Disney World Money Saving Tips

We all know that Disney World can cost you an arm and a leg as a vacation destination. So how do so many people afford to visit year after year? The more you research Disney World and learn about vacation planning at the Happiest Place on Earth, the more you come across tips and tricks to save money for your Disney vacation.

As a 25 year old, these money saving tips were a little bit more of a necessity than a preference for me. As much as I loved visiting the Wilderness Resort as a kid and staying in club level (one time) it’s just not something I can afford right now. But every single part of me wants to continue to visit Disney World at least annually, so finding ways to save was big for me to be able to continue to do that.

The first tip I have for any fellow Disney World vacationers on a budget is to not look past the Value Resorts. Gone are the days of the 90’s looking carpers and bedding, wallpaper lining the tops of the room, and lesser amenities. If you haven’t seen the newly remolded Pop Century or All Star Movies rooms, I encourage you to click these links and take a look. Pop Century, All Star Movies. These renovations, which will be spreading through the remaining All Star Resorts as well, really give an upgraded look for such lost cost hotels. For someone like me who can only visit Disney World once a year with my current budget, I spend the majority of my time out at the parks anyway. So having a super fancy resort is not at the top of my priority list. However, these renovations make staying at a Value Resort feel much more high-end than the cost shows.

Another save money is always to book my trip during the window of a room or package discount period. Now, I know that it’s important to book your vacations far in advance to ensure that you get the hotel you want on the days you want. However, I have found a lot more success in having 3-4 different weeks that work within my schedule and seeing what is available for me when those room discounts come up. For a Value Resort, you can save (usually) 10-15% off the room price during those discount periods. Typically, they will be available about 4 months in advance, so that’s still plenty of time to book your airfare (if needed), plan out your days and fastpasses, and prepare for you upcoming trip!

While this isn’t necessarily a money saving tip, I love to have gift cards on hand prior to my Disney World vacation. Each time that I have a little bit extra money to spare after a paycheck, I will go ahead and purchase a Disney gift card for that amount. By prepaying on Disney gift cards, I don’t have to worry about spending as much during the trip. This also helps keep me to a stricter budget as I will only allow myself to spend what we have in Disney gift cards on food and drinks.

Last, but certainly not least, if you are not an Annual Passholder, consider looking at dropping your Park Hopper tickets and doing 1-park per day tickets instead. This has been a really hard thing for me to let go of recently as I have always been a Park Hopper person. However, seeing the cost difference between Park Hopper and 1-park per day is enough to lead me to looking into the latter option for the future. It requires a bit more planning to ensure you hit all of the things you would like during your trip, but it’s better to only be able to attend 1-park per day than to not be able to afford your trip at all!

Disney World is getting pricier and pricier as the years go on. As that continues, it’s important that those of us who are constantly researching and learning more about Disney World and the costs associated with it share our tips with others! Do you have any money saving tips I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!

How I Like to Pack for Disney World

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Packing for Disney World requires a lot more preparation than you may think. Disney World is in the heart of Central Florida. So, of course, it’s going to be hot, right? That means just throw some shorts and t-shirts in a checked bag and you’ll be on your way. Well, my playbook for packing is a little bit more in depth.

The most important thing to me is that you ALWAYS have some sort of carry on bag. Even if you are checking 1, 2, or maybe even more bags through your airline. Why? It’s not that you need the extra luggage space, necessarily. On your way to Disney World, if you stay at a Disney World resort, they will handle all of your luggage for you. As soon as you drop it off at the counter at your hometown airport, it will be handled by a bunch of other people to get it from your airport to Orlando airport and then to your Disney World resort. If you’ve never been a person who has had their luggage lost, consider yourself lucky. But, take the advice from someone who has. ALWAYS have a carry on bag with at least 1 day worth of clothes for your entire group or family. There is nothing that would bring my mood down more than getting to Disney World so excited to back and realizing that somewhere, my luggage was misplaced and it won’t get to me until the next day. If you didn’t have that carry on bag, you’d be scrambling trying to piece together how to make it work. The carry on totally solves that problem.

Bring a backpack! I have no idea how my family used to survive our long Disney World trips with just fanny packs back in the 90’s-early 2000’s. On my most recent trip, both my boyfriend and I had our own backpacks and they were usually full or close to it. Yet somehow a family of 4 was able to survive in fanny packs? The times have definitely changed. Especially with the increased prices of everything. The last thing you want to do is have to buy snacks, drinks, and clothing items every park day because you didn’t come prepared with what you need in your backpack. Having an extra sweatshirt, your trusty water bottle, and some ziplock bags full of snacks helps you save any money that you may have HAD to spend on those necessities. Your backpack is your right hand partner on a Disney World vacation to help you be the most prepared day after day.

Lastly, make sure you leave some space in your checked bag(s). We all tell ourselves that we’re not going to overspend on souvenirs. But have you seen the new World of Disney at Disney Springs? You tell me how you take even one lap around that place and don’t pick something up. Seriously, tell me how you do that. i really need to stop walking by everything I see, touching it, and going “aw this is cute.” It’s a problem. I’m working on it… (Okay. No, I’m not.) Disney Springs has really evolved into such a great shopping center that it’s become a must-do of any Disney World vacation. When it comes to how shopping at Disney World has changed since I was a kid, Disney Springs is really it. It’s no longer about buying just Disney merchandise. There are so many great stores and shops in Disney Springs that you may just walk into one because something you’ve been needing or wanting is there. So, now, you have to plan for your Disney merchandise as well as a normal shopping day. The extra space in your checked bag will save your life.

Of course, this is just a general overview of how I like to pack for Disney World. There’s a lot more that goes into it. How do I decide what outfits to wear and bring? What if it’s going be hot during the day buy cool at night? I want to have options, but how do I fit it all in my bag? What essentials must be on my packing list? All of these things will be discussed over time on my blog, and I’ll continue to give you the best advice on planning, preparing, and packing for your Disney vacation. Have any specific questions about packing? Comment below or contact me!

Choosing Your Disney World Hotel on a Budget

**Follow my blog if you’re loving these Disney World topics! I’d love to have you along for the journey, and to cater even more to what all of my fellow Disney World fans want to hear about. I look forward to your input!**

Part of being a 24 year old Disney lover is understanding that I just don’t have the money to sustain consistent trips to the happiest place on earth. Not only that, but the trips I do take have to follow a very strict budget. At 24 years old, I’m not making a “through the roof” salary to spend freely. The hotel options I can afford are limited, the timing of the trips is crucial, and it’s important to find creative ways to maximize my time when I’m there.

Disney World doesn’t make visiting on a budget TOO difficult to make work. With different hotel ranks, it’s pretty easy to pick out the hotels that you can afford with your budget. Value and moderate resorts tend to be the only options I look at when planning a trip. Will I browse through the deluxe resorts and deluxe villas in my free time? Yes, because I’m a Disney World addict. But, when I’m really in vacation planning mode, I won’t even touch the surface of those. It’s important to be realistic when I actually sit down to plan my vacation.

Value resorts are the lowest end resorts on the Disney World property. The rooms are smaller, the theming isn’t as extravagant, and the resort itself is not going to have a lot of extra “frill” to enjoy. The value resorts include the 3 All Star resorts (All Star Movies, All Star Sports, and All Star Music), Pop Century resort, and, I believe, they include Art of Animation in there as well. Pop Century resort just received a face lift in it’s rooms, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s been well done. And, according to Disney Tourist Blog, the All Stars will be receiving a similar face lift until about midway through next year. While the overall resort theming will seemingly stay the same, the rooms really needed an upgrade to step out of the 90’s. These upgrades will likely cause for an slight increase in price, but the value of these resorts as an option on a budget is still fantastic.

The moderate resorts come with a slight price increase, but they are more well themed and the rooms are larger. The moderate hotels include Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. These hotels have a very concise theme, and it really brings you into the Disney World feeling. Deciding to choose a moderate hotel is really about your personal preference. Something to keep in mind is that the lower end moderate hotels (Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach) are VERY large resorts. But, that doesn’t mean you’re forced to walk from the main check in area all the way to your building every night. There are multiple bus stops around the resort to take you as close to where you need to be. There really is something about the added theming and the larger, more decorated rooms that makes the moderate resorts a really great option if you have some more wiggle room with your budget.

Deluxe resorts are not something I’m going to get into here, as most people my age probably can’t afford that quite yet. But, if you can, please let me know how you do and how I can too!