Everyone knows that going to Disney is not a cheap trip. The tickets, the hotels, the food, the merchandise… You’ll feel like you’ve bought a small kingdom by the time you’ve left the Magic Kingdom. And it all adds up quick.
You do’t have to go broke at the Most Magical Place on Earth though. There are just as many ways to save money at Disney as there are to spend money. You just have to do a bit of planning and be prepared to bring some things with you and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
Gift Cards are your friend
One of the quickest ways to save a bit of money is to invest in gift cards. Don’t just go buying them from the Disney store though! You’re going to want to be on the look out for Disney Gift cards at places like Sam’s Club and Target. The reason for this? Savings. On average, Sam’s has about a 2% savings on Disney Gift cards. It may not sound like much but if you’re buying $2,000 in gift cards, that will be a savings of $40. So you’ll spend $1,960 on $2,000 of gift cards. That’s a meal at for two people at a quick service counter in park.
Your savings at Target are going to be even better when you buy Disney gift cards using your Target Redcard. You automatically save 5% on every purchase using your Redcard… this includes gift cards. So if you’re purchasing $2,000 in gift cards, you’ll save $100 meaning you’re only spending $1,900 on $2,000 in gift cards. If you don’t have a Target Redcard, I highly recommend getting the Debit Redcard. It works just like your normal debit card, it’s free, and does not require a credit check. You just have to bring in a blank check so they can link the card to your bank account. It’s totally worth it for 5% savings on every purchase and free two day shipping.
Become an Annual Passholder
who doesn’t want to visit Disney World whenever they want? Being an Annual Passholder certainly has pretty awesome perks including being able to visit whenever you want. You’ll also be able to save some money while you’re at the parks and Disney stores as well. I recommend, even if you’re only coming for one trip, for at least one person in your party to get the annual pass, especially if you’re planning on dining at the parks or in Disney Springs. You’ll receive special offers on hotels that can be as much as 35% off the price of your room.
Many of the restaurants in Disney World as well as Disney Springs give AP holders a discount. This can include snack places like for popcorn and drinks as well as table service and quick service places. Most of the time it’s around 10% off, so make sure to ask your server or the cashier if they offer a discount for AP holders.
You’ll also save on Merchandise at Disney World, ShopDisney.com , Disney Stores, and Disney Springs. So make sure that you show your AP card when you check out so your discount can be applied.
Last but not least, free parking. Disney Parking is EXPENSIVE! It’s $25 per car, per day when you drive to Disney. SO if you’re staying off site or just want to drive your car to the parks instead of taking transportation provided by Disney Resort Hotels, you can end up spending an extra $100 for a four day trip. AP holders are able to save all of that money though by just presenting their AP card as they drive in.
There are tons of other savings you get as a Disney World Annual Passholder as well. for more information, just check out the Annual Pass program page here.
Buy before you go
Now, I know the kids are going to want all of the toys, bubble wands, and souvenirs they can carry… and more! But let’s face it, that mess is expensive. Even with a 20% discount, spending $60 on a stuffed animal can be a little hard to swallow. So I highly recommend buying souvenirs before going to the parks. You can get a ton of really cute Disney or Disney inspired things at Walmart and Target now, including Minnie Ears, and you’ll spend a fraction of what you would be spending at the parks. So, head to the walmart behind Disney Springs and let your kids pick out some fun toys and bubble wands or pins and Minnie Ears.
You can also order gifts and toys or clothing at Shopdisney.com before heading to the parks. They have a huge selection of discounted and sale items so you’ll be able to save a bit of money and still items that are sold in the parks.
Say no to Mouskeeping
Mousekeeping is Disney’s version of housekeeping that comes through your room at the hotels. I like to deny Mousekeeping for a couple of different reasons, the main being that it’ll save you a bit of money for tips and Disney will actually pay you to not use it. You’ll still be able to get clean towels and sheets delivered to your room if you need them, you just won’t have anyone to change those things out for you. Your trash won’t be emptied and you floors won’t be vacuumed. In exchange for this, you’ll receive a gift card for $10 a per night of your stay, excluding the last night. So if you go to Disney World and stay at one of the Disney World Resort Hotels for 5 days 4 nights, you’ll receive a $30 gift card that you can use at the parks. If you are there for 10 days, 9 nights, you’ll get an $80 gift card. That money adds up quickly!
Bring your own food or make it at the room
As AP holders, we do a lot of day trips to Disney. We are around three hours away so we can’t just run home for a quick lunch or dinner, which means we will need to eat something while we are there. Now, with a family of 7, those quick lunches either at the parks or someplace else can get pretty dang expensive. To help combat costs, we like to bring food, snacks, and water with us. A regular bottle of water runs $3.50 now in park, so you can only imagine how quickly you can end up spending a lot of money on just water during the middle of summer. Luckily, you can save all of that money and bring your own. We like to bring frozen uncrustables, Mickey Goldfish crackers, Cutties, and water to help keep the kids from being hungry while we are walking around he parks.
That’s just a few ways that you can save some money at Disney World parks while you’re there. What is something that you do to save money while you’re at the parks? Let me know in the comment section below.
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