How can I do Disney on a budget?

In the land of make-believe and fairy tales, the idea of doing Walt Disney World on a budget might seem to be stretching the imagination a little too far, however with some advance planning, and an eye for a bargain, it’s perfectly possible to have a great vacation at a relatively affordable cost. Here are a few tips:

Plan at home

Before setting off, take the chance to monitor the availability of discount vouchers for anything that will be useful when on vacation. For example restaurant offers by chains or discount codes that are released periodically to reduce the cost of a hotel stay at Disney World, no matter when the vacation actually takes place. A good store of these will help to reduce the costs of both your accommodation and food.

Know when to go

Start with when is the cheapest time to go; definitely choose to have a vacation off-season rather than taking a trip during the most popular times. Avoiding Thanksgiving Week is essential, instead choose a period during mid-November through mid-December or mid-January through mid-February. Prices will also be cheaper during the early part of May and through September.

Book your transport well ahead of time to get the best possible deals. The Magical Express service takes visitors from Orlando airport to their resort, and there is plenty of transportation available on site, including frequent bus services, boats and a monorail.

Know where to stay

Having booked a trip during the “value season”, choosing accommodation means selecting what suits your budget. Resorts are divided into five categories, Deluxe being the high end, the most select and therefore the most expensive. The Moderate category offers a better deal and the Value category is the most inexpensive – yet it still provides the opportunity to enjoy a full Disney themed resort experience.

The other options are to go camping in one of the campgrounds, with or without a cabin as there’s space for pitching tents or parking up an RV. Or why not rent a villa at the Disney Vacation Club (DVC)? This is cheaper if done directly via a DVC owner? Off-site hotels or villas close to the Disney gates will be cheaper than utilizing the accommodation on site.

Buy your tickets in advance

Tickets bought at the gate are much more expensive than those bought well in advance. The length of stay also makes a difference – the longer the stay the cheaper the per-day expense.

By using a good broker you will be able to get your Disney tickets at the best possible price.

Walt Disney World is vast and it’s unlikely every single resort and park will be included in a single vacation. It’s best to focus on base tickets covering a few key attractions, such as Magic Kingdom or Disney Studios, and dispensing with the Park Hopping option will save money.

Eat smart

Eating out is a fun part of any vacation and it’s not necessary to eat in all the time just to save money. When dining out a good balance can be achieved by eating at full-service restaurants during lunch hours, when the menu will be cheaper than the evenings, and selecting counter service restaurants where generous portions can easily be shared.

Top image by Christian Lambert