I meet people all the time who become excited as soon as they hear I plan Disney vacations, and we’ll immediately start chatting about their dream vacation to Disney World with their children or grandchildren. Many times, though, their expressions will quickly change, and they’ll add, “but my family can’t afford a Disney vacation.” Time and time again, people have told me other family members had spent “$10,000” on a Disney trip, so here is a family standing in front of me who believes that their family of four can never afford to take that dream vacation and travel to Disney World. I am pleased to say, “Yes, you can!”

While yes, you can certainly go all out and splurge on a deluxe villa, a premium dining plan, lots of shopping and special excursions and spend a lot of money on a trip to Disney World, but you can also spend only a fraction of that and have a fabulous vacation with your family or friends. Here are some ways to keep costs down:

Choose a Value or Moderate Resort. While Deluxe resorts have some great extra amenities, most families don’t spend a lot of time in their hotel room.
Disney has offered various discounts over the years, to include a discount on the room or free dining with qualifying packages. (Resort + tickets) Take advantage of these discounts, if you can.
Sign up for a Disney Visa! Disney Visa card members often get advance booking on Disney’s discounts, and you can take advantage of merchandise discounts with your Visa in many of Disney’s shops.
Avoid major holidays and school breaks when the parks will be at their busiest. Not only might you have a more enjoyable time away from severe crowds, you’ll be able to see a lot more in less time than if you visited during peak season.
Choose BASE tickets instead of PARK HOPPER tickets to cut the price of tickets if you don’t mind being limited to one theme park per day. If you are only visiting for 3 or 4 days, you may want to consider the Park Hopper option. Otherwise, you can stretch a longer vacation out by visiting only one park per day and even spending some relaxing time at the pool or strolling through Disney Springs.
Did you know Disney even has campsites where you can pitch a tent for as little as $79 a night?
All resort rooms have a mini fridge where you can keep breakfast items and staples. Eat breakfast in your room and pack a lunch for the park. If the cost of eating in the parks may be the deciding factor in going or not going, this can help to reduce costs greatly.
If your family wants to take advantage of every character dining experience, consider a Disney Dining Plan. As these special character experiences can be quite expensive, a dining plan will often save your family money if you take advantage of the plan.
If your little princess is dreaming of a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover, bring along a special princess dress, a little make-up and hair glitter, and do a makeover in your room! There are also less expensive options, such as a Mermaid Makeover at the Magic Kingdom.
Bring your own souvenirs from home. Pick up Disney items before heading to Orlando, including glow sticks. You can find all sorts of great things at dollar stores, Target, Kohls, and many more local stores and then surprise your kids during your trip.
Work with a Me and the Mouse Travel Planner. Our services are free if you book a Disney package through Me and the Mouse Travel, and we can help find the best vacation for you based on your family’s budget and requirements.


Nancy Wideman

Disney Vacation Planner

Are you looking for a special way to celebrate at Walt Disney World or surprise your family with some fun that many guests don’t even know about? You don’t have to break the bank to do something special. Here is a list of splurges and special treats that can increase the magic and provide the opportunity for even more amazing memories to take home with you from your Walt Disney World vacation.

Stay at a Deluxe Resort or Villa
If you are looking for luxury, comfort, convenience, and superior dining options, a Deluxe resort covers all of these. With larger rooms and queen-sized beds, you can simply spread out and breathe. Convenience is key at these resorts which are located closer to the parks and provide multiple transportation options for you. You’ll also find wonderful table service restaurants so you can opt for a day of relaxation and not have to go far for great dining options. Several of these resorts also offer entertainment or dinner shows. Most villas also offer a full kitchen and a washer and dryer!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Pirates League
Little ones ages 3-12 can be made up like a princess, mermaid or pirate at one of these three locations. With different levels of packages, there is something for every budget. Reservations are highly recommended.

A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME!: The Pirates League is the newest buccaneer adventure in the Magic Kingdom, featuring makeovers that turn theme park guests into savvy swashbucklers. Depending on the pirate package, a trained Pirate Master can transform boys, girls (ages 3 and up) and grownups into pirates, buccaneers and maidens using facial effects, fake scars, removable teeth, hats, bandanas and other costume accessories. Included in each of the three packages offered: a sword and sheath, earring and eye patch, fake tattoo, exclusive pirate coin necklace, map case folder, a personalized pirate oath and a pirate portrait. Guests can make reservations by calling 407/WDW-CREW (939-2739). Theme park admission is required. (Kent Phillips, photographer) bibbidi-bobbidi-boutique-00

A Party!
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the seasons with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Get festive with your favorite Disney characters while you enjoy special entertainment as well as a holiday parade and fireworks. Tickets are limited which also means that lines for attractions and meet and greets are usually shorter.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Then a Dessert Party is just for you! These parties are offered on select nights and often offer special views of fireworks or entertainment.

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Take a Tour!
Disney offers many opportunities for getting a sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes, education or learning more about Disney culture, and they are designed specifically with every guest in mind. There are tours for the whole family as well as adults-only tour options. Go on a private safari, encounter dolphins, go behind the scenes to see how Disney creates some of the magic, take a custom VIP tour, and more!


Specialty Cruises
There are also several options to enjoy Disney on the water. View the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom onboard a cruise in the Seven Seas Lagoon for a night to remember. For kids 4-12, let them sail the seas and search for treasure on a pirate adventure!

Relax at the Spa
Many of the Deluxe resorts and even some Moderate resorts have a spa on-site where you can relax with a massage or any of the other spa services to help wind down after a day in the sun. You do not have to be staying at that resort to make a spa reservation.


Combine Land and Sea
How does your family choose between a visit to Disney World or a Disney cruise? Why choose? Do BOTH! It is easy to combine a visit to Disney World and have play time in the parks before setting sail from Port Canaveral for relaxing and fun days at sea. Both are completely different experiences and cannot replace the other, so combine a land and sea tour to get the best of both worlds!


Take a tour with Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney offers a 7 day/6 night vacation in Central Florida which includes:
– a stay at a Deluxe resort
– a tour, VIP experiences and free time at the Magic Kingdom
– a private tour and guided safari at the Animal Kingdom, plus other VIP experiences
– fun and backstage and VIP experiences at Epcot and Hollywood Studios
– a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, including a tour and lunch with an astronaut
– exciting outdoor excursions in Central Florida, with options like kayaking, airboating in the wetlands, zip lining or horseback riding

There are so many ways to experience Disney that will make your vacation even more memorable. Let us help you find something special!

Nancy Wideman

Disney Travel Agent