It may be the most magical place on earth, but Disney World also comes with a hefty price tag. There are countless ways to cut costs without cutting the magic, and with a little creativity and flexibility, the whole family can have an unforgettable Disney vacation without the post-vacation sticker shock.
Instead of sitting down for formal meals at restaurants, opt for quick service restaurants where you collect your food and then go find a table. Consider delicious options like Sautali Canteen in Pandora, Animal Kingdom and Peco Bill’s in the Magic Kingdom, or Woody’s Lunchbox in Hollywood Studios.
Booking a family suite with a kitchenette means you aren’t reliant upon restaurants for all of your meals and can enjoy breakfast before departing for the park, or (location depending) head back mid-day for a lunch or snack.
Getting groceries delivered by a service like GardenGrocer instead of grabbing small bites at gift shops will save you a ton throughout your trip – and will mean you can pack snacks and meals to take with you on the go during your days at the park itself.
Want to stay on property? You may actually save money. All on-property resorts offer free transportation to and from the airport, to all of the parks, waterparks, and Disney Springs.
Consider staying at a Moderate or Value resort instead of a Deluxe resort. A few differences to note: Value hotels will have pools but no waterslides, offer food-court dining options, and transport guests to the park by bus.
Moderate resorts are large, and most feature a lake or river at their center. Most moderate resorts comfortably sleep up to five and are a favorite of families. Each resort in this category offers large pools with waterslides for kids, and typically offers additional amenities such as kiddie pools, outdoor playgrounds, volleyball courts, and more. These resorts offer both food-court and table service dining options and provide bus service into the park (except for Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, who both offer water taxis that transport guests to Disney Springs).
Save on the cost of a ticket and spend a day resort hopping, checking out the various amenities and entertainment at the unique resorts.
Consider your kid's ages before you book. Little ones are free before 3, a Child ticket before 9 – and after that, they are a full-priced adult ticket.
If your family are outdoor lovers then camping at Fort Wilderness may be for you! Campers receive free transportation to and from parks, enjoy clean bathroom facilities and golf cart rentals.
For The Kids
There’s nothing quite so memorable as meeting your favorite Disney characters, and collecting their autographs is part of the fun! Instead of shelling out for an autograph book at the park, why not buy one in advance – or better yet, have your kiddos make their own?
Shiny souvenirs can tempt even the most self-disciplined kiddos, but even small trinkets can add up. Why not buy a handful of Disney-themed souvenirs well in advance (hello, Amazon) and give a new one every day before venturing out in the park? Your kiddos will have goodies to hang on to, they’ll (hopefully) be less drawn to the souvenirs on display, and your bank account will thank you.
There are a ton of free games and activities for kiddos across the park, starting with transportation cards! These are cards representing all the different modes of transportation (bus, boat, monorail, etc) with information on the card about each. Just ask your bus driver/boat captain/monorail operator for one (or a few) and start collecting! You can search for booty while playing Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas or cast some magic spells playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, both free interactive games that send kiddos on a quest through Adventureland or the Magic Kingdom, respectively. If your little ones are getting squirrelly while standing in line, try the Play Disney Parks app entertains via your smartphone with trivia, quizzes, music, games, and more – and you can earn achievements for riding attractions.
What to Bring
Aside from the obvious (comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen among the most vital) consider bringing along a waterproof poncho if you’re visiting in the summer. It will rain. Trust me on this one.
On any vacation with children, it can’t hurt to pack any required medicine and first-aid essentials. Think kids Tylenol, blister bandaids, thermometer, Polysporin, etc. The last thing you want to be dealing with is running around and paying 3x the price for medication if your little one is under the weather.
Instead of renting a portable charger inside the park, pack your own and save the money, you’ll be glad you did!
Want to visit the Happiest Place on Earth? I’d love to put together an unforgettable Disney vacation for you and your family, contact me here.