My husband and I love going to Walt Disney World and we go as often as possible. All those Disney trips can really add up in cost. I have found several hacks to help save money while we are at the most magical place on earth.
Dining: Eating and drinking at Disney can be one of the more expensive aspects of your vacation. We use these hacks to cut down on costs.
1) Get the kid’s meal! Adults can absolutely order kids meals at counter service restaurants! These typically come with an entree, 2 sides, and a drink, and cost a lot less than an adult entree. You can substitute the recommended fruit and milk with fries and a fountain drink if you’d like. Surprisingly, these meals come with a decent amount of food.
2) Skip the sit downs. A sit down dining experience can eat up a lot of time and cost a small fortune. Disney has some good counter service restaurants where you can get unique options for a less expensive price tag. Popular counter service options include Satu'li Canteen in Animal Kingdom, Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in Epcot, Woody’s Lunchbox in Hollywood Studios, and Pecos Bill in Magic Kingdom.
3) BYOB (Bring your own beverages). Drinks in Disney are expensive. A bottle of water can set you back $3.50. Soda costs $4 or more. You can bring your own water and soda into the park with you. Ask any quick service restaurant for a cup of ice- it’s free! Pour the water or soda you brought into the free cup of ice. This adds up to massive savings over the course of a trip! You can also get a free cup of tap water from any counter service restaurant. Be forewarned, Disney water doesn’t taste the best. Consider bringing a water enhancer to mask the taste.
Resorts: Lodging is another large expense for a Disney World vacation. Here are several ways to save.
1) Stick with value resorts. While the theme isn’t flashy, Disney’s Pop Century is a great value. You have access to the Skyliner for transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. We have found the bus service here to be surprisingly good as well. The rooms have been recently refurbished, making them functional and comfortable. Plus, parking costs less per night at value resorts compared to moderate or deluxe resorts.
2) Book with an offer. Disney World frequently has offers to save you money on your hotel or trip package. Before booking your trip, do your research. See what offers are available during the time of your trip. If Disney adds a new discount after you have booked, call Disney and ask them if you can apply the discount to your reservation.
3) Bounceback! While I haven’t seen bounceback offers since Disney reopened, these can be excellent savings. Check the in-room booklet in your hotel room during your stay. Sometimes Disney offers a bounceback discount if you book your next trip before midnight on your day of checkout.
Souvenirs: Disney is excellent at marketing products. There are stores everywhere you go. Here are some tricks to save money on souvenirs.
1) shopDisney- shopDisney.com offers frequent sales on merchandise. They occasionally offer free shipping promotions as well. You can buy a large number of Disney Parks products like Minnie ears, plushies, and apparel through shopDisney.com. You can use cashback rebate apps with shopDisney.com as well to earn money back from your purchases. Buy your souvenirs on sale and with a rebate app before your trip and save some money!
2) Disney’s Character Warehouse- there are 2 Character Warehouse stores near Disney World that sell authentic Disney Parks merchandise at a huge discount. One is located at the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue. The other is located at the Orlando International Premium Outlets in International Drive. You can find Disney apparel, Minnie ears, toys, festival and holiday merch from past events and much more.
I hope these money saving hacks help you save money on your next Disney World vacation! What hacks would you recommend to others?