25 Tips for How to Save Money at Disney World in 2024

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A Disney World trip is a dream vacation for so many families. And I’ll be honest…it can be super expensive, making it feel out of reach for so many. But we want you to feel like your Disney dreams are attainable, so here are our best tips for how to save money at Disney World.

Plan the Perfect Disney Trip!

Where To Stay:

Tickets & Reservations:

  • Use Undercover Tourist (an authorized ticket seller) to save money on Disney tickets. You can save up to $80 per ticket!
  • Need a stroller? We loved using Kingdom Strollers for on-site stroller delivery!

Need Help Planning?

  • Aren’t sure where to start? Sign up here for a free 7-day email course that will walk you through each step of planning your Disney World trip!
  • Download our Disney Planning Spreadsheet, a Google sheet you can take with you on the go, to organize all your Disney World plans! (And use some of our tried and true itineraries!)

How to Save Money on Disney World Tickets

Never Pay Full Price for Tickets

Let’s start with tickets, since that’s such an essential part of planning a Disney trip. And it’s also one of the biggest expenses.

Repeat after me and drill this into your brain: Never pay full price for Disney World tickets!

There are so many places where you can get discounted tickets! Our favorite is Undercover Tourist. We use them for Disney World tickets all the time!

Undercover Tourist is an authorized Disney ticket seller, and their tickets are always discounted. Usually for a 4-day single park per day ticket, you can save around $40 per ticket. And let’s say your family has two adults and two kids. That savings could get you another table service meal!

Visit During Off-Peak Times

Tickets (and resorts) are priced based on how crowded Disney thinks the parks are going to be. So visiting during off-peak times will generally be cheaper.

Based on ticket prices, the cheapest times to visit Disney in 2024 will be August and September.

Surprisingly, June and July have also seen cheaper prices than March, April, and October recently. More people have been trying to travel off-peak, leaving those summer month less popular than they use to be.

You can check the calendar on Undercover Tourist to see when the cheapest time to visit will be.

Empty Sidewalk Looking toward It's a Small World in Disney's Magic Kingdom
Rare Sight – An Uncrowded Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom

Avoid the Weekends

Weekends are often more crowded than during the week. Not a ton, but it can make a difference in your vacation. Not only will you possibly be able to find slightly cheaper tickets (although not always, so don’t hold me to that), but you’ll also have an easier time navigating the parks.

This means that you’ll be able to make the most of your time in the parks, hopefully have cheaper Genie+ prices if you choose to the purchase that add-on, and in general have a better time.

Skip the Park-Hopper Tickets

Park Hopper tickets at Disney World allow you to visit more than one park per day. And honestly, there is just no reason to spend that extra money.

First of all, park hopper tickets can cost $75 or more per day. Which can add up to a BIG expense!

Second of all, I just don’t find park hopping to be worth it most of the time. (Unless you are trying to hit all the parks on a shorter trip.) It takes up time to get yourself from one park to another where you could be having more experiences in the park.

Not only does it save money to just do one park per day, but I also think it is more enjoyable. So skip the park hopper option and just get single park per day tickets!

How to Save Money on Resorts at Disney World

Stay at a Value Resort

When you talk about saving money on a Disney World trip, one of the first things people will tell you is to stay off-property. This means a hotel next door to Disney property as opposed to on Disney property.

And while this can be good advice, it’s not always the case that you will save more money by staying at a non-Disney resort!

Wide-angle look at room at Pop Century with Queen Bed, Murphy Bed table, and bathroom sink in background.
Room at Pop Century. The table folds down into a bed!

Disney World has a great selection of value resorts that have reasonable nightly prices:

The nightly prices for these resorts range from $135 to $367 per night (or more if you book a family suite). But depending on when you go, you can get rooms for as low as $135 per night at some of the All-Star Resorts.

The All-Star Resorts tend to be the cheapest, with a nightly average rate between $186 and $210.

And this is definitely cheaper than some of the nearby off-property resorts.

Keep in mind though that this is a Value Resort. They can be great stays (for instance, we loved our stay at Pop Century!). But the rooms will be small and they won’t have some of the perks of nicer hotels. But when you’re spending most of your time at the theme parks, it doesn’t really matter!

Rent DVC Points to Stay at a Deluxe Resort

If you want to spend a little more on a nicer resort but don’t quite have a Deluxe resort in your budget, you can rent Disney Vacation Club points. This is a great way to stay at a Deluxe Resort or Deluxe Villa Resort for less money.

Disney Vacation Club is basically like a Disney timeshare. Members get points each year they can use on resort stays. And when they aren’t going to use those points, they can “rent” them to non-DVC members to use.

We love using David’s Vacation Club Rentals for this! You can request your preferred property 11 months in advance, or find an already booked stay on their Confirmed Reservations for Rent page. They have some amazing deals!

One thing to note: These reservations are non-refundable. So I always recommend pairing them with travel insurance or making sure you put them on a credit card that includes travel insurance as a benefit just in case!

Consider a Split Stay

Huge Jambo House Lobby from above with chairs, African light fixtures, and a thatched roof.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House Lobby

If you want to stay at a Deluxe or Moderate Resort, but it’s a bit out of your budget to stay there the whole time, consider a split stay!

Pick two Disney resorts and split your stay between the two.

Disney makes it super easy too! When the day comes for you to transfer resorts, just let bell services know beforehand. They will give you a form to fill out. Then leave your bags in your room the day you leave with the tags they provide, and they will have them waiting at your new resort at the end of the day!

Pro Tip: If you want to do a split stay, start your stay at the less expensive resort! It’s better to level-up your experience during your stay than to have to downgrade it.

Use Points for On-Property Hotels

This may come as a surprise to some people, but there are actually hotels ON Disney property where you can use your travel points!

The Swan, The Dolphin, and The Swan Reserve are all hotels in the Boardwalk/Epcot Resort area of Disney World BUT they are owned by Marriott! So you can use your Marriott points and free night certificates here.

But unlike just a general Good Neighbor hotel (we’ll get to those in a minute) there are also full Disney World properties, so you will get all the same perks and benefits. Like, there are so much Disney properties that you can book them on the Disney website in addition to the Marriott website.

But to save money, I definitely recommend using points if you can. Usually rooms at these resorts range from 42,000 to 62,000 points per night. But they can be up to 84,000 points per night or more.

And if you don’t have the points, I still recommend booking somewhere other than the Disney website because it will be cheaper!

Use Points for Off-Property Hotels

There are TONS of hotels that are super close to Disney World, so no matter what hotel points you have, you can still find a way to use those points toward your stay.

Many of these are Good Neighbor Hotels. This means that while they may not get all the same perks as a Disney Resort, some of them do include perks like Early Entry.

Here are the hotels we recommend for staying on a budget:

Use a Free Travel Agent

Lots of people may not realize it, but Disney travel agents are free to use! They get paid by Disney for their reservations, and they can help you book yours.

Disney travel agents always have the best access to deals, so they will make sure you get the best price. They will be booking on your behalf directly with Disney, but sometimes they have special deals the public may not have access to.

Also, if any deals come out for your stay after you book, your travel agent will be able to apply those deals to your stay. And a good travel agent should do this preemptively, so you don’t even have to reach out and ask!

Keep Checking for Discounts

Even after your book your stay, keep checking for discounts. Disney often releases discounts specific to certain groups, like Florida residents or Disney+ subscribers.

Now, if you’ve used any of our tricks about booking hotels (like renting DVC points), you won’t be able to apply these discounts. But if you used a travel agent or booked your vacation package through the Disney website (which, remember, is not the way to get the best price), then you can apply any discounts that come out to your stay.

Mickey and Minnie waving from hot air balloon float in Festival of Fantasy Parade
Festival of Fantasy Parade

How to Save Money on Food at Disney World

Skip the Dining Plan

When the Disney Dining Plan returned in 2024, people we’re really excited about it. And while it can sometimes be a good deal of you, most of the time it’s actually not!

Before deciding on the dining plan, price out a hypothetical situation of using the dining plan vs. not using the dining plan.

Unless you are going to take full advantage of all the meals and snacks provided by the Dining Plan and order the most expensive things at your meals, you probably won’t save money.

Bring Your Own Food to the Parks

You can also bring your own food into the Disney Parks! This is a great way to save money at Disney World, because food at the themes parks is definitely expensive.

When you arrive at your resort, order some groceries for delivery. They groceries can be delivered to bell services at your resort, and then you can pick them up.

Some ideas of how you can use groceries to save on food:

  • Get breakfast items you can grab and take with you on your way to the park, like granola bars or yogurts.
  • Get supplies to make sandwiches, and then pack your lunch each day. Get bread, peanut butter, jelly, deli meat, cheese, etc. (If you want to pack deli sandwiches, you will probably also want a small ice pack as well.)
  • Get snack items to carry in the parks. This is absolutely essential with kids especially! And even if you plan on buying snacks and food in the park, it’s still a great idea to have some snacks stashed in your bag as well!
  • Don’t forget Ziploc bags for your sandwiches and snacks! (And yes, I’m all about not using single use plastic, but a busy week at Disney World is one place where I think you can give yourself permission to not bear saving the world on your shoulders.)

Order Kids Meals at Quick Service Restaurants

Kid’s meals are cheaper than adult meals, and most of the time still have plenty of food for an adult!

You won’t be able to order a kid’s meal at a Table Service restaurant. But at a Quick Service restaurant they can’t be as strict at about the age guidelines because they have no way of knowing who all you might be ordering food for.

This is especially the case when you utilize Mobile Order. You’ll just put the order into your phone and go pick it up at the window when it’s ready. So take advantage of this and order a cheaper meal if you don’t need a giant plate of food.

Skip Table Service Restaurants

Tray of food from Satu'li Canteen. Two bowls, one with pasta and meat, one with potatoes and meat, and one kid's quesadilla with chips.
Meal from Satu’li Canteen

Sure, there are some great Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World. But you don’t NEED to go to Table Service restaurants to get a great meal experience at Disney World.

There are some fantastic Quick Service restaurants at Disney World, too. In fact, some of my absolute favorite meals at Disney Would can be found at Quick Service locations (like Satu’li Canteen).

Here’s are some of the best Quick Service restaurants in the parks:

Get Free Water (+ Bring a Refillable Bottle!)

There is NO need to pay for bottled water in Disney World! Bring your own water bottle from home (or buy one and make it your souvenir!).

Then, throughout the day, you can fill it up for free with cold ice water at any Quick Service restaurant! You don’t even have to be ordering food there. You can just get water!

Split Meals

If you aren’t super hungry, consider splitting a meal. Some of the meals, especially at Table Service restaurants, comes with huge portions. So maybe get an appetizer or two and one entree to split between two people.

This will generally save you money, and you won’t come away feeling like you ate too much and need to nap (which, come on people! we’ve got rides to ride!).

Skip Alcoholic Drinks

Consider skipping the alcoholic drinks on your trip, or at least limiting them significantly. Alcohol is a cost that can add up quickly! And it’s also probably not going to make you feel your best when you’re walking around in extreme heat and humidity.

More Disney World Money Saving Hacks

Use Genie+ Judiciously

Genie+ is an additional cost for your trip and it can add up fast! Here’s our full guide on how Genie+ works. But basically you have to pay an additional amount per ticket per day to be able to book Lightning Lanes.

These Lightning Lanes are shorter lines with less wait time than the stand-by lines. And while Genie+ can definitely make your trip smoother, if you’re pinching pennies you definitely don’t need Genie+ everyday!

Plan to get Genie+ on your Magic Kingdom day. This is the park where it is MOST important, because there is so much to do there.

Plan to skip Genie+ on your Animal Kingdom day. It is definitely not necessary on this day! You’ll still have some long wait times, but you can still easily get to everything in a day.

With a solid rope-dropping strategy, you could also skip Genie+ on your Hollywood Studios day. Again, you’ll have some long lines. But you should be able to get to everything you want to do.

You could go either way on Epcot. There’s a lot to do at Epcot (more than there used to be!), and I think Genie+ helps you get to more of those rides while still giving you time to check out World Showcase. But if you want to skip Genie+ you can…you just might also need to skip some rides.

As far as Individual Lightning Lanes go (these are rides that have a separate charge for the Lightning Lane), consider splurging on the rides that are most important to you. But you can also skip the Individual Lightning Lanes and rope drop those rides instead (get there super early and get in line first thing when the park opens).

Pro Tip: If you aren’t going to have Genie+ you want to make sure you are at the parks as early as possible to rope drop!

Close up shot of Cinderella Castle with pink towers and blue roofs
Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom

Skip Separately Ticketed Events

Disney World often has separately ticketed events throughout the year that cost additional money.

These include Disney After Hours Events, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Hollywood Studios Jollywood Nights.

These events are an easy thing to skip to save money. While these parties and events are super fun, you can also have an amazing trip without doing any of them!

Skip Memory Maker

Memory Maker is a photo service at Disney World where you can take pictures with Disney’s Photopass Photographers and then download all the pictures after your trip. The service costs $185 if you buy it ahead of time and $210 if you buy it while on your trip or after your trip.

But you don’t need this service to get great photos!

You don’t have to have Memory Maker to get photos taken with a Photopass photographer. So get those photos taken and then here’s the real trick: Ask if they will also take a picture with your phone. They will almost always say yes! So then you’ll get the staged photo taken by a pro on your phone!

Save With Disney Gift Cards

You can also save money by getting Disney Gift Cards ahead of your trip!

There are a lot of strategies about how to do this, but here are a few ways:

  • Use a credit card that gets bonus points at certain stores to buy gift cards. For example, I have a card that gets 5x points at office supply stores. So I’ll often buy cards there ahead of our trip. While this doesn’t save me money, it does give me a lot of extra points I can use for travel in the future.
  • Use a credit card that offers cash back to buy your gift cards. For example, if you have a card that offers 5% cash back on certain categories, buy gift cards when one of those categories is a place where you can buy gift cards (like a grocery store).
  • Buy gift cards at a wholesale store. Wholesale stores like BJ’s often sell Disney gift cards at discounted prices.
  • Buy Disney gift cards at Target using a Target RedCard. That’s an automatic way to get 5% off your Disney gift cards.

Set a Souvenir Budget (and Get Free Souvenirs!)

Rack of Disney t-shirts and souvenirs in blues and reds

It if so easy to get carried away with all the cool souvenirs at Disney World. So here are a few tips for how to save money at Disney World when it comes to all that awesome merch.

  • Set a souvenir budget ahead of time. Decide how much each person is going to spend (you could even get a gift card for each of them!) and then stick to that budget.
  • Have something in mind before you go. Having a “goal” souvenir will help to keep you on track. Maybe you know you want a t-shirt or your kid wants a stuffed animal. Look for that one object and ignore the rest.
  • Get souvenirs before you go or after you come back. If you just want some Disney merch to remember your trip by and don’t care whether you actually buy it at the park or not, consider buying something at another store or from an online retailer. It will definitely be cheaper.
  • Pick up free souvenirs. There are lots of mementos you can get for free at the parks and resorts to help you remember your trip! Pick up a park map. Get a free celebration button (you can just be celebrating vacation!). And lots of character meet and greets will offer pre-printed autograph cards. And in Epcot, help your kiddos to get the cards and stickers at the Kidcot stops!

Bring Ponchos/Rain Gear

If there is one thing about Florida, it’s that it is going to rain on you. Rainstorms and showers happen almost like clockwork (especially in summer) so plan ahead.

Instead of buying expensive theme park ponchos, buy your own ponchos ahead of time (these are great because they pack so small in your backpack) or bring your own umbrellas or rain jackets.

Add to the Magic with Free Activities

Looking down over the savanna overlook at Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge with sidewalks and room balconies in the distance.
Savanna Overlook at Animal Kingdom Lodge

You can add extra magic to your trip without paying for extra activities!

Disney World has lots of free entertainment options, especially at the resorts. Here’s a list of some of the free things you can do!

  • Movie Under the Stars at your resort.
  • Go resort hopping and explore the different resorts.
  • Ride the Disney Skyliner.
  • Ride the monorail.
  • Explore Disney Springs.
  • Go on a hidden Mickey scavenger hunt.

These are great activities you can do on a day off from the parks to add extra magic to your trip while saving money!

Plan the Perfect Disney Trip!

Where To Stay:

Tickets & Reservations:

  • Use Undercover Tourist (an authorized ticket seller) to save money on Disney tickets. You can save up to $80 per ticket!
  • Need a stroller? We loved using Kingdom Strollers for on-site stroller delivery!

Need Help Planning?

  • Aren’t sure where to start? Sign up here for a free 7-day email course that will walk you through each step of planning your Disney World trip!
  • Download our Disney Planning Spreadsheet, a Google sheet you can take with you on the go, to organize all your Disney World plans! (And use some of our tried and true itineraries!)

More Disney World Resources

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