Looking for the Cheapest Way to Do Disney World? We’ve got all the money saving tips and hacks you need to be able to plan a magical vacation that won’t break the bank!

A vacation to Walt Disney World can get expensive really quick! I’ve collected some of the best tips and tricks to help you save money on your Disney vacation.

Some of these ideas are pretty easy and others are a little more difficult to swallow, but if you are strapped for cash, here’s the best ways to save on a Disney trip.

Cheapest way to do Disney World - pic of Cinderella castle in Magic Kingdom

1) Be Ready

If I’m being 100% transparent, a Disney vacation can add up quickly. It’s something you want to save up for. You don’t want to walk into the parks being worried about money the whole time you are there.

Make sure you have the money required to make such a trip.

And make sure your kids go in understanding that they are going to see balloons, treats, souvenirs, bubble blowers, etc. everywhere….. but you won’t be buying those things….because things just plain cost more in Disney theme parks.

Setting expectations is everything.

2) Consider Driving to Disney

Yes, planes are faster and taking a 2 day road trip without any stops isn’t fun….but if you have a family of 6 – that can be a HUGE savings on airline tickets.

Even if you have to pay for a hotel room on the way there and on the way back, you’ll still save a lot of money.  Plus, you won’t have the extra cost of renting a car or hiring a Lyft or Uber.

Only you will know if this is the right thing for your family. Check the price of flights, current gas prices, hotel rates, see how far the drive is for you and decide whether a road trip is doable.

driving to Disney World - going under welcome sign

3) Stay Off-Site

Staying on-site at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels is one of my personal favorite things….but with all the perks of Disney resort hotels, it comes with a price….that is: a higher price tag.

If you are traveling with a group, it can make a lot of sense to rent a condo off-site. Granted, you will spend more time driving to the parks and you won’t get early entry perks, but you’ll save lots of cash!

4) Check out Good Neighbor Hotels

What’s a Disney “Good Neighbor Hotel”?

It’s a hotel that is not owned by Disney, but is close to Disney property and allows you some of the same perks that on-site Disney hotels get like early park entry, free transportation to and from the parks from your hotel, etc.

***Please note that not all of the Good Neighbor hotels give you the perk of early entry and it is subject to change, so check with your hotel ahead of time.

Plus many offer a free breakfast and more spacious rooms at a discounted price.

Some of the more affordable Good Neighbor Hotels that currently offer early entry into the Disney parks are:

  • Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando
  • Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Springs Area

If you do go this route, make sure you connect your Good Neighbor Hotel reservation with your Disney account by going to My Plans, Resort Hotel, and Link Reservation.

5) Save on Breakfast

If your hotel offers a free breakfast – yay! (FYI – Most don’t!)

If not, I recommend stopping in at a local grocery store or Walmart and grabbing supplies for the week.

We always stop at a store before we check into our hotel and grab a gallon of milk and breakfast items for the week.

I like to grab granola bars or breakfast bars, soda, bottled waters, etc. It’s easy to overbuy in the moment – so make a list ahead of time and stick to the plan. Because if you flew – or packed a tight car – you might not be able to take it home with you!

Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios Disney World

6) Pack Snacks

On this same note, pack some snacks. Anything you buy in the theme parks or at your hotel is going to be much more expensive than if you buy it at Walmart or Target.

We have a family of 6, so we usually pack a small mid-morning snack for the family. A tube of gluten free Lay’s Stax is one of our go-to snacks as it doesn’t get crushed in our park bag and the whole family can enjoy it.

Bringing your own food into the parks is a great way to save money.

7) Eat Off-Site

If your hotel or condo is off-site, it makes a lot of sense to eat one of your main meals off-site.

You might like to start early in the parks and then leave early to enjoy a restaurant off-site for supper. Or if your little ones need a mid-day break, you could enjoy a late lunch outside the parks….or eat an early supper before you go back for the evening.

Any way you do it, anytime you avoid paying theme park pricing for food is a win!

We’ve ordered pizza in the past, stopped by a fast food restaurant, and even enjoyed a sit down restaurant that was comparable in price to eating fast food in the theme parks.

8) No Park Hopper

Unless you only have 2 days to see all 4 parks (which is really hard and you’ll miss a lot of things) – I’d skip the park hopper ticket if you are looking for the cheapest way to do Disney World.

Each of the parks has plenty to do – enough to fill a day. I’ll admit, Animal Kingdom barely fills a full day….but we rather like going back to relax at the hotel a little earlier.

I’d advise you to do single park tickets. And since there’s 4 parks, do 4 days.

Mission Space at Epcot

9) Don’t Rent A Car

Are you flying to Disney? If so, consider NOT getting a rental car.  

You can hire a Lyft or Uber driver to drive you to and from Orlando International Airport. 

Many hotels offer transportation to Disney World. It depends on your hotel so be sure to look into it, but it might even be complimentary.

Even if it seems like renting a car is cheap, don’t forget about the hidden costs of having a car. Some hotels charge for parking and the theme parks do as well.

Consider the benefits, do the math and see what makes sense for your situation.

10) Eat Quick Service

Disney has a lot of options for restaurants. Eating at quick-service restaurants (vs. a fancy table service restaurants)  is a great way to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Every park has a lot of options. If you want to get a feel for pricing, download the My Disney Experience App. (You’ll need this app for your trip anyway as it shows the wait times for rides and you can mobile order food on it).

On the My Disney Experience App, click on Mobile Food Orders and you can see pricing (without actually placing the order). Or, you could go to the Dining section on the Walt Disney World website and check out menus to get a sense of how much meals will cost.

Don’t forget simple ideas like sharing a meal, supplementing a meal with snacks you brought, and sticking to water instead of soda.

11) Free Water

All of the Quick Service restaurants offer cups of free water. All you need to do is ask. Some even have a free water station set up so that you can help yourself!

12) Skip the extras!

You will save a lot of money on your Disney World vacation if you skip the extras. That means: skip the souvenir shops, skip the Mickey ears, skip the MagicBands, skip the Genie+ Lightning Lanes, etc.

If you are trying to do this trip in a budget friendly manner – these are all budget busters! Yes, all of these are fun additions to a trip, but not necessary.

Make sure your traveling party has their expectations in place before you plan the trip to make things go smoother.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot

13) Carry a Drink

Drinks in the theme parks are expensive.

I’m personally not a fan of bringing in a water bottle because you have to tote it everywhere – but I am a fan of bringing in 1 disposable water bottle per person.

Having a drink with you for the morning is great.

Anything past that is just miserable to carry (in my opinion!)

14) Cheap Souvenirs

If you have your heart set on getting your child a souvenir – here’s a funny workaround I did when we were on a tight budget…..

Buy the souvenir ahead of time on Amazon or in a local store. Make it Disney themed….and pack it in your suitcase!

You can give it to your child whenever you like – before the adventure begins – on the way home, etc.!

Seriously, prices are inflated in the parks.

Not that it’s not fun or worthwhile to shop for souvenirs, but if you are on a tight budget, this gives you control over the souvenir situation.

15) Skip Disney Springs

If you are on a tight budget, skip Disney Springs. It’s a shopping and dining area and you’re going to see Disney pricing.

The cheapest way to do Disney World is to cut this out of the schedule. If you need to fill a half day, use the hotel pool or other free hotel amenities.

16) Entree Only

Not super hungry? Ask if there’s an Entree only price.

Sometimes restaurants will let you order the burger without the fries, or a certain dish without another part. You won’t know unless you ask!

Frozen Ever After at Epcot

17) Disney Gift Cards

This money saving hack could save you quite a bit. If you have a Target RedCard, you can get 5% off of Disney Gift Card purchases.

Meaning you’ll get 5% off anywhere you can use a Disney Gift Card. (Keep in mind not all restaurants on property are Disney owned).

Also, Sam’s Club sells Disney Gift Cards at a discount as well. Nothing crazy, but the savings can add up over time.

Some people report paying their hotel bill with Disney Gift cards. Other people like to give a preloaded gift card to their kids to learn to budget for souvenirs or snacks.

You can also consolidate all the gift cards onto one card if you like for easier transport. (But of course, be super careful – losing that card is like losing cash!)

18) Book Early

When possible, book your Disney Vacation as early as possible. Deals come and go, but often you will see a price increase before the beginning of a new year.

19) Money Saving Tickets Tip

You can often save money just by making a few clicks.

Disney theme park tickets can be used on non-consecutive days within a certain time frame. If you are able to get your days to start on a lower price day, you can still go the days you want, but potentially pay a little less.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say I want to go to the parks on May 21-24. If I tell Disney that I want to start my trip on May 21 this is the price for a 4 day ticket (no park hopper): $597.02

But if I back up the days to start on a lower price day that also includes the dates I wanted originally…..I just saved some cash without doing anything but clicking. 573.25 for a 4 day ticket (no park hopper).

I know, it’s a small savings, but it all adds up! And just a small disclaimer – this only works if you are buying tickets alone – you can’t do this if you are also buying a vacation package that includes a Disney hotel.

20) DVC Rentals

DVC stands for Disney Vacation Club. Members of DVC have access to Disney properties – when they aren’t able to use their rental points, they rent them out – meaning you can stay on Disney property for much cheaper than you’ll find on the regular Disney website.

I would venture to say this isn’t cheaper than staying off-site, but it is a good option if you are looking to stay on-site and want to get more for your money. You can find out more about renting Disney Vacation Club Members points here.

21) Crowd Levels

​As I showed you above, a Disney world trip can cost more based on when you choose to go.  During peak seasons you will see ticket prices increase.  

But if you choose to plan your Disney trip during a less busy time of year, you can avoid both long lines and score better deals on Disney tickets.  If you want to look for the cheapest times to visit Disney, be sure to check out be sure to check out Disney World Crowd Calendars (affiliate link) for the least crowded times of the year and the peak times to avoid.

Alright! That’s it! I hope you found some amazing ideas for the cheapest way to do Disney World.

If you have any suggestions of your own, feel free to drop your money saving ideas in the comments section below.

More Disney Planning Tips

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There’s a free chart of Ride Height Requirements here.  Learn all about which rides your child can ride this year!

Be sure to check out the Best Rides in Fantasyland. We’ve ranked all the rides in this section of Magic Kingdom. See if your favorites are at the top of the list!

​Need Gluten free food suggestions?  We’ve got you covered with our Best Gluten Free Food at Disney World.

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Best Money Saving tips at Disney World

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