Disney World has experienced SEVERAL major changes (and several major price increases) recently. And we’ve been burning the midnight oil figuring out how to help YOU not get burned.
We’re gonna talk about some NEW ways to save big bucks in 2023 – by skipping some things you shouldn’t splurge on.
Whether it’s a few bucks more or a few HUNDRED bucks more — Disney likes to throw potential extra expenses your way to tack onto your already-pricey vacation bill. And, depending on you and the group you’re traveling with, these “extras” might not do you much good in the long run.
Now, these additional costs that COULD be worth it… but could also become an unnecessary splurge you wish you wouldn’t have invested in. So we advise thinking them through before you pull out your debit card or scan your Magic Band!
Preferred Parking at each of the Disney parks is $45-$50 per day — just for the ability to park closer to the front gate. And that COULD be worth it if you wanna make sure you’re not parked WAY out in the boonies when you arrive later in the day. But, oftentimes, you’ll still be able to park fairly close to the front if you get up and around for those Early Theme Park Hours (which allow ALL resort guests to enter any of the parks on any day 30 minutes before they open for the rest of the public).
Even if you arrive by rope drop, you should be able to snag a parking spot closer to the gate, rather than further back. Unless you REALLY don’t wanna risk parking further out, you can skip this extra expense. (Not to mention — even if you DO get preferred parking at Magic Kingdom, you’re still gonna have to take a ferry, monorail, or bus over from the Transportation and Ticket Center and up to the front gate of the park.)
FREE Overnight Hotel Parking Returning to Disney World
Deluxe Resorts can be a major unneeded extra expense if you only plan on using your hotel room to sleep in and… really nothing else.
Deluxe resorts have a lot of different amenities, recreational activities, and dining options — not to mention, some swanky rooms — but if all your energy is gonna be focused strictly on your park visit and not your resort visit, then staying at a value resort can help cut the price of your stay each night by HUNDREDS of dollars.
Ranking Disney World’s Value Hotels
Park Hoppers give you the ability to explore multiple parks in a single day, but ONLY after 2PM rolls around. Before 2PM, you can only explore the park you’ve made park pass reservations for.
If you’ve got the time to thoroughly explore each park during your vacation, then you can get the standard single day tickets and save yourself the extra $65-$85 per ticket. But if your trip is gonna be shorter (maybe even a weekend excursion), then park hoppers can help you cover a lot of ground in a smaller time frame.
23 Tips That Make Your Disney World Trip Easier
If you’re looking to use the new features of the MagicBand+ (ie: the lights and haptic vibrations that are triggered by the nighttime spectaculars, golden character statues, and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Bounty Hunter game), then — by all means — make that $36-$46 investment.
But if you’re just looking for a MagicBand that’ll hold all of your reservation information, the OG MagicBands are still capable of doing that. You can also hold all of that reservation information for FREE on your My Disney Experience App — if you wanna skip the MagicBand/MagicBand+ purchase entirely.
The Important Secret About Your MagicBand+
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Letting your kiddo get an official Disney Princess/Prince makeover can be a really cute experience!
But if you know they’re gonna hate having their hair messed with for an extended amount of time, or they’re gonna want out of that new outfit just as soon as they get into it (because those little costumes can be HOT to wear around the parks all day!), then paying that $100-$230 price could wind up being a rather frustrating investment.
Best Disney World Rides for Toddlers
Buffets are great for folks who are super hungry and plan on making the most out of this prix-fixe price — meaning they’re READY to fill up their plates MULTIPLE times to get their money’s worth.
However, if you’re someone who’d rather eat several smaller meals throughout the day — rather than eat one LARGE meal to keep you satisfied for a good long while — then it’s best to skip the buffet and focus on the quick service restaurants and snack kiosks around the parks instead.
The ULTIMATE Buffet Hack You Must Try in Disney World
When you purchase Memory Maker for your Disney World trip, you’ll be able to keep ALL the PhotoPass pictures you take around the parks. (Including the candid ones on the rides that we’re never EVER prepared for, even though we know EXACTLY where the picture’s gonna be taken.)
Disney tries to pitch you this “really great deal” by telling you to add this Memory Maker option BEFORE your trip to save an extra $30 on your purchase. But even with that $30 savings, you’re STILL gonna wind up paying $169 for this add-on. And let’s be real here — how many of us really want every single one of those PhotoPass pictures to have and to hold, forever and ever, amen?
You don’t HAVE to pay for Memory Maker before your Disney World vacation to take PhotoPass pictures around the parks. Instead, you can opt to skip the Memory Maker entirely and just pay for the pictures you want AFTER your trip in an a la carte fashion. Two 4X6 prints will cost you $18.95 — while one 5X7 print will cost $20.95.
That means, technically, you could still purchase up to 8 different 5X7 PhotoPass Pictures before you start to break even with the Memory Maker package. BUT if you wanna skip the added prices entirely, you can always just… well… use your own devices! You can even ask PhotoPass cast members to take a picture of your group with your personal phone, and they’ll happily oblige — free of charge!
Genie+ Adds FREE PhotoPass Downloads in Disney World
OK, ready for a rather SHOCKING savings tip? (No, seriously, this one’s gonna BLOW YOUR MIND.)
Consider Cheating on the Disney Resorts
GASP! Are we KIDDING here? How SCANDALOUS! Nope. Not kidding. Although Disney World does have its value resorts, even a stay at Disney’s All-Star Sports can wind up costing you up to $200 per night during those busier seasons. So you may wanna check in on those Good Neighbor Hotels (that partner with Disney but aren’t owned by Disney). Or, in an even MORE scandalous turn of events, you may just wanna flat-out check on other reliable hotels within the Orlando area, Good Neighbor or not.
So what’s one of the best ways you can save money by NOT staying directly in a Disney World Resort? Sign up for (you guessed it) REWARDS! There are SO many different (and reliable) loyalty programs that can help you save money while traveling. And I don’t mean just traveling to Disney World, but traveling ANYWHERE. You just have to find out what works best for YOU (and read up on all the details of what’s being offered to make sure it lines up with what you expect).
The Hotel Points System Tricks You’re Not Using, But Should Be
That’s our list of some pretty easy ways to save money on your Disney World trip in 2023! Our BEST tip for sticking with your budget at Disney World will forever be to plan ahead – especially for dining! When you buy our DFB Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World, you’ll get immediate access to our downloadable worksheets for planning your trip, as well as sample one-day dining itineraries! And as a DFB reader, you’re entitled to a discount! Use code WDW2023 for 25% off your purchase.
We’ve got lots more planning advice on the blog, too! Check out these posts:
- Nasty Travel Problems You’re Not Prepared For in 2023
- Why You Should Be Careful Staying at These Disney World Hotels in 2023
- DFB Video: The BEST Times To Go To Disney World in 2023
- 51 Free Things To Do in Disney World in 2023
Keep following Disney Food Blog for the BEST vacation planning advice!
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How do you save on your Disney World vacations? Share your tips in the comments!
Indeed I won’t ever purchase memory maker again it’s just too expensive! It’s so much more costly efficient to purchase the photos that I want.