If you’re trying to plan out a budget for your trip to the Magic Kingdom, there are ways to save money on your Disney World vacation. These planning tips to save money on your Florida adventure will help you afford a family vacation that will allow your loved ones to make memories without breaking the bank.
Time It Right
Traveling during the off-season or the shoulder season is key to saving money on any trip. For Disney, it’s not as clear-cut or as general as typical vacations. The theme park has 3 classifications: Value, Regular, and Peak.
Obviously, you’ll want to hit value days which vary from park to park. If money is your main concern, avoid peak times like Memorial Day through July, big holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. To pinpoint these best value days, hit Disney World’s website and select the parks you want to visit and a general time frame. From there, you can coordinate the timing and prices that suit your specific desires.
For souvenirs, avoid purchasing items in the park. Instead, visit Disney Character Warehouse outlets or even scout out local shops like Walmart for better price points for the same stuffed animals, lanyards, and other Disney gear. Also, avoid snacks in the parks. For a quick bite, you’ll be paying full meal prices inside the parks. Make sure you pack your own snacks and a refillable bottle so you can save precious funds on things like drinks. Trust me, you’ll want to avoid costly and sugary drinks that will crash your budget and your energy.
On-Site VS. Off-Site Hotels
Honestly, the best bargains tend to be in vacation home rentals. Again, if money is your main concern, you’ll want to at least look at off-site properties and take advantage of their free shuttle services. Often, you’ll find off-site hotels aren’t as packed Disney hotels and you’ll actually get to the parks sooner than staying on-site. If you’re traveling with another family or group, a vacation property will be your best bet for saving money since it will allow you to split costs.
Fees and Charges
Parking is a big expense most tend to overlook. While you might have to sacrifice on time or convenience, your hotel’s free park shuttles will save you some serious cash. Currently, for standard parking, the rate is $20 per day. That means, for a week-long trip in which you visit the park 5 days, you’re shelling out $100 just park! Also, note that Disney charges for missing an Advance Reservation that ranges from $10-$25. If you cancel same day, you’ll likely be paying a fee.
Packages VS. Room Only Rates
Those packages look like a great deal, but often “room only” rates are cheaper. It also allows you the flexibility of making your choices when it comes meals, rentals, and tickets. Often, Disney will add in “extras” you won’t actually use or come free with your stay anyway. In addition to better room only rates, you can sometimes find discount codes with a google search or check out websites like Mousesavers.com for current working codes that won’t apply to packages. The exception might be the “Free Dining” promotion Disney runs during the off-season. Weigh out the pros, cons, and whether or not you’ll actually need all the food offered. The hot tip to save the most money is to pick the cheapest room to score the free food.
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