Ways to Save at Walt Disney World

fbCall me crazy, but I had been dreaming of our family vacation to Disney World since our first child was just 1. There’s something about having kids that makes you relive your favorite childhood memories so taking the clan to Disney World was a priority on our vacation list. However, Disney World has always been the most expensive vacation on our list, so it was important to find ways to reduce the overall expense of the trip without impacting the quality. Thankfully, we found several ways that made a big impact that can easily be replicated for a future trip for you!

Using a Travel Agent

We found Mackenzie Leonard from Fairytale Concierge (Mackenzie@fairytaleconcierge.com) who assisted us in the booking process. Her services came at no extra charge than if we booked on the Disney website ourselves and she definitely assisted us with keeping costs down and stress low.

Instead of spending all of the countless hours researching fast pass options, hotel pros and cons and dining plan features, she had done all the hard work for us and it was easy to take a few moments to understand the options and make decisions. Because bad decisions ultimately cost money in one form or another, knowing I was picking the best option felt priceless.

Planning Ahead

Beyond using Mackenzie’s advice, I thoroughly took our family’s needs into account long before it was time to pack our bags. With three kids under 6, planning ahead has become a financial lifesaver in all areas, but is especially true for family vacations.

We all know airport snack stops can ruin your budget faster than Usain Bolt. And bored toddlers make even a short trip unbearable, so I focused my main concerns on food, clothing and activities.

The things that made the biggest impact on our savings included bringing snacks on the airplane, and packing breakfast for the trip in the suitcase. Considering even a modest breakfast at Disney can cost $15 a person, we likely saved $300 by packing breakfast power bars in our suitcase.

Activity planning for my kids is something I enjoy – I mean, who doesn’t love stickers? Since I had plenty of time to plan, I searched both amazon and the Dollar Store for endless activity books and trinket toys for the plane and hotel room. These extra toys helped us stay in budget for toys purchased on the trip.

 Disney Gift Cards

Since I’ve long been a Target RedCard Debit holder, my travel agent let me know that the 5% discount is also applied to Disney Gift Cards purchased at Target using my RedCard. While we didn’t use this on our overall payment for the hotel but we did use it for all incidentals and souvenir purchases. This plan also helped us stay on budget in these categories by choosing to only use these gift cards for additional purchases, so we didn’t have sticker shock when we came home to the credit card bill as it had already been paid for.  

Amazon Prime for the Hotel Room Food

As soon as we arrived, we downloaded the Amazon Prime Now app and stocked up on water, breakfast foods and fruit. Our $50 order helped us avoid the $5 bottled water purchases at the Disney parks and helped add some much needed vitamins in our diets at a very low cost. I placed the order while waiting in line to check in and it arrived just a few hours later. Absolute life saver!

Overall these items helped make this vacation a reality. Disney isn’t a cheap place to go, however, practical planning and these insights dramatically improved our experience and budget and also helped make this Disney trip one of our favorite family memories!