In this article, we are going to share with you 10 tips that are guaranteed to save you money on your 2021 Disney Trip. If you are looking to Save Money on your Disney World Vacation you will find an enormous amount of information online.
The staff at Save Your Bucks have gone to DisneyLand and Disney World with our friends and family over 20 times. We have all been to Disney and we have collectively spent dozens of hours to bring you the Top 10 Money-Saving Disney World Vacation Tips we have personally experienced or researched.
Our #1 Recommendation is that you buy and read what many call the “Disney Vacation Bible” THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO WALT DISNEY WORLD. This book was first published 30 years ago and is updated annually. In our research, every Disney traveler agrees this book is the best investment you can make, before a Disney Vacation.
Before you read the rest of this article, we highly suggest you go ahead and order THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO DISNEY WORLD right now, why it is fresh on your mind. This book will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your Disney Vacation, and more time than you can imagine.
My first Disney World Vacation with my family was standing in line, a hot, sweaty nightmare. I said, “Never Again”. Thankfully a few years later my wife found THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO DISNEY WORLD read it and convinced me to read it. We took our 5-year-old and 7 years old our first trip and left our two-year-old with relatives at home. She was feeling guilty because our youngest “may never go to Disney World”.
Needless to say, I read the book, we went back to Disney World and just crushed it! We avoided lines, got the best deals, and saved and had a wonderful trip we will never forget. My children are grown now, but we went to Disney World and Disney Land many times when they were young, and because of THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO DISNEY WORLD, we sailed through with an edge over 99% of the park attendees. I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I hope you have ordered your book. It is now my pleasure to share with you The 10 Best Disney World Saving Money Tips our team has found from researching hundreds of articles on Google and personal experiences.
10 Proven Disney World Money Saving Tips that Work
Go to Disney in the Off-Season
Go to Disney World when school is in session; not during holidays, summer, spring Break; that includes long weekends too. So, keep an eye out for those and remember schools in different parts of the country may start earlier in the fall, or get out later in the summer.
The times you’re going to want to think about going are later in the fall, maybe late October, early November before the Thanksgiving crowds hit. That’s usually a really good time to go. Also, the end of January, the beginning of February before you start getting into those three-day weekends, and spring break, that’s not a good time to go.
Also, right when the Easter spring break season is over, so right, the kind of end of April, beginning of May, depending on when Easter falls that’s also a decent time to go. So, plan to go in the off-season, plan to go when kids are in school, that’s going to save you some money because Disney’s date-based ticketing systems mean that tickets in the off-season will cost less than they do during busy seasons and holidays.
So, use the calendar on Disney’s website to find the cheapest ticket start dates, and hotels will also cost less. Rack rates are lower and there are often more discounts during slower periods, so this is when you’re most likely to see things like; free dining offered in other great hotel discounts.
All of those things combined to make sure that you’re going to save some money going into Disney World.
Stay Off-Site or Eat Offsite
Alright thinking about your hotel again? Stay off-site meaning off Disney’s property or eat off-site. Those are two ways to save a lot of money. It’s no secret that those Disney restaurants and hotels are very, very expensive and they upgrade the price because they are on Disney’s property.
You can save big bucks by staying and eating off Disney property. There are so many hotels near Disney along with condos and vacation home rentals so you’re not stuck staying at Disney if the costs or amenities don’t fit your group. You can often get larger accommodations with more to offer like kitchens, pools, etc. for a much cheaper price if you stay off-site.
And there’s plenty of restaurants around Disney World National Chains and some more local options you’ll be able to find pretty much anything you’re looking for and it’s very likely to cost you much less than taking the whole family to eat at a Disney restaurant every night of your trip. So, consider that eating and staying off-site will probably save you big bucks.
Also, check back often for deals and discounts
Walt Disney World seemingly always has some sort of a discount or special offers going on. And while there are often some stipulations in the fine print, it’s worth checking back often for details. Now, you could score a room-only offer to save on your resort vacation.
What that means is that you don’t pay for a package you just pay for the room, and so, you pay for your dining in your tickets separately, Disney always has room-only offers going on.
You might find a free dining package; you might snag a special offer on tickets like the midday ticket Disney World started offering this year. There are lots of opportunities to save some money if you pay for everything separately and don’t necessarily pay for a full package. Also, even if you’ve already booked your trip you can always call me and ask if you’re able to apply for a specific discount.
So, if an offer is announced between when you book your trip and when you leave for the world, call and ask. It can’t hurt and it might save you some big bucks. Just call them and say, “Hey I noticed you have another special offer on the website is there any way I can apply it to my current reservation or rebook a reservation with a better offer”, and they absolutely will be able to do it, if it’s applicable.
Double Up on Dining Savings
So, dining at Walt Disney World is often very expensive and families with many mouths to feed benefit from careful budgeting and planning of course. So, part of that process should include consideration of two money-saving strategies: the first is,
- Splitting your meals and
- Ordering off the kids’ menu.
Many meals at Disney World are big enough to share and we’re talking quick service and table service.
If you’ve got some small eaters in your group or even average eaters, there are tons of options for splitting meals, for example, Flame Tree Barbecue and Animal Kingdom one of our favorites, and the platters there are huge and shareable among two people. Table service restaurants will allow splitting most of the time too and they may even plate the dish in two different plates so you don’t have to eat off the same plate. They just dish it out in halves so you can each get part of the finished dish.
Remember if you are on the Disney Dining Plan at a table service restaurant sometimes you won’t be able to split dishes, so be careful with that and double-check with your server. If splitting meals doesn’t appeal to you, you can always try to order from the kids’ menu. Now, this is a great tip for picky grown-up eaters too. At Quick Service Restaurant anyone can order from the kids’ menu and a table service very often an adult can order from the kids’ menu – but you’ll likely get and be charged for a larger portion.
Now sometimes your menu will vary a bit with table service though, so talk to your server about your options there, but for counter service or quick service you can definitely order from the kids’ menu and usually, those portions are going to be large enough for an adult as well. Especially with how big the table service portions are so if you’re having a big table service meal for your lunch counter service meal, you can probably get away with the kids’ meal honestly, especially if budget is a consideration.
Bringing Your Food
Eating breakfast in your room is a great way to save money. A standard bacon eggs and potatoes breakfast plate is going to run you close to $9 plus at any Disney food courts, so pick up some cereal or granola bars for a quick cheap breakfast or bring them with you in your suitcase. Order groceries from a delivery service like Prime Now or Garden Grow; sure, they’ll bring it right to the hotel, and Bell services will actually hold and refrigerate your items if needed and then you just call down to Bell server and they can bring them up for you.
So that’s a great deal to have some food available in your room so you can maybe bring your food with you to the parks bring snacks with you, and then get away with only paying for maybe one table service meal, or one counter service meal each day.
You can also stay at an off-site location with a kitchen or in a Disney Vacation Club villa with a kitchen and cook your meal. This is a great way to save a ton of money the off-site location is going to save you money on a hotel if you do end up staying in a Disney vacation club villa that might cost a little bit more than what a regular room would cost, so you’re going to want to crunch the numbers to see if that’s worth it, even if you’re saving money on your food.
Now, you can also bring any food you’d like into the Disney parks. A lot of people don’t think you can bring your food into the parks but you can. Just avoid glass bottles and alcohol, those aren’t allowed but sandwiches, other snacks even small coolers are totally fine to bring in if you want a picnic and then you can basically get a locker and store your cooler in there.
A lot of families do that, a lot of families do that at Disneyland too. They bring a picnic and they have a picnic in Disneyland instead of having to pay for the very expensive food.
Having one member in a Large Group get an Annual Pass
To score discounts for the whole group this is a tip I love that many people don’t know about, so if you’re traveling with a large group and will be purchasing meals together it may save you some cash to have one person in your group get an annual pass. This is a particularly useful tip when you’re traveling to the world for a length of time that makes the pass financially possible.
Like if the number of days you’ll be in the world works out to be almost the cost of the annual pass anyway, or if you’re going to take two separate trips sort of within the same year that might make sense for an annual pass as well. So, once that person has an annual pass it can be used by the group to save money on meals, merchandise, and hotel rooms.
Meals are the easiest because you’re all on the same tab anyway and you only have to hand over the annual pass card to apply to the full bill. if you’re planning some expensive table service meals and you know you’ll all be pooled into one bill, this tip could save you a ton of money. Now, you can check out all the dining discounts associated with the Annual Pass on the Disney World website but also know that there is a hotel discount included here too. Annual Pass holders often have one or two Hotel discounts going at any given time on the special offers tab on the Disney World website.
So, check those out you could get 20/30 sometimes even 40 percent off of your hotel with an annual pass and usually, the Annual Pass holder can book a couple of rooms. So, if you have a large group you can still accommodate it with just one annual pass.
Remember that annual passes cost a lot. Sometimes over a thousand dollars; so, you’ll want to check that out, crunch the numbers, make sure you’re going to save enough on your food, your merchandise, and your hotel.
Also including, that particular person doesn’t have to buy a regular park ticket for either one or two trips however many you’re going to make in that year and see if that still works out as saving cash.
Annual Pass Holders Can Also Get a table in Wonderland Card
So, this is an awesome discount program available to Annual Pass holders, Disney Vacation Club members, and Florida residents. This gets you discounts on food that is usually better than the Disney Vacation Club in Annual Pass discounts.
This is 20% across the board and discounts on alcoholic drinks as well. Plus, you can use it in a lot of the lounges around Disney World which is great if you’re looking for a great discount on a snack and a cocktail. You can also use it at food courts in hotels that don’t have a table service restaurant, a lot of people don’t know that either so definitely keep that in mind.
Now, valet parking at the resorts is also included in your Tables in Wonderland card. You just have to bring back a receipt to show that you purchased a food item in the resort. And the card costs Florida residents one hundred and seventy-five dollars, and Annual Pass holders and Disney Vacation Club members a hundred and fifty dollars.
So, Florida residents would need to spend eight hundred and seventy-five dollars, an annual pass, and DBC seven hundred and fifty dollars in a calendar year with the card to break even.
If you’d visit Disney a lot and love dining at lounges and signature restaurants, or if you’re visiting Disney once or twice with a large group who are all eating together. Those discounts and savings can add up fast especially if you have adults in your group who like to drink alcohol with their meals.
Don’t book your Disney Vacation Club Villas Directly Through Disney
Now, if you’re planning a Disney World vacation and you want to try out a deluxe resort, or a Disney Vacation Club villa, you’ve probably had a little sticker shock. But remember that you can rent those Disney vacation club villas by renting DVC points.
A few groups out there serve as intermediaries for DBC members looking to rent their points for particular dates at particular resorts. And if you plan far enough in advance usually six months or more, you might be able to hook up with a member who wants to rent their points out.
This can save you a substantial amount overpaying the rack rate for a deluxe resort of a deluxe villa so you’ll want to crunch the numbers to see if it works for you, and if it does, that could mean big savings. If you’re looking for these intermediaries one that we can recommend is David’s DBC Rentals, they do a really good job.
Eating a Big Breakfast or Brunch
So, planning your large table service, or you care to enjoy your buffet meal at breakfast or brunch instead of lunch or dinner, means you’re going to save some cash. Because breakfast usually costs much less than lunch or dinner at those table service restaurants.
If you start your day with a big breakfast you dine with Stitch at Ohana, or pile on the carbs at Chef Nikki’s, or with a late breakfast think ten thirty or later, you can usually skip one meal that day. Basically, you’ll eat brunch and then sort of a lunch dinner with snacks in between to hold you over.
But starting with a big meal makes sense financially as well, because like I said, they tend to be cheaper than lunch or dinner, so you save a few bucks there and you’re able to skip one of the other meals during that day. Now, on a related note, you can save a lot by not planning to expensive table service mules in a single day.
It’s almost impossible to eat enough to justify two large meals in one day at Disney anyway, and they’ve been stepping up their games at the counter service restaurants; so, you won’t be sacrificing quality and you’ll save a lot of money by not doing traditional sit-down meals twice a day. In addition, you’ll also get more time for rides.
Order the Book!
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Therefore, there are a bunch of money-saving tips that work and these I think can save you thousands if you do this appropriately. I hope you found this article beneficial.
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