My husband and I are expecting a baby in October – which is SUPER exciting and amazing – and we can’t wait to be able to take the little guy to Disney in hopes that he loves it as much as we do! However – since that is likely several years away, we have been talking about a vacation he and I might take just the two of us in a year or so – we are hoping to go to Disney (again, of course, what did you expect?!), but we know that money will be MUCH tighter with a baby to take care of, so I have been brainstorming and have come up with these top five money saving tips that we will be using on our next trip:
Pack Our Own Supplies: You can buy almost everything you could need at Walt Disney World – but it comes at a price, and I don’t know about you, but spending $18 on a bottle of sunscreen (that costs $8 at home) – doesn’t exactly thrill me – its not the best souvenir ever, that’s for sure. So we like to make sure we think ahead and pack stuff we know we will need: sunscreen (in small TSA approved bottles since we don’t like to check luggage!), ponchos, extra camera batteries and phone/tablet chargers, and another big one is medicine – I like to travel with a little mobile medicine cabinet – advil, tylenol, tums, NyQuil, and band-aids/neosporin are some things you might want to consider including in your “take to the Parks” bag – you’ll be glad you did, trust me!
Bring Food From Home: We like to pack snacks to help keep us tided over between meals – things that are easy to eat on the go work best – like granola bars, small packages of nuts/pretzels/trail mix, dried fruit, gum (not really a snack, but you won’t find it for sale at any WDW stores so best to pack your own!), water bottles – which we like to fill and freeze using our room fridge (perfect for those long hot days at the Parks), and most important of all – breakfast! It might seem strange to pack breakfast in your suitcase for the whole vacation, but its such a money and time saver – apples, bagels, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal – these are items we have found to work the best over the years – you can usually purchase some small variety of these and some perishable items like milk, fruit, etc at your WDW Resort gift shop to supplement what you brought – and while the prices are high, they are still cheaper than a Disney breakfast (which can cost around $8-$15 a person – yikes!)
Share Meals: Being that we are a party of 2 adult travelers (for now, until our son is old enough to come with us!), we are lucky in that it’s easy for us to split meals – and many Disney meals and snacks are large enough to allow for this. Most meals include an entrée and a side, and then sharing a drink helps save money too – check out this article for more sharing ideas
Skip The Dining Plan: This might seem like a strange one – as the dining plan is hugely convenient, being that you pay for it before you even arrive and then just swipe your Magic Band when it comes time to pay, and you’re done! But – it isn’t always cost effective, especially if you have people in your party who aren’t big eaters or who can share most larger meals. This time around, we will be skipping the upfront cost (which is a BIG savings), and bringing our own breakfast, sharing lunch, and then splurging on 1 or 2 nicer sit down dinners – which will save us a lot in the long run (and still allow us to sneak in a few character meals too, which is imperative!)
Souvenirs: Disney souvenirs are pricey. Amazing, but pricey. I usually make myself a budget before I leave for any WDW trip regarding what souvenirs I want and how much they are and which ones I really want versus which ones aren’t really necessary. I do this by using the DisneyStore.com website to estimate prices and see what items might be available for me to buy at Disney. I mean – in reality, no one needs more than 1 or 2 souvenirs, and I always have loved trip photos so much that they end up being my favorite souvenir each and every time – a great way to relive the memories for years to come. So stick to 1 or 2 small things per person (and make that clear to the kids before you leave!) and then make sure you take tons of pictures – those are the most cherished souvenir anyway (in my opinion that is!)
You might have noticed that the majority of these money saving tips involve FOOD – and it’s not because we want to deprive ourselves of all the amazing Disney Dining options – but rather because the cost of dining at Disney is HIGH – meals are expensive, and yes the food is amazing – but it adds up quickly, especially if you are paying out of pocket for your whole party for every meal
Check out more money saving ideas here, and hopefully you will be able to make a WDW trip an affordable reality soon for your family!