Money-Saving Magic: Tips and Tricks for Visiting Disney World Florida on a Budget

Mickey and Minnie in a coach in the parade

Are you planning a trip to Disney World Florida but worried about the high costs?  Don't worry, you're not alone. Disney World is a magical place, but it can also be an expensive one. 

With a little bit of planning and some money-saving tips and tricks, you will have the best time at Disney World and all the magic theme parks without breaking the bank.

Are you excited to plan your Disney World vacation on a budget? Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your Disney trip

Choosing Your Dates

Choosing the right dates for your Disney World vacation can make a big difference in terms of getting the best deals and crowds. Consider visiting during the off-season, which is typically January through early February, late August through September, and early November through mid-December. During these times, you can often find a great deal on flights, accommodations, and park tickets.

Research and Recommendations

Look for deals and discounts on Disney World vacation packages, park tickets, and accommodations. 

One Park Per Day Strategy

Consider using the “one park per day” strategy, which involves visiting one park per day instead of buying a park hopper ticket which allows hopping between parks. This can save you money on park tickets and help you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

Trip Planning Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you plan your Disney World vacation:

  • Stay at a Disney resort to take advantage of perks like early access to the parks and free transportation.
  • Bring your own food and drinks to save money on park meals.
  • Use Genie+ to skip the lines for popular attractions.
  • Take advantage of free activities like fireworks shows, parades, and character meet and greets and more
colorful fireworks in the sky
fireworks in the sky at Disney World

Extra tip: You can watch the Epcot fireworks for free by standing on the bridge between Boardwalk and Beach Club Resort! 

Budgeting for Your Trip

It's a good idea to look at your budget to Disney World.  With some smart planning, you can get the best prices and save a lot of money.  Here are some tips to help you budget for your trip.

Understanding Costs

To create a budget, you first need to understand the costs associated with a Disney World trip. Some of the expenses you will need to consider include:

  • Park tickets
  • Accommodations
  • Food and drinks
  • Transportation
  • Souvenirs and merchandise
  • Extra experiences or purchases that may come up last-minute
  • Airline Tickets/Driving costs
  • rent EVC or stroller

It's important to factor in all of these costs when creating your budget, so you don't end up overspending.

Creating a Vacation Budget

Once you understand the costs, you can create your magic theme parks budget. Start by deciding how much you can afford to spend on your trip. Consider your income, expenses, and any debt you may have. You don't want to go into debt to pay for your vacation.

Next, allocate a portion of your budget to each expense category. For example, you may decide to spend 40% of your budget on accommodations, 30% on park tickets, and 20% on food and drinks. Be sure to leave some wiggle room in your budget for unexpected expenses.

Managing Finances

Managing your finances on your trip is just as important as creating a budget. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Use a credit card that offers rewards or cash back on purchases. This can help you save money on your trip. 
  • Set a daily spending limit for each expense category. This can help you stay within your budget.
  • Keep track of your expenses using a budgeting app or spreadsheet. This can help you see where your money is going and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Look for ways to save money, such as bringing your own snacks and drinks into the park or staying at a off-site hotel while visiting Disney World property.

You can plan a Disney World trip that fits within your budget. Happy planning!

Saving on Accommodation

When planning a Disney World vacation on a budget, saving money on accommodations can make a significant difference. Here are some tips and tricks to help you save on your hotel stay.

Choosing a Hotel

Central Florida has a plenty of nearby hotels, and you can score decent accommodations for $65 to $85 per night – far cheaper than comparable rooms at Walt Disney World. However, keep in mind that the cheapest hotels may be farther away from the parks, requiring additional transportation costs.  

Look for hotels off-site that offer free breakfast, shuttle service to the parks, and other perks that can save you money in the long run.

Staying On-Site Vs. Off-Site

Staying on-site at a Disney World resort can be convenient, but it can also be expensive. On-site resorts offer perks such as early access to the parks, free transportation, and the ability to book Genie+ reservations 60 days in advance. However, these perks come at a premium price.

Staying off-site can be a more affordable option. You can find hotels within a few miles of the parks that offer free shuttles or are within walking distance. Keep in mind that staying off-site means you won't have access to on-site perks, but you can still save a significant amount of money.

Using/renting DVC Points

If you're a member of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC), you can utilize your points to save on accommodations. DVC members can book rooms at Disney World resorts using their points, which can be a more affordable option than paying cash.

You can also rent DVC points from other members or through third-party sites like David Rentals, which can save you even more money. Keep in mind that renting points can be a bit more complicated than booking a regular hotel room, so be sure to do your research and understand the process before booking.  

Money-Saving Tips for Park Tickets

When planning a visit to Disney World Florida on a budget, one of the most significant expenses you'll face is park tickets. However, there are several ways to save money on park tickets without sacrificing the fun. Here are some tips and tricks to help you save money on park tickets:

Understanding Park Hopper Tickets

Park Hopper tickets allow you to visit multiple parks in a single day, giving you more flexibility and the ability to experience more attractions. However, they are more expensive than regular park tickets. If you're on a tight budget, consider skipping the Park Hopper option and opt for a regular park ticket instead.  I prefer the one day park ticket as it is the best way for me to relax and enjoy the day without feeling pressured.

Purchasing Discounted Tickets

One of the best ways to save money on park tickets is by purchasing discounted tickets. Good news, here are several ways to get discounted tickets, such as:

  • Buying tickets in advance: You can save money by purchasing tickets in advance, as they are usually cheaper than buying them at the gate because you can buy from other sources
  • Third party ticket sales like Undercover Tourists:
  • Using a credit card: Some credit card companies offer discounts on park tickets as a perk for cardholders.
  • Military discounts: If you're a member of the military, you may be eligible for discounted park tickets.
  • Group discounts: If you're traveling with a group, you may be able to get a discount on park tickets.
  • Grab Disney Gift cards when on sale at certain stores.

Making the Most of Genie+

Disney Genie+ is a paid service that allows you to skip the regular lines at select attractions. While it does come at an additional cost, it can save you a significant amount of time and allow you to experience more attractions during your visit. If you're planning to use Genie+, make sure to use it wisely by:

  • Booking your attractions early: You can book your first attraction reservation at 7 am no matter where you are staying. Make sure to book your most desired attractions early to ensure availability.
  • Prioritizing your must-see attractions: Make a list of the attractions you don't want to miss and book them first.
  • Using Genie+ during peak times: If you're visiting during a busy season, using Genie+ can save you a lot of time by allowing you to skip the long lines.

By following these tips, you can save money on park tickets and make the most of your magical trip to Disney World Florida.

Dining on a Budget

If you're planning a trip to Disney World on a budget, you'll want to make sure you're not overspending on food. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save money on dining while still enjoying delicious meals and snacks.

Choosing Restaurants and Meals

One of the easiest ways to save money on dining at Disney World is to choose the right restaurants and meals. Quick service restaurants tend to be less expensive than table service restaurants, and you can often find meals that are large enough to share. Look for restaurants that offer value meals or combo meals, which can save you money compared to ordering items separately.

Another tip is to choose meals that are filling and can keep you satisfied for a long time. For example, a turkey leg or a hot dog can be a great option for a quick lunch or snack, and they are often large enough to share. You can also find healthier options like salads or vegetable wraps that are filling and affordable.

A favorite extra money saving option is to have dinner at 3:45 PM when lunch prices are still available and have a snack at 7 or 8 pm.  You get to have a delicious dinner with a fabulous atmosphere at a lower cost  !

Bring Your Own Food

If you're looking to save even more money, consider bringing your own food to the parks. You can pack sandwiches, snacks, and drinks in a backpack or cooler and enjoy them throughout the day. Just make sure to check the park rules for prohibited items and be aware that glass containers are not allowed.

Disney has lockers to put a small cooler in or you can use cooler bag to store your  perishables.  

Grocery Delivered to Disney World

Another option to save money is to have groceries delivered to your hotel room. Many grocery stores in the area offer delivery to Disney World hotels, so you can stock up on snacks, drinks, and breakfast items without leaving the property.

We like to put granola bars, bags of chips and juice boxes in our backpacks and a water bottle in the side pocket for the day  Putting light snack in your back pack is an easy way to save money and time in lines waiting for snack.  

Dining Reservations

If you plan on dining at table service restaurants, make sure to utilize dining reservations. Make Dining reservations 60 days in advance to get into the restaurant you desire to dine at. You can also take advantage of dining plans, which can save you money on meals and snacks throughout your stay.

Dining on a budget at Disney World is definitely possible with a little planning and creativity. By choosing the right restaurants and meals, bringing your own food, and utilizing dining reservations, you can save money while still enjoying all the delicious food and drinks that Disney World has to offer.

Saving on Souvenirs

One of the most exciting parts of visiting Disney World is buying souvenirs to remember your trip. However, these can add up quickly and blow your budget. Here are some tips to help you save money on souvenirs during your Disney World vacation.

variety of Disney Balloons
Disney World balloons for sale at Hollywood Studios

Setting a Souvenir Budget

Before you even step foot in a gift shop, it's important to set a souvenir budget. Decide how much money you're willing to spend on souvenirs and stick to it. This will help you avoid overspending and ensure that you have enough cash for other expenses.

Best tip ever is to consider buying a Disney gift card and loading it with your souvenir budget. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending. Plus, you can use the gift card to pay for other expenses like food and drinks.

Choosing Value Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, there are plenty of options that won't break the bank. Here are some value souvenirs to consider:

  • Pressed Pennies: These are a fun and inexpensive way to remember your trip. You can find penny press machines throughout the parks and resorts. Then when you get home mount in a picture frame to display.
  • Pins: Disney pins are a popular collectible and can be found at a variety of price points. Look for mystery packs to save money. Then trade with cast members to have a variety of pins.
  • Autograph Books: If you're traveling with kids, an autograph book is a great way to remember the characters they meet. You can find them for under $10 or even purchase a journal and bring from home.
  • Plushes: Disney plushes are adorable and make great souvenirs. Look for smaller sizes or characters that are less popular to save money.

Remember, you don't have to buy a souvenir for everyone on your list. Consider buying one item per person or buying souvenirs for special occasions only.

By setting a souvenir budget and choosing value souvenirs, you can save money and still bring home some magical memories from your Disney World vacation.

We like to buy Disney themed Beach towels from where we are staying at and we use them all the time.  Another favorite to purchase that we use a lot is a throw blanket, we get a lot of use out of those too!

Additional Money-Saving Tips

Free Amenities

One of the best ways to save money during your Disney World Florida vacation is by taking advantage of the free amenities that are available. For example, you can bring a reusable water bottle to the parks and fill it up at water fountains throughout the day to avoid purchasing expensive bottled water. Additionally, there are several freebies that you can take advantage of, such as free parking at all of the Disney parks if staying at a Disney hotels and free transportation to and from the parks.

Choosing the Right Time to Visit

Choosing the right time to visit Disney World Florida can also help you save money. If you visit during the peak season or during the holiday season, you can expect to pay higher entrance fees and experience longer lines. However, if you visit during the off-season or during a less busy time of year, you can save money on entrance fees and experience shorter wait times.

Making Use of Discounts

Finally, making use of discounts can be a great way to save money during your Disney World Florida vacation. For example, Florida residents can often receive discounted entrance fees to the parks, and there are often discounts available for purchasing multi-day tickets. Additionally, keep an eye out for price increases and take advantage of discounts before they expire.

By utilizing these additional money-saving tips, you can save money during your Disney World Florida vacation and make your trip more enjoyable overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save money on Disney World tickets?

Disney World tickets can be expensive, but there are a few ways to save money. One option is to visit during the off-season when ticket prices are lower. Another option is to look for promotions or discounts, such as those offered to Florida residents or military personnel. You can also save money by purchasing your tickets in advance, from third party sales rather than at the gate.

What are some hacks to save money at Disney World?

There are many hacks to save money at Disney World, such as bringing your own snacks and a reusable water bottle, which can save you money on food and drinks. You can also save money by staying at a hotel outside the park, using their transportation, and avoiding souvenirs and merchandise.

Is there a Disney World savings plan?

Disney World does not offer a savings plan, but you can create your own savings plan by setting aside money each month for your trip. You can also use a travel rewards credit card to earn points or miles that can be used towards your trip.

How can I spend the least amount of money at Disney World?

To spend the least amount of money at Disney World, you can bring your own snacks and reusable water bottles, use your hotels transportation, and avoid souvenirs and merchandise. You can also save money by staying at a hotel outside the park and visiting during the off-season.

Is it better to visit one park a day or do two parks a day?

It depends on your preferences and schedule. Visiting one park a day can be more relaxing and allow you to fully explore each park, while visiting two parks a day can be more efficient and allow you to see more in a shorter amount of time but you might feel pressured to do it all.  If you pick 2 parks in one day definitely decide what attractions you much see.

What's the average amount of money people save for a Disney World trip?

The average amount of money people save for a Disney World trip varies depending on the length of their stay, the time of year they visit, and their spending habits. However, a good rule of thumb is to save at least $100 per day for each person in your group.

Disney World dining plan worth it?

The Disney World dining plan can be worth it if you plan on eating at sit-down restaurants and ordering multiple courses. However, if you prefer quick service restaurants or don't plan on eating as much, it may not be worth the cost.

MORE tips for visiting Disney World on a budget?

There are many tips for visiting Disney World on a budget, such as bringing your own snacks and reusable water bottles, staying at a hotel outside the park, or getting a hotel room when Disney is having a 25 % off sale on rooms, visiting during the off-season, and avoiding souvenirs and merchandise. You can also save money by using your resorts transportation and looking for promotions or discounts.

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