The Best Ways to Save on Your Disney Vacation

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Disney World can be an expensive place. Make your Disney vacation more affordable for you and your family by using these eight tips!

Save on your Disney vacation and see Cinderella's Castle on the cheap!
Disney’s Cinderella Castle

I love Disney World! So much so that I have been there over 10 times–I lost track of the exact number of visits. I may have a problem….

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Disney World is an amazing place to visit, and in my opinion, it really is the happiest place on Earth! It is not a cheap place to visit. However, using these eight tips CAN help you make your Disney vacation more affordable.

1. Plan your visit for the off season

Choosing the right time of year can save you a bundle, especially when you are talking about a Disney vacation. For example, a room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort will cost $146 a night if you visit mid-week towards the end of January. The same rooms costs $213 a night over the Fourth of July weekend. That is a hotel savings of $469 over the course of a week! Another perk of visiting in the off season is that the crowds are much smaller, allowing you to experience more of the park for your vacation dollar. Read more about saving on hotels here.

2. Utilize Disney Gift Cards

Disney gift cards are another way to save on your Disney vacation. Disney gift cards are available at Target, where you can get 5% off by using your Target Red Card. These gift cards can be used for pretty much all things Disney, including park tickets, souvenirs, and food inside the parks. Disney tickets can be purchased online, in Disney stores, or at the park. The gift cards have no fees and they never expire. Don’t forget to ask for Disney gift cards for birthday and Christmas presents before your trip as well!

Disney gift cards help save money on your Disney vacation!
Disney gift cards are a great way to save on your Disney vacation.

3. Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is a website that offers discounts on tickets and deals on hotels in the Orlando/Tampa, FL and San Diego/Anaheim, CA area. I have used them many times to save on my Disney and Universal Studios vacations. They usually offer a deal where you buy so many days and get one or two days for free. For a little price comparison, a four day theme park base ticket with an extra day free from Undercover Tourist is $445.31 for an adult. Conversely, a five day theme park base ticket purchased directly from Disney costs $455.15 for an adult.

Note: If you purchase the ticket we are discussing directly from Disney using a Disney gift card purchased with your Red Card, it will cost you approximately $432.40 when you consider the 5% off from the Red Card, so pick whichever one works best for you to help save on your Disney vacation.

Save on your Disney vacation with these tips!

4. Bring Your Own Food

If you have ever been to a theme park, you know that the food prices are outrageous. One way to circumvent this and make your Disney vacation more affordable is to bring your own food. When I go to Disney, I pack as much food as I can in my carry-on. A lot of this consists of breakfast foods and snacks. I try to eat a large breakfast before heading into the park, then bring snacks and a lunch into the park in my backpack. Disney’s official policy is that there are no carry-ins. However, I have had my bag checked every time at the entrance and have never been asked to remove any food or beverage items.

If you would like to save even more on your trip, you can have groceries shipped directly to your hotel room. Your Disney hotel will save your package until you arrive. If you follow a special diet, I highly recommend using Thrive Market to deliver special items that are difficult to find at some grocers, such as gluten and dairy-free products. They offer a one month risk-free trial with a free gift.

If you plan on cooking dinner in your hotel room, be sure to check out this article for some meal inspiration.

5. Don’t Pay for Water!

The staff at Disney World don’t want you passing out from heat stroke during those hot Florida days! Because of this, all quick service restaurants at Disney offer free cups of ice water. Most will give you a large sized cup with a lid. I usually get one and dump it into my stainless steel water bottle to keep it cold for hours. Use this trick instead of paying $2-$3 a bottle for water.

6. Book Your Disney Hotel Through Hotels.com

A great way to save on your Disney vacation is to book your hotel room through Hotels.com. In the past, I have been able to book rooms at the Disney All-Star Resorts for 20-25% off using a Hotels.com discount code. Check out Retailmenot.com to find a current Hotels.com discount code. Hotels.com also has great deals on hotels in the Disney Springs area which still provide free shuttles to the parks.

Extra 7% Off Hotels with Free Cancellation on Most Hotels When you Book Now and Stay Later. Use code 7SAVEOCT20. Book by 11/1, travel by 3/31/2021.

7. Check out Disney Vacation Club Rentals

If you are looking to stay somewhere a little swankier, check out Disney Vacation Club rentals. With these rentals, you are buying unused points from those who belong to the Disney Vacation Club. These points can be used to book rooms at a variety of high-end Disney Resorts. Booking these rooms through the vacation club rentals will help you save a significant chunk of change versus booking through Disney. To rental a studio room at the Animal Kingdom Villas for five nights in September is $1,056 vacation points, or $2,016 for a one bedroom. I could not find any available studios on the Disney website, but the one bedroom was $3,483, which is a big savings! Check out dvcrentalstore.com if you are interested in a vacation club rental.

8. Use a Marriott Bonvoy Card to Save at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

If you are a credit card churner, look into the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card if you are planning on visiting Disney World in the next year or two. The reason for this is that the Walt Disney World Swan hotel is part of the Marriott franchise, meaning you can use your rewards and free nights to save on your Disney trip! With this card, you earn five free nights when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of having your card. Your significant other can open one as well during the following three months, and you can then combine points for up to a 10 day trip! There is a $95 annual fee, however, you receive a free night of stay each year on the anniversary of opening your card. Please note that the free nights expire one year after they are earned.

Curious about credit card churning, check out how to get started here!

Save on the Walt Disney World Swan Resort using a Marriott Bonvoy card.
Save on the Walt Disney World Swan Resort using a Marriott Bonvoy card.

What are some of your favorite tips for saving at Disney World? Please share below!

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