My hubby and I are taking our youngest three kids to Disney at the end of July. The youngest two have never been and we are super excited to share the joy of Disney with them. However, we want to minimize our spending and maximize our fun by doing Disney on a budget. So, I researched several ways to save money and I wanted to share the best ones that I found with y’all! Here are my best tips for visiting Disney on a budget.
10 Tips For Visiting Disney On A Budget
Don’t wait until you get to Disney to buy your tickets.
Start with the Disney World website to see your options and view what Disney’s going rate is for tickets. The Walt Disney World Resort has four theme parks and you’ll want to spend at least one full day in each. The “park-hopper” option costs more and you’re looking for the lowest possible ticket prices, so you’re going to want to skip that. Notice that the price per day of Disney World tickets drops with every extra day you add. Decide how many days you can afford, but don’t buy your tickets yet.
Disney’s website is your worst-case scenario. Keeping that price in mind, it’s time to shop around. Check with your local auto club, your human resources office at work, or your student union at school. (If you’re in the military, check with your base, too.) We are military, so we utilized our MWR for tickets. See if any of them sell Disney World tickets, and if they can beat Disney’s price on the tickets you want. Finally, look online at Undercover Tourist. Do not look at Craigslist, eBay or other online ticket brokers that sell unused days on someone else’s Disney ticket. They won’t work, and you’ll lose your money. (Disney scans the finger of whoever who uses a ticket and won’t let anyone else use that ticket to get into the park.)
Snacks at the park.
Carry a backpack containing snacks and drinks into the parks with you. Although large coolers are not permitted, in recent years Disney has relaxed its ban on outside food and drinks. Some people carry in all of their food for the day, but most simply carry snack foods and beverages. Bringing in alcohol is not allowed.
Celebrate the moments.
Don’t buy pictures or useless souvenirs. Cast members will take free pictures with your camera if you ask.
If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or any other occasion, many parks will give you a free button to wear around the park — ask for it at the guest relations desk near the front gate. We will be celebrating my youngest daughter’s 10th birthday, so I’m really hoping this is true!
Get those autographs.
Bring a blank notebook and pen from home and characters will sign autographs for you, too. This will save you the money of having to buy a Disney Autograph book.
- Tip: You can also buy autograph books before you get to the park and bring them with you. They make great gifts.
Food and drink.
Portions are huge, whether fast food or five star dining. There is no extra charge for sharing, and you will often be brought an extra plate and perhaps an extra salad or side item as well. If two people in your party have small to medium sized appetites, sharing is definitely the way to go.
Get the full experience.
Take advantage of extended park hours and stay for the parade and fireworks.
The water parks cost less than the theme parks, but the pool at your hotel is free. Of course, your kids would probably love the crazy slides at the water parks, but they might be just as happy playing Marco Polo near your hotel room. A lot of the pools at the resort hotels are pretty cool.
Epcot Kidcot Funstops offer free arts and crafts, featuring wooden masks that the kids can decorate and take home. There are also free playgrounds all around the park.
Souvenirs and take-aways.
Souvenirs can eat up a significant portion of your trip budget. Make a pact with the family before you leave that you will buy souvenirs only on specifically designated shopping days. This will curb impulse buys and allow you to decide what you truly want. There are some places in Downtown Disney were you can pick up some inexpensive items. Or you can buy items online via Amazon cheaper and then pack them and take them with you. Put the souvenirs on the kids pillows before you head out for the day and tell them that their favorite characters left surprises for them at the hotel.
There are so many more ways you can save money and make a Disney trip affordable! These are just a few! Feel free to share some of your favorite tips in the comments!