Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is an iconic vacation spot not only for American families, but globally too. Children, teens, and adults of all ages enjoy Disney, but not their prices if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking to spend less on your next Disney excursion, follow these money-saving tips!
The sticker price of Walt Disney World trips
There are a lot of factors that go into calculating the cost of a Disney trip. Flights, hotel, meal plans, and tickets are all a variable. A family of four will typically spend $6,360 for a week stay at the happiest place on earth—not including extras like souvenirs. Staying in the deluxe hotels at Disney with a nicer meal plan will run about $10,000. Most American families can’t swing that budget.
What makes Disney so expensive?
Big expenses at Disney are the hotels and food. Park tickets themselves are not terrible compared to other amusement parks, but they are not cheap by any means. In 2018 alone, Disney raised its prices two times so that summer months and holidays are more expensive, which is a clear peak season for families and friends to take vacation time.
Where can I trim back to make Disney affordable?
The good news is, you are a smart consumer and can make the most of a Disney vacation without giving into their extra expenses. These are the top mistakes made when booking a Disney vacation:
Instead of booking the “deluxe villa” option, opt to grab a space at the Disney All-Star Resort, or an off-grounds hotel. Prices for these are hundreds of dollars cheaper and have mostly the same amenities.
Park hopper tickets
Amusement parks are exhausting. You will feel as though you’ll want to hop between parks during the day, but the truth is, park hopper options are rarely even used. Disney theme parks have so many rides and activities that one park a day will satisfy even the biggest Disney fan. Just be sure to plan which park you’ll want to visit each day, because events will vary.
In the age of cell phones with great cameras, you don’t need to pay for the Disney photographer to take your pictures everywhere in the park. Have someone take it on your phone for free. The photo packages might also include the ride photos that no one ever really hangs up anyway.
Tours like Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom are well out of budget for most families. These backstage “exclusive” looks at Disney World get you into special access areas, early or late into the parks for the duration of the tour. People who have done the tour comment that it took away some of the magic of Disney for them. Save your perfect image of Disney and skip the expensive backstage tour.
Big meal plans
When done right, the Disney meal plans are beneficial to your wallet. However, choosing a meal plan that’s bigger than necessary is a waste of money. Instead, opt to go grocery shopping, as you can have them delivered straight to your hotel door, and have snacks and breakfasts available at your home away from home. From there, choose an appropriately sized dining plan without the extra snacks and meals. You really won’t want to eat out for every single meal.
Going during peak season
Summer months and holidays are the absolute worst times to go, unless you love long waits, price increases, and less than magical vacation experiences. The best times to go to Disney World are late January to early March, September and October, and Early November. The prices and crowds are much better.
Nobody is perfect, and there’s bound to be times where you splurge on a souvenir or activity. It’s Disney World, going there is a time to have fun. Hopefully these tips help make your next Disney World trip as budget-friendly and magical as can be.