One of the first things many people tell me about planning a Disney trip is that it is so expensive. It feels like it isn’t possible for them to enjoy a Disney vacation with their budget. There are some easy ways to make a Disney vacation more of a possibility.
Money-Saving Tricks for Packing for a Disney Vacation
Buy discount gift cards.
Some of your places like Sams Club and BJ’s will sell you Disney gift cards for less than full price. This may be a savings of $10 here and there but that $10 can add up over time. Target also offers discounts for Red Card members. Buy these throughout the year as you save for your trip. You can use them to pay for tickets or food and merchandise in the parks.
Many Disney fans will buy a gift card each paycheck. The amount will vary depending on the budget and the needs of their trip. This will give you spending money for when you visit the parks or help you to save to pay for your tickets/vacation package. It is also a great way to save over time instead of paying up front for your entire bill.
Be willing to stay off property.
While Disney has some of the most amazing resorts you will find, some of them can be more pricey. In fact, the price per night at many of the resorts can be the reason many people will avoid a trip to Disney. While some will want the full experience of an immersive Disney trip, it is not necessary. It is completely possible to submerse yourselves in your Disney experience without paying a higher price point for the hotel stay. Here are a few things to consider before staying off property.
- Do they provide transportation? – Not all off-site hotels will provide transportation to the parks. Others will provide it but only run transportation once or twice a day. This can be very frustrating if you get overheated and need a break to go back to your room. You will end up paying more if you have to pay for an uber.
- How far are they from the parks? – Many resorts that are off property are fairly close to Disney. That said, some of the hotels may look close when looking on a map but can be a great deal further when you look at the traffic times. When choosing a hotel make sure to look at their distance and actual travel time. Spending more time in the car to and from the park will mean you get less value out of your park tickets and vacation.
- Is breakfast included? – One of the most appealing reasons for families to stay off site is because of free breakfast. Free breakfast can help to cut down on expenses as one meal is covered.
Bring food in with you.
Disney has some of the most delicious foods you’ll ever try. However, if you are on a budget it is completely ok to bring in some of your food items to eat while in the park. Coolers are not allowed. If you want something with a cooler, you will have to go back out to the car for that.
When bringing in food to the parks, it is important to pack ice packs as not all food will keep well. However, packing snacks and treats can save you money on eating in the parks and even leave room in your budget for a splurge meal.
Pack your own medications.
Items like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and other medications can be pricy if you purchase them in the park. Instead, pack a small first aid kit in your park bag. It will help you to take care of any health issues that may arise while you are in the park. Some items to include are pain relievers, Benadryl in case of an allergy, sunscreen, bandaids, and nausea/dizziness meds. Pack the items you can in a small Ziploc bag or even a daily pill case.
Bring an empty suitcase.
Do you plan on buying souvenirs on your trip? Avoid buying a new suitcase at an expensive tourist location or store near the parks. Instead, pack an empty bag or suitcase. to use for any additional items you pick up on your trip. Not only will this save you money, but it will also make packing to go home way easier!
Have a plan for getting to your hotel.
The airport is actually a decent distance from the theme parks. If you are thinking of ubering or hiring a lyft, you will want to take an honest look at pricing. Compare rideshare pricing and costs of coming back from the airport. It may help to hire a shuttle that goes to your hotel or charter a van instead of choosing an uber.
Buy souvenirs before you go!
Disney souvenirs are absolutely magical! The prices, not so much! When you are planning a Disney trip it can help to pack souvenirs in your bags with you. You can find many licensed items on sale throughout the year via Shop Disney or even at a variety of stores. Another option would be to visit the Disney Character Outlets in Orlando when you arrive. These will have many Disney items for a fraction of the price.
Take advantage of non-licensed items.
When planning out things like outfits, ears, and more, it can be tempting to buy everything from official Disney vendors. While this can be a good way to get high-quality merchandise, it’s not always necessary. Sometimes making your own ears, buying a generic version, or even visiting resellers like eBay can give you the Disney look you are going for without the higher price point. Save money on name brands and pick items you can feel confident and comfortable in.
Bring your own strollers and wheelchairs.
It can be tempting to just rent a stroller or wheelchair when you get to the park. However, the cost on these can add up quickly! Instead of renting a stroller or wheelchair, rent/buy them before going to the park with a third party. This could mean picking up a stroller at a local store or even ordering a stroller via Amazon to be delivered to your hotel. Saving on stroller/wheelchair rentals will put more money back in your pocket for other things.
Take advantage of food delivery services.
Many grocery stores as well as Amazon will not deliver to the hotel. Set up an assortment of foods/drinks you can use in the parks and in your hotel room to be delivered. This can save you money in the park and in your hotel as you decide you need a snack or drink throughout your vacation. Pick out things you know you will use and enjoy. Make sure to add in drink flavor packets as those are always a popular choice for refilling water bottles while in the parks.
Looking for more tips? Drop me a comment with what you are trying to save money on and I will do my best to help.