Disney magic can still happen on a budget


Last week, we explored several ways to save on land, sea and air travel. This week, let’s focus on “The Happiest Place on Earth”.

Walt Disney World is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. The most visited theme park in the world, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is visited by more than 20 million people each year.

It’s easy to see why. It’s a blissful haven for those who yearn to dine with princesses or stroll through a fantasy land filled with costumed characters, enchanting music, thrilling rides and spellbinding shows. But, sometimes the most magical thing about a Disney vacation is how quickly your money can disappear.

Disney has never been about a cheap family vacation, but since the parks reopened following an extended COVID-19 shutdown, a lot has changed and not necessarily for the better.

To manage the crowd size, Disney instituted a park reservation system that still remains in effect. The once free Disney FastPass+ service has been replaced by a new paid service dubbed Lightning Lane that will cost you at least $15 per person per day. The company has discontinued its free airport shuttle service, Disney’s Magical Express. Ticket prices have gone up, some restaurants are still closed, and Extra Magic Hours — extended time in the parks given to those staying on Disney property — have been significantly reduced.

Alas, can you really put a price on magic?

As thrifty as I am, I’m always ready to indulge myself, but I don’t intend to do so without researching all sources of savings because at first glance, the total cost of a Disney trip may seem more daunting than the beginning. . of “Bambi”.

You can create the Disney magic of memory without splitting meals, donating blood plasma, or depleting your savings faster than you can tell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Here are a few tips:

Fund your trip with discounted Disney Gift Cards: Cut your Disney spend a little by buying discounted gift cards. If you’re a Target REDCard credit or debit cardholder, you’ll save 5%. If you’re a member of BJ’s Wholesale Club, you’ll save 4-8% (if you order online, membership is not required, unless there is a special promotion). Sam’s Club and Costco are two other sources. Disney Gift Cards can be used for your resort stay, park tickets, meal plan, souvenirs and more. So if your hotel costs are $2,000, you’ll instantly save $100 by shopping through Target. Something is better than nothing.

Look for discounted theme park tickets: Chances are park tickets will cost more than your hotel stay. If you are a part-time Florida resident, AAA member, government employee, or military personnel, you may be eligible for discounted passes. Otherwise, you can still save money. There are legitimate ticket agents offering discounted passes, including UndercoverTourist.com and Orbitz.com. If you book a flight through JetBlue, you can use your flight confirmation code to log into paisly.com and unlock tickets from exclusive offers.

Avoid the Park Hopper: If you want to visit more than one park per day, you can purchase a Park Hopper ticket, but upgrading will cost you at least $30 or more per person per day. You can easily fill a full day at a park. Jumping into another park isn’t allowed after 2pm, and the parks aren’t very close to each other, so you might end up spending part of your day traveling and standing in security lines.

Travel during off-peak hours: If you’re flexible with your dates, you can save money on a resort stay, as well as park tickets, because in an effort to evenly distribute the crowds, Disney will be offering discounts at certain times of the year. ‘year. Generally, off-peak travel times include January to mid-February, late summer and early fall.

Have your groceries delivered: If you buy a single bottle of water on site, you can expect to pay at least $3. To save money, buy a case for almost the same price and have it delivered to your hotel. Likewise, you can have snacks, adult beverages, personal care products, and more sent to your room through services like Amazon Prime, Walmart Plus, Instacart, and a local service called Garden Grocer. Guests are permitted to bring non-alcoholic beverages and snacks into all parks. Or, you can ask for a free cup of ice water at any quick service restaurant.

Disney Vacation Club Points Rental: Disney has a timeshare program dubbed the Disney Vacation Club. DVC members pay, earn and own points, which are used to book villa-style rooms at top resorts on Disney property. Landlords can choose to rent the points to anyone, and in exchange for payment, the landlord makes a room reservation for a tenant. It’s possible to save 30-50% on luxury accommodations if you rent rather than buy directly through Disney. Consult brokers David’s Vacation Club Rentals and DVC Rental Store for advice.

Book through major travel portals: Of course, you can book packages — including special room discounts — directly with Walt Disney World. But these special seasonal fares are also often available on sites like Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com. Plus, you can use available discount codes to save up to 20% on your stay with discount codes. The big chains are almost always excluded – Hilton, Marriott, etc. However, private Walt Disney World resorts are not. Log in through a cashback website like Rakuten.com or RetailMeNot.com and also earn up to 10% cashback.

Stay offsite: Staying on Disney property can be expensive. There are perks: 30-minute early entry to the parks, free transportation, and early access to Genie + Lightning Lane passes. But are these perks compelling enough to stay in the Disney bubble when you could potentially save hundreds of dollars by staying at a hotel nearby?

Explore free Disney attractions: They exist. Take a ride on the monorail and explore the location of beach resorts along the tracks, many of which offer all-day musical entertainment and movies under the stars; cruise the Lagoon of the Seven Seas on the free ferry at the Magic Kingdom entrance; stroll along Disney’s Boardwalk and enjoy signature Coney Island sights, including jugglers, magicians, and in-between games. There is also the sprawling retail and restaurant district, Disney Springs.

Don’t forgo a Disney foray because you think your kids are too young:Yes, they may not remember it, but you will. If your child is under 3 years old, you won’t have to pay for their park tickets, hotel accommodations or food if you opt for the Disney Meal Plan (on their return). If your child is under 2 years old, they can travel for free on most carriers.

Walt Disney World recently unveiled new summer and fall room-only discounts for new and existing Disney+ subscribers. Available for select stays July 8 through September 30, the discount is as follows:

  • Save 25% on luxury hotels and luxury villas
  • Save 20% at Moderate Resorts and Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
  • Save 15% at Value Resorts
  • Save 10% on campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Entrance to the theme park at separate price. Length of stay conditions may apply. For more information, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/.

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