Although I occasionally like to treat myself with merch or a nice meal on property, when it comes to my Disney vacation, I am all for saving money. Some of these recommendations are common knowledge and how I personally like to spend my time or help others plan for their vacations. Of course, there are ways to be more cost-effective by providing for yourself; however, I wanted to focus on options provided specifically by Disney.
1. Utilize Disney’s Complimentary Transportation Options
Disney operates like a city with it comes to their multiple transportation options. The newest addition, the Disney Skyliner, can take you to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios as well as multiple resorts with a connecting transfer hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The Monorail, a classic form of Disney transportation, connects Magic Kingdom and its surrounding resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Transportation and Ticket Center, and EPCOT. Water transportation options are available at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and surrounding resorts for these areas. And, of course, Disney buses will help you get to and from the parks, resorts, water parks, and Disney Springs.
Using Disney transportation can help you avoid worrying about driving yourself around, buying gas, and dealing with large parking lots. If you think strategically, you can use a variety of these options in tandem. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to go and take into consideration any reservation constraints. These complimentary travel options provided by Disney offer accessibility, stunning views, and memorable experiences.
2. Resort Hopping
One of my favorite past times is hopping around the many Disney resort destinations. I love being able to explore resorts I may not necessarily be able to stay at or afford. I can relax at the tropical Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with a Dole Whip or take a break on Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts’ sandy escape looking out at Boardwalk views. Although not necessarily a money-saver, resort hopping also allows you to experience restaurants and bars unique from the parks.
Adding onto this, there are some experiences that can be enjoyed specifically from a resort. One of my favorite options is watching the Happily Ever After fireworks at the Polynesian beach or from the boat dock. You still get the magical spectacle from a distance, music included, without having to step foot into the Magic Kingdom. Although you currently might not be able to stay at your dream resort, you can still enjoy spending time relaxing in your happy place.
3. Snacking, Kid’s Meals, and Splitting Food
One misconception I feel many Disney guests assume is that you will have three square meals a day. That may not necessarily be the case, especially with your busy schedule on park days. Everyone’s eating habits are different, however, I find I might eat one smaller meal and one larger meal a day on my vacation, with snacking in between. For a Quick Service breakfast, I may split a platter meal with a family member because the portion leaves us feeling full. During the day, you could snack on options such as a Mickey Pretzel or popcorn. Kid’s meals can also be a great way to not feel overly stuffed. If I do make a dining reservation, I may leave it until dinner for our main meal. The Dining Plan is coming back in 2024 and planning out your options ahead of your vacation may work best for you.
In regards to beverages, I take full advantage of the coffee maker provided in Disney resort rooms. Another option is purchasing a Resort Refillable Mug (currently priced at $21.99) where you can consistently refill beverages during your stay at your resort, including coffee, tea, soda, and of course, water. If you think of the cost of these beverages individually over your stay, the mug does help you save, and you can consider sharing with another person. Also, remember at most quick service locations in the parks, you can ask a cast member for a cup of water to stay hydrated.
4. Have a Pool Day or Visit a Water Park
Visiting the pool at your resort is a great way to break up your vacation stay and get in some relaxation without an additional cost. If you have little ones, an activities cast member is available for fun and entertainment during the day. Kid’s life jackets, some toys, and towels are available, and depending on the resort, some pools may include a slide. I sometimes like to visit the pool on my check-out day to make the most of my stay.
Adding a water park day provides the same vibes of a pool day with some added extras. The water parks offer excellent escape theming, including Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, a lush tropical oasis, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, a whimsical melting ski resort, with the latter currently closed at the moment. A Disney water park ticket can be about half the cost and sometimes less than a regular park ticket and provides thrills such as water slides, tube rides, and a wave pool. My favorite option is taking advantage of floating along the lazy river as long as possible.
I hope you get the most out of your next Disney trip by using this information to prepare. Don’t forget to reach out to Dreams Unlimited Travel for an agent to help you plan your next vacation at no extra cost!
Emily has a background in the arts and has been going to Disney World since 1992. As a more recent resident of Orlando, her theme park mindset has fluctuated from avid vacationer to local park goer. She enjoys sharing her love and knowledge for all things Disney and can be found on Instagram and TikTok @explorewithemilynicole