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Ultimate Guide to Saving Money at Disney World and Disneyland
November 15, 2017
A visit to Disney World or Disneyland is dream come true for many children and adults alike. It makes for a truly magical experience, and one which everyone will remember for the rest of their life.
However that magic often comes at a hefty price. In addition to high park entrance fees, you have accommodation and transportation expenses to worry about.
Thankfully there are many ways in which you can save on a Disney vacation which may allow families on a strict budget to afford such a luxury, or allow travellers to extend their Disney experience. Here are some helpful tips on how you can save some cash on your next Disney holiday.
Travel During Low Season
Booking your Disney holiday during off peak season not only allows you to avoid massive crowds, but will also save you a lot of money. Although you won’t save on park passes, you will save on accommodation and maybe even flights.
Low season for parks in the US include mid-January through mid-March, mid-April though mid-May, and mid-September through mid-November. These periods of time traditionally see lower attendance, however watch out for the odd holiday, like Halloween, which sees crowds peak.
If you plan on renting car, this will allow you to drive to the parks yourself, meaning you can stay at a hotel outside of the Disney Resort area.
This is far more economical, as Disney Resorts are often a lot more expensive than those in cities like Orlando or Anaheim, and you may find hotels with much larger rooms and less restrictive terms when it comes to guests allowed.
Some hotels may even be close enough to the parks to walk.
Check Disney Websites for Special Offers
Disney used to be very hushed when it came to publicizing discounts but this has somewhat changed. You can now find special offers listed within their websites, and delivered to your inbox if you sign up to their mailing list, although they can still be tricky to find so a bit of searching around may be required.
You’ll find seasonal discounts, multi day/night room and ticket options, and percentage off specials. Note that specials are usually not offered during peak season and usually require a minimum number of days/nights which may be more than you were willing to spend.
Ditch the Rental Car
While renting a car means you could save money on accommodation by staying off site, compare the cost of a rental car against the free transport offered by staying at a Disney Resort.
Disney World offers much more in the way of complimentary transportation services than Disneyland. If you find yourself staying at a qualifying Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, then you can take advantage of their Disney's Magical Express which will shuttle you to and from Orlando International Airport. This includes free luggage delivery as well as complimentary check in services for partner airlines.
Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will enjoy complimentary transportation throughout Walt Disney World Resort, including transportation to and from Disney Theme Parks and Disney Water Parks.
Avoid the driving and parking hassles by making use of the complimentary Walt Disney World Resort transportation system. Air-conditioned buses, the Monorail, and boat rides are all offered to shuttle you around the resorts and parks.
Disneyland offers the Disneyland Resort Express which can be taken from LAX airport just as you exit baggage claim and the Anaheim Resort Transit Trolley will shuttle you around Disneyland itself and the surrounds. Both of these cost a fee but may be cheaper and less hassle than renting a car if you plan on just staying around the park for an extended time. Note that children under 11 are usually free to use the ART services with a paid adult.
Pay with Credit Cards
Using credit cards is a great idea if you’re responsible with using them and pay them off in full each month. You can offset Disney purchases with the points or rewards you will attain which many credit cards offer.
Make sure to use cards with no foreign transaction fees when travelling internationally, and know that your credit card company usually offers better foreign exchange rates than swapping currency at the airport.
You may even be able to cash in already accumulated points in order to reduce the costs of your next Disney vacation.
Under 3 is Free!
Two year olds generally have it made, especially when visiting Disneyland or Disney World as they get in free. In addition to free admission to the parks, they are not required to obtain Fastpasses nor do they have to be included on a dining plan. They can simply share off your plate.
You will usually not be required to provide any proof of age for children under the age 3 but you could bring along a birth certificate if you are worried. Should your child turn 3 during your Disney holiday, rest assured they will still be free so long as they were two on the first day you visited the parks.
Avoid Purchasing Souvenirs from the Resorts & Parks
Nearly all Disney toys and gifts available for purchase at Disneyland or Disney World itself will have you forking out a lot of your hard earned cash. You can get creative and secretly purchase Disney merchandise beforehand via discount online sources or local low priced department stores.
Try presenting your pre-purchased gifts to your children each day before you head out to the parks, which may hopefully eliminate the pressure from your children wanting to buy merchandise within the parks.
Check Up Mousesavers Online
Since 2001, MouseSavers have been providing Disney related discounts including deals on resort hotels, tickets, and vacation packages. You can sign up for their free newsletter which sends discounts when they become available.
Remember to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before you take your trip – you don’t want to give the happiest place on earth a reason not to be!