Wondering how to save money on your Disney vacation? or even how to save for your Disney trip?
When people find out what I do, one of the most common responses is “I want to take the kids to Disney but it is just so expensive.” By the end of the conversation, I have helped them realize that their dream Disney vacation is not as hard to reach as they initially thought. With accommodation options in every budget, it is easy to find a price point you are comfortable with, and with some creative ways to save to pay for your trip PLUS some in-park saving tips, you will be ready to book before you know it.
You can save money by purchasing gift cards at Sam’s Club or Target. At Sam’s Club you want to buy the smallest denomination your store offers, as the savings decreases the higher the value. You can save $6-8 when purchasing the $150 pack.
Alternatively, you can open a Target RedCard (either credit or debit) and use your 5% off to purchase any denomination Disney gift card.
Those cards can be used to pay for your trip, or save them and use them for food or souvenirs in the park.
Ebates gives you cashback when you click through their site first before buying something from another site. They also have a widget for Firefox and Chrome that will give you a popup box when you visit a site that can earn a rebate. The widget works on every site except Amazon. You still have to remember to click through to get Amazon rebates. The percentages vary by store and by day. They deposit money into your PayPal account, or you can use it to buy a gift card (limited options). Might as well earn money on something you were going to buy anyway.
The important thing about this option is to not use the card as a credit card. Put all of your daily household purchases and pay them off immediately so you can take advantage of the rewards without the interest.
The no annual fee Disney Visa can be a great way to save for Disney. You get a $200 statement credit when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. You also get 10% off dining and merchandise at select locations. The ONLY way to get the enhanced bonus on the no annual fee card is through a referral link. You can find an entire thread of referral links in the Ways to Save for Disney Facebook Group (as well as other tips).
Alternatively, the Chase Sapphire offers $550 cashback after you hit your initial spend.
If your credit allows and you open both cards, refer them both to your spouse who opens them then that is $750 in rewards for each of you plus $100 referral bonus. That is $1600 for your Disney vacation!!!
When you are booking, a Travel Advisor will compare all of the options for you, to make sure you are getting the best value. It is important to price out all promotions because while one may sound amazing another may actually offer better savings. AND Disney is always releasing new promotions. While you should never expect or count on a discount being released for your trip, it is always a nice surprise. To save you from checking the Disney website every day for new releases, most travel advisors will automatically apply any discounts released. I LOVE sending emails telling my clients I saved them money!!
Disney, like most other suppliers in the industry, “yield” their prices which means as the rooms fill the prices increase. As soon as you are thinking about your trip, that is the best time to book. To lock in the rate only requires a $200 deposit and it is fully refundable up until 30 days prior to your trip. Don’t worry about waiting for the best promotion to come out, if a discount is released I can apply it to your trip – but keep in mind that sometimes the room rate has increased so much that your rate from booking early is cheaper than taking advantage of the promotion.
It is so important to stay hydrated when visiting Walt Disney World. It is Florida so the heat and humidity are extremely high, but you are also on the go and likely more active than in your daily life (we sometimes walk 13 miles in a day at Disney), and water at Disney is $3.50 a bottle!! We save money by bringing refillable water bottles. There are a few water filling stations scattered throughout the park or you can get free cups of water at any counter service location (they are small so you will need a lot to fill a bottle.) Another alternative is to have a case of water delivered to your hotel. We typically fill our hotel fridge/freezer with them. We take one cold and one frozen per person which usually gets us to lunch. If you are on the dining plan you get a drink with your counter service meal – I typically get a free cup of water and use my drink to get a bottle of water which gets me until our mid-afternoon break. We go back to the hotel for a shower and a nap then and grab another cold and another frozen bottle per person. We are hydrated and saved almost $20 per person.
We are early risers when it comes to Walt Disney World (and only when it comes to Walt Disney World) and we don’t like to waste time or money on breakfast in the morning. We get granola bars or instant oatmeal delivered via Instacart and have that as a quick breakfast before rope drop. We also pack a few emergency non-meltable snacks like almonds to stave off hanger (and meltdowns) between meals.
We all have different eating habits, so what is shareable for one person may be a light snack for another (ok… me). But if you are light eaters, or just want to nibble in the heat, a great way to lower the food cost or stretch your Disney Dining Plan credits is to order 2 meals for 3 people, or 3 meals for 4 people (etc), and supplement with snack credit items. Remember, you can always order more food if people are still hungry and the food is gone, so I would order less food than you think and just mobile order another entree if you need it!
It is Florida and you are going to get stuck in a rainstorm. Disney knows this and they know you have no other options, so they are going to charge $20 for a poncho. You can avoid this premium by buying disposable ponchos from Amazon or the dollar store. You save so much money, you can throw it out when you are done and save yourself from carrying around a wet poncho. I also use them as a blanket when sitting on the ground waiting for the parade or to protect myself from the wet seats on Splash Mountain.
Other items you should purchase before you go: cell phone power bank, hand sanitizer, cheap sunglasses (that you don’t care if they get lost or broken), click sharpies, autograph book, and sunscreen.
It is inevitable that someone is going to get sick or hurt. In my family, it is usually me. After a few trips having to purchase Tylenol from the gift shop that cost more than my hotel room, I learned to pack my own. Of course, you can’t predict what is going to happen so I now pack Immodium, Pepto, Tylenol, Benadryl, Nyquil/Dayquil, Bandaids, and Cough Drops.
When you get to Walt Disney World your kids are going to want you to buy them everything they see, so in order to avoid meltdowns without spending their college tuition, you just distract them! They want a bubble wand, you have bubbles in your purse. They want a glow sword, you have dozens of glow bracelets from the dollar store. A popular thing is for Tinker Bell to bring some “pixie dust” each night of your trip. The pixie dust is a little Disney themed item you pick up at the dollar store or on sale at Target. When your child really wants something you can usually avoid the tantrum by getting them to wait and see what Tinker Bell brings that night. You can then let them pick out the ONE thing they want to bring home towards the end of the trip. If your kids are older get them a Disney Gift Card for Christmas or a Birthday before your trip and they can use it to buy anything they want.
I hope this has made you see that you can afford to take the kids to Disney. I would love to put together a FREE no obligation quote for you. Remember you can lock in your rate with $200 deposit. You can then change or cancel your trip up until 30 days prior to the travel date you choose. So if you aren’t able to save as much as you would like there is no penalty.
If you want to be the first to be notified of any agency promotions or discounts released by Disney be sure to join my email list by clicking the button below.
I understand how you’re feeling, I know all too well how easy it can be at the beginning to start researching online, just to find yourself 3 hours down the line more confused than when you started. But don’t panic! I can help you plan your dream Disney vacation without any of the stress of hassle – starting with the ‘A Disney Trip without Overwhelm, 5 Easy Steps’ Guide. These 5 steps will help keep you focused on organizing the best trip ever, while giving you peace of mind that everything will be done, and nothing will be left out.
Showcase the World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Showcase the World also participates in other affiliate programs and may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this site.