In January of 2017, we published our “5 BEST Walt Disney World Money Saving Tips!” One of our suggestions was to use a Target REDcard to receive 5% off Disney gift cards. Unfortunately, I recently discovered that you can no longer purchase discounted Disney gift cards from Target using this trick. This policy change reignited my curiosity, and I started brainstorming others ways guests can save money at Walt Disney World.
Below are the original 5 money saving tips:
1) Looking for Airline Deals
2) Purchasing Disney Merchandise Before Your Vacation
3) Buying a Base Ticket Instead of a Park Hopper Ticket
4) Amazon Prime to Have Snacks and Water Delivered to Your Hotel
5) Discounted Gift Card from Target
I wanted to round out the top 10, so here are five more Walt Disney World money saving tips:
6) Using Uber or Lyft Instead of Disney’s Minnie Van Service
Last year Walt Disney World launched their Minnie Van Service, which transports guests between any two points on Disney property for $25. These red polka-dotted Chevy Traverses are extremely popular, but I’d argue they are overpriced.
Uber and Lyft remain much cheaper options. For example, as I type this an Uber from Epcot to Disney Springs is only $8.33, even an Uber XL with a car seat is only $19.84; both options being cheaper than Disney’s Minnie Van Service. Obviously, there are advantages to Disney’s Minnie Van Service, like the ability for them to drop off riders at the Magic Kingdom bus station as opposed to the Ticket & Transportation Center, but if your goal is to save money these are minor differences that aren’t worth the increase in cost.
7) Take Advantage of Disney Freebies
There are a million things to spend money on at Walt Disney World, but fortunately, there are also several freebies any guest on a strict budget should take advantage of. There is a wide array of free offerings at Walt Disney World. Everything from free soda to free resort-hotel tours!
The cost of Disney tours vastly ranges in price, but the cheapest one of all is The Wonder of Wilderness Lodge Tour, which showcases the resort’s history, design, and so much more! The tour is 1-hour and starts at 9 a.m. Even if you aren’t a morning person, this is something you should consider waking up early for because it is packed full of interesting information, and best of all, it is absolutely free.
Another great freebie is the soda at Club Cool at Epcot. Club Cool offers eight soda samples from around the world. These are more than just a refreshing treat away from the Florida sun, they are also a glimpse into the differences in cultures and palates. Obviously be considerate and don’t hog a soda fountain, but there is no limit to how much you can drink, so if you want to go back for a couple refills, feel free!
With Walt Disney World being synonymous with spending a ton of money, you’ll really be surprised with how many things are free if you are looking for them. There are free park maps, stickers, celebratory buttons, and so much more!
8) Bring Your Own Stroller or Rent from a 3rd Party
A double stroller for a 7-day vacation will cost you $189 plus tax. At that cost, you could buy a completely new stroller! Another option is using a 3rd party stroller rental company, which are much cheaper than Disney. For a 7-day vacation, I found a stroller rental for only $85 plus tax. That’s a $104 difference! It isn’t like the Disney strollers are anything special either. They are hard plastic strollers that look like a glorified wheelbarrow. So, purchasing your own stroller or renting one isn’t only more cost-effective, but also more comfortable for your kids. You also cannot take the Disney strollers out of the theme parks, so at the end of the night, you are left carrying your kids back to your hotel.
9) Find Shareable Items
Making economical choices can be difficult for large families. No matter how you break it down, large families end up spending more. Large shareable items can help ease the cost of paying for big families.
If everyone wants ice cream from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street U.S.A. that’ll cost you a pretty penny when you multiply it by everyone in your family. Using the example of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, you can select the shareable Mickey’s Kitchen Sink Sundae for $16.99, instead of individual sundaes which cost about $5.99 each. Sometimes you’ll need to do a little math to figure out if the shareable item is the most economical for your party.
Visit the disboards.com to find other guests’ shareable suggestions.
10) Having One Member of Your Family Purchase an Annual Pass
Everyone vacations differently, and this suggestion doesn’t necessarily apply to you, but if you sit down and do the math you might be surprised to find out that it does! Yes, oddly enough, having one member of your family purchase an Annual Pass can end up being huge savings. Annual Passholders receive several benefits and discounts, so purchasing one can become a thrifty deal if you use all its benefits.
There is really a long list of financial benefits of being a passholder, including discounted merchandise and restaurants, reduced rates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets, $2 off movie tickets at the Disney Springs AMC, and so much more!
Parking is probably the biggest benefit of all. Standard parking at the theme parks costs $22 per day for normal guests, so on a 5-day vacation, you’ll spend $110 on parking alone. With an annual pass, you can park for free!
So, the hefty price tag of an annual pass might scare you away, but I highly recommend you plan your vacation and start to do the math because you might quickly see the benefit of just bumping one family member up to the annual pass.