When it comes to a Walt Disney World vacation there are so many ways to save, and so much more for the saving than just money! Today I'm delighted to share a dozen of my favorite ways to save before, during, and after our Disney vacations!
*I'm not being paid a single shiny penny for this post, and am not affiliated with any company mentioned. These opinions and tips are my personal favorites from years of Disney trip planning experience. I hope you'll find them helpful too! ;)
1. Save Before You Go
If you have trouble sticking to your budget when using a credit card and prefer to purchase your every day expenses with cash, create a Disney piggy bank. Decorate a jar, bucket, or even an emptied oatmeal container with Disney flare! Begin saving the change you get back at the grocery store, gas station, ect.. and toss into your "Disney bank" as soon as you return home. Before your trip, head to your bank and exchange those coins for some Disney dough!
2. Save on the Cost of Your Trip
3. Save on Airfare
My husband and I are both planners. Let me rephrase that. I'm a list maker extraordinaire and he's a spreadsheet creating genius. I usually fill an entire notebook with lists, and create countless "notes" on my iPhone while in Disney trip planning mode. I plan our outfits according to which park(s) we'll be enjoying and restaurants we'll be dining at each day. I jot down our dining wish lists (prior to making our reservations at the 180 day out mark), and our "must do"s for the trip. Basically, I cover what I consider the fun details. Jason, however, is the money saving master when it comes to paying for every aspect of our trip. Seriously, guys, he amazes me! He creates several spreadsheets comparing airfares for every possible combination of flights within the date range we want to go. These spreadsheets and careful calculations have gotten us extended trips for less. I'm so thankful to have an incredible, Disney loving, wise with our money, man!
All that being said, we have found over several years of Disney trip planning, what a difference it makes to compare, compare, compare prices on airfare! Watch those airline websites like a hawk watches a mouse. It'll help you get to your favorite mouse for less!
Comparing prices for different dates, and returning to airline websites on Tuesday mornings (typically the cheapest time to buy) has saved us a bundle over the years! Also, be mindful of your airline's policies. Southwest for example has a no change fee policy. Prior to our last trip a great sale came up on a more ideal time for us to fly. We were able to switch flights extending our trip for a day and saved more money, all at no cost to us! It pays to do your research, sometimes literally! ;)
4. Save Your Feet
You're spending a lot of money on this vacation, right? You'll be walking and on your feet basically all the live long day while there. A very good investment in ensuring your feet have a magical experience is purchasing a good pair of shoes. We usually purchase a new pair for each family member a month ahead of time and wear to break in before the trip.
5. Save a Table
I highly recommend booking your dining reservations as soon as possible! Ideally, I'd suggest being at your computer 180 days prior to your trip having a your own lit'l booking party. It's worth planning ahead to make certain you're able to enjoy that special character meal or romantic dinner that you're anticipating. If you wait you may miss out!
6. Save Spontaneity for a Saturday at Home
7. Save Time
Want some help mapping out your day to make the best use of your time? Visit TouringPlans.com for tried and true Disney World Touring Plans!
8. Save Your Back and Your Bucks
Staying hydrated while in the parks is a must! We skip lugging heavy water bottles to the parks to save money. Instead, we request free ice water at counter service restaurants throughout the Parks.
...and we take advantage of complimentary cool sips every chance we get! ;)
9. Save Keepsakes
You don't have to spend a fortune on Disney souvenirs. Although, I admit the aforementioned Mouse Gear (and pretty much every other shoppe on property) is my kryptonite! If you've seen my recent souvenir haul you know that I love shopping at WDW! However, some of the souvenirs that we cherish the most didn't cost us a dime.
Kidcot freebies have been some of my girls' all time favorite souvenirs. The memories of creating and having them stamped throughout Epcot's World Showcase makes them priceless!
Keep things like park maps, receipts from your favorite restaurant(s) of the trip, confetti caught during a parade, and free Mickey stickers you receive throughout your vacation. Use these items to embellish your vacation scrapbook or decoupage a picture frame! There's no better keepsake than one with cherished memories attached!
10. Save a Prime Spot
I recommend arriving an hour early to snag a great spot for Disney parades and evening spectaculars.
Skip the stress of trying to get the last and less than ideal spots. Arrive early and enjoy the show!
Arrive to parades and nighttime spectaculars plenty early to land that perfect spot. I'd recommend arriving an hour early to Fantasmic! for example. It may sound like a long time to sit, but remember you've likely been on your feet many hours at that point. With that in mind, does a little break, perhaps a snack, and time to relax and chat with your family about the highlights of the day sound all that bad? It'll give you a moment to unwind and secure you a fabulous vantage point to enjoy the show from! I will mention, if you've never been to Fantasmic! the first few rows will get a bit wet from the spray of the fountains used in the show. If that sounds refreshing, go for it. We usually aim for about 10-20 rows back.
11. Save Time Locating Your Suitcases at Baggage Claim
Tie unique ribbon bows onto your luggage handles. This saves a lot of time when watching a sea of black bags riding the merry-g0-round of the luggage carousel!
A few years back we began using orange ribbon with a spider web pattern that I came across at Halloween time. Since then, we've never had a bit of trouble spotting our bags at baggage claim. It's such a simple way to save time at the airport!
12. Save Memories
After returning home, when the memories are nearly as fresh as the Mickey candy apples at Magic Kingdom's Main Street Confectionary, get a crisp new journal and record your favorite moments from the trip. I've found that recording my own thoughts in a journal (or sharing in Trip Reports) is the second best thing to actually being there! Memories are the most priceless and precious souvenirs you'll return with, preserve them! Whether it's scrapbooking or archiving the moments in a journal, save those treasured memories in your favorite way. This will allow you to relive them through monorail rides down memory lane any time you wish!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
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