Take Advantage Of Disneys Mid Day Tickets
If youre not an early riser, thats OK. Sleeping in is going to save you money! Walt Disney World now offers mid-day ticket options. You can now purchase tickets that can be used after noon each day. These are cheaper than the regular full-day tickets. You have our permission to sleep in each day. It is a vacation after all.
Bring Your Own Gear Disney On A Dime
In order to do Disney on a dime the right way, be sure to pack your essential items before you depart for Disney World.
Purchasing these items will cost you more at the parks than if you buy them online or back in your hometown stores, so arrive equipped with ponchos, toiletries, clothing, glow sticks, Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads, and any other items you may need during your vacation.
Plan Ahead To Save At Disneyworld
This is key to seeing the most during your stay, as little ones and family elders will wear out after a full morning of sights and theme park rides. If you stay in a WDW property, you can start early, then go home and relax and return for the evening activities. Whether you have this advantage or not, we recommend that every family try to plan a Disney customized vacation online.
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Buy Souvenirs Online Disney On A Dime
Disney World souvenirs are one unforeseen expense that can wreak havoc on a vacation budget. Souvenir shops are abundant in each Disney park and resort, and resisting the temptation of purchasing these mementos can be difficult.
The best way to save money on Disney souvenirs is to buy them online before your trip.
The main advantage is cost many souvenirs tend to be cheaper online versus similar items found at Disney.
Check out our Best Disney World Souvenirs article for tips on buying inexpensive trading pins, t-shirts, glassware, and other Disney souvenirs.
Pay Less For Starbucks
While you cant redeem your Starbucks rewards points in the parks, you can use them at Disney Springs!
You can use both Starbucks and Disney gift cards in all Disney World Starbucks locations as well! If you want to save even more money, try a drink from a Joffreys location instead their beverages are less expensive, and they take AP discounts!
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Pack A Strong But Compact Umbrella
It rains in Floridaa lot! Let me tell you something. I have done every type of umbrella/poncho. I packed the giant ones but they were a pain to take on the planes and the Disney buses. Also, I did the cheap ones from Disney that broke after a few days. The best umbrella to pack is this one from amazon.com. I have had it for years and every time I use it, whether its to block the sun or the rain.
If you are planning on hitting up a parade, Fantasmic, or even as a little cover for your little one at night, this portable blanket is perfect. Simply click it to your backpack or stroller and unpack it when it is time to sit back and enjoy the parade without having to sit on a ground stepped on by millions of people. Once the parade is over, it is super easy to smush it back into the bag it comes in. Check it out here!
There is surprisingly a lot of phone usage happening when in the parks. When you are using the my Disney Experience App to check your wait times, book fast passes, check on dining reservations, you will find your battery can get drained fast. Snag a great portable charger and everyones devices will be charged all day.
If Visiting A Water Park Buy The Park Hopper Plus
If the Water Parks are in your plans, consider adding the Park Hopper Plus to your vacation package instead of a water park ticket. While water park tickets will cost you $60 bucks per person per day, a Park Hopper Plus add-on is closer to a 22 dollar upgrade and if you were adding the park hopper anyway, its a substantial savings.
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Skip Photopass+ Disney On A Dime
Disneys PhotoPass is a nice perk that gives guests the ability to view and purchase photos that are taken by Disney photographers around the park. Cool but costly.
Instead of purchasing this add-on, bring your own camera and ask PhotoPass photographers to snap a photo for you.
Theyre happy to oblige, and these Disney World photos wont cost you a dime!
Use Airline Miles To Book Your Disney World Vacation
Although airlines offer their own vacation packages, they do something Costco doesnt they accept airline miles as payment.
These airlines allow you to book a portion or all of your vacation package with miles:
- American Airlines: Cover the cost of your flight to Florida or California with AAdvantage Miles, plus you can put as few as 1,000 points toward the non-flight portion of your vacation, which you can redeem for gift cards, car rentals, and even hotel stays.
- Delta Airlines: Use your SkyMiles to cover the cost of flight and hotel, plus youll get $350 off your booking if youre a SkyMiles Member.
- JetBlue: Use TrueBlue points to book the airline portion of your Disney vacation through JetBlue. Youll see prices like 12,800 points + $473. The points will cover fights and tickets to the parks, and the dollar amount covers per night at the hotel.
- Southwest Airlines: Become a Rapid Rewards member and you can save up to 25% on your flight and stay at a Disney Resort when you book with Southwest Airlines Vacations. You cant book with points, but Southwest has a Lowest Price Promise, which means if the same trip youve booked is now at a lower price on their website, youll get travel credit for the price difference and you get to keep your points.
Note: Park admission cant be bought with miles.
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Tip #15 Stroller Madness
Stroller rental can cost as much as 30 per day . And those super cute princess ones run even more.
But do you want to lug your stroller on you way to and from Disney? You could always rent one of the heavy plastic ones at the parks?
OR buy an umbrella stroller- though having stroller storage is pretty convenient. Dont forget the Baby Carrier!
Tip : Get Costumes And Souvenirs Ahead Of Time
If you know your child is going to want to dress up like Elsa the day she meets Elsa, order the costume on Amazon before the trip. You can save more than 50 percent. Same is true for toys all rides end at the gift shop, but your children will be far less tempted if they know a surprise is waiting for them back at the hotel that you’ve packed in your suitcase. You can even visit a Target or Dollar Tree in town to load up on T-shirts, glow sticks and postcards for a fraction of the price at Disney.
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Stay At The Campsites At Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort
Do you like camping? If so then consider The Campsites at Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort as an alternative to Disney Value Resort. You can stay at a tent or pop-up campsite for $73 $179, depending on the dates. Disney allows up to 10 people at each campsite at Fort Wilderness.
What if you have an RV? Full hook-up campsites, preferred campsites, premium campsites, and premium meadow campsites allow room for an RV plus a tent. There are more expensive than the tent/pop-up campsites but theyre still quite affordable on a per person basis.
Never Pay Full Price For Hotels
For most people, hotels are the single most expensive component of a trip to Walt Disney World. If you plan on staying in a Deluxe Resort, your hotel could eat up more than half of your entire vacation budget. While we love the Deluxe Resorts, we hate their pricing, and think they are not worth their rack rates. We have four alternatives to paying full price for Deluxe Resorts, with the best option last, so you have plenty of options if you need posh accommodations.
First, consider downgrading to a Moderate Resort. Two good options for this are the new Gran Destino and Caribbean Beach Resort. Both are essentially Deluxe Minus hotels, albeit for very different reasons. Gran Destino has upscale amenities, fine dining, and feels reminiscent of a Las Vegas tower.
If you want an actual Deluxe resort at a Moderate price, your best option is renting Disney Vacation Club Points. If you want to know more, we cover the exact steps for doing this, and why we recommend it, in our Tips for Renting Disney Vacation Club Points post, which offers a great way to stay in Deluxe-caliber on-property rooms for significant savings.
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Only Book Hotels With Free Shuttle Service To The Park
For Disneyland, properties across the street from the park are a 5-10 minute walk, and they run about $179/night . For anything else, make sure your hotel offers a bus shuttle to and from the park all day. Otherwise youll have to pay $25 per day to park.
For Disney World, basically everyone shuttles to the parks. Make sure your hotel offers all-day free shuttle service, and be sure to find out when the last pickup of the day is. If youre staying at a Disney Resort, the free shuttle service drops you off right at your hotel after a day at the parks. Otherwise, youll have to pay $22 per day to park.
Note: If you are driving or renting a car, make sure your hotel also has free parking to save some extra cash.
When you get there. . .
Take Advantage Of Free Resort Activities In The Evenings
Instead of feeling like you need to fill your evenings with paid activities, take advantage of the free movie under the stars at your resort and other free things to do at Disney World.
These run at every resort almost every night, and some resorts even have a chance to roast marshmallows ahead of time at the resort fire pit.
At resorts like Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can do nighttime viewing of the animals near the main pool, and at other resorts, you can actually see the fireworks from certain parks from the pools or public areas.
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Crowds Disney World Tips And Tricks
There is nowhere more fun and magical than Disney World. However, crowds and lines have a way of damping enthusiasm. Scheduling a Disney vacation outside of peak crowd times is always advisable, but not always feasible due to work schedules, family obligations, etc.
No matter what time of year you visit Disney World, there are ways to minimize the impact of crowds. Here are a few Disney World tips and tricks for dealing with crowds.
- First and foremost, consult the MagicGuides Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar before planning your trip. This will give your up-to-date park information and crowd size expectations for each of Disneys four theme parks.
- Crowds are typically lower when kids are in school. Holiday weeks , spring break, and the summer months are usually the most crowded times at Disney World.
- Arrive at the park before it opens, regardless of the time of year. We suggest arriving 30-45 minutes before scheduled opening times. Midday sees the highest crowds, so we suggest taking any lunch break or rest period at this point. Crowds normally diminish later in the afternoon.
- You will often find the longest lines towards the middle. Seek outshorter lines furthest to the sides.
- If you dont mind splitting up your group, single-rider lines tend to have much shorter wait times. These rides include Test Track, Expedition Everest, and Rock n Roller Coaster.
- If youve seen the parade before, skip it. Lines at attractions are often shorter during parade times.
Use A Travel Agent For Traditional Room Reservations
We are not travel agents, but we do know some amazing ones. Tinks Magical Vacations is who we use for all of our Disney Vacations. Not only are their services completely FREE, but usually they save you money + they will also guide you with booking dining reservations and Disney Fastpasses and so much more. They save you time and money and they know Disney better than we do and we have been a lot of times. But, dont just take our word for it, check out all of their guest testimonials. They truly are the best!
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Use Points To Pay For Disney World Tickets
A few of the credit cards hiding in your wallet can also help you pay for those precious park tickets using points, so you can conserve cash. As a general rule, purchasing just tickets from Disney wont code as a travel purchase on your credit card, but a room reservation that includes tickets as a larger package generally will. If youre purchasing Disney tickets from Undercover Tourist, those will generally code as a travel. There are a couple of cards that are a good choice for using points to pay for Disney tickets: one of which is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
If you have Citi ThankYou points at your disposal from cards such as the Citi Premier® Card, you can use them over the phone via Citis cruise-and-vacation-package department to purchase tickets to Disney World at a rate of 1 point to 1.25 cents of value toward tickets. Weve got the steps spelled out for you.
The Disney Visa also earns points that can be used toward most things Disney, including theme park tickets. Heres some information to help you determine if the Disney Visa is worth it for your family.
Right now there is also actually a very limited-time opportunity to use your Delta miles to pay for a Disney vacation.
Buy Disney Souvenirs Beforehand
While it may be tempting to buy all of the pretty things you see in the gift shops at the park. That can get pretty pricey! Save some money and buy less expensive Disney products before you even go to the parks!
If you have kids, you can keep these safe until you are at the Hotel and give them their gifts there! This will save you a bunch of money.
Some of the best things to buy beforehand are stuffed animals, glow sticks, and bubble machines. These tend to be extremely overpriced in the parks so having them already will let you save money for the things you really want.
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The Best Things In Life Are Free
A surefire way to beat the cost of park admission is to take a day off. Visit Disney’s resort hotels, tour the grounds, admire the gardens and architecture, listen to the music, and talk to cast members, or go to Fort Wilderness Campground, which has a petting zoo, a great playground, and a general store, where kids can play checkers.Barbara
Most Important Make Park Reservations
Disney World will be limiting the number of people in the parks for the foreseeable future. To help control park crowds you will have to make a reservation online with your park tickets or annual pass.
Here is how to make park reservations:
You can get complete details on the park reservation system here!
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Watch Your Food Budget Disney On A Dime
The food at Disney World is fantastic, but its also expensive. Consider the pros and cons of the Disney Dining Plan vs. a pay-as-you-go method before your book your trip.
Some guests find that the Disney Dining Plan will save them money over the course of their vacation while others find that they save more money without any plan at all. Its an age-old debate that really has no right or wrong answers it merely depends on each guest and their individual priorities and preferences.
Visit Disneys Dining Plans page or talk with a Disney travel agent to see which option best suits your needs.
One way to save money is to purchase food at local grocery stores and make your own meals, or even buy snacks on Amazon and schedule your package to be delivered directly to your hotel room. Some guests bring their own lunch along with them to the park.
Disney World allows guests to bring food into the park, so you could conceivably buy no food inside Disney parks at all. We call that taking Disney on a Dime to the next level!