10 Ways We’re Saving Money On Our Disney World Vacation

Visiting Disney World on a budget may seem impossible. Luckily, I share 10 Disney World tips and tricks on how we're saving money on our Disney World vacation. Even if your whole extended family travels to Disney World, these Disney World secrets should help you with your planning. Disney World is often thought of as an extravagant and expensive vacation for most.

We’ll be visiting Disney World later this spring and the trip should be relatively inexpensive for us.

Here are 10 ways we’re saving money on our upcoming trip to Disney World.

Related: Our First Disney World Trip Cost Report from August 2012

1. We Bought Florida Resident Tickets

We live in Florida which allows us to buy Florida resident tickets at a discount.

However, Disney was running a special called Discover Disney which allowed us to buy even more heavily discounted tickets.

We were able to get two four day tickets for just $159 plus tax each.

After taxes the total came to just $338.68 for admission to one theme park for each of four days of fun.

2. We Didn’t Buy The Park Hopper Option

I don’t really understand the park hopper option other than the blatant money grab it is. Each of Disney’s four theme parks have plenty of activities to fill a whole day.

I wouldn’t imagine trying to fit two theme parks into one day as you would miss out on too many fun activities and waste a lot of time traveling between parks. Instead of paying Disney extra, we just plan on doing everything we want in each park on the day we’ve planned for that park.

3. We Don’t Plan To Eat Every Meal At Disney World

We plan to eat as few meals as possible in the Disney parks and we don’t plan on buying any drinks while we’re there. This should help us cut down on costs drastically. While we probably will eat lunch in the parks, we will plan to eat breakfast and most dinners outside of the parks.

While eating in the parks, we don’t plan on going to any of the fancy or expensive eateries since we’re visiting Disney for aspects other than food.

4. We Will Bring In Snacks & Water

We plan to bring a few small snacks and a water bottle or two in to the Disney parks with us. It really isn’t much to carry and this is a super simple way to save us some money.

We can refill the water bottles at fountains and even bring in flavored water drink packets if we want something other than plain water.

Related: 5 Clever Ways To Save Money While On Vacation

5. We Planned Our Parks Based On Crowd Calendars

Many websites offer crowd calendars to show which parks are predicted to be busiest on each day. While these predictions aren’t always 100% accurate, they are generally pretty good at picking which parks will be busier or slower on any given day.

By using these calendars, we were able to plan a schedule that should allow us to enjoy the parks without waiting in crazy long lines each day simply because we picked the wrong park on the wrong day.

This should also allow us to finish our visit of each of the parks in time to enjoy dinner outside of the park, saving us money.

6. We’ll Be Staying With A Friend

One of our friends moved to Orlando a couple years ago. We’ve visited her a couple of times since then and we’ll be visiting her again for our Disney trip. She has a guest room and she is super nice for letting us stay there while we visit Disney World.

Of course, we will be spending time with her as well. She has an annual pass so she can come along with us to the theme parks whenever she wishes. We normally don’t spend the whole day in the parks, either, as the hours are much longer than needed for us to do everything we want.

We should be able to grab dinner with her outside of the park at least one or two nights during our stay.

7. We’re Driving To Orlando

It helps that we’re within driving distance of Orlando when it comes to keep our costs down. While we could fly, it would take just as long or longer and we’d have to pay for plane tickets, transportation and many other inconveniences.

We will have to pay to park at the theme parks, but overall we’ll be saving money by driving rather than flying.

8. We Plan To Skip Out On Expensive & Throw Away Souvenirs

Souvenirs at Disney definitely are not cheap. Lucky for us, we don’t feel the need to buy some cheap item to remind of us our trip. Most of the time, souvenirs just end up getting thrown away or donated at some point in the future.

Instead of buying something that will just take up space until it is thrown away, we only buy up to one souvenir each and only if it has a purpose. That is in addition to the one Christmas tree ornament we get on each vacation to help us remember our trips.

Related: What The One Percent Buy At Disney World

9. We’ll Take Our Own Pictures

Disney loves to take your picture for you. You’ll see cast members offering to take pictures everywhere. Of course, they’re really trying to sell you the pictures they take.

If you ask nicely, sometimes these cast members will take a picture for you with your phone or camera which eliminates the need to buy the pictures from Disney.

The quality may not be the same if your camera stinks, but you will still capture the memory for free.

10. We Could Use Credit Card Rewards To Pay For Our Expenses

Finally, we could take this whole trip for free based on credit card rewards if we wanted to. I could easily earn enough cash back with just one or two credit card sign up bonuses to pay for our whole trip.

Related: Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses Available This Month

We aren’t using our rewards for Disney because we can get a better value for them elsewhere, but this is definitely an option if you’re looking to do Disney on the cheap.

Overall, we expect this trip will probably cost us between $500 to $650 for four days of fun in Walt Disney World. In addition, we get to spend time catching up with one of our friends. How awesome is that?!

How would you save money on a Walt Disney World vacation? Do you have any tips or tricks I didn’t mention here? I’d love to hear your thoughts to see if there are any other ways we could be saving money on our fun trip! I’m looking forward to reading your comments below.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. We’re doing a trip to Disney World later in the fall. We have used many of these strategies as well. Good luck planning and having fun!

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