simple steps to help you save hundreds of dollars on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
Travel during the off season
We all want smaller crowds when we go to the parks; but did you know these smaller crowd times also means savings? Try traveling when schools are still in session, avoid holidays and weekends, and watch out for big area conferences. It's during these times when hotel rates are at their lowest and ticket sellers offer the best deals. Try going in January or February for the best savings.
Book your vacation in advance
It's not uncommon for Walt Disney World goers to book 7-8 months in advance. Disney Vacation Club members book 11 months in advance of their trips for the best availability and rates. You should do the same. Hotels are always offering better rates and ticket sellers will run specials that last only a few weeks but cover the entire year. Keep watch on both of these and you'll be sure to find the best deals.
Buy your tickets through a ticket discounter
There are several authorized ticket sellers out there besides Disney who can offer special discounts and savings on tickets. Park Savers is one of them and we've found they always have the best prices. You can save up to $50 or more per ticket when you book in advance with them! For a family of four that's $200 in savings! Look for specials during the months of January and February which typically include free days as well as savings.
Stay off property for your hotel
But not too far. Disney Springs has 5 hotel chains that are not affiliated with Disney but are technically on-property. However, they have rooms starting at $99 a night and up. It's hard to beat that for an on-property hotel. If you want even better savings though be sure to check-out hotels in Kissimmee and the Orlando area. You can find hotels that offer free parking and breakfast. This adds up considering you'll typically spend $12-$15 a night for parking and $6 on breakfast per person per day. Most hotels offer bus service to the parks as well.
Keep in mind as well that there are several hotels that offer annual passholder discounts and military/government discounts too. Just call and ask!
Military members and families
Disney has the best discounts for anyone actively serving or currently retired from the military. You can purchase deeply discounted 4 and 5 days tickets as well as discount hotel rooms on-property. In particular, the Shades of Green on-property resort which is for military members and their families only. Rates are based on ranking but you can find them as low as $70 a night and many include free breakfast.
Fly in on an saver airline
If you can score airline tickets from $49 per person one way or just over $100 RT you're set for savings! Look at saver airlines such as JetBlue or Southwest. They typically have sales going on and offer low rates on flights. Both fly into Orlando Intl. Airport with several flights a day from all over the USA. For even smaller fares check-out the super saver airlines like Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit. If you do fly a super saver be sure to pack light. Their fares can be cheap but they will nickel and dime you on everything else. So if you're just brining a carry on, not wanting to choose your seat in advance, and don't need priority boarding then you're in for a real deal!
Don't rent a car
It's a thing of the past now, especially if you're planning on not leaving Disney property during your stay. Rental cars are going to range from $40-$100 per day and on top of that you have to pay for parking which can cost you $20 per day. Try using car services such as Uber or LYFT. They will run you about $40 from the airport to the Walt Disney World Resort. Plus you can get them to take you from park to park if you don't want to use Disney's free busing system (which we recommend) or even to other area attractions. Remember, if you're staying on-property at a Disney hotel you get free airport transportation!
Use our Free Rides codes to save on your first trip with them.
Bring your own food
We get this question all the time and the answer is yes. You can bring your own food into the parks with you. Because most people fly into Disney World we would suggest buying your groceries through a local vendor that delivers to your hotel. It's super simple and you can pick a time for the groceries to be dropped off. Try Garden Grocer or Goodings. Making your own meals will save you on average $30 per person per day. That's a lot of savings!
One tip we MUST share with you has to do with water: DON'T buy water at the Disney Parks. It's a huge waste of money! Instead head over to any quick service restaurant and ask for a cup of water. They typically give you a 16oz cup of ice water...for free. It's a policy at the parks to do this as Disney is always concerned about your health and safety.
Buy merchandise before you arrive
If your kids want a costume or a plush doll of their favorite character, purchase it before you head out to the parks. You'll always pay at least three times as much as the parks as you would Amazon or Wal-Mart. However, if you are going to purchase at the parks try giving your kids a Disney Gift Card. You can set the balance before hand and let them know that once it's gone, it's gone.
Take advantage of Disney's free busing
There's no reason to drive from park to park in your own car or a rental. Disney offers a free busing system from park to park, Disney Springs, and a few other resort areas. It doesn't matter if you're staying off property of not. Once you're at the parks you have full access to this busing system. As mentioned before, Disney also offers free transportation from Orlando Intl. Airport to the resort and back. It's called the Magical Express and is available to anyone staying on-property.
Combing all or some of these together when booking your trip will help you save tons of money and make your vacation even more memorable!