People wear some very creative shirts at Walt Disney World. Some wear matching shirts for family reunions. Others wear shirts with designs of classic Walt Disney World rides. A pair of shirts I recently saw a couple wearing had the wife's shirt saying "Best Day Ever" and the husbands shirt saying "Most Expensive Day Ever". Yes - a trip to Walt Disney World is expensive. When you consider the cost of transportation, lodging, theme park tickets and food, it certainly can add up quickly. There are, however, ways to control a lot of the costs. Here are a few:
Stay Off Site:
Staying at one of Walt Disney World's resorts is great - but it comes at a price. The best value is to stay off property, either at a value hotel or at a vacation home like our Encore Resort at Reunion villa. If you are staying at our home during a non-peak season, you can book for as under $25.00 per person per night! This is an exceptional saving and you have your own hot tub, pool and unlimited access to an amazing water park.
Avoid Peak Season:
If you want to save money and increase your enjoyment at the parks, avoid the busiest times of the year. Don't even consider Christmas or Easter - the parks are packed and, due to increased demand, prices are higher. Generally, if the kids are out of school, the prices will be higher and the lines will be longer. The best times to go are January through to mid-February, in the fall and early December.
Drive Instead of Flying:
If your distant isn't too far, consider making it a road trip and drive to Florida. This alone can save your family thousands of dollars in airline tickets and rental car expenses. We travel from Ontario to Florida and it generally costs under $300.00 in fuel. Having the car is also super convenient when it comes to going to the grocery stores or coming and going to the parks at our convenience rather than the convenience of the park shuttles.
Discounted Theme Park Tickets:
Check ahead to see if there are any discounted theme park tickets. Universal Orlando will often have a "Buy 2 days, get the 3rd free" promotions. Walt Disney World generally has a deal for Florida residents, Canadians or guest from the United Kingdom. You may also check out CAA, AAA, retirement associations or see if there is a military discount.
Avoid the Park Hopper:
The park hopper at Walt Disney World seems like a great idea. With this optional ticket you can "hop" between Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and/or Hollywood Studios as often as you would like during your ticket period. The park hopper option for a four day ticket will cost you an additional $84 per person. For a family of 5, that $420.00! The reality is, most people are very happy to visit one park per day during a stay in Orlando. Trying to pack in 2 or more parks per day is likely too ambitious for you average Disney exploring family. Save the money and avoid the park hopper.
Eat Breakfast at Home and Bring Your Lunch:
It a little know fact that you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks into Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. If you are staying at our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home, wake up and enjoy a coffee and bagel in the morning before heading to the park. Grab the sandwiches and snacks that you packed the night before and head out knowing that you will save hundreds of dollars on your vacation. Also, bring along a refillable bottle and keep hydrated through the day by filling it up at the water fountains. Forgot your bottle? Go to any quick serve restaurant and ask for a glass of water with ice - no charge!
Free Character Meet and Greet:
One of the fun activities at Walt Disney World is to go to a character dinner that has a number of Disney characters visit the diners during their meals. It's a great time, but generally comes at a cost of about $60 per person for the meal! Want to meet Chip and Dale for free? Head over to Chip 'n Dale's Fireside Singalong at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort. Every night they have a campfire and a movie and, best of all, it's free!
Plan an Off Day by the Pool:
Remember - you are on holiday. Trying to fit in a theme park for every day of your vacation will be exhausting and you will return home more tired than when you left. Set aside a few days to either relax by the pool (and if you are staying at our Orlando vacation home, by your private pool!) or spend the day at a water park (or if you are a guest at our vacation home, spend a day at the 3 acre water park at no additional charge!)
Our whole family will be contributing to this Blog. We write about our experiences and news related to Walt Disney World as well as post our Encore Resort Blog and Reunion Resort Blog