Disney Money-Saving Magic: Top Tips for Saving on Your Walt Disney World Resort Visit

Disney money saving tips

Whether it’s your first visit to see Mickey Mouse, or if you’re a seasoned traveler to the parks, planning a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida is an enchanting experience. As with everything else in our lives, traveling costs have gone up and costs to see the Mouse can quickly add up. However, fear not! With some savvy Disney Money-Saving strategies and careful planning, you can make your Disney vacation more affordable without compromising on the magic.

We travel to Florida at least once a year, usually driving there, because we love our road trips. We have visited many parts of the state, but have always enjoyed Orlando and all the fun it has to offer. Specifically, though, in the last several years of traveling to the sunshine state, visiting Disney has become a family tradition and has created many lasting memories. We have also seen the price of these trips creep up steadily and the affordability of them has been challenged. We have, through the years, learned a few Disney Money-saving tricks to lower costs in many aspects of our trips, which makes helps keep some money in our pockets.

We’ll reveal the top Disney money-saving tips we’ve learned, to help you get the most out of your visit to Walt Disney World while keeping your budget intact.

Plan Ahead, Set a Budget and be Flexible (if you can)

To save money at Walt Disney World, it’s crucial to plan ahead and establish a budget. Research ticket prices, accommodation options, and Disney dining plans well in advance, considering different seasons and pricing tiers. By setting a realistic budget, you’ll be better prepared to allocate funds wisely.

If your schedule is flexible, and want to enjoy all that Walt Disney World has to offer, you can find some savings (and beat the crowds) during their off-season. Typically the best weeks are when schools across North America are in session. Think about it like this, if your kids have a school holiday, then probably thousands of others probably also do. Disney tries to lure people who can travel during those times with discounts and promotions.

Choosing to visit Walt Disney World during off-peak seasons can be a game-changer for your wallet. Not only will you avoid the large crowds, but you’ll also find more affordable accommodations and potentially reduced prices on tickets.

Historically, the best time is mid-August to November (Minus the few days around: Labor Day, Columbus Day & Thanksgiving). You will also find some of the best deals during this period. Historically, Disney will discount hotels or include a dining plan (which can be very lucrative if you catch the right promotion).

The best promotions come out in the March-May timeframe for the Fall, and they book up quickly, so early preparation is key. Check the Walt Disney World promotions page, or begin the process by contacting one of the travel agencies that specialize in Disney vacations and ask to be notified when Free dining becomes available.

Disney Money Saving Tips- Lifeofv.com

Consider Staying Off-Site

While our first choice is to stay at one of the Disney resorts, since they offer unique benefits, consider exploring off-site accommodations as a Disney money-saving option is still a very good option. Neighboring properties are all looking to fill their rooms, and although massive crowds come to Orlando every week, the competition is fierce. Disney alone has over 30,000 rooms to fill. Many hotels offer free shuttles to the Disney parks, and sometimes to Disney Springs. This amenity will save you money and aggravation with parking and driving through traffic. Look for nearby hotels or vacation rentals that can offer competitive rates, comfortable stays, and other amenities like pool areas and restaurants.

Bundling your vacation travel is one way to see bottom-line savings. Keep an eye out for enticing Disney money-saving package deals at sites like Expedia, CostcoTravel, and CAA/AAA. If you like having a more personalized touch, there are many travel agencies that are authorized Disney planners, and will know the ins and outs of booking your Disney travel, plus will have the inside-scoop of anything special going on. These bundled packages often offer substantial savings compared to purchasing each component separately.

Organization, Military & Clubs – Disney Money-Saving discounts

When contacting hotels, always tell them if you belong to any clubs or organizations to see if there are perks or discounts available. Almost all properties will provide some sort of Military discount, so be sure to ask.

If you are a resident of Florida, you most likely are aware of the deep discounts available to Disney parks and properties. Be sure to check out what Disney money-saving opportunities are available for you on the Official Disney Florida Resident page.

We never recommend lying about belonging to any organization to receive a discount. Not only will you be asked for identification or proof upon arrival, it’s just bad karma to lie.

Important Disney Money-Saving Tips

Be careful of hidden fees like Resort fees, parking fees, and cancellation/change policies the hotel may have – some of which are added after arriving. Ensure you ask or read up on them before booking. Online marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO can be great resources to find affordable options but seldom come with any transportation to parks, so be sure to calculate that into your budget.

Discounted Disney Gift cards

Disney Money-Saving Magic - Lifeofv.com

Disney Gift cards are valuable assets when it comes to Disney money-saving strategies. Disney gift cards can be used for park tickets, merchandise, dining, and pretty much anything Disney sells on their properties. Using a variety of strategies and patience, you can see up to 10% off, which adds up to considerable savings for your trip.

The DisneyJourney site has a great post detailing many ways to get discounted Disney money-saving Gift card discounts, so if you are interested in this avenue, check it out!

Disney gift cards are also sold at warehouse clubs such as BJ’s, Sam’s Club, and Costco. Throughout the year, they often run sales with discounts ranging from 3-6%. The discount is probably not worth joining the clubs, since the membership fees chew into any savings you may see, but worth keeping an eye out if you’re already a member.

What we will never recommend, is to purchase Disney gift cards at face value. Like all other gift cards, your money is tied up and limits your spending to the gift card provider. Also, gift cards are easily lost or forgotten about, causing a complete loss of your money.

Disney Dining

Food is often an overlooked necessity when planning a vacation. When planning a trip, we usually focus on transportation to get there, hotels to sleep in, and finally tickets to get into the parks, but each and every day, you will need to eat and hungry kids are more difficult to tame than a ferocious lion. Dining at Walt Disney World is a delightful experience, but it’s important to plan ahead to make Disney money-saving choices.

Disney Dining tips - Lifeofv.com

When at the park, there are a wide variety of dining options, including quick-service, casual sit-down, and cafeteria style, to more formal dining that requires reservations. In addition, there are as many categories of cuisine types, from good ‘ol American fare to Italian Fine Dining. Many also offer special experiences, like character meets that will create lasting memories for you and your children. Depending on the establishment and where the restaurant is located, the price for these restaurants can vary drastically.

It’s important to note that reservations for some of the more popular restaurants can book up months in advance. Relying on last-minute dining decisions can result in disappointment, which is definitely not what you want for your family vacation.

Character dining WDW- Lifeofv.com

Character Dining

Character dining is a highlight for many visitors, but it’s important to find Disney money-saving options. Research different character dining experiences available at various Disney resorts. Look for breakfast or lunch character meals, which are often priced lower than dinner options, allowing you to enjoy interactions with your favorite characters without breaking the bank. Some of these restaurants are located in theme parks, so an admission ticket is required to gain access. This required planning to ensure you are already visiting the park that day. Some other restaurants are located on Disney resort properties, giving you the unique opportunity to visit and explore one of the other beautiful Disney resorts (great for scoping out potential properties for your next visit)

The best way to make dining reservations and check availability is through Disney’s official online dining page or better yet, using the My Disney Experience app. By securing your reservations early, you’ll have a better chance of snagging popular dining options and will avoid last-minute expensive or less-desired alternatives.

Important Disney Money-Saving Tips

Time-Saving tip: Take advantage of Disney’s Mobile Ordering feature in the My Disney Experience app. This convenient tool allows you to place food and beverage orders in advance at select quick-service restaurants. By utilizing mobile ordering, you’ll save time and stick to your budget by avoiding impulse purchases.

Money-Saving tip: If you are planning on dining at multiple Disney restaurants, you might be looking at getting a Disney Dining Plan, or maybe one is included with your travel package. We usually advise against purchasing one of these plans, especially if it’s your first time visiting. It may offer convenience, but you may not see any savings over making educated choices on your dining. With that said, we will almost always recommend booking with a Free dining plan promotion when it is offered. Although it may sound obvious to get something for free, Disney will seldom discount hotel prices when offering free dining, so it’s usually (but not always) one or the other. It’s important to play around with different options and estimations on what you think you want out of dining and make the educated choice for what works for you.

Use Disney Transportation whenever you can

One of the Disney money-saving perks is the complimentary transportation system provided by the resort. Disney offers buses, boats, and the iconic monorail to travel between parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. By relying on Disney transportation, you’ll avoid parking fees and the costs associated with renting a car. Plus, getting to resorts for any booked restaurants can be accomplished using Disney transportation. Be sure to speak to your hotel’s concierge for times, and routes to fully understand the options.

WEDW Transportation - Lifeofv.com

Even if you aren’t going anywhere specific, taking a ride on the historic monorail offers a free and memorable ride through some of the most beautiful resorts and through the Magic Kingdom. A second monorail line takes you to Epcot. It’s a great activity for the kids.

Important Disney Money-Saving Tips

Memorable tip: When boarding the monorail, ask one of the cast members if the children can ride with the pilot. If available, it will be an experience your kids will talk about for a long time and is something that money just can’t buy.

Bring Your Own Snacks and Water

To curb those hunger pangs and stay hydrated while exploring the parks, packing your own snacks and water bottles is a smart Disney money-saving strategy. Non-perishable snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, or trail mix can keep you energized throughout the day. Depending on when you are traveling, Orlando days can be sunny and hot, so ensuring a constant supply of water is crucial. Bringing your own refillable water bottles is a good idea and they can be replenished at water fountains or by asking for complimentary cups of ice water at quick-service locations to stay hydrated and energized.

Sharing Meals

Disney’s quick-service restaurants often offer generous portion sizes, making meal sharing an excellent Disney money-saving strategy. Consider ordering larger meals like platters or family-style options that can be shared among your group. Pretty much every dining option at Disney offers Kids’ meals, which are smaller, yet lower-priced options. Splitting entrees can also lead to significant savings without compromising on taste. Strategies like 3-for-4, where you purchase 3 entrees, which can be shared amongst 4 people help to save money, and also offer some variety, instead of ordering a single entree choice per person.

Take Advantage of Free Activities

When visiting Disney, one of the most memorable moments for children (and adults) is meeting your favorite Disney characters. Although the surest way to see your favorite is to book a dining reservation where that particular character is guaranteed to be, there are other ways too, and they don’t cost any additional over your park admission. Scattered throughout the park are meet-and-greet locations. The schedule and locations can be found on the daily printed Guidemap at the entrance to the park – so be sure to pick one up when grabbing a park map. Alternatively, you can ask one of the Disney cast members to see if they can provide you with extra-special tips on where and when to find them.

In addition, some Walt Disney Resorts will also have character visits throughout the week, so ask the front desk if there is one planned where you’re staying.

WDW Fireworks Tips - Lifeofv.com

Be sure to attend the in-park parades, shows, and other events that are included in your park admission. These experiences provide entertainment without any additional cost.

Disney Springs, a bustling shopping and entertainment district, offers a Disney money-saving haven outside the parks. Take a break from the attractions and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, live performances, unique stores, and delicious dining options. Plus, visiting Disney Springs doesn’t require park admission, allowing you to indulge in free or low-cost entertainment. There is always something fun happening, and many Instagram-perfect picture opportunities throughout the property.

Bring Your Own Ponchos and Essentials

Florida’s unpredictable weather calls for preparedness! It’s not uncommon for Orlando to experience an afternoon rain shower. They could be quick but can dump a considerable amount of rain in that short period of time. Conversely, a full day of overcast can become a clear sunny hot day in an instant. Checking the weather forecast is not always foolproof, so if there’s even a remote chance of rain, pack along your own ponchos and other essential items like sunscreen, hats, etc. These simple items can be purchased inexpensively at a Walmart but will command a steep premium once you walk into a theme park store.

Additional tip: Bring a bag that can hold your wet items, like your poncho after the rain stops.


Souvenirs are an integral part of the Disney experience, but they can quickly eat into your budget. Before your trip, purchase autograph books, pens, and Disney-themed souvenirs from online retailers ahead of time or at other local stores. By planning ahead, you can avoid inflated prices within the parks and exercise more control over your souvenir spending.

If you have a car, make your way to Character Warehouse outlet stores, one located on Vineland Rd, and the other on International Blvd. These stores offer discounted Disney merchandise and souvenirs, providing you with great deals on some of your favorite items. Might be worth visiting before hitting the parks or Disney Springs.

In addition, other stores such as Walmart carry Disney-licensed items at a discount.

At the Park: Celebrating a special occasion? Make sure to visit guest services and pick up free celebration buttons or badges. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or your first visit, these buttons often come with additional perks. Enjoy extra attention from cast members or small surprises throughout the day, adding more magic to your experience at no extra cost.

Disney Money saving tips

Tickets to the parks

It’s obvious that the main reason for visiting Disney, is to visit the world-class theme parks. Disney controls admission tickets quite tightly and heavily discounted tickets are rare to find. There are ways to still save though. I will start off by explaining some places where you should not purchase tickets. Firstly, from unauthorized vendors – this can be online, in booths and retail locations, or most importantly, on the street. Be wary of deep discount promises or buying “unused’ days on tickets. Falling prey to any of these may give you more headaches than you think. The last thing you need during a Disney vacation is making to the gate, only to be turned away because of invalid tickets.

Some older Disney tickets had no expiry on the dates remaining, but still cannot be transferred to another person after any days on the ticket have been used.

There are still some ways to save on tickets, however. Disney sometimes runs promotions for discounts to their parks. These can be found on the Walt Disney World promotions page.

You can use Disney Gift cards to purchase pretty much anything Disney sells, including tickets. If you have been gifted any gift cards or managed to purchase discounted gift cards, they can be used.

The Undercovertourist site is also a good way to acquire tickets and they have a small discount. They also have discounted tickets to many more non-Disney attractions and have great information. Check them out!

Park Hoppers

While the allure of hopping between parks on the same day is enticing, choosing single-park tickets can be a prudent Disney money-saving decision. Evaluate your itinerary and consider whether the additional cost of park hopper tickets is truly necessary for your vacation experience.

This is especially important if it’s your first visit or when traveling with young children. Getting between parks is time-consuming and getting through the park with enough time to visit another will be stressful and will force you to compromise on enjoying certain areas within the park(s).


As the saying goes, Time is Money, and this means so much during your holiday. Wasting time waiting during your trip takes time away from doing the things you want and paid for. The Disney FastPass+ system is a Disney money-saving tool that can enhance your park experience. Utilize it to reserve access to popular attractions in advance. By avoiding regular standby lines, you’ll save valuable time and make the most of your visit.

Download the My Disney Experience app before your trip and familiarize yourself with the theme parks and rides, and even the wait times. Plan out your path before arriving at the park and make the most of your visit, reducing your waiting times.

Disney Money saving tips

Memory Maker & PhotoPass

Memory Maker provides access to Disney PhotoPass photos, but it’s important to weigh its cost against your budget. Decide whether purchasing Memory Maker fits within your Disney money-saving plans. You can opt to take your own photos or rely on the assistance of fellow park guests to capture those special moments.

It is important to say that if you love family pictures, and usually succumb to ordering the photos taken at events and theme parks, it’s best to purchase the Memory Maker package as early as possible, and then be sure to take a photo from every Disney photographer you see. Don’t be shy to ask for retakes and different angles. Really maximize the number of pictures you take. There are over 100 photo locations around the Disney property, so you can really get some beautiful shots.

Disney even offers a discount for purchasing the Memory Maker before your trip. There are stipulations with buying it too close to your trip, so plan ahead to be sure you can start using it as soon as you arrive.

The Best Disney Money-saving tip

After all the preparation, and following the best Disney money-saving tips, there is one last tip that you MUST follow – To take a deep breath and just enjoy your Disney trip. Relish the all magical moments that Disney offers. Whether it’s watching the breathtaking fireworks displays, exploring hidden details in the parks, and immersing yourself in the enchanting atmosphere, enjoy time with the people you travel with, even at times when everyone is tired and cranky. The way to get the best savings is to relax and truly enjoy your vacations.

Disney Money-Saving Magic - Lifeofv.com

Visiting Walt Disney World resorts in Florida doesn’t have to be a financial burden. By implementing some of these Disney money-saving tips, you can create unforgettable memories while keeping your budget intact. Remember to plan ahead, seek out discounts, make strategic choices, and savor the free experiences Disney has to offer. With a little pixie dust and some smart decision-making, you can embark on a magical Disney adventure and truly enjoy it! So, get ready to make your dreams come true and experience the wonders of Walt Disney World!

About Victoria 59 Articles
Just a girl who loves Travel, Technology, Fashion, Cooking and enjoying all life has to offer.

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