How to: save Money on a Walt Disney World Vacation

by hedy on September 1, 2008

So you’ve seen that ad with the parents at the computer one too many times. Maybe you just want to know if there’s an easier way to do things. These recommendations will be based upon staying on Disney Property, as that is where my experience lies.

  • Pick your time of year carefully. The product of a school teacher who loathes heat, my first few trips to Disney as a kid were during what Disney dubs”peak season”-peak for crowds, and prices. My last peak season trip was in March of 06-I paid more for my room then than I have in either of my previous trips.
  • Know your discounts-the most readily available are AAA room-only discounts (which you don’t need to book through AAA for, you can get them by calling Disney). Other room discounts include Annual Passholder (AP) rates, free dining, and other package discounts at certain times of the year. To keep appraised of package discounts as they come out, I recommend keeping an eye on a Walt Disney World message board. is my message board of choice, but there are other ones out there.
  • Weigh your options regarding tickets. Look at a ticket price chart like All Ears’-do you want the option to go to more than one park (Park Hop), do you want the option to go to waterpark or Disney Quest?
  • When you stay on-site at a Walt Disney World resort, you can take their free shuttle, Disney’s Magical Express, to and from the airport
  • Consider the Disney Dining plan. It’s never fit into my plans, but I know a lot of people love it
  • If not on the dining plan, do some research into meal costs and advance dining reservations (ADR’s). I like sit down meals, so for economy reasons I eat lunch as my sit down meal, and have counter service for dinner (it’s slightly cheaper that way)
  • Think about getting a Disney Visa card, not only can 1% of everything you charge be converted into Disney dollars but you can access promotional codes before other guests
  • Some use a Disney specialist travel agency to keep track of discounts for them
  • Think about joining a rewards program such as Sunshine Rewards for extra Disney money-there are Sunshine Rewards’ members who have paid for entire vacations with their earnings

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nicholmom3 September 1, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Love it! I employ many of these same tips to our trips and save tons!

*just to clarify, the spot where you say to eat your sit down at lunch, and then table service for dinner, do you mean “counter-service” for dinner?

hedy September 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Yes! Thanks for catching that.

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