They say there are two certainties in life – death and taxes, well I think the third certainty is that the price of a Disney Vacation is going to cost more every single year. You can still afford a Disney Vacation using these 5 surefire ways to save:
1. Skip the Rental Car
Skip the rental car and sign up for Disney’s Magical Express service. With this FREE service (when staying at a Disney resort) you can skip baggage claim and head straight for a motorcoach at Orlando International Airport. Disney will pickup your checked bags and deliver them straight to your room while you ride in a motorcoach directly to your resort.
While on your vacation, Disney has a fleet of buses, boats, and a monorail to get you from your resort to the parks, waterparks, downtown Disney Springs, and other resorts. Skipping the rental car also means avoiding Disney’s new resort parking fees that were introduced in March 2018.
And when your vacation is over, you can check-in to your flight, receive a boarding pass, and even check your luggage directly at your resort. Simply head back to the airport on the motorcoach and make your way direct to security at the airport.
Estimated Savings – $250 – one week car rental + fuel + $114 – 6 nights of parking fees at Disney Moderate Resort
2. Resort Costs
One of the largest costs of a Disney World vacation is your resort stay. Disney has three categories of resorts – value, moderate, and deluxe. Value resorts start at $100/night, moderate resorts at $190/night, and deluxe resorts usually start at $300/night so there is a price point for everyone.
My favorite money saving tip is to rent Disney Vacation Points from David’s Vacation Club Rentals. Never heard of DVC? It’s Disney’s version of a timeshare but you don’t have to buy into it, you can rent an owner’s points for a stay at Disney. And the savings are AMAZING! You can stay at a Deluxe resort for less than the cost of booking directly with Disney at a Moderate resort. Check out this guide for more information.
My second favorite money savings tip for resorts if you don’t want to rent DVC points is Citi Prestige 4th Night Free benefit. If you book a 4 night stay at ThankYou.com or the Citi Prestige Concierge, this credit card will refund you 25% of the cost (exclusive of taxes and fees).
You can also make this offer better by booking two 4 night stays back to back to get get double the savings and a longer vacation. Since Citi won’t give two nights free on an 8 night stay at one resort – you will have to book one 4 night stay at one resort then a second 4 night stay at a different resort. But don’t worry Disney handles moving your luggage from one resort to the others – simply give them your luggage before heading out to a park and head directly to your new resort at the end of the day.
Estimated Savings – $2000 at a Deluxe Resort
Tickets prices go up every single year – a 1-Day ticket to Magic Kingdom is now over $100! The good news is the cost per day drops significantly for longer stays. If you have multiple trips planned, buying an annual pass may be worth it.
If you are looking for tickets for a single trip, I haven’t found any jaw dropping ways to save on tickets, but here are two ways to save. First – buy Disney gift cards at Target.com using your Target REDcard for 5% off – then buy Disney tickets using the gift cards
If you don’t want to mess with gift cards and get even more savings, my go to place for discounted tickets is UndercoverTourist.com. When comparing prices to Disney.com the savings aren’t huge (~$25/ticket) but don’t be fooled – the prices shown on undercovertourist.com include shipping and taxes while Disney will add tax when you checkout.
Disney charges $1683 for two adult and two child 6-Day base tickets, while UndercoverTourist.com is $1560 – a savings of $123!
Estimated Savings – $123 on four 6-day tickets
4. Skip the Disney Dining Plan
Back in the good old days, the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) was an amazingly good value. I remember our 2007 trip where the DDP only cost $39/day and including a table service meal including appetizer, entree, dessert, drink, tax, and tip along with a counter service meal and a snack in the park (mmmm Mickey ice cream bars). Now the regular Disney Disney Plan has jumped to $75.49/day and the appetizer and gratuities have been removed – it’s just not worth it anymore.
If you took my advice and booked a Disney Vacation Club room, all 1 bedrooms and larger include a full kitchen (and even studios have a small kitchenette) so you can have breakfast and other meals in your room. Having at least breakfast in your room will save at least $50/day along with not wasting time in the morning so you can be at the park for rope drop.
But you might be asking how am I going to get groceries if you told me to skip the rental car? That’s where GardenGrocer.com comes in – simply shop for your groceries before your trip at their website and let them know when you want the groceries delivered directly to your resort.
GardenGrocer will also deliver wine and beer to your room so you can indulge in an afternoon happy hour before heading to dinner or back to the parks.
Estimated Savings – $450+
5. Buy Souvenirs Before Your Trip
Seriously head to Walmart, Target, or Amazon before your trip and stock up on a few Disney Souvenirs beforehand. Keep them hidden from your kids then surprise them when you get there.
A quick search of Walmart brings up these Disney Star Wars (or Frozen) light up candy fans for only $2.48. This does trip duty – in addition to a candy treat, it’s also functions as a fan during the day when it’s hot out and lights up when it gets dark out. Something like this would cost $15+ at Disney.
These are so cheap you can buy a few extra and give them away to other kids that might be experiencing a meltdown.
Estimated Savings – $100+
So there you have it, over $3000 worth of savings if you use all of these money savings tips for your next Disney World vacation.
What’s your favorite money saving tip?
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