Disneyworld is easily the most magical place on earth. And we here at Destination Rogue think it’s better as an adult – arguable, I know but when life gets so stressful as an adult, it’s easier to appreciate the fantasy and magic.
Still, as often as we’d like our days to be filled with fantasy and magic, it’s not always feasible – so we’ve compiled a list of ways to make your Disneyworld trip affordable!
- Go off season. If you’re traveling with other adults, this means plan your trip when school starts! If you’re traveling with kids, it may mean skipping that perfect attendance record, but traveling during off-peak season will not only spare you the tremendous wait for Splash Mountain, it’ll save you on flights and even entry into the park. This fabulous website will not only tell you what the low-crowd times are, it’ll give you important planning details ranging from weather to park opening and closing times!
- Stay at a budget hotel. We know there’s magic in the entire Disneyworld experience, but sometimes you’ve got to cut corners to make it happen. Considering you’ll be staying in the parks most of the time, all you really need in a place to stay is a shower and a comfy bed. BONUS: There are a bunch of motels near Disney Springs and Disney’s ESPN Complex that sometimes have prices as low as $35 a night. You can bypass renting a car if you’re willing to pay $2 day to take the public bus which will drop you in a variety of different disney locations any time of the day.
- Camp! Not into budget hotels. We can understand that. Another amazing option is camping on Disneyworld’s camp ground. This is especially good for those of you road-tripping that can bring your own gear. The sites are affordable and actually really nice!
- Don’t Rent a Car! Sounds sort of crazy, but it’s actually true. A car can run you triple the price of a hotel room daily in Orlando – but here’s a secret: from Disney property you can get to and from the airport for about $50 in an uber (or other car service) which will be your best option if you have 3 or more people. If you have LESS than 3 people then you HAVE to ride Disney’s Magical Express – it is the most magical busride in the world, and you will absolutely not forget it. Now I know what you’re thinking – that’s only for people staying at Disney resorts! WRONG. When you’re at the airport in Orlando (MCO) walk downstairs to where the buses are, and find the MEARS counter. Tell them you’d like to buy a ticket to the nearest resort to wherever you are staying (this will require some research beforehand, last time our nearest was the Contemporary Resort). When they ask you if you have a reservation just say no, and they’ll sell you a ticket for about $25. You then take that ticket, and board the magical express to whichever resort you picked. From there the concierge can order you a taxi or you can order an Uber for only a few dollars to your final destination.
- Use Disney transportation! Disney not only provides free transportation within all of it’s parks, but also to all of it’s attractions including Disney Springs and ESPN. On our last visit to Disneyworld we stayed so near to Disney Springs that all we had to do was walk about 10 minutes to the bus stop, and ride the free bus to the Magic Kingdom. Goodbye car rental, hello savings!
- Pack food! We get this question constantly, and the answer is yes, you are allowed to bring your own food into Disney, they’re not your local movie theater. Disney has done a wonderful job of providing more healthy options on their menus, but nevertheless food can rack up quickly in the park. Pack snacks that are light to carry, yet filling for the day, so you only have to splurge on the most magical treats (like those beautiful Mickey apples with the chocolate and marshmallows YUM)! On our last trip to Disney we ordered an Uber to Trader Joe’s and bought a heap of $5 meals. Between the cost of the ride, the meals, and the snacks we saved a couple of hundred dollars.
- Prepare with gear! Disney has so many amazing lines of clothing out now that it’s easy to get your Disney on without paying the main street prices. Check out Target’s amazingly trendy Disney Line that will not only be awesome swag in the park, but will make for cute everyday outfits too.
- Plan Plan Plan! The thing about budgets is they only work if you stick to them. Otherwise they’re as good as gone. Before you go, decide what you want to buy in the park (I always have to get my dipped apple, Clare always has to have her dipped strawberries!), whatever your “thing” is don’t feel bad about splurging on it, just factor it into your budget. Plan your meals and snacks before the park. Don’t plan to “pick up pizza or something” afterward because you’ll be too tired and make the easier decision of splurging in the park instead.
- Flight track! Google has an awesome feature where you can look up flights, and track the prices. Start by checking out the Disneyworld Calendar here and find some low-key dates that work for you. Then, pick a few options. Maybe you could make Veteran’s Day weekend work, or Columbus Day weekend and you’re not sure. Use google flights to search these dates, and if there’s not a significant price difference then hit “track flights”. Google will track the flight prices for you and email you when they go up or down. When they feel low, nab em!
- Water is free. Even if you bring a water bottle inevitably you’ll run out. Don’t waste money on a $4 water bottle from one of the park kiosks. Ask a cast member where the nearest water fountain is, or go to any cafeteria and ask them to refill your reusable water bottle.
Remember, just because your trip isn’t the luxury version doesn’t mean it won’t be completely and insanely fun. After all, it is the most magical place on earth!