That title grabbed your attention, right? Well stick with me here, this is not clickbait. I’d like to explore some options on how to take a trip to Disney for free. Now free does not mean without effort or planning. Let get started with the planning part, shall we?
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links.
The Cost of Disney Vacation
For 5 days, 4 people and standard park tickets (no park hopper option) staying at a Disney Spring ‘off-site’ Disney hotel (note, these are average prices. Prices can change at any moment):
April 13-17th : $2,826
July 13-17th $2,6158
October 12-16th $2,475
December 14th-18th $ 2,841
Picking a random week. No ticket deal. Four single park tickets for 4 days would be approximately $2,000. This would be if you don’t want to stay on Disney property and are buying your tickets a la carte. ( some links in this post are affiliate links)
Airline Travel to Orlando
Now first things first you have to get to Orlando. There are a lot of airline options flying to Orlando. When we fly we typically pick the cheapest option. I wish we had been more brand loyal. We have recently changed our thinking and have been trying to fly Southwest as much as possible. Southwest still flies most places we want to go, including to Hawaii this summer! In order to get tickets to Hawaii, we changed our credit card and started using the mid-tier Southwest Chase Credit Card. Airline credit cards including this Southwest Card often have a sign-up bonus that can jump-start your miles balance. You can turn your everyday spending into free airplane tickets to Orlando. ( Obviously using credit responsibly is important)
When we signed up for the Southwest Card they were offering a 40,000 miles bonus. Southwest offers something called a companion pass. After reaching a certain amount of miles (125,000) or flights (100) in a year you can pick one person to fly with you for free. I wish we would have timed the application of our card toward the beginning of the year because the 40,000 miles bonus counts towards earning the companion pass. Once you earn the companion pass it is good for the year you earn it and the next calendar year. We don’t fly enough to rack up miles the old fashioned way but the credit card has helped us earn miles.
Hotels in Orlando
Next, you need to decide where you want to stay. There are so many choices for accommodations in Orlando. Here is another opportunity to turn credit card points or loyalty points into a free hotel room. We have stayed at a variety of Hilton brand hotels in Orlando. You can use Hilton Honors points or use another loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy to stay at hotels close to Disney Property. For example, the Hilton Bonnett Creek is a great hotel very close to Disney Springs. Rooms range from 60,000 -90,000 points a night depending on the time of the year. The Swan and Dolphin Hotels are a short boat ride away or a 20-minute walk to the magic. The Swan and Dolphin are both members of the Marriott Bonvoy family.
Now if you are not brand loyal or don’t travel often then Hotels.com might be a good fit for you to earn free rooms. There are a variety of hotel rooms ranging from villas with full kitchens, which we love, to standard hotel rooms.
Now maybe you want to fully immerse yourself in all the Disney magic and stay at a Disney resort. You can stay at a Deluxe resort for less by renting DVC points. You can read all about our experience here.
However, we still need to pay for our rooms and tickets. This is an article on getting to Disney for free after all. Here is where the effort comes in. I already have a post on my favorite “side hustles” I’m going to break this down a little more.
Earning Extra Money for Disney
I use Swagbucks, a lot. Last year I made $1,010 using this website. Typically I cash out my earning on this site into Paypal. Then I take that money and buy discounted gift cards at target with my red card, saving me 5%. ( I pay off the target card with my Paypal stash) That earned me an extra $40 over the course of the year. So in two years of savings, I would have $2,090 almost enough for the entire quote for a 5 day Disney trip. You can read more about how Swagbucks works on my post here.
Update: Check out how I saved money on Disney gift cards with Capital One Shopping Portal.
I have also learned how you can “erase” purchases using points with your Capital one Credit Card. Here is a referral link to the card I use. It also gives you a $300 travel credit each year which can also come in handy!
I also use other survey sites. I made $90 last year on Ipso Survey site. Additionally, just by searching the internet I was able to score $55 in Amazon gift cards for reading the news on Bing.com.
These sites are not going to make you rich or let you quit your day job, however, they might just help you take that vacation that seems a little out of reach. A little work every day on these sites can add up. I do have a full-time day job, kids, a social life and weekly blog posts to write. I don’t spend all day answering surveys but I do have some tricks up my sleeve. If you have questions, find me on Instagram and I’ll be glad to share my secrets.
The verdict: With a year or two of saving money made via online side hustle and leveraging hotel and airline loyalty points a Disney vacation can be yours with very little if nothing out of pocket.
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Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links.