Is Disney possible on a budget?
A trip to Disneyland or Disney World may be a dream come true for most children, but it can also be a nightmare for parents who worry about spending a fortune they can ill afford. Never fear, as with most vacations, there are ways to make a great Disney trip happen even when on a budget. Here are a few essential tips for saving money on an affordable Disney vacation.
Disney travel agent
One great way to save money even before leaving home is to consult a Disney travel agent about discounts and savings. A fee-free agency will provide a consultant to help negotiate the best possible deal on accommodation, Disney tickets and advance dining plans. Consultants can increase the likelihood of gaining access to Disney’s mysterious PIN code discounts – only a very few are issued, and these offer even better bargains than the normal price reductions.
Hotels that are on-site at Disneyland or Disney World are more expensive than those off-site. When deciding where to stay, the best thing to do is to calculate whether spending money on staying off-site, plus the price of a car rental, is a better value than staying on-site and having access to Disney’s free transportation from the hotel to the resort attractions. One benefit of having a rental car, of course, is that it’s possible to shop at grocery stores for food, which will reduce spending on food on-site or in the hotel.
Those who buy vacation packages will find that they include park tickets so that there’s no need to worry about purchasing them as a separate item of expenditure. If not using a package, then there are a few things to think about to get the best deals. Firstly, buy tickets in advance from a reputable third-party seller. Discounts offered tend to be between 5% and 20% on tickets sold directly by Disney. Secondly, decide where to go and seek out tickets for those specific attractions if possible, or buy ten-day no expiration tickets if more than one trip per year is likely. The best times to visit to get the cheapest ticket prices are during the “value season” between January 2 and February 15.
As with accommodation, dining on-site is more expensive than dining off-site, but there are a few things that will help stretch the available dollars. As Disney restaurants are part of the experience, one or two meals on-site can be a treat, especially if using a Restaurant.com gift card, which can be purchased in advance. Off-site restaurants are a good value; shopping at a local grocery store and preparing a picnic is even better, as guests are allowed to bring food into the park.
There’s little point in saving all that money only to blow it on expensive souvenirs. Instead, pick up Disney souvenirs by shopping online in advance of the trip and give them to the kids when they arrive at the park. Smaller souvenirs, such as Disney pins, magnets and key chains, are relatively inexpensive.
As the advance planning gets under way, the excitement will undoubtedly increase, and soon the whole family will be looking forward to a wonderful, magical Disney vacation.