A trip to Disney World is every child’s dream. Parents near and far tote their children down to Florida for family vacations filled with Mickey-shaped treats, movie-inspired rides and shows featuring their favorite characters. With four parks dedicated to international culture, Hollywood movies, wild animals and the magic of Disney, there is a lot to do—and it all requires spending money.
Here are five tips that will help you save money at Orlando’s Disney parks.
Grab Multi-Day Passes
If you’re going to spend a week exploring Disney World (or even a few days), you’ll definitely want to check out the multi-day passes. Instead of paying full price each day, these tickets allow you to get discounted prices—and the more days you buy, the cheaper it is. Admission for one day is between $97 and $105, depending on which park you visit (slightly cheaper for kids), but a 5-day ticket comes to $315. This brings each ticket to only $63, which is a significant savings if you plan to visit each of the parks.
Don’t forget that children under the age of three are free at all Disney parks.
Be prepared to pay $17 per day for parking if you’re driving yourself around Disney World. To cut down on these hefty fees, consider using Disney transportation. If you’re flying into Orlando and staying at a Disney-run resort, Disney’s Magical Express will pick you up at the airport and deliver you to your hotel.
What’s even better is the complimentary transportation for hotel guests around Disney World. Between the buses, boats (water taxis and ferries) and ever-famous Monorail, you will have no problem getting from your room to the parks as well as Downtown Disney. This might take a little more time than driving yourself but you will save quite a bit of money and give your sore feet a little time to rest.
Create Your Own Autograph Book
There is so much excitement surrounding Disney World. The attractions bring kids’ favorite movies to life, but meet-and-greets with characters add an extra element for little ones. With places like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Donald’s Dining Safari, where kids can dine with their favorite Disney characters, and others wandering the park, an autograph book is a must. But why spend extra money on the book? A better option is to create your own especially if you have more than one child.
Get your child excited for your upcoming trip. Buy a small notebook along with some stickers and markers or paint pens. Instead of a manufactured book, they can decorate their own, complete with their name and stickers featuring their favorite Disney characters. When every child at Disney World has the same autograph book, the DIY masterpiece will stand out and give your little one something to smile about.
Dress to Impress—Before You Get There
Boutique shops that offer dress-up services have become especially popular, allowing kids to dress up as little princes and princesses. Downtown Disney’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will transform your little girl into a princess, complete with hair styling, make-up, dresses and accessories. Similarly, your little one can visit the Magic Kingdom’s Pirate League to be transformed into a swashbuckling pirate with make-up and a Jack Sparrow-esque outfit. Each of these offer specialty packages that can cost as much as $200. Cut the cost and purchase your own costumes before the trip. That way, kiddos can still dress up but you won’t have to spend the extra cash.
Avoid the Disney Dining Plan
Although the Disney Dining Plan is only for guests of Disney resorts, you may not want to purchase it even if you have the chance. The plan includes one quick-service meal, one snack and one table-service meal per person for each night of your trip. But with a price of about $60 per night, it probably won’t be worth it. Hunt for cheaper meals within the park or do some grocery shopping ahead of time so you can bring your own snacks and a light lunch then you’ll only have to splurge on a Disney dinner.
The plan would also probably be too much food for a child. Some children are hearty eaters but others pick at their meals so if you skip the plan, consider sharing your own meal with your kiddo instead.