I recently wrote a post about our Happy Home’s passion for Disney World and one of my Happy Home Readers asked if I had any tips on doing Disney cheaply.
One disclaimer – I am certainly not an expert by any means! I’m not even sure that any of these tips will be helpful, they are simply just some of the things that we have found to help us in our effort to take our necessary trips to the happiest place on earth without forfeiting the Happy Buddy’s college fund and savor the magic at the same time!
Please leave a comment and let me know if this was helpful to you! My greatest mission is to help you build a Happy Home! And to me, a Happy Home enjoys a trip to Disney every once in awhile…
1. One of your biggest financial obstacles is finding accommodations… Your best bet is to stay at a Disney Value Resort during the off season. Sometimes these hotels have rates as low as $69/night! And you get all the magic of staying on campus! Plus early entrance into parks, bus rides galore, and the Disney Hotel employees always put your towels in the shape of Mickey’s head on your bed when you walk in the hotel room. LOVE THAT!
2. Other ideas for accommodations – one thing that the Happy Hubby and I have done since the beginning of our marriage is look for Timeshare Promotion packages where they offer you 4 days/3 nights in a nice resort for a low, low price (some even include tickets to theme parks!!) if you just sit through their “90 minute” presentation. The only catch is that you have to be really good at saying no after the 90 minutes! They know how to push all your buttons and will do everything they can to melt your resolve!!! Trust me, we have done this like 4 or 5 times and if it weren’t for my solid-as-a-rock husband, we’d probably have 4 or 5 timeshares! Haha! But we figure 90 minutes is worth all the money we save having fun! Go HERE for some awesome Orlando Timeshare Promotions. If you have a time share, though, that is the way to go! Or looking into someone you know who has a time share that might let you use theirs is great too. Sometimes timeshares have special offers for friends of timeshare owners. We have done this several times. In fact, that is how we afforded our honeymoon! We used the Happy Hubby’s parents’ timeshare and had the best time!
3. Get a Disney Visa NOW!!!!! We have one and that’s the only credit card we use! I am not even kidding we used our points to pay for our nights in a Disney hotel on our last trip.
4. When we visit Disney, we don’t always visit the parks. You can go to Downtown Disney and have all kinds of fun with the food and shopping. You can visit some of the Disney hotels for cheap Disney magic too! The Animal Kingdom Resort is seriously like a zoo! You can see real animals up close and personal! And we always go to the Grand Floridian Hotel where if you walk out back by the dock you can watch the fireworks from Cinderella’s castle EVERY NIGHT for free. Then we love to visit the Beach Club Hotel for ice cream at an adorable place called Beaches and Cream and then play a couple of rounds of air hockey at the arcade next door. These are such super alternatives to forking over all that money for theme park tickets but yet still enjoying Disney magic.
Note – **I suggest just picking one park to visit and then do all the free stuff on the other days!**
5. Visit Celebration, Florida. We LOOOOOVE going to this cute little town that’s just outside Disney. Disney actually owns it and it’s soooo fun! Have you ever seen the Truman Show with Jim Carrey? That is what this town is like- absolutely perfect! We always eat at the Market Street Cafe and let the Happy Buddy run around in the fountain they have in the center of town that shoots water out of the ground. There are also lots and lots of cute shops (make sure your Happy Hubby brings a book!). Another great thing about this town is that there is always a party going on! They aren’t named Celebration for nothing! Check out their website for dates and times of all their parades, festivities, and special events.
6. Two fun un-money-related tips: If you want pictures with the characters… We once took the Happy Buddy to Animal Kingdom to get pictures with the characters and we literally just walked up to them – no wait! I think it was because that was the first thing we did upon arriving and it was at Animal Kingdom, which is great fun but doesn’t get as much traffic as the other parks. And you MUST stop by the Guest Services at any Disney location to pick up your special free souvenir buttons!! They have ones for Anniversaries, Birthdays, First Time Visits, etc.
7. When visiting parks, bring in your own drinks and food (PB&J’s all the way, my friends!!!) – saves a TON.
8. Check out this site for more budgeting ideas and to have all your questions answered!
9. To help with your kids not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on souvenirs, secretly buy a few Disney items from places like Target and Wal-Mart before going on your trip. Then you can pull them out back at the hotel for souvenir magic without having to spend the extra money in the parks.
10. Finally, I encourage you to really commit your trip to the Lord in prayer! I am a firm believer that God cares about these things! He will provide and will be with you in your quest to be frugal and experience lots of magic!
After writing this post, I am kind of thinking that we need to visit Disney ASAP!!!! I am going to go kiss my Blarney Stone and go work on the Happy Hubby!
How do you do Disney for less??? I’d LOOOOOOOOOOOVE to hear about it!!!