Saving money on a Disney Vacation or while you’re in the parks doesn’t have to be elusive. It’s easy when you know where to look for deals, where to cut corners, and how to vacation so that you’re saving money before you even get there. Here are all the ways you can Save Money at Disney in 2023.
Sign up for Disney Vacation Information
Ok, to get started with our How to Save Money at Disney list, it’s important to do all the things that automatically get you on the Disney nice list. Make sure you have a My Disney Experience account and have signed up for the Adventures by Disney or Disney Vacation Club Vacation Information digital content or DVD. Even having an account on shopDisney.com, which automatically syncs to your My Disney Experience account sends the signal that you mean business and are ready to take a Disney vacation. Why is this important? Because in order for Disney to send you deals, discounts, show you ads as you’re searching through Google, they need to know you exist. Signing up for stuff means you’ll be the first to know.
Sign up for Emails
Another tried and true trick to get those email discounts is to just make sure you’re signed up for all the Disney emails. Discounts are generated to guests who routinely visit the Disney website, or add vacations to their carts and then don’t checkout. Much like any good “abandoned cart” email you see from retailers, Disney has the same things in place. So you can take advantage of it, by browsing your vacations months ahead of your planned booking to score the best deals. Sign up for a Disney account here.
Subscribe to Disney Plus for Disney Park Special Offers
Believe it or not, just being a subscriber to Disney Plus can get you discounts on resorts and vacation packages. In fact just this year, a 25% discount on rooms and packages was offered for subscribers showing proof of membership to the Disney Plus streaming service. If you’re already subscribing, be sure to keep an eye out for Disney deals.
Visit During the Cheapest Times at Walt Disney World
Make it easy on yourself and plan your Disney vacation during one of the cheapest times of the year. We actually learned this trick on our recent DVC tour. As there is actually a calendar that shows the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World. And frankly, until there is an update to this pricing schedule we’re gonna treat it like the gospel it is. The cheapest times to book usually mean low crowds, lower ride waits, and cheaper ticket and resort rates. Disney calls this the Adventure Season. And if you’re looking to save on your overall trip to Walt Disney World, here are the dates you should consider booking.
Adventure Season is the Cheapest Season to Visit Walt Disney World.
- Sept 1-30
- Dec 1-14
You can explore our Web Story for the Cheapest and Most Expensive Times to Visit Walt Disney World to get a handle on which times of year work best with your budget.
Visit Disney During the Off-Season
Disney’s Off-Season has slowly been dwindling over the last few years. But, the general off-season is before March 4, the end of August to the end of September, and the first three weeks of November. You can check out the Disney World Event Calendar for 2023 for a better idea of major events that could affect your vacation.
Get the Cheapest Tickets to Disney World
Aim for the Cheapest Days to Visit Disney
Disney World has a ticket-by-day structure which means certain days are more expensive than others. Generally, the cheapest days are in January, February, August, and September. Check Disney Ticket Prices.
Only buy tickets for the days you’re in the parks
In general, it’s easy to skip park tickets for your first day or your last day of any Disney Vacation. This gives you time to settle into the resort, look around, and get acclimated. We also love arrival or departure days to be at Disney Springs. A great dinner at Disney Springs on arrival night means you can wake up refreshed for your first day in the parks. If you’re looking to save yet another day without park tickets we always recommend a resort crawl on the monorail, boardwalk, or gondolas. All are free, and no Disney park ticket required.
Not staying on-site? Buy Discounted Tickets
If you’re not buying a Disney Vacation Package and not staying on-site, then buy tickets at a discount. We trust Undercover Tourist for discounted tickets. It’s worth noting that if you’re vacationing at WDW and need a resort and tickets- the package deals are usually cheaper than trying to purchase these things separately.
If Visiting a Water Park, buy the Park Hopper Plus
If the Water Parks are in your plans, consider adding the Park Hopper Plus to your vacation package instead of a water park ticket. While water park tickets will cost you $60 bucks per person per day, a Park Hopper Plus add-on is closer to a 22-dollar upgrade and if you were adding the park hopper anyway, it’s a substantial savings.
Plan for One Park Per Day
If you’re ready to exercise your vacation planning muscle, focus on just doing one park per day. While we love the park hopper and have become somewhat addicted since becoming pass holders, in the good ‘ol days we just planned one park per day. It’s a great way to save some money, and by not getting the park hopper you can maximize your time in each park better. There is so much to do in each park and at the resorts or Disney Springs that one day is hardly enough for one park, let alone multiple parks. Check out the Walt Disney World checklists for each of the four parks so you can plan your one-day per park experience.
The Disney Mid-Day Magic Ticket
If you want to do Disney in tandem with another vacation, or know that you’re not getting the kids out of bed, or the pool, before 12 noon, then grab the mid-day ticket instead. You can save 30 bucks or more just by being a little strategic and realistic about your vacation plans. Why pay for a full-day ticket, if you’re not spending a full day in the parks?
Plan 4 days or more for the Lowest ticket-per-day-prices
One of our favorite ways to save money at Disney is to just Stay Longer!!! At the 4 day mark, tickets begin to dip below 100 bucks per ticket, and at the 6 or 7-day mark, they get close to 60 bucks per day. That said, a longer vacation is always cheaper to some extent just because the per-day ticket price drops. In truth, the best Disney vacations usually last 9-12 days, though we’ll stay for longer whenever we can get it. Check out our How Many Days Should a Disney Vacation Be? post for an overview.
Get the Disney World Specials
Get the Disney Free Dining Plan Offer!
With special dates and resorts released a couple of times a year, it pays to keep an eye on the FREE Dining Plan Offer. Most often you can get this offer when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day vacation package including a Room at Select Disney Resort Hotels and a Ticket WITH Park Hopper Option, but ONLY during special offer times. Keep an eye on this post for updated Free Dining offers. The Free Dining Offers are by far the best Money-Saving Tips for a Disney Vacation in but are SOMETIMES NOT OFFERED. Either way, we always keep an eye out. You can sometimes find this offer in the Bounceback Offer booklet in your Disney Resort Room during your stay if you know where to look.
Regularly Check Disney Special Offer Page
Believe it or not, Walt Disney World’s Special Offer Page is updated FIRST and regularly whenever a new offer drops. This includes room only, package, and free dining deals. Check out the Disney Special Offer page for all current offers.
Book Through a Travel Specialist
Feeling overwhelmed and want to make sure you get the best price on your Disney Vacation? A DIY Disney Vacation isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, Disney Certified Planners are 100% FREE to use! Here are 10 reasons why we suggest using a travel agent. Not only can they help you stay on track with your Disney planning dates and deadlines, but also make sure you’re finding the best deal along the way.
Access Disney’s Website through a Rebate Site first
Ever use Rakuten, formerly Ebates? This rebate site/ app just requires you to go through them first. By typing in your site/ store they’ll redirect you to whatever retailer and then give you a rebate just for shopping. Sign up through this link and you’ll get $10 just for joining! We also like Shopkick to help us earn gift cards.
Save Money on Disney Resorts
Book with a Third Party
Nervous about booking with a third party? We have talked about booking Disney through a third party before. And yes, truthfully, Disney themselves is sometimes just cheaper. BUT, to Save Money at Disney, a third-party deal is always worth a look before a final decision. We most like hotels.com for Disney resort stays. After you make a reservation you can call Disney and connect your room to your My Disney Experience account.
Stay Off Property
We’re always a little hesitant about staying off the property on a Walt Disney World vacation. Mainly because so much of the magic is about staying on-site. Especially when Value Resorts can go as low as 60 bucks during deal times. But, if you’re staying far enough outside of Orlando or combining a beach or a Universal Studios vacation, it may be your cheapest option. We most like Holiday Inn Express for the Free Continental Breakfast and cheap rates. Check out our pros and cons of staying off property post.
Saving Money at Walt Disney World
Take the DVC Tour on your first day
Ever consider the Disney Vacation Club? Depending on where you’re staying you have the chance to get up to a 150-dollar gift card just for taking the tour. And seeing what the DVC is all about. Plus ice cream in the ice cream parlor afterward. Not too sales-y, these people really just want to clear up all your curiosities. It’s a win-win. You get transported at a time of your choice to and from the DVC office where you’ll get the spiel on cost, benefits, etc. plus take a tour of a DVC villa while you’re there. Then you can use that gift card for a meal or souvenirs later, regardless of whether or not you decide to become a DVC member.
Be Strategic about Meals
If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, food can be the most expensive thing! In our Disney Dining Budget post, we shared that you need about 80-100 dollars a day/ per person just for food- and that’s including 1 quick service, a snack/drink, and 1 sit-down meal. It’s not even including full sit-down breakfast, so that amount could definitely go up. That said, there are ways that you can save money on food. Plan for a light breakfast in your room by packing granola bars, yogurt, pop tarts to hold you over until lunch. Limit your sit-down meals to just 3 or 4 for your entire vacation. And plan quick service meals (closer to 15 dollars a person) for the rest of them.
A little planning ahead of time when you’re booking your table service restaurants can give you insight as to per-person costs. Remember, Disney automatically charges an 18% gratuity for parties of 6 people or more. If you’re looking to Save Money at Disney and be serious about it, check out how to set up your Disney Dining Budget to make sure you’re not dropping thousands on food.
Buy Disney Giftcards at a Discount
Gift card hacks are becoming the norm! Whether you’re buying your gift cards at a local store that gives you discounts on gas or groceries OR saving 5% at Target on Disney gift cards when you use your RedCard be on the lookout for gift card deals to get you to Disney a little cheaper.
Use your Disney Magical Extras!
One of the Best Ways to Save Money on a Disney Vacation is with Magical Extras. With your vacation package, you will get a card that offers miniature golf, access to the ESPN complex, and coupons for tons of restaurants and stores at Disney Springs. So you can save 10% or more on everything. Check out the Magical Extras for 2023 here.
Grab the FREE Souvenirs at Disney World
Those Disney gift shops can get dangerous! Mainly because you always need another poncho, pair of Mickey Ears, snacks or gift you forgot to grab for someone. So, make this easy on yourself and just try to grab all the Free Disney Souvenirs instead! While a celebration button may not make a great gift for someone, it may help you get free things like cupcakes, congratulations, and special treatment across the parks. And don’t forget to play the fun and free Disney Games for digital and physical souvenirs too. Check out all the Disney Souvenirs for Free you can grab on your next vacation.
Use the EPCOT Festival Kitchens to Supplement Meals
While there is nothing like a good sit-down dinner, during EPCOT festivals, you can actually get away with just eating a few dishes from the outdoor kitchens. Definitely take advantage of this major way to save money at Disney. By not footing the bill for lunch or dinner costing upwards of 100 bucks. Instead, have everyone in your party choose 2 or 3 dishes at the festival to hold them over instead. That bill can easily go from like $50 bucks a person to $15, so it’s a great option if you’re sticking to a Disney Dining Budget.
And if you’re visiting during the cheapest times to go to Disney World there are festivals that annually happen during each of these date ranges.
- Jan- February Festival of the Arts
- March- July Flower and Garden Festival
- July- November Food and Wine Festival
- November- December Festival of Holidays
Beware the Annual Price Increases at Walt Disney World
Ahhh, Walt Disney World Price Increases. Every February, June, and October, historically, we’ve seen price increases on tickets, rooms, and/ or annual passes. If you’re hoping to renew a pass or book a vacation do so before these months in general. While we sometimes hear ahead of time about the looming price hikes at Disney, sometimes they drop without warning. Don’t get caught off guard. If you’re looking for a cheap vacation, booking sooner with the deals available now is usually going to be cheaper than waiting.
Money-Saving Tips for a Disney Vacation
Need more ideas? Check out our 13 Ways to Save Money post and our Disney on a Budget post to get you started. Hopefully, this has given you a look at a ton of ways to save on your vacation. While we never suggest going completely budget-focused on a Disney Vacation, if you’re aim is just to get there…there are tons of ways to do just that, and can sometimes be cheaper than other family vacations. Just be sure to avoid the hidden fees at Walt Disney World along the way, to keep your budget on track.