We love Disney World but we also love saving money. I mean, who doesn’t love saving money right?
It’s no secret Disney is expensive and most of us have to budget our way there but it’s not impossible to have a great vacation without going completely broke. Over the years I’ve learned little tips & tricks to saving big time at Disney and I’m sharing it all with you!
*This post contains affiliate links which means if you click a link or make a purchase I may make a small commission.
Research, Research, Research!
I cannot stress this enough, you need to plan ahead and research all your options from hotels to tickets and dining. A great place to start is the Disney website because you can even live chat with a cast member and get all your questions answered on the spot. It’s super important to look into everything because ticket & hotel prices vary by date and it will affect your budget.
If you don’t have time to research or are overwhelmed, try using a certified Travel Agent like MouseSavers to help you! They are free and know all the deals.
Pack Your Own Food
I’ve mentioned this lots of times but bringing your own snacks and meals is a game changer. We always bring own food for breakfast, lunch and plenty of snacks to last all day. Not only will this save you money but it will cut down your meal times! You can eat on the go or while waiting in a ride queue and not worry about finding a place to have lunch.
Our favorites are goldfish, mini oreo packs, breakfast bars, ham & cheese sandwiches, and refillable water bottles. You can also get FREE ice water at any quick service restaurant and many of the Starbucks locations in the parks have self-service water for free.
Share Memory Maker
Memory Maker is an amazing service you can purchase that allows you unlimited digital downloads to any of the photos (and other perks) taken by the photopass photographers throughout the Disney parks and resorts. Prices for this vary from $169-$199 for the year or $59 for a one day use. The way to save on this is sharing it or splitting the cost with your friends or family! This way everyone can get the pictures and you don’t have to pay the full price.
Buy Disney “Merch” Before Your Trip
Everyone wants to wear all the fun themed gear on their vacation but buying it at Disney can really add up. Save money by getting your stuff before you get there! You can score Disney character shirts, hats, jackets, and even shoes at stores like Target & Walmart for much cheaper. Amazon is also a good resource for things like pins, patches, & lanyards for less. Don’t forget to check for costumes and princess dresses too because you can get those for dirt cheap online before your visit.
These Minnie Mouse Ears headbands are the lowest price I have ever seen!
Bring Your Own Stroller or Rent from an Outside Vendor
We always bring this small umbrella stroller that folds quickly and easily. If you can’t bring your own, I recommend renting from Kingdom Strollers. Their service is excellent and they have great prices. The strollers in Disney are $15 for a single and $31 for a double for one day rentals. You do save a little by prepaying for multiple days in advance but keep in mind these strollers are hard plastic, cannot be folded, cannot be taken out of the park and the canopies are not great for keeping the sun out. With Kingdom Strollers, you get the stroller delivered right to your hotel, and you use it for the length of your stay the entire time.
Stock Up on Glow Sticks & Toys
When it starts to get dark out, all the glow toys appear out of thin air on various shopping trolleys all over the parks. One glowing bubble wand is $21! No, thank you! I always head to Dollar Tree, Target’s Dollar Spot, Walmart, or Amazon and stock up on glow sticks, wands, and necklaces to surprise my kids with. They love it and I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on toys my kids “have to have” just because they light up.
Character meals are not cheap but are worth it. Prices for these vary from $20-$60 per person but it depends on the time of day and location. I recommend choosing breakfast or lunch as it’s cheaper than dinner and picking a restaurant that has the characters you really want to see. If this is important to you, make it a part of your budget and save for it. Dining reservations are booked months in advance so plan accordingly!
Speaking of characters, make your own autograph book or check out this one from Amazon for under $15!
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The trick to saving big at Disney is making & maintaining a budget, planning ahead and being prepared. If you do this and follow my tips you will have a magical time and still save money in the process.