<<< Guest Post by Krystel Seijo >>>
I am a huge Disney World Fan. I love everything about Disney World – except the price. We all have heard that planning a Disney World Vacation is an investment in family, bonding, and emotion even. Over time, and with a limited budget, I’ve learned how to get the most bang for my buck. It’s not about being cheap or missing out on anything, but more about getting the most value for your dollar. I am going to give you 5 tips that will save you thousands off of your Walt Disney World trip.
Target Gift Card Trick
Free Target gift card…Isn’t that reason enough? If you are familiar with Target then you might know that they run weekly promotions that will occasionally include a free Target gift card when you make a particular purchase. You will find promotions for $5 gift cards most of the time, however, there are higher denominations being offered. Here is an example:
At this point you might be saying, great, thanks for the tip. How does this relate at all to a trip to Disney World with kids?
Prepare to be blown away:
- Spend a year or more collecting these free gift cards by purchasing the things you regularly need from Target.
- Add your gift cards in one place and combine.
- Go to Target.com and use your combined balance to purchase Disney gift cards in increments of $50 or $100. There is a limit of 5 per transaction but you can just use multiple transactions. That’s right you just got yourself X amount of Disney gift cards for free.
You can use these gift cards to purchase/pay for anything at Disney including resort rooms, dining plan, souvenirs, restaurants, tickets, etc.
This method requires a bit of work, but how much effort you put in IS going to be proportional to how much “free” money you get. You can be diligent and watch the ads on a weekly basis to save hundreds of dollars or you can just go to Target as you normally would and take advantage of the promotions as you see them.
Rent DVC Points
Welcome to saving at least 35% off your room rate at Disney World.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s version of a timeshare.
Occasionally a timeshare owner will want to rent their points out for a one time use instead of using the timeshare themselves. Renting DVC points can be done by anyone and it allows one to stay in a Deluxe Villa room without paying Disney rack rates.
Here is what it would cost to rent points for a one week stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in a studio with a Savannah view:
The above chart is from David’s Vacation Club Rentals which is a BBB Accredited, A+ rated company that helps connect DVC members, who are renting their points, with renters.
The chart below is what the price for the same room, same dates, looks like from Disney.
Disney is expensive enough on its own. This tip will help you get the most bang for your buck.
I don’t suggest renting a vehicle while at Disney World. You don’t need it. While this tip is not going to save you thousands of dollars, it could save you hundreds and even better, a ton of effort.
Use these options in any combination and stop worrying about rental fees, liability, tolls, gas etc.
- Disney’s Magical Express – Airport (MCO) transportation
- Disney’s Transportation System – Bus, water taxi, and/or monorail transportation throughout WDW
- Uber – a non-metered, inexpensive taxi service
Downtime at Disney World
The major theme parks at Disney World are, well major. But they’re the most expensive thing to do, but not the only thing to do.
If I can wish only one thing for your Disney trip it would be to get the most for your time and money.
Hence Disney World on a budget.
If you don’t know already, going to Disney World is tiring. You almost need a vacation from that vacation. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some things that are free, easy, and fun to do as a family at Disney World.
- Disney Springs (Disney’s dining, shopping, and entertainment district) – Take a stroll through Disney Springs and do some window shopping. It is a totally different ambiance during the day and at night.
- Resort Hopping – It’s an adventure to go exploring other resorts. You can couple that with a meal at a resort restaurant.
- Disney’s Boardwalk
- Anyone can watch Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Save money with your daypack
This tip alone can save you hundreds of dollars and in fact encompasses multiple tips in one. If you are going to any of the Disney World theme parks you should bring a backpack with you stocked with a few provisions.
Being at the theme parks will make you both hungry and thirsty. If you put yourself in a position where you aren’t prepared you will spend a lot (more) money.
I once went on a trip with my partner, little sister and no provisions. I spent $1000 on snacks and drinks alone. Not only was I not prepared while at the park but we had nothing for the time we spent in the room either. Read more in Groceries at Disney World.
Ponchos can be purchased at Target, Walmart, or Amazon for $1-2 each. Depending on the season Disney will charge $9-15 a piece. Make sure to also bring a small bag with you for putting them in after you use them and when going on rides. For more packing tips read… What to Pack for a Trip to Disney World.
Krystel Seijo has lived in NJ her entire life and has been to Disney over a dozen times. She is one of the youngest people to buy into the Disney Vacation Club. Her first trip to Disney on her own was with her 10-year-old little sister when she was halfway through college, and the college version of broke. Most of her knowledge lies in saving money. She has used the tips she originally gathered plus the ones she has learned through many other trips to uncover the deepest most well-kept and valuable secrets on saving money during your Disney World Trip. If you want to learn more check out her eBook, Disney World on a Budget. It might just be the eBook for you!
Disney World on a Budget is Krystel’s way to give back and make sure that no matter who you are, and where you are from – you can have the most magical Disney World vacation ever. If you don’t believe her check it out!
Sorting Hat Girl photo via ShutterStock.com