Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a popular attraction featuring 5 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. While traveling during peak times can be expensive and crowded, you can plan your vacation for cheap if you bundle your savings. By only buying the essentials and avoiding upcharges and add-ons, you can visit Disney World without putting a huge dent in your pocket!
Method 1 of 3:Timing and Booking Your HotelDownload Article
1Visit Disney World during the off-season to avoid large crowds and save money. Disney World is the busiest around weekends, holidays, and throughout the summer. For the cheapest travel accommodations and to avoid lines, plan on traveling from mid-January to mid-February, or from late August to mid-November.
Try to visit the parks during the weekdays to avoid local traffic.
2Plan on visiting for at least 5 days to save more on your trip. Staying for 5 days allows you to visit all 4 Disney World parks all while giving you a discount on your overall package. Pick a stretch of days during the week when you want to visit each park.
Do your best to avoid the visiting the park you're looking forward to the most on the weekend since it will be busier and you won't be able to do as much as you wanted.
If you only want to visit 1-2 parks, you can stay for fewer days.
3Bundle tickets and a value Disney Resort to get free amenities. Disney has many on-site accommodations that offer free bus shuttles, extra hours in the park, and early access to Fastpass selections. Look on the special offers page for Disney World under the “Value” resorts to find the cheapest options available.
You can look here for Disney Resort bundles: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/vacation-packages/.
Compare prices between different value resorts using a third-party site, such as TripAdvisor. However, these sites may have different cancellation policies than booking directly through Disney.
If you plan on flying into Orlando International Airport, you can take the free Magical Express shuttle to your resort.
Disney also offers cheap camping accommodations at their Fort Wilderness site.
4Choose an off-site hotel if you want to save more money. While off-site hotels or accommodations may not offer the same amenities as a Disney resort, they will have cheaper rates for your stay. Look through travel websites to compare the rates of nearby hotels to see what works best for your budget.
Look on home-share apps like Airbnb to see if there are any private homes you can rent for the duration of your stay.
Tip: Look for a hotel that offers a shuttle service to the Disney parks to make it easier for you to visit during your vacation.
5Buy your tickets online if you aren't staying at a Disney resort. Disney World tickets usually cost around $100 USD for a day during the off-season. Look online through the Disney World website to see the prices for when you're planning your vacation. Book your tickets ahead of time so you don't have to buy more expensive tickets at the park gates.
Avoid using websites like eBay to find discounted tickets since sellers may not be reliable.
6Avoid extra add-ons and upsells. Disney World has many other offers that you can add to your package, such as a water park pass, photo pass, and dining plans. While these plans may seem convenient, they're not necessary for a fun vacation. Only include the basics in your package so you don't have to pay for amenities that you're not using.
Method 2 of 3:Getting to Orlando and the ParksDownload Article
1Drive to Disney World if you live close to Orlando. Driving is an affordable alternative than paying for plane tickets if you're going with your family. Plan out your route using a trip-planning website and only pack what you need to bring. Make sure to account for gas prices and parking costs once you arrive.
If you live out of the country or west of the Mississippi River, driving will not be the most cost-effective option.
Check the age and condition of your vehicle before making a long trip. Get your vehicle checked by a mechanic to see if it's okay to drive over a long distance.
2Look for flights that arrive and depart on weekdays for cheaper rates. Look at the various airlines offered that fly into the Orlando International Airport so you're close to the parks. Try to book your flight at least 1-3 months in advance for the cheapest airfares.
Try browsing in an “incognito” window while looking for flights. You may find cheaper prices since regular browsers store information and may not give you the lowest prices.
Tip: Check if can apply flight rewards points or miles on your credit card to make your airfare cheaper.
3Use free shuttles to get to the Disney parks if your lodging offers it. If you're staying at a value Disney resort, take the provided shuttle or bus services to the parks. Some hotels may also offer a Disney parks shuttle at specific times each day that you can take. Check with the concierge desk to see when shuttles arrive and depart from your hotel.
4Try using a ride-share service if you don't plan on driving a lot. Rather than renting a car, look on rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft to see how much it costs. If you only plan on traveling to and from parks, avoid renting a car so you don't have to pay for parking or rental fees.
Some rideshare apps get more expensive during busy hours, such as around rush hour or late at night. Watch out for surge prices during these peak hours.
Method 3 of 3:Saving Money at the ParksDownload Article
1Commit to only visiting 1 park a day. Disney offers a Hopper pass that allows you to go to multiple parks in one day, but the tickets can be pricey and you won't get to fully experience each park. Stay at 1 park for the entire day so you have time to explore and visit all of the attractions.
Arrive at the park as soon as it opens so you can get in ahead of the crowds and visit the attractions you want.
2Use FastPass so you can get on the most rides while you're at the park. Disney offers FastPasses so you can reserve a specific time when you want to go on an attraction so you can skip the line. Each ticket comes with 3 FastPass reservations you can use throughout the day. Use the Disney World app to book your FastPass times and watch the clock to make sure you're at that attraction at your scheduled time.
Common Attractions to Reserve in Advance
Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's FlightAnimal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Kali River RapidsEpcot: Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin'Hollywood Studios: Rock ‘n' Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania!
3Buy groceries and pack lunches to save money on food. Park restaurants can get expensive if you eat there for every meal. Disney World allows you to bring a soft cooler or backpack with outside food into the park. Bring a sack lunch and reusable water bottle for each of your family members so you don't need to spend extra money in the park.
Eat breakfast at your hotel before you get to the park so you aren't hungry in the morning.
If you want to enjoy one meal while you're at the park, choose a late lunch or early dinner for the cheapest options.
When you do eat food from a restaurant in the park, go to quick kiosks rather than a sit-down restaurant.
Plan on grocery shopping on the first day you arrive or have groceries delivered directly to your hotel.
4Bring ponchos and stay in the park if it starts to rain so you don't waste a day. Many people leave the park or get out of lines when it starts to rain, but you don't have to let bad weather cut your day short. Bring a cheap rain poncho for each of your family members so you can easily change into them. Once it starts raining, go to your favorite ride since the lines will probably be shorter.
Ponchos are also sold in the parks, but they will be more expensive.
5Don't get any souvenirs that you can buy outside of the park. Many souvenirs can be purchased online or you can find similar products in other, less expensive stores. Only get the souvenir if it's something you can't purchase anywhere else and you want a memento from your trip. Check the price tag on the item before bringing it to the register to make sure you have the money to spend on it.
Tell your children to bring their own souvenir money to purchase something in the park if they get an allowance.