Here are my best tips for Saving Money on your next Walt Disney World Vacation!
Undercover Tourist - If you don't have school-aged children, this is your next best option to save on tickets. Save $2 to $44 off the gate price, based on the ticket you choose. (Better than the AAA rates.)
TIP: If you subscribe to the mousesavers monthly newsletter (delivered via email on the 15th of each month) - they will include a link that has even deeper discounted tickets!
Disney Youth Program (aka - "YES Program" gives discounted tickets to students & their families for participating). Disney Educational Classes are for your school-aged child to take (1 parent must attend too). Just attend 1 class during your vacation and you're entitled to these discounted tickets for each participating student + 1 parent (if 2 students participate, 2 parents are included in the ticket prices.)
Discounted rooms at Disney Resorts:
If booking a Value or Moderate resorts, use the discount codes found here. (Feel free to book with a Disney Vacation Planner - their services are FREE and they'll do the grunt work for you.)
If you want to book a Deluxe hotel or villa, rent points from a DVC member through Scott at DVC-Rental. You'll save 40 - 60% on deluxe resort reservations through Scott rather than booking through Disney.
Buy on a Tuesday or Wednesday for lowest prices. Buy 8+ weeks out from your trip, any closer to your trip and prices begin to increase. Keep in mind that many airlines have baggage fees - so either pack light or budget for those additional fees.
We prefer booking our airfare with Southwest Airlines. Here's a few helpful hints:
- Book two one-ways rather than round trip. That way, if the flight price drops, you can cancel the “leg” that decreases and rebook it, earning a credit (no change fee). Bags fly free!
- Sometimes Southwest VISA runs a promotion allowing you to earn 50,000 points as a sign-on bonus. 50,000 points guarantees you at least 2 free flights - we redeemed free flights through Southwest's Rapid Rewards Program, it works and we love our free flights to Orlando!
FREE Transportation from Airport to WDW:
In 2005, Disney's Magical Express began. DME offers you free transportation from the airport to your Disney resort hotel (and back to the airport at the end of your trip.) I've used this service several times and it's great. They take care of your checked luggage as well.
Tip on “tipping”: $1 tip per person or bag handled is appreciated.
Best Website for Disney deals:
MouseSavers - where to find the deals on rooms & tickets.
Dining in WDW:
As far as food goes... that's a very personal decision. If you choose the dining plan, you'll be well-fed, but it does take time out of your park touring (which many people like the "break" to sit and eat). Also, you'll want to have reservations for any table service restaurant... they allow you to make your reservations 180 days in advance - the sooner the better, because these restaurants fill up fast! If you don't choose the dining plan, you can still make table service reservations, but you can also eat at counter service restaurants on the fly - and you can split meals here too to save $.
All resorts have at least a mini-fridge in every room. Deluxe Studio's come with a kitchenette, and one bedroom villas and larger, come with a full size kitchen. There are food items such as bread, yogurt, milk, snack items in every resort gift shop.
My recommended way to save on food: Bring cereal & sandwich makings for breakfast and lunch (buy milk at resort gift shop). Bring snacks. Buy dinner in the parks.
Should you want to make a Table Service reservation, do so as soon as possible. It’s very hard to get into any “sit down” restaurants on Disney property without a reservation. Make your reservations here up to 180 days in advance. They do require a credit card # to make your reservation, and if you cancel within 24 hours or don’t show up, you will be charged $10.
Need more help?
There is a wealth of information on Disney and a lot more advice I can give you. Let me know if you have any questions... I'm always happy to help!!