One of the questions most frequently asked to the Walt Disney World moms panelists is, “How can I save money without sacrificing a good time?” And, while Disney can be a hefty expenditure, so, too, can it be done on a budget. Here are five things you can do to cut your costs:
1. Go value all the way
Disney’s resort hotels are categorized as either value, moderate, deluxe or villa. The least expensive of these options is–ding, ding, ding!–you guessed it: value. Value resort rooms offer comfortable (enough) accommodations on property. The key part of that sentence is “on property”. Key because guests of the value resorts are eligible for all the same amenities as other Disney resort guests, including extra time in the parks and free parking. In addition to staying in a value resort, you can also travel during value season when room rates are at their lowest. Dates vary, but typically include mid-January through mid-February and mid-August through the end of September.
2. Skip expensive ticket add-ons
Surely you’re familiar with the phrase, “would you like to super size that combo?” Disney–like those fast food chains–is great at the upsell. They make it incredibly easy for guests to plus up their vacations by adding the option to visit a water park or hop in between theme parks. These options, admittedly, do add a new dimension of fun to a vacation, but they also come at a costly premium. My family has never paid for these add-ons. I can’t say they’re worth the expense for those traveling on a budget.
3. Rely on complimentary transportation
Disney offers an efficient way to get from point A to point B, entirely free. If you’re a Disney resort guest, you are eligible for free round-trip transportation to and from the airport. Once on property, you can also get between your resort hotel and all the parks as well as the Downtown Disney shopping district via Disney’s extensive bus, rail and ferry system. By cutting out the cost of a rental car, a family could easily save hundreds on a vacation.
Bring your own water. Or, more specifically, have it delivered to your resort room by one of the many grocery delivery services in Orlando. Theme park touring can be a tiring endeavor, which can leave you quite parched. If you purchased 24 bottles of water from vendors it would cost you close to a hundred bucks. Or, you could pay six dollars for a case of water bottles and carry one into the park with you each day. Seems like a no brainer to me. Along those same lines, savvy families can save a small fortune by opting to eat breakfast in the room each morning instead of shelling out upwards of twenty bucks per person for a character meal. And since you’ll already be ordering from a grocery delivery service, there’s certainly no harm in ordering a box of cereal and a bunch of bananas, right?
5. Dine at noon
We both know that eating on vacation is half the fun. Which is why I know you want to experience at least a couple of Disney’s interactive dining experiences. I think you’d be remiss not to. That said, I have a little tip for you. Psst. Come closer. Here’s the thing: Disney restaurants are cheaper to dine it during lunch hours than during dinner. So if you have your heart set on a specific, spendy restaurant, why not make a reservation for lunch? You’ll likely save yourself a wad of cash, not to mention you can use your nighttime hours to watch fireworks. How’s that for a bang for your buck?
See there. I told you I could save you some money. But I’m not through with you yet. Click over HERE to check out my list of ten free must sees at Walt Disney World.