Friday, April 19, 2013

10 Best ways to save money on a Disney Vacation

Our daughter Isabella holds the gift cards we used on last year's trip.
A Disney vacation is many things: Fun, Magical, Amazing, Memorable, and oh yes, it's Expensive!  We happen to think that a Disney vacation is worth the cost.  Of course, if you can save some money and reduce the price tag, well that makes it even more worth it!

Here are our 10 BEST ways to save money on a Disney Vacation.

Every vacation is unique, and can offer unique ways to save a little money.  The following list consists of ways to save that we can personally attest to.  If you have any questions or want more details about our experience with any of these methods of saving, leave a comment or shoot us an email @

10 Best Ways to Save on a Disney Vacation

1. PIN Codes.

A PIN code is a personalized discount offer for you direct from the Mouse.  Check out our post about ways to improve your chance of getting one.

2. Disney Deals
Every year, Disney offers discounts and incentives as a way to entice people to book vacations.  Bookmark this link to keep an eye on offers, and check back every so often to see updates as new offers are released throughout the year:   Disney Parks Special Offers

3. Order Groceries/Pack lunches & snacks.
Any resort or hotel is probably going to charge you a premium for buying everyday necessities from them.  Disney is no different.  Buying items like Milk, Coffee, Diapers, Toiletries, Snacks, etc, can add up.  If you have a car, there are plenty of options for stocking up on these items.  In lieu of a car, you can use a service such as Garden Grocer to do your shopping for you and deliver it to your hotel.

Having these items will enable you to pack lunch/snacks, water, eat breakfast in room, etc., and that will save you money!

4. Ticket Savings
Last year, we saved money by buying our park tickets from Undercover Tourist.  The transaction was simple and the tickets arrived very quickly.  I recommend using their service.  For an additional savings, subscribe to the free Mousesavers newsletter for an extra discount from Undercover Tourist.

5. Disney Gift Cards
There are a few places I know of where you can buy Disney Gift Cards at a discount.  If you have a Target REDcard or Debit REDcard, you'll save 5% or $5.00 for every $100 you purchase.  Costco and BJ's Wholesale sell at a 4% discount.  How does that save you money? Well, you can use Disney Gift Cards to purchase just about anything and everything related to your Disney Vacation.  They can be applied to your Disney Resort Hotel, Restaurants, Gift Shops, Park Tickets, and more.  We saved over $100 off our Disney Cruise last year by paying with gift cards.

Gift Cards can also be a budgeting strategy.  Purchase gift cards ahead of your trip as a way to set limits on what you'll spend on food or souvenirs.

6. Disney Rewards Visa
If you have the Disney Rewards Visa credit card, Disney will reward you with points on purchases that can be used to get a rewards card usable at Disney, just like a gift card.  Disney will also run incentives or promotions for extra savings or benefits for using your Disney Rewards Visa for booking your vacation, or for making your Disney purchases.

Other credit card rewards programs can help you save money on Disney, or your trip related expenses such as airfare or car rental.  Just be sure to use those credit cards wisely!

7. Discount Memberships
Sometimes being a member of a company, organization, or signing up as a preferred customer can get you discounts.  AAA members can get discounted rates. Disney will offer discounts for Military, or sometimes other Government or Civil Servants.  Being an annual passholder, a Florida resident, or a DVC member can get you discounts as well.  You can also check with your employer to see if they have any special programs or corporate discounts.  Bottom line: When in doubt, ask!

8. Drive to Disney
We live over 1100 miles from Walt Disney World.  Sometimes, the situation dictates that we fly down to Florida to maximize our time at the resort and be able to make it home to get back to work or other commitments.  When time permits, driving the family those 1100 miles is actually cheaper, even with splitting the drive between two days and stopping overnight at a hotel.

The car trip can also be a memorable adventure in and of itself, which adds to the vacation experience.  You may live closer or further than we do, but if driving is a possibility for you, I would give it some thought.

9. Go Off Peak
If you're like us, your work schedules don't allow you to just pick up and go on vacation whenever you like. Unfortunately, as a result, we predominately travel during the busiest times of years, such as summer and school breaks. If you can make it work, however, traveling to Disney during off-peak times can not only save you money, but it can also be more relaxing as there are less crowds to contend with.

Disney room rates are lower and they tend to offer more deals during "off-peak" times of year, and you'll generally find that airline fares are cheaper as well.

10. Join DVC
The Disney Vacation Club is Disney's way of doing timeshare.  It may not be for everyone, but it certainly saves us money every year.  If you take a Disney vacation every other year, and prefer the moderate or deluxe hotels over the values, I strongly recommend taking a look at joining DVC.  At once every three years, you might consider it.  Any longer than that between trips is probably not often enough, in my opinion.

Did any of your best ways to save not make our list?  Let us know! 

This Post was part of the Magical Blogorail Blog Hop, Thanks for hosting and letting us hop on board!!  If you traveled here from the blog hop, or just want to check out other Disney blogs sharing great money-saving tips, use the button link below.

Focused on the Magic


  1. Great tips! Thank you! We are west coasters, so we drive down to Disneyland which saves a ton of money and pack a cooler so we aren't wasting money on the way down on food. We also buy little things here like Glow Sticks from the Dollar store so the kids have something for the night shows without spending a fortune.

    1. Thanks, Meranda! Those light up toys are great, but they're also very pricey! And when everyone else seems to have them, it makes it very hard to say no to the kiddies! I agree that if you have something to give them, it makes things a lot easier!

  2. Lots of great tips in this post! We are going to Disney in December and I was very happy to save money on our trip just by buying Disney gift cards at Target and using our Red card to save 5%. We just paid our trip off this weekend!

    1. Thank you, Holly! Buying a couple of gift cards at Target has become a weekly ritual for me! That 5% adds up!

  3. Great tips and thank you so much for sharing. you may also find a fantastic services on Disney.

  4. The AAA discounts are no longer offered, same for teacher discounts. :( Believe me, I tried!

    1. We'll look into the AAA discount offer so we can update the post. However, teacher discounts are offered at Disney's Swan and Dolphin hotels. We just used it in February. Also Disney's Downtown Disney Good Neighbor Hotels began offering a teacher discount this Spring. While it's not on property, it is close enough to the magic and could help you save a couple bucks!


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