Ways to save money on a Disney Vacation

People are always asking us how to save money on a Disney Vacation. I probably look at them with a blank look, because when we go to Disney, that’s the one time we don’t hold back!

But the more I think about it, there are some little ways to make that dollar stretch farther:

Let’s start small. I buy glow sticks, Mickey glowing necklaces, glow swords….all kinds of things like this before our trip. Then I bring them out before night shows, fireworks, parades etc. The kids hardly ever ask to buy those expensive glowing things at WDW, because they have their own.

Jae, in all her glowing glory
Jae, in all her glowing glory

If you know you are going to be going to Disney two years in a row, buy an annual pass. The first year using your pass, take your vacation in December (or whenever) and then the next year, plan your vacation for November. (or whenever, just so it is earlier than your last vacation.)

Plan on bringing your own breakfasts to last the whole time you are there. That’s one meal you won’t have to buy.

We have the Disney Visa card because we can earn points for our trip. But that is just one way to save. We also save money on gas. We buy disney gift cards with our Disney Visa to pay for most everything on our trip, rooms, souvenirs, food, you name it. We only buy these cards at our local grocery store that has a special deal for you to get fuel perks. (money off your gasoline total) So while we aren’t technically saving at Disney World, we are earning both Disney Credit as well as saving a lot on our gasoline bill.

In the same vein, Sam’s Club only lets you use their card in their store. So we use our Disney Visa to put money onto a walmart gift card when we check out with our groceries at Walmart. Then we go next door and use the Walmart gift card at Sam’s. So in essence, we are storing up Disney credit all throughout the year, just by doing these little things, saving OUTSIDE the World.

Plan your vacation off season, when the prices for resorts are less expensive. An added bonus is that it won’t be as crowded. Basically, if your kids should be in school, the parks won’t be as busy, so you’ll have to let them skip school for this to work. You will be amazed at how many other kids are there. Value season changes as the crowds fluctuate, but generally the fall and winter is a good time to go, as is May. Just avoid ALL holidays, as even the cost of meals at sit down restaurants can go up around holidays. Spring can be tricky since there are so many different spring breaks spread out over March & April.

Stay at a Value resort. If you really want to cut costs, this is a good way to do it. We have only stayed at Pop Century, so it’s the only one I can recommend. You will still have the use of Disney transportation as opposed to if you stay off property. If you decide to stay off property, make sure you figure in the cost of parking to see if it’s really worth it. (It’s expensive!) Parking is free for those staying at a Disney resort.

Stick some granola type bars in your bag that you carry into the parks. We do this not so much to save money, but because one of us needs to eat regularly or he will turn into something out of Monster’s Inc. Just a few bites of a Cliff bar, and we have our happy, little Disney lovin’ boy back.

Ticket prices will go down with each day you stay at Disney. You will still be paying the same rate for your resort and food though!

If you must buy postcards, buy the ones in a pack. Cheaper!

Bring things like diapers, cough syrup, memory cards and the like with you. At Disney World, everything seems like it costs 3 times as much as it does in the real world. Just a warning to the wise!

If you know that you are going to go to Disney every year, seriously consider getting the DVC . (Disney Vacation Club) We’ve gone every year since 1999, but for some reason we waited years to get it, and wish we had done it sooner, as we will break even in about 6 years. Where to get the DVC? We found reputable sites online where people were selling their shares, therefore it was less expensive. Disney still has to okay the transfer of these, but we ended up getting in for a lot less this way.

Check out the Disney Store online at the end of the season, to buy clothes and shoes on sale for your next vacation. I got Disney flop flops for my son for a buck or 2. Of course, you can do this at Target and Walmart, too. Keep your eyes open for Disney clothes on sale all year around!

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