Sometimes finding an inexpensive hotel, discounts on third-party admission tickets, and budget-friendly restaurants is just not enough, as you can do all of that and still need to cut your budget. Here are six money-savings tips that can save you up to $500. These savings are based on a family of four (two adults and two children ages 3 and 9) traveling to Walt Disney World for a one-week (six-day, seven-night) vacation.
TIP #1: BRING YOUR OWN RAIN PONCHOS
Disney World can be a rainy place, no matter what time of year you visit. Bring your own rain ponchos instead of buying at the parks to save some dough.
DON’T Buy 2 adult ponchos x $10 and 2 kids’ ponchos x $9 = $38
DO Buy 4 ponchos at local dollar store = $4
SAVINGS $38 – $4 = $34
TIP #2: BRING YOUR OWN STROLLER
Our sample family will need a stroller for their 3-year-old in the parks, and it’s handy to have a stroller for the airport and resort areas as well. Remember that most airlines will gate-check your stroller for free.
DON’T Rent a stroller for $14 per day (length-of-stay rate) x 6 days = $84
DO Buy 1 umbrella stroller on Amazon = $29
SAVINGS $84 – $29 = $55
TIP #3: DRINK FREE WATER
All Disney restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water. Instead of wasting money and calories on sugary drinks, this is an easy way to save some cash. For our sample family, let’s assume that everyone wants something other than water to drink at breakfast and that the kids’ meals will include a drink at lunch and dinner. Only the adults will drink free water, and only at lunch and dinner.
DON’T Buy 1 beverage at $3.50 each x 2 adults x 2 meals x 6 days = $84
DO Drink free water x 2 adults x 2 meals x 6 days = $0
SAVINGS $72 – $0 = $84
TIP #4: BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS
It’s amazing how much you can save by bringing your own nonperishable snacks into the park. A zip-top bag filled with cereal bars, granola, raisins, and crackers goes a long way toward staving off hunger.
DON’T Buy 1 snack at $4 each x 4 people x 2 times x 6 days = $192
DO Bring your own snacks = $35 SAVINGS $192 – $35 = $157
TIP 5: EAT BREAKFAST IN YOUR ROOM
This saves you time and a small fortune. Let’s assume our family will grab two coffees and two milks from their hotel’s food court each morning, so we won’t include beverages in either cost.
DON’T Buy one $11 breakfast platter + one $6 yogurt parfait + two kids’ Mickey waffle meals x $5 x 6 days = $162
DO Bring your own breakfast, including paper bowls, napkins, plastic spoons, cereal, breakfast pastries, mini-doughnuts, and cereal bars = $30
SAVINGS $162 – $30 = $132
TIP #6: BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE |Disney adds a $21.30 surcharge to every ticket bought at its theme parks. Why? Because they can; Disney knows you’re not likely to turn the kids around and leave once you’re that close.
DON’T Wait until you get to the parks to buy tickets.
DO Buy tickets in advance either from Disney or one of our recommended ticket wholesalers.
SAVINGS $21.30 x 4 tickets = $85.20
TOTAL SAVINGS $547.20 (about $89 per day)
Cereals: By U.S. Department of Agriculture [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons