On a tight budget this year but still want to take that Walt Disney World dream vacation? I put together a great article here with some of the best ways you can save as much money as possible while taking a vacation on that tight budget. Years ago when my kids were still very little, I dreamt of taking them on their first WDW vacation and researched, read, and scrounged as much as I could to try to make it happen. All the things I thought would save us money, as a WDW Newbie back then, probably cost us more than saving us anything. So my first advice to you will be ironically, take advice from people who have been there numerous times.
Some great ways to save money before even booking your vacation are listed below. Of course, always make sure you are dealing with an Authorized Disney Specialist because they have the most knowledge on Disney products.
1. Purchase multiple Disney Gift Cards from Target with your Target Red Card which will save you 5% on your purchase of the Gift Cards. Go back a few times more to make a few different purchases to maximize your savings. Once you have them all purchased then bring them all to your local Disney Store where they will incorporate them all into one Gift Card to make it easier for you. You can use this Gift Card to book your vacation and you saved a few dollars before even doing it!
2. Apply for the Disney Visa Credit Card. Try to do this as far away as possible from when you are going to book your trip. Then use the Credit Card to pay your monthly bills such as Utilities, Food shopping, Gas, etc and take the cash you would have used and pay the Credit Card bill off every month. You will earn 1% in Disney Dream Dollars on all card purchases that can then in turn be combined and sent to you in a voucher that you can use towards your payment for your WDW vacation.
3. Some local banks have a “Keep the Change” program where when you use your debit card for purchases they round off the total purchase to the nearest dollar and take the change and deposit it into a savings account. Right now, Bank of America participates in this program. I actually know someone who saved $2000.00 this way and booked a trip for herself and her children!
4. Staying off property may seem like a great way to save money but there are a few things you will need to take into consideration before just booking an outside Hotel rather than staying on Disney Property. First off, WDW always offers great promotions all year long for clients to stay on-site rather than off. You also will need to pay to park at WDW everyday which is $17.00 a day, where as onsite guests can park for free or take the awesome transportation Disney has to offer complimentary. Guests staying onsite will also be able to take advantage of Extra Magic hours and guests staying off property lose all the time of getting to and from the parks everyday. It may not seem like a lot……till you actually have to do it. Trust me
5. A lot of parents really want to make their daughter’s trip as magical as possible but cannot afford to stop at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique while on vacation. Do not feel guilty there are plenty of great ways to make your little girl feel and look just like the princess she truly is. I have always been a huge fan of Ebay! They will have everything from Princess dresses, shoes, accessories etc for your little princess at a fraction of what you would spend even in the store! Stop at the Dollar store and grab some Glitter and some make up and pack it for your trip. Spend a little time in the morning doing a “Princess Makeover” while in your Resort room before making your way out into the parks. It will be even more special because your both doing it together.
So you saved yourself some money and have your trip booked. Now you need some tips for saving money while away on your WDW vacation. Here are some great ideas below that have been proven to work.
1. Pack things you wouldn’t think to pack. Things like Ponchos from the Dollar store, Water sprayers to keep cool in the heat and those cheap mini-fans from the Dollar store as well. These things are sold in the parks for ten times the amount you can get them at home and you may not think to bring them.
2. If you are not going with one of the Dining plans, pack your lunch and snacks. Not many know you can actually bring in a soft cooler with food and drinks for your family. There are some great places to find a spot to eat during the day. You can find the restrictions on sizes etc. on the Disney Parks site.
3. Like stated above, purchase the Disney Gift Cards from Target using your Red Card to save the 5% and use them while on your vaca to shop, play, and dine!
4. If you are eating at the parks but without the Dining plan ask your Travel agent for the best Quick Service restaurants in each park to eat at. If your Travel Agent is knowledgeable about Disney they will be able to tell you the places that you are going to get the most and the best for your dollar! Some of the real good Quick Service Restaurants will have portions so large they will feed two people.
A real good Travel Agent who specializes in Disney will have tons more great insider information to offer. Some even will offer specials like Disney Gift Cards to use while on your vacation just for booking with them. Never be afraid to ask how to save the most possible if you are on a budget!