Disney World on the Cheap

by Lauren Passell

Disney World on the Cheap

How to save money on park tickets, transportation, hotels, packages, food and more.


It’s easy to get suckered into spending too much in Walt Disney World—there are so many ticket and meal options, packages and really cool souvenirs—so a thrifty game plan is key. These smart, money-saving tricks will lower your vacation price tag (and your stress levels.)



Don’t “over-buy” your park passes

With the “Magic Your Way” passes, you can choose the options that you want. Don’t, for example, choose the “hopper” option (allowing you to be in more than one park in one day) if you plan on doing only one park a day. Don’t choose the “no expiration” option if you know you will be using all days of your pass, or if you know you won’t be back. To find out what ticket fits your family just right, visit



Make use of “Extra Magic Hours”

Extended park hours will help you get more out of your days. Each day, one of the four Walt Disney World parks opens an hour early or closes up to three hours late for guests staying in Disney hotels. Check the schedule at so you can map out your time in advance.



Before you sign up for a package, do the math

When booking accommodations on the Disney property, “Room Only” means you pay for only the hotel room and that’s cheaper for some families. But some will benefit by booking a room attached to a package, which can offer park tickets, airfare, dining options and more. Go to or for more information about what packages are available.



Buy your park passes in advance

Buy from or AAA for discounted prices. Subscribe to the Mousesavers newsletter, the go-to place for money-saving tips, including discount codes for resorts. Check often for new codes and deals, and book a room with the best rate you can find. Then call every week or so until your departure date to see if you can go any lower.



Shop for things like film and sunscreen before you leave home

To avoid paying through the nose for them at the park buy necessities before arriving. Here’s an especially smart idea: buy the kids glow-in-the-dark wands, bracelets and necklaces before you leave home to avoid paying the inflated prices at the parks. When it gets dark, all the vendors come out and they are hard for kids to ignore.


Buy at least one annual pass for your whole family

The annual pass more than pays for itself with the savings you’ll get with it at a Walt Disney World resort if you’re planning on staying in a deluxe room. You don’t actually have to have purchased the pass to make the reservation with the annual pass discount. If you find a good rate, make the reservation and then buy the pass and get the savings when you check in. With the annual pass, you can purchase (for $75) Disney’s Tables in Wonderland, which can save you 20% off some restaurants on food and drinks.



Bounce back if you want to return

If you are in Disney World and know that you want to come back for another trip, take advantage of the “Bounce Back Offer”. Make the reservation from your room before you check out and save up to 40% on your next stay.



Use a credit card that earns airline miles

Pay all of your bills and make all your purchases with it, saving up miles for airline tickets to Florida.


Don’t rent a car

Use Disney’s Magical Express (Disney’s free and easy airport transportation) or grab a cab if for some reason you can’t.



Buy Disney gift cards at the grocery store.

You can get fuel perks or other incentives by spending money at the store, and you’re buying money you’ll spend anyway once you get to Disney. Give your kids a gift card to get them excited (and set their expectations) about a cool souvenir they can buy.