By S. Standish
There is a plethora of internet information on how to do Disney cheap. That’s because Disney World is super popular and can be super pricey. Everyone wants to find cheaper options of visiting the world’s most popular theme park resort. Trust me I have researched the ways to cut the costs. Also, understanding peak time and off-peak time will add more bang for your buck, it will also add to your sense of budgeting as you will be saving both time (important) and money (super important). These off-peak times tend to be the non-holiday periods from early January to mid-February, as well as Labor Day until right before Christmas. Free dining plans are sometimes included while staying on a Disney Resort during this time period, adding yourself to social media groups that will keep you up to date on this information would be beneficial. There are other perks, such as free nights at Disney Resorts, that may be offered during this “slower” time and the wait times for rides can be shorter too.
Internet searches: You can search website such as Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Booking.com, etc. for cheap rates on hotels near the Walt Disney World Resort. My mother likes to gamble, so she likes Priceline.com. Again you can benefit from receiving a free night for so many nights booked, on-the-fly discounts off, and many other things IF you keep an avid eye on things.
- Transportation to Walt Disney World – Fly or Drive????
- What we did – Drove (Niagara Falls to Kissimmee, Fl)…..7 of us in a Dodge Caravan for 20 Hours!! We drove 6.5 hours the first night and stayed at a hotel (Summersville, WV – Quality Inn $96 Cdn a night per room). 9 hours the second day and stayed overnight in another hotel (Brunswick, Georgia – Econo Lodge $115 Cdn a night per room….and my full bottle of LUSH Shampoo 😦 ). On the way home, we only stopped once (Princeton, WV – Country Inn and Suites Hotel $130 Cdn a night per room). GAS was around $200 Cdn there and $200 Cdn back. Roughly $200 in food/snacks. So for the 7 of us, it was around $1300 Cdn. Airline tickets would run around $5600 for the week we went. Our school’s March Break is NOT a cheap time to fly. Plus, we had our vehicle down there too.
- Flying – If you have a flexible holiday plan this might be the best choice. I know that we spend 5 days travelling by car, I would love to just get there in the sunshine and start enjoying the Florida sun. Check sites like Expedia.com or air fare watching sites like airfarewatchdog.com.
- Accommodations – On the resort??? Rent a condo/house??? Hotel/Motel??? Family member or friend connections??? This could be no expense to one of your biggest.
- What we did – We went on vrbo.com and rented a condo, a few miles from Disney. It cost us $200 Cdn a night for a 3 bedroom, 3 bath condo with a private spa pool, full kitchen and laundry. We were in a gated community and also had access to a clubhouse, heated pool, plus activities/events. It was a good deal, and we had a great experience. We know found a friend who has offered us his timeshare for $140 Cdn a night. So that may be our route in the future!
- What we have done – Attended a timeshare presentation, said no and had great accommodations for 5 nights at a reduced rate ($50 Cdn a night) and free Disney one-day passes.
- What we would like to do – Stay on site at one of the resorts ($170 – $600 Cdn. a night!!), or drive our travel trailer down to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Park ($100 Cdn a night).
- Disney Vacation Members – I have friends that have purchased memberships at a cheap rate from others selling their membership packages, pay the transfer fees, and pay weekly fees at the resorts on site. They absolutely love the convenience of the package.
- Staying in a hotel/motel. There are limitless options in a small radius to the Parks. Stopping at the Florida Welcome Center you can pick up the booklets with some pretty cheap prices. A great resource is travelcoupons.com, we looked through the magazine and saw great hotels from $29.99 (US) a night!!!!
- Tickets – 1 day??? 10 days???We took the kids to Hollywood Studios this time, so we got single day passes. I know that the next time we go, we are going on our summer vacation, so we will get a multi-day pass. Go to the Disney World Website to see your many options and research the costs for the tickets. The Walt Disney World Resort has four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) and you’ll want to spend at least a full day perusing each one. My mom wanted to explore purchasing tickets from someone that hasn’t used all their days, you CAN NOT do this anymore, you have to scan your finger to activate your pass. Cuts down on theft, but also makes you use your days. I know some people that have used Undercover Tourist to get slightly cheaper tickets.
4. Food – Dinner plan??? Sneaking in food??? Grabbing food at the park (YUMMY Pineapple Dole Whips, munching on a huge turkey leg, frozen raspberry-lemonade)???
- We bring a backpack into the park with snacks, water, and quick energy bites. This time our pack contained; applesauce-to-go packs, apple chips, Ice Tea, Water Bottle for each Family Member, Goldfish Crackers, Bananas, Apples, Juice box for each kid, Lindt Chocolates, Cheese Strings, Twizzlers :), leftover Valentine Cinnamon Hearts and a package of Swedish Fish. We were good for the day. We grabbed lunch and it cost us $50 US for 3 Jumbo Hot Dogs (2 plain and 1 loaded) and a pork slider plate(2). Each came with a bag of chips. I would love more healthier options other than a salad and the grab and go counters.
The prices are literally all over the map. Prices vary on the season, week popularity, holiday, etc.. Do your research and ultimately pick what is best for you and the one’s tagging along on the Disney adventure.
* Bonus TIP….I love me my Target. They sometimes carry a Disney Parks Cash Gift Card, if you have a Target Credit Card you save 5% off the top and sometimes Target has deals on their gift cards. I know that I am going to keep this tidbit on my mind for the next time we go to Disney.
Upcoming Attractions at Disney World:
Toy Story Lands @ Hollywood Studios!!
Pandora – The World of Avatar @ Disney’s Animal Kingdom
New cheerleading venue at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports! (For the high school. cheerleader in me…RAH RAH, SISS BOOM BA!!)
We can’t wait to go back! (I am geeking out for the Avatar experience!)
I will keep adding to this post, as I research more info.
Have a fabulous day!!!