Want to take the kids to the Walt Disney World Resort, but don’t want to break the bank? With a little planning it can be done: here are ten ways to save on your next Disney World Vacation.
- Stay at a Disney Value Resort – While on property you still get all the extra’s as someone staying at the larger resorts. Such as Disney Transportation, extra magic hours, Disney meal plans, and much more. The rooms might be a little smaller but your just there to sleep right?
- Stay at a resort or vacation home off Disney property. If you have to there are plenty of decent hotel rooms available all around Lake Buena Vista. If you have a larger family (more than four people), the savings are even greater. You can get a vacation home with a private pool for a week but remember you will need your own transportation.
- Watch for Disney Promotions. Supposedly Disney will be running a Free Dining Program for October through December which is excellent for saving money! Who doesn’t love free food? Lately Disney is almost always running some sort of discount on their website. (Keep in mind Chip and Company constantly keep you up to date on current Disney promotions so check back with us often) Also Disney is known to send out special promotions via postcard and email. How do you get them to send you one? Its a mystery, but signing up to receive one of their vacation planning videos and registering at www.disneyworld.com will help. Read my previous article on the elusive Pin Codes here.
- Purchase a dining package. Disney offers dining packages to guests staying at their resorts. These packages have to be booked in advance and you can save 30% or more on your dining if you buy one of these plans. Essentially the dining plan is a meal plan that you pay for in advance. Sorta like a lay-away. Check out this article talking about to Meal Plan or Not To Meal Plan.
- Travel during the “off” season. Disney resort and dining prices fluctuate depending on what time of year it is; the same trip over Christmas week will cost you a whole lot less the first week of December. There is much debate when the off season is. One guideline to follow is when school is out it will be busy. If you check on a Disney Cruise you will see the same trip almost double for Spring Break or in the Summer. OY!
- Use Magical Express. If you are staying at a Disney resort you have access to Magical Express, a free transport from the airport and back. This will save you on renting a car, taxi or hiring a limo to transport you.
- Eat meals outside the Theme parks. Plan to eat at least one meal a day in your room, breakfast being the most obvious choice. Most Disney rooms come with an in-room fridge or access to get one (make sure of this in advance if you aren’t staying in a Disney resort) You can stock it with milk, yogurt, fruit, water or drinks. Add a loaf of bread, some peanut butter, cereal and breakfast pastries and you will save a good bit of money. Use those snack credits! If you are staying off Disney property you also have access to all the fast food restaurants and buffets in Orlando. I love Sweet Tomatoes! We even make a pilgrimage here even if we are staying on site! This is another expense category where renting a vacation home has an advantage a kitchen. With a kitchen you would be able to eliminate a lot of your eating-out expense; however, you also have to look at how much time you are spending driving back and forth to your room from the parks. Oh and the cost of parking everyday. For more check out How to Park at Disney for Free.
- Flash your Military ID. If you are an active or retired member of the military, there are lots of discounts available to you. To start with, there is Shades of Green resort, a resort on Disney property only for the military; it is a really nice resort, and the prices are even nicer. You are also eligible to get discounts on other Disney resorts and on tickets.
- Join AAA. There are several ways to save at Disney if you are a member of AAA. You can save on your room and on your admission tickets. The only downside to this is that you have to purchase a AAA Membership first.
- Save on airfare. All of the carriers that fly in and out of Orlando airport offer decent rates if you do a little research and plan far enough ahead you can save some good money. Check the airports actual website opposed to the travel Discount sites. For example in Greensboro Allegiant Air is not listed in Expedia but offers flights for $29, 39, and 49 if you fly on certain days of the week.
I hope this list will help you save some much need money on your next Disney Vacation. If you have some tips you would like to share let us know in the comment section below.