How to Save 100’s of Dollars at Disney World

by Crystal Carder
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I received 2 complimentary hopper passes in exchange for posting about Disney World on my blog. All opinions are my own.

Let’s be real for a minute. A family vacation to Disney World can cost thousands of dollars for just one day. That’s why people plan for these magical Disney vacations months, even years, in advance.

A Disney World vacation with your family has become one of the “top” things you can do for your family. But, unfortunately, many people cannot afford a Disney World vacation. 

That’s why after coming back from a one day trip at Disney World where we dominated all 4-parks in one day, I found simple things you can do on your trip to Disney World that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

These tips are great if you are on an extremely limited budget during your visit to Disney World, or if you are a frugal traveler. These tips will save you on everything from food to souvenirs while still allowing you to enjoy the excitement of Disney World with your family.

How to Save $100’s at Disney World

While these tips will potentially help you save hundreds of dollars at Disney World, I will warn you, some of these tips are a bit more extreme, so you may not get the complete “Disney experience” by following them.

How to Save money at Disney World

Take Advantage of Free Shuttle Options

If your family plans to stay on International Drive in Orlando, or one of the neighboring area hotels, you can actually take advantage of free shuttle options that will drive you and your family to Disney World for free. This option is great for those who don’t want to spend $25 for an all-day parking pass and don’t want the hassle of parking and walking to the park gates.

If you plan on visiting more than one Disney park a day, Disney offers complimentary shuttles to run you from park to park, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck at one park. While you can save $25 with the free shuttle options, they do have a few downsides to use them.

Cons

  • Free shuttles from hotels only pickup and run from certain times
  • Free shuttles are shared with neighboring hotels, so you may have to wait a while for your stop
  • They can be overcrowded

Savings: $25 for a full day parking pass

Skip Disney Souvenir Shops, Shop at Disney’s Official Website Instead

Disney Souvenir Shops are practically everywhere at Disney World, but to save the most money, you should avoid shopping at any of them. These shops are great for Disney-themed gifts, but you can actually get the same items online at the Disney Store website for a lot less. In fact, we spent over $100 for 3 toys at Disney and when we got home, I looked online and we could have saved at least $50 by waiting.

If you’re like me, though, you may not want to wait on a souvenir, so to avoid this, you could always plan ahead and order off shopdisney.com and give them to the kids back at the hotel.

Potential savings: $10 and more!

Participate in Pin Trading Instead of Buying (You Can Save a Lot By Doing This! 

I had no idea pin trading was a thing until we met an adorable couple who told us all about it. They were big Disney fanatics and were heading to spend 1-month at Disney, so they gave us all the details about this and if you’re a fan, you can save hundreds at Disney World by implementing this idea.

Okay, so apparently Disney staff members are required to trade pins with everyone who wants to, so instead of buying the coolest-new pin at Disney World souvenir shops, buy pins on eBay ahead of time in bulk for a fraction of the cost. Then while you’re at Disney, trade these pins with staff members and you could potentially get the newest, most expensive pins for a lot less! This doesn’t guarantee to get the pin you want, but defiantly worth trying, after all, it sounds like a blast.

I have never participated in pin trading, here are some of the rules you have to keep in mind before pin-trading, pin trading rules.

Potential savings – $15 or more a pin!! Potential to save hundreds of dollars!

Eat Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner at McDonalds Instead of the Park

Obviously, if you take a shuttle to the park, you won’t be able to do this, but if you drive, this idea can save you a ton of money. Disney Parks food is extremely expensive when feeding a whole family, so to cut cost on food at Disney, you could always travel to the McDonalds that is literally almost next door to Disney. Even if you don’t like McDonald’s, you can feed a family of five for less than $30 a meal compared to $50 or more inside Disney World.

We did this while we were at Disney around lunchtime and while we were hopping from the Animal Kingdom to the Magic Kingdom. We didn’t spend a lot of time to eat here, but since we paid for parking, we could get in and out of Disney’s parking as many times as we wanted throughout the day, as long as we had our parking receipt.

Potential savings for a family of 5 – up to $80 (or more)!

Drink Starbucks at the Park

Just like food, drinks at Disney World are expensive. Like $6 for a small Powerade expensive. While we were at Disney, we looked everywhere for cheaper drinks and couldn’t find them. We finally ended up at Starbucks at the Magic Kingdom expecting to spend $10 for a frappuccino, but to my surprise, Starbucks prices are the same in the parks as they are everywhere!

So, if you need a cold drink at Disney, Starbucks is the best deal and each Disney park has a Starbucks. Just be prepared to wait in insanely long lines.

Potential Savings $10 or more

Bring Your Own Snacks and Drinks In

Another thing we had no idea we could do, is bring our own snacks and drinks inside the park. Disney World lets guest carry a bag inside the park and you can carry this stuff inside, all you have to do is go through a bag check at every park. 

Potential Savings $30 or more

Get Free Ice Water Simply By Asking

Yet again, we had no idea about this until we came home and after we spend $40 on 5 drinks, but apparently, you can get a cup of free ice water anywhere in Disney and all you have to do is ask. This right here could save your family so much money!

Potential Savings for a family of 5 – potentially $50 or more! 

I hope these tips help make your Disney World trip more a reality. For more travel tips, be sure to click on travel tips under the travel section at the top of this blog.

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