We’re always looking for ways to “cut a few corners” on our Disney World trips without cutting out any of the FUN and excitement!
And if you’re trying to be a savvy spender when it comes to your vacation budget, we’ve got a few tips to share with you!
A penny saved is a penny earned, dear readers! Besides, the more cash you have left in your pockets after your Disney World trip — the sooner you can start planning your next one! Take these 6 pieces of money-saving advice from us, your Disney food AND “financial” advisors! 😉
Missing Out on Huge Discounts
Nobody wants to miss out on a good time, right? And here’s the bottom line — there’s absolutely NO reason to visit Disney World without taking advantage of some kind of a discount (unless you’re not into saving money! 😉 )! They’re out there, and they’re really not hard to FIND! Disney World makes it super easy to snag a discount at the click of your mouse!
All you have to do is check out the “special offers” tab on Disney World’s website! It’s literally that SIMPLE and it can save you hundreds of dollars! Currently, you’ll find a great discount on Disney World Resort hotels for Annual Passholder and Florida Residents, along with some other awesome deals!
Not Canceling Your Advance Dining Reservations On Time
Here’s a BIG ONE you probably don’t think about — but ya should because it can end up costing you dearly if you sleep on this! If you change your mind about any of your Advance Dining Reservations, make sure you cancel them at least 24 hours in advance to be safe!
Disney World has a cancellation policy that can cost you BIG if you’re not mindful of it! What are we talking about? Say you book a reservation for a group of four at Liberty Tree Tavern and when the day arrives your family isn’t in the mood for traditional American fare after all.
Well, no-showing without canceling within the allotted timeframe will cost you $10 for each person in your party! That’s a gnarly $40 you’re out of pocket right there (think of how many Mickey Pretzels you could buy with 40 bucks!).
You can imagine the ripple effect this could have on your wallet should you have a lot of indecisive eaters in your family, so make sure everyone’s in full agreement before committing to a restaurant — otherwise be sure to “bail out” early!
And another thing to keep in mind — if you choose to forgo any meals that are paid in full ahead of time, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, but don’t give adequate notice, you’ll be out your ENTIRE PAYMENT. Yikes.
Disney World doesn’t play when it comes to canceling dining reservations — and neither should you!
Not Getting the MOST Out of Your Disney Dining Plan
(Please note, the Disney Dining Plan is currently unavailable. However, we’ll be sure to update our readers as SOON as anything changes!) Some people choose to buy the Disney Dining Plan because it allows them to budget for their meals ahead of time (or better yet, maybe they were able to score it for FREE!), but very few know how to wield it properly! It’s a sharp tool for saving (or losing) big Disney bucks if it falls into the wrong hands!
There’s no shortage of food on ANY Disney Dining Plan, especially the higher up you go! The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is the most expensive meal plan and typically feeds us what feels like more food than we normally eat in a MONTH at home! Even the Standard Dining Plan is a LOT of food!
It can be easier than you think to lose money on those Dining Plan credits. Make sure you’re eating the most-costly item on every menu and enjoying that allotted alcoholic beverage with every meal in order to make the plan worth its price.
Another problem you can potentially run into with Disney Dining Plans is having too many unused credits at the end! Say you fill up so much on breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you’re unable to use up your two snack credits per day. (Like we said, there’s A LOT of food included in these generous meals with healthy portions of almost EVERYTHING!)
If you can’t stuff yourself any fuller, you’ll have to eat the cost of those unredeemed snack credits — or any meal entitlements you aren’t able to eat. Unfortunately, you won’t get any money back for anything that’s left after your Disney World trip when it comes to the Disney Dining Plan!
It’s all about “use it or lose it,” so be sure to use it all! Use snack credits in shops like the Main Street Confectionery or World of Disney for pre-packaged snacks like Mickey Krispie Treats or bottled drinks to bring back home with you!
Not Considering Tables in Wonderland
A Disney Dining Plan isn’t the only way to make meals even cheaper at Disney World. There is also Tables in Wonderland! This membership program allows Florida Residents, Disney Vacation Club Members, and Annual Passholders to receive 20% off of all of their food and beverage purchases at the participating Disney restaurants –– INCLUDING alcoholic beverages! You read that right, friends — discounted BOOZE!
A Tables in Wonderland membership is $175 per year for Florida residents, and $150 per year for Disney Vacation Club members and Annual/Seasonal Passholders. Depending on how frequently you visit (and how expensive you like your Disney World food and beverages to be), the potential money you can save with a Tables in Wonderland membership could really stack up!
Click here to learn more about Disney World’s Tables in Wonderland and see which restaurants are eligible!
Not Checking Facebook and Instagram Regularly for Food Discounts
It can really pay to be a follower of some of your favorite Disney World restaurants. Alright, so maybe Aloha Isle and Tony’s Town Square don’t have an official Facebook page or social media account, but many non-Disney owned Disney restaurants do! And they post lots of special offers you’ll want to know about!
We see free cupcake offers all the time for Sprinkles as well as special giveaways for places like Chicken Guy! During the holiday season, restaurants like STK and Wine Bar George have been known to offer discounted gift cards which you can either give to a friend — or just keep for yourself to use! Don’t worry, we won’t tell!
Paddlefish, Terralina Crafted Italian, and more — they all have fun offers on Facebook. A quick like and follow can equal some serious dollars saved on your trip!
We have an exhaustive list of all the Disney World restaurant discounts in our DFB Guide, which you can order HERE!
Not Bringing The Right Stuff
Don’t waste serious $$$ on stuff because you weren’t prepared! First things first, remember to pack what you need before you go! Make sure you think ahead and bring what you need (or MIGHT need) so that you’re not stuck paying theme park prices.
First up: rain ponchos. Purchase these super cheap at a discount store before you leave — they’ll cost you a MINT in Disney World, and while you can get a pop-up shower anytime in central Florida, the summer and early fall months will guarantee you some serious rain on the reg.
Next: warm clothes. I know, I know. You’re in Orlando — it’s HOT THERE. Well, yeah. A lot of the time it is. But in the winter months it can get surprisingly cold…and sometimes that cold comes as a literal surprise! It can be 80 one day and 45 the next. And nights can get really chilly even when the days are warm. Avoid having to buy that $70 Disney World sweatshirt against your will, y’all! Bring layers and a few warmer clothes to make sure you’re not caught off guard!
Now, many basics like sunscreen and sunglasses can be found throughout Disney’s gift shops — but there will be a mega markup. Bring your own from home if you can!
And while you can always have things delivered to your Disney World resort hotel, it will cost you as well!
Find out more details (including how much it’ll cost ya) to have items delivered to your Disney World resort here!
But we KNOW you won’t make any of these mistakes, will you!? Now that you’re armed to tackle Disney World like a money-saving champ, it’s time to go forth and spread the wealth of your wisdom!
And to stay in-the-know with all of the deals you snag at Disney World now and hopefully in future, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter where we dish our tips and tricks on the reg!
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When’s your favorite time of year to visit Disney World and which discounts do you watch out for? Let us know in the comments below!