I was included on this tour of Disney's Animation Reserach Library as part of a media event promoting the re-release of The Little Mermaid. My expenses on the trip were covered, but I was...
5 Ways to Spend Less on a Disney Vacation
1. TRAVEL DURING OFF SEASON
When you book a Disney vacation you have to consider more than just the ticket admission. You will need to factor in your hotel, food, possibly airfare and a car rental. All of these prices will quickly add up! If you attempt to travel during the busy season, the price of your Disney vacation will increase dramatically. The best thing you can do to keep your costs down is to travel during the off-season. The most affordable time to travel to Disney parks is mid January to February, mid September to mid October and during the month of March. The price of airfare and hotel room will be much lower, which will save you a nice amount of money.
2. TRY TO EAT BEFORE ENTERING THE PARK
Anytime you travel to an amusement park you will notice that food prices are through the roof! Eating in the park can easily break any budget. A soda can easily cost you $4 to $7, now I think that is just down right crazy. There really isn't a reason to pay those high costs prices for a drink and some food. Bring in your own water and some small snacks. You will want to try to eat breakfast and dinner outside of the park. Now with that said your kids are probably going to want some of the yummy Disney park snacks. Set a daily budget for things like churros, ice cream and other goodies.
3. CHECK TICKET PRICES WITH OTHER VENDORS
Before you buy your tickets from the Disney website, check other places. Sometimes Costco, Sam's Club and AAA will have discounted Disney tickets. It is worth comparing prices before you purchase your tickets. You might also want to follow Disney on Twitter and Facebook for special social media promotions.
4. CREATE MEMORY BOOK
Children love to get souvenirs at Disney but we all know those can be very expensive! Get your child a cheap disposable camera and have him or her take several pictures. Once you get home from your Disney vacation help your child create a Disney memory book. This is a great way for your child to remember their Disney trip without breaking mom and dad's checkbook. Don't forget to take pictures with all the Disney characters.
When you do want to buy souvenirs, I find that Target always has some nice ones as does Walmart. I check them both here before leaving and once while in Orlando preferably before visiting parks. I find Mickey Mouse t-shirts and many other Disney things that would make perfect souvenirs.
My other favorite place to hit every time we go to Orlando has to be this one (note there are two locations):
Disney's Character Warehouse at the Orlando Premium Outlets
8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 (407) 477-0222
4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 354-3255
While these are the only two official Disney Outlets in the Walt Disney World area, please note that since a lot of the merchandise is discounter and discontinued, it tends to be hit or miss. However, I have also found some amazing hidden gems in the form of clothing that is still full price at the park but about half of that at these stores. These outlet stores are NOT to be missed.