How To Budget A Disney Trip

A trip to Disney World is an ideal vacation destination for many families. But once they review the cost for such trips many may have second thoughts.

But you should not give up on the dream.

There are tips, actions, and discounts you can use to lower the cost of your and make it easier to budget a Disney trip.

Plan In Advance

Just like any other vacation, a trip to Disney might experience some headaches and road bumps along the way. This makes planning your trip ahead of time a very important first step to budget a Disney trip.

Try A Moderate Resort

There are Disney themed resorts minus the elaborate ride filled theme parks. It’s still Disney, but on the down low. You can book a vacation for a two night three day stay. Some of the resorts offer a discount package for two night and three days park hoppers.

Magical Express

The Disney Magical Express is a combo luggage and car service. You can check your bags at the airport and they get sent to your Disney Hotel. A shuttle bus will take you from the airport to the hotel.

Magic Your Way

The Disney World website has the Magic Your Way program for buying tickets. It offers discount prices for theme parks on select days. You can pick and choose the offers you’re interested in.

Three Tier Pricing

When it comes to Disney Hotels there are many options available to you. Disney has exclusive hotels like the Grand Floridian Hotel, and exclusive long stay condos. In the mid range are hotels like the Coronado Springs Resort. Most affordable are hotels like the Pop Century Resort. They have rooms in the just above 100 dollars a night range.

Rider Swap Tickets

A way to have more fun in a limited amount of time is the Rider Swap Tickets program. This program allows parents to take turns riding with their children without having to get in line again.

Disney Value Seasons

A great way to save all around on Disney trips is to visit Disney World during the off season when prices are lower. The lower rate periods are from January to February, and in April and May for a limited amount of weeks. Then there is mid-August to September, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Walt Disney World  in Orlando is probably the most popular Disney destination in the world. But it can also probably be one of the most costly to attend. However, there are ways of cutting costs to the point that you can pull off making the trip on a decent budget.

Making The Trip

If your family is larger than two people it will be more cost efficient to drive to Orlando rather than paying for plane tickets. Determining whether it will be cheaper for you to drive or fly will be an important step to budget a Disney trip. Plus you will have a car for transportation once you arrive. Orlando is not known as a city with great public transportation.

Will the cost of gas kill you? It won’t if you live close enough to Orlando. People who live in the Mountain or Pacific time zones will be better off driving to Disneyland instead.

Finding A Hotel

Disney has some fabulous on site hotels. They offer free parking and free transportation. On some dates, guests will have special admission into the parks when only on-site hotel guests have access to the parks. These are the park’s “Extra Magic Hours”. But it will still be costly to stay in these hotels, so you might have to find your hotel off site.

You can visit the website and find relatively low rates for hotels near the Walt Disney World Resort. A really cheaper way is to bid on a room on a website like Priceline. It is possible to win a bid for a room for as little as 20 dollars. Of course it won’t be a super deluxe suite, but it will get the job done and free up money for you to spend on other things for your trip.

Getting Disney Tickets

You should not wait until you get to the park to buy tickets. You can always try the Disney World website and look for promotions and deals.

Better places to look are your local auto club, workplace, of student union if you’re in college. It’s possible they may have discounted Disney tickets. A good online source for tickets is the website Undercover Tourist.

Inside The Park Tips

A good place to start is making sure you bring in all the stuff you’re going to need for the day.

Things like:

  • Bandages
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Sunscreen
  • Umbrella(s)
  • Strollers/wheelchairs
  • Sunglasses

This will save you cash on typically overpriced park items.

If you are stay at an on-site hotel, you do not have to pay for parking at the theme parks. If you aren’t staying at an on-site hotel, you’ll need to pay $20 for a parking ticket. A good thing about this is the ticket you buy will be good all day for any theme park location.

A good strategy is to arrive at the park early when the weather is cool and large crowds have not built up. You can get more activities accomplished before it becomes a chore with long lines everywhere you turn.

By the time mid days come around it will be a good time to take a break. Later you can come back when the crowds thin out again.

You can bring your own food into the park in backpacks, or you can order with an eye on your budget. You can avoid costly souvenirs and pick up free mementos, or take your own photographs.

I’m sure you probably think that Disney World is a very expensive place to visit. Even if you live in Orlando, it’s nearly impossible to not spend at least $50. This is why it’s important to budget a Disney trip. You might save hundreds of dollars if you budget your trip wisely.

So start to budget a Disney trip as soon as you know you want to go to Disney World. And don’t be miserable at the “happiest place on earth” and save as much money as you can!

Now we would like to hear from you!

How do you budget a Disney trip?

Are you planning your first trip to Disney? Or are you a Disney veteran?

Tell us about your favorite Disney experiences in the comments below!

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  1. Great stuff here! I think this post will help people go a long way when trying to find ways to cut costs on their Disney vacation. There are certain aspects of your vacation where you can save more. Such as transportation and food. Mainly sharing meals, getting groceries, packing your daypack appropriately. My site is actually fully built around going to Disney on a budget and can be found on

    1. Author

      Thanks Krystel! We’re digging your site too!

      Everyone can use a Disney trip every once in a while. Hopefully both of our budgeting tips can help!

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