DADventure Disney Top 10 Tuesday – Top 10 Tips for Saving Money at the Disney Parks

Welcome back to DADventure Disney’s round table of some of my favorite Disney Fan Parents on Instagram.

Every week, I work alongside this merry band of Disney fan parents to find our Top 10 favorites in all things Disney. See ALL our lists by clicking HERE!

This week, the group consists of these Disney Parent Panelists:
@daddingatdisney,
@disneybaby4life,
@mamamouseinthemidwest,
@milehighdisneymom,
@suburban.artsy.mom,
@thediaryofadisneydad,
and yours truly @dadventuredisney.

Our topic this week: Top 10 Tips for Saving Money on your Disney Vacation!

Disney World costs, we know. But that doesn’t stop us from going. And some of us go a lot! So, we have to find ways cut costs wherever we can.

We’re also here to help YOU, so seven of us put our heads together and came up with 10 of our favorite ways to save a bit when doing your Disney World planning. Let’s get to it!


Refuse Housekeeping
Service Your Way
Top 10 Score: 2.29, nominated on 2 of 7 ballots.

I used this one on my last trip and it’s fantastic. If you’re staying more than two nights, you can earn a gift card for not using “Mousekeeping“.

2-Night Stay=$10 Disney Gift Card eGift
4-Night Stay=$30 Disney Gift Card eGift
8-Night Stay=$70 Disney Gift Card eGift
10-Night Stay=$90 Disney Gift Card eGift

You can learn more on Disney’s website.


Buy Disney Souvenirs In Advance
SO much more affordable
Top 10 Score: 2.57, nominated on 5 of 7 ballots. 0 first place vote.

Target. Dollar Store. Amazon. All full of fun Disney products. Buy a few things before you head off to the parks, pack them in your suitcase and shower the kiddos with them throughout the trip, avoiding the huge prices in the parks.


Use a Disney Credit Card
Get Points!
Top 10 Score: 2.57, nominated on 3 of 7 ballots. 1 first place vote.

What’s in your wallet? If it’s a credit card that earns you points towards your Disney trip, you’re doing the right thing. Let all your pre-trip purchases earn you points towards the trip itself!


Discounted Disney Gift Cards
Pay Less Get More
Top 10 Score: 2.71, nominated on 2 of 7 ballots. 1 first place vote.

Everyone loves Gift Cards. When you’re heading to Disney, ask for them for your birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or maybe Groundhog’s Day – ya know, if you’re the Groundhog’s Day gift-giving type.

Here’s the trick… if you buy them at Target, and use your Target credit card, you get a percentage off the gift card. So, you’re paying less that the value of the card. A few bucks for “free”.


Eat Offsite
Yes, Orlando Exists Beyond The Park
Top 10 Score: 2.86, nominated on 3 of 7 ballots.

Some folks won’t leave the park – they like to stay all-inclusive. Others journey off park to stay, visit other parks (we see you Harry Potter!), or eat.

Obviously, as soon as you get off the Disney park, pricing is going to change for whatever you’re looking for, and that includes many restaurants within a quick drive from the resorts.


Bring Your Own Stroller
Great For Airport, Too
Top 10 Score: 3.00, nominated on 3 of 7 ballots.

Photo: travelingmom.com

Kids are going to get tired. They can’t walk the MILES you do every day in the Disney Parks. They need to roll. They need to rest. That’s where strollers come in. Not to mention, it can carry a bunch of your day-needs too.

The rental strollers in the park can best be described as a plastic lego chair on wheels. Nothing ‘restful’ about that, really.

A bonus piece of advise, find a way to mark your stroller in a BIG way. It will get lost in the sea of parked strollers at popular spots in the parks. Also, if you park it somewhere and the strollers need to be shifted around, Cast Members will move your stroller nearby where you left it and you’ll want a fast way to find it in the throng.


Eat More Snacks, Less Meals
Eat When Your Hungry
Top 10 Score: 3.29, nominated on 5 of 7 ballots.

Photo: DADventure Disney

If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, paying for the big meals can be a hit to the wallet. Also, if you have little kids, they just aren’t going to be hungry for a big meal multiple times a day. And you know what? Most adults aren’t ready for that either.

A lot of folks hit the counter service spots and snack carts (not just popcorn and pretzels) throughout the day. When you’re hungry – eat. No waiting for your Advanced Dining Reservation to come up. You’ll probably find you spend a lot less on food in the parks that way.


Bring Refillable Water Bottles
Hydrate!
Top 10 Score: 3.71, nominated on 3 of 7 ballots. 1 first place vote.

Photo: DADventure Disney

You have to stay hydrated in the Orlando sun. In Disney World, water can be FREE! That’s right – FREE! Not bottled water at the snack carts, oh no, you’re dropping some cash for those. But, if you bring your own refillable water bottle, you can fill it up at many many water fountains all around the parks and some even have the fancy water bottle refilling stations, too!

Not shelling out $3+ for a bottle of water every time you’re thirsty is a huge savings.


Bring Your Own Snacks
Yes, They Allow It
Top 10 Score: 6.57, nominated on 7 of 7 ballots. 0 first place vote.

A unanimous vote getter on our panel – bringing your own snacks is a no-brainer.

A lot of folks assume Disney won’t allow you to bring in your own food – and you’re incorrect. You can! Especially snacks. Goldfish, pouches, granola bars, Cheerios, etc. – fill your day pack and fill their tummies. A $2 bag of goldfish from the grocery at home is a huge savings over the $7.00 Mickey Pretzel every time your tummy rumbles.

This is especially true for many in Disneyland who aren’t staying multiple days. They eat before they get into the parks, and bring snacks to last the day until they head home.


Book Packages & Do It Early
Find Online or use a Disney Travel Agent
Top 10 Score: 7.43, nominated on 6 of 7 ballots. 3 first place votes.

As soon as you decide you’re heading to Disney – go online, find the best resort packages (reduced cost stays, free dining, special event pricing, etc.) and book! If you are planning VERY early, you can lock in pricing before the next price hike hits the parks.

If you aren’t sure where to look, or what to book, or what “good” pricing looks like, find an amazing Disney Travel Pro like our own @DisMoms!


There ya go – hopefully these tips can help take a little bit of the sticker-shock of a Disney trip off your shoulders.

One tip that didn’t make our Top 10 I wanted to mention, because we had two POLAR opposite thoughts on it! Character Dining. One of our parents suggested to not waste the money on them and buy food elsewhere, finding the characters throughout the meet and greets in the parks. The other suggestion was TO book a Character Meal because you get the meal and dedicated time to meet the characters all at once. So, it’s really up to you on this one!

How about you? How do you save on your Disney trips? Going to try any of these we shared today? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Thanks for reading and always remember – DADventure is out there!

Cheers,
Keith

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