While fun, a Disney vacation does not come cheap. Here are some tips on how to save more than $600. For each of these tips, assume a family of four traveling for a one-week (six-day, seven-night) vacation. Our sample family includes two adults and two children ages 3 and 9.
TIP #1: DITCH DAILY HOUSEKEEPING
Disney will credit you $10 per day at check-in if you decide to forgo daily housekeeping services. In exchange for making your own beds and reusing your bath towels as you would at home, our family will save $60 (housekeeping can’t be declined on the last night of your trip). You can still call for fresh towels and toiletries and to get your trash taken out.
DON’T Get daily housekeeping services. $10 x 7 days = $70
DO Make your own beds and reuse towels = $10
SAVINGS $70 – $10 = $60
TIP #2: BRING YOUR OWN RAINGEAR
Disney 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 #3: 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 $15 per day (length-of-stay rate) x 6 days = $90
DO Buy 1 umbrella stroller on Amazon = $33
SAVINGS $90 – $33 = $57
TIP #4: DRINK FREE WATER DURING YOUR ENTIRE DISNEY VACATION
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 to drink something other than water 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 = $0
SAVINGS $84 – $0 = $84
TIP #5: BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS
It’s amazing how much you can save by bringing your own nonperishable snacks into the park. A zip-top plastic 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 #6: EAT BREAKFAST IN YOUR ROOM
This saves you precious Disney vacation 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 $7 kids’ Mickey waffle meals x 6 days = $186
DO Bring your own breakfast, including paper bowls, napkins, plastic spoons, cereal, breakfast pastries, mini-doughnuts, and cereal bars = $30
SAVINGS $186 – $30 = $156
TIP #7: BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE
Disney adds a $21.30 surcharge to every ticket bought at its theme parks. Why? Because they can; they know that 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 from a reputable ticket wholesaler.
SAVINGS $21.30 x 4 tickets = $85.20
TOTAL SAVINGS $633.20 (about $105 per day)!