Apparently a trip to Disney World is expensive. Honestly, it’s not exactly cheap. There are however, many ways to save money on your trip without sacrificing a great experience.
Here, I’ve gathered my top 5 tips to help you save money whilst visiting the most magical place on earth!
1. Pre order Groceries
Food prices in Disney World can vary and buying your own groceries ensures you’re eating the items you want for a price that isn’t going to blow the bank.
You can either visit a local grocery store (Walmart and Winn Dixie are my faves) or you can pre-order your groceries with an online store to arrive at your hotel for check in.
I’ve used Garden grocer twice and have received a flawless service each time. Items were delivered directly to my Disney resort room at the expected time with everything in perfect condition. I don’t tend to order a full shop; just bottles of water ($9.99 for 32 bottles vs $3 a bottle in the parks), bread and peanut butter and jelly for an easy breakfast to take with us in the mornings and usually a bottle or 2 of wine.
TIP : Save time aswell as money; Take your breakfast with you and eat it whilst you line up to enter the park.
You can also order tea and coffee and save a small fortune compared to park prices but I always purchase Disney’s Unlimited cups for my stay as they are unbelievable value when you’re British and Tea and Coffee are your life. Unlimited Cups give you an unlimited supply of tea, coffee, hot chocolate (the hot chocolate is so good!) and fizzy drinks from your Disney Resort Hotel food court for the entire length of your stay and cost around $17 per cup.
Grocery stores also sell all sorts of snacks that are handy to take into the parks with you everyday. This is a great way to save money as not buying breakfast and snacks for only half of your holiday can easily save you $100 plus between 2 people.
Guests ARE allowed to bring food and drink into the parks (within Disney’s set guidelines). Items permitted include food items such as snacks and meals that do not require heating. It’s also completely fine to bring in soft drinks and bottled water (Unlimited cups can only be used in resort and not in the parks). You ARE NOT allowed to bring in any of the following items; hard sided coolers, large coolers, glass containers or alcoholic beverages.
TIP : Take a small roll of sandwich bags with you. Mix the snacks up from your delivery and divide them into mixed bags. Take 1 snack bag into the park with you each day and save $10 plus per day.
2. Split meals
Many of the combo meals available at Disney World are are $8-$15 and generous in portion size. Split these between 2 and order an extra side dish or appetizer to share between you. Don’t be afraid to do this at restaurants, you’ll save money on every meal! It’s a common request and servers will always comply.
3. Buy character apparel before you go
Mostly, I’m talking about T-shirts here. Character T-shirts bought from inside Disney World can cost anywhere from $15-$100.
For 1 shirt!
Save yourself big bucks and buy your apparel before your trip.
The above pizza planet T-shirt was only £8!
You can check out our top t-shirts from our trip here….
Pizza Planet Inspired by Toy Story Printed T-Shirt Large £7.95
The Little Mermaid Ariel Starbucks Sirenbucks Coffee Women’s T-Shirt £16.00
Disney Beauty And The Beast Gaston Men’s T-Shirt (M) £11.00
Disney Men’s Mickey Mouse Classic Kick T-Shirt XX-Large White
I’ve never been to Disney World with children (say what?!?) but often see parents in the park battling the ‘1 souvenir a day’ challenge.
You can buy Disney plushes, books, colouring books and other toys all over the internet for a fraction of the price. Save your pennies and do your research before your next trip.
TIP : If you’re celebrating take Disney birthday banners to decorate our room. What i paid for decorations online – around £20. Cost for Disney to decorate the room for me – £120 and up.
4. Let Disney know you’re celebrating
During my most recent trip to Disney World my partner was celebrating his birthday. We received 3-4 complimentary desserts/cupcakes over 14 days.
I’ve heard of families receiving activity packs for children, birthday cakes and even free park tours!
However, nothing is ever guaranteed. So please don’t go to Disney World expecting a suitcase full of free stuff because you read it somewhere.
Do, however, mention your special occasion when checking in and making dining reservations as cast members will go out of their way to ensure you have a magical time.
5. Do stuff for free
I could write an entire post about free things to do in Disney World (Stay tuned). So for efficiency, I’m going to list my top 3 ;
Movie under the stars
Most evenings, Disney resort hotels show a Free Disney movie. I’ve seen everything from Finding Dory to Cinderella and it’s a great way to unwind after a long day in the parks.
Showings usually take place around 7pm by the hotel pool. You can see a full list of showing HERE.
Chip and Dales campfire sing along
I’ve never actually done this but it’s in my top 3 purely because of its content.
Roast marsh mellows around the campfire before taking part in a good old sing along. Then meet with chip and Dale before catching the resorts movie under the stars. Guests have to pay for smores but you can bring your own if you choose and other than that everything is free!
I’ve never managed to fit this in due to its location, but you can attend this most evenings at the campsites at Disney’s fortwilderness resort.
Sound to good to be true? Check it out here!
Watch Happily Ever After from the beach at the Polynesian resort
Disney fireworks are insane! And it’s easy to enjoy the magic of the fireworks without park admission as anyone can visit the Disneyworld resort hotels.
At the Polynesian resort enter through the lobby and exit the rear of the building passing the pool. The beach will be directly in front of you.
We arrived 1.5hrs ahead and watched the electrical water pageant first. An empty beach meant we had a lounger with a perfect view.
Grab a dole whip from a window just outside the back of the building and watch the fireworks from the same spot on the beach.
Fireworks start around 9pm by which time the beach will have attracted a crowd (we counted 75 people) so it’s worth getting there early and making a night of it. It’s without a doubt the best thing you can do within Disney World without a ticket.
Photos are of Wishes Fireworks. November 2016.
Disney World Hotel Recommendations :
Walt Disney World Swan Resort
Walt disney World Dolphin Resort
Are you planning a trip to Disney World and looking for activities to do outside of the parks? check out this post!
Do you have a top tip that saves you money on your trips? Let us know in the comments!