Budgeting for a Disney vacation can seem like a daunting task. You know that as soon as you hit the parks, your kids are going to want to buy and eat everything they see in sight. You’ll also likely notice that prices of Disney Resort Hotels are quite expensive. And of course, there’s the price of tickets, which are definitely a necessary and unavoidable expense. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of budget saving tips to help you save hundreds of dollars on your next Disney vacation.
Tip 1: Save On Onsite Accommodations
Aside from airline tickets, your accommodations are likely going to eat up the bulk of your budget. If you’re a DVC member then this expense has already been covered. Owning DVC is an amazing way to save thousands each time you travel to Disney. But what if you’re not a member? How do you save money when staying at an onsite Disney Hotel?
One of the best cost-saving tips for staying on Disney property is to rent Disney Vacation Club points or a DVC confirmed rental reservation. Rental agencies, like DVC Shop Rentals, offer DVC rentals at huge discounts compared to Disney’s full prices for the same accommodations. Renters can save anywhere from 10% to 60% off regular prices at Disney Resorts.
Another huge benefit to renting DVC points for a stay, is that DVC rooms are equipped with full kitchens or kitchenettes, which is very important for one of our other cost-saving tips.
Tip 2: Buy Discounted Disney Tickets
Many travel agents and ticket resellers offer discounts on Disney tickets, including our own DVC Shop Rentals department. For discount ticket information contact one of our DVC Shop Rentals representatives.
Tip 3: Visit One Park Per Day
Park-hopper tickets can add up to $85 to the cost of your park tickets. Additionally, visiting more than one park per day can be pretty exhausting. Instead, just visit one park per day and potentially save hundreds on your park tickets. If you’re finished at the parks early, hit the pool at your resort, spend some time at Disney Springs, or stroll along the Disney Boardwalk, which are all free.
Tip 4: Eat Breakfast In Your Room
If you took our Tip 1 suggestion and booked a DVC rental then your room is equipped with a kitchen or kitchenette, making saving on food a breeze. Simply grab (or online order) a few breakfast items and snacks from one of Orlando’s local grocery stores. Eating some cereal and fruit, or toast and yogurt for breakfast out on the balcony each morning can save you hundreds over the course of a weeklong stay at Disney. This tip can also save you a lot of time each morning so you can hit the rides bright and early while other guests are still eating their slow breakfasts at the resorts.
Tip 5: Pick The Perfect Quick Service Restaurant For Lunch
When on a budget, quick service dining is definitely the way to go at Disney World. Luckily, each of the four theme parks offer terrific quick service options with reasonable pricing and good portion sizes.
A few great quick service dining locations are:
- Columbia Harbour House, Magic Kingdom – serving hearty seaside inspired cuisine. Some meal sets are even large enough for two to share, like the Trio Platter for $13.99. Add an extra side of veggie or rice for a few dollars and you definitely won’t leave hungry. For under $10 per person, you’ll both leave full and happy and ready to ride the Haunted Mansion next door.
- Sunshine Seasons, Epcot – food court style dining locale with a wide variety of meals, sides and snacks. Sunshine Seasons has four food stations, each serving a unique selection of food. But what’s great about this quick service dining location is that you can get anything a la carte, making it a great option for budget travelers. Simply pick a meal and add a few a la carte items to share. Or go a la carte all the way.
- Flame Tree Barbeque, Animal Kingdom – a casual outdoor barbeque eatery serving sandwiches and salads. Portion sizes here are quite large so don’t be afraid to share. The ½ Chicken is a great option for two people. Add on a massive piece of cornbread for $2.00 and you’ll both have a feast at a very reasonable price.
- Fairfax Fare, Hollywood Studios – a casual, Cali-Mex style dining option with outdoor picnic tables. This location has changed its menu quite a few times over the years, but has now settled on a Cali-Mex food theme which works perfectly for our pockets and our stomachs. Portions are quite large here and once again easy to share.
Additional Cost-Saving Dining Tips:
- If you’re not very hungry, don’t be afraid to order a kid’s meal.
- Try one of the many new plant based meal options, which are generally less expensive than the traditional items.
- Even though restaurants market their selections as meal sets, you do not have to purchase the whole meal. You can purchase just the sandwich, burger or hotdog and forgo the sides. Or order sides only.
- You do not need to order a drink. Ice water is always free at Disney.
Tip 6: Eat Offsite Or Order In For Dinner
There’s no rule that you have to eat onsite when you’re staying at the parks. Why not try a local restaurant or better yet, order in from Uber Eats or GrubHub and have a great meal poolside at your resort.
Additionally, if your room is equipped with a stovetop, you can always make a quick pasta for a few dollars. Add a bottle of wine to your meal and you’ll still be saving substantially compared to eating at an onsite restaurant.
Tip 7: Bring Your Own Snacks To The Parks
Thankfully, back in the early 2000s Disney changed their rules about bringing food into the parks. There are rules to follow but for the most part you can bring in food for you and your family to consume during your time at the parks.
Bringing a few snacks with you to the parks is a great and convenient way to save money. While you may not want to lug around full meals (or pay to store them in a locker), a few bags of chips, dried fruit, cookies, granola bars, etc. are lightweight, easy to carry and will help tide you over until your next meal.
If you want to bring meals into the park to save even more or if you have dietary restrictions, there are plenty of lockers to store heavy backpacks as well as many picnic areas around the parks to eat your meals.
Tip 8: Drink Lots Of (Free) Water
As mentioned previously, ice water is free at all Disney Parks. This is great news because you don’t have to carry water bottles around with you all day. Of course, the parks are still equipped with water fountains so if you bring your own reusable water bottles there are plenty of places to fill them in the parks.
If you forget your own water bottle and need to purchase a $3-4 Dasani, don’t feel too bad. Once you drink it, simply refill it at water fountains all day long.
Tip 9: Plan Ahead For Rain
Central Florida is notoriously wet. Disney knows this, which is why they sell a multitude of rainy day necessities in the parks, like ponchos. Make sure to plan ahead so you don’t get stuck in the rain and feel the need to buy one of their $12 ponchos. Instead swing by your local dollar store or order a few on Amazon beforehand.
Tip 10: Bring Your Own Stroller
If you’re traveling with a small child and think you may need to rent a stroller, bring your own instead. Stroller rentals in the parks start at $15 a day. If you’re driving from home or even flying into Orlando, then it’s best to just pack your own lightweight, easy to fold stroller and avoid the rental costs all together.
There’s no question that visiting Disney World can get costly. Save money and Take advantage of these budget saving tips for your next Disney vacation.
What’s your favorite way to save money when visiting Disney World? Share your ideas in the comments below.