Disney World is one of the most visited places on the globe. No experience will take you back to your childhood faster than seeing your favorite Disney characters come to life. It’s not called “the most magical place on Earth” for nothing!
Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive. Theme park tickets aren’t cheap, and the expenses add up once you consider lodging, transportation, and food. However, certain things are worth the money, and even more aren’t. As long as you prioritize and stay on budget, there is no reason you can’t have a blast at the Disney parks without breaking the bank.
Keep reading for our tips on how to do Disney on a budget.
Go During the Off-Season
Disney ticket prices change according to the time of year. You can save a little by going during a weekday or during the off-season. Off-peak means fewer people and shorter wait times, which means you can see more attractions and go on more rides.
While it might be fun to go during Disney’s Gay Day at the Park, this may not be the best time for a visit if you are on a budget.
Prepare For Your Trip
Before you start planning your Disney World Vacation, check out discount websites like Mousesavers to see if you can get sweet deals on the parks and other Disney-adjacent entertainment. You can also check out Undercover Tourist, an authorized reseller of tickets. A three-day ticket from this website can save you up to $36!
Another thing to do before you head to Disney World is to download the Disney app to track wait times and manage your fast pass (if you get one). This is especially helpful when planning how to make the most of your trip.
Contact An Expert
There are Disney experts called Disney Authorized Vacation Planners, such as Small World Vacations Inc. and Glass Slipper Concierge. If you want your trip to be the best it can be, hire consultants to help you plan your perfect Disney vacation. The best part is that a good concierge will monitor the prices at the parks and let you know when the price dips or when the optimal time for you to visit is.
Skip The Park Hopper
The Park Hopper ticket that gives you access to more than one Disney park a day costs $169. While this might seem like a great idea, there’s a lot to do at any one Disney park. It can also be exhausting to hop from one park to another, especially if you have little ones in tow.
The park hopper pass is great if you only have one day to spend at Disney World, but if you are staying for multiple days, keep to one park a day. There is so much to see and do, you will be glad you don’t have the added pressure to make the most of the ticket price.
Buy Your Ears Ahead Of Time
A big part of going to Disney is wearing costumes or buying souvenirs. As Disney raises the price of merchandise sold in the parks, get them online before you go to save more money.
Pass On Souvenirs
Another good idea is to pass on the plushies and souvenirs altogether. Consider having them delivered to your home instead to avoid jacked-up prices.
Bring Your Own Food
Did you know that Disney World allows you to bring your own food? Food at the parks can be totally overpriced, so minimizing how much you eat can mean big savings for you.
Bring some sandwiches or protein bars and keep yourself nourished throughout the day. This goes for water too – don’t buy bottles of water at the parks. Most restaurants give water out for free, so just bring your own bottle. Both your wallet and the environment will thank you!
Take Some Days Off
Don’t spend all your time at the parks – there are many other things to do in Orlando that are Disney-adjacent and much more affordable. If you are planning your Disney Vacation, take a day off from the parks and try out one of these spots:
While your focus might be on Disney World, there is another, cheaper park just a few minutes away in Kissimmee called Old Town. There is no admission fee and there’s a lot to do there for the whole family.
Looking to shop and dine in the same spot? Disney Springs has plenty of shopping options, and you can even have a nice dinner right on the water.
Disney water park Typhoon Lagoon is a much cheaper ticket than the theme parks. If you have spent enough time going from one ride to the next, cool down at Typhoon Lagoon!
It’s Florida, so odds are any hotel at which you stay will have a pool. Save on your Disney vacation by spending some time recuperating beside the pool rather than spending every day of your vacation frantically trying to make the most of the parks.
Pass On The PhotoPass
While there are professional photographers who can take your picture for $69 or send all your pics and videos for $199, there are plenty of tourists who will do it for free if you just ask (nicely)! While it would be a nice perk to have great photos of the day, the experience is more important, and springing for this pass means a lot less to spend elsewhere. Alternatively, take your own pictures!
Stay Away From The Disney Hotels
Disney resorts are pricey. Great as it would be to have Mickey Mouse waffles, they are not worth the cost of staying at one of the mouse’s houses!
You can save a lot of money by staying at one of the nearby hotels with almost the same amenities. Consider spending a few days away from Disney, so you can take a break from long lines and crowded areas.
One great option is the Holiday Inn Express & Suites S Lake Buena Vista. It’s only 10 minutes away from the parks, and you get extra perks like a fitness center, an outdoor pool with a slide, and breakfast – all at a much more affordable price than you would get at one of the Disney hotels.
Before You Go…
Be sure to check mask mandates and reservation policies. There are a lot of new rules regarding crowds in the parks, so check on the website before you plan your trip. The last thing you want is to arrive at Disney World for your big Disney vacation and get turned away because you missed a step!
Die-hard Disney fans might be willing to shell out thousands of dollars for the ideal Disney vacation, but there are ways to enjoy yourself on a budget! There is so much to do and see at Disney that you’re sure to have a great time – and you don’t need big bucks to do it.
***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.