How to Save on your Disney Vacation

How to Save on your Disney Vacation

Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida and Disneyland® Resort in California are two of the most popular theme park destinations on Earth.  From thrilling rides, water parks, parades, and live shows to superb dining, spectacular attractions, and meet & greets with beloved Disney characters, a Disney vacation can be a magical experience for people of all ages. Visiting these world-class resorts offers incredible opportunities to create memories that will last a lifetime–but the fun does come at a price. If you aren’t careful when planning a Disney vacation, you can easily overspend and find yourself with credit card debt that you’ll be paying down long after you’ve returned home.

Tips to Saving on Your Disney Vacation

Fortunately, a Disney vacation doesn’t have to break your budget. With some strategic research and planning, you can save on park tickets, lodging, food, entertainment and more. Ready to bring some affordable magic into your life?  Use these tips to enjoy Disney for less: 
Look for military discounts 
Disney parks are extremely military friendly, so be sure to take advantage of any military discounts available to you.  

Shades of Green®, a Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida is exclusively for military personnel and their families. It offers budget-friendly accommodations, dining options and golfing. Shades of Green also offers 3% to 12% savings on theme park tickets, and the tickets are tax-free.  You can also get free bus pick-up and drop-off to/from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney Springs.  Use the bus service and you may eliminate the need to rent a car.   
In addition, Shades of Green offers discounts to activities and attractions outside of the Disney parks, including Universal Orlando Resort, Legoland®, SeaWorld Orlando, and more. 
The Disney parks themselves also offer special military discounts: 

  • Walt Disney World has 4-Day and 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with a Park Hopper option. The 4-Day pass is $226 and the 5-Day pass is $246 through December 2018. Add the Park Hopper Plus option for an additional $40 plus tax. You can also add on Memory Maker, a Disney PhotoPass product, for just $98 now through December 19, 2018.  
  • Disneyland Resort offers a Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Ticket for $168 and a 4-Day ticket for $188 from January 1 through March 22 and April 9 through December 19, 2018. Add Disney PhotoPass Collection for an additional discounted price of $49 plus tax through December 19, 2018.  

 For information about these discounts, visit your military base ticket office.  

Rent a vacation home 
Renting a home off the Disney property is a great option for families or other groups of people traveling together. You can share the rental and split the cost. You’ll all have more space and privacy than you would at a hotel and you may also have amenities such as your own pool or patio.  Some rentals may allow you to bring pets. One of the biggest advantages to renting a home is that you can cook your own meals, so you won’t be at the mercy of overly priced French fries and burgers.
Don’t rent a car 
If you stay outside of Disney and are ok with giving up the flexibility of a car, consider staying at a place that offers free shuttle service to and from the parks. Many hotels and motels do. Some may also offer complimentary airport transfers. You can save quite a bit of money by skipping the car rental (and the daily Disney parking fee), but keep in mind the logistics of your plans. If you plan on spending a lot of time exploring the areas outside of the parks, it might make sense to rent a car. However, if you only plan on spending one or two days or evenings outside of Disney, you can get a taxi or an Uber, which will be less expensive than renting a car for your entire vacation.  
Bring a refillable water bottle 
Staying hydrated at a hot park doesn’t have to cost a lot. Bring a refillable water bottle with you and fill it with water from the water fountains around the park.  Avoid paying top dollar for a bottle of water.   
Forego souvenirs 
Use your money to make more memories – not bring home more stuff.  Hard as it may be, resist the temptation to buy another mug, t-shirt, knickknack, stuffed animal, or other souvenir. If you have children who want to dress up as their favorite Disney character, instead of purchasing a pricy costume at the park, buy a less expensive costume before you travel and bring it with you.  
Use a travel agent 
Planning a Disney vacation requires a lot of coordination—from arranging airfare, accommodations and park ticket purchases to organizing transportation, dining, and off-Disney excursions. Travel agents who specialize in Disney vacations can take the hassle out of your trip planning, and most of them are free.  Disney travel agents make their money from commission that Disney pays them, so you won’t be charged anything extra by using them or booking a vacation through them. Disney travel agents work with people searching for Disney deals all the time and they know the discount codes and the insider tips on how to get the most for your money.  Learn more about using a Disney travel agent. 
Do your research 
There are many online resources that can help you plan your budget-friendly Disney vacation. is Disney discount central and contains hundreds of pages of free information about how to save on all things Disney. The website includes links to discount codes, Disney freebies, visitor trip reports, itineraries and advice, shopping savings and more.  
A Disney vacation is a truly magical experience. Look for great Disney deals and discounts and you’ll have the time of your life without spending a fortune.  

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