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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Benson

Saving Money at Disney?

Disney = $$$

As a child, my parents used to playfully joke about "passing out gold bricks" every time we made a purchase at Disney. Now that I'm an adult, I fully understand. Ice cream Mickeys for 6 people? A gold brick. A Disney vacation doesn't come cheap, but you want your family to have a truly magical experience and everyone needs to visit Disney once in their life. Having been an avid traveler, I've learned the art of stretching my budget to make those vacations not only possible but memorable.

Plan Ahead and Set a Budget

Before you even step foot in the park, it's crucial to set a budget. This will help you keep track of your spending and avoid impulse purchases. Allocate funds for tickets, food, souvenirs, and any extras you want to include in your trip. Additionally, consider purchasing tickets in advance online, as they are often discounted compared to buying them at the gate.

Choose Quick-Service Restaurants

While Disney is known for its sit-down restaurants, quick-service establishments offer delicious meals at a fraction of the price. Opt for these options for a satisfying meal that won't strain your budget.

Pack Smart and Bring Snacks

Food costs can add up quickly at Disney Parks. To save money, pack some snacks and reusable water bottles. Granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits can be lifesavers when hunger strikes. You're allowed to bring outside food into the parks, so take advantage of this to cut down on dining expenses. Read the blog "Packing for a Day of Thrills" for what to bring to the park.

Choose Accommodations Wisely

Consider staying in a hotel outside of the Disney property. There are numerous budget-friendly options nearby that offer complimentary shuttles to the parks. Alternatively, if you're set on staying on-site, look for value resorts which provide a more affordable lodging option while still offering the Disney experience.

Bring Your Own Souvenirs

Disney merchandise can be pricey, and kids often want to buy everything they see. To curb expenses, consider purchasing Disney-themed merchandise ahead of time and surprising the kids with it during the trip. You can find discounted Disney items online or at local stores. I love surprising my family with Matching t-shirts, they go along with it because they love me. I purchase those shirts before we go for half the price. I buy Mickey ears on Amazon for about $10. Nobody cares you didn't get them from the park. I got a lot of compliments on my $10 ears!

Use the Disney Genie+ Service Wisely

The Disney Genie+ service allows you to reserve access to certain attractions, saving you time that you might have spent waiting in line. It's a valuable tool for maximizing your park visit. However, be strategic in choosing which rides to reserve, focusing on popular ones that tend to have long wait times. You probably won't need to use Genie + services everyday so plan out which rides are a MUST and use Genie + for rides that are important to you.

Opt for Water Over Soda

While in the parks, opt for water over soda or other beverages. You can ask for a complimentary cup of ice water at any quick-service restaurant, helping you stay hydrated without spending extra money on drinks.

Take Advantage of Free Entertainment

Disney Parks offer a plethora of free entertainment options, from parades to shows and character meet-and-greets. These experiences can be just as memorable as the paid ones, so make sure to include them in your itinerary.

Skip Park Hopper Tickets

While Park Hopper tickets allow you to visit multiple parks in a single day, they come at a premium. Consider purchasing regular tickets and fully exploring one park each day to save money.

Look for Discounts and Special Offers

Keep an eye out for discounts and special offers, especially during off-peak seasons. Disney occasionally runs promotions on tickets, accommodations, and dining plans that can significantly reduce your overall expenses

A trip to a Disney Park can be magical without emptying your wallet. By planning ahead, making strategic choices, and seeking out discounts, you can have an enchanting experience while saving money. Remember, it's the memories you create with your loved ones that truly make a Disney vacation special. Happy saving and magical travels!

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