View of Grand Floridian and Polynesian from our table at the Enchanted Rose

Money Saving tips for Walt Disney World

In my last post we covered just how expenive a Walt Disney World Vacation could be. In this post we’ll cover some ways you can save money during before your trip. In part 1 of the series we will cover how to save moeny before you leave your house! Let’s get started.

Anna and Else from Festival of Fantasy Parade
Anna and Elsa

Disney Discounts

The aboslute easiest savings is by booking one of the discoount offerings direct through Disney. These are unpredictable and unrealiable. More of a savings of opportunity than somthing you can plan for. This is particularly true if you travel during popular times – school breaks, holidays, etc. Disney doesn’t offer discounts out of the goodness of their heart, they do so to try to spur additional occupancy during slow periods. Recently, this has meant discounts primarily during Summer, through September.

Direct from Disney savings generally fall into 2 categories currently – room only discounts and package discounts. The savings can be significant, right now there are room only savings up to 35% for example. If your tavel dates are flexible make sure you’re checking discounts before booking or could you be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Haunted Mansion Up Close at Night

Discount Tickets

There are several completely legitimate ticket resellers that can give you a quick, but modest, savings of $30 – $50 or so of savings per ticket. I’ve used Undercover Tourist several times and it couldn’t be easier. Right after purchase your ticket information is emailed to you and then you can load them into the My Disney Experience app just like tickets purchased directly from Disney. If you’re purchasing a hotel + ticket package, then this isn’t an option. So make sure you’re comparing this savings against any Disney discounts.

A word of caution here. Do some research and make sure you are purchasing from a reputable ticket reseller and only a reputable reseller. Fight the allure of even cheaper tickets on platforms like eBay. Not everyone is a grifter, but to me it’s just not worth the extra hassle and risk. Take the easy savings on guaranteed authentic Walt Disney World tickets.

Gift Cards

Gift cards feel like free money, but that’s not how they can lead to actual savings. The key here is to find deals on gift cards. That sounds crazy right? You have buy the gift cards for face value, right? That’s the trick, that’s not always true! You can find discounted gift cards through wholesale clubs like Sam’s or BJ’s and save 5-10%. If you belong to one of these wholesale clubs it’s worth checking the online site for deals. If you aren’t a member, check to see what offers they have for new members. They often offer a free or discounted month to try the service.

Target is another major retailer that sells Disney Gift Cards. Target doesn’t offer discounts off the top, but their branded credit card, the “Red Card”, offers 5% off all purchases and that includes gift cards. If you already shop at target and have a Red Card, this is basically free money.

Gift cards can be used to pay for almost anything on property; dining, merchandise, even your resort charges. You can also combine your gift cards so you only have to carry one via

Credit Card Rewards

I’m going to start off with a strong disclaimer – credit cards only save you money if you pay them off each month. Carrying a balance and incurring interest charges will negate any savings you may get from credit card rewards. If you’re unable or unwilling to pay off your balance each month, just skip this section. Otherwise your $10,000 vacation may cost $15,000.

Ok, with that out of the way, how can credit cards save you money? Let’s find out.

First, there is a Disney branded credit card offered by Chase. It offers rewards for spending on Disney and certain other categories. Those rewards can then be used towards Disney experiences and products. You can find out more here As far as rewards credit cards go, the Disney branded card isn’t the best there is, but it the most direct way to turn rewards into savings at Walt Disney World and other Disney locations.

There are ways to manufacture savings with other reward Credit Cards as well. For example, some cards have rotating bonus categories that can open up savings possibilities on gift cards purchased at locations that fit the bonus category. Similary to the Target specific Red Card hack. Rewards can also be turned into airline tickets, or to pay for Disney charges on your statement. The universe of credit cards and ways to turn rewards into savings is vast and well beyond the scope of this post. Some basic googling will quickly lead you down the rabbit hole if you’re so inclined.

Stay Off Site

I am a huge fan of the Disney bubble. I haven’t stayed off site for a visit since I’ve been old enough to book my own vacations. However, there is no denying that there is often signficant money to be saved by staying off site.

If you’re intent on saving as much money as possible, make sure to check into the Disney “Good Neighbor” hotels in the area. There are many name brand options in the area to meet all budgets with most offering shuttle services to the parks and Disney destinations.

To me staying on site is worth any added cost, but your mile mileage may vary.


That will wrap up my favorite ways to save some money while booking a Disney vacation. Next time we’ll talk about ways to make your dollar go farther during your vacation. Do you know of any other great ways to save some money before you even set foot on Walt Disney World Property? Leave a comment about your favorite budget conscious Disney travel hacks!

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