Disney World is known as being an expensive destination and for good reason. In fact, ticket prices are rising by the year and have pushed to well over a hundred per person. However, with some forethought and planning Disney can be an affordable family destination.
Disney doesn’t offer discounted tickets at the park without buying a several-day pass, but cheaper tickets can be found beforehand. Automobile clubs such as AAA and CAA often offer discounts, though the discount and type of tickets vary by location. Some Wal-Mart locations near Disney World also have discounted ticket packages. Finally, Entertainment Book members can save by buying tickets via the book’s website. Don’t forget to do your insider tips for Disney research online too. You might find locations that offer discounted or free tickets just for staying with them.
After buying tickets, lodgings should be an important consideration, especially for families who might want more room to spread out than a standard hotel room has. Luckily, the Orlando area has numerous hotels options, as well as apartment and condo rentals. A room closer to Disney, or on the resort itself will have less transportation time, but will generally be considerably more expensive than lodging further away. If you do chose to stay on the Disney premises, they do have a number of value resorts that may be right for your family.
Low season at Disney typically falls in late August, September, and January. While the amount of people doesn’t change ticket prices, it does change lodging fees – less people means fewer rooms filled, and hotels and condos are more likely to offer discounts. Also during low season, there are less lines meaning you can see more with less time, so you may want to think about taking a shorter trip.
At The Park
Once in the parks money can quickly disappear without careful planning. It’s a good idea to take a supply of sunscreen, ponchos, diapers, and other sundry items from home; otherwise look to pay a mark-up of as much as 25%. Further, renting a stroller everyday can be expensive, so bringing one from home would be a good choice. Another area where decisions should be made before leaving home is souvenirs. It seems that every ride empties out into stores packed with fun, bright toys to catch a child’s eye. From large stuffed characters such as Mickey Mouse to those iconic Mouse ears, many children want it all including magical color changing sippy cups.
To avoid leaving with more souvenirs than intended, set a spending amount for each child and stick to it. For example, if a $20 limit is set and one child wants a shirt that’s $10 and a small Goofy stuffed animal for $6, they only have $4 left to spend. This limit could also be extended to snacks, so children aren’t constantly asking for Mickey-shaped ice cream bars, giant turkey legs, and Dole Whips. Souvenirs for young children can be very simple, for example, an autograph book for character meetings. Additionally, buying Disney-related items from a discount store might help ease a child’s requests.
While the convenience of eating in the parks is alluring, it is certainly not an economical option. Sometimes it can be fun to splurge on a character meal, where various Disney characters walk around and pose for photos or offer other entertainment, but those looking to save money should consider other options for the majority of meals while at Disney. Menu prices are usually cheaper at lunch, so consider making your noontime meal the biggest of the day. Renting an apartment or condo with a kitchen can save money on food costs, especially for simple things like breakfast and snacks. Even booking a hotel room with self-catering facilities, such as a mini fridge and microwave would be a good choice for families looking to make a few of their own meals.
A Disney vacation is, for many families, a rite of passage for childhood. Although it can be expensive, mom and dad don’t need to break the bank for the family to have a great time. One that will leave you with a long-lasting memory of fun rides, good meals, and exciting characters. Enjoy your trip!