Going to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, is one of the happiest and most memorable experiences of many people’s lives.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive experiences as well. There are a number of easy steps people can take to reduce these costs and ensure that they save money. This is a surefire way to make the Happiest Place on Earth even happier. Here are five ways to save money at Disney World.
1: Room gifts
One of the biggest costs to parents taking their children to Disney World is the children wanting to buy any number of the expensive souvenirs on display at the parks. A way to mitigate this is for parents to buy a number of small gifts that they can present as surprises to the children at different stages of the day (such as a lunch surprise, dinner surprise, and so on). This makes it easier for parents to talk children out of wanting really pricey gifts when the child has a mystery surprise waiting for them back at the hotel. This also has the side-effect of making it easier to lure kids back to the hotel when they otherwise wouldn’t want to leave the park.
2: Staying offsite
Disney pours an insane amount of marketing money into making people think they absolutely must stay at one of the fancy resorts onsite. However, it is very easy to get reservations at various hotels offsite for a fraction of what Disney charges. This makes the overall trip more affordable and is also a practical decision, as busy park visitors will mostly be using their rooms to sleep anyway. Orlando is very tourist-friendly, so the sheer number of offsite hotels helps keep prices consistently competitive.
3: Dining offsite
It takes visitors very little time to notice that Disney’s food is a bit overpriced. To be fair, visitors are paying for unique experiences, such as recreating a 1950’s sci-fi drive-in theater at Hollywood Studios, or dining inside the castle from Beauty and the Beast. However, guests can get much cheaper dining almost anywhere offsite. It’s not uncommon for Disney World food prices to be two or even three times what such food would cost at an equivalent restaurant outside of the parks, so visiting more non-Disney restaurants helps you stretch your food budget much further.
4: Window shopping
Like the food, merchandise sold at Disney often receives an extreme markup. There are certain items that are unique to the Disney Parks, making them arguably more valuable. However, Disney sells a fair amount of items that can be found outside the parks at far cheaper prices. For instance, parents of children who are longing for a Star Wars toy set being sold at the Magic Kingdom for $60 may find that set at a nearby Target (or even Disney’s own online store) for $35 or $40. When spread across an entire vacation, these savings really add up.
5: Avoid busier times
Even with those competitive Orlando hotels, prices are going to go up at busy times. These include dates close to major holidays such as Christmas and even smaller holidays when children are out of school. Whenever possible, it’s best to schedule a vacation to Disney well away from these busy dates. This keeps prices down and park attendance lower. For even bigger savings and fewer people, try to visit the parks sometime between Monday and Thursday rather than the busier days at the end of the week.
Overall, a trip to Disney World is always going to be a costly proposition. However, following these easy tips can help to save money during every stage of the vacation. This will lessen the impact on your wallet and make it easier to return to the park sooner than you otherwise would be able to.