Blog Post,  Planning,  Tips

Tips for Going to Disney World on a Budget

Disney World on a Budget: Disney World is expensive! (I feel like I have started off a few of my blog post like this before- because it’s true!). And for those that know me, know that I am a cheapo. I like to cut corners and save money wherever I can. Even when it comes to Disney. My husband and I are also really big on budgeting (more so my husband, but that’s a different story), and we live in a one-income household in one of the most expensive places to live in the country. (looking at you CT). So if we want to go to Disney World or Disneyland, we need to do it on a budget. This article will tell you some ways to do Disney on a budget without breaking the bank!

(PS: Jen, one of our AMAZING Disney Dream Co. Bloggers, has written many articles all about money-saving and money-earning ideas. Click her name to look through all of her articles to check out her great post!

1. Plan as early as you possibly can

Nicole Ellington

There are a few reasons behind this. The first and most important one is that it allows you to plan a budget and save up for that budget. Let’s say you want to spend $2,000 on your vacation. Saving over two months vs. saving for that same amount over a year is way easier and less stressful.

Disney World allows you to book vacations for only a $200 deposit. Then you have up until 30 days before your vacation to pay it off. This is super helpful and allows us to book the vacation, but not shell out $$$ all at once and lets us save up a bit.

2. Flight apps/ websites

One of the toughest pills for me to swallow when it comes to vacation spending is airfare. It can be crazy expensive! There are a few websites and apps that can make spending all the dough a little more bearable.

  1. Airfare Watchdog– This website is an airfare listing and alert site that continuously tracks airfare data. They keep an eye on sales and deals and send you alerts for the best ones.
  2. Hopper– This is actually the app that I use personally. It’s great because it will keep an eye on multiple flights for you and send you a notification when the price goes down or when the best time to purchase those tickets. I have had pretty good luck with this app.

Another tip that I have for airfare is to check multiple airports. I am lucky that I have 5 airports within an hour an a half from me. Sometimes the cheapest flight is the little tiny airport. The next time I fly the cheapest flight could be out of the big major airport. So look around and see what’s available!

3. Skip the Park Hopper

Nicole Ellington

Now, this might sounds contradictory to what I normally do. I almost always get Park Hopper for my trips! (for those of you that don’t know what Park Hopper is, its an extra upcharge that you can add you your park tickets. This gives you the ability to hop from park to park on the same day). If you are trying to do Disney World on a budget, then this might be a good thing to cut, especially for first-timers. There is so much to do and see in each park, that cutting the Park Hopper will be fine.

4. Go to Disney during the off-season

When you go to Disney World can make a HUGE difference in the cost. For example, We have stayed in Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort in September for $130 a night. I just went to check to the price of the same room the week of Christmas, and it was $215 a night! That’s a huge difference! So if you can get off work/school during non-vacation or break times, I highly advise going then.

5. Dining Plan

Nicole Ellington

Now, at first glance, the dining plan can be expensive. And honestly, it is. But, if you really want to have the experience of eating at fun restaurants every day, then the dining plan is for sure the way to go. It will save you money in the long run inserted of paying out of pocket for every meal that you purchase.

6. Packing your food

I know this sounds completely opposite of the point above, and it is! If you really need to cut corners, then packing your own food and bringing it into the parks is the way to go. Disney allows you to bring in whatever food you may need. Which is great because lots of amusement parks do not allow that. Try Instacart out! This is a great way to get groceries delivered to your resort or hotel. We have done this a few times. It always works out great! In the past, we have ordered bread, lunch meat, fruit, and other easy to pack food.

7. Go Shopping at home before you get to Disney

Disney has an upcharge on thing in the parks that you can easily buy at home. I have actually compiled a list of things that you should buy at home to help save money before entering the parks. Click here to read it! Also, try buying a few souvenirs at home too!

8. Don’t go to the parks for a day

GASP. Did I really just say that?! Yes, I did! Disney World has so much to offer even outside of its parks! If you want to save some moolah, consider buying one less park day then the amount of time that you will be there. Again, I am going to shock you, but I have also written an article on all of the fun things to do on a rest day. Click here to read it!

9. Freebies, Freebies, Freebies!

Nicole Ellington

If we are going to spend a lot of money at Disney World, we might as well get as many freebies as we possibly can! And surprise, surprise- I have already written a blog article with an extensive list of all the free things you can find around the parks! Check it out here!

So what do you think? Did you learn anything new? Do you have any Disney World on a budget tips? Let me know in the comments down below!

I'm a lover of all things Disney! I have an adorable son named Andy (after Toy Story), and an amazing hubby named Aaron. For my family and I, Disney isn’t just a hobby or someplace we casually go when on vacation, it's a way of life. We try to go back 'Home' twice a year. My hope for this blog is to help families navigate their crazy, magical times through Disney and reach their Disney Dream!


  • Dawnmarie @ EnjoyingtheDays

    We almost always go in the off season. Ilthere are less crowds, and it is usually during more pleasant temperatures. The Disney Dining Plan was not cost effective for us, so I think that it is something that people should research before buying it. It works great for a lot of people, just not all people. Oh, and bringing lunch is definitely a money saver!

  • Ashley

    We are going next week! So excited! Definitely agree on skipping the extra day and not doing the park hopper pass. It’s a lot to see and the heat of Florida. I have a large bag full of snack ready for the week I am bringing to help cut on costs. I even bought an insulated mickey thermos to keep water cold for my boys! I had no idea about the FREEBIES!!!!

  • Valerie Fowler

    Disney in the off season is my favorite. ❤️ We’ve lived in both FL and CA, and we homeschool, so we have visited both locations at various times of the year, and it’s so nice to be able to plan for less-crowded times. Our most recent trip to WDW was the first time we did not use the dining plan; now that the kids “count” as adults it isn’t worth it for us anymore. But, it was definitely a huge saver when they were little. Thank you for sharing!

    • Nicole Ellington

      Off- Season is my favorite too! My son is still young (in kindergarten), so I don’t feel bad taking him out of school right now to go when its less crowded. And you are so welcome!

  • Rachel

    Some good points! I’d also throw into the mix Disney gift cards! You can usually find ways to get them at a discount, and they help keep me on track as far as my spending goes! 😉

  • Jenn Summers

    Nicole this really does have some amazing tips reading it again today I just noticed that you can bring lunches into their park! that is so awesome I have never heard of that before. You make the idea of this vacation seems much more reachable than I had been thinking it would be!

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