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Saving Money at Disney World
It’s always smart to look for ways to save on vacation. This is especially true when visiting Disney World. If you don’t do your research, this fantasy land can hand you the reality of a very inflated credit card bill. Jetsetter magazine offers some tips for saving on your next trip to Disney World:
Stay on site. Although the initial sticker shock of hotels on the Disney World property may be extreme, when you dig deeper you will find that you actually are saving money. Disney hotels often offer frequent shuttles to and from the park, so you save money by not renting a car and paying for parking. Also, you might get access to extended hours at Disney World that are only offered if you stay on the property. If you really want to “rough it,” camp out at the Fort Wilderness Resort.
Plan ahead and buy in bulk. If you know you’re going for multiple days, buy multi-day passes, which cost you less per day. Also, try to plan your Disney trip well ahead of time, because fees increase every year. If you buy passes as soon as you confirm your trip, you can avoid that cost inflation.
Visit when other people don’t. Late August through early October is considered the best time to visit Disney if you’re looking to save some money. Avoiding weekends is also crucial. Whatever you do, don’t visit over Christmas or New Year’s – when entry fees can increase by almost 50 percent.
Know where to look for discounts. Mouse Savers and Undercover Tourist can help you find limited-time offers. And don’t forget some free options at the park or its properties, like Lego House, campfire singalongs at the Fort Wilderness Resort or a walk around the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Make a plan. Plan as much of each day as possible. Download the Disney app to check on wait times for all rides. Use maps to help you determine the most efficient route from location to location. And make reservations for your meals – which will guarantee you a spot to eat and also keep you on your schedule.
Make the most of every minute. Don’t miss the nighttime activities, especially the IllumiNations light show at Epcot and the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
Don’t buy Park Hopper passes. These allow you to move from park to park in the same day – for a price. But unless you set the kind of pace that takes the fun out, it takes at least a day to see each park.
Also avoid the Memory Maker photo pass and the waterpark pass. Take your own photos, and use the pool at your hotel. If you want a water park, you don’t have to go to Disney World to find one. Unless you are traveling with little kids, avoid the Character Meals. And even if you are with kids, there are lots of opportunities to see characters all over the park without paying extra to dine with them.
Don’t get the all-inclusive meal plan. Instead, pack your own food for snacking during the day or even for lunch, and then splurge on dinner, when you can sit down and discuss all the fun you had.
Bring a water bottle. It is hot in Florida, so you will need a lot of water. But buying bottled water inside the park is very expensive. If you forget your water bottle, some restaurants will give you water for free, even if you don’t buy food.