A trip to Walt Disney World can really be worthwhile.
We’re talking thousands of dollars between the basics — park tickets, plane tickets, hotels, ground transportation, and regular meals — and extras like character dinners, bubble machines, and skip-the-line privileges.
Add in the current exchange rate, which sees the euro almost at par with the dollar, and spending for overseas visitors can feel even higher.
“I often say that Disney is the best company out there to get you spending and being happy doing it,” said Don Munsil, who runs Disney discount site MouseSavers.com with his wife Sarah Stone. “You’re like, ‘Oh god, I can get this for that amount of money? Well, please, here’s my money, take it.’ “
Disney will definitely take your money.
But the entertainment giant can do with a little less if travelers manage it with the right timing, strategic advance planning, and crucial priorities. A few insider tips never hurt either.
1. Find cheaper tickets in late summer
According to Disney, theme park tickets start at $109/€107 per day for a one-day pass for a single park — but that price only applies on certain low-traffic days, typically in late summer when most kids are back at school. That means those weekday lowest prices are coming later this month and into September. Buying multi-day tickets can reduce the daily price, but the total price will of course be higher.
At busier times, prices go up to $159/€156 per day.
While August and September can be hot and blustery in central Florida, these cheaper times are also less crowded — a benefit for those who can’t handle peak times.
2. Consider sticking to one park a day
Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit multiple theme parks in one day; There are four parks at Walt Disney World Resort. But the cost of an all-day ticket with this option shoots up to at least $174/€171.
Breeze Leonard, an affiliate manager and writer for TravelingMom.com, said she avoids the upgrade when traveling with her three kids because of the expense and because there’s plenty to do at each park to fill a day.
“You lose so much time going back and forth between parks,” she said. “I know we have enough to do and will save the money.”
3. Get a gift card quote
Jackie Steele, who worked at Disney in Florida for several years and now writes for Disney travel planning site MagicGuides, said some warehouse clubs like Sam’s and BJ’s Wholesale offer Disney gift cards at a slight discount – which he said “got me always blow my mind to save money on vacation.” For Target shoppers who use a private label credit or debit card, the 5% discount on purchases also applies to gift cards.
Gift cards can be used for theme park tickets, restaurants, shopping, hotel rooms and more.
4. Shop elsewhere for your Disney gear and souvenirs
Leonard says rain ponchos are essential for a Disney trip because storms are inevitable in central Florida at certain times of the year.
“A random rain shower comes along, and now all of a sudden you need one,” she said. “Now you’re going to pay an arm and a leg to get a poncho that you could have bought for a dollar if you’d grabbed it first.” (In a 2021 story, Disney Food Blog reported on the purchase an adult-sized poncho for about $12/€11.80).
After spending “way too much money” on wands and other toys for her children on her first trip, Leonard began buying cheaper versions of her must-have toys and secretly taking them on trips.
“I would give them one every day, like every day something new, and they could take that to the parks,” she said. “And so it was a fun way for them to still have what they wanted, but I didn’t have to spend the money at the park to buy them.”
The family will also visit Disney’s Character Warehouse, an outlet store with two locations in the Orlando area, to purchase discounted official Mickey Mouse ears, clothing or other items.
“If they have their souvenir money, we don’t let them spend their money in the parks,” she said.
5. Eat strategically
There’s no reason to buy three meals a day plus snacks at Disney Parks. Visitors are allowed to bring food, which is exactly what Leonard does.
“We just fill our backpacks with sandwiches and snacks,” she said. “And honestly, our kids always drive a hundred miles an hour when we’re at Disney, and they want to see and do all the things. And as long as we’re in line waiting for rides and I can eat them occasionally with the snacks from our bag, it seems everyone’s staying happy.”
But if the family wants a special character dining experience, Leonard recommends booking it for breakfast or lunch, which is less expensive than dinner.
One thing she’ll spend money on: refillable popcorn buckets. Standard costs about $13/€12.80, according to the Disney Food Blog, and can be refilled for the duration of the stay for $2.25/€2.21 — a good multi-day deal for a popcorn-loving family.
One thing nobody has to buy at Disney: ice water. Most quick service restaurants offer cups of free ice water, a much better deal than $3.50/€3.44 bottled water. There are also water fountains and bottle filling stations for those who bring refillable bottles.
“When you have a family of four that you buy bottled water two or three times a day, it becomes money very quickly,” Steele said.
6. Take a day off
Munsil of MouseSavers.com said his family will often visit Disney for seven or eight days, but only go to the parks for five or six days. The website lists dozens of free or discounted activities at the resort complex, including riding the boats, the rail system, and the cable cars that act as Disney modes of transportation.
“There are many interesting things to do,” he said. A favorite is a monorail tour of the resorts near the Magic Kingdom.
“They’re all great places to grab a quick bite or snack or just relax and enjoy or walk around or go to one of the lounges,” he said. “It’s just pleasant to sit there and people watch and have a drink and enjoy the whole ambiance and decoration.”
Steele said there was something “beautiful” about giving yourself a day off.
“You don’t feel like your vacation has absolutely killed you when it’s over,” he said. “It’s a great way to save a little money.”
5. Bargain hunting for off-site hotels
The Orlando area is full of places to stay: local Disney hotels, off-property chains, vacation rentals, timeshares and more. Think about which solution is best for your family, then compare – several Irish travel agencies including Tour America, American Holidays and Sunway also offer Florida packages.
On-site resorts can get pricey, but Leonard said a lesser-known solution that can save a significant amount of money is renting points for Disney Vacation Club deluxe properties, Disney’s version of a timeshare. Vacation Club members buy an interest in a timeshare and earn points to book their stays, but they can rent out those points when they’re not going to use them.
“You will have the same privileges or benefits as if you were staying locally,” such as B. Transportation and early access to the park without a timeshare pitch, she said. Travelers basically book the rooms through the owners, who are supported by companies like David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
For military members, the Shades of Green Resort at Walt Disney World offers rooms that are less expensive than comparable hotels.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/world/disney-will-definitely-take-your-money-7-tips-for-saving-money-at-walt-disney-world-41917498.html ‘Disney Will Definitely Take Your Money’ – 7 Tips for Saving at Walt Disney World