Disney is a land of magic, and all of that magic can make your money disappear pretty fast. There are some ways for you to save money while at Disney and not losing any of the magic. These few things will let you and your family have the ultimate Disney experience without breaking the bank.
Decide where you want to stay.
There is no right or wrong option when it comes to picking your hotel; there are good and bad reasons to just about any option. Choosing to stay in a hotel that is connected to the park can have expensive nightly stays. However, since it is within the park, you get free transportation to the different parks, or they are close enough that you can just walk there. The other option would be to stay at a hotel that is outside of the park. The hotels will have cheaper nightly stays, but depending on how far you are, you may have to rent a car, spend time in traffic, and pay for parking. Of course, some of these hotels may have shuttles that will take you to the parks for free. When it comes to picking a hotel, it all comes down to personal preference. Sometimes, hotels within the park will bundle you night’s stay with tickets to one or all of the parks, which can save you some money in the end. Another option when it comes to booking a place to stay is going through sites like Homeaway.com. Through these sites, you can book anything from small apartments and condos to 4+ bedrooms and bathroom houses.
Prepare for the day ahead.
While a lot of theme parks don’t allow any outside food or drink, Disney parks don’t have this regulation. Visitors are allowed to bring snack and drinks in a back pack or soft cooler. This lets you prepare for your family’s outing a head of time. Eating in the park can be expensive, whether you are just getting a snack, drink, or a full meal. If you can plan most of your day out before hand, you can save a lot of money just on food and drinks alone, and you can pack healthy snacks instead of having to buy junk food. You can also stop by the grocery store or Wal-Mart and buy food for breakfast and/or dinner so that if you do eat at the park you are only buying one meal. Check with your hotel to see if your room has a fridge, microwave, or even a stove/oven. If you decide to bring your own food and drinks into the park, there are a couple things to keep in mind. You are not allowed to bring in alcohol, any glass containers, or a hard cooler. You are only allowed to use soft sided coolers or other soft sided containers if you are bringing food or drinks into the park. They will check your bags before you enter the park and will make you remove any items that aren’t allowed. Make sure that the food you did bring doesn’t need to be reheated and if you need to keep something in a refrigerated area you can talk to an employee about storing it. A quick tip: if you are going to Disney World in Florida, you can freeze bottles of water before you head out, and by lunch time they will have melted but will still be nice and cold and will have kept other food and drinks chilled.
Things to buy before heading to the park.
There are some things that you can get while at the park, besides food and drinks, which may seem way overpriced, except you can easily find them elsewhere. At a lot of the night shows, children ooh and awe at the glow in the dark neon toys, necklaces, and bracelets, but they are very expensive at the park. Instead, you can buy a pack of glow in the dark neon bracelets and necklaces from the Dollar Store. Your kids will still get to participate in the activities, but your wallet won’t make an appearance. Other things that children want to get while they are there are souvenirs. You can actually buy some of these things before you even get to the park. You can buy t-shirts, toys, and other types of chotchkies beforehand so you can use them while you are there. Another option is to buy them at nearby stores outside of the parks. These stores will have all types of souvenirs but will be a lot cheaper than what you would buy inside the park.
Set up a budget before going on your trip.
Any time you want to save money, creating a budget will help you track your spending, savings, and help you save money for a particular end goal. When you are planning your trip, make sure to line out all possible costs of the trip using an excel spreadsheet or a program for accounting from QuickBooks. In this spreadsheet/program you will be able to put down costs like the hotel, ticket prices, the cost of getting there, and how much you want to spend while on your trip. Go through and plan out how much money you are willing to spend on food, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous purchases. Planning out how much you want to spend on these things before you go on your trip can help you save money just by simply having a limit to stick to. Also, by creating a spending budget before hand, you will be able to see if you do in fact need to buy things before going to the park or if you need to pack snacks and lunches for the day.
Use coupons for in the park and places outside of the park.
Couponing helps save a lot of people money on daily purchases, so it makes perfect sense that you would get coupons to help you save money while at Disney. You can find different deals on weekend stays, souvenirs, even some of the races they have at Disney. Disney Family Deals on Spoonful.com has plenty of coupons to save money on movies, night stays, and different products. You can also find coupons to your local Disney store, letting you buy your souvenirs, shirts, and other paraphernalia before even stepping foot on Disney soil. Also, while you are in the park, make sure to check your receipts for anything you have purchased. Many Disney restaurants have been printing offers for discounts on merchandise on the bottom of receipts. There are plenty of other websites you can go to in order to find coupons for all of your Disney needs.
While some of these things may not seem like a big deal, they can make a big impact on the amount you spend on your trip. Make sure to do your research when planning your trip to see if any hotels have bundling deals or if there are any coupons online to help you save money on your trip. You can also look online to see what other people are doing on their trips that have helped them save money. Going to Disney is always magical, but there is no reason why that magic has to cost an arm and a leg.