Hillary Van Way
Tips for Doing Disney on a Budget
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Anyone who has taken at least one trip to Disney World, knows how expensive they can be. From resorts to Disney merchandise, I can easily spend my entire bank account on a single Disney vacation. However, money doesn't grow on trees and I would rather go on many smaller-budget Disney vacations than fewer large-budget ones. If you're like me, and if you want to know how I have been able to go on so many Disney vacations the past few years, read on!
1. Stay at one of Disney's Value Resorts.
I am a huge advocate of the Value Resorts for two simple reasons: I love the cheesy Disney-themed resorts, and I love riding the Disney buses to the parks. You spend more money for the less Disney-cheesy resorts that are boat rides, walks, and monorail rides away from the parks. If you want to save lots of money (or use that extra money to blow on food), stay at a Value Resort! You can save about $200/night by staying at a Value Resort instead of a Deluxe Resort. I highly recommend Disney's Pop Century Resort, and you can read my review of this resort here. You can also read my All-Star Movies Resort review here.
2. Order from the kid's menu.
Yes, you heard me correctly. You can order from the Kid's Menu at any Quick Service Restaurant on Disney property! I didn't discover this until about a year ago, and I wish I would've known sooner. I was hesitant at first, worrying that the cashiers would ask me how old I was, but now it's all I do at Quick Service Restaurants. The amount of food that you're given as a kid is surprisingly a lot in Disney World, and you end up paying about $8/meal. You will save so much money and still be getting plenty of food, if you strictly eat like a kid during your Disney vacation.
3. Vacation with other people.
Not only is it fun to vacation with others, but it can really reduce the cost of your resort room! The past few Disney vacations I have been on, I've only spent roughly $30/night. This is splitting the room 4 ways at a Disney Value Resort, so if you're staying at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort, it will cost more. You really can't get a better deal than what I've gotten by rounding up 3 friends and staying at a Value Resort. However, another perk to vacationing with other people is going to restaurants with pizza (or anything else that is shareable) and splitting the cost of one large-portion meal!
4. Take snacks in the parks with you.
Trust me, I love the Mickey-shaped rice krispie treats as much as you do. However, on my last trip, my friend brought a bunch of snacks to eat as a quick breakfast or a mid-day snack. It saved us from spending an unnecessary amount of money on a mediocre pastry from the Trolley Cart Cafe in Hollywood Studios, and it also kept me from sneaking into Magic Kingdom's Confectionary for a little afternoon pick-me-up rice krispie every day! I love the Mickey rice krispies, if you haven't figured that out yet. Outside snacks are allowed in the parks, and I encourage you to pack a few granola bars or other quick and easy snacks in your park bag every day.
**But sometimes, you just have to splurge and get these yummy snacks in the parks!
5. Collect Disney pennies instead of buying other Disney merchandise.
Okay, I admit it. I don't collect Disney pennies, but my little sister does and has been for years! Located in each park are dozens of penny presses, and it's only 51 cents per pressed penny. The pennies are very unique and feature Disney characters, Disney attractions, Disney parks, etc. It's a cheaply-priced keepsake that I promise you will cherish until you're 92 (as opposed to a Little Mermaid Bubble Wand that you'll pay $25 for and then throw away once the bubbles run out).