It’s no secret that you’ll be shelling out a pretty penny when you visit Disney World between the cost of the hotel, park tickets, food, merchandise, and more. In fact, a trip to Disney has become so expensive that many park-goers are stuck wondering if it’s even affordable for a family of four anymore.
But, your Disney World trip doesn’t have to break the bank! Sure, you know to check out all of the potential hotel and ticket discounts — but did you know there are some ways to save that Disney DOESN’T tell you!? Here are six SNEAKY ways that you can save money in Disney World!
Buy a kids’ meal at a Quick Service restaurant if you’re not a big eater!
Do you find yourself throwing out half of your meal when you dine in Disney World because the portion sizes are just a bit too big for your theme park going belly? Well, you’re missing out on a BIG way to save! If a smaller meal will fill you up, you can save a few bucks each meal by ordering a kids’ meal at Quick Service locations — and those bucks can really add up!
Many Quick Service spots offer a kids’ menu in addition to the regular menu, but you don’t have to be a kid to order a kids’ meal at these restaurants! Instead, you can snag a smaller portion for a more reasonable price by picking your choice of kids’ meal.
This is something that we do a lot of when we’re visiting the parks because it enables us to snack on some of our favorite eats and drinks (like the beloved Cheeseburger Pods from Satu’li Canteen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom) without getting too full or going over budget.
Keep in mind that most Table Service restaurants don’t allow adults or even kids over a certain age to order off of the kids’ menu, so this trick is Quick Service-approved only.
If you get a merchandise discount, buy your bottled beverages in the stores.
There are a lot of different ways to get discounts in Disney World merchandise stores. Whether you’re an Annual Passholder, a Disney Vacation Club Member, or part of another discount group, those savings can make a BIG difference in your budget.
Yes, it’s important to ask about your discount when you check out in Disney World but it’s ALSO important to know where to buy something! What are we talking about exactly? A super sneaky way to save is to buy your bottled beverages (like Dasani water or sodas) in a merchandise store instead of at a beverage cart when you’re in the parks — that way you can apply your discount!
Of course, you can also snag free ice water from most quick-service locations in lieu of paying for bottled water. But, in those situations where you do need bottled water, soda, or Powerade, this is one way to save that most people miss out on!
Head to Character Warehouse or online for park souvenirs in advance!
Look, there’s no getting around it — when you’re in Disney World, you’re likely going to hear the siren call of some new merchandise. We get it, there are some awesome souvenirs to choose from! And trust us, your kids will probably want a souvenir of their own too.
But, do you really have to take a beating to the wallet anytime you walk into a store in the parks? Not necessarily!
Instead of waiting to do your shopping until you’re in the parks staring at a wall of Disney plushes, take your kiddos to the Disney Character Warehouse at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets or head online in advance of your trip to pick out your souvenirs at a cheaper price. You can often find the same or different-but-still-great merchandise at off-property souvenir shops or online on shopDisney.
That way, when you’re strolling through Main Street Emporium, you don’t have to swing for the $30 Mickey Plush since you already snagged one for just $10 or $15!
Make a late-morning dining reservation.
Would you believe us if we told you that WHEN you make your Table Service reservation can actually SAVE you money in Disney World? It’s true! If you’re looking to pay a little less for your sit-down meal, try making that advance dining reservation for late morning and get ready to brunch!
There are a few money-saving hacks that happen when you pick this time for a dining reservation. For one, you might have an easier time getting away with eating just two meals in a day because eating a LARGE late breakfast/early lunch can hold you over all the way until dinner. This ends up saving you what you otherwise would have spent on a smaller earlier breakfast or lunch.
Plus, if you book a late breakfast reservation at a buffet, they might change over the buffet offerings during your reservation meaning that way you can fill up on not just breakfast food, but lunch food too!
Buy a Disney Gift Card at Sam’s Club or Target with a discount!
If you’ve got a Sam’s Club membership or a Target Red Card, consider using your discounts to buy Disney Gift Cards ahead of your trip! This is a sneaky way to save a few bucks and end up with “free” money.
What kind of savings are we talking about? The Target Red Card, for instance, gets you 5% off on purchases at Target — including those Disney Gift Cards. So, you could end up paying $95 for a $100 gift card! When every dollar counts, this can be a great trick.
Check shopDisney prices and discounts before buying something in Disney World.
Finally, if you ARE shopping for merchandise in Disney World, keep your phone handy! Oftentimes, you can find the same merchandise that you’re seeing on the shelf online on shopDisney but the prices are NOT always equal! For example, we’ve found face masks, mugs, and even designer Disney bags available for less online compared to in-stores.
So, be sure to check shopDisney for the souvenir you’re interested in before you make your purchase, and keep an eye out for when discounts pop up online too. You might be able to save on that new t-shirt by ordering it online instead!
Click here to see ALL of the Disney World 50th Anniversary Merchandise You Can Get Online Right NOW!
We hope these sneaky tips help to save you some money on your next Disney World trip! And, for more ways to save on your 2022 Disney World trip, check out our video below!
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What are YOUR best tips for saving money in Disney World? Tell us in the comments!DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.