Ways to Save Money on a Walt Disney World Vacation

sunset palm trees

This morning I received an email from a travel agency I used to work for advertising a holiday special – a trip for four to Disney World in Florida for around $8,000. The large price tag includes:

-Flights from Fargo to Orlando, Florida
-7 nights at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside
– 6 Day Park Hopper Tickets Included with Disney’s Dining Plan
-Round trip hotel transfers included
-Price based on 2 adults and 2 kids

I don’t know many families that can afford a vacation at that price point. There are many ways to experience a magical Disney vacation without having to take out a second mortgage.

  1. Look at booking airfare through a discount airline like Allegiant or Frontier.
    1. Direct flights from Fargo to Orlando on Allegiant frequently run less than $300 per person. That’s a great deal compared to the major airlines. If you’re close to a major airport, that price drops even lower.
  2. Search for hotel accommodations outside of Disney.
    1. The hotels and resorts on Disney property are pretty amazing. Disney has a knack for getting everything perfect, down to the last detail. The only downside is the price tag. The off-property hotels all around Disney offer great amenities for a fraction of the price. And if you decide not to rent a car, they usually provide transportation to all of the Disney parks.
  3. Reconsider the Dining Plan.
    1. Disney’s Dining Plan may seem like a great deal but the cost adds up quickly – especially if you plan on spending the entire week at the parks. Outside food and drink is allowed in the Disney parks, so bring in your own snacks and drinks and cut your food cost dramatically.
    2. Many people also bring a picnic cooler and leave it in their car. It’s not a bad break from the crowds and congestion to have a picnic lunch outside of the park.
  4. Time your visit to avoid crowds.
    1. Most of your time at a theme park is spent waiting in line. If you can, plan your trip to Disney during the off-peak season. The best time to visit is late August and September. Do not plan your trip over a holiday. Parks (especially the Magic Kingdom) frequently fill to capacity by 10 a.m. and then are forced to turn guests away. Lines can be hours long and just getting down the streets can be a struggle. Do not submit yourself to that chaos.
    2. When you arrive at the parks don’t head to the first attraction you see. Start at the back of the park and make your way to the front. The perfect example of this is at Epcot. At the beginning of the day, you can expect to wait in line for an hour or longer for Spaceship Earth. If you wait until after the fireworks, you’ll usually be able to walk right on without a wait at all.
    3. By getting through the parks quicker you can avoid additional days and entrance fees. Plus, there’s so much to do in the Orlando area outside of Disney that it doesn’t hurt to have a few days to explore other attractions.

Don’t forget there are many things in the Disney World area that are low price or even free.

  1. Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is a fun shopping area that features those fun Disney touches without having to spend money.
    Water at Disney Springs
  2. Disney’s Boardwalk is another free destination that offers restaurants, shops, games, street performers and more.
  3. If you’re in the area during Christmas time, head over to the town of Celebration where it snows every night. You can get photos with Santa, listen to holiday carolers, check out the ice rink, and more. This annual event is free and gives you the opportunity not only to experience snow in Florida but also check out what living in a Disney town would be like.
  4. The Deluxe Hotels are a sight to see and all feature different themed amenities like the Electrical Water Pageant,  which “gives Guests of all ages the chance to marvel at spectacular sights and sounds as sparkling sea creatures—both grand in size and epic in scope—cruise the lagoon to electronic Disney tunes you know and love.”

You don’t have to be rich to afford a Disney World vacation. Set your budget and make a plan that fits your financial situation – and don’t forget to take time to relax. It’s a vacation!

sunset palm trees



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