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