Disney theme parks are America’s family playgrounds. Kids across the nation dream of walking through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, and parents fondly imagine memories that will last a lifetime.
But the cost of a Disney vacation can make these visions feel out of reach for countless families. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on your trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World.
Following are five great ways to save on your next Disney vacation.
Use the right credit card
If you plan to visit Disney parks often — or even if you have set your sights on a big trip a few years down the road — using the right credit card can help cut your vacation costs.
For example, Chase offers Disney Rewards Visa cards that can net you up to 2 rewards dollars for every $100 you spend, depending on the card. Those rewards dollars can then be applied toward purchases, including your next Disney trip.
For example, rack up 107 rewards dollars and cash them in for a one-day child theme park ticket for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Of course, do your homework before grabbing this card. It’s possible that you can get a better return on another credit card — such as a “cash-back” card — that offers a higher rewards rate. To find the card that’s right for you, check out the Money Talks News Solutions Center.
Check out the Disney deals webpage
Disney regularly announces new deals on its website. For example, we recently saw offers for:
- 20 percent off Disney hotel rates
- $30 off Disney’s MemoryMaker photo and video package
- Discounted admission for members of the military
Bring your own food
Rather than spending a fortune on food at the Disney parks, bring your own food. If you really want to save, pack a modest lunch or dinner, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or, you can simply trim costs a little by bringing your own snacks and beverages.
Don’t worry, you won’t be doing anything that causes Mickey Mouse to frown. According to Disney:
Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park.
Just be aware that you cannot bring glass containers into the park, unless they hold baby food or perfume. You also cannot bring alcohol, and coolers and backpacks must meet size restrictions. Check out the Disney website for more details.
Schedule longer visits
As with so many things in life, you will save money on your Disney trip if you “buy in bulk.”
As I write this, a single day of admission to Walt Disney World begins at $99.50 for those who are ages 10 and older. However, the per-day price drops the longer you stay.
How can you use this information to save? By planning one big trip to Disney instead of several smaller ones.
For example, let’s say you live in Buffalo, New York, and try to escape winter ice and snow by visiting Florida each year. Perhaps your plan for both your 2017 and 2018 vacations is to spend a few days at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and a few days at Busch Gardens in Tampa.
However, you might save some cash by spending your entire time at the Disney parks in 2017, then spending your entire time at Busch Gardens in 2018. Four days of Disney will cost you $87.50 per day. However, eight days will cost you just $52.50 per day.
Multiply that $35 per-day price difference across four family members, and you’re talking serious savings!
Skip the Disney hotels
Walt Disney Resort hotel rates can be high. In fact, some can cost you hundreds of dollars per night.
But you can save a bundle by using a site like VRBO or Homestay. We recently saw options near Disney World for as low as $70 per night on VRBO, and $51 on Homestay. Simply go to one of these sites, type in “Disney World” or “Disneyland” and peruse your options.
You can also hunt around for more economical hotels nearby that aren’t affiliated with the theme park!
Slow down and plan carefully in advance
When packing for a Disney vacation, it’s all too easy to let visions of the Pirates of Caribbean and Space Mountain crowd out more mundane thoughts — such as remembering to pack the stroller.
So, make a list and check it twice before departing for the theme parks. Forget that stroller, and you’ll have to pay $15 to rent one. Fail to remember your plastic water bottle, and you’ll have to dish out the dough for H2O.
Taking the time to plan well can help you enjoy a day at Disney that won’t crush your budget.
Do you have more tips for saving on Disney vacations? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.