My family loves Walt Disney World and we have vacationed there once a year for the past five years. Every year I think to myself we should go somewhere new but that never happens and we go back to Walt Disney World. Disney is hands down the best family vacation. You are not a customer while inside Disney you are a guest. There is quite a difference and its what keeps us coming back year after year.
The Happiest Place on Earth can cost a pretty penny if you know what I mean. My family cuts corners to make a visit each year happen. Throughout those years we have learned some ways to make the trip as affordable as possible and wanted to share it with you.
Here are some ways that we save costs:
1.We DON’T buy the dining plan. We don’t buy it because our kids eat like birds and they’d only eat chicken fingers anyways. I don’t think its worth the cost for us.
2. We DO pack food and a toaster. I go to the dollar store and buy a cheap toaster. The room already has a small fridge so a toaster allows me to toast pop tarts and bagels, etc in the morning. I pack boxes of cereal and paper goods including bowls. This way all I have to do is grab milk from the resort store and the kids can have cereal in the morning. It’s 100 percent worth packing snacks and drinks. The mores snacks you pack the less you will order at the restaurant. Even if you have to pay for the second luggage you are still going to save. Snacking up means you wont order that big expensive meal when you do go out to eat.
3. DO stay at a value resort. This is harder for me because I am a family of five but if you are a family of four its a no-brainer. You don’t really spend that much time in your room and you can always visit all the resorts.
4. DO stay inside Disney. It saves you on all the costs of renting a car. You wont need gas money, money to park, or pay for car insurance. Plus nothing is quiet as magical as getting picked up by the Magical Express. Disney transportation is part of the experience.
5. Fly at odd times. Fly when no one else wants to.. I once paid 70 bucks for our tickets because we flew during the super bowl. New Years Day morning was cheap too. USA Today has more tips on how to score cheap air fare. Another trick is not to buy your tickets round trip. Sometimes if you purchase each way separately the cost is less expensive.
6. Go off season. This is a no-brainer not only are the lines shorter but the cost to stay is much much less expensive. If this is your first time Youfirstvisit.net has put together a neat calendar to learn about the seasons and the crowds.
7. One issue I see many families face is when to say to no to souvenirs. There are so many fun things to look at and to buy. Our family has a rule. They get ONE souvenir and we encourage them to buy it on the last day of the trip. This way the souvenir has value. Well set time aside at Downtown Disney on the last day. We do it on the last day this way they don’t impulsively buy the first thing they see and have buyers remorse later. Plus almost everything you see inside the parks is available at Downtown Disney.
8. Disney offers free dining deals on certain dates. If you are flexible when you can travel and you enjoy the dining. This might be great for you.
9. If you do the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League which we consider a must do at least once… bring your own costume. This will save you a ton.
While inside Disney there are many free things to experience too!
- You can take free Hula lessons with Auntie Kaui at the Polynesian Monday thru Saturday at 3:45 pm and Saturday mornings at 10 am.
- Many resorts offer campfires and movies under the stars.
- Watch the Electrical Water Pageant go by on the Seven Seas Lagoon
- The Boardwalk will offer nightly shows filled with street performers
- Enjoy a free character experience and campfire at the Chip ‘n’ Dale Campfire Sing A Long at Ft. Wilderness
- See the animals for free at the Savannah Overlook located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge
The kids at Animal Kingdom Lodge last year checking out the animals after our breakfast at Boma.
One new thing I learned is that Disney guests can have colored hair gel applied to their hair, including the famous “Hidden Mickey” design and Tinker Bell “Pixie Dust” Harmony Barber Shop for only $7.50. This is on our list of things to do on our trip this December.
Walt Disney World keeps us coming back year after year. It holds my favorite memories as a family and we hope these tips help your family make Walt Disney World a reality.
Each time we are there we are reminded that Dreams do Come True and it indeed did start with a mouse.
Thanks to Nicole J. Estrella of www.playingalltheway.com for this post. I can’t wait to use her tips with my when we visit Disney World next year.