When I became a stay-at-home mom, I knew we would have to scale back on our vacation budget in order to keep making our regular trips to the Walt Disney World Resort. I’ve put together a list of 5 great ways we save money, while still having a blast at Disney! Hopefully, some of these tips will work for your families as well.
1. Bring your own food. Meals, snacks, and drinks at Disney Parks can be quite pricey. We save quite a few bucks by bringing our own food items. We usually eat a quick breakfast of muffins, cereal, breakfast bars, and/or fruit in our hotel room before heading for the parks. We also pack our own snacks to take with us for the day. Some of our favorites to pack are fruit cups, granola bars, fruit snacks, and snack crackers. We also pack a couple of water bottles, and refill them at the water fountains at the park during the day. Occasionally, we make sandwiches in our room and pack them in a soft cooler to take with us for lunch in the parks. If staying in a Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Cabin or a Deluxe Resort Villa equipped with a kitchen, you can make family-sized meals in your room. Some of our favorite meals to make in the Cabins are spaghetti and tacos. Easy to make and easy on the budget! We live within a three hour drive to Walt Disney World, so packing up groceries is not a big issue for us, but if you have a lengthy drive or are flying, you still have an option here. There are many grocery delivery services in the Orlando area that will deliver groceries at current store prices directly to your resort. Lisa Mc’s review of Garden Grocer can be found here and the direct link to their site is on the Magical DIStractions home page.
2. Bring dress-up clothes from home. Kids love to dress up while spending a day in the parks; mine sure do! However, similar costumes and accessories can be found at less expensive prices at stores in your hometown. Wal-Mart and Target have great prices on costumes that look very similar to ones that can be found at Walt Disney World. I have even gotten great deals on princess dresses at the Disney Store after Halloween and Christmas. Hand-me-downs are also great!
3. Bring glow sticks from home. When the sun begins to go down, the carts with all of the glow merchandise make their way around the theme parks. If your children are anything like mine, that is when the begging begins. On our last trip in October, I picked up four glow necklaces for a total of $2 at Target. My girls were completely satisfied with their necklaces, and didn’t give another glance to the merchandise on the carts.
4. Use Gift Cards for Souvenir Purchases. My oldest is four years old and she is beginning to understand the concept of spending your own money. On our future trips, we will be getting her a gift card with a pre-loaded amount of money to use for her souvenir purchases. Once she spends the amount we allotted for her, then her money is done. It’s a great way to stick to a budget, and will teach her a good lesson about spending money wisely.
5. Use a Packing List! I learned this lesson the hard way. Not only should you check off your packing list when you pack your items, but also when you load them into your car. It is really expensive to buy your child a new vacation wardrobe and diaper supplies because you happened to leave her suitcase at home. Trust me. The less you forget, the less you have to spend replacing forgotten items. You can create your own personal packing list, or there are many Walt Disney World specific lists available on Pinterest and here on our site. Some must-pack items include diaper supplies, baby food, formula, sunscreen, raincoats/ponchos/umbrellas, and medicines such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. All of these items are available at Walt Disney World, but much more expensive than if you brought them yourself. I did a little research on the grocery delivery services and found most of these items are available through them at a competitive price, so if you’re flying or don’t have the room in your car, you could order from these services and still stay within a budget.
A Walt Disney World Resort vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. There are lots of ways to get creative with your budget and still have a memorable vacation at The Most Magical Place On Earth!