Saturday, 1 August 2015

Disney World Money Saving Tips

Today I hit the 30 day mark and have another Disney post in store, and its one of the most asked questions.. ways to save money on your Disney World trip! I have picked up a few tips and tricks on the way which do end up saving us some money, so hopefully if you are headed to the world of Disney this summer, you can save yourself some bucks!

1. Take a trip to Wal-Mart early on
If you are lucky enough to be blessed with a fridge in your hotel room (all my rooms have had well sized fridges in the past) then a trip to Wal Mart is a must. Stock up on things like suncream, snacks and most importantly, water, to save you buying these in the park for Disney's extortionate prices. If you aren't using the Disney Dining Plan, you can also take this opportunity to buy sandwich materials and things for breakfast and lunch, which will save you a bunch!



2. Don't be afraid of public transport
Last time we went to Disney, we used the local buses to get to I-Drive and Wal-Mart. We worked out this saved us an incredible $200 on taxis, which compared to the $2 bus fare, is pretty darn good! Don't be afraid, do your research and most importantly, ask the bus drivers if you need a hand. In my experience they have always been super nice, willing to shout when your stop is coming up and give you advice. Disney has 2 bus stops that I know of, one at Magic Kingdom and one at Downtown Disney which both take you to well known locations like I-Drive, Seaworld and Wal-Mart. 

3. Share meals
This might be a bit of a funny one but hang with me. A lot of the counter service restaurants that I visited served meals that could easily feed 2 (Cosmic Rays comes to mind!). Obviously this one is impossible when it comes to dining in a restaurant, but a lot of counter service meals could easily feed 2, particularly if you are paying out of pocket and aren't on the Disney Dining Plan. The half rack of ribs and rotisserie chicken from Cosmic Rays come with a never ending salad too, so easily a meal for 2! You can also chop and change meals, for example without fries or without a side salad and normally they will charge you less.



4. Souvenirs
Now I'm a sucker for a good souvenir, I've bought them all, from scrapbooks to the little coins you press. But understandably, if you have children, this can become quite the cost. Take a trip to the outlets (I forget which one Prime or Premium, I think Premium!) and there is a discount Disney shop. Its all the older stock from Disney, 100% legit and a lot lot cheaper. I actually have bought some amazing things from here, including a Disney throw ($60 down to $10!) and a heavy duty Minnie Mouse poncho ($10 down to $3!). They do tonnes of childrens toys and clothes stuff, so you can really treat the kids without paying Disney prices. Additionally Wal-Mart is great for little souvenir type things, without the Disney price-tag!.




5. Tickets!
Park tickets are a HUGE cost to your holiday, both Disney and Universal. I usually end up buying the most expensive park tickets as they come with the package I go for (to get the Disney Dining Plan you have to purchase park tickets at the same time!). My advice for anyone staying off Disney or perhaps not doing Disney everyday is to do your research. Look at lots of different legitimate ticket sources but never ever buy from touts. Try and establish whether you really need the 14 day ticket, but bear in mind the price between 14 and 7 isn't much at all (less than £10 I think). Generally if you shop around a bit, you can find tickets much cheaper, but do check your sources!

6. Embrace the pool day!
Sometimes at Disney, its easy to forget you're actually on holiday. Its easy to get swept up wanting to do everything and I love the well known saying, you need another vacation to get over Disney World. Its true! Its completely exhausting. Which is why I am such a fan of spending days doing absolutely nothing. Embrace pool days at your resort and take advantage of what your resort has to offer. Disney resorts often have activities at night-time, like movies under the stars and if you have passes to the water parks, don't be afraid to laze around and simply enjoy being on holiday. 



7. Remember the essentials
I have also been a victim to forgetting essential things and having to pay the Disney price for them. Double check you have suncream, water, ponchos, little snacks, paracetamol, fans, jumpers, spare shoes, everything you think you'll need in your backpack. It might be called overpacking, but these are all things at some point I have bought in the parks and wished I didn't have to spend that $10 on a poncho when I have one back home!



8. Free water?!
Feeling parched or got a little one needing a quick drink? Any counter service restaurant or I think any restaurant for that matter will give you a cup of water for free. Also keep hold of your empty bottles, Disney have lots of water fountains scattered around the parks for you to refill. In my experience the water isn't the nicest tasting but hey, who's complaining when your dying of thirst!

9. Effective planning
Any Disney blog or guide will tell you, time is money! You've paid a huge amount for this holiday of a lifetime so use your time wisely. Research before you go out to see which parks are busiest on what days and what rides to hit first. Excellent book resources I have found are The Unoffical Guide to Walt Disney World and the Braubaums Official Guide to Walt Disney World. Both are excellent resources and a wealth of information. Take advantage of extra magic hours if you are staying on site and make effective itineraries. I'm telling you, you won't regret it!

10. Take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan
The disney dining plan is a debatable subject but for me its always worked out cheaper for me, to stay on a deluxe resort and get free dining than stay elsewhere and pay out of pocket for food. And it takes the stress away a bit. But if you HAVE paid for the dining plan, make sure you take full advantage to get your moneys worth! This means using all the credits (I am guilty of having quick service credits left at the end of my stay!) and using them wisely! Why buy a $2 bottle of water with your snack when you can get a $6 cupcake?! 



So there's my top 10 money saving tips when staying at Disney. I think I'm also going to write one about saving up for a Disney holiday, as I do get some questions on that. Would this be something you would be interested in? Let me know!
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